On uphill sections the average road bike or mountain bike could average about 13 kph or 8 mph. On downhill sections most bikes average speed will double to up to 27 kph or 17 mph. The highest speed for a mountain bike going downhill could be as high as 48 kph or 30 mph.
How to Descend Like a Pro
Professions cyclists tend to be better at riding fast downhill than beginners. The following is how to become better and eventually a pro at taking a bike downhill fast:
- Check the Brakes – Take the bike to a shop to have the brakes checked out at least once every year. Most people do not bother with checking the brakes though they are one of the most important components of the bike.
- Check Tire Pressure – Road tires are best at a pressure of 110 pounds per square inch. This will ensure that you tires are on the slightly squishy side which improves contact with the road surface. If you are riding on hybrid or mountain bike tires you may require less pressure given that they usually have better grip as they are wider.
- Sit Correctly – Beginner cyclists will often lock and straighten their elbows on steep descents which means they are usually levitating on the bikes which makes one very unstable. Instead you should have most of the weight borne by the feet with your backside on the center of the seat and the shoes pressing on the pedals. You should also relax the shoulders and bend the elbows.
- Loosely Clutch the Brakes and Handlebars – Lightly test the palms over the handlebars and let the brake hoods be in the crook of the thumb, and only one finger resting on the brake lever. The trick is to have most of your body weight on the pedals rather than on the bars.
- Look Down the Road – Do not look down but rather farther down the road so that you can notice all the curves and potholes coming up and respond accordingly rather than jerking your bike out of the way at the last minute.
- Avoid Fixating on Things – Do not fixate or stare at bumps or stones in the road as you will tend to steer right into the obstacle. Look at the place where you want to go around the obstacle and the bike will follow your vision. If you scan the road properly you should have enough time to plan your maneuvers.
- Start Small – It is always advisable to start with gentle slopes or ones you are familiar with. Descend at comfortable speeds and start using a single tip each time and then build confidence each time you do it.
- Ask Good Riders for Advice – Talk to good riders and watch how they do it. Many local bike shops offer clinics and rides to cyclists on the beginner to pro spectrum. You can also find an experienced cyclist and follow them down the hill to watch their technique
How Fast Do You Need to Safely Stop
While many people are obsessed with how fast they can go, the real question is how fast can you go and still be able to safely stop. On long roads with no chance of animals, side roads, gravel, dirt and braking cars, the maximum speed of descent is up to you.
In the real world though where you have to deal with these things, you will definitely hurt yourself bad descending at 40 mph. Braking at such high speeds will just like in a car more of a challenge. Moreover the faster you will be going the longer you will have to brake. Additionally the brakes will not work so well given that youwill also be fighting gravity and overheating brakes.
Will High Speeds Cause Components to Fail
It is highly unlikely that riding at high speeds will cause components to start falling off the bike.
However, you have to remeber that most componets such as tires have a physical limit to how much punishement they can take. For instance if you rigged a bicycle wheell on a Suzuki Hayabusa and drive at 250 kilmeters an hour, the tire will give at some point. Whether you will maintain that speed for half an hour or hit 250 km/h before it happens is a different matter.
A bike may be bdadly constructed and unable to tolerate the stresses of speed placed upon it. Howwever, this will typically be mnifested in instability such as wobbling or weaving rather than the tire failing at high speeds.
For components such as brakes , they may wear out or melt if you apply them for long enough. Since you are going downhill you may have to brake hard for a considerable part of the descent though the failure of the compojent may have more to do with the appliction of brakes rather than the speed.