How fast can road bikes go?
If you are looking to go professional or have such dreams in the future you may be thinking just how fast can a road bike go. Most road bike riders can achieve speeds of up to 15 mph over an hour’s ride.
As a beginner, you will average 10 mph over an hour but over time as you get more experience you should be able to get to 15 mph on a one-hour ride. If you keep training hard it is very much possible to attain a speed of up to 18 miles an hour on a road bike.
What is the fastest speed on a road bike?
Professional riders in the Tour De France have been known to attain average speeds of up to 25 miles an hour on flat ground. While this is a speed that most people would hardly ever hope to attain, you can probably try the higher teens or a speed in the lower twenties.
As for the fastest speed on a road bike, it was achieved by Denise Mueller-Korenek the American rider who rode a custom bike and attained a speed of 183.932 on average. This is quite an incredible feat as it is the take-off speed of a large jet.
The record speed was attained in September 2018 on the six-mile track at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Road bike speeds for professional road bikers
Professional cyclists can typically go as fast as 45 mph using only raw power to propel their bikes against the wind. The world record holder for unpaced and unmodified bikes relying only on raw leg power is Todd Reichert who set the record at 82.82 mph.
However, competitive cyclists such as those riding in the Tour De France who rides on all manner of terrain and combines sprints, flats, and climbs can attain average speeds of up to 25 mph.
A well-trained Tour De France cyclist can typically attain speeds of up to 34 mph on the French flats even though the best of them typically average between 26 to 29 mph. Climbing the Pyrenees section of the Tour De France often sees the riders reduce their speeds to peak at about 14mph which is a reduction of about 12 mph.
Conversely, cyclists sprinting at the Tour De France can usually crack the 40 mph barrier. Professional riders competing in speed arenas or velodromes tend to achieve higher average speeds as compared to riding out on the road.
Much of that speed comes from the unique shape, structure, and 42-degree bank of the track that allows for speeds up to 70 mph. Moreover, such structures are sheltered from obstacles and wind which allows cyclists to push their bikes and themselves to the limit
Factors that impact average road bike speed
There are several factors that impact the average speed on a road bike including weight, fitness level, age, cardiovascular system capacity, and to a lesser degree the efficiency and quality of the bike you are riding.
On most rides on the road, your speed will be impacted by things such as road surface, traffic, distance, route chosen (stop signs and the number of traffic lights), and weather conditions (for instance riding into stiff winds will reduce your speed).
You should note that your average speed will keep increasing exponentially over time as you become more fit and professional. Buying a better bike could significantly improve your speed but even more effective is losing weight.
Your average speed may also b impacted by preexisting health issues. For instance, someone with a congenital heart defect can lead a normal life but would struggle to achieve higher speeds as the defect may act as some kind of speed governor.
Ways to make your road bike faster
Now that we know just how fast a road bike can go it is time to look into the hacks that could make your bike faster. Some of the best tips and tricks include:
- Checking and Adjusting Tire Pressure
This is one of the most effective yet simple ways of maximizing the potential speeds on your bike. Most road bikes will require between 80-130 PSI. Higher pressures tend to help with achieving the maximum speeds that your bike is capable of.
- Go with a Lighter Bike Frame
Reducing the weight of your road bike is one of the most popular techniques to increase bike speed used by professional riders.
When you are buying your bike you should go for lighter materials such as carbon even if they tend to be more expensive. If you already bought a bike you can improve cycling speeds by taking your current bike to a professional who can switch the frame.
- Get Aerodynamic Wheels
Wheels just like the frame play a significant impact on your speed. The most aerodynamic wheels typically have narrow rims and a low spoke count which helps you cut through the wind more efficiently.
- Lower the Handlebars
If you have ever watched professional road bike riders, you have seen that they always ride with their elbows tucked in. This is the most aerodynamic position when riding a bike for speed as it allows you to cut through the air with minimal resistance.
- Remove Unnecessary Weight
The more accessories you have on the bike such as pumps, mudguards, lights, water bottles, and holds the heavier the bike will be which will translate into lower speeds. With a lighter bike, you will be able to marginally and sometimes significantly improve your speed.
What are some of the fastest road bikes?
Almost all manufacturers will brag about the speeds of their newest road bike model. But the real test is what speed the bike does on the streets or on the racing track. According to Strava data, the following are some of the fastest bikes out there:
|Ranking||Bike||Median Speed in km/h||Median speed in mph|
|1||Canyon Aeroad CF SLX||25.3||15.7|
|2||Ridley Noah SL||25.1||15.6|
|3||Specialized S-Works Venge||25.0||15.5|
|5||Orbea Orca Aero||24.9||15.5|