This is a deep dive into how fast do road bikes go including insights into why this is so. It also provides tips on how to make your road bike faster.
Most road bikes will average between 10mph and 14mph an hour riding on paved roads. Some could attain higher speeds especially if one was involved in other endurance sports such as running and could realistically hit between 15-18 mph or more.
If you are just a beginner in road racing an average of 13.5 miles per hour is not something to scoff at particularly if you go on a long ride.
Average cycling speed for beginner and experienced Cyclists
Most new cyclists love to know the average speed they should expect when they first start riding. However, it can be difficult to determine the average speed though it has been tried. There are several reasons that make giving a straight answer to such a question given that riding is influenced by factors such as:
If you live in a relatively flat area with few if any hills your road bike speed will probably be higher than say for a person in a very hilly area with steep inclines on the road.
Another factor to take into account is the winds as some areas will be frequently exposed to high winds and the smallest of winds could result in a significant impact on your speed. The same can be said of temperatures.
The type of bike that you have could have a lot on how effective it is. Cyclists that shift to carbon fiber bikes could have an average speed increase of between 5 and 10%. Speed can also be increased by getting better peripheral equipment such as tires.
The average speed will be significantly impacted by the distance ridden. You will typically attain slower average speeds for rides lasting less than an hour since this is the time when the legs are warming up. Between an hour and two hours is when one attaint the highest speeds which then reduces as fatigue starts to set in.
Age of the Cyclist
The age of the cyclist is critical though not as much as the years of experience accumulated. Over several years of cycling, you will accumulate slow twitch muscles in the legs and develop more efficient lungs and heart.
Group riding is a very beneficial activity as you can take advantage of drafting to reduce wind resistance. However, this will vary depending on the number of people in the group though real-life experiments show that the average speed can be boosted by between 20-30 percent.
For instance, riders in the Tour de France get up to 25mph over 125 miles though each peloton is usually very large.
Average Speed – Indications
While the above play a huge role in the average speed of a road bike, if you are riding solo on mixed terrain with flat surfaces 70% of the time and 30% slight and steep inclines, the following are the speeds you can expect:
- Beginner Cyclist – 12 mph over short distances between 10 and 15 miles. Even the inexperienced may achieve between 10 and 12 miles on average without training.
- A Little Experience – 15 -16 mph over short to medium distances say between 20 and 30 miles.
- Reasonably Experienced – 16 to 19 mph over a medium range of say 40 miles.
- Highly Experienced Cyclist – Competent cyclist probably with club riding experience and who trains regularly may attain between 20 and 24 mph over medium to long distances between 50 and 60 miles.
Most cyclists will usually not get to 13 to 15mph if they are just cycling as a hobby. For the professionals who cycle in groups train regularly and cycle over long distances on flat terrain, it is possible to attain 25 mph or more regularly.
Ways to make your road bike faster
Now that you have a good idea of how fast the road bike can go, it is time you learn how to make your bike faster. The following are some of the best ways to do this:
- Adjust tire pressure – This is one of the easiest ways to get the bike riding as fast as it can. Anything between 80-130 psi should be great for improving the performance of the bike. You can usually check the tire to determine the maximum pressure which is usually the optimum for performance.
- Replace the Bike Frame – Frames are made of different materials and one of the best ways to reduce the weight of the bike is by changing the frame. A carbon fiber frame is typically lightweight as compared to the aluminum frames that road bikes come with.
- Buy Aerodynamic Wheels – Wheels have a significant impact on performance and weight. Get aerodynamic wheels which usually come with narrow rims and low spoke count to reduce drag.
- Remove Unnecessary Accessories – If you have accessories you may not be needing such as pumps, lights, water bottles, and mudguards, get them all out especially if you are racing or just using the bike for short commutes.
How to make yourself faster
- Bending and Tucking in the Elbows – Tucking in the elbows and bending on the bike reduces the profile that has to cut through the wind. This reduces wind resistance and drag allowing you to slice through the air more effectively.
- Listen to Music – According to research, listening to music plugs out signs of fatigue such as aching muscles and burning lungs. Moreover, listening to a beat with an optimal cycling cadence improved pedaling efficiency.
- Ride in a Team – Riding with others means that you take turns taking the brunt of cutting through the wind in drafting. You will also have a better cadence in a group as you cycle to maintain pace with the team.
- Brake Less – By braking less you do not waste energy which is inevitable when you slow down and have to accelerate to get back up to speed. One of the best ways to do this is to get comfortable with a high speed as long as the road surface is safe and relatively clear of obstructions.
- Ride on the Drop bars – Riding on the drop bars reduces aerodynamic drag, and improves cornering, and bike handling as compared to riding on the tops.
- Lose Weight – Losing weight not only reduces the force needed to power up inclines but will also reduce the footprint needed to punch through the air thus making your pedaling more efficient.
- Train Shorter Intervals – The best way to increase average speed is to go faster than your average. Train for short bursts of speed which enhances your endurance and will in the long run make you faster on longer distances.
- Wear Tight Clothing – Tight clothes not only wick away sweat and heat keeping you dry and cool but also reduce drag thus making you faster.
How fast does the fastest road bike go?
The fastest bicycle speed on a road bike is 167 mph or 296 kph which was achieved by Denise Mueller-Korenek riding a custom-built KHS bike on the Bonneville Flats in Utah. Seeing that there has been a trend of records being broken over the years, it is likely that this record speed will soon be broken.