Best way to maintain highest speed?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by novetan, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. novetan

    novetan New Member

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    I just race for fun with a grp of friends and I hv a cyclometer. Let say on the flat with some undulation thru’out. The way to push the bike fastest is it by switching to the gear that gives me the highest kmh? Of course in so doing, I understand I hv to pedal within my limit. What say you abt using this method to maintain the highest speed within myself that I can cope. Is this method equates to achieving the best possible time, disregarding whatever cadence the book recommends.
     
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  2. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Please define if you mean top sprint speed or average speed over a given long distance.
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Well, as worded that's a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy....do I make the bike go fastest by choosing a gear that makes the bike go fastest?...

    But yes, you've got the right idea. In steady state situations the gear that you can actually turn over and generate the highest sustained power for the conditions will be fastest even if that means you're not spinning exactly 90 rpm or any other commonly recommended cadence. For most folks that will still result in a cadence of at least 70 or 80 and usually not more than 110 or so if you plan to sustain the power for any length of time. Much slower or much faster and most folks find they're not very efficient and either lug down in too big a gear or spin out in too small a gear for sustained efforts. But everyone is different and your particular 'power band' may only range from say 80 to 95 rpm or perhaps something else.

    It can pay for riders, especially newer riders, to work on sustaining power and speed across a range of cadences in an effort to extend the range of their personal 'power band'. IOW if you only feel comfortable spinning the cranks at say cadences between 75 and 85 rpm and things feel awkward above or below that range then it can pay to spend some training time outside of that range so that you feel more supple spinning at 90, 100, 110 or more rpm and even can pay to do some work below that range so you can handle the occasional grind up a steep hill when you've run out of low gearing. You don't necessarily want to spin your brains out all the time in normal riding nor grind huge gears all the time but some time spent extending your useable range of cadences can be very helpful in terms of dealing with real world riding situations that come up all the time.

    But in situations requiring rapid acceleration it's almost always better to be geared a bit on the lighter side and to accelerate using more leg speed than leg strength. It's very hard to accelerate an overly large gear and usually better to whip a smaller gear up to speed using leg speed and then shift up into a cruising gear at that higher speed. So for situations like sprinting or quickly closing gaps to stay on another riders wheel it almost always works better to be in a smaller, easier gear for the initial acceleration. How small or easy a gear depends on the terrain, wind conditions, and the speed you're traveling but grinding a big gear that requires a lot of force on the pedals is generally a bad idea in situations that require immediate acceleration.

    -Dave
     
  4. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    For racing with friends, the way to be the fastest is to work the least. Draft, suck wheel until they are exhausted and then sprint and pedal away. Caution, they may not remain your friends for long.
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The best way is to train hard.
     
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