Would I pick up much speed switching to a road bike?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by MotownBikeBoy, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    Just wondering, I would like to be able to play with the big boys next year, ok, just the guys on the cycling club and in the triathlon program at my gym. Talking to them about their group rides, I wonder if I could cut it - they talk about guys straggling and being left behind at 17-18 mph average. I was proud of myself for being able to do sustained 15-16 on my hybrid, 700x35c tires with a fairly shallow tread. So, is it the rider or the bike? If I switched today to a road bike, could I expect to pick up a few extra MPH's just due to the technology/design? Or, do I need to go back to the beginning and train harder or differently?
     
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  2. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Assuming that your fit is more 'aggressive" on the road bike, i.e. more aggressive than the typical hybrid fit, then you should expect to pick up some speed. Aero drag is the biggest force against which you pedal, so if you are a bit more bent over as riders typically are on a road bike, you reduce the surface area presented to the wind and thus reduce aero drag. Reduce that area by 10%, and aero drag goes down by 10%. Moving to a slick tread as opposed to wide, grooved tread (that it appears you use) will reduce rolling resistance and will thusly allow for increased speed for a given effort. Also, moving from a 35mm wide tire to, say, a 25mm wide tire also decreases aero drag, freeing up a bit more power to devote to going forward. I think you could expect to gain 1-3 mph. Road bikes tend to weigh less than hybrids, so by reducing weight, you'll also increase speed. Extra speed from weigh reduction is most significant on climbs, but it does have a very small contribution to increased speed on flat ground. By very small, I mean almost always negligible. As you can imagine, there's no exact answer to your question since there are many unknowns. You can however go to Analytic Cycling's website and read about the different factors that influence how fast a bike and rider move forward. The site not only has some great information, it also has very useful calculators which you can use to see how different factors affect speed. As for riding with the club, a club, or any organized ride, you should do a bit of research before hand to find out what speeds they average and what their "drop" policy is, i.e. if you get dropped on the ride, do they wait or leave you behind. You can definitely go faster in a group than you can on your own. Group rides can be great fun.
     
  3. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm I switched from a hybrid to a road bike and this is what I noticed.

    1. On the hybrid, with 700x35 tires, I was averaging 20km/h

    2. After switching the 700x35 to 700x28 at 95psi on the hybrid (13.5 kg bike) I was averaging 22-24km/h at no extra effort. Well maybe I was pushing a bit more because of the new tires, but they did feel much faster.

    3. After getting the road bike I am averaging 24km/h. But I can make much longer distances. I recently made 120km in one go... Well with two or three brakes but in one day anyway.

    With the correct conditions you can go very, very fast with the road bike. Its much better in climbs due to weight and it kinda has a bit more "predictable" handling. But its much stiffer.

    I made some strava segments. I was calculating my time and it was always the same, no matter what, in a difference off 30 sec. After a while I tried the segment again and I was about 1minute faster...

    Oh and something else... I wouldnt hear too much what the "local club" says... They tend to chat a bit too much #@!!... ;)
     
  4. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate the info and advice.
     
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