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breaking 40 mph(17 posts)

breaking 40 mphtrackmike
May 21, 2003 10:41 PM
has anybody broken 40 mph on their fixed gear that speed hangs over me and i can't get up that fast. the only reason i'm so fascinated with going that fast is i remember when i first read some literature about track racing it said the the racers usually reach speeds over 40 mph. i seriously starting to doubt the validity.

anyways tommorow i'm going to try to hit it at the velodrome with 49x13 i figured out the cadence will be 135 which i know i can hit, i'm just worried that by the time i get up to speed i'll be so tired from pushing that huge gear.

p.s. downhill doesn't count... i live in houston, we dont' have hills, just parking garages.
Me ... I'm just flirting with 30 ...Humma Hah
May 22, 2003 4:35 AM
... but I'm geared for hills and have not tried a flat-out sprint on my fixie yet.

Trackies are masters of the paceline. The typical events involve one lap (1/3 km) or half/lap pulls with a strict rotation up until one rider decides to break. The full-speed sprint rarely lasts more than 2 laps, and the effort up to the sprint is typically very light.

The absolute fastest paces are achieved by pacing a more powerful vehicle, either a tandem (bikes of up to 6 riders were used in the distant past) or a motorcycle. I've watched Eddie B train his riders in motorpacing in San Diego. Drafting a motorcycle can dramatically increase speed.
That is a pretty tall gear, you might make it...rwbadley
May 22, 2003 6:07 AM
I have always had better luck with spinning at the higher cadence/lower ratio. It is easier to get 'on top' of the gear. Wind up quicker and save your energy for 'the spin' Get a good strong jump on it then sit, spin, and take it up to 150-160 or so. Thats just my input, everyone will have a different style.
tracks have hills, don't they?DougSloan
May 22, 2003 6:38 AM
Don't riders on the track ride near the top and then dive down the banking to pick up speed? That could account for some higher speeds, couldn't it?

I've only hit about 35-36 on a geared bike on flat ground, no wind, no drafting. I've never geared my fixie high enough to run that speed on flat ground. If you did, it would be pretty tough to get going, and hills would be pure hell.

Boy...You guys are a lot better than me.Dave Hickey
May 22, 2003 8:03 AM
I think the fasteset I've sprinted on flat ground is 28-29mph. That's usually when a dog is chasing me. Since I don't race, dogs are my only motivation:-)
have you trained for it?DougSloan
May 22, 2003 8:25 AM
Training for sprinting will make you a faster sprinter. Go out and doing repeats from 20 mph with full rest in between. I guarantee that if you do this for a few months, you'll add 2-3 mph.

BTW, I was a 400 meter runner in high school and college; ran an unremarkable 48 seconds, but still evident there is a fair amount of fast twitch there.

No, but I've been thinking about adding that to my scheduleDave Hickey
May 22, 2003 9:36 AM
I've considered adding some sprints into my schedule. On some weekday nights, I only have an hour to ride. I think sprints might be the ticket.
Gives a nice head start on the sprints ...Humma Hah
May 22, 2003 9:28 AM
... except than in most race forms, you're already down near the inside lane of the track.

Part of the problem is the straights are a little short. The maximum speed I ever achieved on the cruiser on the velodrome, using that technique of going high in the corners and dropping down coming out of the corner to start my sprint down the straight, was about 27 mph at the end of the straight, losing a little in the turn. That amounts to gaining around 12 mph in under 150 meters. On a straight, flat road I can sometimes hit 29 mph and hold it for a few seconds.

I don't know what I was hitting on the track bikes, which had no computers. Probably somewhere in the low to mid-30's. 40 would be cooking pretty good. I lacked power at high RPM's, and needed to do some interval work to improve it. The course was too short to really explore the envelope.

I haven't yet wrung out the Paramount on a max-speed FG attempt, but easily broke 29 against a radar sign a few weeks ago.
Gives a nice head start on the sprints ...trackmike
May 23, 2003 2:51 AM
i have the same problem of loosing speed in the turns i don't know if it's physics or just me being scared of the turns or what.

i didn't get any closer running a huge gear, by the time i got up to speed i was usually to tired to sprint. i kept posting the same lap times regardless of gear, just me being more tired on the big ones
i tried 50x14, 50x16, 49x14, 49x16 and all my laps where between 29-33 seconds. (333 meters)
Same problem here ...Humma Hah
May 23, 2003 7:32 AM
... In my track class, I started out with an edge over the gearies due to having ridden singlespeed for decades. The two fire-breathing roadracers whupped me easily, but I usually finished the first two weeks of sprints third with two rec riders panting behind me, and a few slower riders in the distance.

By the end of the course, 6 weeks, the two rec riders were whupping me handily. They had more room for improvement, so improved fast, and I think they probably had a better high-end spin. I was powerful from a standing start from years of street singlespeeding, but had always tended to stop pushing at around 120 RPM. I tended to get winded about 30 seconds before the other two. I would start out ahead of them but run out of gas on the last turn and get passed.

Following the course, I down-geared the cruiser to 2:1 gearing for a couple of months to work on my spin, but never got the chance to get a fixie back on the track to see if it was helping. I did develop the ability to deliver significant torque at about 140 rpm in that period of time, so I'm pretty sure it was helping.

Champion trackies usually can develop useful torque at 160 RPM or higher. Most roadies usually strive to stay under 100 RPM, and require training to pedal faster.

Try gearing down and doing interval training at high RPMs, interspersed with high-torque hillclimbs, then see if you can combine the two abilities.

Eddie B trains riders to accelerate while standing "until their pedaling gets crazy", then sit down and hold the speed for a couple of laps. He'll also motorpace them to higher and higher speeds behind a comical little streetbike he keeps a the track. His students usually have legs like tree trunks, with these amazing bulging quads that make mine look pathetic.
Highest I've hit on the track is 38 mph.Alex-in-Evanston
May 23, 2003 7:50 AM
That's with a 50/15, and I was definitely spun out. I think I could probably go a tick or two faster if I had a bigger gear, but then again I'd probably never make it to the end of the race. It would be very difficult to keep up with the surges if you had a monster gear.

144 RPM ...Humma Hah
May 23, 2003 3:33 PM
... come on! Dig deep, you can squeeze out a little more!

Well, that's what they used to yell at me down the final straight with my tongue hanging down over the handlebars and gasping for air like a fish out of water.

We could both train to be faster.
re: breaking 40 mphsnakedust
May 23, 2003 10:53 AM
i have a 48-17 and i spin out on a regular basis on the flat. i can usually sustain a cadence of 160ish for a while. i think that takes me over 30mph. nedd to build up a little more power before i can gear my bike up again to enable me to go faster on the flats, but im looking forward to it. a 48-15 should deffinitly do it but i will be a few month ber#fore im strong enough to climb hills in that gear.
30.7 mph at 138 rpm in that gearing ...Humma Hah
May 23, 2003 11:45 AM
... guessing at your actual wheel diameter at 26.5" for skinny 700c tires. I'm running that combination and have confirmed 29 mph by radar, indicated 29.5 on the computer, not quite spun out. I've yet to learn to develop power at 160, but intend to train to it. Previous experience tells me I CAN develop useful power to 140 rpm (28.4 mph at 46:18 with 26.7-inch tires on the cruiser).

If you were actually cranking at 160, you should be hitting 35.6 mph. With 48:15, 140 rpm would get you to 35.3, and 160 would take you to about 40.3.
About higher speeds...rwbadley
May 23, 2003 4:30 PM
The fastest I have hit solo while pedaling was straight up fifty mph on a slight downhill with a good tailwind. In the 53x12 I felt pretty spun out at 143 cadence (courtesy analytic cycling)

While on the fixed gear, a buddy drafting me clocked us at 32.5. This was spinning a 42x17 at 167rpm. He was on a geared bike, after we stopped he was cracking up, He said at that cadence it looked just like some crazy-fast manic machine. I felt good with it, but could not maintain that for very long, and could not have spun faster. This was level ground with little or no wind. I am pretty sure taller gearing would have helped reach a higher speed.

>however< Two items:

1) I don't think 'much' taller gearing would have helped. I can see me getting on top of a 42x16 or 45x16 (under same conditions, not track) and pulling 145-155 rpm but I don't have the power to pull more, and don't have the stamina to spend time pulling a higher gear getting there.

2) I still find that fixed (rather than freewheel) gearing will allow me to pull higher cadence regardless, and under 'no wind, level ground' conditions my flat out top speed would be attained under 'fixed' conditions with the right cog mixture.

Your input Humma Hah is as always useful and enlightening. I wish we were able to ride together sometime. I would like to see you on the Cruiser and the Paramount. I would love to take up the track sport. I think the nearest one is 'only' 125 miles. (I think Sacramento might still have one?)

About higher speeds...Humma Hah
May 24, 2003 5:16 AM
Pretty good agreement here.

Yeah, just going to higher gearing does not guarantee higher speed, if the underlying torque ain't there at the higher speed. No power, no mph.

So, of course, trackies spend years building power and speed, and making the rest of us look pathetic. But they show us what is possible.

On the other hand, your stunning performance in a fairly low gear does show that you're unlikely to hit 40 without a tall enough gear, PLUS that power and leg speed.

I also think your're right about fixed being a help at hitting really high cadence ... that's why I tracked down an ideal fixie candidate. I can hit 140-ish on the cruiser's platforms, but to go beyond that to the "pedaling gets crazy" range, I think it is prudent to have the feet firmly attached to the pedals and the bike showing you which way to make 'em go all the way around.
I broke 60 (with a second computer magnet)Tig
May 26, 2003 4:43 PM
Just kidding!
I think my best flat land (I'm in Houston too) sprint effort with a 39 x 15 is about 33 MPH. That puts the cadence at about 160 RPM's. I feather brake down longer bridges just to keep my knees from ejecting my lower legs like popping champagne corks.