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What is the average speed of a road bike?(30 posts)

What is the average speed of a road bike?mtbandroadie
May 1, 2002 11:33 AM
Hello, I am an avid mountain biker and I've been riding on the road a lot lately. So much so that I've decided to get a road bike. I'm pretty interested in the Trek 2200 or 2300. I weigh 185 lbs and am 5'11". I ride an average of about 17 to 18 mph on my mountain bike with knobby tires. How much faster of an average do you guesstimate I would be on a road bike? Thanks.

Keepin' the love between MTBr's and Roadies
depends on lots of thingsColnagoFE
May 1, 2002 11:44 AM
but all things being the same I'd say another 2-3MPH MAYBE...just a guess though.
ditto - but for how long? nmDougSloan
May 1, 2002 11:58 AM
Average speed of a road bike=0. You have to pedal! ;-0 nmBrooks
May 1, 2002 11:53 AM
Mine won't go more than about 30 on a flat road......STEELYeyed
May 1, 2002 12:22 PM
damn thing probably needs a new motor.
Wow! Really!?! Mine won't go more than 18!Kristin
May 1, 2002 1:02 PM
Hmmm...wonder if its busted?
maybe you 2 should trade bikes nmDougSloan
May 1, 2002 1:08 PM
If only it were so easy (nm)Kristin
May 1, 2002 1:17 PM
Probably so ... mine hit 29.5 a few weeks back ...Humma Hah
May 1, 2002 2:50 PM
... slight tailwind on the mile-long flat stretch on Liberia avenue, held it for about 2 seconds. One gear, fat tires, about 43 pounds with all the lighting gear and fenders.

But you wanna talk 25-mile TT times, it'll do more like 16 mph on a good day. I need a new motor, too!
our rides must be really fast...merckx56
May 1, 2002 4:24 PM
because last night coming to the sprint, i saw 39 mph and finished the sprint at 43! granted, it was a bit downhill and we had a slight tailwind, AND i felt like i was going to stroke out...
That's bookin' alright ...Humma Hah
May 1, 2002 4:37 PM
... yeah, get a roadbike slightly downhill and a little tailwind, those speeds are possible.

Now in my case, the singlespeed cruiser at 29.5 mph is turning the wheels at 376.8 rpm and the crank is turning about 147 rpm, and I'm getting a little spun out. In principle, I should be able to hit 165 rpm, but I've yet to prove it with the present high gearing under any kind of aerodynamic load.
That's bookin' alright ...Icefrk13
May 2, 2002 7:08 AM
I got my Spec. Enduro Pro up to 25 coming out from Porcupine Rime on sunday with a slight headwind. I did not know that that wet noodle could go that fast on the road.
Depends on your mountain bike and pressures you're running..Quack
May 1, 2002 12:56 PM
If you are able to average 18MPH on knobbys on a MTB running 45PSI or less, and your MTB is a wide bar sit up tall in the wind setup, you will be smokin' fast on any skinny tire road bike, probably 20-22MPH solo averages are possible. However, if you're cranking your knobby pressures up above 55PSI and your MTB is of the narrower bar, semi-aerodynamic variety, 19-20 is more realistic.

I ride a Specialized S-Works hardtail in the rain occasionally and can average around 15-16MPH for a 17 mile commute running knobbies at 50PSI. The same commute on my Trek 5200 is usually in the 18.5-19.5MPH range.
It's 95% aerodynamics ...Humma Hah
May 1, 2002 2:56 PM
I agree that knobbies are noticably draggy, and tire pressure helps. Switching a MTB to slicks and pumping them up will improve speed a little - I picked up 1.6 mph TT speed on my Sorrento by switching from knobbies to 1.25" slicks.

But the big difference at roadbike speeds is aerodynamic drag, most of which is the rider's body. You can tell this easily by looking at max speed coasting down a hill. My cruiser will out-coast a roadbike if I'm in a tight tuck and the roadie isn't, but the roadie can put the power to the pedals in a tuck, whereas I can't, and neither can someone on a MTB.
Perhaps 5-7 mph ...Humma Hah
May 1, 2002 3:11 PM
This presumes you take the time to train up to it and get a well-fitted bike. You need to learn to ride comfortably in the drops, and that can take some doing. I know MTBers who have never been able to ride comfortably stretched out, and that was part of the reason they chose a MTB in the first place.

The skinny, high-pressure tires are good for about 1.5-2 mph at the power levels you mention. Aerodynamics can get you another 5 or so, if you're motivated to crank out the watts instead of taking it easy on the more aerodynamic roadbike.
Perhaps 5-7 mph ...atpjunkie
May 1, 2002 3:27 PM
Tire Drag (friction) and aerodynamics like they say will make a difference of between 5-10 mph depending on distance. The drag coefficient between a 2.25 knob and a 23 slick will make a huge distance. Most of my MTB rides are quite hilly and you'd be an absolute animal if you could hold a 17 mph average over 30 miles with a couple half hour plus climbs tossed in. In a flat TT I can muster near 20 on an MTB but can't maintain for any serious distance. I can do a 40K TT comfortably over 21 mph and have turned a couple centuries in the high 16's to lo 17's. So it makes a difference on short rides but a huge difference on anything over 40 miles.
May 1, 2002 3:30 PM
final 35 miles of the Chico Wildflower Century was in a fast pace line and we held a 22-28 mph pace for 33 miles . Stop signs as we entered town slowed us considerably the last 2 miles.
Chico Wildflower centuryIcefrk13
May 2, 2002 7:25 AM
So did that one end at the brewery? Great place to kill any of those saddle sores.

Chico Wildflower centuryatpjunkie
May 3, 2002 7:52 AM
no it ended at the fairgrounds, but close enough and Sierra Nevada did have a beer truck, yes quick easy carbs.....mmmmm
Liquid Bread. It's amazed at how cheap of a date you become after 100 miles. My top speed coming out of paradise was 52, downhill in the rain. That was enough for my thrill factor (besides the post race suds)
Chico Wildflower centuryIcefrk13
May 3, 2002 9:51 AM
Its not the cabs but the body was needing hoptra-lites and barley-lites replaced. Nice top speed. I think that would have scared the hell out of me in the rain.
Chico Wildflower centuryatpjunkie
May 3, 2002 12:23 PM
I'm freaking dying...hoptralites, isn't it barleyzymes? oh man sheeeesh yes I was in definite need. Had a PaleFoot (mix of BigFoot barley wine and IPA high on the hoptralites). Was a little scary on the descent but I'm sick that way. Am 6'4"+ and 230 so my weight helps, both in speed and stability. Passed a small group who were doing mid to hi 40's and one guy almost fishtailed into another. Small puff of smoke and everything, I thought I'd have a front row seat to some carnage, I already had my line around them so I wasn't about to join the fray. It's a hell of a ride, quite scenic with some fun flats and descents. Only about 3700 ft of climbing (3 climbs) so it was tolerable to a Clydesdale like myself.
it is probably less more like 3-4cyclopathic
May 2, 2002 6:46 AM
chances are he won't be able to capitalize on better aero position he will loose power. MTB and road offer different range of motion and it would take some time to adjust perhaps a few month or more
is that laden or unladen?atpjunkie
May 2, 2002 6:52 AM
Hard to get that aero with coconuts on your back. He'll adjust, I'm a multisport (started MTB, fell in love with road and now turning into a cx freak) cyclist. Look at all the pro MTBers who headed for greener pastures in the pro peloton. I think serious MTBers have better lactate thresholds as the sport is more burst oriented than typical road riding. It's not that hard to adjust positions unless the guys been riding a full suspension bike w/ long travel and riser bars (in which case I doubt he'd be able to hold an 18 mph average).
So subjective but 18-20 miles per hour?PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
May 1, 2002 3:49 PM
Its so subjective depending on your fitness but I'd say 18-20 milers per hour or around 30 km/h is a good average. Most group rides are around that.

Keepin' the love for cycling going after a bad accident and launching PodiumBound.CA
Sorry... 23-25???PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
May 1, 2002 4:02 PM
Sorry tired... its been a long day and my attention span is short due to my crash. But ya if you average up to 18 on a mountain bike a full 5 mph is realistic. The advantages are that its a sustained effort... not climb technical downhill... so if you have a heart rate monitor you can just stay at threshhold. Another option is to get another set of wheels and put slicks on them if money is an issue.

Going to bed!
What do you mean? An African or European Road Bike?lnin0
May 1, 2002 5:42 PM
Huh? I-- I don't know that. Auuuuuuuugh!
What do you mean? An African or European Road Bike?metty108
May 2, 2002 3:39 AM
nice monty python reference
A 5 oz road bike cannot carry a 200 pound rider! (nm)ColnagoFE
May 2, 2002 6:49 AM
Mine goes about 17mph, but Lance's is a lot fasterretro
May 2, 2002 7:00 AM
I'm sure there's something wrong with mine...
re: What is the average speed of a road bike?Snakebit
May 2, 2002 2:48 PM
My first bike was a Schwinn Super Sport with RX100 drive train and my top speed was 24 mph. I recently received my new Steelman SR with Chorus and it goes about 50. Of course, I don't have a computer on it yet and am just estimating, it may be much faster.