Our Top Tips for Free Speed: Some simple adjustments you need to make regularly before you start your ride.
Free speed comes in many forms. Whether it’s a slope, tailwind or a fast bunch ride … just for fun. We’re talking about making you faster, and not just spending money on a new pair of carbon cycles that you saved for your hard time.
From riding position to minor mechanical adjustments and mental thinking, there are nine easy ways to add free speed to your bike.
You have to love the bike more than your friends
Why is a bike better than a girl / boy -friend?
You can spend time with your bicycle without scolding or criticising you. In fact, it is relatively quiet most of the time.
Bicyclists live in the present – they don’t think or ask what the “next step” in a relationship is.
That your bike doesn’t reset old issues – you don’t have to worry about “wondering” with your past convictions.
Your bicycle does not complain about other bicycles and gossip. Maybe it knows there are other things for you to think about.
You can be yourself around your bicycle, without trying to “fix” it yourself.
You can be yourself around your bicycle, without trying to “fix” it yourself.
The moods of your bicycle are independent of its hormones – bikes lack hormones.
There is no need to rest assured of what your bike will look like – it will not compare itself with other bikes.
Bikes are usually ready to go when you are ready to go. There is no need to wait for them unless something is repaired.
They don’t cry or express their feelings – bikes don’t have feelings.
Bikes don’t get funny ideas from Hollywood movies and / or romance novels and then you can expect to live up to ridiculous standards.
Wash up your bike
A clean bike is a happy bike, mechanics everywhere say, but it’s fast. With every grit, grime and dirt your bike collects, you are losing speed and wasting Watts. Studies have shown that a “dirty” chain can cost you 10-20w, which translates to 1-2kph at race speeds. But more on that in a minute.
Keep it clean for a fast ride/ pressure wash bike
A clean bike will speed you up physically and mentally. The feeling of swinging your leg on a shiny clean bike, wearing a new pair of shoes and a fresh kit is nothing short of amazing.
Cleaning the bike can be as simple as wiping or washing quickly and can be done as a full-on power wash. To get the most out of your cleaning, be sure to scrub the drivetrain and components and especially the ones that spin. The most important part of bike cleaning is to make sure you have…
Clean and lubricate your chain
The chain is the place where you transfer power from the pedals to the wheel, which means you lose more power through drivetrain efficiency. To get rid of lost watts, clean and lubricate your chain at least once every couple of rides. Many experts and chain lube manufacturers say you must lubricate your chain before each ride.
A Well Lubed Chain is the Easiest Way to Ride Fast – Don’t Overdo It (Image Credit: The Future)]
Lubing your chain is simple and the entire process can be done in just a few minutes. Make sure to lubricate the inside of the chain without completely smothering it, and wipe off the excess lube when you’re done.
Get more ‘aero’ by modifying your position
The most important speed upgrade you can do is simple aerodynamics. Improving your aerodynamics is no match for the speed boost you get. Of course, you can buy more aerodynamic bike frames and aero racing wheels, but those upgrades can cost you thousands of dollars.
IStart with setting your saddle position and overall bike fit with the goal of being as aerodynamic as possible. You don’t need to convert to a lotus position or anything like that – instead, aim for a position that will improve your aerodynamics without becoming too aggressive so that it sacrifices your ability to discharge energy. For most people, that means swinging at the waist, holding the back parallel to the floor, and bending your elbows at 90-degree angles and holding your handlebars. It should look like this:
[Curved position of elbows makes you more aro (Image credit: future)]
Setting your saddle height is very simple and can be done in the garage in just a few minutes. There are a few different considerations to adjusting your saddle height, but my favourite (simple) version is to use your InSeem measure minus 10cm.
For example, if your inseam is 85cm, try setting your saddle height to 75cm.
Lower the anterior of the bike
There is always talk of cyclists, the slammed trunk is the best of all. In my opinion, (and, if it’s big!) If you have the time and physiology to use it, then a slammed trunk is worth it.
Image-A lower front end is more aerodynamic, but may not work for you if you’re not comfortable and efficient]
Reducing the front of your bike (and usually does) can leave your body in a lower and more aerodynamic position. As long as you produce the same amount of energy, you will always be faster if you improve your aerodynamics.
Slammed Stem – meaning, the removal of additional spacers between the trunk and the headset – is a quick and easy adjustment that any home bike mechanic can make. If you remove more spacers, the change of position will be more severe, which means that it will take longer for you to use it. The best practice is to reduce the front end in increments, so that your body can adjust over time and become more aerodynamic and flexible at the same time.
If you find that you are experiencing any neck, wrist, or back pain, or you are struggling to produce the same energy in the following position, come back, and lift the trunk and work on your strength and flexibility.
Adjust your tire pressure
A lot has been said – and argued – about tire pressure over the past decade. Cyclists once pumped up to 120 psi in 23mm wide tires. Surprisingly, there were not many crashes.
Nowadays, cyclists usually ride in 25- to 28mm-wide tires at 80-90psi, which can be as low as 10-20psi when riding tubeless. The ideal tire pressure for you depends on what type of tire you are driving, the weather conditions and your weight.
Adjust your tire pressure properly for a fast and comfortable ride (image credit: future)]
Tubeless tires are becoming more popular, but tubulars are still popular racing tires. Clinchers are more common for training, but are often cheaper and easier to mount and repair. So how do you find the perfect tire pressure?
It is more weight-dependent but for 70kg riders, you can start with 80psi as a standard. With a narrow 23mm tire, you can try 90-100psi, but a wide 28mm tire should work well around 60-70psi. There are many other factors to take into consideration, but fortunately we have gathered all about what is the proper road bike tire pressure in our post?
Lightweight riders should use lower tire pressure, while heavier riders should use higher tire pressure. Also, make sure to reduce your tire pressure in wet conditions, as this will increase the patch of the tire’s contact with the ground, give you better grip in the corners and reduce the risk of your accident.
Zip wheels are now designed for low tire wide tires (Image credit: future)]
Also check tire pressure recommendations from your wheel manufacturer – for example, Zip recommends significantly lower pressure for its rims with hookless beads.
The end result of excellent tire pressure is the speed on the flats, ascents and ripping around the corners.
Check rear derailleur compatibility
There are few things more frustrating for a cyclist than skipping gears, and a few moments more sketchy than skipping gear in a sprint. Adjusting your rear derailleur will not only save your sanity, but it can make you faster.
Every part of your drivetrain (crank, chain, cogs, etc.) has maximum efficiency, where you effectively lose between zero pedals and pedals. But with every dirt in the chain, or wear on your teeth, or left in your dryer, you’ll lose precious watts and speed.
Fortunately, minor rear derailleur adjustments, which you need 99% of the time, are easy to make and can be resolved quickly. In most cases you don’t need tools or a bike shop. If your rear derailleur is basically set up and properly aligned, all that is needed is a turn or two of fixing barrel adjustment.
Remove excess weight
This is for hill-climbing specialists, who go to extreme lengths to shave off a few extra grams. In some cases, this means literally shaving parts of your bike, such as bar ends. But in other cases, it’s as simple as removing a bottle cage or front derailleur.
Cut off the ends of your bars to save some weight (Image credit: Andy Jones)]
If you are racing uphill TT or heading up steep Strava KOM / QOM, you have a good chance of success with a little less weight on the board. As long as you don’t need an extra bottle cage or derailleur, this is just unnecessary weight.
For those of you who want to go outdoors – maybe you want to try the long and prestigious Strava KOM / QOM, or try your hand at Everesting – there are many more areas you can save or lose weight. A brake (but not both), bar tape, gear and drop bars can be partially or completely removed in the name of saving weight
Check brake adjustment before starting the ride
How often do you fall down and look down to see if your brakes are rubbing? We’ve all been there, usually crab legs and brakes are fine. But every time, those brakes really rub and it kills your speed completely.
Make sure your brakes are properly set to avoid rubbing (Image credit: future)]
Your calliper brakes are quite clear when rubbed, because you can see them in contact with the rim. Nowadays, however, there are newer style brakes, and its rubbing is difficult to discern: disc brakes. In fact, you can probably hear the rubbing of the disc brakes before you see it. The pale metal grinding is quite unique, and every bit of rubbing is shaving fast.
There are many different ways to adjust the disc brakes, such as a literal hands-on approach to bending the rotor when it is not in place, or better adjustments for hoses and brake tension. For more significant disc brake adjustments, it’s probably best to go to your local bike mechanic.