Whether it is for long commutes or just making your way up mountains, every cyclist wants his or her bike to move a little bit faster. Going faster doesn’t have to be about breaking your bank account to invest in the lightest, most expensive road bike. There are plenty of tweaks that you can make to your current ride that will add speed.
In this guide, we will show you how to make your bike faster. With the upgrades outlined below, you should be able to make a big difference to the aerodynamics, comfort, weight, and riding speed.
You Will Need the Following Tools
Before we show you how to make a bike faster, we need to make sure that you have all the necessary tools. To take advantage of the tips outlined in the following section, you will need the following:
- Bike multitool
- Floor pump with gauge
- Spray lube
- Lockring tool
- Chain whip
- Electrical tape
- Allen keys
10 Tips on How to Make Your Bike Faster
1. Adjust the Tire Pressure
The simplest way to make your bike ride faster is to ensure you have the right tire pressure on your road bike wheels. If you have been riding your bike at a pressure of 85 psi for the past few months, inflating your bicycle tire to 100 or 120 psi should make a considerable difference in your speed.
If you are running tubular on your aluminum road bike, you can go up to pressures as high as 200 psi – depending on the tubular installed on your bike – without damaging the tire. Higher tire pressure reduces the rolling resistance. On a smooth surface, the hard tires will flex less and they create a smaller contact patch. This allows you to ride at a higher speed with minimal effort.
It is worth noting that the ideal pressure will depend on your bike tires. For this reason, you should check the pressure range indicated on your tires to avoid exceeding the maximum limit.
2. Improve the Drivetrain Efficiency
The physical and psychological drag resulting from a dirty and noisy drivetrain will act as a distraction when pedaling hard. It will also cost you time, affecting your speed significantly.
If you are wondering how to make a bike faster by working on the drivetrain, you can start with cleaning it. Remove the gunk and dried out oil that is logging up your drivetrain. Next, apply high-quality chain lube on the derailleurs, jockey wheels, and the chain itself to minimize friction.
You can use a chain cleaning device. If you do not have the device, simply spray and then wipe one section at a time. Next, lubricate and wipe off any excess lube.
If you remove your bike’s jockey wheels, dropping the bike chain off the rings should make it much easier for you to unscrew the small bolts with the 3mm Allen key. To make sure they spin freely, disassemble and clean the sleeve and bushing. Next, reassemble with a couple of drops of medium to heavy oil.
3. Invest in Aero Wheels
If you are not on a strict budget, the next tip on how to make your bike faster is to swap the current wheels with wheels built to offer more speed. Specifically, you will need something aero, with a low spoke count. You will feel a significant improvement as the aero wheels scythe through the wind, this will translate into faster rides.
Set up the wheels correctly, adjusting the bike gears and brakes to work correctly with your new wheels. Check the brake pad height and position it relative to the tire and rim edge – this will help you avoid damaging the tire’s sidewalls.
4. Get a Clip-On Handlebar
For a significant improvement on your riding speed, invest in some clip-on handlebars. By reducing your frontal area and closing down your arms and chest, the handlebars will offer a considerable aerodynamic advantage.
Position the handlebars so that you won’t have to alter the ideal bike seat position in the drops and on the regular racing bar. Ensure that all the bolt and screw threads are greased.
Use a carbon assembly paste between your bars and the clip-on clamps – this will help you avoid slippage under severe effort. Set up some armrests and extensions so that the forearms can rest approximately a third of the way up from your elbow, with the upper arms at about 75 – 90 degrees.
5. Tidy Up Your Handlebar Area
Have a look around the handlebar area and see if it is possible to tidy things up. Tape up any loose bits to the handlebar tape with your electrical tape. Tuck in and zip tie any of the protruding cables, ensuring that they do not hang up, snag, or prevent safe handlebar movement. Be sure to check for correct brake and gear adjustment since these can be affected by changing the cable routing.
Ensure that your armrests are positioned correctly and tightened adequately. Use Velcro-attachable arm pads, as comfort is crucial and sore forearms or elbows can be a significant distraction when trying to speed up.
6. Use an Ideal cassette
We would be doing you a disservice if we did not show you how to make a bike faster by taking care of the cassette. Having narrow gaps on a straight-block cassette is extremely satisfying.
Since you will find yourself settling into a perfect rhythm for your leg speed, altering the groove costs you time and energy. Having the smallest possible gap between the gears means that you will always be in the perfect spot on your power curve.
Any cassette featuring a one-tooth difference between its 14t and 19t is perfect, as you will find both the 16t and 18t essential. If you are climbing numerous hills, your hardtail mountain bike will need enough low gear ratios for you to manage the gradients more easily.
Position the chain whip handles and the lockring tool so that you can squeeze them using the “scissors” method. Install your new cassette and locking with grease and then tighten firmly.
7. Lose Unnecessary Weight
Every bit of extra weight on your touring bike will have to be relaunched after every turn and carried up every bump and hill you find on the bikepacking trail. For this reason, one of your best tips on how to make your bike faster is to get your bicycle’s weight down as much as you can.
For shorter events – events of approximately 30 minutes or less than ten miles – you can increase your speed by removing your cage and bottle. However, consider the temperature of the day and the miles you intend to tackle – on a hot and dry day, remember that you can lose more time suffering from a dry throat and glue mouth.
Get rid of any unnecessary bits, including bike pumps, saddlebags, mudguards, etc. The lighter your bike is, the faster you will go.
8. Take Advantage of Data Monitoring
Install a heart rate monitor or computer on your bike to see how fast you are going and how it is affecting you. This will help you adjust yourself to the fastest and most comfortable speed that won’t hurt you.
If you do not have much space on your handlebar, you can create it by removing unnecessary gear like lights, reflectors, bells, etc. When placing the magnet on your wheel, find the heaviest spot by allowing it to come to rest naturally at the bottom of your revolution – this will be at the valve stem. Next, install your wheel magnet on the opposite side to act as a counterbalance, allowing smoother wheel rotation.
9. Avoid Disaster
One of our best tips on how to make a bike faster also helps you stay safe. Avoid accidents – that result from yanking your rear bike wheel out of the bike frame and falling over – by replacing the cheap quick-release skewers that use the nylon cam bushing with better all-metal versions.
For ideal tightness, the lever should start binding mid-way through the half-circle of travel. The remaining quarter turn should require a fair amount of force to complete.
Check all the remaining bolts and nuts on your budget road bike, especially the stem and bars, including the saddle, pedals, cable anchor bolts, and crank arm bolts.
Where possible, clean up your aerodynamics and streamline both the bike and yourself. With improving designs, an ideal place to start is with your shoes. Invest in some wet weather shoe covers, or get yourself some thinner lycra ones.
If your budget allows you, invest in a one-piece skinsuit and an aero helmet – these are low-cost options that can have a significant effect on your speed. Anything that reduces drag should be ideal.
Q: How Can I Make My Bicycle Faster?
To make any bike faster, you will need to improve the aerodynamics, reduce drag, and ensure that all parts are working perfectly. Some of the tips you can use to achieve this include:
- Pump your tires to reduce the rolling resistance.
- Replace the current handlebars with ones that allow a more aerodynamic position.
- Clean your drivetrain and lube it to encourage frictionless motion and transition between gears.
- Streamline yourself by investing in aero helmets and biking wear that helps you reduce drag.
Q: Why is My Bike So Slow?
If your bike is too slow, chances are, you are running low tire pressures. With low tire pressure, you will have to work twice as hard to keep up with riders running a higher tire pressure. Another possible reason why your bike is slow is that you are not assuming an aerodynamic position – this could be causing too much drag on the road. Investing in good handlebars could help you eliminate the drag.
Q: Does A Better Bike Make You Faster?
Buying a better bike may not necessarily make you a faster rider. Speed and endurance are in the rider’s legs, not the bike. Spending time training and improving your riding skills can make you faster. Also, upgrading your current bike can improve your speed – our guide has the improvements your bike needs to make it much faster.
Globo Surf Overview
Whether your goal is to lead in a bike race or to get to your destination much faster using your commuter bike, you have to take some steps to improve your bike speed. This guide shows you how to make your bike faster.
Our tips on how to make a bike faster can be implemented at home. The resulting performance boosts won’t cost you a lot of money. We have carefully chosen the changes that give the biggest bang for your buck, offering you the most extreme explosion on the trails without emptying your pockets.