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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-28-08, 02:32 PM   #1
bigwies
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Fastest Clyde speed on a Hybrid

I am planning on doing some longer rides this year with some significant downhill sections. I am a little concerned about what type of top speeds I will need to handle on my Trek 7100. My tend to average about 13-14 mph on my flat rides with a top speed of 27 mph on a short downhill. I was pretty comfortable at that speed, so I don't think 35 mph is much of a stretch.

I would love some feedback on the top speeds other clydes have hit on a similar bike and any tips about higher speed cycling.
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Old 01-28-08, 02:54 PM   #2
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I did a hilly ride last year and hit 42mph on a downhill. I have a Trek 7.3fx and the bike handled great, I wansn't afraid of wrecking or anything. I'm not sure if the suspension will make a difference in the stability of your bike at high speeds.
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Old 01-28-08, 02:59 PM   #3
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There are a lot of hills around here, and my downhill speed varies based on the percent slope and distance of the hill. I'm right at 200 lbs, and I hit in the range of 35-40 mph on any slope over 8% that is longer than 1/2 mile. There are some local mountain routes with sections that range between 12% - 18% slope over a 2+ mile sections, where I hit 45-50 mph easy. I usually apply my breaks on the steepest parts to keep from going faster, because I just don't feel comfortable going any faster than that going into the curves at the bottom of the hills that I'm thinking about (wiping out down a rocky scree-slope, or dropping 40+ feet down an embankment seems like no fun to me).

My bike has a short top-tube, so I have found the best way to become more stable is to stand with my feet in the 3 and 9 ocklock positions, stretch out on the bike both to the back (butt about an inch above the saddle), and leaning forward and placing a lot of weight on my hands as well, making sure to keep your arms and legs bent to absorb shocks. If I only put my weight to the rear, the bike won't take curves or steer well. If I only put my weight to the front, the front wheel starts to wobble.

Have fun out there!
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Old 01-28-08, 03:09 PM   #4
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I ride a Trek 7.2FX, and regularly ride down hills ~30 without any lack of confidence in the bike. Nice and smooth throughout. The fastest I have been on this bike 42 with a tailwind down a hill. Muy bueno!

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I am planning on doing some longer rides this year with some significant downhill sections. I am a little concerned about what type of top speeds I will need to handle on my Trek 7100. My tend to average about 13-14 mph on my flat rides with a top speed of 27 mph on a short downhill. I was pretty comfortable at that speed, so I don't think 35 mph is much of a stretch.

I would love some feedback on the top speeds other clydes have hit on a similar bike and any tips about higher speed cycling.
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Old 01-28-08, 03:37 PM   #5
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Shouldn't be a problem up to 40. It depends upon the skill of the rider and their confidence level. It also depends upon the road conditions at the time also.

I think my max speed is 47 mph on my 700 x 23c tires on my road bike, but I don't have many long steep hills.
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Old 01-28-08, 03:49 PM   #6
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Don't ride a hybrid but make sure youhave good tires while riding high speeds downhill. I had a rear tire blow cause I tried to stretch the tire for ONE MORE ride. On some switchbacks at 30 mph it decided to blow. It was summer so maybe heat played a part. I fishtailed all over the road and into oncoming traffic. Thank goodness the drivers around me noticed I was out of control and all came to a stop. OR I wouldn't be here today!

Now I make sure to have good tires while descending. Most quality bikes are very stable on the dowhill at 35 mph. Our tandem was rock steady at 56mph!........JUST DON'T PLAY GAMES WITH THE TIRES!!!!

Matter of fact, when I buy a TREK, I strip the Bontrager tires off the bike before I reach home. I won't use stock tires on serious stuff! Learnt that thru experience, the hard way!
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Old 01-28-08, 04:13 PM   #7
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Don't ride a hybrid but make sure youhave good tires while riding high speeds downhill. I had a rear tire blow cause I tried to stretch the tire for ONE MORE ride. On some switchbacks at 30 mph it decided to blow. It was summer so maybe heat played a part. I fishtailed all over the road and into oncoming traffic. Thank goodness the drivers around me noticed I was out of control and all came to a stop. OR I wouldn't be here today!

Now I make sure to have good tires while descending. Most quality bikes are very stable on the dowhill at 35 mph. Our tandem was rock steady at 56mph!........JUST DON'T PLAY GAMES WITH THE TIRES!!!!

Matter of fact, when I buy a TREK, I strip the Bontrager tires off the bike before I reach home. I won't use stock tires on serious stuff! Learnt that thru experience, the hard way!
I agree! Good tires are a MUST. I've almost wiped out a few times with flats going down hill, and all of those were slow-leaks. I would have wrecked, for sure, with a blow-out. Many of us clydes wear tires out, such that there is a flat section of rubber where the tire meets the road. When the middle-section of the tire is flat in profile, it is thin, and easy to puncture. It is worth the investment to me, to make sure that I don't ride on questionable tires.

Oh, and I have to admit, I'm something of a speed junky. I love to swoosh downhill faster than just about all of the local riders around here. I ride faster downhill than even some of the entry-level racers around here. But...I like it!

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Old 01-28-08, 04:13 PM   #8
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Personally, I'm a chicken.

There are people that think nothing of riding 50,or 60 mph or faster on a downhill on a bicycle. My theory is if you're going to ride at motorcycle speeds, you ought to get the weight, helmet, and leathers that are typical of motorcycle riding.

My observation with rock climbers is that they do it until they get used to it, the danger doesn't bother them anymore, and then they start acting like it's not dangerous. The problem is that getting used to a danger doesn't make the danger go away- it's a fall sense of security. So periodically, you'll read of another one dying, even the very best in some cases.

It seems like a similar effect with some of the cycling. You can do downhills at terrific speed, dodge in and out of traffic, run red lights, ride busy roads at night, etc., and if you get used to it, it all seems safe. Until you're killed, that is. Then it's another "Why did this cyclist die" thread.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:26 PM   #9
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About 47 MPH on a steep descent (speed limit was 30 ). Road conditions were such that I started feathering the brakes, else I would have probably been up over 50. Freakiest part was seeing a van coming at me the other direction. The road suddenly seemed so narrow...

Oh...that was on my Ibex Corrida flat bar road bike.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:32 PM   #10
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That's true SH! Although I am actually pretty good on the descents, I prefer not to descend unless I must. We hit 56 on our tandem. Bike is solid but flopping helmets and glasses are a hint that it is just too darn fast. 46 is max on single and I have no desire to break that record. Actually when it comes to descending, a rider can easily beat another on the downhill with skill rather than speed. I've outdesended many riders on mtn switchbcks with balance and skill eventhough their max speed was much higher!

I've always figured the workout is in the climb so I usually stroll down the mtns.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:40 PM   #11
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Personally, I'm a chicken.

There are people that think nothing of riding 50,or 60 mph or faster on a downhill on a bicycle. My theory is if you're going to ride at motorcycle speeds, you ought to get the weight, helmet, and leathers that are typical of motorcycle riding.

My observation with rock climbers is that they do it until they get used to it, the danger doesn't bother them anymore, and then they start acting like it's not dangerous. The problem is that getting used to a danger doesn't make the danger go away- it's a fall sense of security. So periodically, you'll read of another one dying, even the very best in some cases.

It seems like a similar effect with some of the cycling. You can do downhills at terrific speed, dodge in and out of traffic, run red lights, ride busy roads at night, etc., and if you get used to it, it all seems safe. Until you're killed, that is. Then it's another "Why did this cyclist die" thread.
I also agree with this. I know that going that fast downhill is risky. I make extra sure that my equipment is working well before going that fast, and usually won't go down a section that fast unless I went up the same section, THE SAME DAY to check for gravel and other road issues. But it is still a calculated risk. No question about it. It is dangerous.

I've brouight this up before here, but I also have a cautionary tale from a ride I did last May. I was on this gentle-ish, but long, downhill section in the nearby foothills, when a group of deer jumped out from behind some willow shrubs/trees right in front of me. I hit the "middle" mule deer at about 32 mph. Luckily, I walked away from the accident, but it made me a lot more wary of where I ride even that fast. I had to replace the entire front end (wheel and hub, entire stem assembly, handlebars, and forks), saddle, and seatpost on my bike. You really need to make sure that you have a clear view of the surrounding country-side, that there is no place for incoming traffic, etc.

Have fun out there!
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Old 01-28-08, 04:53 PM   #12
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HeyBigwies, a tip incase you didn't know. One BIG mistake many CLYDE riders make is thinking since we have more weight to take us down the hill, we descend faster. It's true but keep this in mind. Many big riders have this thing in their head that because we are a bit slower up that we should pound the pedals while descending. BIG MISTAKE!

A rider doesn't really gain any advantage while pushing hard on the dowhill. It is more efficient to let your weight take you down in a tuck while softpedaling in order to keep the legs warm and prevent freezing up of the leg muscles. Let our weight take you down even if you don't gain any ground on those around you. Conserve your energy for the push up!

I've done this around other riders. They are so happy that they can keep up with the big guy on the way down not realizing I was planning for the way up. If it's a short climb, 50 yards, 100 yards, heck a clyde can do some serious damage to lighter riders if he plans the climb correctly. They've used so much energy trying to keep up on the dh, while we conserve for the climb. All about technique!

Another thing with long climbs. I really practice this on climbing centuries. While descending, continue to softpedal. One ride has a 60 mile climb, then a 40 mile downhill. IF you don't continue to move your legs, your legs will be cold by the time you hit the flats or a small climb. You'll feel the pain! It will be like starting over once you begin trying to spin the pedals agin.

I have a bud that is actully a strong rider than I but beat him all the time with cause he has no plan. Wehit a section of short rolling hills. He continues to push on the short descents while I softpedal. He doesn't notice cause my legs are spinning. I push hard on the up and easy on the down knowing that I willnot lose much ground on a descent. He too is a clyde, but a clyde without a plan so I get him everytime. Eventually he runs out of energy and can only watch me pull away. He can't figure out how I get him everytime.

So many little things that aid cycling. Same rider was punishing me on a climbing ride. We were close bu he kept edging me out. Just couldn't seem to catch up. We hit an old road with a large hedge along the side. I moved close to the hedge using it as a wind barrier. Felt like I was in a draft. He was a bit ahead but wasn't long before I blew by him like he was standing still. He can't figure that one out either....and I aint telling him!

I picked that one up watching TDF videos. Ever notice the riders duck near the barriers while sprinting to the finish line. It acts as a wind shield. When you start doing longer more difficult rides, use every advantage possible.

Just something to think about!
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Old 01-28-08, 04:56 PM   #13
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I've dropped hills somewhere north of 50.....I was a little too busy trying to maintain control through the death wobble period to look and when things stabilized again after I cleared the speed that damped down the harmonic vibration, I was moving too fast to think about looking.

My computer doesn't record the highest speed recorded in a ride, it's pretty basic. I was passing traffic in a 55 zone though.

EDIT: I just noticed the whole thread title, and should point out that I was on a road bike with aerobars.....
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Old 01-28-08, 05:03 PM   #14
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Well, I'm a complete pantywaist when it comes to speed on a bike. The fastest I ever been was 35 mph going down one of the hills here and it skeert the hell outta me. (yes florida does have some hills)

The bike was fine, good and stable,...but I was'nt.

25-30 is plenty fast for me.
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Old 01-28-08, 05:11 PM   #15
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I don't see the sense in going fast down a hill. I want it to last as long as possible so I can recuperate!
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Old 01-28-08, 05:47 PM   #16
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I don't see the sense in going fast down a hill. I want it to last as long as possible so I can recuperate!
Poppycock.

Good descending technique* yields a substantially higher speed and buys you a LOT of climbing going up the next one. Besides, it's plenty good fun: On the descent from Logan Pass I had the song Roller Coaster of Love playing in my head and was wagging my ass all the way down with an appallingly silly grin. Sometimes you don't just need embrace gravity, but do the Tango with it.

* Move your butt back in the saddle and squeeze the top tube with your knees. Hold your cranks level. Tuck you elbows in and lower your chin as close to your stem as you dare. weight biased to the pedals. If the road curves, point the inside shoulder and keep your chin level (not pointed down).
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Old 01-28-08, 06:03 PM   #17
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Yeah, I keep my knees close to the bar too, and actually don't see how you can pass up the chance to...fly. Zooooommmmmmm! There is this curvy section near the bottom of Rist Canyon near here, where the speed limit for cars is 30 mph. That is my slowest speed for the sharpest curves on that section. It is a damn blast, and I love it. It is worth the risk to me, and I know what it is like to wreck going fast too.
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Old 01-28-08, 06:28 PM   #18
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Personally, I'm a chicken.
+1 in my youth going fast seemed cool, now at about 30mph I start getting nervous. Here in the Colorado foothills around my house I think that means I am always climbing or riding the brakes.
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Old 01-28-08, 06:32 PM   #19
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I have yet to see the high side of 25MPH on either bike. Too much friction I suppose.
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Old 01-28-08, 06:49 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the feedback already. Keep it coming.

I will let you know how things progress. I hope to make a century ride from north of Boston to Chatham, MA (Cape Cod) some time this summer and there are a couple of pretty steep (for me) declines along the way. I just wanted to get a sense of what others could do on a similar machine. I am also trying to figure out when a road/touring bike needs to enter the picture, but that is another (upcoming) thread.

I do enjoy going fast, but i don't want to exceed the abilities my bike or its rider.
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Old 01-28-08, 08:21 PM   #21
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I hit 41 going down a bridge on my Trek 7300 and it handled fine. The only thing I did not like were the train tracks at the end of the area I was coming up to.
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Old 01-28-08, 10:46 PM   #22
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36.6 on Giant Cypress DX. Bike perfectly stable. I get nervous above 30, so I'm sure I was braking.
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Old 01-29-08, 09:53 PM   #23
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35+ on a Cannondale Bad Boy Disc. First time I did it, I noticed that the rear wheel shook, so I took a look and realized that it was out of true. Took it to the shop, let them true it, took it past 30 mph again, and it was nice & smooth.

Stopping at the red light at the bottom of the hill sure woke up the brake discs, too.

Top speeds on the flats have been around 25-ish, I think. I don't think I'm very fast.

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Old 01-29-08, 10:21 PM   #24
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I hit 40+ mph on a Cannondale Road Warrior Silk my first summer of cycling at 335 lbs while riding hills (not mountains). Now I'm a little bit lighter and ride a road bike, and I don't really have any interest in going more than 35+ mph. Last summer I almost hit a deer going downhill, and on one hill a car decided to pass me on a county road while I was doing about 35 mph. Having a car 18 inches from my left knee while descending at that speed was enough to give me pause.

My fastest ride on the hybrid was 50 miles at 15 mph average while at 300+ lbs. That's probably about as good as I can do on that bike.
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Old 01-29-08, 10:33 PM   #25
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I doubt this counts, but last summer according to my Catseye speedometer I spooled my single speed cruiser with 26 x 2.125 tires up to 17.9 Mph on a flat section of the Sweetser Switch Trial. The bike started bouncing so bad, it just about bucked me off.

That speed was with 20 extra years, 80 extra pounds, and a replacement hip. Makes me wonder how fast I used to ride Twenty years and 80 pounds ago, with an original equipment hip… when I had my Schwinn Le Tour spooled up to my max speed…
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