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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 08-08-08, 09:50 PM   #1
eric.dunfee
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What can I do to go faster?

Found a beautiful 14/22 mile route here along the Columbia River in the tricities, and I absolutely love riding it, but I'm wondering what I'm lacking to go faster?

The bike I have is a 2006 Raleigh Mojave 2.0 21 spd mtb. The lbs fit the frame to my shortish size. The 14 mile portion of it takes me exactly 1 hour to run, so I'm getting 14mph (I'm really good at math, see!) The ride is mostly flat, and I find myself most of the time in 3-6 or 3-7. 3-6 has the cadence I like, but not the speed, and 3-7 is faster but at a lower but still doable cadence. I feel like I've basically topped out my bike. Are there any improvements I can make to my bike to make it go faster? I did get some new tires from my lbs, but they max out at like 60 or 65 psi.

I was going to go get one of the tires to get all the details on it, but the bike is in the back of my wife's van, and she's at work! I'll update this thread in an hour or so when she gets home with my bike. The tires are on the stock rims, and are roughly the same size as the knobies that came with the bike, but have a smooth section of tread about 1" to 1 1/2" wide down the center.

So what's holding me back? I'd like to try to get up to AT LEAST 18mph, with room to spare. Can I accomplish this with better wheels? Or do I need to bite the bullet, and get some type of road bike.

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 08-08-08, 09:56 PM   #2
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Get a cycling computer with cadence. That'll tell you how fast you're pedaling. From the gears you are runnning, it sounds like you're pedaling pretty slowly. Even on my MTB, I keep my cadence up to 90 or more pending terrain. On roads, I tend toward 98rpm's.
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Old 08-08-08, 10:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by eric.dunfee View Post
Found a beautiful 14/22 mile route here along the Columbia River in the tricities, and I absolutely love riding it, but I'm wondering what I'm lacking to go faster?

The bike I have is a 2006 Raleigh Mojave 2.0 21 spd mtb. The lbs fit the frame to my shortish size. The 14 mile portion of it takes me exactly 1 hour to run, so I'm getting 14mph (I'm really good at math, see!) The ride is mostly flat, and I find myself most of the time in 3-6 or 3-7. 3-6 has the cadence I like, but not the speed, and 3-7 is faster but at a lower but still doable cadence. I feel like I've basically topped out my bike. Are there any improvements I can make to my bike to make it go faster? I did get some new tires from my lbs, but they max out at like 60 or 65 psi.

I was going to go get one of the tires to get all the details on it, but the bike is in the back of my wife's van, and she's at work! I'll update this thread in an hour or so when she gets home with my bike. The tires are on the stock rims, and are roughly the same size as the knobies that came with the bike, but have a smooth section of tread about 1" to 1 1/2" wide down the center.

So what's holding me back? I'd like to try to get up to AT LEAST 18mph, with room to spare. Can I accomplish this with better wheels? Or do I need to bite the bullet, and get some type of road bike.

Thanks for all the help!
You are the motor, Riding is 10% Bike- 90% motor.
Last June I rode 100 miles at The Indy Speedway Track.
Rode 2.5 hours with a tandem Raleigh Mountain bike with knobby tires.
They lead a Pace line of road bikes at 19 mph.
After they slowed down, I rode with them for 2 hours.
You are The Motor.

Tandem on right in pic. Photo 70 miles complete (left is track police, find um at the donut shop when not riding)
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Old 08-08-08, 10:25 PM   #4
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According to Sheldon Brown's gear calculator (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/), at a cadence of 60, you'd be going 13.8 mph in 3-6, and 15.8 mph in 3-7. (I used 1.9" for tire size, and the gear numbers from the Raleigh site http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/moun...20/?page=specs).

At a cadence of 80, your speeds would be 18.4 mph and 21.0 mph, respectively.

To go faster, pedal faster. To reduce drag so that you can pedal faster, get higher pressure, smoother tires. Or...ride more and work harder and build up your muscles.
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Old 08-08-08, 10:33 PM   #5
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Awesome! Thanks for the input! I will definately try this tomorrow and see how it goes. I think I will definately buy one of those computers though, as that will help. On my bike trainer, I found a good feeling pace at 80rpm, but when I tried that on the route, it just felt like I was in a granny gear! I'm going out tomorrow morning, and will definately concentrate more on getting my cadence up in those higher gears.


EDIT: Any tires in particular I should look for? Will I be able to use my current rims? Thanks for the help!

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Old 08-08-08, 10:39 PM   #6
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Ride more. As the others have said, you need to improve your cadence. But just riding will get you in better shape, and you'll get more used to spinning at higher cadences.
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Old 08-08-08, 10:59 PM   #7
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You riding on the road or a paved path? Get a road bike. You'll instantly go a bit faster. Promise.
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Old 08-08-08, 11:01 PM   #8
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You riding on the road or a paved path? Get a road bike. You'll instantly go a bit faster. Promise.
Both, but mostly paved path, and the road isn't in the greatest condition any more.
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Old 08-08-08, 11:08 PM   #9
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Get some slicks for your mtb. I've had some about 1.25 wide taht inflate to 90 psi. Might be some at 100. That will help the bike go faster! Also throw in some intervals and hard efforts to lift your overall cruising speed. Tires should fit your currnet mtb rims.
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Old 08-08-08, 11:42 PM   #10
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Specialized Fat Boy slicks, Sized 26 X 1.25 rated to 100psi.
I thought I was topping out (spinning out) too, when I started. Got a computer with cadence and learned to spin.
High 70's in 2/7 = 15 mph. Now I'm working on getting up into the high eighties/ low nineties.
Oddly enough, if I make a conscious effort to lighten my pressure on the pedals and just think about moving my feet faster I'll just zoom along. It feels like it should be just the opposite....but who am I to argue with what obviously works.
* Riding with my wife (doesn't like to go faster than 12 mph) is a great way to practice spinning. I just gear down to where my cadence matches whatever target I've set for her speed.
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Old 08-09-08, 12:25 AM   #11
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For my commute I ride a MTB with stock tires - yes I know it's far short of optimal. I mean to at least get some road tires.

Last week a guy on a road bike turned onto the road just ahead of me, cranking a bit slow like he was warming up. I was almost certain I was pedaling a faster cadence but he slowly widened his lead even tho' I was locked into my highest gear. Was I misjudging his cadence because of fatigue, or do road bikes have a faster gear set?
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Old 08-09-08, 12:34 AM   #12
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For my commute I ride a MTB with stock tires - yes I know it's far short of optimal. I mean to at least get some road tires.

Last week a guy on a road bike turned onto the road just ahead of me, cranking a bit slow like he was warming up. I was almost certain I was pedaling a faster cadence but he slowly widened his lead even tho' I was locked into my highest gear. Was I misjudging his cadence because of fatigue, or do road bikes have a faster gear set?
It's a combination of larger wheels with higher pressure, narrow tires (less road contact-less friction) leading to decreased rolling resistance. And yes, gearing is more for speed with road bikes.

If you try a road bike you'll feel the difference.
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Old 08-09-08, 07:04 AM   #13
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For my commute I ride a MTB with stock tires - yes I know it's far short of optimal. I mean to at least get some road tires.

Last week a guy on a road bike turned onto the road just ahead of me, cranking a bit slow like he was warming up. I was almost certain I was pedaling a faster cadence but he slowly widened his lead even tho' I was locked into my highest gear. Was I misjudging his cadence because of fatigue, or do road bikes have a faster gear set?
Yes, road bikes are geared higher, the typical mountain bike will have 11-34 in the back and 22/32/42 in the front, the typical road bike will be 12-28 in the back and 30/39/53 in the front, meaning his median gear is your high gear, and larger wheels also mean higher gearing. This means that although he has a major advantage going flat and down hill, you have a lower gear for uphill
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Old 08-09-08, 08:10 AM   #14
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Eric, are you riding the loop from the Cable Bridge to Lee-Volpentest Bridges (I-182). Consider which way you are riding in relationship to the wind. Try to have the wind at your back on the Pasco side because you are more exposed and the path is elevated. When you are on the Kennewick side the trees provide more of a break. If this isn't your route give it a try.
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Old 08-09-08, 08:37 AM   #15
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Eric - Get a Cateye Astrale 8 as cycling computer. Speed sensor can be mounted to your rear wheel which is nice when on the trainer and it has a cadance sensor. Works great and is pretty cheap.
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Old 08-09-08, 09:37 AM   #16
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You guys really p____ me off. I've been riding for two months and I just completed my first group ride also my longest ride every at 27 miles avg 12.5 mph. Fort;unate to have patient and considerate fellow club members to help me. But I was comforting myself that it was about having the wrong equipment and you come along and tell me it's my fat a__ (10% bike 90% motor) so as tired as I am, you won't let me just pat myself on the back because obviously I've got a lot more work to do to run the speeds I'd like to run.
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Old 08-09-08, 09:44 AM   #17
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Ha! That's funny. The thing is, it takes a lot of work to go faster and longer, there's just no way around it.
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Old 08-09-08, 10:16 AM   #18
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You guys really p____ me off. I've been riding for two months and I just completed my first group ride also my longest ride every at 27 miles avg 12.5 mph. Fort;unate to have patient and considerate fellow club members to help me. But I was comforting myself that it was about having the wrong equipment and you come along and tell me it's my fat a__ (10% bike 90% motor) so as tired as I am, you won't let me just pat myself on the back because obviously I've got a lot more work to do to run the speeds I'd like to run.

Just because I said I could go that fast doesn't mean I can maintain that spin for long distances.
On 25 + mile rides I average around your speed. Long hills can still kick my butt.

I'm actually a bit faster using my road bike (on short commutes)...about 2mph faster but it feels different enough that I'm still getting use to it.
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Old 08-09-08, 10:26 AM   #19
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This might not be the safest advice but I've never had any issues with going above the max pressure on tyres. When I had a slicked up MTB I'd inflate to 85 when the max was 65 and my road tyres are inflated to 125 with a max of 110.
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Old 08-09-08, 10:44 AM   #20
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Hey Red, Don't worry about it. You're definitely doing better then you were. At least your trying. You will get better and it takes time and work. I say good on you dude. While I'm not the strongest or fastest by a long shot, I can still take pride that I'm still fast and strong for a guy my age and weight and I am improving. This realization came when I went riding with my younger, thinner neighbor. I thought I was going easy, not getting much of a work out at all and taking a lot more rest breaks.

My neighbor thought I was trying to out macho him by going faster and longer then any sane person would. He was p. o. ed that I wasn't even breathing hard, slowing up to have chats with him, and other outrageous behaviors. He now refuses to ride with me anymore. Doesn't even want to think about riding with me on the half century I'm planning for my 50th birthday (he was for it when he first miss heard me and thought I was saying 15 mile ride though)

For the OP, what you are looking for is something like this http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=5425 for your mtb. I have a Performance Bike shop a few miles from where I live so I plan to get a pair of these before my half century.
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Old 08-09-08, 08:52 PM   #21
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a 14 mph avg on a mtb is pretty dang fast. i think the fastest i ever got on my hybrid was about 16.

but, if you're looking to make a change, i'd get smaller tires (that still fit on your rims) with a much higher maximum tire pressure.
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Old 08-09-08, 08:56 PM   #22
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It's a combination of larger wheels
You sure it has to do with larger tires? Lots of tri bikes and wimmins roadies have 650 c tires!
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Old 08-09-08, 09:11 PM   #23
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Ha! That's funny. The thing is, it takes a lot of work to go faster and longer, there's just no way around it.
True. I found in my own case, there were certain speed plateaus. For instance, when I started about 2 years ago I could average 12mph. Then, it jumped to 15mph. Then 18mph. Finally, I broke the 20mph barrier. Last November, I completed a century (110 miles) in less than 5 hours, averaging 22mph for the full 4 hours, 59 minutes. Currently, I race crits with some national-caliber racers, and we do 60-mins at 26mph avg.

Keep at it, break through one level, and the old barrier seems easy from then on. You can do it.

BTW, 14mph on a MTB is a good job!!
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Old 08-10-08, 02:56 PM   #24
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You sure it has to do with larger tires? Lots of tri bikes and wimmins roadies have 650 c tires!
OK...OK!
Tires, Tire Pressure, AND a kick ***** engine
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Old 08-10-08, 03:09 PM   #25
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Three things to do.

Get your head and torso lower for better aerodynamics. Air resistance is the biggest factor limiting bike speed. Of course since you are a clyde, there's a limit to how low you can go before your gut gets in the way. (I know).

Speed up the bike with thinner slicker tires.

Increase your aerobic capacity using interval training. Basically it means sprinting hard, easing up, sprinting hard, and doing that repetitively.

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