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  1. #1
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    Tour de France What gearing do they have to ride at 40mph to 45mph on the flats?

    I have a compact 11-18. I was in my 11 going down a slight hill, my cadence was 110 and I was going 35mph. How could you go 45mph on the flats?

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    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    53-11 and 120rpm gets you 45.2mph. You need a boatload of watts, and low aerodynamic resistance.

    Edit: The velominati calculator says only 114rpm: http://www.velominati.com/about/cadence-calculator/
    Last edited by AzTallRider; 07-03-12 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Added a cadence calculator link
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    There is the shared aerodynamic reduction of being the middle of the Peloton, too

    taking turns, top teams, they all pull at the front , changing team members..

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    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    There is the shared aerodynamic reduction of being the middle of the Peloton, too

    taking turns, top teams, they all pull at the front , changing team members..
    Of course. Nobody can do 45mph for any significant duration. Nobody. It's a pretty quick rotation at those speeds. Well, it's not even a rotation. It's guys giving everything they have for a brief moment, then pulling off to be swarmed and dropped. Very few people can hit 40 on the flat without assistance. I know I can't, even with a little hill to get me up into the 30's without draining myself. It's something I practice, and while I've improved, I still max out well under 40.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Of course. Nobody can do 45mph for any significant duration. Nobody. It's a pretty quick rotation at those speeds. Well, it's not even a rotation. It's guys giving everything they have for a brief moment, then pulling off to be swarmed and dropped. Very few people can hit 40 on the flat without assistance. I know I can't, even with a little hill to get me up into the 30's without draining myself. It's something I practice, and while I've improved, I still max out well under 40.
    Sprinters are different. They have it, we don't. We can improve, but we can never have what they've got.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Methinks the engine, not the gearing is the key. For I hath the gears, but, alas, not the engine.

    I have sped at 42 only once, downhill, squeezing brakes and spraining my puckerstring. Can't even begin to imagine 42 from pedaling. I've done 30, but it dinna last long.
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    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    The pros can also get gearing that we don't usually see. I read Greg Lemond used a 61 tooth chainring for a TT.

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    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big john View Post
    The pros can also get gearing that we don't usually see. I read Greg Lemond used a 61 tooth chainring for a TT.
    55 & 42 is often used on flat sections.
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    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    53-11 and 120rpm gets you 45.2mph. You need a boatload of watts, and low aerodynamic resistance.

    Edit: The velominati calculator says only 114rpm: http://www.velominati.com/about/cadence-calculator/
    What kind of wattage would you estimate they're driving for that kind of speed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    53-11 and 120rpm gets you 45.2mph. You need a boatload of watts, and low aerodynamic resistance.
    A downhill and Phil Liggett exaggerating your speed will get you there also. In yesterday's stage they were talking about the riders doing 45 and hitting close to 50mph in the sprint. But when you download the actual data from Tyler Farrar he averaged 36mph over the final 7 miles with a top speed of 40.4mph. He didn't win but he was near the front. The only way someone is riding 45mph on a tour stage is with a tailwind or possibly in the final 200m.

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    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Greg - where can one d/l that data? Thanks!

    Edit.... Found some data at http://connect.garmin.com/teamgarmin
    Last edited by k7baixo; 07-03-12 at 08:42 PM.
    Cheers, Gerry
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    Last year I tried to break fourty a couple times and think I got to something like 39.7 (downhill with tailwind). During a ride a month or so ago, I thought I had a chance with a strong tailwind at the top of a steep hill. I had to get a start at the top by bombing through a stop sign. I wasn't able to pedal above about 35, so I went into a tuck. By the bottom I was going 41.7. OK, I broke 40, so that's done, that's fast enough, and I don't think I want to set a faster goal!

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    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    ...Tyler Farrar he averaged 36mph over the final 7 miles...
    Oh - huh - is that all? He needs to HTFU!


    God! Averaging 36 mph for that distance - even with drafting help, that's an incredible pace!
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    Senior Member El Segundo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by david58 View Post
    Methinks the engine, not the gearing is the key. For I hath the gears, but, alas, not the engine.

    I have sped at 42 only once, downhill, squeezing brakes and spraining my puckerstring. Can't even begin to imagine 42 from pedaling. I've done 30, but it dinna last long.

    +1

  16. #16
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    A downhill and Phil Liggett exaggerating your speed will get you there also. In yesterday's stage they were talking about the riders doing 45 and hitting close to 50mph in the sprint. But when you download the actual data from Tyler Farrar he averaged 36mph over the final 7 miles with a top speed of 40.4mph. He didn't win but he was near the front. The only way someone is riding 45mph on a tour stage is with a tailwind or possibly in the final 200m.
    When they are going that fast for a prolonged period like the end of that stage, the top speeds for the sprint will drop a bit because the lead-outs and sprinters will not be as fresh. It was clear they were exaggerating. The pack was flying, but not doing 45!
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    i think the broadcast would be greatly enhanced with more speed, power, and cadence data in real time. i heard somewhere that Sagan topped 1200 watts on his stage win Sunday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bassplyr View Post
    i think the broadcast would be greatly enhanced with more speed, power, and cadence data in real time. i heard somewhere that Sagan topped 1200 watts on his stage win Sunday.
    I heard that too. Actually, I heard he averaged 493 watts over the final 2 minutes, with a peak of 1200+.

  19. #19
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    Top Gearing on the tandem is 48/11 and at a cadence of 100 we can get 30 mph. Only for a couple of miles and the slightest upslope or headwind and it will be for less.

    But we went for it once on the flat seafront at Eastbourne and saw 45 on the computer. That is a cadence of 150 and we were still pulling on the pedals. May have been a tailwind but it was flat and it hurt. I never want that cadence again.

    And although the computer is properly set up--we may want a more accurate computer.
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  20. #20
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    If people are interested in power data, Sky were publishing the Training Peaks data for Konstantin Siutsou during the Tour. Unfortunately, he's now out with a broken leg. But here's the summary data for Stage 1. Bear in mind he's a domestique, not a sprinter:

    Training Stress Score: 288 TSS
    Energy: 4030 KJ
    Average Heart Rate: 120 bpm
    Max Heart Rate: 196 bpm
    Average Cadence: 87 rpm
    Average Watts: 195 W
    Normalized Power: 268
    Max Watts: 914 W
    Peak 1-minutes: 571 W
    Peak 6-minutes: 453 W
    Peak 20-minutes: 356 W

    The detailed charts can be accessed via the link.

    The interesting thing here is how modest the average watts and average heart rate are. Sheltered in the peloton, he's riding most of the stage (average speed 25mph) in his recovery zone. Plenty of power there if he needs it, though. He weighs 68kg (150lbs) so at 356w for 20 minutes at a time he'll have been comfortably under his threshold, I should think.

    As for gearing, I don't think anybody will be riding anything bigger than 53-11 other than in the TTs.
    Last edited by chasm54; 07-04-12 at 02:44 AM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    Size matters......the size of the group you ride in. Unless your name is Fabian, then you can do it alone.

  22. #22
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    With a big big gear and no wind resistance the speeds can get high. It has so much to do with the wind.
    Sports cars can get to 100 without much trouble, but it takes alot of horsepower to push the car to faster speeds due to the wind.

  23. #23
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinewmexico View Post
    I heard that too. Actually, I heard he averaged 493 watts over the final 2 minutes, with a peak of 1200+.
    That is probably reasonable for someone in top condition. Long-term average power output was the big issue for achieving human-powered flight, and it takes an elite cyclist to pull it off.
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    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    ... As for gearing, I don't think anybody will be riding anything bigger than 53-11 other than in the TTs.
    Yes, I believe 53-39/11-21 is typical default gearing for most TdF riders. I don't know what I would do with an 11- or 12-tooth cog, but I am an old school spinner who finds 30mph / 50kph fast enough.
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  25. #25
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    Yes, I believe 53-39/11-21 is typical default gearing for most TdF riders. I don't know what I would do with an 11- or 12-tooth cog, but I am an old school spinner who finds 30mph / 50kph fast enough.
    I know what you mean. Even with a compact crank and a 12-25 I can't spin out on the flat. If I could I'd be doing over 40mph, and I can't touch that, poor old man that I am...
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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