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Old 08-01-12, 02:40 AM   #1
ryukenden
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How fast can I make it go?

Hi,

Newbie to biking. When I'm searching for folder, I was told X is faster than Y. However when I look at the numbers of gears/speed it has and specs, its very similar (weight,speed,dimensions,cost etc.).

The big question is how fast can you make it go? this is because it varies from person to person. Could it be the main contributions factors are the numbers of gears/speed and "gear inches" for comparing numbers between other bikes of the same kind?
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Old 08-01-12, 05:41 AM   #2
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From what I have learned here and riding my Speed P8, The higher the gear inches, the faster you go if you're pedaling at the same rate, or "cadence." Around 60-70 gear inches falls around the middle in terms of gearing, so that's what most people use when they ride a single gear bike. Basically the more gears you have, the faster you can go, theoretically. But I find that I never really use the 7th or 8th gear on my 8 speed unless I'm trying to go fast going downhill. It's too strenuous for me to try to pedal at 8th gear on a flat road so it actually makes me slower. If I had the leg strength, though, I would be going FAST, assuming I was pedaling at a pretty fast rate.

Last edited by Training.Wheels; 08-01-12 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 08-01-12, 09:58 AM   #3
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if you go where the air is thinner there is less to resist being pushed aside.

Mr Merckx went to mexico city's olympic velodrome to set the Hour Record.
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Old 08-01-12, 11:04 AM   #4
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The other question is: How fast are you comfortable going on a bike?

My wife's folders will go a lot faster downhill than she is comfortable going on them. In those situations, she values good brakes vs. good gearing.

Lou

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Old 08-01-12, 02:17 PM   #5
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As any amateur rider, would start slow and increase the rate as you feel more comfortable. I have ridden fast before, just reviving my past hobbies.
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Old 08-02-12, 04:53 AM   #6
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Ryukenden, are you asking about gearing or general attributes that make one bike faster than another? The engine is the biggest factor, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Mr Merckx went to mexico city's olympic velodrome to set the Hour Record.
Haha! I think Mr M.`s carburetor was capable of moving a whole bunch more of that nice thin air than mine is!
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Old 08-02-12, 09:31 AM   #7
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Well if you add Bike Fridays Pocket Rocket travel race bike in your shopping list,
it can be quite a fast ride.. narrow 451 wheels..



Of course there is the building a real rocket powered bike..



or HTFU ..
Quote:
Newbie to biking.
get on with the training to make 'the motor' fitter.

Top finisher in the recent Brompton world championships were
prior Tour of Spain stage race champions.

http://www.brompton.co.uk/bwc/2012/

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Old 08-02-12, 09:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryukenden View Post
how fast can you make it go?
I think it's many factors. For example, when I got my first hybrid bike, I did 12mph. After replacing the cushioned seatpost, I did 13-14. Evidently it sapped some peddle energy. After I switched from a large comfort seat to a narrow "racing" seat, I was 14-15. Then clips to hold my feet in the peddles so I could pull up instead of just resting my foot on the peddle... 15-16.

Next I bought a road bike and do 22 easily. Just due to a more efficient riding position, probably lower profile position with less air resistance.

My point is: it's not just gear inches. Going back to my first hybrid, I rode middle chainring and the #7 gear in the back. By the time I was up to 15-16mph, I was on the tallest chainring and #7 in the back (starting to wish I had a higher gear).

So, it's a chicken/egg thing. Yes, gearing is essential to going faster. But, tweaks in riding position, equipment, etc. will be what determines which gear is normal for you.
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Old 08-02-12, 01:23 PM   #9
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gearing x pedal revs per minute.............anything else worth adding?
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Old 08-03-12, 01:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
gearing x pedal revs per minute.............anything else worth adding?
Uh ... assuming you don't put out infinite power, yes there is more to add to that.

Gear inches only tell you how fast you will go at a particular rpm. That may be a challenge for a few folders that don't top out very high, but IMO it's generally just an issue for extremely fit, fast riders. In other words, not most of us. My Swift tops out at 87 gear inches, which is the same top gear I have set up on my 'cross bike.

Gear inches doesn't say whether you can actually DO that rpm at a given speed and gear ratio. That's a function of:
- How much power you can put to the pedals. Which itself is a function of efficient, comfortable positioning, and proper fit. Folding bikes can be much harder than big-wheeled bikes to fit properly, because they tend to be one-size-fits-all, and manufacturers are more reluctant to disclose all the details of their geometry.
- Wind resistance. Folders have less aero resistance than 700c bikes, but there's debate about how much this matters.
- Rolling resistance. Small wheels may have more rolling resistance, partly due to limited tire selection. Again, there is considerable debate about how much it matters.

Personally, since getting my Swift last fall, I've noticed that it "feels" somewhat slower than my cyclocross bike, and I'm working on trying to figure out why. At first I thought it was just perception, but I've been timing myself on the relatively flat 7-mile route to work from where I drop my son off in the morning. Preliminary results seem to be that it's taking 36-38 minutes on the folder (each direction), vs. about 33 minutes on the 'crosser. If that difference is real it is HUGE -- almost 1.5mph, and in excess of 10%. Possible causes, if the difference persists after collecting more data points:
- My dynohub. Unlikely, because the perception of relative slowness happened before I got this hub a couple months ago, and disconnecting the light seems to make little difference.
- Fit. I have a pretty unconventional fit on the 700c bike, which I've discovered works very well for me. Due to the trouble and expense I have only partially implemented this fit on the Swift, and it may be that I'm just putting out that much less power on the folder as a result.
- Tires. The rear SpeedMax on my 'crosser is VERY fast for a non-slick tire, and I've settled on it after trying many, many different tires over the years. It's fast, yet still has excellent traction on both pavement and dirt, and is extremely durable. Maybe I just haven't found the right equivalent for my Swift (I do have to ride some stretches of gravel on the way to work, so a true slick is not that desirable). I've been using a Marathon Racer in back, so it's possible that could be the problem (it might be a "racer" ... but it's also a "Marathon" and we all know what that means). I just swapped the original Kwest onto the back for yesterday's ride; still came in at 37 minutes, but the result was inconclusive because I had to ride into an unusual east wind. Hopefully I will know more next week, and I may invest in some more known-to-be-fast tires like the Tioga PowerBlock/StreetBlock or Maxxis DTH to see if that speeds things up.

Last edited by GlowBoy; 08-03-12 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 08-05-12, 04:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlowBoy View Post
Uh ... assuming you don't put out infinite power, yes there is more to add to that.

Gear inches only tell you how fast you will go at a particular rpm. That may be a challenge for a few folders that don't top out very high, but IMO it's generally just an issue for extremely fit, fast riders. In other words, not most of us. My Swift tops out at 87 gear inches, which is the same top gear I have set up on my 'cross bike.

Gear inches doesn't say whether you can actually DO that rpm at a given speed and gear ratio. That's a function of:
- How much power you can put to the pedals. Which itself is a function of efficient, comfortable positioning, and proper fit. Folding bikes can be much harder than big-wheeled bikes to fit properly, because they tend to be one-size-fits-all, and manufacturers are more reluctant to disclose all the details of their geometry.
- Wind resistance. Folders have less aero resistance than 700c bikes, but there's debate about how much this matters.
- Rolling resistance. Small wheels may have more rolling resistance, partly due to limited tire selection. Again, there is considerable debate about how much it matters.

.
Next time I am being ironic I will underline it !!



( Of cause one could mention the theoretical increase of oxygenated blood via increased venus return by using a slightly lower gear.......... )


Any way my bike is faster than yours because its got red coloured brake blocks, and a carbonfibre look stem bolt washer.

Last edited by bhkyte; 08-05-12 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 08-05-12, 09:19 AM   #12
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Any way my bike is faster than yours because its got red coloured brake blocks, and a carbonfibre look stem bolt washer.
I might have you beat, Bhkyte. I have a ti tire lever in my tube bag. Does a piece of Ti trump red paint? Not sure, but maybe! Of course, not having any CF or CF look will be a slower downer for me
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Old 08-05-12, 09:26 AM   #13
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I might have you beat, Bhkyte. I have a ti tire lever in my tube bag.
Damn, I need to get some carbon fibre brake block shoes, Carbon fibe valve caps?
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Old 08-06-12, 10:24 AM   #14
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Gearing and wheel size - given the same level of conditioning, matter - I had the standard 14 tooth freewheel on my Citizen Tokyo and really felt under powered in the highest gear - I swapped in an 11 tooth freewheel and increased my top speed about 10% - the biggest limiting factor remained the 16" wheels. I just upgraded to a 20" folder with a stock 9 speed, 11 tooth high gear cassette and feel a significant difference in my top speed already.
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Old 08-06-12, 12:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
gearing x pedal revs per minute.............anything else worth adding?
Air resistance..
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Old 08-06-12, 01:57 PM   #16
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Air resistance..
and friction, roll resistance......
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Old 08-06-12, 02:17 PM   #17
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This is getting ridiculous, haha. Let's look at the things you can control right away. You can control the type of bike and posture. If you want fast, get a bike with drop or bullhorn handlebars for an aerodynamic racing posture, a lightweight aluminum frame for a stiff, efficient ride, 8+ gears for versatility, and thin treadless wheels, which will maximize your speed. Something like this:

http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/current/vector27.htm

You can go the extra mile by getting a bike custom fit for your body, like Bike Friday bikes, for even more efficiency and comfort.

After that, it's all up to the engine and all the ambient uncontrollable factors. Still though, all the technical specs won't help you if you don't pedal the bike. You could get beaten by an enthusiastic person in a one speed cruiser if you don't put in the effort. That's what I did in San Francisco racing down market in my Link Uno; I was flying past all the road bikes, haha.

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