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For those that commute on multiple bikes, is your road bike the fastest?

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For those that commute on multiple bikes, is your road bike the fastest?

Old 03-08-21, 07:46 PM
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h_curtis
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For those that commute on multiple bikes, is your road bike the fastest?

I have 4 bikes I commute on. Yeah, I know I love bikes and have accumulated a few. My fasted to slowest would be as follows.

Fastest
1. 1980's Roberts 531 road bike 700x25's
2. Guerciotti fixed gear track bike 700x23's
3. Nishiki hybrid with Alfine 8 speed 700x35's
4. Surly ECR 700x3"
Slowest

I am asking this question because I want to confirm with others the bike you ride makes a pretty big difference. Been commuting for the past 9 years the same route much of the time and I do get to work faster with my road bike and track bike. The slowest is no doubt my Surly with the big 3" tires.

Are most people in agreement? How big of a difference? My ride is hilly, but only 6 miles unless I extend it for more riding time.
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Old 03-09-21, 07:03 AM
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Yes, I think you are right for the slowest to the fastest. I once took my Mt. Bike to work and it was very slow indeed. The road bike was great for the road.
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Old 03-09-21, 07:06 AM
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Yeah, sounds about right to me.

Like you, I've been doing the same commute for the past number of years. My light road bikes are faster than my heavier road bikes, but not as much as you might think. For comparison, an 17-lb carbon road bike with 25mm tires gets me to work about 2-3 kph faster than my 28-lb steel road bike with 38mm tires.

Here's a run-down:
Take the 17-lb road bike as the benchmark:
19-lb aluminum bike with 28mm tires, no difference
24-lb aluminum cx bike with 32mm tires, -1 kph
24-lb aluminum cx bike with 35mm studded tires, -7 kph
28-lb steel cx bike with 38mm tires, -2 kph

With the number of stops and lights on the route, it brings the average speeds closer together. If, however, it were a continuous ride on rural roads with very few stops, the difference with be much bigger. This is why I commute with the last two bikes on the list for most of the year. The bigger tires are more forgiving during the winter months, and can haul a lot of gear with racks and panniers.

Last edited by mcours2006; 03-09-21 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 03-09-21, 07:40 AM
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I had a commuter bike and bought a race bike for weekend rides. But it was so much faster that I switched to commuting on it. I sold the commuter bike many years ago and never looked back.
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Old 03-09-21, 08:15 AM
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Perhaps it is because my commute was on city streets with multiple stops + traffic, but I found no significant difference in average commute speed on my light bikes vs. my loaded commuter. The lighter bikes certainly felt faster, though.
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Old 03-09-21, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Perhaps it is because my commute was on city streets with multiple stops + traffic, but I found no significant difference in average commute speed on my light bikes vs. my loaded commuter. The lighter bikes certainly felt faster, though.
This is my experience too.

I've ridden everything from my $40 garage sale MTB to my wife's hybrid to my CX bike to my race bike with my race tubulars. Doesn't matter, it's all within +/- 5 minutes depending on the timing of the lights.

Last edited by caloso; 03-09-21 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 03-09-21, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for the replies. To clarify a little more about my commute.

My route to work is 5 miles. I ride up 282 feet and down 171 feet on the way in. I don't have a concept of that to be honest, but just going by Google Maps.

From my fastest two bikes on this ride, the road bike and the fixed I get to work in about 25 minutes. The fixed is pretty fast because I have to stand and ride hard up a long hill I have on the way in. My hybrid commuter bike is nearly as fast with the new 700x35 tires, but not as fast. My Surly ECR is very heavy and slow with those big soft tires. It can add almost 10 minutes if I exert similar energy. I really have to hammer it to cut into the times of the other bikes. Slow!

Now on the way home, my ride has that long down hill. My fixed suffers due to that as my legs can only go so fast, so I have to keep the speed down. The fixed is my favorite bike to commute with. I honestly don't know why other than it is twitchy and just feels so light and fast. Fun. My road bike I can get home in as little as 18 minutes, but usually am home in 20-22 minutes. City riding requires stops etc., so don't read into it too much. My commuter is a couple minutes slower. ECR isn't as bad on the way home with the down hill.

There is no way my ECR is as fast as any of the other bikes. I do enjoy riding it in the woods though and can commute on some single track, so that is a benefit.

Ah well, I was thinking out loud and wanted to see if others had similar experiences. I am also choosing a bike to take to my temporary job that is almost 19 miles one way into work, but flat. I will probably take my road bike, but the commuter with 700x35 might be a little safer for avoiding cars without damaging anything. The commute in Florida will be more dangerous. That is a concern.
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Old 03-09-21, 11:00 AM
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I don't have a new carbon roadie. My old steel roadies have been the fastest for me. My aluminum cross or gravel bikes weren't particularly fast and the mountain bikes were slow. All makes sense. A lot of it is the tires... It's not entirely about the tires. I had some pretty nice tires on the cross bike, it didn't make it fast. Road bikes really do feel like every erg you make is turned into forward motion. My single speed gravel bike is geared pretty low, it would take some real flailing to make it go fast on the level, I'm going to make it geared here pretty soon.
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Old 03-09-21, 11:31 AM
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I used to have a 3-mile, mostly flat ride from my office to the train, with a couple of intersections and stop lights along the way. It took 12-15 minutes on a modern road bike, and 18-20 minutes on a mid-90's mountain bike with fat tires and a beat-up front shock.
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Old 03-09-21, 01:57 PM
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The biggest difference is the winter tires.
2nd biggest is if I have someone to chase or not.
Apart from that, it’s pretty much even between the roadified steel 26” rigid mtb, the 26” aluminium HT ”nice” MTB, or my road bikes.
What little I gain on the open suburb stretches I seem to lose on the inner city sections.
Or the other way around.
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Old 03-09-21, 01:59 PM
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My road bike is certainly the fastest. It is lighter but also I'm in a more aerodynamic aggressive riding position.
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Old 03-09-21, 08:58 PM
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Commuting ( lot's of stop lights ) I don't notice any difference between my gravel bike and road bike. Plus if I am commuting my heat rate is like zone 2 or 3.


riding for fun at sustained pace there is a night and day difference. Road bike way way faster.
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Old 03-10-21, 09:14 AM
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I think it depends on your philosophy for what you are after in your commute. For me I am aiming for a higher heart rate zone and more of a workout, so it is road bike all the way. For many years I got nearly all of my higher heart zone exercise on my commute.
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Old 03-10-21, 01:53 PM
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I was definitely faster on my old road bike commuter (28mm road tire) than my newer drop bar gravel/adventure bike with 42mm tires with a bit of tread, by about 2mph for my 8.5 mile commute. It was about 15mph vs 17mph moving average. For a roughly 30 minute commute it really doesn't translate to much, only a couple minutes. What I got out of the wider tire bike was the ability to take routes that were not available on the road bike, my commute was much more enjoyable as a result.
Now I'm about 21 miles from work, if I ever have to go back to the office and choose to bike commute I think I will go back to a faster bike, it's long enough that 2mph matters and the route I picked out will be plenty safe and fun that I don't need the fatter tires.
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Old 03-17-21, 06:59 AM
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My commute is only 6 miles and I have found the route to be +/- 5 minutes on any bike depending on the weather, traffic and lights. I have an '87 Trek 560 road bike, a Soma Buena Vista, a Brompton and a Riv Hunqapillar. Without snow or ice I still ride about the same speed commuting. The tires range from 28mm - 50mm.

Marc
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Old 03-20-21, 03:52 PM
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Difference between my $800 road bike and $5,000 road bike (bought it for less on sale fyi) seemed to be about 1mph. The additional utility of the cheaper bike - rack/bag and being able to leave it locked outside - meant I ended up only really riding the cheaper bike.

My mountain bike with 2" tires seemed to be 4 mph slower, or 2 mph slower with rear shock locked out (vs the cheap road bike). Made a difference in a group ride where you needed to keep up but biking to a destination, not great but not as a big of a deal riding by myself.

I'm sure a 3" tire hits the point of being noticeably slower.
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Old 03-24-21, 06:27 PM
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Yes, the road bike is faster. But I don’t have the same attitude when I ride the slower bike. Going hard feels like work, so I go less hard.
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Old 03-27-21, 12:38 PM
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I mostly road a touring bike for commuting 21 miles one way. It was as fast on fast days as any other bike I ride same distances for fun. For me wind, hills, distance, how I feel that day, time of year (fitness), all way, way, way more significant than which bike I ride. Unless your riding with with a group and care about your place at that moment in time, one bike barely makes a difference over another on any given day. Except for one anomalously fast ride I can't even remember which bike, all my bikes have peaked at about the same speed for average, and without seeing a spreadsheet would guess they all end up being about the same average of averages.
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Old 03-28-21, 09:01 PM
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After riding my 23mm tired steel racing bike into work for a couple months to speed my 10 mile commute by 5 minutes, I discovered one day that the incessant potholes had cracked the rim around a spoke-hole, and I had to walk the bike to a subway stop to get home.

So on average, my urban 30mm tired aluminum urban bike with panniers was faster.
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Old 04-01-21, 01:33 PM
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My commutes on my road racing bike were much faster. They were so much faster that the lower weight couldn't explain it. It must be that my position is more aerodynamic.
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Old 04-02-21, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
This is my experience too.

I've ridden everything from my $40 garage sale MTB to my wife's hybrid to my CX bike to my race bike with my race tubulars. Doesn't matter, it's all within +/- 5 minutes depending on the timing of the lights.
This...

Although I do arrive far less sweaty on the rare days that I take my ebike (governored to 30kph).
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Old 04-03-21, 12:51 AM
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I do bike delivery of food and I am always the fastest non-engined vehicle. I can pass through ebike, scooter 😁
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Old 04-03-21, 07:20 PM
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Well my current commute is about 19 miles one way and I have ridden it so far on my 700x35 hybrid that is very comfortable and has an internal 8 speed on the rear only.

I will continue to commute with that bike this week and will take my road bike soon and see if a commute that long will be different. I suspect I will shave about 4-6 minutes off my time with the road bike with 700x25 tires. I will report back.

1. hybrid with 700x35's 1 1/2 hours.
2. hybrid ?
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Old 04-05-21, 05:55 AM
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My commute is 21mi and my two bikes, Bianchi Road bike 700x23c vs Jamis Renegade exploit 700x28. Rode bike is 3min faster on my best ride for both bikes. The road bike rides better on the open trail but the gravel tires take the rough roads/wood bridge bumps easier.
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