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Improving Speed of Giant Escape 3

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Improving Speed of Giant Escape 3

Old 05-29-20, 09:20 AM
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JS41989 
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Improving Speed of Giant Escape 3

I have a Giant Escape 3 that I've been riding roughly 30-35 miles a week. When tracking my rides (which are roughly 7 to 12 miles long) on Strava my average speed always falls between 11.5 and 12.5 mph. If I am pushing myself on straightaways, I can see that I hit 17.5 to 19.5 mph but I rarely hit over 20 if I am not going downhill. I know this bike isn't necessarily built for "speed" but I am wondering if there are reasonable upgrades I can make to support a lighter/faster bike. Note, I am 100% open to it just being me if I need to practice and push myself harder.
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Old 05-29-20, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by JS41989 View Post
I have a Giant Escape 3 that I've been riding roughly 30-35 miles a week. When tracking my rides (which are roughly 7 to 12 miles long) on Strava my average speed always falls between 11.5 and 12.5 mph. If I am pushing myself on straightaways, I can see that I hit 17.5 to 19.5 mph but I rarely hit over 20 if I am not going downhill. I know this bike isn't necessarily built for "speed" but I am wondering if there are reasonable upgrades I can make to support a lighter/faster bike. Note, I am 100% open to it just being me if I need to practice and push myself harder.
Nothing practical. If you can hit 17 or 18 mph on flat stretches of road, the way to get your average up is to maintain those speeds for longer periods of time, and to get faster going up hills.

The problem is, the Escape 3 is an entry level bike, and built as an around town sort of bike. Yes, there are things you can do to improve the performance. But none that make any sense economically. You could upgrade the drivetrain and crankset, then get a lighter carbon fork, and wheels and tires. But for all that, you could just go and get another bike.
When your tires wear out, you could switch to a lighter tire that will feel more supple and subjectively faster from a stop, but not necessarily any faster once you actually get going. Your choice there.

Now, about your rides. The overall average is the only real measure that matters. How fast you can hit on a short stretch of flat road with no headwind is not really meaningful in the short run. Most of what is slowing you down is air molecules hitting the front of your body as you ride, and your ability to push against that. The only way to reduce the aerodynamic drag is to get lower, but maybe not practical on a hybrid built mostly for comfort. Now, I would say to pay a bit more attention to your performance going up hills as that is something you can improve on your current bike. It all comes down to conditioning and diet, as you will get faster going up hills if you lose body fat while retaining muscle mass. and finally, work on your technique. What works for me is to practice spinning up hills in a low gear, rather than try to muscle up hills in a big gear using just my quads. Spinning uses all the muscles in the legs as well as your core and your cardiovascular system. Way better than just blasting your quads then limping home at 10 mph. Over time I got to the point where my average going up the hills was just a little bit slower than my average on flats. (more or less, there are a few hills where that is not possible)

Last edited by MRT2; 05-29-20 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 05-29-20, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by JS41989 View Post
I have a Giant Escape 3 that I've been riding roughly 30-35 miles a week. When tracking my rides (which are roughly 7 to 12 miles long) on Strava my average speed always falls between 11.5 and 12.5 mph. If I am pushing myself on straightaways, I can see that I hit 17.5 to 19.5 mph but I rarely hit over 20 if I am not going downhill. I know this bike isn't necessarily built for "speed" but I am wondering if there are reasonable upgrades I can make to support a lighter/faster bike. Note, I am 100% open to it just being me if I need to practice and push myself harder.
Nail your fit. Even 1mm of saddle height can make a dead bike come alive; place your body for max power transfer.

Then, spin a bigger gear faster.

Clipless pedals can help you transfer power better, and nicer wheels never hurt.
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Old 05-29-20, 10:48 AM
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Try a pair of "skinny slicks" and inflate up to the max pressure recommended on the sidewall.
Adjust your cockpit for a more aggressive riding position.

Don't spend too much time/$$ trying to make this bike into what it's not. You're better off buying another bike for the task.....which is never a bad thing
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Old 05-29-20, 08:17 PM
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I can totally understand. Did you just start riding recently? I ask because I just started last August after not riding for like 30 years and may have had the same experience.

I started by riding very similar distance rides and weekly miles. I gradually worked my way up to averaging 14 miles and and my first 20 mile ride andwas just starting to feel stronger. But then winter hit and I didn’t ride much until just April.

I decided to push myself more, did longer rides and worked in some “interval training” and it’s paying off.

As another poster said “nail your fit” and work toward spinning “bigger gears faster”

I have found this to be a great goal. Work intervals hard until you’re spinning fast in one gear, then start working the same intervals in a bigger gear.

It hurts but it works ; ) And it feels great when you bump up a gear on the same interval/stretch and have the power to move it.

And ride longer. I alternate days to rest (I’m 51 years old) since the intervals can be taxing. But I’m really trying to ride every other day for at least 15 miles and am going to do 20 miles as much as I can. Then maybe try to go even longer. I am definitely getting faster as I get stronger and ride more.

Last edited by CyclingBK; 05-29-20 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 05-30-20, 05:28 AM
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You've got great advice so far in this thread..........I had the same problem when I had my Escape 3 and wanted to be faster. I did a few mods that really helped me gain speed and made that Escape come alive:
1. switched tires to 28's (Conti GP 4000's)......this REALLY made a difference
2. cut down the steering tube to get a little lower
3. added Ergon GP3's to get a little lower
4. switched pedals to Shimano Saint/Raceface Chesters with 510 shoes to help with grip

Those changes made a huge difference with that bike, not just with top speed but with acceleration and handling as well......good luck!
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Old 05-30-20, 06:57 AM
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How old are you? How long have you been riding? What type of terrain? I'm 56, ride mostly 80s steel road bikes and live in area with mild hilliness and moderate winds at times. I would consider myself a lifelong recreational rider, in other words 40+ yrs at a fair number of miles but I've never pushed myself very hard. I think the biggest thing you could do bike wise is go clipless pedals if you're not currently. The biggest thing that's helped for me physically is spinning faster. 90 rpm seems to be my sweet spot. The data seems a little off to me unless very hilly, for instance the 11.5 if significant time at 17.5to 19.5. My flats speed is similar but overall avg is more around 14. Later in summer I may get over 15 once in awhile, but I never spend significant time over 20. I'm generally not in 10s/11s unless intentionally not trying to break a sweat like taking a movie back to redbox in street clothes. On those rides I don't get anywhere near 17. If not trying to ride with others or do a commute in practical time, I wouldn't sweat it. Just enjoy the breeze in your face. If your relatively new you'll get faster over time whether you intend to or not. At some point you'll reach a wall you'll have to push through if competitive by nature. For me that's 15/16, but it's not important to me to get better, it's more about seeing my city more intimately and a child like wonder I never outgrew.
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Old 06-03-20, 03:03 PM
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I just want to say thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread. Lots of great advice and I appreciate the insight from more experienced riders. Maybe I'll throw some new tires on the bike, but it is clear this will be much more about conditioning and technique before moving into a new bike in the future. I sincerely appreciate everyone's insight.
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Old 06-09-20, 06:28 AM
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It's mostly about the engine, not the bike (although getting the fit right will make a big difference as stated above). The Escape (or Fuji Absolute, or Trek FX, etc.) are all relatively quick bikes. If you don't want to go clipless, you can always try cages and straps. It's a cheaper option, and will allow you to apply power on the upstroke as well. It does make a difference when you're not simply "pedaling a box" on straight platform pedals.

Cheers.
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Old 06-22-20, 12:46 PM
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Just circling back. I replaced the stock Giant S-X3 (700x38) tires with some Continental GP5000's (700x32) and did a couple rides this weekend. It is a noticeable difference for sure. Nothing ground breaking, but I bested some of my segments on Strava by 10-12 seconds and my top speed is up a few mph. My average mph is now hitting 13.5 - 15 regularly. Guess part of it is training more frequently.

Question. A few members mention nailing my fit. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but how does one do this? Just keep adjusting the seat?

Last edited by JS41989; 06-22-20 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 06-22-20, 02:08 PM
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great tire choice.....watch this:


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Old 06-22-20, 03:08 PM
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One of the biggest things mentioned was WHEELS; without looking at your bike, I can say that lowering wheel weight helps tremendously plus going tubeless..........eBay has served me well by buying a used wheelset (I've bought two for my mountain bikes) and they made a big difference........
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Old 06-30-20, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Beavis5220 View Post
You've got great advice so far in this thread..........I had the same problem when I had my Escape 3 and wanted to be faster. I did a few mods that really helped me gain speed and made that Escape come alive:
1. switched tires to 28's (Conti GP 4000's)......this REALLY made a difference
2. cut down the steering tube to get a little lower
3. added Ergon GP3's to get a little lower
4. switched pedals to Shimano Saint/Raceface Chesters with 510 shoes to help with grip

Those changes made a huge difference with that bike, not just with top speed but with acceleration and handling as well......good luck!
Helpful info here... I'm also into a entry/mid level city/cross: GT Transeo 4.0.

​​​​​​​In your opinion, what PSI rating are you looking for in a hybrid tire, for maximum speed on pavement (minimal riding on groomed gravel trails)? I'm looking at a Kenda K-198 700 35 rated for 50-85 PSI. Is that typical of a hybrid tire? You ride on 28's? Do you ever ride on groomed gravel / crusher dust 'trails' with those?

I'm also trying to set my hybrid up for a more aggressive riding position (it is a city/cross bike) with longer stem (40mm to 90mm). I'm moving from a 660mm bar width to a 600mm. Do you feel that will give me more speed?
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Old 06-30-20, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DML66 View Post
Helpful info here... I'm also into a entry/mid level city/cross: GT Transeo 4.0.

In your opinion, what PSI rating are you looking for in a hybrid tire, for maximum speed on pavement (minimal riding on groomed gravel trails)? I'm looking at a Kenda K-198 700 35 rated for 50-85 PSI. Is that typical of a hybrid tire? You ride on 28's? Do you ever ride on groomed gravel / crusher dust 'trails' with those?

I'm also trying to set my hybrid up for a more aggressive riding position (it is a city/cross bike) with longer stem (40mm to 90mm). I'm moving from a 660mm bar width to a 600mm. Do you feel that will give me more speed?
I eventually switched tires on the Escape from the 28's to Continental Contact Speed 35s so I could ride more on gravel trails. I have those same tires (35's) on two newer BMC hybrids as well as the Escape. I keep the PSI at 85 on all bikes. To get a little faster you need to be more aero.....the extended bar ends on the Ergon GP3 grips really help, especially into a headwind.
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Old 06-30-20, 04:20 PM
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lean way over.. you, sitting up, are a source of air resistance..
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