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Possible for me to get up to 20mph on road bike?

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Possible for me to get up to 20mph on road bike?

Old 05-17-17, 09:12 PM
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littleArnold
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Possible for me to get up to 20mph on road bike?

I mistakenly was thinking I was up to 23mph on Hybrid, but I am discovering that was kilometers per hour. If I am going around 14-15 mph on Hybrid if I got a decent road bike some day could I get up to 20mph? How much a difference would the road bike make? My father did about 20mph or faster on his old Schwinn road bike he had from the 70's.

Curious if I bought a used Schwinn paramount road bike if I could get up to 20mph or if bought a Trek or Giant road bike if I could reach 20mph. I am not sure how much a big improvement a road bike would make.
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Old 05-17-17, 09:15 PM
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Anything is possible with enough work. Heck, you should be able to get there in your hybrid with a little work. As to the Paramount question, of course you can. In fact my only 20 mph avg for my 25 mile route this year has been on my 1987 Paramount. Just getting to 20 mph should not be an issue on any bike. Holding that pace for distance get's to be more difficult.
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Old 05-17-17, 09:32 PM
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20mph on a short burst is pretty easy on a road bike and only slightly more difficult on any bike (even a bmx). 20mph average over a longer distance is humpin out pretty good. personally I've never been able to hold 20mph on my quick 12mi loop by my house, but that's due to lack of training not equipment.
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Old 05-17-17, 09:36 PM
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Yes, you should be able to maintain 20mph provided you:
1. Get yourself into a decent aero position on the bike (You could do this on your existing bike by bending your arms)
2. Have decent tires 23-28mm with low rolling resistance, i.e. GP4000s or better
3. Wear tight clothes with no flapping bits
4. Shave your legs
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Old 05-17-17, 10:40 PM
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Need exactly 25mm tires, shaved legs and arms
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Old 05-18-17, 12:25 AM
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I would imagine the biggest variable to whether you could average 20mph, would be the type of terrain.


If you are having to go up heaps of hills, probably not.
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Old 05-18-17, 01:24 AM
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No problem. Just make sure you're going the right way.

Last edited by San Pedro; 05-18-17 at 01:24 AM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 05-18-17, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by littleArnold View Post
I mistakenly was thinking I was up to 23mph on Hybrid, but I am discovering that was kilometers per hour.
I would stick with kilometers per hour, if you do that you're already ahead of most BFers.
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Old 05-18-17, 02:31 AM
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Yeah... Just pedal faster, although I'm curious as to what great things happen once 20 mph is accomplished. Do you have to be 20 miles away and need to get there in one hour?
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Old 05-18-17, 02:54 AM
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Are you talking about peak or average?


Even my 26" roadified MTB commuter will take me to 25-28 mph before I spin out.


Average, long solo ride, I might manage 18-19 mph.
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Old 05-18-17, 03:07 AM
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Sure. A friend who's nearly my age (I'm 59) routinely averages 20 mph over rides of 10-50 miles. So do several others who are well beyond 30 years old. Road bikes, lots of riding, terrain with only modest hills.

I ride an upright hybrid and after almost two years back in the saddle I'm finally topped out at 15 mph. Beyond that I'm mostly fighting wind resistance with little speed gain. Price I pay for comfort.
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Old 05-18-17, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
Are you talking about peak or average?


Even my 26" roadified MTB commuter will take me to 25-28 mph before I spin out.


Average, long solo ride, I might manage 18-19 mph.
I am talking averaging 20mph over a course of 20 or more miles. Right now I average about 23/kph or roughly 14 - 15mph over a 20 mile bike trip.
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Old 05-18-17, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by littleArnold View Post
I am talking averaging 20mph over a course of 20 or more miles. Right now I average about 23/kph or roughly 14 - 15mph over a 20 mile bike trip.
The road bike wouldn't drastically change your speed.


To take my average speed from 16 to 20mph, took 3 days a week of 30-40 mile rides over about 3 months.


Easily over 1000 miles, and a lot of suffering.
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Old 05-18-17, 08:04 AM
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Is your goal to enjoy a 20-mile ride or post a certain numerical result?

If you want to enjoy .... ride. I keep getting faster ( in tiny increments) because I keep riding. Eventually i will top out .... oh, well.

If your goal is to hit a number, go to the Training & Nutrition - Bike Forums forum and start a real training program, with every mile logged, and definite goals and a definite schedule. Enjoy the pain and the soreness. Some folks do.

Neither approach is wrong, but if you are in a hurry to get faster, a regimented program is the way.

I am not in a hurry at all .... I enjoy every ride. Some folks really only enjoy the rides where they push themselves into discomfort. Whatever works is fine with me.
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Old 05-18-17, 08:07 AM
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Above 18mph, aerodynamic drag is the biggest factor-- which is why higher top speeds are tough on a hybrid, as the body position is pretty straight up and down. You'll need to put out a lot of power to mash through the wind that way.

That said, maintaining 20mph solo for extended periods of time is a tough trick unless you live someplace very flat, with very little in the way of intersections, and always have the wind behind you. Personally, the loss of momentum from missing just a few stoplights here and there is usually enough to drive my average down below 20mph, even when my average moving speed on the flats is 22-23mph.
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Old 05-18-17, 08:43 AM
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20 mph average is at the upper end of recreational riding and well below racing speeds. Most healthy people should be capable of that with a bit of training. You will have to work for it though. Averaging 20 mph requires roughly double the sustained power output as your current efforts.
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Old 05-18-17, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by littleArnold View Post
I am talking averaging 20mph over a course of 20 or more miles. Right now I average about 23/kph or roughly 14 - 15mph over a 20 mile bike trip.
You could probably do it, but JUST going from a hybrid to a road bike will only get you an extra 1-3MPH (depending on how aero you get on the road bike and other factors), so you will have to do more riding/training to get there. Gotta work on the engine too!
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Old 05-18-17, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
The road bike wouldn't drastically change your speed.

Depends on your definition of drastic.

The Kruezotter calculator predicts that it takes 160 watts for an average sized rider to go 14.3mph on an upright bike with wide touring tires.

That same 160 watts for the same rider on a racing bike in the drops gets to 18.7mph

Now whether the OP would see a 4 mph gain depends on how aero his position currently is on the hybrid, how aero it would be on the new road bike, and what kind of tires he would have on the respective bikes.

But a jump in speed of at least several miles per hour from improved aerodynamics, and lower rolling resistance is not at all unreasonable.

Leaving the OP with the need to increase wattage a bit to get his 20mph goal.
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Old 05-18-17, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by littleArnold View Post
I am talking averaging 20mph over a course of 20 or more miles. Right now I average about 23/kph or roughly 14 - 15mph over a 20 mile bike trip.
Terrain and route (how much you have to stop and/or slow due to traffic and intersections) is going to play a huge part. Holding 20 mph for an extended period of time on a flat, windless route isn't that hard. Finding a 20 mile stretch of road where you can hold that pace is pretty damn tough. Averaging that pace when dealing with the real-world constraints of wind, hills, and the responsibilities of sharing the road with others is tougher still.
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Old 05-18-17, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
You could probably do it, but JUST going from a hybrid to a road bike will only get you an extra 1-3MPH (depending on how aero you get on the road bike and other factors), so you will have to do more riding/training to get there. Gotta work on the engine too!
Kruezotter estimates 4.4mph with 160 watts and a 172 pound rider.

The 160 watts seems pretty reasonable given the op's reported speed of 14 mph on the hybrid.

He'd have to have very low rolling resistance tires, and a good position on the hybrid to only see a 1 mph improvement going to the road bike.

To get to 20mph on the road bike, in the drops, he needs to get his watts from 160 to 180, which should be pretty easy to do with some training, given that raising your FTP comes pretty quick when your first starting out from a relatively untrained position.
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Old 05-18-17, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Terrain and route (how much you have to stop and/or slow due to traffic and intersections) is going to play a huge part. Holding 20 mph for an extended period of time on a flat, windless route isn't that hard. Finding a 20 mile stretch of road where you can hold that pace is pretty damn tough. Averaging that pace when dealing with the real-world constraints of wind, hills, and the responsibilities of sharing the road with others is tougher still.
If Little Arnold is averaging 14-15mph on his loop on a hybrid, he's not that far off from doing 20mph on a good road bike.

As the power data above indicates, with good form on a road bike he's already got the power for around 18mph.

Getting from 18mph to 20 mph is a jump but one he should be able to do with some work.

I'm making some assumptions here based on his public profile.

1) he's on a fairly heavy hybrid with wide touring tires, and an upright position.
2) he get's a decent road bike with low rolling resistance tires, and a good aero position
3) he's a new cyclist, and essentially untrained, other than just what fitness you get from riding around, and
4) he's willing to put some work in training.

When you first start cycling gains come fast. So going form 18mph to 20mph is easily obtainable in a few months of training if you work at it.
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Old 05-18-17, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
20 mph average is at the upper end of recreational riding and well below racing speeds. Most healthy people should be capable of that with a bit of training. You will have to work for it though. Averaging 20 mph requires roughly double the sustained power output as your current efforts.
Ceteris paribus.

But with the change in bikes, it's likely around a 12% increase in power, which is much more obtainable.
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Old 05-18-17, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
If Little Arnold is averaging 14-15mph on his loop on a hybrid, he's not that far off from doing 20mph on a good road bike.

As the power data above indicates, with good form on a road bike he's already got the power for around 18mph.

Getting from 18mph to 20 mph is a jump but one he should be able to do with some work.

I'm making some assumptions here based on his public profile.

1) he's on a fairly heavy hybrid with wide touring tires, and an upright position.
2) he get's a decent road bike with low rolling resistance tires, and a good aero position
3) he's a new cyclist, and essentially untrained, other than just what fitness you get from riding around, and
4) he's willing to put some work in training.

When you first start cycling gains come fast. So going form 18mph to 20mph is easily obtainable in a few months of training if you work at it.
I'm not sure why this is directed at me, but okay.
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Old 05-18-17, 09:29 AM
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I have yet to ever get a 20mph average ride solo, apart from in TTs, but those were much less than an hour. Usually in the 16-17mph range, often even less. While far from a superstar, I do well enough in races. Guess I'm at the lower end of recreational.
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Old 05-18-17, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I'm not sure why this is directed at me, but okay.
I was responding to it would be pretty darn tough for the OP to average 20mph.

Assuming his self reporting is accurate, and he puts in some work, I don't think it will be all that tough.
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