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Loaded and Coasting - How Fast?

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Loaded and Coasting - How Fast?

Old 10-11-19, 07:25 PM
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KC8QVO
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Loaded and Coasting - How Fast?

Just out of curiosity - when you have been loaded down on a trip and had a down-hill coast for a bit - how fast have you been? At what point do you shave off some speed?

I don't like anything in the upper 20mph range or more on my touring bike, even though I have the gearing to handle that and more. I am not sure what the max speed is I've been (unfortunately I lost my log records I had for several years so I can't check) but I presume well in to the 30's+, if not around 40mph.

On my folding bike I don't do well north of 20mph - its just too much more twitchy than the bigger bike (20" on the folder vs 700c on the touring bike).

On either bike I find a comfortable "fast" pace of 18mph. Depending on road/trail conditions, load, weather, and my stamina at any given point my average pace is around 10-12mph on flat ground. Heavier and more miles and I've been known to drift off to 8-9mph, in fresh shape and smooth pavement and I'm 15mph or so.

I realize down hill is my opportunity to make up for lost time on the climbs and in the flats, but I just don't feel comfortable letting things loose on the down hills.
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Old 10-11-19, 07:47 PM
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jamawani 
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Nevada has airport runway downhill stretches in lots of places with very little traffic.
With my Trek 8000 Aluminum frame - I probably topped 45 mph loaded down.
It was rock solid, 26", used 1.95 tires - - so I was confident.

PS - At that speed you don't want anything flapping - - like laundry on the back.
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Old 10-11-19, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Nevada has airport runway downhill stretches in lots of places with very little traffic.
With my Trek 8000 Aluminum frame - I probably topped 45 mph loaded down.
It was rock solid, 26", used 1.95 tires - - so I was confident.
Yea, that's cruizin' for sure.


Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
PS - At that speed you don't want anything flapping - - like laundry on the back.
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Old 10-11-19, 08:01 PM
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Coming down Highway 50 into Carson City, Nevada was the first and last time I'll ever approach 40 mph. My tires were hot by the time I got to the bottom. I realized then that my attempt to cross the country for the first time by bicycle might be brief if I had a blow out.
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Old 10-11-19, 08:05 PM
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Tandems are more stable at high speed and even unloaded can gain speed quite fast. On our 700c tandem, I start braking around 37-40 mph. On 20" bike Friday around 32+...
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Old 10-11-19, 08:31 PM
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57mph has been our top speed rolling down a hill on our tandem when we've been on tour with panniers on
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Old 10-11-19, 10:21 PM
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My wife has pulled away from me on down hills when my computer read 45 mph, which is where I usually grab a little brake. Her touring bike is rock solid when loaded, but she still scares me. She is fearless on downhills.

She is on her road bike in this photo. I don't think she ever gets close to the brakes on the downhill. Note the grin!

Last edited by Doug64; 10-12-19 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 10-11-19, 10:32 PM
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Happy Feet
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Loaded on my fat bike I hit 50kph, which sounds better than 30mph.

Unloaded my buddy clocked 72kph down from the Coquihalla summit. 1:16 of this video

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Old 10-11-19, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Loaded on my fat bike I hit 50kph, which sounds better than 30mph.

Unloaded my buddy clocked 72kph down from the Coquihalla summit. 1:16 of this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTG3cOseO3E
You just brought back a good memory for me from this summer. Boy was that descent something.
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Old 10-11-19, 11:12 PM
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The fastest I have travelled down a hill loaded with out my dog, was 47mph. with the dog and trailer, I don't go over 25mph, but I was once chased down a long steep hill by a truck, because their was nowhere safe for me to get off, I was unloaded, no dog, no trailer, the speed was 87kph, maybe 53mph.
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Old 10-12-19, 05:46 AM
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49.5 heading into Ticonderoga, NY. Hit almost 43 a few years ago on the descent east into Ennis, MT.
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Old 10-12-19, 06:11 AM
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I've thusfar managed 35mph on a bike with shorter chainstays and it felt just fine loaded, the weight and 38mm tyres definitely help I think. No computer, but I take an educated guess as I bottomed out my gearing and I've been measured on radar at 35mph on lowest gear.
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Old 10-12-19, 07:30 AM
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On my "normal" diamond frame touring (Waterford) bike carrying 4 panniers and a tent on the rack, I was riding into Nevada from Carson Pass with a tail wind and hit 45 MPH without even knowing it as the wind noise was nil. I looked down, saw my odometer and immediately slowed down a bit.

On my Bike Friday folder, just a couple months ago, I was coasting down the Grossglockner Pass with its miles of downhill and many switchbacks. On one empty straightaway between turns, I went all out just to hit 40 MPH, if only for a moment, on the Bike Friday. I was carrying 2 rear panniers and a front bag on it.

When fully loaded, the Waterford is very stable and going 40 on it is not all that scary. The Bike Friday rarely feels stable and I would never go that fast on it again.
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Old 10-12-19, 07:44 AM
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I often exceed 40 mph on descents. My personal maximum was when drafting behind an RV coming down Fremont Pass in CO, going 50+. I didn't quite have the nerve to pass.

Riding the California coast, a day biker passed me and my wife near the top of one of the headlands. We then blew by him on the descent. When he caught up again on the next hill, we described the ride as a runaway freight train.
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Old 10-12-19, 08:08 AM
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I didn't have a speedometer/cycle computer to verify my actual speed, but I know I got going pretty quick a few times, on the old Cannondale. Especially coming down the mountain, from Golden Valley, AZ to Bullhead City, AZ, which I call 12-mile hill. 😁 That has a few areas where the grade levels out some, but never level like flat ground, it's all downhill. 😎

I've never even tried riding up, but I've seen a guy do it, on a road bike. He was way stronger than I am, like a pro athlete.
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Old 10-12-19, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
My wife has pulled away from me on down hills when my computer read 45 mph, which is where I usually grab a little brake. Her touring bike is rock solid when loaded, but she still scares me. She is fearless on downhills.

She is on her road bike in this photo. I don't think she ever gets close to the brakes on the downhill. Note the grin!
What photo? LOL

Cheers
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Old 10-12-19, 09:35 AM
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When I am going fast enough that I want to apply the brakes on a downhill, I am going fast enough that I do not want to take my eyes off the road to check to see what my speed is. But I would guess high 20s or low 30s mph when touring, when riding an unloaded bike maybe mid to high 30s.
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Old 10-12-19, 09:57 AM
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I don't generally use a cyclometer and have had some loaded touring bikes which shimmy on downhills so I don't try to go fast, but one memorable long descent into Freiburg, (still West at the time) Germany saw me repeatedly passing cars in the tight curves and being passed again on the short straights so probably 40 MPH. Fast enough for me.
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Old 10-12-19, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
What photo? LOL

Cheers
Sorry about that. I did not realize how big the file size was. I fixed it. Thanks
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Old 10-12-19, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Sorry about that. I did not realize how big the file size was. I fixed it. Thanks
And it looks like you were in front of her by a few feet when you took the photo. Going that fast, I do not take one hand off the bars to take photos.
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Old 10-12-19, 11:08 AM
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Cosi

Iím presently in France touring and was in Chablis two weeks ago. Going west out of town I climbed a long hill on freshly paved (D965) with no traffic. Going down I saw a radar alert and it read 68 kph.
salsa marrakesh
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Old 10-12-19, 01:18 PM
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I have never worried about the speed. I have hit 45mph many times fully loaded with no issues. I did it every day while commuting a few years ago as well, both loaded and lightly loaded. It depends on your bike and how stable it is a speed. Mine is rock solid.
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Old 10-12-19, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
My wife has pulled away from me on down hills when my computer read 45 mph, which is where I usually grab a little brake. Her touring bike is rock solid when loaded, but she still scares me. She is fearless on downhills.

She is on her road bike in this photo. I don't think she ever gets close to the brakes on the downhill. Note the grin!
Great panning shot.
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Old 10-12-19, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
My wife has pulled away from me on down hills when my computer read 45 mph, which is where I usually grab a little brake. Her touring bike is rock solid when loaded, but she still scares me. She is fearless on downhills.

She is on her road bike in this photo. I don't think she ever gets close to the brakes on the downhill. Note the grin!
Doug, that is a fantastic shot, I really like it.
I'm a kindred spirit to your wife, so relate to the photo, especially the grin!
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Old 10-12-19, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
And it looks like you were in front of her by a few feet when you took the photo. Going that fast, I do not take one hand off the bars to take photos.
I was standing on the opposite side of the road. It is a "panned shot". I wouldn't try to take a picture going downhill while on my bike. I have too much scar tissue already.

Originally Posted by djb View Post
Doug, that is a fantastic shot, I really like it.
I'm a kindred spirit to your wife, so relate to the photo, especially the grin!
Yeah, she is a little crazy. Actually, she is just a good rider. We were riding along in some pretty bad conditions. She was riding behind me, and saw that I forgot to turn my tail light on. She said, "hold steady and I'll get it for you." I couldn't see her, but she came up behind me and turned it on while we maintained 12-14 mph

Last edited by Doug64; 10-13-19 at 01:36 PM.
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