What speed to choose on a bike

Average speed depending on terrain

Usually, there are three types of terrain that are most relevant to the cyclist:

  • city ​​or urban-type settlement
  • track
  • rugged terrain

Of course, it is difficult to develop high speed in the city: there are many road users. The cyclist usually only has to move along the roads, pressing against their right side, in the general stream of cars. You have to be doubly careful not to accidentally fall under the wheels.

The average speed also depends on how often intersections with traffic lights are on the way, as well as on the degree of traffic congestion. Traffic jams are not scary for a cyclist, but often it becomes necessary to maneuver among cars. But in small cities with not very dense traffic, it is already easier to accelerate.

Depending on all these conditions, the average speed of a cyclist in urban conditions ranges from 10 to 15-17 km / h. If the city can boast of the presence of bicycle paths, then it increases to 15-17 km / h. Provided, of course, that they are used for their intended purpose, and pedestrians do not move along them.

On the highway, the average speed increases due to the absence of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. It depends on the quality of the road surface and the type of bike. On small, specially designed for the city models, it is unlikely that it will be possible to exceed the 20 km / h mark. But if we take into account ordinary universal bicycles, then we can talk about an average speed of 20-25 km / h. On the road, you can accelerate to 28-32 km / h, but only experienced cyclists with excellent physical fitness can maintain a higher speed.

speed, choose, bike

Concept “rugged terrain” has a rather abstract character. It can include both off-road rather comfortable for driving, and valleys teeming with ravines. Therefore, the difference between the minimum and maximum speed limits is large: from 5 to 15 km / h.

Speed ​​records

The absolute speed record was set by the athlete Fred Rompelberg in 1995. On his sports bike, he reached 268 km / h.

Other record results include the achievements of athletes in the first half of the 20th century: for example, in 1937, one of them developed a speed of 139 km / h, and the other in 1942 broke this record, accelerating to 175 km / h.

Maximum recorded speed on downhill slopes is 212 km / h.

The bike is a rocket. New speed record

Not a bicycle anymore, but not a rocket yet. A new speed record on a jet bike was set by the Frenchman François Gissy. 333 km / h. Let’s take a look at these breathtaking footage:

Two-wheeled gallop: what speed can you develop on a bicycle?

Bicycle speed is an ambiguous value. As with a car, it depends on the terrain conditions, the type of bike and the skill of the cyclist. Therefore, when talking about average speed, it is difficult to determine a specific number with absolute certainty. But to find out how many kilometers you can cover per hour in a city or highway, using one or another type of iron horse, you can easily.

Average speed depending on the type of bike

Let’s see what speed can be expected on average using different types of bicycles.

  • road bicycles. These models are the simplest: large, rather heavy, usually not involving gear shifting. They are intended mainly for city traffic and highways with good coverage. Their speed is low: you should not expect to exceed the mark of 13-15 km / h even on a beautiful flat surface.
  • city ​​bicycles. They are also often called walking. They are already much more functional than the road ones. Light weight, comfortable, functional design and the ability to switch speeds provide an average speed of 12-17 km / h in the city and about 20 km / h on the highway
  • on road bikes it is easy to develop and maintain an average speed of 28-33 km / h
  • MTB bicycles (mountain). When riding a mountain bike on a highway, you can usually reach an average speed of 25 km / h. If you change tires for those intended for driving on asphalt, the speed increases by 3-4 km / h. In rough terrain, the speed is usually between 10 and 15 km / h
  • hybrid. This bike is something in between road and mountain bike types. Speed ​​on the highway. about 25-28 km / h, off-road. about 10 km / h

Summing up

It is possible to talk about the average speed of the bike only with reservations. In addition to the type of terrain and type of bike, there are many factors that affect speed. This is the level of physical fitness of the cyclist, and many technical details: for example, the diameter and mass of the wheels, geometric design features, air resistance, etc. There is only a rough idea of ​​what average speed can be maintained in a city or on a highway, on a mountain bike or an ordinary city bike.

Correct combinations

Despite the fact that nominally there can be 27-30 speeds in the transmission, i.e. combinations of sprockets, not all of them are recommended to be used, as they are dangerous for the mechanisms of the bicycle. Why is this happening? Not all stars are in the same plane, which means that when they are combined, the chain experiences a load at a small angle, which causes additional friction and, as a result, bending of the links, then. stretching of the chain and subsequent damage to both the chain and the stars.

speed, choose, bike

The basic rule is the approximate parallelism of the chain of the plane of the stars, without distortions. In numbers, for the current classic 24-speed mountain bike, the value on the rear derailleur should be between double and triple the value on the front, with a few exceptions at the edges, such as combinations 1-1. Those. out of 24 options, it is recommended to use the following gearshift scheme:

  • On 3. the largest chainring. reverse speeds 6, 7, 8.
  • 2 stars. rear 6.5.4.
  • On 1 star. rear 1,2,3.

Of course, these rules may be violated depending on the conditions, but they have already become a generally accepted standard.

Training and preparation

It is recommended to use low gears to prepare for driving at the start of the day or season. The first 10-20 minutes of a long ride, the legs need to warm up, for which the ideal cadence of 60 rpm (movements per minute) and the minimum load. i.e. speeds with 1 and 2 chainrings.

A similar recommendation in a more global sense. the first hundred kilometers of the season, especially on a mountain bike, should be overcome in low gears so that the legs remember skills and are not damaged by too serious changes in daytime load.

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Switching mechanics

Correct switching does not require much knowledge. Almost all bicycle models are equipped with a cable that brings the force from the shifter. the derailleur control element. to the derailleur itself.

When the cable is pulled, the derailleur frame moves and transfers the chain to the chainring of a larger diameter; when released, it falls off or moves to smaller stars. These actions are performed without auxiliary mechanisms, using the flexibility of the chain and friction with the switch frame, i.e. the chain and all elements are under stress; transmissions are not provided for in normal operation. Because of this, there is a recommendation not to switch gears under load or without movement.

Automatic switching

Of course, manufacturers do not live quietly in a stable market, and they are looking for new uses for their engineers’ talents. So, for a long time, the top companies Shimano and SRAM have been producing small batches of automatic gearboxes, where, using electronic sensors (Shimano Nexis, Auto, etc.), they switch speeds in the planetary hub.

There are also rare models with automatic gear shifting on a mechanical basis. the rotational speed is determined by the centrifugal force of the load, which is why the mechanism changes the gear ratio.

How to properly shift gears on a bike

In fact, cycling gear shifting is a trained art that depends on the rider’s physical condition, long-term training, and the design of a particular bike. Consider various factors in this article.

Planetary hub

Urban bikes and designer choppers usually do not have a front derailleur, but there is a rare thing in the bicycle world. a planetary hub, when the gear and shift system is packed into a single closed mechanism that is installed inside the wheel. This principle is used on cars, but does not find much recognition among cyclists, it absorbs too much energy (up to 10%).

On the other hand, the planetary hub does not have any mechanical factors limiting shifting. you can change gears both under load and at an inopportune moment. The mechanism will work properly.


First and foremost, the correct shifting depends on the bike device. Previously, there were no problems with shifting, as there were no speeds on most bicycles. All obstacles were overcome with the power of the rider or on foot. To understand how to change speeds, you should study the design of the switching system itself.

Which bike is better to start with

A modern bicycle is not only a vehicle. These are sports, health, recreation, romance of adventure and just a lifestyle. Therefore, buying a bike should be taken seriously, carefully weighing everything and thinking it over.

Getting down to the question of which bike is better to choose, you must first decide on the riding style. Paved roads or rough terrain, city parks or rocky mountain slopes, long rides or short walks. every bike has its own purpose. The numerous types of bikes on the market today can be roughly divided into two categories. casual and sports. The first category includes city and road bikes, and the second category includes sports and tourism, track, mountain, road, hybrid, downhill and trial bikes. All of them are designed for specific purposes, designed for specific loads and must be used in specific conditions. Therefore, when deciding which bike is better to choose, you need to clearly know what it is for.

For a city bike, these are the main qualities. it is compact and easy to maintain, for the road. the ability to develop high speed, for the road. high strength. The mountain bike is designed for cross-country and off-road riding. On it you will have to jump over fallen trees, overcome small rivers and streams, and sometimes carry it on yourself, climbing a steep slope. Therefore, such a bicycle, with high strength and cross-country ability, should have a small mass. The downhill bike only travels downhill. It is designed for high-speed descents from the mountains, therefore, it should have even higher strength and maximum good cross-country ability. At the same time, weight does not really matter, so these bikes can be very heavy due to the reinforced frame structure, powerful disc brakes and other parts. Jumping and stunt bikes (BMX) are highly impact resistant and track bikes are designed for high speeds.

When it comes to which bike is best for the city and easy cross-country rides, the cross-country series can be advised. This is a universal type that is suitable for country roads, parks, and mountainous terrain with small elevation differences.

Having decided on the choice of the model and size of the bike, it remains to adjust it, and you can hit the road.

Bicycle gear shifting

Any cyclist should know how to properly switch speeds on a bicycle. When they buy a bicycle for children, they are always interested in how many speeds it has. And the higher the number of speeds, the better. But experienced cyclists know that the speed of a bicycle depends on the rider, or rather, on the work of his muscles. And the art of competently changing gears is the quality of cunning professionals, which allows you to squeeze the maximum possible resources out of the car in rough terrain.

It used to be simple: the road bike had one speed. Therefore, on the plains, everything depended on the skills of the cyclist himself, and to ride in the mountainous terrain, one had to adapt to the terrain conditions: while riding downhill, the cyclist accelerates the car as much as possible in order to enter the next mountain by inertia. If the ascent is protracted, then the cyclist rides uphill until he can pedal. Then he dismounts his bike and proudly walks alongside to the top to continue his journey down again.

Modern bicycles have two sets of gears. front (sprocket) and rear (driven sprocket). It is extremely important to learn how to choose the right gear depending on the nature of the ride. First, you need to learn a few simple rules for shifting gears:

  • There is no need to change gears when the bike is stationary. This could damage the switches.
  • You should change gears even before your speed drops in front of a difficult-to-pass area (for example, sand or loose snow) or on an incline.
  • You don’t have to pedal hard when changing gears. Switching is easiest if there is no load on the circuit and there is a speed margin.
  • When switching, you need to make sure that the chain is not strongly skewed. That is, you should not use a large chainring and a large rear sprocket. In reality, you should use the following gears: with a small star in front to 4-5 stars in the back, from the second front. from 3rd (2nd) to 6th (7th), and with a large front. from 5th to last 8- (9).th.

Now let’s talk about choosing stars. It is impossible in advance to accurately match a particular gear to specific road conditions. Of course there are many formulas, graphs and tables, but most of them are calculated for road bikes, fair weather and smooth asphalt. Should the conditions change, and all the calculations are down the drain. The choice of gear depends on the road or lack of it, the slope of the track, temperature, soil conditions, tire pressure, wind, the physical condition of the cyclist, the level of adrenaline and blood sugar. There are other criteria that cyclists can be guided by. One of them is cadence. It is known that the optimal cadence when driving on a horizontal surface. for example, on road bikes. is an average of 95.115 rpm, while for cross-country riders this value will already be 70.90 rpm. But for amateurs and cyclists, this is just a guideline, not a rule. There is no need to try to start immediately from high gears, first in low gears we warm up the muscles, unwinding to optimal gears. When choosing a gear, as in any business, the cyclist needs to stick to the middle ground, and not go to extremes. A slow pace of driving in large gears is very detrimental to the condition of the knee joints. Pedaling too often will reduce riding efficiency and fatigue more quickly. In difficult road conditions (driving on mud, sand, grass or snow), the gears are lowered due to the need for a torque reserve. The technical capabilities of the switches do not always allow the chain to be dramatically shifted from small to large stars. For mountain hikes with backpacks, a set of chainrings, for example 48, 38 and 28 teeth, is usually sufficient.

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When driving in the wind or uphill, you need to switch to lower gears close to 1: 1). This set of gears increases cadence but decreases speed. When driving on flat terrain, the gear ratio can be 4: 1 to maintain speed. In a motorcycle race, a speed of over 100 km / h can be achieved. In these record-breaking rides, cyclists use a gear ratio of 8: 1 or more. However, usually the muscle strength of the legs is not enough to spin such gears from a place. Even athletes do not use gears greater than 5: 1, but rather increase their cadence.

In 1985 in the United States, John Howard set a speed record of 245.077 km / h. For the first time he covered 241 kilometers on a bicycle in one hour. Ten years later, Rompelberg Fred from the Netherlands broke his world bicycle speed record with a result of 269 km / h.

Many novice cyclists avoid frequent gear changes and even when riding upwind, leave the chain on the large drive and small driven gears. Their ride is more like the maneuvers of a sailboat against the wind. As a result, after such a ride, knee pain can naturally occur. Meanwhile, a competent cyclist when riding upwind, having reduced the gear ratio to 2-3: 1, will be able to maintain a higher speed with less effort. In small gears, pedal at a frequency of 80-90 rpm.

Thus, some recommendations can be made:

  • At the beginning of the season, it is recommended to drive at least 200-300 km in low gears and with a high pedaling frequency.
  • It is better to start the morning rolling in with low gears for 15-20 minutes.
  • Long-term cycling is aided by an even cadence at a pace that is comfortable for the cyclist. With the right gear selection, this can be achieved even on a hilly track.

Types of speed switches

There are two main types of speed derailleurs. external and internal shifting.

What is gear shifting for?

Riding on a flat road, uphill or downhill requires different efforts from the cyclist. On a single speed bike, there are no options, since there is only one gear. And those who have experience riding a single speed bike know how difficult it is. But in the case of a multi-speed bike, new possibilities appear. you can adjust the load. On a bike equipped with multiple gears, for example, it is much easier to ride uphill. Let’s figure out how the gearshift occurs.

Correct star combinations

Choose speeds based on the terrain and your physical capabilities, and so that the chain does not tilt. You can make sure that there are no distortions simply by looking at the chain. If it moves parallel to the frames of the front derailleur, then the selected speed is optimal. Skew occurs when the chain is on the front large chainring and on the rear, also large.

Let’s see which sprocket combinations are applicable for a bike with three chainrings and eight chainrings. The main principle is simple: it is necessary that the combination of front and rear sprockets is always approximately in the same vertical plane.

The large chainring is matched with 4-8 rear chainrings. This combination is optimal when riding on a flat road.

The middle chainring is matched with the 3rd to 6th chainrings. This combination is suitable if you are riding on lightly rough roads, or if you want to give yourself more physical activity while riding on a flat road.

The small chainring is matched with 1 to 3 rear chainrings for uphill climbing. In this case, much less effort is required from the cyclist when pedaling, but more frequent pedaling.

Incorrect combination of front and rear sprockets, leads to a strong misalignment of the chain, shortening the life of not only the chain, but also the derailleurs.

What is gear shifting

The essence of switching speeds is to drag the chain from one star to another. Various combinations of front and rear sprockets allow you to adjust the cyclist’s load. But first, let’s turn to the bike drivetrain.

The transmission is all the parts and assemblies of the bicycle that provide the transfer of energy to the rotational movement of the rear wheel. The transmission consists of a carriage, a system of connecting rods, a chain, sprockets or cassette (or ratchet), front and rear derailleurs, as well as shifters (they are also sometimes called shifters).

Gear shifting occurs through the shifters located on the steering wheel. Using the rear derailleur shifter, located on the right handlebar, the chain is thrown between the rear sprockets, and using the front derailleur shifter (it is on the left on the steering wheel) between the front sprockets.

Most multi-speed bikes have three drive sprockets and six to eight driven sprockets. The fore stars are counted from small to large, and the rear stars, on the contrary, from large to small.

External switching mechanism

This type of derailleur is used on most multi-speed bikes, from city bikes (like the Forward Dortmund 28 2.0) to mountain bikes (like the Forward Apache 27.5 2.0 disc). Gear shifting is carried out using the front and rear derailleurs.

Front derailleur The front derailleur transfers the chain between the chainrings. The derailleur design has a moving frame within which the bicycle chain runs. When shifting the gears with the shifter, the frame moves and becomes above the desired star, which ensures the movement of the chain to this star.

Rear derailleur The rear derailleur is a spring-return mechanism that moves a frame (or foot) with rollers between them within a transverse axis. In one direction, the switch is moved with a cable, and in the opposite direction, with a return spring. When the derailleur is moved, the chain passed through it is thrown from one rear sprocket to another, and the chain tensioner automatically removes the chain slack.

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Advantages of external derailleurs: simple design low weight low price high number of gears

Disadvantages of external derailleurs:. highly susceptible to unfavorable external factors. need for adjustment and maintenance. risk of breakage if the bike falls down. it is impossible to change gears if the bike is stationary

Cycling gear shifting

Internal switching mechanism

City bikes often use an internal gearshift mechanism that is hidden inside the rear planetary hub. Planetary hub bikes have only one chainring and one sprocket. The number of speeds / gears of the planetary bushings is usually from 3 to 7. The planetary hub has a rather complex internal structure.

Pluses of planetary bushings: they withstand adverse weather and road conditions well, since the mechanism and all its parts are enclosed in a case and, as a result, are reliable and durable; you can switch speeds without pedaling.

Cons of planetary bushings:. heavy weight;. very difficult repairs, impossible in field conditions.

We select a men’s bike

Cycling is a great opportunity to keep yourself in shape and tone, relieve stress, get a lot of pleasure from sports records and leisurely bike rides. So, you are seriously thinking about buying a bicycle, but do not yet know which model to choose. Your confusion is understandable: it is no surprise to get lost in the variety of brands, sports disciplines and technical characteristics of bicycles, especially for a beginner. Let’s try to figure out which bike you need.

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So, in order to find the optimal model, you must first decide on the type of bike, that is, decide where and how you are going to ride. This is usually a tricky question for a beginner to answer. At first glance, all bicycles are very similar (handlebars, two wheels, gear), but characteristics such as weight, speed, cross-country ability, frame and handlebar geometry, wheel size and thickness, as well as the level of attachments, determine the specialization of the bicycle: high-speed riding on smooth asphalt, jumps and tricks, cross-country skiing, comfortable cycling in the park or in the country, etc.

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Having decided on the riding style, it is imperative to choose the right frame size for your height. If the frame is small or large, riding will only bring inconvenience and frustration. But, since most bike manufacturers make each model in several sizes, choosing the right one is not difficult.

The easiest way to find the optimal size is to stand over the frame in front of the saddle so that the saddle rests against the tailbone and the frame is between the legs. The minimum distance between the crotch and the frame should be at least two and a half centimeters. When active skiing with extreme elements, it is necessary that this distance be greater, with quiet skiing, 10 mm is enough.

To get a rough idea of ​​what size is right for you, check out the introductory table:

Cyclist height, cm: Bicycle frame size, inches:
140.150 fourteen
150.170 sixteen
170.180 17
180.190 twenty
190.200 22
200.210 24

    Once you have decided on the size of the frame, it’s time to plan the amount that you are willing to spend on the bike. assumes that the model will be entry-level with the simplest equipment. It is advisable to choose such a bike if you do not plan to perform any loads on the bike and are going to ride infrequently, at a quiet pace and for short distances. The amateur level of bikes varies from 15,000 to 30,000 rubles. For this price, you will find a solid, well-built model that, with proper care and maintenance, will serve you faithfully for years to come. If skating is not just an entertainment and a way of self-expression for you, but a business to which you devote a lot of effort and time, and in which you want to achieve and achieve professional results, then it is high time to pay attention to professional models for 45,000. 150,000 rubles. This is truly a royal technique, unkillable, amazingly high quality and capable of withstanding colossal loads without any problems.

How to switch gears on a bike

Most modern bicycles have 2-3 sprockets (front) and 7-10 sprockets (rear). The front stars are numbered from small to large, while the rear stars are numbered from large to small.

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Consider a bicycle with three driving stars and eight driven stars.

Try not to skew the chain too much, this can greatly shorten its lifespan.

Bicycle speed switching rules

Most modern bicycles have a chain drive. The force from the cyclist’s feet is transmitted through the pedals, connecting rods to the driving stars of the system, then the force is transmitted by means of a chain to the driven stars of the cassette. and then the effort is transmitted to the wheel and spins it. And the shifting of bicycle speeds occurs by jumping the chain from a chainring of one size to a chainring of a different size. When and what gear to use is very important. There are several rules for switching speeds:

  • You should only switch the bike speeds while driving;
  • Reduce foot pressure on the bicycle pedals when changing gears. It is especially difficult for the front derailleur, since it works with the circuit in the place of its constant voltage;
  • Try not to change gears when going uphill, select gear before going uphill. To switch gears during uphills, you need to have sufficient experience and good “feel” of the bike;
  • Do not switch multiple speeds at once. Go to the next speed gradually, after the chain has completely switched to the previous one;
  • Do not skew the bike chain too much.

Which gear to choose

There is such a thing as “cadence”. the cadence of the bike. It is measured in revolutions per minute. Due to the physiology of the human knee joint, the normal cadence is 80-110 rpm. With a slower rotation, the fluid in the knee joint is more viscous and it is harder for the joint to perform its functions, and with a faster rotation, the joint becomes unnecessarily stressed. You also need to remember that stress is harmful for the knee joint, and the more the joint is tense, the more friction there is.

Based on the foregoing, it follows that the choice of gear is to keep the cadence at the level of 80-110 rpm, while with constant pedal effort and the less effort the better. It is clear that the tension of the legs will be great uphill, but on a flat road you can pick up gears in which you will not need to strain at all, and the pedals will turn under the weight of the legs.

You should not start from high gears right away. You should start moving at light speeds, warm up the muscles, spin the pedals to a normal cadence and then start switching speeds up.