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  1. #1
    Slowly but surely...
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    How Fast is Fast?

    So I've been trying to push a little harder when commuting. I ride my only bike, an FS with knobbies. I've been smoked by a couple roadies, but I've also passed a few. My commute is by no means flat. More downhill on the way to work and mor uphill on the way back. I have no computer, but based on distance (about 10 miles) and travel time, I figure I average 17 mph on the way in and 14 on the way home, if I'm pushing myself.
    Considering the hills, I would guess I'm probably getting top speeds in the low to mid 20's on flat pavement.

    So my question is, on a fairly efficient FS MTB that weighs around 29 lbs with knobbies, is this somewhat fast, or do I have reason to push myself harder? (not that I wouldn't keep trying to push myself harder anyways )
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.
    - Juli Furtado

  2. #2
    I Ride for Donuts
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
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    On a fully suspended mountian bike with knobbies?

    I hereby declare you somewhat fast. Congratulations.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  3. #3
    Slowly but surely...
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    On a fully suspended mountian bike with knobbies?

    I hereby declare you somewhat fast. Congratulations.
    Sweet! Now I've just got to figure out if I would get enough increase in speed/decrease in time to make it worth my while to get some slicks. Any ideas how much this would up speed by? (guesstimate)
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.
    - Juli Furtado

  4. #4
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I'd bet you could up your average by 2.5 mph on the way to work, and 1.5 on the way home, with minimal change in perceived effort. Guesstimate.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  5. #5
    can't get here by wishin
    Reputation: fredfight's Avatar
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    that's fast

    17 mph on a fs with nobbies is haulin' imo... i average 18ish on my road bike and i like to think that's pretty damn fast for a 17 mile commute.

  6. #6
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    Panaracer folding Pasela TourGuard 26 x 1.25" tires with Continental 650 Lite tubes (technically 650C tubes) are a very light combo with low air drag due to their narrowness, and of course low rolling resistance. If your rims are narrow enough to be covered by the 1.25" width OK, then that's one combo to consider. The tires are about 250 grams each (in the kevlar-beaded folding version), and the tubes are about 65 grams each. You're down into roadie territory there

    Downsides: the wheel doesn't go as far per revolution with smaller tires, so hopefully your high gear is high enough that you're not spun out when going downhill. Also, the bike will sit lower to the ground, which means you could scrape a pedal easier if you're pedalling through corners.

    Bigger picture: why not get a computer, the Cateye Velo 8 is a good + cheap one

  7. #7
    Slowly but surely...
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfight
    17 mph on a fs with nobbies is haulin' imo... i average 18ish on my road bike and i like to think that's pretty damn fast for a 17 mile commute.
    I thought it was fast, but then this guy on a road bike flew by me like I was coasting and I thought "maybe it's not that fast." I tried to catch up with him, but the best I could do was make sure he wasn't widening the gap quite as quickly

    Thanks CommuterBoy and mechBgon for the info. I guess I know what to ask for for Christmas this year
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.
    - Juli Furtado

  8. #8
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    on very flat dirt on my ~28lbs fs bike with negegals, im hitting 17-18mpg on the flats, at a high effort, but something i can sustain. i can hit 20 burning myself out.

    i dont think 25mph is uncommon for roadies going flat.

  9. #9
    I'm "bad" different
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    if you're just using this bike for commuting, I would definately go with the lightest slicks I could get. I switched from a 26x1.95 wire bead slick to a 26x1.5 aramid bead slick and picked up an easy 1-2mph on flat. I don't know what the weight difference was between the two tires, but it felt significant. My bike weighs about 45lbs with all my stuff loaded up and I can comfortably cruise 22mph on flat. With 2 cups of coffee that goes up to about 24mph. I'd let the roadies go, it's like trying to fight the wind - don't bother.

    Tomsmoto - 17-18mpg?? I get better mileage in my truck. You need to switch energy drinks bro.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmdj
    I thought it was fast, but then this guy on a road bike flew by me like I was coasting and I thought "maybe it's not that fast." I tried to catch up with him, but the best I could do was make sure he wasn't widening the gap quite as quickly

    Thanks CommuterBoy and mechBgon for the info. I guess I know what to ask for for Christmas this year
    Hey, ask for money to go buy a used road bike in your size and fix it up a bit. You don't have to bring a knife to a gunfight My old '82 Trek with fenders and a rear rack is still fairly efficient in steady road cruising... not that much slower than my full-on road racer, actually.

  11. #11
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    Im with every one else You really should get some slicks. 1.25 or 1.5 then you will definatly be FAST. I too am riding FS and dont think i would get a road bike ( dont see cars or motor cycles with out suspension). I even did a century ride on it and passed a butt load of roadies over the last 20 miles. as for gearing just get a compatilble rear road cassete that way you got more Fast gears to chose from. I got a 48 XTR big ring i guess a 44 might not be enough but you never said what u were running. Anyway have fun in your persuit of speed.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmdj
    So I've been trying to push a little harder when commuting. I ride my only bike, an FS with knobbies. I've been smoked by a couple roadies, but I've also passed a few. My commute is by no means flat. More downhill on the way to work and mor uphill on the way back. I have no computer, but based on distance (about 10 miles) and travel time, I figure I average 17 mph on the way in and 14 on the way home, if I'm pushing myself.
    Considering the hills, I would guess I'm probably getting top speeds in the low to mid 20's on flat pavement.

    So my question is, on a fairly efficient FS MTB that weighs around 29 lbs with knobbies, is this somewhat fast, or do I have reason to push myself harder? (not that I wouldn't keep trying to push myself harder anyways )
    I suggest u get a cyclometer. It is really a good motivator. It's never enough for speed!!!

  13. #13
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    Your speeds are plenty fast. If you got a road bike, you'd be blowing by others for sure. I used to commute on fs bikes, but then I scored a road bike with disk brakes for commuting (Novara Big Buzz), and I'll never commute on my mtbk again. Going faster on roads is more fun than poking along. Because road biking does not have all the cool and fun challenages of mountain biking, I try to go fast to keep it interesting.
    Just Ride!

  14. #14
    Slowly but surely...
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    Thanks everyone for the thoughts and advice. If I don't scout out an old cross or road bike on craigs list, at least slicks will be on my wish list.

    BTW, wasn't going to fast last night. Dang BB locked up a mile into my 10 mile commute home. Made for a long walk. I think I averaged about 3 mph
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.
    - Juli Furtado

  15. #15
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    I would say your average speed is 15.5 mph. You can't really count just your downhill average, or the uphill. You need to average them together.
    "Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"

  16. #16
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    I ride a nobby fs and i run around 15-17 mph top end, but more likely im Just crusing at about 10-11mph. Strange thing about it is it always seems like im in a bigger hurry to get home then i am going to work. No need wasting energy getting somewhere that i can sit down afterwords.

  17. #17
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    15.75 miles one way down hill at first flat in middle and hill at the end both ways
    39-45 mins depending on head wind and weather
    monocog flight 29 700x35 and a 34-14 gearing

    i usally average about 22-24 mph. i would like to be faster but runing the bigest gear i feel comfy turning up hill

  18. #18
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    On my old full rigid mountain bike with Schwalbe Marathons at 80-90psi I am running at 17-19mph on flat roads (there are no real hills on my 26 mile commute). I'll wander up to 20 or so from time to time but not usually. When I have a tailwind, I try to exploit it and have held it at 24 for several miles. That wears me out but it's fun. Note, this is usually with a pannier loaded with about 10 pounds of crap. I don't think weight hurts you much once you are moving on the flat...it's accelerating and climbing where it kills you.

    There's a guy I have seen a couple times on my commute that rides a Red Line Conquest with disk brakes. He passed me once and I kicked up the pace and drafted him the rest of the way until I needed to turn. I didn't have a speedo at the time but I know we were clipping along. I saw him a couple weeks ago when he entered the road a long way in front of me. I tried to catch him and was closing the gap for a long time but I couldn't keep up the pace on my old bike with a loaded pannier.

    By way of calibration, a friend of mine who races road, mountain and triathlons tries to maintain an AVERAGE 20mph for long training rides on his roadbike. He says that he gets up to 27 or 28 when he's pushing it. He's not Ironman class though. He says those guys are nuts fast.

  19. #19
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    Speaking of calibration, the rolling diameter of the Pasela 26 x 1.25" tires I mentioned is about 1940 millimeters, for computer-calibration purposes (measured using the rollout method). That's about 7% lower than my mid-sized knobbies, enough to merit recalibrating one's computer. Good for knowing just how fast you were going when you hit a 12% grade with a tailwind...


    [SIZE="1"]Now see here, officer, there's no way I was going 60mph. This thing's CALIBRATED and stuff. (but let me go back up the hill and I'll try again!)[/SIZE]

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    Now see here, officer, there's no way I was going 60mph. This thing's CALIBRATED and stuff.[/SIZE]
    You aren't fooling anyone. We all know you held a drill motor next to your sensor to do that. Stinkin' roadie.

  21. #21
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    Hehe, well if you're ever in Spokane, descend Charles Road and see if you can break 60mph I actually lost one wheel reflector on that descent... I guess I need the special Z-rated wheel reflectors?

  22. #22
    BIG and Bald
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    The fastest I've ever gone is 38 mph (yes it was on a decline). I could have probably gotten more speed but at this point my butt was puckered so tight all I could concentrate on was hoping my brakes wouldn't fail. Maybe it's my size but pushing anything past 30 just makes me feel uncomfortable.
    [SIZE="2"][SIZE="3"]Eat to Live[/SIZE][/SIZE]...[SIZE="3"]not the other way around[/SIZE]

  23. #23
    Tossin the salad.
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    OP - I think your avg speed is very damn good being on a mt bike and with knobs. You'll haul ass if you were on a 700cc tire. If you can swap, put some roady slicks on your bike, you'll get much better roll resistance.

    Even on my roady, on level road, I can get about 29 mph and avg about 17, but since I have a Velo5 cateye, it will not gimme the avg, unlike the cateye velo8, which I plan to get. Keep the feet on the crank, your kickin a**!!

  24. #24
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    On a bike, someone passing you at "just" 1 mph will seem pretty fast. Switching to slicks will give your average speed at least that much of a boost.

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