Cycling is a lot of fun, and riding a bike is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. One very exciting part of riding a bike is going fast, and you might be surprised at how quickly bikes are able to go when pushed to their limit with the correct rider.
In this article, we will be telling you what you need to know regarding how fast a bike can go. We will discuss what makes a bike fast, the fastest a bike has been on several records, and much more.
Bike Speed Records
Here are some of the best bike speed records you will hear about. We get our information from Wikipedia and other sources and are only up to date for when this article was released.
Fasted A Bike Has Been Ever Ridden (Indoors) – 334 km
This was done by Bruce Bursford from the UK. It was done on bicycle rollers, and he was motor-paced up to 100 mph.
The tires had helium and bearings in them and were made of Silica. He, unfortunately, died in 2000 while training on a local road.
Fasted A Bike Has Been Ridden (Outdoors) – 296 km
Denise Mueller-Korenek from America achieved this record. She rode a bike at 296 km on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
She was motor paced up to 160 kph, then continued to ride behind a car’s slipstream until the top speed.
Fastest Downhill On Snow (Outdoors, Unpaced) – 227 km
This record was achieved by Eric Barone, who used a prototype bike to achieve this feat. Not only has he broken this record, he has done it three times, breaking his own record.
Fastest Hour (Indoors, Unpaced) – 56.792 km
This is one of the most prestigious records when it comes to cycling, and many professionals chase this. The most recent update to this record was Filippo Ganna from Italy, who was able to hold a 56.792 kph average for a whole hour.
What Makes A Bike Fast?
When it comes to going fast on a bike, there are a lot of factors that affect it. In this next section, we will discuss what makes the biggest differences.
The rider is the most important part when it comes to making a bike go fast. Not only do they have to power the bike, but also they have to have the confidence to go fast and stay in control. It takes incredible fitness to push a bike forward at high speeds.
The Bike’s Design
It doesn’t just come down to having a lightweight bike on thin tires, which makes a bike fast. It has to be designed to slice through the wind correctly and to be stable at high speeds, alongside being lightweight and durable.
The Bike’s Gearing
To reach high speed, you can’t rely on gravity and a tailwind to go fast. You also need the ability to power at high speed, which comes from gearing.
A large chainring on the front will be essential to not run out of gears. It’s not rare for riders to be pulled up to a certain speed, then drop a tow and continue on their own if the gearing is too high to get started.
Going downhill is going to give you the best chance of going as quickly as possible. You will also find smoother ground will give less tire rolling resistance. Many riders turn to the track as this is where you have a big advantage compared to the road.
Then we have aerodynamics. As soon as the rider and the bike go past 15 mph, then aerodynamics plays a very big part. The quicker you go, the thicker the air gets, which the bike has to go through. The rider and bike must cut through the air as cleanly as possible.
You will also find the conditions will make a big difference. Having a tailwind to push you can add a lot of extra speed compared to a headwind that will hold you back. Having the optimum temperature goes a long way to help the rider too.
What Does A High-Speed Bike Look Like?
When it comes to high-speed bikes, they come in all different shapes depending on the record they are trying to break. Here’s a good example of a high-speed bike and what makes it so special.
Filippo Ganna’s Hour Record Bike
The bike for the hour record was 3D printed. It needed to tick a lot of boxes, from being incredibly aerodynamic, comfortable, and stiff to transfer power perfectly. This bike was able to do that but also had incredibly high gearing for going fast, along with disc wheels front and back.
A rule of the hour record is that the bike must be available to buy for anyone, and the Pinarello Bolide F HR 3D can be bought at the budget price of only $60,000 and even comes with free 3D handlebars to your specification.
A Final Note
Cycling is an amazing sport, and as its popularity grows, more people are trying to go faster and further. If you plan on seeing how fast you can go, we highly recommend approaching it cautiously and always having safety as your number one priority.
Read next: What is the Average Road Bike Speed?
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.