How Fast Can A Road Bike Go Downhill – Bicycles In Motion

How Fast Can A Road Bike Go Downhill

How Fast Can A Road Bike Go Downhill

The fastest downhill speeds ever achieved on a bicycle were over 138 miles per hour, but that was in exceptional circumstances because the road was covered in snow.

Sadly, the type of bicycle wasn’t included in the record, though it seems likely to be a road bike. Mountain bikes are usually slower. How fast can a road bike go downhill?

The average bike rider can travel downhill on a road bike at speeds around 13 to 15 mph. However, pro racers can travel downhill on a road bike at speeds up to 65 mph due to training and experience.

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What’s The Fastest Speed On A Road Bike Downhill

Although I couldn’t find a world record for riding a road bike downhill, there are downhill sections on one of the world’s most prestigious races.

The Tour De France covers various terrains, including flat, uphill, and downhill segments.

During some downhill portions of the Tour, cyclists can reach speeds up to 65 miles per hour which is equal to around 110 kilometers per hour.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any studies to show the absolute fastest ever, and few records cover downhill portions of road bike racing.

Typically the races are timed, and the average speed of the fastest racer is extrapolated based on the distance, but that doesn’t tell you how quickly they went down any particular hill.

How Fast Do Professional Cyclists Ride Downhill On A Road Bike

The funny answer to ‘how fast do professional cyclists ride downhill on a road bike’ is ‘as fast as they can.

However, this seemingly silly answer is right on the nose. If your job is riding a bike, you are racing for relatively short distances or more extended endurance events; either way, it is still a race.

A racer can cut a little time and possibly pull ahead by milking the downhill portions for as much speed as possible.

An expected speed for a road bike traveling downhill is around 13 miles per hour or 17 kph.

Assuming the professional cyclists in question are at least approaching the same skill and fitness level as the Tour De France riders and have similar road conditions, then the speed is greater.

A pro rider would reach speeds of 40 to 60 miles per hour.

How To Go Faster On A Road Bike Going Downhill

Whether you’re looking for a thrill or you want to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for riding a road bike downhill, you need to be extremely fast and safe.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to go faster on a road bike going downhill.

Below is a list to help you reach maximum velocity.

  • Train Your Muscles – The faster you can pedal, the quicker you will travel.
  • Choose A Steeper Hill – Although you should always use common sense and proper safety equipment, a steeper hill will get you moving faster.
  • Check Your Posture – Proper road bike posture is aerodynamic, so you will move much faster than you would while sitting upright.
  • Wear Tight Clothing – Cyclists don’t wear spandex because it’s high fashion or the most comfortable. Tight clothing has less wind resistance and makes you cut through the air with less friction.
  • Lighten Your Load – Don’t carry anything with you when you ride downhill for speed, and choose the lightest frame and tires you can manage because they will cause the least fatigue and let you pedal as fast as you can for longer.
  • Draft or Wait For A Breeze – Whether you use the vacuum behind a vehicle or natural wind to push you along, you can reach speeds that you wouldn’t usually achieve.

Can You Go 30, 40, Or 50 Mph On A Road Bike Downhill

Most riders in okay shape on average road bikes will not go 30, 40, or 50 mph on a road bike downhill.

Though it is possible to reach these speeds, it isn’t easy, and most people prefer to remain safe and uninjured.

That said, if you put your mind to it, you can train your body up to a professional level, at which point, yes, you can go 30 to 50 miles per hour downhill on your road bike.

Who Is Faster Downhill A Heavier or Lighter Bicycler

It is a common misconception that more weight will make objects move downward faster due to gravity.

Alternately I have seen people argue that pedaling a lighter bike (the same speed) will make it go more quickly, which is also incorrect. The simple fact is that weight affects neither speed nor gravity.

A 50 pound bike and a 5 pound bike will fall or roll at the same speed if the only force applied is gravity.

Likewise, a rider pedaling either of these bikes twenty miles per hour will still be going twenty miles per hour. However, there are a few things that can affect downhill speed.

The fitness and stamina of the rider will make a bike go faster downhill. Similarly, a well-maintained bike will likely go faster because it is functioning and adequately lubricated, so there’s no added friction slowing it down.

A smoother road with a steeper incline makes a bike go faster and having no wind can also help.

Finally, an aerodynamic riding position with tight-fitting clothing can help you speed up, but none of those things have to do with weight.

The only way weight could make a difference is if it was significant enough to impact the rider’s stamina.

For this to matter, it would need to be a long downhill stretch because adding weight over time and distance will eventually fatigue the muscles and cause the rider to pedal slower.

Helpful Tips To Know About How Fast A Road Bike Can Go Downhill

Most road bikes max out around fifteen miles per hour downhill with regular, non-professional riders. However, road bikes made for peletons and piloted by the pros can go more than four times that speed.

Here are more helpful tips to know about how fast a road bike can go downhill.

  • Bikes often have a top speed that is as fast as the parts they are equipped with can handle. Although it will usually be much faster than average riders go, you can expect premade bikes to top out around forty-five to fifty miles per hour without any modifications.
  • According to Wired, “On Sunday, September 16, 2018, Denise Mueller-Korenek broke the bicycle land speed record of 167 mph, hitting 183.932 mph at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats.” This record was on flat land and used a racecar to draft at that speed, but it is fair to assume that if a long enough straight enough downhill stretch of land existed, she could probably do the same or even go faster.
  • According to one estimate from GCN Tech, the fastest riders are going downhill is around 130 kilometers per hour or about 80 mph. For more information on how they came to this conclusion, I recommend checking out this video.

Final Thoughts

The thrill of riding a road bike downhill is well worth it but learning to go even faster is more fun.

How fast a road bike can go downhill ultimately depends on the rider, road, weather, and bike.

In the perfect conditions, with lots of training and a race car to draft behind, a pro racer could go over 100 miles an hour, and an unassisted Tour De France or Olympic cyclist could get up to 70 mph, but most of us won’t go much over 15 mph.

However, there aren’t many downhill road bike related records so that anyone could raise the bar. Will it be you?

Brian Smith

Brian is the founder of Bicycles In Motion and an avid cyclist for 17 years. On the weekends, he enjoys exploring new bike trails and countryside roads to enjoy the outdoors.

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