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6 Hacks To Go Faster On Your Bike For Free

6 Hacks To Go Faster On Your Bike For Free


– We probably all want to ride our bikes a little bit faster, don’t we, but we don’t all necessarily
want to ride harder. – Oh no, definitely not. So can you get faster on your bike without actually getting any fitter? Well of course you can! That is exactly what we are going to be telling you in this video, but we are not going to be
preaching the obvious things, like getting more aero or indeed what supplements you might
want to consider taking. No, today we’re getting a bit smarter. – Oh that’s right. We are going to be taking
about wind direction, air pressure, momentum,
drivetrain friction, chain line, even the time of day at which you’ll be at your best. All sorts of ways to raise the speed at which you ride your steed. First though we’re going
to have a discussion about tyre pressure. – That was awful. (cheerful pop music) – Now if you’re really
feeling the pressure it might not just be your head. It could be that you’ve
been just a little bit too overzealous with your truck pump. Now having rock hard tyres might be fast on the smooth boards of a velodrome, but how many roads do you
know that are that smooth? Not many, particularly here in the UK. Higher pressure feels faster,
but it actually isn’t. So, lowering your tyre pressure could not only give you more comfort, but more speed as well. Now recent studies have
shown that rolling resistance has two components and their effects are independent of each other. Firstly, hysteretic losses,
the loss of energy though heat, which is produced by the deformation and recovery of your tyres. And then suspension losses. These suspension losses occur
on imperfect road surfaces, Paris-Roubaix being a real prime example. Now lowering your tyre pressure means that your tyres can deform, roll over and absorb the cobbles, rather than just bounce off them. The pros in Paris-Roubaix
will run their 30c tyres at around 4 bar or only 60 psi. These recent studies have shown that suspension losses on ordinary roads are really very significant
at tyre pressures that are commonly used, I 100 to 120 psi. So, reducing your pressure,
if not to quite that extreme, will effectively do the same
thing for you on normal roads. So your tyres will absorb the bumps and blemishes on the road,
rather than bouncing over them. Faster, more comfortable and free. Now unfortunately we can’t tell you what your optimal tyre pressure will be. That will depend on your weight, your size, and also the road surface that you happen to be riding on. But also the benefit of
having decreased tyre pressure is added grip when cornering. (cheerful pop music) – Which bring us nicely,
on to our next point. Momentum is very much your friend. The more speed you can keep, the faster you are going to go,
for exactly the same effort. Now that might be having
more speed through corners cause you’ve got more grip. Or it might also come into
play as you start a climb. – That’s right, the faster
you go into a climb, the faster you will go up
it, for the same effort. The shorter the climb the
more impacts it will have. Now of course, there is a trade off. If you lose loads of energy getting to the bottom of the climb, you will have less power at
your disposal as you go up it. But there is also a sneaky trick here. – You’re right Sy, there
is a trick for this. This was something I observed, whilest doing a Sportive event last year, because I ended up in a group
of about 30 or 40 riders, obviously I have kind of hovering towards the back saving energy. – Old habits die hard. – My observation was that as you went from a decent onto a steep climb a lot of the riders towards
the back of the group weren’t giving themselves any space and so they were having to break as the riders at the
front slowed on the climb. I was a little bit sneaky, getting myself some room on the side. And what that means is you
don’t need to use your breaks and all that momentum
and speed that you have effectively carries you
from the back of the group almost to the front. Not on the front, obviously. You don’t actually want to take the wind. – No, old habits die hard. Now it might sound a
little bit like cheating, but it’s not, it’s totally fair game. It’s just an intelligent
use of your momentum. (cheerful pop music) Another observation I had at
that very same Sportive event was that there were a few riders who weren’t aware of which direction the wind was coming from. So you quickly learn as a new cyclist that there is a massive advantage of slipstreaming behind
the rider in front of you. However, far fewer people seem to learn that that energy saving sweet spot changes position when the wind
starts coming from the side. – So if the wind is coming from the left you need to be sat just off to the right of the rider in front and vice versa. If the wind is coming from
the right you need to be sat just off to the left of that rider. Now your exact position relative to them does depend on things like the wind angle, your speed, and also the wind speed. Cause you might find that
in really strong crosswinds you actually need to be overlapping the rider in front quite significantly. – Yeah there’s no
numerical formula for this, as far as we are aware,
but through trial and error you should be able to find
that sweet spot in crosswinds. And it is well worth doing
cause it will save you a whole heap of energy. Energy that you can use to go faster. – Laser on. (cheerful pop music) – Do you know why the likes of
Tony Martin and Tom Dumoulin have 58-tooth chainrings
on their TT bikes? And it’s not just because they produce far more power than us mere mortals. No, that’s only part of the story. The other thing is that running this humongous dinner
plate of a chainring means they can spend more of their time on slightly bigger cogs
on the rear cassette and it also means their
chain line is far straighter. And that in turn, means
less drivetrain friction. Now, it’s not a big difference, but it’s a power saving nonetheless. So more free speed. So for us mere mortals it could mean that it’s best to run
a compact on the front, rather than cross chaining on a 53. Meaning we can go faster. Happy days. (cheerful pop music) On a similar subject, a clean
drivetrain is a faster one. Now drivetrain friction
losses through dirt or an over stretched chain
are particularly significant. And not only that, but the lube you use can make a difference as well. In fact, did you know, that
a clean unlubricated chain is far more efficient than
an over lubricated chain? Well, neither did I, but apparently it is. And then there are some lubes that are far faster than others, in terms of reduced drivetrain friction. Unfortunately though,
a number of companies claim theirs are the fastest and have data to back up their claims. So in some ways we’re none the wiser, which is just a little bit confusing. So it’s really worth doing some research if you’re looking for
those marginal gains. (cheerful pop music) If you’re feeling under pressure that might just be your head. But weather conditions can significantly slow you down as well. Now wind and rain,
they’re the obvious ones. But did you know, that air pressure can have a big impact as well? Many of you will know that we’re able to ride faster at high altitude even though we’re unable to produce as much power. But less obvious is that
differing air pressures and temperatures are an
influence on your speed. Small daily changes in barometric pressure and temperature won’t make too
much of a difference at all, but if you’re riding after
a heavy thunderstorm, in midsummer for example,
it can make a significant difference in the air pressure. How much? Well, up to three percent gain in speed for the same power. (cheerful pop music) Now it’s not just the weather, but also time that can
influence your speed. Researchers in Brazil have found an improvement of almost seven percent when a fixed distance laboratory test was done in the evening
rather than in the morning. Admittedly that improvement
was over just one kilometre, but this evidence backed
up other previous studies. So we can safely say that you go faster if you ride in the evening. “Why?” I hear you ask. They don’t know the exact
reason and neither do I. But next time I go for a Strava KOM, it’ll be in a summer
evening after a storm. Now it’s early in the morning, the air pressure is quite high, my tyres are just a little bit too hard, my drivetrain is really filthy and to be perfectly honest with you, I think I’ve used the wrong lube as well. I might as well just go to the caff. Now for another video on speed,
“How to Go Fast for Free,” how about clicking just down here. And don’t forget to like and share.

85 comments on “6 Hacks To Go Faster On Your Bike For Free

  1. GCN should do a series on bicycle touring: How to plan a budget cross continental bike trip, 10 essential items to bring while bike packing, 6 bucket list bicycle touring landmarks, 8 under rated touring destinations, Top 5 Touring Bike brands etc. I recall they did an interview with a ginger chap back in 2015 (or '14?), but as far as I know, that's it. At the very least, it'll be new content to binge.

  2. I ride 25mm tires, weigh 58kg and am 178cm tall. I run 75psi in the front and 80psi in the back. Basically just start lowering your tire pressure until you get pinch flats and then increase it by 5psi or so. This works for me and I’ve never had a problem. (Fingers crossed, touch wood.)

  3. @gcn which headlights are you using in the sequence from 8:09–8:12? Looks like they´re integratied into the steerer tube!?

  4. I'm a serious cyclist / bike messenger over here. 100% true that when the sun starts to set in the evening I get an energy that seems to come out of Thor's ass. But in all seriousness, the difference in power output is insane. And I have a gran fondo at 6:30 in the morning…!

  5. Tyres, the difference between my winter tyres and summer tyres seems to make a significant average speed difference, about 4-5km an hour both sets are 28mm but the winter more puncture resistance tyres do seem to make the difference.

  6. I have noticed that my commute to work is slower than my commute home. I always thought it was due to difference in motivation.

  7. Here is a "tip" for reading the apparent wind.

    Stick your nose in the air as if you're trying to smell the air. What this does is turn your ears up and into the wind. Now turn your head left and right until the sound of the wind is the same in both ears. Put someone where your nose is pointing and you will be in the real draft.

    The apparent wind is a combination of your speed & direction with the true wind. The true wind is nice to know, but the apparent wind is what you are fighting. This is why the new foiling sailboats can exceed the speed of the wind by 3 – 5 times. They are sailing on the apparent wind.

  8. My question is I see you riding an orbea orca, but would an Avant be just as fast and comfortable? If I am only doing a few races a year?

  9. Riding at night is faster.
    Yes, I knew this first hand, and I also don't know why, since supposedly the air is denser at night.
    If I could guess, probably due to the cooling effects at night, and I also go faster when it was slightly raining and dark (maybe due to less friction on the road so let's leave that out for now).
    I often ride under scorching heat and wonder why I can't go fast and got tired easily, but when I returned at night I just go quite a lot faster and still feel nothing (believe it or not about +5 km/h increase). Maybe I was going tailwind at night? I'm not sure, but I sure go on the same road both ways at night and still faster overall.

  10. Sorry but the 1st one is so not true. My speed has gone way up with higher than normal pressure. According to my Strava times. Even on roads not totally smooth.

  11. Ja know, I was in work today sorting appointments, thinking 'a bet ya those gcn lads & ladette 😉 are riding around; any jobs going 😬🤣

  12. Can the air pressure affect how a tyre may feel throughout a big ride – harder in the am then softer in the pm ?

  13. That Orbea of Matt's is the fastest upgrade possible! The GCN guys ride incredible bikes, but that bike in particular just grabs the attention every time…awesome!

  14. Not only good info, but great filming on this video. When Si popped out from behind Dan, I loved it! You have a crack video and editing team, GCN. : )

  15. So I'm gonna put less pressure in tyres and ride up to high altitude in the evening just after a thunderstorm. KOM here I come! 😂

  16. Enjoyed this… how about a video on how to plan a ride/group 1, 2 or 3 club ride dependent on ability..? e.g. Length, Into wind out, wind behind back, technical level, climbing severity… oh and coffee stop's?

  17. adjusting your style/speed/etc to the bad surface segment is more rewarding than losing tire pressure 😛 and will also save you from a nasty snake bite !

  18. How many hours or how many miles as average train for normal person?? I know it is totally depends on person’s level. Just curious….

  19. Some good tips here. I would love more expert opinions on optimal tire pressure, with actual numbers. I know that there are too many variables, but give us an idea what an optimal pressure would be for three different rider weights on three different tire sizes, assuming a normal road surface. As long as we all know it’s a range, we won’t hold you to specific numbers. An idea though would be helpful. I’m sure I could google it, but it’d be more interesting to hear what you think.

  20. I pretty much always ride first thing in the morning, during high pressure systems, and overinflate my tires. Oh, and it’s dry here. No wonder I’m slow. 😂

    I use the small hill momentum thing all the time. With a couple of hard pedals I can keep my momentum going with much less effort. You mentioned the wind a few times. This is key for me since I live in a windy place. Download a wind app and try to avoid bad wind days. You’ll go faster, but more importantly, it’ll be much more enjoyable. Other free ways to go faster is to be rested and fueled properly. Final thing I’ll mention is to geek out a little bit on the data on Strava. I’ve looked at past routes and found where I was the slowest, and intentionally tried to improve those stretches, assuming it made sense for the next segments.

    Speaking of, I want some science on whether or not you go faster hitting the hills harder and slightly resting going downhill, or slightly resting going uphill and then hammering downhill…and across varying kinds of terrain scenarios (e.g. massive climb and downhill, rolling hills, etc.)

  21. Pair of clowns and hypocrites been watching these 2 closely for a while now and whilst there are the odd few good tips in there a lot of it is complete nonsense.. they just enjoy being YouTube stars

  22. Just a tip for understanding the wind directon coming from a sailor. Try to look around you, when you feel air making turbulence "noise" on both of your ears it means that you're looking in the direction from wich the wind is coming from. Now just imagine the line of the wind direction and align yourself keeping you and the cyclist in front on that line.

  23. I weigh 236 pounds (107kg). If I hit the pavement with a tire pressure under 100 psi, I might as well be riding in chocolate syrup. I still run rim brakes on 23mm tires as well. I have no need for low pressure motorcycle tires nor disc brakes on my Madone.

  24. No, I dont want to ride any faster, what for??. Also, can someone tell me what they mean by "training wheels" I hear It quite alot. Am I the only one watching who doesnt race/belong to a club/do Sportives???? I do it cause I like it, must be in the minority

  25. I found myself riding faster in the morning (pre work) than in the evening (post work). But what really makes me faster is a nice, warm and sunny day! 🙂

  26. Hey gcn i have a very heavy bike because i have aluminum frame i change my wheel set to shimano rs11 in became lighter but still heavy when i upgtade my fork to carbon you thing it will make it lighter

  27. You guys have got to do a video about marginal weight loss gains – what makes a difference? The mass of your clothes? Trimming your finger nails? Removing stickers from your bike? How much does the dirt add on a dirty bike? What about long hair? How much can be saved if you add it all up?

  28. Perfect advice to get pinch flats. I say 80-100psi. Some of mine go to 115like my turbo cottons.. No problem at these pressures.

  29. I have a road surface here like in this video, everytime I ride I kept the pressure at 100 psi, so if I lower the pressure to around 80-85 psi will it actually go faster?

  30. Simon's sunglasses with clear plastic frame and red lens? Anyone know where I can cop a pair/if they work well on the bike?

  31. I have a cheep bike.. I mean like cheepest bike ever 2009 vipera. Never washt it still i ride better than all those who have super bikes and does this and that to the bike so on and so on. I realy cant feel the different even if i do all that smal changes this video is telling. The best i can do is this 3 thing
    Food, Sleep and no party…….. than i can have a good day on the bike i think

  32. How about using lower pressure only in the front tire? I've been doing that for a long time for city riding, with the rationale that the front wheel is the one that hits objects hard.

  33. The lower pressure "hack"(although it's more like general advice) doesn't work all that easy. Yes, probably in the UK it might make perfect sense, but in Austria, roads and cycleplaths are quite decent. So my regular pressure is 103-104psi in the rear(23mm Conti Gp 4000 SII on 17c rims) and 98psi in the front. I lowered it to 95 front and 100 in the rear and my fatigue level did go up noticably. Not humongous diffrences, but easily feelable. Especially when going more than 40km/h on the flat, I have to make more torque with the same gearing and cadence when compared to my normal pressure.

    As long as I don't have brutally bad roads to face, 103re/98fr is my prefered pressure

  34. Actually lowering tire pressure makes you go slower and you have to work harder to go faster like a car or anything with wheels. This video is debunked

  35. The best way to improve your speed is going to the worst hood of your city, at night and try to get out with your bike

  36. low tire pressure = bent rims, if you ride in a city like toronto, on carbon rims. i would run low pressure on 20 dollar rims, but no more than that.

  37. Thank you for your Video. I did nor search through the comments and all other Videos, so maybe it was already asked, or discussed in another video.
    My question to lower tire pressure: – How does this affect a puncture? Does a lower tire pressure mean more puncture?

  38. fucken hell I didn't notice he's riding on the left of the road until I saw a car coming across the screen from the right path, my brain instantly thought he's crashing now but then I remembered, it's the fucken UK

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