When it comes to speed, not everything depends on having the best bicycle components. In this post we’ll give you some tips to improve your speed and make your bike lighter at no cost.
Clean up after training
Remember that dirt can get embedded in the bike chain, transmission and cables. All this can greatly damage the mechanism and cause our components to wear out faster.
Taking a few minutes to clean up after each ride is fundamental for proper bike maintenance.
Check and adjust the brakes
The less friction caused by your brakes, the faster we can go. If your brakes are inadequately adjusted, the brake pad can rub against the wheel or the disc.
Not only that, without proper brake adjustment we can lose confidence, which in more complicated sections will make us lose speed or corner more slowly.
If tyre pressure is too low we will lose speed and be more susceptible to getting punctures, but if it’s too high the tyres will vibrate and bounce, losing traction and causing loss of control.
Of course, when measuring tyre pressure there are several factors to consider. Your ideal pressure level will depend on whether you practice any of the MTB disciplines or ride on the road, on the model of your tyres, the type of terrain… all this has to be taken into account. The best way to find the right pressure is to keep a record of your tyre pressure every time you go out on a ride and see which gives you the best results. You can also find different tables supplied by the manufacturer with recommended pressure levels. Note that maximum pressure is not the same as ideal pressure.
One of the essential elements for good performance is to keep the chain clean and lubricated. To do this, you just have to apply oil while rotating the cranks and then wipe off any excess oil.
Once you’ve taken care of your chain, check that all the moving parts are also well lubricated. Check the bottom bracket, headset and wheel hubs.
It may seem obvious, but we have to make sure that our saddle is at the right height, neither too high nor too low. Even if we use top-of-the-range oval chainrings with the right OCP, we still have to take saddle height into account.
If we don’t, not only will we lose speed, but we’ll be more likely to suffer some kind of injury. Generally, to measure the height of the saddle we multiply our leg length by 1.07 (women) or 1.09 (men). This gives us the optimal distance from the bottom bracket when the cranks are in the furthest position.
Check the gears
If we detect a noise or find it difficult to shift gears, it’s time to check and adjust our bike’s transmission. There’s nothing worse than gears that jump continuously or chainrings you can’t rely on in complicated situations.
Adjust pedal tension
To avoid scares or falls when stopping, it is essential that we adjust cleat tension on our clipless pedals.
An element that many novice cyclists miss is taking account of aerodynamics to gain speed. A one-piece jumpsuit, aerodynamic water bottle, shoes or helmet can help you gain a bit of efficiency on your rides.
Another thing we can do to improve aerodynamics is to lower the front of the bike. Of course, this is something we have to do little by little to avoid possible injuries due to changing our position on the bike. To lower the front, we just have to remove the fork and take out some of the spacers.