How can you speed a road-bike up?

  • So, I have an 80's raleigh bike, reassembled from spare parts. I'm wondering what the best way to get more speed out of the bike is. Wheels? Gears? Lighter gear? Different pedals? I'm rather fond of the frame, so I'd rather not replace that.

    Pedal faster. :)

    @xpda - I would add point yourself downhill.

    My first bike was a Raleigh. Garmin's new Rally power meter pedals seem to be spelt wrong!

  • Gabe, If you love the frame, and are willing to spend the money to keep it, start upgrading everything else. Start with:

    Wheels/tires - rotating mass will slow you down the most - go to aluminum wheels and thin/light tires size 23 or 25.

    Bottom Crank - Once again rotating mass, you can get some hollow core cranks, and adjust the chainring sizes to the biggest you can push. You can save a few grams by going to a compact crank versus a triple.

    Shifters/derailleur(s) - get some aero shifters/brakes, and upgrade to a lighter front/rear derailleur.

    Seat post, handlebars, stem - On an old raleigh, they are probably steel - you can get inexpensive aluminum replacements.

    Seat - get rid of the OG heavy seat and get something more comfortable and lighter.

    From expensive and most effective, to least expensive/effective, thats the list off the top of my head.

    Good luck on your decision, and keep those old Raleighs going, they are great bikes :)

    +1 Best answer in my opinion, because it covers many different bike parts.

    Why do you say rotating mass will slow you down the most? Wouldn't it be fairly negligible once you're up to speed, and just maintaining angular momentum?

    @naught101 I agree with you, it seems to me that once you are at speed, the mass of the wheel is irrelevant. However it is often the case that you have to *accelerate* with your bicycle, after a sharp turn or a granny crossing. In all those cases, mass is an important factor.

    What about good wheels/Hubs? I Bought some Shimano RS20's (now have Fulcrum 5's) and I found that I free wheel much faster!

    Rotating mass and acceleration: This question shows that the rotating mass slows acceleration AT MOST 2x the same non-rotating mass would slow acceleration. So a change of rims that shaves 1 pound from the bike will be like shaving 2 pounds of non-rotating weight -- measurable in a lab, but not going to make any major difference.

    I am a fan of triples and I would like to make a comment regarding weight. If you have a compact crank but need low gears, you are going to save weight *in the crank*, but ... you will have to put larger cogs in the cassette, increasing weight respect a smaller cassette that you could allow with a triple. If you consider weight overall, you are not saving too much, if at all.

    Concur - remove steel from bike; and add lightness, whether that's on the bike or the rider..

    @DanielRHicks whatever the physics, many cyclists have experience the improved ride feel - and speed - that upgrading wheels and tyres brings

    @naught101 you live somewhere pan flat, i assume.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

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