What is an average mountain bike speed? If you are a promising mountain biker or you recently picked up mountain biking as a hobby, you will be interested to know how much speed you can reach.
Generally speaking, the average mountain biker can reach a speed of 14 miles per hour, but experienced and skilled bikers can average a slightly higher speed. When riding on the road rather than a trail, they can cover up to 17 miles an hour.
As you already know, mountainous ranges are very difficult to navigate, so it is only natural that biking speed will drop. In fact, in very rough trails, the speed may drop below the average 14 miles per hour range.
What Is The Average Speed Of A Mountain Bike On Smooth Roads?
Mountain bikers move faster when riding on roads. If the road is smooth and free of bumps and obstacles, a biker can reach a top speed of 23 miles per hour. But this speed will drop drastically if the grade increases by a few percentage points. In certain instances, it can drop to as low as 12.4 miles per hour which is a near 50% drop.
A table depicting the average mountain bike speed of a 70 kg biker riding on a 12 kg bike.
Speed (Miles Per Hour)
Speed (KM Per Hour)
Why Are Mountain Bikes Slower Than Conventional Bikes?
Mountain bikes are slow for reasons you may not have thought of, and it has nothing to do with your weight. The weight of the bike impacts speed, but it is not the only factor though.
Here are some factors that make mountain bikes much slower than conventional bikes.
• Weight gravity
• Rolling distance
From the above, it is true that the weight of the bike is one of the reasons why it is slow, but aerodynamics impacts speed more than any other factor. Mountain bikes are designed to have wide handlebars and a very high front. These designs make the frontal area very large and expand against the incoming wind.
So as you are in motion, the wind limits the speed at which you can go. This is why the higher the speed, the higher the resistance will increase exponentially. This best explains why mountain riders cannot reach the top speed that road bikers can reach even when riding on a smooth path with no obstruction or bump. It is down to how the bike is designed.
The other major factor is the rolling distance. Tire rolling distance is affected by the terrain, the combined weight of the bike and the rider and the nature of the tires. The tires of mountain bikes, in particular, are known to be very wide and have hard patterns which create higher resisting force. This resisting force makes the bike slower.
The average mountain bike can weigh as much as 12kg, and the resisting effect becomes active if the road grade is above 0%. Compared to road bikes, mountain bikes are much slower due to aerodynamics factors and weight.
Mountain Bikes On Roads
But how fast can a mountain bike be on the road when moving at top speed? With this bike, you can reach a top speed of 32 miles per hour. Riding on paved roads is much easier as there are no obstructions or bumps that will reduce the speed of the rider.
Mountain Bike vs. Road Bike
The average speed difference between a mountain bike and a road bike is between 5-10 miles per hour on a paved road, with road bikes being the fastest. This is simply because road bikes are much lighter and have lower tire roll resistance.
Road bikes have thinner tires with more pressure. So you can cover longer distances with a road bike in less time. It is also easier to lean forward towards your elbows stand angle of 90 degrees
The Average Downhill Speed Of A Mountain Bike
The average downhill speed of a mountain bike is 44.8 miles per hour regardless of whether it is a rocky hill or a smooth terrain.
The factors that determine how fast a rider goes downhill will depend on his pedaling speed, and more importantly, the nature of obstacles in front of him. With little or no obstacles on his path, he will move much faster.
How To Increase The Average Speed Of A Mountain Bike?
Like we pointed out in a previous paragraph, the speed of a mountain bike will depend on several factors, including the obstacles on the path. However, you can improve your speed by a certain degrees by doing the following.
Your Weight Matters
First and foremost, you need to evaluate your weight. Remember we said that the total weight impacts speed. By total weight, we mean your weight and the bike’s weight combined.
Climbing hilly terrains is a lot more difficult, and weight reduces how fast you can go. Although the speed increase caused by weight drop may not be significant, however in a competitive race, a few seconds can decide winners and losers.
You can increase the average mountain bike speed on a flat trail by positioning your elbow at 90 degrees. This position alone can save you as much as 14% power because it offers low wind resistance, and you increase your speed.
Experienced bikers understand the importance of positioning that is why they tend to maintain the 90-degree angle posture most of the time during a race.
Use Low Resistance Tires
Another way to increase speed is to change your tires resistance. This move alone will increase your speed substantially. But be mindful of the tires you use because mountainous terrains are tougher and have spikes. So make sure the tires you use are durable, so they don’t puncture.
You can increase there aerodynamics of your bike by choosing the right gear and clothing. The frame, helmet, handlebars and frame can make your bike lighter and faster. Even the clothing you wear can add to the overall weight on the bike, so be mindful of that.
You can train to increase your speed by adding more power to your pedaling. If you can pedal at a consistent rate for one hour uninterrupted, your speed will improve maximally.
To improve speed, consider training on your endurance and limbs. You can start your rides by riding faster than your average speed and hold that speed for as long as you can. If you do this consistently, your speed will increase over time.
A Quick Summary
Mountain bikes are much slower than road bikes, but you can improve your average speed by making your bike more flexible and lighter by wearing lighter gear, losing weight and changing your tires to low resistant models. How you position yourself when you are in motion also matters. By maintaining a 90 degrees elbow position, your speed will increase significantly.
In conclusion, another way to increase average mountain bike speed is to train yourself to maintain a constant speed for an extended period.
If you can do this as part of our training routine, your speed is bound to increase.