This is a question that has confounded people for as long as biking has been around. Although it feels like you’re going really, really fast when you’re whizzing down a hill on two wheels, that is because of the momentum and gravity, which are working together to make you go faster when going downhill compared to when you are going uphill.
That’s what makes it so much fun, you’re going faster than you normally would, and the view is amazing. In this article, I’m going to try and answer the question “how fast can a bike go downhill?”
How fast can a bike go on the downhill?
On average normal road bikes can safely go 40 mph down a very steep hill. That’s basically the same speed as a car going around the corner. However, because of the momentum and gravity working together to push you faster downhill, it’s an almost unfair comparison to make.
The average person weighing 170 lbs can go much lower on a very steep downhill, while that same weight will be in danger of serious injury if they were to go much higher. Most cyclers reported going anywhere between 30 to 45 mph downhill and that is considered a “safe” speed and recommended by the bicycle industry.
If you’ve ever been on a downhill ride and had to brake suddenly because of a car coming around a curve, you’ll know that the brakes don’t work very well on steep downhills. The rider explained that what they were experiencing was actually aerodynamics as opposed to braking due to gravity.
The bike was also going too fast for a fast or slow descent. It is true that some bicycles can reach a faster speed than 45 mph downhill in fact some can go as fast as 65 mph depending on the quality of the bicycle, surface, and the rider him/herself, and that will allow the rider to get more acceleration out of a hill but it should be noted that the higher speeds can easily result in an accident.
It’s also very important to note that bike racers, who are going for speed, will go much faster than other cyclists and will not be able to maintain those speeds for very long and therefore should never be allowed to ride on public roads.
Factors that influence how fast a bike can go on a downhill
Higher-quality bicycles will generally be able to go faster than lower-quality bicycles. This is because high-quality bicycles are made with stronger frames that are more capable of withstanding the effects of going fast downhill.
Poorly built bikes could easily break apart while going too fast downhill. It’s very important to choose your bike carefully and make sure it is up to par with whatever you’re doing such as commuting, racing, or mountain biking.
The surface of the road will also play a big role in the speed at which you can go. If the road is unpaved and rough, it’s going to be much harder to go faster because the bike will be bouncing around a lot more and therefore slowing you down. A well-maintained smooth asphalt road, on the other hand, is going to be much easier to maintain speed.
Riders with more experience are going to be able to go faster than inexperienced riders. Regardless of the bicycle’s quality, the rider is going to be the biggest factor in determining how fast you can go on downhill.
Hills are considered to be more difficult than flat surfaces. When you’re riding up a hill, your breathing and heart rate are higher because you have a lot more exertion while moving up the hill and therefore it requires more effort than cycling on a flat surface where you’re just coasting along and not going anywhere in particular.
Just like airplanes, bikes have aerodynamics. If you’re riding downhill and don’t have much of a headwind, it is going to be much easier to go faster because there’s no resistance or drag slowing you down.
Gravity and Slope:
The big one here is gravity. It’s going to play a big role in how fast a bike can go downhill. The more gravity there is, the faster the rider can go.
There are so many things that will affect how fast you can go downhill but the ones listed above are probably going to be the most important factors because they basically have to do with the bike in relation to rider and rider experience.
Can you go 60 mph on a bike?
It’s pretty tough to go even 50 mph downhill on a traditional road bike. That’s why you don’t see many riders going 60 mph or more downhills, and most people will agree that they haven’t even seen cyclists going that fast on hills. You can certainly go that fast with a good bike and great momentum but I don’ recommend anyone to do that.
A lot of people have different opinions on this topic and some might be waiting for someone to go way beyond the speed limit but I’m really not too sure if that’s a good idea. I’d have to say that 45 mph on a steep downhill is probably the fastest anyone should go on a bike. That speed is considered safe and you should still be able to grab your brakes if something unexpected happens at that speed.
Starting on a starter tricycle at the age of 2, Danny has rarely been off a bike ever since. He spends most weekends riding through the woods near his house or taking longer bike trips on the road.