5 More Hacks To Make Your Bike Even Faster

5 More Hacks To Make Your Bike Even Faster


– Back again to help you
go faster on your bike. Recently I gave you five hacks to make your bike just
that little bit faster. And well, as ever, you lot
got stuck into the comments and gave me some suggestions of your own. So here’s five more ways in which you can really
increase your speed. I feel the need, the need for speed. (upbeat music) (logo whooshes) Yep, a controversial one to start with but lowering your stem is a sure fire way to get a little bit of extra speed. And if you go really extreme
you could end up looking like a downhill skier. But what’s the purpose behind it then? Well, it’s actually to capture
less air with your upper body and according to some tests out there, if you were to lower your
stem by 20 millimeters, you could in fact reduce
your aerodynamic drag by up to 10 watts which
is pretty big numbers, I’m sure you’ll agree actually,
in this marginal game game. Now, James Lowsley-Williams’ bike here, he’s already lowered it quite a bit but he’s got about five
millimeters there to play with. So, he too could even save
himself a little bit of time if he’s doing a time trial for instance. However, it’s not all plain sailing because you have to be
able to hold that position once you’ve slammed your stem. Because you are going to
be using different muscles and also engaging your
core more, certainly so it’s something worth bearing in mind. If you are gonna go ahead
and slam or reduce the height of your stem, make sure you
do it in gradual increments. I would suggest no more than
five millimeters at a time and over a period of time too, just to actually get used to that position and see if you can hold it. (upbeat music) So you’ve slammed your stem,
or at least maybe you have. Now, we’re gonna go a little bit narrower at the front end too. So, we’re gonna go for
some narrower handlebars. So, traditionally, riders
used to choose handlebar width loosely based on the
width of their shoulders. So, you go into a bike shop and quite simply hold
up a pair of handlebars and hope that they match
in with your shoulders. However, that trend has
been bucked in recent years. So, let’s say over the
last five years or so, riders have actually been
dropping down a couple of centimeters here or there to get a little bit narrower of course, therefore reducing you
frontal area enabling you to just get through that
wind a little bit easier. However, some riders have
quite simply taken it to the extreme, for instance, Dutch rider
Jan-Willem van Schip. He’s actually gone down to a pair of 32 centimeter
wide handlebars, that’s the measurement at the hoods. The drops of the bars do
actually flare out a little bit so they’re not strictly 32s
but, if you ask me, they are because you spend most of your time riding on the hoods there. That’s pretty extreme. However, someone who’s
gone even more extreme than that is Matthew Glaetzer, a member of the Australian track cycling team. Check out these bars, they are super narrow,
I’m sure you’ll agree. Now, I’ve dropped him a line asking him just how wide they were
because I had a look at them in Adelaide this year
at the Tour Down Under when the bike was on display there. Sadly I didn’t have my
tape measure with me but those are probably
the narrowest handlebars I have ever seen. (air whooshing) So what about those savings then? Well, providing that your
elbows are nice and in line and they’re not flaring out at all, you could be looking at
the same kind of savings that you get from slamming your stem. So, 20 millimeter narrower wide handlebars could save you up to 10 watts. So just imagine how many watts Jan-Willem
van Schip is saving. Possibly up to 50. That’s incredible isn’t it? 50 watts. (upbeat music) Of course for this one if you’re using already a one-by setup, there’s no gains to be made but if you’re using a
good old reliable, tried and tested two-by set up, you
can save yourself a little bit of energy to go a little bit faster. How though? Well, first up you’re gonna
remove that front derailleur. It kind of fills me with
a bit of sadness really, to take off a Dura Ace Di2 one and also take off those chain rings and replace them with an
aerodynamic filled in one that’s gonna cut through
that wind ever so fast. Of course, it is gonna leave you without your full offering of gears, so it’s not really advised
for a road racing cyclist, I don’t think. It’s more reserved for time trialists or possibly, dare I say it, triathletes. What about the savings then? Well, at 30 miles per hour, you’re looking at round
about four watts, let’s say. So, not the biggest savings in the world, but a saving none the less. You’re just not gonna have
your full gear offerings. So, I’m not gonna do this to James’s bike because, well, he’d probably beat me up. (upbeat music) Cross chaining, not only
does it look really bad and unlikely to get you a
Super Nice in the Bike Vault, it’s also inefficient, the reason being the
chain isn’t able to go in a really straight line
from the front to the back and instead is going at an angle. So, for example, in this bike here, we’ve got it in the big chain ring and we’ve got it in the
big sprocket at the rear. Chain is going at that horrible angle. Likewise, if you’re in
the small chain ring and that little small
little sprocket there at the rear is going
at the opposite angle. The best angle to be at is none at all, so it’s going nice and
smooth from front to back. However, on the flip side,
it’s actually more efficient to be in a big chain
ring and a big sprocket because the chain is actually
working at less of an angle around the sprocket at the rear, therefore able to transform your power a lot more efficiently because
it’s not got that tight bend. But, how are we gonna get there then? Well, for a start you’re gonna
have to get a big chain ring at the front, possibly
a 60 tooth chain ring. This is certainly what many
time trialists have been doing in recent years. And in turn, instead of having
to use the little sprocket here at the rear when they
were using a normally 53 or a 54 tooth chain ring,
which was inefficient, instead they’re finding
themselves riding more in the middle of the cassette paired up with that big old 60 tooth chain ring because not only is that giving a nice smooth transmission feeling, because you don’t have the tight bend, you’ve also got a really
straight chain line, which is great for efficiency. (air whooshing) Oh, the savings, well it’s
very hard to quantify this one because it does depend on
the size of the chain ring and the size of the sprocket at the rear but it’s likely you are gonna
be saving one or two watts. A perfect example actually
of where this has been used to real success is in the team pursuit and pursuit on the track where riders are using
massive old dinner plates here on the chainset and then a
bigger sprocket at the rear just to get that increased efficiency. Go ahead and try it. (upbeat music) Now this one’s something
to be a little bit wary of because it’s not UCI legal, so, don’t blame me if you get caught but adding trip strips onto a bike. This is something which bike
brand Ridley did I think back in about 2011 or 2012, something like that and since then it’s not
actually been allowed, as far as I’m aware. What does it do then? Well it actually reduces turbulence around the tubing of a frame by placing some strategically
placed trip strips on it. And now the way it works is, similarly to the way in
which the dimples work on a golf ball, and well we’ve seen that
sort of technology used on bikes so far. The savings, they’ve been said to possibly reduce your
aerodynamic drag by up to 4% which is pretty big,
I’m sure you’ll agree. Let’s have a look then
at how they would look if I were to, well, try this at home. (upbeat music) So areas where you
could in fact place them on the bike include the
head tube, the seat tube, the seat post and such like. And I mean, Wridley did do it and it was, I do believe,
banned by the UCI so there must be a reason
behind that, going faster. But I’m sure though that the engineers at TREK have actually explored
various different options on how to make a bike faster
rather than using bits of sticky backed tape and,
well, some string underneath it. But however, I’m sure
James Lowsley-Williams, he’s gonna be absolutely smashing PBs and going at lease 4% faster with my little
modifications onto his bike. (air whooshing) So there we are, five more
ways which you can go faster on your bike. Let me know though if
you’ve got any suggestions or solutions for that because I’m keen as ever to read exactly what you’ve been doing to
go a little bit faster. Also, you may well be wondering
what this is all about, this glittery t-shirt. Well, in fact, this is a very limited and only for a couple of weeks
leading up to Black Friday. So you gotta be fast to
get it at a special price. So head on over to
shop.globalcyclingnetwork.com where we’ve got even more
special edition goodies for Black Friday. Don’t forget too to like and share this video with your friends. Give it a big old thumbs
up, tell someone about it who needs to go just
that little bit faster. And now, for another great video, how about clicking just down here?

100 comments

  1. With regard to Aero drag.
    Mini Vortex generators or model airplane stall strips would be something you could play with. Also here's two interesting links.
    https://www.boardmanbikes.com/bb_en/why-boardman/technology-1/r-d/aerodynamic-surface-trip.html
    https://wingsandwheels.com/turbulator-dimple-tape.html

    There's a point of diminishing returns on handlebar width, it's not going to be a linear gain as you go narrower. You have to test a whole bunch of different sizes and configurations in a wind tunnel to get the actual coefficient of drag numbers and subsequently the Savings in wattage.

  2. Worth mentioning glaetzer doesn't actually ride those handlebars! Iirc they're a joke, they were broken so they cut each side and joined the pieces behind the stem

  3. Trip strips only work on the rear of surfaces, no point putting the on front surfaces, golf balls have them all over because they spin.

  4. Hey now…. easy on us triathletes. I like my socks below the ankle, 1x setup, and peeing on myself during our 6hr ride in my tri suit. 😂

  5. All of these suggestions make me feel a lot better about myself. I ride with several people who slammed the stem, got a narrower bar, and even went full-aero with the frame, wheels, bars, and helmet. I can’t outrun them, but i have no trouble keeping up for 20 miles. For some reason they hate it when the route gets hilly, though. I wonder why?

  6. Trip strips do not act to reduce turbulence. They accelerate the transition from laminar to turbulent flow at supercritical Reynolds numbers. Since a turbulent boundary layer has a distinctly different profile to the typical Blasius laminar boundary layer, adverse pressure gradients in the flow occur at a later stage in the flow and so flow separation is delayed. This means that the wake angle is smaller and hence rear pressure is reduced less, resulting in lower drag.

  7. thanks ! ! ! i made all those up grades and was in a bad neighborhood and was chase by bike thugs who fired shots at me "i counted two shots, definitely. One when the bullet passed me, and the other when i passed the bullets! "
    thanks for the tips it really help my speed !

  8. It is little known, but means of tripping the boundary layer (via "trip strips") were actually used in 1982 by the US Olympic cyclists. I was an engineer on the team that developed the first of the aero bikes used by the US team for the '82 Olympics, under Dr. Chester Kyles. Rules were different back than, and it was not such an obvious bit of tech, so likely no one knew what we were up to back than. Wind tunnel tests confirmed measurable reduced drag over ordinary looking typical frame, component, and helmet shapes with the addition of a trip strip. Your description was not quite accurate BTW, though granted it is a complex fluid mechanical process that is not easy to intuitively understand. It does not reduce turbulence, but actually increases it slightly. It has been found experimentally that within certain narrow Rynold's number ranges if you slightly increase turbulence on the surface, the net drag actually goes down. The Rynold's number is a measure of a kind of "turbulence" rating. It does not work at all speeds or with all areo shapes, but if you are trying to reduce drag within that particular Rynold's number range, it does work. Bicycles (and golf balls) just happen to operate right within that special range.

  9. Golfball effect. Strip off that boring black paint and dab on some snazzy metallic hammerite. Go faster, look better and your carbon bike won´t rust.

  10. I put Conti 4000s on my bike and got new PRs all over the place. Feels so easy. Never realized how much my commuter Randonneurs were slowing me down. Looking fwd to the 5000s.

  11. It's odd that this channel is called the Global Cycling Network and all the topics discussed are about racing bikes, or getting faster, food for performance to make you faster, what the pros do, or be like the pros, racing oriented new tech. This actually discourages a lot of people from cycling and I feel if this channel is trying to promote cycling then more emphasis needs to be given to the practical side of bicycling and the bikes or cycling that most of the population are going to relate to. Show people more ways to use their commuter bikes as not only an exercise bike or part time recreation gadget but as transportation and utility means of going shopping and such. How to use their bikes to be more social and interactive. Cars separate people from one another and I think so does focusing on training on a bicycle. I never spent more time alone as I did when I was always trying to get faster on a bike. I'd like to see more people getting healthier and using their bikes as a form of transportation and feeling safe doing it. Then we would also most likely see a decline in road raged car drivers. We would have more people getting more involved in changing their cities to be more bike friendly. Either that or you guys should change the name of the channel to something else like Global Sport Bike Network.

  12. The old track racers trick!For those with high quality cup and cone hubs: pull axle and bearings, degrease, replace with Simichrome silver polish(toothpaste is ok too)reassemble. Ride NO MORE than 200 yards or youll wreck the hubs. Disassemble, throw away bearings. Clean everything REALLY WELL. Dont leave ANY residue or abrasive ANYWHERE. Reassemble with the highest grade balls( theyre pretty cheap) I like super web grease or oil for the least resistance on track bikes (oil requires more overhauls) adjust cones so theres a tiny bit of play so that when QR is tight play is removed.
    Ive been doing this on my 35 year old Campy Record hubs and many others. They are still almost as smooth as new. They roll forever!!
    Cup and cone bearings are superior to most cartridge bearing hubs. Thats why Campy and Shimano still use them. Easiest and least expensive to service as well.

  13. Having the top of the neck parallel to the top tube means in a single line. If you run your finger over there you will feel like a smooth line. It will make the bars really low. And I don't know if this is UCI legal or not.

  14. Trip strips induce turbulence not reduce, like golf ball dimples which delay flow separation and reduce the wake profile. Completely counter-intuitive but it works.

  15. trip stripe, is a kind of vortex generator
    By generating some turbulence in a controllable manor
    You reduce a lot undesired uncontrollable turbulence behind your bike
    PS: Trust me, just done my aerodynamic exam

  16. If you actually enjoy riding and if you ain't semi-pro or pro racer, do not really deal with all these watts and aero stuff too much, just enjoy your rides

  17. try deeper drop longer reach handlebars, and then add Scott Rakes to them. You can get as narrow as maybe 20 centimeters or so.

  18. Get new slam stem, get new aero bars… You realize they're not "hacks" if I have to sell my kidney for them, right?

  19. “Faster” can be achieved (imho) by reducing drag and increasing efficiency – and “faster” when applied to all aspects of riding such as TT, climbing, descending – can mean different things. The reality is most of us need to just lose a few pounds of body fat! But related to efficiency – I’ve been looking into crank-arm length based on the riders leg-length – I’m 5’6” and the data I’m getting back is estimating a crank-arm if 145 to 150 mm. Just something to add to the discussion – love the thread!

  20. Attach a hockey card to your front fork so that it hits the spokes and makes your bike sound like a motorcycle. This will create that mental feeling that you are riding as fast as a motorbike and in turn, you will ride faster.

  21. Put your bottles on the back of your seat like a tri setup or wear a camelback. Why spend big bucks on an aero road bike only to foul it up with bottles.

  22. Made me laugh, one minute your talking about a one by system. Then you talk about crossing the chain.

  23. I have a ridley noah r Flow from 2012 with the strips. Dunno about the gains but a nice conversation starter 😉

  24. Oh, so I can get a WHOLE 4 WATTS savings if I remove front mech and chainrings, for the small price of climbing 14% climbs on something like 50×34, grinding my knees to dust? Oh no but I can also have ONLY a 36 or so at the front to make that easier??? Oh my gosh!!! And you're telling me I can also buy a 600€ cassette with 10 teeth as the fastest gear so I don't have to stop pedalling and aero-tuck at 40 km/h??? I will need a special hub with a non-standard freewheel, but that's worth it if I can pedal at 45 km/h!!!!!!!!!! Where can I sign up????

    If there's anything stupider than this whole 1x idiocy, I'd like to hear it. For americans out of bumfuck-nowhere who ride only 1% inclines to their hipster espresso bar and lack the mental capacity of operating TWO mechs at the SAME TIME – well, I guess, fuck it. But some of us ride real bikes on real roads in real mountains, so: fuck off. I'm keeping my front mech that duplicates my cassette' s range instead of paying through the nose for 12, no 13, no 14… cogs cassette that lacks the range both top and bottom and that I have to replace every couple of 1000s of kilometres because their chainline sucks by default and they shred themselves to bits. Which kind of eejit falls for this shit? "Oh but it's so much SIMPLER not having to shift in front…" Oh fuck off.

  25. @ GCN Tech

    During the 80's in NSW Australia when I used to race 40km in 42mins (57.14 km/hr avg) in A Grade road races & 1km in 52 seconds (69.23 km/hr avg) in A Grade cement velodrome track races which I'm not sure if current races are much faster but who knows. My road bike was a Reynold's 531 frame that I asked the shop to tell the builder to make it so that the front tire would sit around 1cm away from the frame & to use forks that you would use on a track bike that were extremely responsive instead of the larger raked forks of road bikes. I had one of the first Aero Reynolds 731 frames for my track bike, both bikes were laced with 32 spokes, tubular rims, stick on singles tires brand name Clement 12's for road, Clement 9's for track.

    Both bikes I could lift with my pinky finger, very light, 44T-54T to 21T-11T Durrace AX gearing for the road, I think I rode a 93 inch gear for the track bike with Campag hubs. But none of these things were the reason for high speed in races & I think most people out there have lost this knowledge so I will pass along some tricks that no one really has tried much.

    When you build up Muscle Mass or Bulk up then your muscles are not as flexible as you need them for High Cadence so what everyone does is have a balance, well this is wrong to do, you need to bulk up but do Martial Arts stretching exercises which allow you to also do a standing splits with your bulky legs. You also need to trick your mind also because when you use a lightweight training bike your mind & body becomes lazy & will only allow you to push yourself to what you believe you can do. To do this you need to either train with a much heavier bike up mountains in 52T-13T gearing or put leg weights around your ankles & also do the high gears in the mountains going very slow off the saddle. When you are training on a weighted bike & legs then swap them for your racing bike it will be like you are pushing nothing every time. The extremely high gear you trained on will help with sprints, high cadence & low speed for 80km – 160km will help with your endurance in long road races at the front of the pack. I lost my chance at the 84 Olympics due to a hit & run accident which broke my back so it basically wrecked any future of cycling.

  26. I have a sure fire hack for going faster on your bike, simply ride your bike often, get out of breath now and again, it works wonders, and it doesn't matter if you ride a pig iron tank of a bike or a fairy light full carbon uber bike, either way you have to pedal them.👍😊🚴

  27. If my memory is correct, David Miller's chain fell off during the prologue of 2003 TDF 500 m before the finish and his hopes of winning the stage along with it. His legs were not the problem. The absence of his front derailleur was. On the basis of that outcome alone, my front derailleur will stay exactly where it is- on my bike. The marginal and imagined gains for Miller were costly.

  28. Hi. I'm using an old and probably not popular brand of bike, it's the gts m6 frame and all my parts are a little bit old. Maybe you can help me to make it something. I don't want to buy a new frame coz thats frame is from my father and i want to treasure it but make it a little bit handsome again. Thank you! By the way, i'm from philippines

  29. I have to sniff a lot of cocaine to get that skinny as that cyclist at 1:00. How do they get these thin arms?

  30. I want to increase my aero drag and add more weight to my bike. I'm not on the Tour = Ride for money and I want a better workout. Save money as well. 20,000 for a bike.

  31. ultimately, amateur cyclists just need to train smarter. Nothing like racing your Madone and getting beat by a kid on a schwinn with a coach.

  32. This will work for mostly taller riders.
    Get an 80t Chainring/12-16t cog with a 200-220 mm crankarm.

  33. I was thinking reducing drag by dressing right, certain material that glides (not drags) through wind like a hot knife through butter.

  34. So the next evolution to keep the chain straight is to move the cassette and not the chain?

    I do wonder if hub gears will become light enough to replace cassette gears. Are there any other limitations that hub gears need to overcome?

  35. However, smaller width cramped handlebars closes your chest and affects lung capacity, consequently may end up costing 10 watts or more.

  36. However, smaller width cramped handlebars closes your chest and lung capacity, so may end up costing 10 watts or more.

  37. Gotta say, I've gone for a one by set up on my 2012 S Works Shiv. SRAM 52 tooth aero kit, Eagle AXS rear derailleur, and the XG 1299, 12speed 10 – 50 tooth cassette. Oh and I've got a set of Zipp 808 NSW wheels, just waiting on that rear wheel.
    Yep it's an MTB rear set up on a Tri bike I'm putting together for racing ironman.
    Let the hate flood in.

  38. I shaved all the hair off of my body. Just like a swimmer does to swim faster. I think I save about about 10 minutes on a 10 mile trek lol

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