You cannot win a cyclocross race with a slow bike, and if winning is your aim, then speed is what you need. So if you want to make your bike faster, you have come to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn how to reduce the extra weight and make your cyclocross bike speedier than ever.
With a few simple upgrades and a minor tweak here and there, you can transform your cyclocross bike into a speedy running commute or a swift racing bike. Speed can be increased by altering the tires, brakes, bearing, drivetrain, race wheels, height, handlebar, gearing, and even the water bottle position!
How To Set Up a Cyclocross Bike For Higher Speed?
One of the best things about bikes is that you can easily make them faster. Apart from intense physical training, drills and paddling fast, you can alter your cyclocross bike to make it fast and achieve higher speed. This is made possible by replacing some bicycle parts with advanced and better alternatives. These alternatives include:
Bearings that are high-quality and have a good seal will allow you to pass through mud and other terrains with ease. Headsets and wheels all get slow in the mud, and for proper mud resistance, you need suitable quality bearings. Sloppy and low-quality bearings can take away your bike’s speed and make it challenging to handle such muddy terrains. On the other hand, suitable bearings ensure low-friction performance and allow a smooth regime. Once you change the bearings, your bike will immediately pick up speed and allow you to stop immediately, which will make you go quicker once you let the brakes go.
When it comes to tires, you need to think of them as shoes. Would you want slippery and hard shoes when you go on a run?
Of course not!
Well, it is the same for tires. Traction is the key when it comes to tires. Good traction and pressure will give you excellent speed without any issue. Keep in mind that the higher the traction, the less time you will waste in dismounting. Tires with a high volume and more threads per inch are ideal for better speed, but you must keep an accurate pressure in the tires to achieve a better balance over the grip and speed.
What Is The Ideal Type Pressure For Cyclocross?
When it comes to the proper pressure for cyclocross bike tires, a range of 25 to 40 psi is good. This range allows you to enjoy high speed and is easy to maintain. The rule of thumb is to keep the pressure in the rear tires at 20% more than the pressure in the front tires for a smoother ride. You need to maintain the right pressure to be able to enjoy good speed.
Brakes are ideal for a smooth ride, especially in extreme circumstances. Reliable brakes not only give you more control, but also ensure greater confidence when you use them. The irony with brakes is that the more powerful they are, the less you will pull them, allowing you to achieve a quick halt that way. Quality brakes and advanced designs such as K-Force, are super light and can be adjusted easily, whereas the discs provide you with smooth consistency under wet conditions.
Weight can play a significant role in slowing you down, and for this reason, having a good-quality drivetrain can help you shed this extra weight. Updated drivetrains have an 11-speed option, and they have single front rings, which is very tempting for speed lovers. This design helps in ditching the shifter and front mech, which decreases the weight drastically. Moreover, chain rings such as MegaTooth also let you remove the chain devices, reducing the weight even more.
When it comes to speed, you need to make sure that your bike is made with lightweight elements so that nothing slows it down. This means that you need to alter the race wheels as well. A lighter rim ensures better braking, acceleration and flicking, making the bike easy to shoulder and ride. Most people think carbon fiber is the best material for the rim, but speedy performance aluminum rims are the ultimate choice.
The height of the bike seat is related to speed, and if the bike seat is too low, then adjusting it to an optimum height will help achieve faster speed. This height will enhance your speed (RPM) and make it easier for you to overcome the drag from wind and air resistance. Similarly, this is also related to how long your legs are. If you have long legs, having a low height seat can cause back pain and hip issues you need to avoid. The general rule with seat height is that people with long legs should have a high seat, whereas people with short legs can pedal faster when the seat is lower.
Handlebars that are wider and higher are easier to handle, especially on off-road terrains, make your ride smoother. To get the perfect height for yourself, you need to know the different sizes bikes come in and what fits the rider. For example, a large bike will fit riders with a height of 5’1” to 6’3”, whereas the height is different for medium-sized bikes. So make sure that your handlebar fits your height, so that managing turns on rocky roads is easier for you.
If you want better control on off-road terrain, then lower gears are an ideal option. Many people do not like having too many gears since it can be very confusing to ride on. With a lower gear, you get a more considerable mechanical advantage, which allows you to pedal faster with less force and hence get more incredible speed. On the other hand, a higher gear will require you to exert a greater force, so it won’t be that easy to use.
Water Bottle Position
When it comes to racing, even the position of the water bottle can hinder your movement and cause it to reduce the speed. But during racing, water is a necessity, and so to avoid reducing speed, you can attach the water bottle right below the seat. This way, it won’t increase resistance to air and will help you maintain a smooth, fast ride with ease.
Cyclocross Speed FAQ
If you are still unsure about cyclocross bikes and want to learn more about them, worry no more. Read about the frequently asked questions below and find out everything about these bikes.
Are Cyclocross Bikes Fast?
CX bikes are very fast; they have an average speed of 16 to 19 mph, or 25.2 to 30.5 km/hr. This speed is ideal for the bike and is sufficient for cyclocross racing. These bikes can run on any kind of terrain with ease which makes them incredibly fast for commuting. Moreover, you can make a few alterations in your bike and make it faster than ever.
Are Cyclocross Bikes As Fast As Road Bikes?
When choosing between a cyclocross bike or a road bike, you need to know how each of these functions. A cyclocross bike can run on uneven terrain and rocky streets with ease, whereas a road bike is suitable for well-paved roads only. With a cyclocross bike, you can easily reach destinations since a CX bike is a 3-in-1 bike; it is more efficient than a road bike.
How Fast Can You Go On A Cyclocross Bike?
There is no speed limit on how fast you can go on a cyclocross bike. Some riders claim to have reached a speed of up to 44mph on a CX bike when descending from a hill. Even after tuning your bike, the speed can increase by +5 to +10% with ease, so it all comes down to the road and how fast you can ride it.
The question remains, “are cyclocross bikes fast?” and the answer is that the speed of these bikes depends on different factors. Lighter cyclocross bikes are faster than bikes with heavier bike parts, so altering the parts can help increase the speed. Lighter and better parts may also cost more than regular ones. But by altering the tires, brakes, handlebar, gearing, etc., you can make your CX bike faster than an average bike.