7 tips for more speed on the racing bike

13. January 2022

Foto: iStock.com/stefanschurr

First the bad news: at 45 km/h, air resistance accounts for 80 percent of the total resistance on the racing bike. The good news: you can considerably improve your aerodynamics with simple and inexpensive tricks. And: cycling technique and cleverness also count when it comes to more speed.

Sitting position

This affects your speed more than anything else! Keep your head down, back flat, and tightly grip the hoods or the drop bars: this will minimise your frontal area. Compared to an upright posture, you save around 50 watts at 35 km/h in one fell swoop.

Aero frame

Depending on the design, aerodynamically optimised bikes require 10 to 20 watts less power for 45 km/h than a conventional racing bike with the same wheels. However, a second bottle on the seat tube significantly reduces the aero performance.

Lightweight construction

A lighter bike always feels more agile. But it only brings measurable speed uphill – from a gradient of 5 percent – and often less than you think you feel. Because you always have to view this in relation to the total weight plus cyclist. Rotating weight has twice as much effect when accelerating. That’s why light wheels are always desirable. The wheels and tyres can save up to one kilo.

Tyres and tyre pressure

25-millimetre wide tyres provide the best compromise between rolling resistance and aerodynamics. The top models from well-known manufacturers save around 10 watts on rolling resistance alone compared to simpler tyres. Lightweight tubes can save another 2 watts. The best tubeless tyres are a tad faster.



60 to 50-millimetre high profile rims save up to 15 watts at 45 km/h compared to flat rims with a teardrop cross-section. Even higher rims, however, won’t yield much more: 70 or 80 millimetres in height only save another 2 watts.


An aero one-piece outfit can reduce the power required for 45 km/h by around 20 watts compared to the combination of trousers and jersey. A raincoat in turn costs you 35 watts. The benefits of aero helmets are in the single-digit watt range, mostly at the price of significantly poorer ventilation.

More speed through cycling technique


Use the speed you gain on the descents and flats as much as possible on the ascents. If you charge up the short climbs explosively, you will get over the crest with a lot of momentum and can accelerate further on the descent.

Smooth pedal stroke

A tight and evenly spaced cassette on the rear wheel makes it easier (depending on the terrain) to stay in the optimal cadence range in order to pedal evenly and smoothly. Conversely: if you cope well with the larger jumps of wide spaced pinions, you can react more flexibly in all cycling situations.