A single speed bike offers a cool and uncomplicated ride. And it can go pretty darn fast too. Particularly when you make a few modifications to your bike and your riding style.
So if you feel the need for speed—and you’ve ever wondered how to make a single speed bike faster—here’s everything you need to know.
6 ways to make a single speed bike faster
Change your tyre pressure
For a fast single speed bike, take a look at bike tyre pressure.
Pump your tyres to the lower end of the recommended PSI range (which you’ll usually find printed on the side of said tyres) and you’ll enjoy a couple of key benefits.
Your ride will be more comfortable. You’re less likely to get a puncture if you’re riding over rough terrain. And your tyres will grip the road more effectively—great if you’re riding in wet or muddy conditions.
But low tyre pressure won’t help you to achieve top speeds. More of the tyre comes into contact with the ground, which means additional friction. So choose a tyre pressure at the higher end of the scale for a faster and less friction-filled ride.
Another benefit of high tyre pressure? You may find that your bike feels more responsive, which means you’ll feel comfortable taking tight corners at faster speeds.
Adjust the gear ratio
Single speed and fixie bikes come with one gear setting. And this gear setting (also referred to as the gear ratio) depends upon the number of teeth you have in the front and rear sprockets of your bike.
When speed is a priority, the best ratio for a single speed bike is higher than the average.
In practice, this means that pedalling from a standstill will feel like hard work. But you’ll reach a much faster top speed once you’re on the move because you cover more ground with each push of a pedal.
You can increase the gear ratio of a single speed bike by opting for a larger chainring or a smaller cog.
Adjust chain tension
When you get chain tension right, you enjoy a smoother, faster ride.
Because when your chain is too tight, you create unnecessary friction. And because when your chain is too loose, there’s a greater risk of it falling off. Both issues affect your speed.
To achieve the Goldilocks of chain tension, move the chain up and down. It should wiggle about 1 cm in either direction.
Chain moving more than this? Then you need to make a tension adjustment by loosening and moving your rear tyre forwards or back.
Perform basic bike maintenance
Whether you ride road or mountain bikes, dirt builds up over time. This dirt can affect the movement of bike components, making them less efficient.
So commit to regular bike maintenance. That means cleaning your bike up after a particularly muddy ride and lubricating the chain.
By doing so, you’ll improve drivechain efficiency—which means you can travel faster. And you’ll prolong the life of your bike components too.
Make rider and bike more aerodynamic
There’s a reason no self-respecting speed cyclist is seen without their lycra. Streamlined clothing helps to shave seconds off your cycling time.
You may not want to go the whole hog by donning a skin-tight ensemble. But, when riding for speed, do consider the bulkiness of your outerwear.
Your cycling position also makes a difference. The lower and smaller you can make yourself, the less air resistance you’re creating.
So make a conscious effort to tuck in your elbows, lower your shoulders and keep your knees above the balls of your feet. Getting your bike seat set to the right height will help you to maintain this optimal position.
And for a super fast single speed bike, make your trusty steed as aerodynamic as possible too. Removing bottle holders, mudguards and those panniers will make your bike more streamlined and speedy.
Improve your fitness
Not a quick fix, unfortunately. But the fitter you are, the faster you’ll go.
When you ride a single speed bike rather than a geared bike, you don’t have gears to fall back on. It all comes down to leg power.
Interval training. Activities that strengthen your legs and core. Simply heading out on your single speed bike on a regular basis.
All of these things will help you to develop the fitness levels you need to ride at faster speeds.
Want to achieve top speeds on a single speed bike? Then start with the right set of wheels. All single speed bikes in the Steed Bikes collection are designed for swift and stylish travel. Find your favourite today!