How to Make a Mountain Bike Faster

Riding your bike is never enough. You can bring it to fresh places, put some fancy accessories on it, or give it a proper wash. But you’ll still feel something lacking — speed.

Building up your endurance and becoming fit can make you faster on your bike. But you also need to know how to make a mountain bike faster. This way, you’ll get to your destination faster and you’ll have more fun! Isn’t that what we cyclists all want?

But that’s not all of it. There are still a lot of benefits that come with a fast bike. And that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

Here’s how to make a mountain bike faster.

Proper Tire Optimization

Tire tread

Tires play a big role in speed which is why you need to consider them first. Mountain bikes have different tire types compared to other bikes as they have wider surface coverage and more aggressive treads that give greater surface traction.

Here are some of the most popular mountain bike tires renowned for their fast-rolling attributes:

  • Michelin Wild Enduro
  • Maxxis Shorty
  • Schwalbe Magic Mary

But too much traction and grip can also slow down a bike. Despite that, most beginners go for much bigger treads to maximize the use of its traction on a rough trail. This makes them less likely to slide and give them more time to practice the skills needed without the worry of crashing.

You’ll then notice that you’d want to go faster once you’re used to riding your bike. This is the right time to change your tires.

You don’t have to change for thinner tire treads at first because this gives you more grip and better balance. You can instead change your tire treads to a less aggressive one because these have less rolling resistance which makes it roll faster.

Make sure that there’s a balance between having enough grip and traction so you can go fast without the risk of sliding.

Tire pressure

Tire pressure is one of the vital elements tire elements that affect your speed. It follows the same concept of tire treads because these also affect the surface contact of your tires to the ground.

You need lower air pressure to increase contact with the ground. This lets you have more surface contact which means better stability. But this can also slow you down.

The ideal tire pressure when you’re riding through dry and compact trails is around 25 PSI at the front and 30 PSI at the rear.

You can then decrease this to 15 PSI to 20 PSI when it’s raining or you’re riding through muddy trails and road so you won’t slide and crash. But decreasing the PSI or tire pressure can also slow you down. It’s all about compromising grip over speed or vice versa.

Tubeless tires

Tubeless tires are the standard these days because of the many benefits they have. They are effective in avoiding punctures and flat tires because the sealant seals the tire damage at once.

This also affects your bike’s overall weight and makes it lighter because you don’t have any tubes hanging around your rims. This lets you speed up much faster and more efficiently.

Bike Pedals

Bike Pedals - making a mountain bike faster

Start off with flat pedals if you’re still new to mountain biking. This helps you learn the needed skills like balancing and maintaining proper foot position. Then shift to clipless pedals if you’re already used to riding with your flats.

You might feel uncomfortable knowing that your foot is attached or clipped in to your bike. But that’s normal. Take note that you can easily unclip your foot with a simple twitch.

Clipless pedals also give you a consistent pedal stroke which lets you use more power. And more power equates to faster speeds.

You don’t have to just push the pedals down just like when you’re with flats. You instead maintain a push and pull pedal pattern without repositioning your foot.

This makes you more comfortable and helps you cover more distance, making you much faster compared to if you’re using flat pedals.

Related: How to Change Pedals on a Mountain Bike

Maintaining Your Drivetrain

A mountain bike drivetrain is a combination of complex parts and components. So you need to maintain it properly. One good way of doing is by regularly lubricating your drivetrain, specifically your chain and cogs.

Just like how the saying goes — a well-oiled machine runs well! Lubricating your drivetrain provides less friction to its components. And less friction means a smoother performance and much faster speeds when pedaling or shifting gears.

This helps you use more energy from your wheels and lets you cover more distance. Make sure you use the proper lubricant. Zefal and Muc-off are two of the best lubricant brands out there.

We recommend you go for the dry version instead of the wet one so dirt and grime won’t easily stick on your lubricated chain and cogs.

Chain Maintenance

Chain maintenance depends on how regularly you use your mountain bike. The more you use it, the more it needs proper maintenance.

Mountain bike parts can easily wear and tear because they are more prone to rugged use. And one part that can easily deteriorate is the chain. The common issue with chains is that they can stretch and elongate. This could then slow you down and make it difficult to transfer your pedaling power to your gears.

Check your chain before riding and make sure it’s tight. Doing this allows you to maintain faster speeds and a more efficient pedaling.

Wearing of Proper Mountain Bike Gears

Note the proper personal gears needed for a safe and efficient bike experience aside from regularly cleaning your bike.

Most cross-country riders go for a more aerodynamic profile. This means using a well-tightened clothing that lowers your wind resistance when on long rides. There are also bike helmets that are wind resistant and are designed for speed.

But these aren’t necessarily needed if you’re into enduro or downhill mountain biking because wind resistance isn’t much of a factor.

You can also tuck your body to lessen the drag. Also, remove everything you find unnecessary in your bike like your pouches, unnecessary lights, horns, and water bottle holders to get rid of weight.

Conclusion

conclusion - fast mountain bike

Learning how to make a mountain bike faster isn’t all about speed. It’s also about making the most out of your bike. You don’t just ride it to go from point A to point B. Your bike might be a mode of transportation, but it’s also a way for you to enjoy the great outdoors.

Making your mountain bike fast gives you the needed thrill and excitement you’ve been craving for since you first got your bike. Regularly clean it, get rid of unnecessary accessories, and maintain proper body techniques and positioning. And make it a habit to learn new skills.

Combining all these not only makes your mountain bike faster, but it also turns you into a better rider.

Related:

Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own Bike

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.