'Why is my bike so slow?' - you asked Google, and we've got the answer

One of the most common cycling questions asked on Google is why is my bike so slow, so we've got the answer

Sometimes it's the bike that makes you struggle, sometimes it's just you

It’s a question asked by cyclists everywhere: why is my bike so slow?

You’re sure it isn’t you – last time you were out riding, you felt on top of the world. But today’s ride is different, you feel like you’re cycling through glue, but why?

You asked Google why this phenomenon happens, and we’ve put together a list of the most common causes of slow bike syndrome, and how to rectify them.

>>> How to puncture proof your tyres

Low tyre pressure

Running tyre pressures that are too low will have a dramatic impact on how fast your bike is able to roll. This means you’ll be having to work twice as hard to keep up with your mates.

This can be the result of couple of things. Firstly, you could have a slow flat. This is a puncture that lets air out of the tyre slowly, rather than farting it out all at once.

This is the worst-case scenario, and will mean you need to patch the tube or replace it.

Best-case scenario? You just need to inflate your tyres a little bit more. You can check the recommended pressure on the tyres sidewall, but as a good in-between for maximum rolling speed and good grip we’d recommend 100PSI.

It's worth checking your tyre pressure before you head out riding
(Image credit: Dan Gould)

It's windy

If you go out riding, chances are it’ll be into a headwind. In fact, you’ll always cycle into a headwind.

It’s just one of those unexplained, freak of nature occurrences.

The good news, however, is that you’ll get fit and your legs will become stronger.

Your chain needs lube

Treat your chain well, and it'll treat you well

This one is a little more technical, but can make a difference.

Basically, a dry chain will not move as smoothly as one that has been lubed. You can lose precious Watts when riding with a dry chain and your shifting will be less efficient.

>>> How to lube your chain

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that an over-lubed chain can be as equally damaging – it’ll pick up all sorts of road debris.

Solve this problem by making sure you regularly degrease your drive chain and apply fresh lube.

Watch: How to repair a puncture

 Your brakes are rubbing

This is another classic problem and is often responsible for a bike feeling slow.

It can happen if you run either discs or normal rim brakes. The aim is to always make sure the brake pads are as close to either the rim or the discs as possible, as this provides the best stopping power and lever feel.

Sadly though, this could result in brakes rubbing the rim or your discs.

If you suspect the brakes are the culprits of your fatigue, check if the wheel is turning properly and re-arrange the calipers of the brakes.

Brake rub: the number one culprit

You're riding a false flat

An optical illusion that we’ve all experienced, a false flat is when the road looks flat but your legs are struggling to power you along it.

However, chances are that if you check your Garmin it would show that the road would have some sort of gradient to it – largely unnoticeable but enough to be a menace.

Also in this series:

The hard truth... maybe you're unfit?

So, you’ve checked your tyre pressure, made sure (multiple times) that your brakes aren’t rubbing and degreased your drive chain, but still your legs just won’t work.

There is still one thing that might be causing you to struggle – you. Perhaps then, its just time to grit your teeth and bear it. After all, “it never gets easier, you just get faster”.

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