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Freewheeling Or Coasting Distance On A Cheap Bicycle

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Abroad at the moment and don't want to spend big bucks on bicycles particularly as they get nicked. Went to the supermarket, got a Malaysian made mountain bike (hard tail/no susp) at what was definitely half price because it was a customer return. These usually sell at £65 full price, which is usually the very cheapest bicycles you can get here new

I didn't expect it to be brilliant, and so far it's better than I thought as brakes are excellent, balance is fine, seat comfortable when adjusted, gears not too bad at all and no worse than a cheapo bike I had in the past somewhere else which cost me 3 times as much

But what I do notice is my friend here has another supermarket bicycle which cost admittedly nearly triple, but which coasts or freewheels significantly further than mine, meaning I have to pedal to keep up when they are freewheeling, and their bike is generally less hard work. Their bike is however a bit heavier than mine. When I ride theirs, I notice the difference. Theirs being a hybrid with same width tyres as me, only 3 gears, mine has more.

Initially I thought the brakes were rubbing on the rims but it was very slight and I've sorted it now, still very little improvement

Is the main reason theirs goes further and is lighter work just down to better rims, better something else, or what? Really would like to know because for a cheap hybrid out of a supermarket theirs really makes me a bit green with envy - I don't think I could get as good a one as that for that price when back home in Britain where I do most of my cycling

I've searched the bike forums, but can't wade through the masses of obscure key word hits

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Abroad at the moment and don't want to spend big bucks on bicycles particularly as they get nicked. Went to the supermarket, got a Malaysian made mountain bike (hard tail/no susp) at what was definitely half price because it was a customer return. These usually sell at £65 full price, which is usually the very cheapest bicycles you can get here new

I didn't expect it to be brilliant, and so far it's better than I thought as brakes are excellent, balance is fine, seat comfortable when adjusted, gears not too bad at all and no worse than a cheapo bike I had in the past somewhere else which cost me 3 times as much

But what I do notice is my friend here has another supermarket bicycle which cost admittedly nearly triple, but which coasts or freewheels significantly further than mine, meaning I have to pedal to keep up when they are freewheeling, and their bike is generally less hard work. Their bike is however a bit heavier than mine. When I ride theirs, I notice the difference. Theirs being a hybrid with same width tyres as me, only 3 gears, mine has more.

Initially I thought the brakes were rubbing on the rims but it was very slight and I've sorted it now, still very little improvement

Is the main reason theirs goes further and is lighter work just down to better rims, better something else, or what? Really would like to know because for a cheap hybrid out of a supermarket theirs really makes me a bit green with envy - I don't think I could get as good a one as that for that price when back home in Britain where I do most of my cycling

I've searched the bike forums, but can't wade through the masses of obscure key word hits

The factors that will affect the coasting distance will be weight,wind resistance and rolling resistance. You can pretty much ignore the first because a heavier mass will go further,so it's not that.Wind resistance will be the same as long as the frontal area/profile shape is comparable,so you are left with rolling resistance. Tyre size,shape and tread pattern will be the big one.Mountain bike tyres sap the energy whereas 1.25 inch rims will go much further.I very much doubt that bearings etc will be significanty different,unless of course one is degenerating.

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1 What are the tyres like? Slicks will over lower rolling resistance.

2.Upturn the bike. Do the wheels spin freely, are the brakes binding? Sure will already checked this.

It could be the other bike is just heavier, so it will coast down hills faster, (all other things being equal) but will be harder work up hills?

If its a return its possible it was faulty.

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The factors that will affect the coasting distance will be weight,wind resistance and rolling resistance. You can pretty much ignore the first because a heavier mass will go further,so it's not that.Wind resistance will be the same as long as the frontal area/profile shape is comparable,so you are left with rolling resistance. Tyre size,shape and tread pattern will be the big one.Mountain bike tyres sap the energy whereas 1.25 inch rims will go much further.I very much doubt that bearings etc will be significanty different,unless of course one is degenerating.

Thank you for that info, that's helped me understand it

1 What are the tyres like? Slicks will over lower rolling resistance.

2.Upturn the bike. Do the wheels spin freely, are the brakes binding? Sure will already checked this.

It could be the other bike is just heavier, so it will coast down hills faster, (all other things being equal) but will be harder work up hills?

If its a return its possible it was faulty.

1. Unbranded chunky tread type, sidewall says 'NYLON' (?!), inflated correctly

2. Yes spins ok, slightly out of true

It's now the downhills bit, it's on the flat, the other one goes on and mine slows unless I pedal.

The supermarket has a workshop and PDI man believe it or not, he checked it over, I trust him. I think it could be the combo of things Profitofdoom suggests - mainly the tyres

Thank you both 2340956.jpg

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The factors that will affect the coasting distance will be weight,wind resistance and rolling resistance. You can pretty much ignore the first because a heavier mass will go further,so it's not that.Wind resistance will be the same as long as the frontal area/profile shape is comparable,so you are left with rolling resistance. Tyre size,shape and tread pattern will be the big one.Mountain bike tyres sap the energy whereas 1.25 inch rims will go much further.I very much doubt that bearings etc will be significanty different,unless of course one is degenerating.

What am I missing here? He said the other bike was heavier, so it'll have more momentum behind it. Isn't that going to make it freewheel further?

Of course the many other factors will come into play. But usually it's the most obvious factor that counts. I'd rate the type of tyre as secondly most important. And some oil is also major.

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A has been mentioned already - CHANGE THE TYRES. Chunkies are absolutely useless for rolling resistance - Kenda road tyres were good for me. Inflate them to the maximum you can get away with for a comfortable ride (and within manuf specs).

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A has been mentioned already - CHANGE THE TYRES. Chunkies are absolutely useless for rolling resistance - Kenda road tyres were good for me. Inflate them to the maximum you can get away with for a comfortable ride (and within manuf specs).

I see people up here making work for themselves with MB tyres. Hear them coming miles away as they sound like 4x4's.

Also drop down bars reduce frontal area massively and present a lower profile to the wind due to a less upright position. Difficult to retrofit though.

Also the usual tricks employed by the pro's which involve tucking in the elbows and knee's.

Oh and finally invest in a skin suit! laugh.gif

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1. Unbranded chunky tread type, sidewall says 'NYLON' (?!), inflated correctly

Agreeing with what others have said, this is almost certainly going to be the lion's share of the issue. Chunky tyres are a definite no-no if you're not going off-road unless you want it to take more effort (more exercise that way :) )

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First mistake was buying new. My first mountain bike was a cheapo new £65 piece of junk about 10 years ago, but that was fine it was to get wife into cycling, now its a pub bike. My main solo bike (mountain bike) I use now i got for £20 5 years ago it was worth £350. I did 80 miles last year on it, shattered though, a 100 mile trip should be doable (all in the mind apparently lol).

I agree with onlyme if you have chunky tires and your going 25 miles plus you should get slicks/road tyres. But then problem is you could still get a great second hand bike with road tyres for the price of buying new tyres.

Also make sure your tyres a pumped up. A hand pump can fool you into thinking they are well pumped.

If they have cycled for a few years one rotation dwarfs the power your putting in, they will whizz away if they have more power going through the bike, its possible they are hanging back so you can keep up. My 61 year old mate drove me into the ground on a single gear postman’s bike at the start, now days he has to use his good mountain bike thank goodness.

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If they have cycled for a few years one rotation dwarfs the power your putting in, they will whizz away if they have more power going through the bike, its possible they are hanging back so you can keep up. My 61 year old mate drove me into the ground on a single gear postman's bike at the start, now days he has to use his good mountain bike thank goodness.

It really p*ssed me of when I moved up North and got out peddled on the hills by an old dear with a 3 speed sturmey archer bike. I still regularly get out peddled by pensioners on their racers though! blink.gif

As for buying s/h don't know. A bike can soon become uneconomic when brakes, tyres, chain, gears, bearings etc all need changing. They can make a new supermarket bike look very cheap.

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Your hubs might be playing up, lack of grease around the bearings, cracked bearing although you should hear the cracking as you cycle but would be random to a point as a possible couple of reasons as to why you cant freewheel for as long.

Basically theres some resistance which is slowing you down and as other have mentioned you need to look at all the possibilities.

Good luck. :)

Thanks, will look into that

And some oil is also major.

Oil on the chain I take it?

A has been mentioned already - CHANGE THE TYRES. Chunkies are absolutely useless for rolling resistance - Kenda road tyres were good for me. Inflate them to the maximum you can get away with for a comfortable ride (and within manuf specs).

I think new tyres will cost more than the bike did :lol:

I see people up here making work for themselves with MB tyres.

Seems likely that's the main problem, will have a think what to do with them

Agreeing with what others have said, this is almost certainly going to be the lion's share of the issue. Chunky tyres are a definite no-no if you're not going off-road unless you want it to take more effort (more exercise that way :) )

Yes and I'm fairly lazy so could do without that extra exercise TBH!

First mistake was buying new.

The secondhand ones on Gumtree were absolute sh!te and more expensive, a lot of demand for used bikes here, hard to get one. At the car boot sale, all I saw was stuff fit for a skip or probably nicked - and not cheap neither

It really p*ssed me of when I moved up North and got out peddled on the hills by an old dear with a 3 speed sturmey archer bike. I still regularly get out peddled by pensioners on their racers though!

I've had a fair few pensioners overtake me on their hybrids on the cycle lanes, pretty embarrassing, I bluff it with my I'm-not-in-a-hurry cycling posture when that happens :)

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So where are you ?

PS - You need to get some decent lube for the chain. Any bike shop will sell it.

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So where are you ?

PS - You need to get some decent lube for the chain. Any bike shop will sell it.

Poland, but the chain seems fine, I think it's the tyres, looking at them now they are a bit of a meat & potato pie compared to my old bike in the UK

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What speed are you going at?

As your speed rises, wind resistance becomes dominant. So a rider with floppier clothes, or just more hair, will have to work quite a lot harder. Could that be an issue with you?

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What speed are you going at?

As your speed rises, wind resistance becomes dominant. So a rider with floppier clothes, or just more hair, will have to work quite a lot harder. Could that be an issue with you?

Good point, I know that one, but no it's probably the tyres

Bike will do for here but if I was back home I'd be getting rid of the tyres for a start now I have learnt this about the drag they can cause

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What speed are you going at?

As your speed rises, wind resistance becomes dominant. So a rider with floppier clothes, or just more hair, will have to work quite a lot harder. Could that be an issue with you?

Maybe it's Rebekah..kah..kah

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Poland, but the chain seems fine, I think it's the tyres, looking at them now they are a bit of a meat & potato pie compared to my old bike in the UK

Nice. How are the burds ?

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A £65 bike is going to be rubbish. Tyres will help, should be able to get some bog standard slicks for £20 for a pair. If you are doing reasonable mileage then invest in a second hand bike that looks like its been looked after.

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Nice. How are the burds ?

As it happens, they seem mostly to be lookers all around me, but all seem married at a young age so even if I were looking I'd only be able to get a cheater (thats not my cup of tea anyway)

A £65 bike is going to be rubbish. Tyres will help, should be able to get some bog standard slicks for £20 for a pair. If you are doing reasonable mileage then invest in a second hand bike that looks like its been looked after.

That said, the £85 bikes are good, took one for a test spin late yesterday evening, zooming around I was like a teenager, only problem was the dynamo is prone to disengage without warning - not so good at night on what are known here locally as very dangerous roads which you still have to deal with as the cycle paths are only the main arteries and even then you have to cross tram lines and major road junctions. Fortunately the rear has a battery and fades slowly when the dynamo cuts out or you stop for a junction. As cheap bikes go, the £85 one does the job (also a hybrid, also heavier than the cheap mountain bike)

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i've got mb tyres on my bike, mainly because when i cycle through chav central it reduces the chances of puncture on all the broken glass that tends to be everywhere :(

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i've got mb tyres on my bike, mainly because when i cycle through chav central it reduces the chances of puncture on all the broken glass that tends to be everywhere :(

That is very much an issue here, all over the place there are broken beer bottles. But having tested the other bicycle, the trade off seems to be the chunky tyres make harder work of getting around.

The two bicycles that I have tried here and that are very good for the price and whizz about easily are made by Sprick (Poland and Germany). Am almost tempted to buy one here and put it in Ryan Air's hold but I think they'll charge quite a bit extra for the privilege of taking it back to Stansted

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Well today had to lay out for new brake pads. About £12 plus will need new slicks shortly for my hybrid, doubtless another £20-25 or so. So these new bikes are pretty good value and in some respects hardly worth repairing. In London they tend to get nicked before they wear out. dry.gif

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Well today had to lay out for new brake pads. About £12 plus will need new slicks shortly for my hybrid, doubtless another £20-25 or so. So these new bikes are pretty good value and in some respects hardly worth repairing. In London they tend to get nicked before they wear out. dry.gif

Crikey O'Riley, last time I bougt brake blocks they were two bob a pair from Reggy Huggins bicycle shop. Mind you t'were before t'internet.

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These are the Kenda's I've tried (Kwesst), found them to be pretty good, though not tried others, did do quite a bit of research at the time to make this choice for a smooth running yet reasonably rugged tyre not too prone to puncures.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/26-x-1-50-tyres-KENDA-slicks-CYCLE-Road-Tyres-KWEST-x-2-/190396815323?pt=UK_sportsleisure_cycling_bikeparts_SR&var=&hash=item72167ba0c1

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Crikey O'Riley, last time I bougt brake blocks they were two bob a pair from Reggy Huggins bicycle shop. Mind you t'were before t'internet.

We have steep hill up here in t'North so they do get hammered. Someone needs to invent engine breaking for bikes..wink.gif

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