How To Make A Mountain Bike Faster | 10 Basic Hacks

Compared to road bikes, mountain bikes are not the fastest two-wheel cycles. But does that mean that you cannot have a speedy MTB? Of course not, as I’ll show you how to make a mountain bike faster.

Below are hacks, tricks, and smart ways you can make your mountain bike faster.

1. Clean your MTB

2. Switch to slick tires

3. Properly inflate the bike’s tires

4. Switch to tubeless

5. Adjust the derailleur

6. Swap flat pedals for clipless

7. Grease the drivetrain

8. Replace the chain

9. Make yourself aerodynamic

10. Replace the cassette

Remember, before you can look at how to make your bike faster, you should first understand why it is slower in the first place.

I’ll highlight the most typical reasons and then take you through the solutions.

We’ll also look at a speed acceptable for mountain bikes. Let’s get into it, mountain biker!

how to make a mountain bike faster

Why Is My Mountain Bike Slow?

There are several probable reasons to explain why your mountain bike is slow.

It could be that:

  • The tires are thick and heavier
  • You are using the wrong pedals
  • The drivetrain, wheels, and other components are dirty
  • Your bike is less aerodynamic
  • The tire pressure is below 25PSi
  • The derailleur has mal-adjusted

I’m going to share with you how you can address each of the problems above. That should help you learn how to mountain bike faster.

What’s A Good Average Speed On A Mountain Bike?

Generally, a mountain bike’s speed depends on your riding trail, bike brand, and component quality.

On average, mountain bikes run at 10mph on single tracks, 8mph uphill, and 12mph downhill.

But as I had hinted, there are so many ways you can make a mountain bike faster and surpass these average speeds.

How Can I Speed Up My Mountain Bike? How To Make A Mountain Bike Faster

Below are smart ways to make your mountain bike speedier:

1. Clean your MTB

Let’s face it; mud and grime only clog the drivetrain and make the wheels heavy and less mobile. So, if you want to go faster, you’ve to get rid of the dirt after riding your MTB.

Not only does regular cleaning of your mountain bike makes it faster, but it also boosts the life and performance of its components.

2. Switch To Tubeless

The problem with most tubed tires is that they are more prone to punctures. Tubeless options solve that by providing you with a more puncture-proof tire.

But more importantly, tubeless tires are lightweight and suffer lower rolling resistance. As a result, they allow you to ride much faster, something you want as a mountain biker.

One great tubeless MTB tire worth getting is the Continental Mountain Bike Protection Tire (View on Amazon).

This folding tubeless MTB tire promises puncture-resistance, easy rolling, and off-road grip. It’s 30% more puncture-proof and 26% more fast-rolling than its predecessor.

make bicycle faster

3. Switch To Slick Tires

Most mountain bikes come with wider thick tires to absorb bumps and offer exceptional traction and stability. However, if there’s an area that these tires fall short, it has to be speed.

If you want more speed from your MTB, consider switching to slick tires. They’ll allow your mountain bike to go through the bumps much faster without sacrificing your comfort.

One such tire is the Kenda 163026 Big City Slick Tire.

This 26-inch MTB tire features durability-enhancing wire beads and a motorcycle tire-like pattern for maximum traction and speed. Not only are they perfect for MTBs, but road bikes and hybrids too.

4. Properly Inflate Your Tires

Since you are riding off-road, there is always the risk that your bike’s tires will be under-inflated at some point. Such tires won’t run smoothly or faster.

But still, watch out not to over-inflate the tires as that’ll only make them bounce off-road instead of moving smoothly.

So, consider working with a pressure level of about 25-35Psi for maximum speed and traction. The pressure level will give you a fast mountain bike on road.

5. Adjust the Derailleur

Generally, a mountain bike that allows you to shift smoothly delivers maximum power to the wheels. That eventually translates to better speed.

So, before you can go into details, first adjust your MTB derailleur. Use this guide to adjust your mountain bike’s front derailleur, especially the H and L limit screws.

It should help you reposition the front derailleur and start shifting smoothly and cycle faster.

6. Swap Flat Pedals for Clipless

Most mountain bikes come with flat pedals, which allow you to pedal efficiently but won’t offer you more powerful strokes.

If you want more powerful strokes to cover a longer distance in a short time, swap your flat pedals for clipless. Clipless pedals ensure there’s little pedaling as you make bike faster.

Besides, the pedals hold your feet in place for sufficient balance and maximum foot power.

You can try out the Time ATAC XC8 Bike Pedals (View on Amazon)

They are versatile to suit all MTBs and are easy to pedal.

How Can I Speed Up My Mountain Bike

7. Grease the Drivetrain

Your drivetrain shouldn’t suffer friction as the parts will wear out, making the bike slower and slower.

For that reason, consider lubricating the drivetrain as often as possible. Doing so will boost the life of your drivetrain parts and allow the drivetrain to work smoothly.

If the drivetrain is working efficiently, you can count on it to deliver more power to the wheels, improving your speed.

8. Replace the Chain

Even if you grease the drivetrain and the chain is worn out, you’ll be doing zero work. So, look for signs of wear and tear on the chain to replace it.

The problem with a worn-out drive chain is that it drops often, and you use a lot of time fixing it. Additionally, it doesn’t deliver power efficiently to the wheels. So, you use more effort to pedal.

That, in the long run, means sacrificing speed. So, save yourself from disappointment by getting the SRAM PC-830 6/7/8-Speed MTB Bike Chain.

It’s perfect for 6-speed, 7-speed, and 8-speed MTB drivetrains.

9. Make Yourself Aerodynamic

Riding against the headwind is never easy. You have to contend with the wind drag, and that slows you down. You, however, can cut through wind drag if you become aerodynamic.

You can learn how to make your bike go faster doing the following:

  • Swapping your MTB’s flat handlebars for drop bars
  • Getting an aero cycling helmet
  • Lowering your head when cycling
  • Wearing close-fitting clothes (avoiding loose ones)
  • Bending your elbows and forearm when cycling

10. Replace the Cassette

Even after replacing the drive chain and greasing the drivetrain, you may not make bicycle faster if the cassette is worn out.

So, check for out-of-shape and worn out sprocket teeth. Such signs indicate that it’s time to change your MTB’s cassette.

And when it comes to the perfect replacement, you cannot go wrong with the Shimano HG 400 9-Speed Cassette.

The cassette is corrosion-resistant and robust to meet the durability requirements of the modern mountain bike.

In Conclusion

Since you now know how to make a mountain bike faster, you can turn your slow MTB into the speediest mountain bike ever.

Identify the hacks that work for you and implement them. Hopefully, they’ll help you boost your MTB’s speed almost immediately.

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