How fast can a mountain bike go?

Okay, you’re considering buying a bike to start getting fit. Now you think about what bicycle I should buy. You have looked at a road bike and a mountain bike. Perhaps you think the average mountain bike speed might not be fast enough. Well, let us tell you something about the bike speed of a mountain bike.

Average Top Speed

Well, for one, if you think your mountain bike is slower than your road bike, you are correct as you use the bike differently for commuting, touring, or bikepacking. So when it comes to the average speed, there are many questions related to it.

In honesty, there is a lot to cover, but we will try our best to answer them and how you can make your riding speed faster. First, you need to take the size of the bike and gears with trail conditions into consideration.

So, in general, the average speed is 17 mph for mountain bikes on the road. Yet on trails, that speed can drop to 14 mph as you cycle in challenging conditions. When you use a 300-watt power output on super flat roads, you can reach peak speeds of 23 mph.

As the grade increases to 5%, the speed drops down to 12.4 mph due to your weight.

The average speed for mountain biking is ten mph when cycling on singletrack. So if you are a typical rider, you can expect to travel 12 mph in downhill sections and for uphill sections eight mph. So the peak upward speed is 17 mph and 30 mph traveling downhill.

moutain bike going fast


In 2019 the BYU did a study using mountain cyclists with an eMTB cyclist over 5.5 miles that included a 700 foot of elevation gain that spread throughout the ride with an incline of 5% over 1.1 miles.

The non-pedal assist mountain bike average speed was four mph slower than than the eMTB at 13mph.

In both studies, the average speed of the mountain bike in the first study was nine mph, and the second one was ten mph.


The average speed of using a hybrid bike is 11 to 18 miles per hour. The same applies if you travel eight miles back and forth every day with a max time spent between 25 to 45 minutes.

Do Tires Make a Difference To Speed?

Yes, the tires you use can affect the rolling resistance of your bike and speed. Yet, it only accounts for 10% of resistance experienced when you are an ultra-distance rider. In addition, many laboratory tests have proven that you have lower resistance when you have higher pressure in the tires.

But in many cases, it does not transfer to your riding. For example, when tire pressure is 100 psi. The resistance with a road tire with a width of 23 to 28mm is in the range of 80 to 120 psi. So the pressure is suitable for most weights.

So finding the best pressure is difficult, but using 60 psi or less on your road tires does cause additional resistance increasing it to about 40%. So the average speed reduces by 0.5 kph due to your under-inflated wheels or four hours more of riding time.

On the other hand, many cyclists found a lower rolling resistance using a wider tire of 25 or 28mm than a narrower tire. While keeping it at the standard air pressure, most mountain bikers found comfort with lower pressure as the rolling resistance is higher used on smooth roads.

So using a wide tire might give you comfort, but it has a lower resistance than using a narrower one. The fact remains if you do mountain biking, you need wider tires as you travel dirt roads needing that added comfort. So the rolling resistance increases when temperatures drop.


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