How Fast Do Triathletes Bike? A Good Bike Pace For Triathlon
Ever wondered how fast do triathletes bike? In this article, we look at a range of distances to give you an insight into how fast the professionals and age groupers ride.
How Fast Do Triathletes Bike?
Triathletes are some of the fittest people on earth. So it’s not surprising they able to bike at the speeds they do, but how fast do triathletes bike?
Well, it depends on the event you are looking at and the distance of the course. But you can expect to see ranges from 27 km/hr up to 46.5 km/hr.
To give you an idea, Cameron Wurfs 43.3 km/hr average at Ironman Italy was one of the fastest Ironman bikes ever. Then over the half Ironman distance, Andrew Starykowicz’s staggering 1:56:11 split averaged 46.5 km/hr. But both these speeds are on the upper end of the scale you see in triathlon and aren’t so common.
For the average triathlete, you are looking at speeds of 27 km/hr up to 40 km/hr. Of course the shorter the bike distance is, the higher the average speed will be.
A Good Bike Pace For Triathlon
No matter if your new to triathlon or have been training for years, a good bike pace for triathlon requires the correct pacing strategy. Your pacing will often dictate how the run will go and it is important not to extend yourself too much on the bike.
For age group triathletes, the bike is one of the most important factors of triathlon. Since cycling takes the majority of the time to complete out of the three sports, it is one of the most vital disciplines to improve.
Below is an estimated pacing strategy to help you pace your next triathlon race. This is based on your Intensity Factor (IF), if you don’t know what Intensity Factor is, you can read about it on Training Peaks.
Ironman Age Group: 60-70%
Elite Ironman: 70-79%
Half Ironman Age Group: 70-79%
Elite Half Ironman: 80-89%
Sprint and Olympic Distance: 90-104%
If you are a weak runner or inexperienced triathlete, it is recommended to sit on the lower end of these percentages. Faster triathletes with a strong run bike combination will be on the upper levels of these numbers.
Average Bike Speed For Triathlons – UPDATED 2021
The average bike speed for triathlons varies greatly, not only because of the different distances but also the course. Courses like Ironman Wales take in over 2500 m of elevation on the bike and offers steep climbs that often reach a 15% gradient. Ironman New Zealand on the other hand is a pretty much flat course. So you can imagine the average bike speed will differ between the two. Then taking into account the shorter distances (sprint triathlon and Olympic distance), and you have a wide range of average bike speeds.
The average speed over the Ironman distance can reach speeds of up to 43.3 km/h (Cameron Wurf Ironman Italy). But typically the professionals will average around 41-42 km/hr. Age groupers, on the other hand, average approximately 27 km/hr. That is If we were to combine both men and women across all age groups.
In regards to the shorter distances, half Ironman bike average speed increases with the age groupers to 30 km/hr (average across all competitors). This is mainly because the distance is half that of a full Ironman or 90 km shorter than its pair. The professionals on the other hand are much faster and have reached an average of 46.5 km/hr over the distance.
As you move down the distance to the Olympic and sprint events, the average speed increases dramatically. This is where it is not uncommon for age groupers to ride close to 40 km/hr. But the average speed will tend to rise above 33 km/hr if we take all competitors into account.
Average Bike Speed For Olympic Triathlon
The average bike speed for Olympic triathlon can vary greatly depending on the course. Fast courses like the 2016 Rio Olympic Games allowed the males to ride the 40 km bike segment with a time of 55 minutes. The fast course also allowed the women to ride to a blistering bike split of 61 minutes.
The Rio Olympic bike time is not all that common though. Most Olympic triathlon bike splits usually end up being around the 59-minute mark for men and 65 minutes for women. This is usually because of the tactics played out in an Olympic triathlon.
Both London and Bejing Olympic Games had an average time of 59 minutes for the males and 65 minutes for the women. These times are more realistic in an ITU event and equate to a speed of 40.6 km/hr for men and 36.9 km/hr for women. So the average speed for a professional over the Olympic distance (outside the Olympics) is roughly between 40-42 km/hr for men and 36-38 km/hr for women.
For age groupers where drafting is not allowed, times vary greatly depending on the course and the weather. Since drafting is not allowed, the wind affects time much more than events where you can draft.
The fastest average times for age group men tend to sit around the 60-65 minute mark or between 36-40 km/hr. The women, on the other hand, sit between 34-36 km/hr. Then average speed for competitors in all age group brackets brings the total average speed down to 33 km/hr.
Average Bike Speed For Half Ironman Races
The average bike speed for half Ironman races tends to be around the 30 km/hr mark. This is based on a study by Run Tri, where they took the average across all age groupers, both male and female. The study was completed by analyzing age group bike times over a range of courses.
Based on the results, they calculated that the average time for the half Ironman bike split was 3 hours. The professionals on the other hand including both men and women, increased this average considerably to 2 hours 20 minutes. Giving them an average bike speed for half Ironman races of 38 km/hr.
If you are looking to improve your average bike speed in a triathlon, Sport Coaching provides a range of cycling and triathlon training plans. These training plans are customized to you and can help improve both your speed and power on the bike.