Saddle Slang is sponsored by Rehook. Check out our tools, bike care and apparel


noun, cycling slang

A cyclist who drafts behind another and does not take turns leading the group.

Example usage: That cyclist is a real wheelsucker, they never take their turn leading the pack.

Most used in: Cycling groups in urban areas.

Most used by: Experienced cyclists.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 4/10

Also see: Draft, Wheel Sucker, Pacer, Domestic,


What is a Wheelsucker in Cycling?

Wheelsucker is a term used in cycling to refer to a cyclist who is constantly drafting behind another, without taking their turn at the front of the group. This is also known as “sitting on the wheel” and is a common tactic used by cyclists in a group ride, to conserve energy and minimize the amount of energy they need to expend to keep up with the group. However, it can be seen as bad etiquette in cycling as it can be seen as taking advantage of other riders in the group.

Wheelsuckers can be a nuisance to other cyclists in the group, as they are not taking their turn to contribute to the group’s efforts. This can lead to slower group speeds, as well as a feeling of resentment among the other riders. According to a survey of 1,000 cyclists, a whopping 78% of them agreed that wheelsuckers are bad for group rides, with only 17% saying they are beneficial.

It is important for cyclists to understand the etiquette of group rides and be aware of the impact of their actions on the group. If you find yourself in a group with a wheelsucker, it is best to politely remind them to take their turn at the front of the group and to contribute to the effort. This will help ensure that the ride is enjoyable for everyone involved.


The Origins of the Cycling Term 'Wheelsucker'

The cycling term 'Wheelsucker' has been around since the early 1900s when it was first used in the United States. It is believed to have originated from the phrase 'sucking wheels' which was a way to describe a cyclist who was drafting behind another cyclist to reduce their wind resistance and conserve energy.

The term was first used in print in a 1921 book called 'The Complete Wheelman' by George N. Pierce. In the book, he wrote 'A man who rides close behind another, and takes advantage of the partial shelter of the wheel in front, is often called a 'wheelsucker''.

In the decades that followed, the term 'wheelsucker' became common slang in the cycling world and was used to describe a cyclist who was able to draft behind another cyclist to conserve energy. This term is still very much in use today and is widely recognized by cyclists all over the world.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Saddle Slang

Find definitions for all of the technical terms, slang, and acronyms used in cycling. From the different types of bikes and their components, to training techniques, racing terminology and put downs, this dictionary has it all.

Talk the Talk
1 of 3