Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can the experienced riders here discuss cadence? What range should a new riders aim for? And why? How does it compare to speed as a measure of what the cyclist is doing? And so on.... I know I'm being vague, I just want to hear (read) what everyone has to say on the subject.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
No one can tell you specifically how fast you should be pedaling, but generally speaking I try to maintain a range of 80-100 rpm when in the saddle. Much higher than 115-120 rpm over a long period of time and I start bouncing in the saddle and my knees tend to complain.

Usually, you're going to wind up being less fatigued and put less stress on your muscles/tendons/joints maintaining the same speed/pace spinning a smaller gear combo at a cadence somewhere north of 80rpm than mashing a bigger gear combo slower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
283 Posts
dytakeda said:
Can the experienced riders here discuss cadence? What range should a new riders aim for? And why? How does it compare to speed as a measure of what the cyclist is doing? And so on.... I know I'm being vague, I just want to hear (read) what everyone has to say on the subject.
I generally think it's 90-110. When I look down, it's usually in the high 90's. When I take the average cadence for the ride, it's usually in the high 80's which accounts for some of the time spent at stop signs and lights I think, or possibly climbing. Anything over 4% and I spin around 75.

Basically, I think the thinkings is that if you are spinning less than 80/90, you're putting too much pressure on your knees. Spinning is also most likely correlated with being able to produce a rounder, more efficient pedal stroke.

Just my 2 cents, but I'm not an expert.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,085 Posts
Think of low cadence (mashing) as benching your max and higher cadence (spinning) as doing lots of reps. Needless to say, you can't do your max for too long.

Higher cadence is much more aerobic and sustainable if you're able to keep ingesting carbs and electrolytes. You'll also want your bike to be nicely fitted to avoid injury.

For now, just go out and see where you feel fast, comfortable, and can sustain the effort indefinitely. Switching to high cadence from mashing made me a much faster rider off the bat and made me less likely to cramp up and crap out early.

Last year, I consistently rode at 110-120rpm, although this year, I stayed closer to 110. I might keep it around 105 and train for next year at a slightly lower cadence to lower my heart rate a tad. For quick cadence drills, I've been able to hit over 200rpm, though not for a sustained period of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
I'm in my second year of riding and can sustain 90-100 on the flat. I try to hold 90 on hills and to stay above 80 at all times. This winter I plan to join a spinning class at the gym.

This means anticipating the need to shift and doing it early. If you get too slow in too low a gear, you'll be a big hole. Sometimes shifting up and kicking the cadence up (not easy) works. That's a surprise.
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
Back in the mid 80's when I started fitness cycling I thought I was building strength by making it up hills without shifting. In reality, what I was doing was messing up my knees, ending up wearing a cartilage knee brace and getting a handout from the Ortho doc. Essentially, the instructions were to keep riding (at a moderate pace) and maintain a cadence of at least 70.

Through the years I've built the injured knee up (ironically, by cycling), worked on smoothing my pedal stroke and somewhere along the way have settled into a cadence in the mid 90's. On one stretch of road today I was at 110 and it felt as natural as 90.

As others have said, no one can tell you what cadence is right for you, but making every effort to maintain at least 70 (for starters) would be wise, IMO. From there you can work on building up to what many seem to consider an optimal range of 80-90 (varying with terrain), but it takes some time and practice.

Many of the benefits have already been mentioned, but I think one of the biggest is keeping cycling the low impact activity it's meant to be. And if you don't already own a computer with cadence, by all means get one. IMO it's as essential as a helmet, and at < $30, cheap insurance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
I'm not "experienced" but since I got my cadence meter, mine's been rising a bit. The first ride, I saw a lot of 60s and 70s. After discussing things with a friend, I decided to try spinning.

Now, I tend to ride 80-95ish under normal circumstances…I let it get up towards 110 when climbing if its a long climb, but I'm starting to think I could put a lower cap before I upshift. When I blow up on a climb, it drops to like 50-60 no matter how much I downshift.

That being said, my opinion is to ignore a lot of what you read on the internet about this issue (it's all personal anecdotes and old wives' tales) and just get a computer that will measure it and track both your cadence impressions and how you feel during/after rides…or get a better computer that will store it…though that would be annoying to comb through. Glancing at it when you feel 'comfortable', 'powerful', 'fast', 'stressed', or 'dead' as well as some notes about the terrain and your speed are IMO enough…unless it's worth a the cost of power meter and the time to learn how to use it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
i know . people say higher cadence more load to cardio system - higher BPM , but my heart rate is lower when I sustain 95 -105 cadence , than 80 -90 same speed. and you should practice both, high cadence and low cadence workouts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
malanb said:
i know . people say higher cadence more load to cardio system - higher BPM , but my heart rate is lower when I sustain 95 -105 cadence , than 80 -90 same speed.
I experience the same (higher RPM/lower gear = lower HR than lower RPM/higher gear to maintain the same MPH).

I think there might be some confusion, usually I see people talk about high cadence being more aerobic than mashing. I think maybe they are referring to keeping heart rate towards the aerobic zone (~70-80% of MHR) rather than anaerobic (>80% of MHR) but dunno for sure.

It's certainly possible to go anaerobic with cadence >80RPM though, I spend ~90% of my riding time there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
I also think aiming for 80-100 RPM makes perfect sense. On solo rides, that's where I feel most comfortable. When I ride solo or participate in time trials, I usually push harder rather than spin faster if I want to go fast. I try to never drop my cadence below 80 RPM though, because I feel I tire myself much faster under that limit.

But when I ride in fast paced group rides or road races, without any conscious effort on my part to do so, I end up spinning much faster. I'm usually around 95-115 RPM in these circumstances. I don't know, for me, it just feels natural that way.

Getting a cadence meter is a good idea. Go out, ride and take a look at the cadence when you feel comfortable in a given situation, i.e. on the flats, while climbing, descending, etc. Also, try to change pace once in a while, to see how different cadences feel in these situations - sometimes, the cadence that feels instinctively most natural isn't the one you'll be able to sustain for the longest period. Always note mentally what feels best. At some point, you'll find your sweet spot. And when you've found it, you probably won't need the cadence meter anymore : spinning at the pace that seems right will be enough!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Yes to go faster u just. Put a harder gear on u apply force and then your cadence will go up again. Is not that u will just increase cadence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
I think he said that after you learn to spin at a higher cadence, you can start pedalling harder and going faster. Once you get used to pedalling harder, you can then up the cadence and go even faster. I think?

Personally, I'm working on pedalling with higher cadence. I spent 12 years solely on a MTB so I'm used to mashing and getting out of the saddle. I even took my granny off the bike so my low was a 36/28. Now on the road bike, tend to be in the low 70's. I can get high 80's low 90's on long flat sections, but as soon as the elevation changes, I'm standing on the pedals again. It's a work in progress, but I do find that my legs feel better by going easier and keeping higher cadence. My heartrate is in a better zone too.

spade2you said:
......wut?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Generally like everyone says, you want to maintain a cadence of 90-110. Spinning a higher cadence is more efficient and can be maintained for longer periods of time than at a lower cadence. Like trek2.3 said, think of it like weight lifting. You can do more reps for a longer period of time using a 5lb wright than a 20lb weight. If you don't have a cyclometer that shows cadence, A good way to be in the 90-110 rpm range is to be in one lower gear than when you start to "jump" in your seat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,078 Posts
Cadence, and what works best for you, is dependant on the make-up of your leg muscles (the ratio of fast-twitch to slow-twitch fibers), combined with your fitness. Experience will play into the equation but anywhere from 80 - 100 is what you would like to acheive. If you are more comfortable spinning a smaller ring at 80 than a larger one at 100 then do it. It will self select with experience.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top