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I seem to have this problem where I have a hard time spinning at a high cadence. I have no problems using the larger gears and in fact I prefer that. My friends are telling me to use lower gears and spin but it is really uncomfortable and I feel like I am moving a lot slower. I am about 6'3" and 265lbs. I can ride at about 20-22mph but only using higher gears. Does anyone else have this problem or any suggestions, Thanks in advance

Pat
 

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E Plurbus Elvis
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Blah! Blah! Blah! said:
I am about 6'3" and 265lbs. I can ride at about 20-22mph but only using higher gears. Does anyone else have this problem or any suggestions?
How long can you maintain 20-22 mph in a big gear? I can ride for hours and hours at about that speed in the little ring, ie, 39x17-19.

Also, how many hours do you spend on the bike every week? If I mashed on the 53-ring all the time, my legs would be dead after about 2 days.

Another benefit of spinning is, when someone passes me in his big ring, I still have at least 6 or 7 bigger gears I can shift into. Usually the mashers are already topped out, while I can 'spin' the same gear they're mashing -- meaning, I drop them -- easily.

My suggestion to you is, do your next 1000 miles in the 39-ring.
 

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Ride your way.

I was bummed that I couldn't teach myself to maintain 90 rpms for long periods of time. I kept drifting back to 80 to 85 and going up a gear. Then I read an article in Velo News that said Miguel Indurain and Andy Hampsten were under 90 as well. That made me feeI better so I screwed around on rollers that winter to find the gear and cadence that produced the lowest hear rate while maintaining 20 mph. The easiest cadence for me was 84 or 85.
 

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Spicy Dumpling
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Mix it up

Do what feels good. I bought a compact for steeeeep rides last year and got into the habit of spinning up even the easiest climbs. I've gone to riding a singlespeed and learned to stand again. I'm faster, stronger, and have less pains in my back now that I'm pushing a little bigger gears and slowing my cadence a bit. I still spin when I need to on the steep stuff but many times I feel I'm more efficient at about 75-80 rpms and grinding. I think the best thing is to mix it up depending on conditions and how your built.
 

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It may take you many months to feel comfortable spinning. I spent one winter on a wind trainer in the little ring to learn how to spin at 100+ rpm. That exercise was worth the effort the following racing season. I was able to cruise at 95+ rpm and was quite successfull racing.

Jim
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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You might want to check your saddle height. If it's too high (even a little bit), it can be difficult to spin comfortably.

Also, if your pedal stroke is really heavy on the pushing down in front (a common characteristic of mashing), you'll find spinning hard to do. As soon as you start to spin, you start to bounce or surge.

To help train yourself to make a more circular pedal stroke, try doing one-leg drills. You don't need to take your other foot off the pedal, just don't do any work with it. Pedal for a little bit using only your right leg for power then switch and do the same amount of time with your left leg only. Do this a few times per ride. You don't need to do it all the time, you can just use it to mix things up now and again. This will really help you feel the difference between a more circular stroke and a "square" or downstroke-only one. Mastering the circular stroke will make spinning more natural, and brings more muscle groups into play--which means you're spreading the effort around so no one muscle group does all the work (which is more what's happening when you pedal square).

Finally, as some others have pointed out, there's spinning and there's SPINNING. I rarely spin over 90 rpm. My natural cadence tends to be 85-87, and it goes down some as I apply more power (climbing or high speeds). It's a much slower cadence than my friends who are spinning up near 100 rpm, but I still get that "I'm really hauling and barely putting any effort into it" feeling you get when you spin properly. You don't have to buzz away like a fixie rider descending Pike's Peak to be spinning effectively.
 

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The Right Wing
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How do you like that.

rusa1586 said:
I was bummed that I couldn't teach myself to maintain 90 rpms for long periods of time. I kept drifting back to 80 to 85 and going up a gear. Then I read an article in Velo News that said Miguel Indurain and Andy Hampsten were under 90 as well. That made me feeI better so I screwed around on rollers that winter to find the gear and cadence that produced the lowest hear rate while maintaining 20 mph. The easiest cadence for me was 84 or 85.
I had always thought (from something Iread years ago) that 80 was the most thermally efficient RPM for the greatest number of subjects. It is certainly the RPM I naturaly use when I am dead tired. Of course I train at 100 and race at 90, thermal efficiency be damned, I am looking for max power at LT.
 

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Don't stress about spinning so high, especially if you are JRA with your friends or on the Sunday morning fast ride. I've talked to two exercise physiologists each with 20+ years of experience about this in the recent past. They say each human body has a fantastic tendency to find its own most efficient cadence.

According to my latest metabolic tests, I am more aerobically efficient (on the order of about ~10%) at 80 rpm than 90 rpm at a given speed.
 

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ElvisMerckx said:
I can ride for hours and hours at about that speed in the little ring, ie, 39x17-19.
Just wondering,lets say you are able to ride on the low end at 20mph and in the bigger gear,your 17T.You're saying that you are comfortable riding hours on end at 120rpm?

That just seemed odd to me.When I am taking it easy and cruising between intervals or on a recovery ride I typically cruise at 19-20ish in my 53X19 which is 90-95rpm.You're saying you are riding the same speed in the same cog but 14 teeth down in the front.
 

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Impulse Athletic Coaching
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team_sheepshead said:
Don't stress about spinning so high, especially if you are JRA with your friends or on the Sunday morning fast ride. I've talked to two exercise physiologists each with 20+ years of experience about this in the recent past. They say each human body has a fantastic tendency to find its own most efficient cadence.

According to my latest metabolic tests, I am more aerobically efficient (on the order of about ~10%) at 80 rpm than 90 rpm at a given speed.
Where can I get a test like this done? I would love to know my perfect cadence..

As for "the most thermally efficient RPM," the wording on that is strange. Themo = heat, so the point where your body creates the least heat for itself while making the most power? I'm sure it relates to aerobic efficiency.
 

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I spent the winter on the trainer working on my RPM. I started with no resistance and worked my way up. I was doing 20 to 22 mph at 90 to 100 RPM last season. Now I do the same speed at 108 to 112 RPM. I have to slow my self down or I will go to 116 to 118(out of controll). My climbing and endurance is WAY better.
I should mention that I am a small guy at '5 "6 120lbs.
 

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E Plurbus Elvis
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R.Rice said:
Just wondering,lets say you are able to ride on the low end at 20mph and in the bigger gear,your 17T.You're saying that you are comfortable riding hours on end at 120rpm?.
No, that's what you're saying. Reread my response, I said "at about that speed," and I caveated that with time. I spend a lot of time pedalling, and, yes, I'm comfortable above 100rpm for LONG periods of time. BTW, [email protected]~=110rpm.

R.Rice said:
That just seemed odd to me.When I am taking it easy and cruising between intervals or on a recovery ride I typically cruise at 19-20ish in my 53X19 which is 90-95rpm.You're saying you are riding the same speed in the same cog but 14 teeth down in the front.
Again, no, that's what you're saying. However, I will go out on a limb and claim: 53x19=39x15.
 

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We don't all work the same way.

What's true for one isn't necessarily true for everybody. I've done one-legged riding on the stand and very high cadences both on the stand and on my fixie and my comfort range stays the same. I'm a little bigger than you 5'10" and 168 (when I'm really fit) and muscle up quickly. I have had much more success gaining the strength to push a 42x13 at 84 rpm than I had trying to spin a 42x14 at 90 rpm and I think they're pretty much the same difference.

Many spinners, not you, PJR, make it sound like everybody should spin faster and I don't believe that's true anymore than everybody should ride Brooks Saddles or the same handlebar drop or wear bibs. Bicycles adapt very well to individuals, that's why so many of us love them.
 

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The Right Wing
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By thermal, I mean gross energy balance

Kerry Irons said:
What the heck does "the most thermally efficient RPM" mean?
I'm an engineer. Anything that needs to have its efficiency measured gets its ins and outs converted to a thermal measure, like BTU's in the old days. kJ nowadays. Then you divide out by in and call it efficiency. You could say thermal implies heat, and you would probably be correct, but I was thinking more of work. Children of the industrial age have trouble separating work from heat.

"Aerobic efficiency" is a term I hear a lot in physiology, and it is well defined by the practitioners, but what do doctors know about efficiency? When I hear the term, I convert it mentaly to "thermal efficiency while operating in the aerobic range".

To answer your question, the cadence I was describing is the cadence where the system (body + bike) operates at its peak energy conversion efficiency.
 

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Polka Power
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ElvisMerckx said:
Again, no, that's what you're saying. However, I will go out on a limb and claim: 53x19=39x15.
What were you saying?

ElvisMerckx said:
How long can you maintain 20-22 mph in a big gear? I can ride for hours and hours at about that speed in the little ring, ie, 39x17-19.
That equals at least 110rpm....up to about 130 (39x19 @ 22mph). That seems like what you ment. So are you comfy at 110 to 130rpm for hours and hours or was that just an exaggeration? Or do you ride slower than 20-22mph in those gears...if so what was your point?

Not saying you couldn't. I had my fixed gear out in a tail wind this weekend and had it at speeds of 24-28mph for well over an hour.....it wasn't that efficient. With it's 44x16, that's about the same range of cadence. I can do it....but if I had the choice I wouldn't. For short burst the high cadence can really get power down....but for the long term it just wears me out.

39x15 = 68 gear inches, 53x19 = 73 gear inches...a difference of about 1.5mph at 100rpm.
 

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Perpetual Three
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it took me 2-3 months to like spinning. I used to like 80 rpm, but now I'm happier around 92. I'm talking about on the flats, by the way. sometimes I go rediculously high (115) in order to see if I can even find the rythm at those speeds, which makes the lower cadences seem much easier. I only do that for about 30 sec. at a time, but it helps.
 
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