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    cadence for a big guy - bounce?

    so I put a computer on my bike to monitor cadence and on the first ride with it (5 miles) I had an average of 78 with which I'm happy with my question is: around 86ish and above I seem to start to bounce. Do I have my seat to high or is it a form thing that I need to work into? I was having a little bit of knee pain before which went away after I raised my seat (followed this to adjust my fit on the bike).
    Last edited by chepburn; 04-28-12 at 07:56 AM.
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    I just posted this in your other thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by paisan View Post
    90 rpm (+/-10rpm) is the optimal cadence range so you should keeping working towards being able to consistently pedal in that range, but a good rule of thumb for cadence is:
    If your legs hurt shift up(Pedal easier/higher cadence)
    If your lungs hurt(heavy breathing)shift down(pedal harder/lower cadence)

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    Quote Originally Posted by paisan View Post
    I just posted this in your other thread:

    saw that, thanks that was going to be my next question

    this question was more about the "bounce" I feel above 86ish
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    The bounce happens because of the dead spot in the pedal stroke at the bottom dead center. The idea is to try to get the pedal past that spot as smoothly as possible. One trick is to try to pedal in circles instead of squares, to do this some people suggest using a "Wipe your foot" motion at the bottom.

    You just started biking and fixing the bounce doesn't happen overnight. You just have to keep working at it, keep pedaling at higher cadences and eventually it will smooth itself out.

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    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paisan View Post
    The bounce happens because of the dead spot in the pedal stroke at the bottom dead center. The idea is to try to get the pedal past that spot as smoothly as possible. One trick is to try to pedal in circles instead of squares, to do this some people suggest using a "Wipe your foot" motion at the bottom.

    You just started biking and fixing the bounce doesn't happen overnight. You just have to keep working at it, keep pedaling at higher cadences and eventually it will smooth itself out.
    i aslo posted a answer in your other thread.

    but the bouncing thing gets better as you ride more. last year i would bounce at 90rpm played with seat height (really really small adjustments) and the 90 was ok but at 95 i would bounce.
    this year i think i bounce around 120-130 but at that rpm my legs are going link a squirrel on crack and redbull so noticing anything is not a concern.

    like paisan says you can try visualizing wiping mud off your shoes at the bottom of your stroke, or the other tip is having your toes point a bit down and the bottom of your stroke, or the other i was told is seat height.

    but i cant say that any of those worked. i felt it was just the practicing riding at higher cadence that worked the most.

    just ride on, have fun and say wheeeeeeeeeeeee down all hills.

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    Senior Member Big Pete 1982's Avatar
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    I find that if I'm "bouncing", it's usually because I'm in too low of a gear. Try shifting up and maintain that cadence.

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    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    If you just starting out a cadence in the 80's is really good. When you work on cadence try to keep it just below the bouncing rpm. I try to think about keeping "light on my feet" and lifting my leg on the upstroke. By lifting your leg on the upstroke you're using more muscles and not depending on the downstroke to lift the opposite leg.

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    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    One thing you can do to work on a smooth spin is to pick up a fixed gear bike. You have to pedal smoothly and constantly with a fixed gear, and this will do wonders for your spin and endurance on a road bike with gears that you can coast on.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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    Quote Originally Posted by chepburn View Post
    so I put a computer on my bike to monitor cadence and on the first ride with it (5 miles) I had an average of 78 with which I'm happy with my question is: around 86ish and above I seem to start to bounce. Do I have my seat to high or is it a form thing that I need to work into? I was having a little bit of knee pain before which went away after I raised my seat (followed this to adjust my fit on the bike).
    Form.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paisan View Post
    I just posted this in your other thread:
    Definitions of "optimal" (burns the fewest calories, makes the most power, produces the least fatigue for a given power) vary, the answers depend on both power output and the individual, and what feels best as a self-selected cadence needn't match any variant of "optimal."

    To generalize you need more RPMs for least fatigue and highest average power for a duration as the power requirements go up. 70 RPM might be great for an all-day endurance ride but be unsustainable for more than five minutes at a power you could otherwise manage for an hour at higher RPM (Racing and Training with a Power Meter includes an anecdote about such a racer who got dropped every time he spent more than five minutes with such a combination). At an hour pace I can ride threshold intervals on consecutive days at 90-100 RPM but not much less. It might take 110 RPM for your fastest sprint.

    Regardless, being able to spin faster (120-140 RPM isn't unreasonable) is a fine idea because it'll let you apply power at higher speeds and perhaps let you run a bigger starting cog for tighter spacing between gears at the speeds you travel more often and/or smaller big ring so you can shift your front derailleur less often and have a better quieter chain angle at cruising speeds.

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    Is a higher cadence directly linked to more efficient rides? If you can maintain an average speed at a low cadence (say 75-85) longer and more efficiently, why would one suggest that you switch to a lower gear and higher cadence? Almost every time I go to the LBS they tell me to pedal at a high cadence, yet for me, it is less efficient than pedaling at 80 RPM. I guess because of the fact that I bodybuild, "gear mashing" works better for me.
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    The bounce could be from form and fit. As for cadance, I find it falls where it needs to be. I can run a cadance over 200 on the trainer and have seen 189 on the road but my average always falls between 82-86. We all have different styles and we all need to do what's right for us. It all depends on terrain and riding style. I do a lot of group riding which requires a heavy gear at times. Watch the pros, not all are spinning at 90 like a certain LA guy who popularized high leg speed most are going bigger gear between 75-85. Do what's right for you.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Is a higher cadence directly linked to more efficient rides? If you can maintain an average speed at a low cadence (say 75-85) longer and more efficiently, why would one suggest that you switch to a lower gear and higher cadence? Almost every time I go to the LBS they tell me to pedal at a high cadence, yet for me, it is less efficient than pedaling at 80 RPM. I guess because of the fact that I bodybuild, "gear mashing" works better for me.
    Depends what you mean by efficient. Higher cadence is easier on muscles and joints, but harder on heart and lungs. So the further and faster you go, the more a high cadence will help, because your muscles get less fatigued - you're pushing a smaller gear to go the same speed. However, this is only possible if you are aerobically fit enough to take up and use the extra oxygen that is required. - there's an energy cost to just moving your legs faster.

    This is why one typically sees beginners spinning lower cadences. It feels easier, as long as you aren't going too far, and they simply aren't fit enough to maintain higher RPMs.
    Last edited by chasm54; 04-29-12 at 12:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Depends what you mean by efficient. Higher cadence is easier on muscles and joints, but harder on heart and lungs. So the further and faster you go, the more a high cadence will help, because your muscles get less fatigued - you're pushing a smaller gear to go the same speed. However, this is only possible if you are aerobically fit enough to take up and use the extra oxygen that is required. - there's an energy cost to just moving your legs faster.

    This is why one typically sees beginners spinning lower cadences. It feels easier, as long as you aren't going too far, and they simply aren't fit enough to maintain higher RPMs.
    I can do a half century at 85 RPM, so your second statement must not be true for everyone. I just feel like a higher cadence is a waste of energy--spinning at 100-130 RPM and going half as fast as I would if I were to change gears and drop to 85 RPM. I'll try a high RMP on my next long ride this weekend and see how it plays out since I am in pretty good shape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axiom View Post
    Is a higher cadence directly linked to more efficient rides? If you can maintain an average speed at a low cadence (say 75-85) longer and more efficiently, why would one suggest that you switch to a lower gear and higher cadence? Almost every time I go to the LBS they tell me to pedal at a high cadence, yet for me, it is less efficient than pedaling at 80 RPM. I guess because of the fact that I bodybuild, "gear mashing" works better for me.
    Answer to your first question, is, more or less, yes. If that "average speed" is considerably lower than your max for whatever distance or duration is anticipatd, then efficiency will not be as much of a concern. However, if you're attempting to go as far or as fast as you are capable for some measurable distance, then there is a basic physiological sweet spot for almost all persons with regard to musclular versus cardiovascular loading. That sweet spot is almost always in the range of 90-100 rpm. It may very a little from person to person, but not a lot. Keep in mind we are talking about "cyclists" who's muscles are trained to ride for considerable distance.

    When I was young and new, I too felt as though I was more efficient when "mashing". I wasn't. With time and just a little bit of spin training you'll soon find that 100-105 rpm is nothing. To reach that point it requires improving your rpm redline by performing spinning drills. These include not only working on how "fast" you can spin, but, also on how "smoothly" you spin. One legged drills, scrape and lift practice, etc. Get a smooth pedal stroke, then work of foot speed. Soon you be spinning like a little man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axiom View Post
    I can do a half century at 85 RPM, so your second statement must not be true for everyone. I just feel like a higher cadence is a waste of energy--spinning at 100-130 RPM and going half as fast as I would if I were to change gears and drop to 85 RPM. I'll try a high RMP on my next long ride this weekend and see how it plays out since I am in pretty good shape.
    It looks like the two examples you're using are either side of what is normally consider the most effecient range (90-100). That could explain your experience.

    110-120+ is starting to get into sprinting speeds and not something that would normally be sustainable for longer distances.

    With 25 years of cycling experience I was pretty confident that I knew what a cadence of 90 rpm felt like. Until Mrs. Fred bought me a new cycling computer with cadence and heart rate sensors. I wasn't far off. But I was cycling at 80-90 instead of 90-100. Almost overnight, my performance increased. My friends all noticed it. And nothing had really changed but the fact that I was now usually spinning 1 gear lower than I had been. That's the extent of the difference. 1-2 gears lower.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    That's the extent of the difference. 1-2 gears lower.
    This.

    Axiom, we're at the margins, here. If your usual cadence is c. 85 you're not far below what most people would regard as optimal - it's not as if you are mashing at 60, as a beginner might. And I am anything but an evangelist for high cadences, I just do what comes naturally. But it is certainly true that what comes naturally has tended towards higher cadences as I have got fitter and sought to go faster. Something close to 100 now feels normal to me, and I am able to maintain higher cruising speeds as a result.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Try riding with your tires at maximum air pressure. The harder the tires, the less they'll give.

    That or get cages or clips. Eventually you'll stop thinking of the pedals as working in a downward motion only and start using a more circular motion.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    This.

    Axiom, we're at the margins, here. If your usual cadence is c. 85 you're not far below what most people would regard as optimal - it's not as if you are mashing at 60, as a beginner might. And I am anything but an evangelist for high cadences, I just do what comes naturally. But it is certainly true that what comes naturally has tended towards higher cadences as I have got fitter and sought to go faster. Something close to 100 now feels normal to me, and I am able to maintain higher cruising speeds as a result.
    IMHO I don't think anyone thinks about cadence as bike rider, certainly not as a child with their bike.

    Measurables like cadence comes into play when one makes the transition from bicycle rider to cyclist.

    As you have mentioned, the more you ride the higher range your cadence falls into. That being said, I suspect Axiom will be no different than the majority with respect to his cadence level.

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    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paisan View Post
    I just posted this in your other thread:
    Originally Posted by paisan
    90 rpm (+/-10rpm) is the optimal cadence range so you should keeping working towards being able to consistently pedal in that range, but a good rule of thumb for cadence is:
    If your legs hurt shift up(Pedal easier/higher cadence)
    If your lungs hurt(heavy breathing)shift down(pedal harder/lower cadence)

    And I try to do both of these. Depending on the ride I'll work on cadence (lungs) or legs. It could be during the same ride. Grab some gears, get out of the saddle and mash a while.
    I'll also work on making circles (flat Jersey is good for that right paisan?). Wonder what people think when they see folks going 16 mph pedaling one legged?

    Good stuff in this thread.

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    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    What's the length of your cranks vs the length of your legs?

    I have to run 165MM cranks because one knee doesn't bend as far as it should.
    Using 175MM cranks, my foot is leaving the pedal at about 63 RPM. I guess that might be considered "bounce"??
    With 165's, I spin 80-85. Going shorter than that starts to reduce my cadence. (160's dropped me to 80 max)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Axiom View Post
    I can do a half century at 85 RPM, so your second statement must not be true for everyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Axiom View Post
    I also want to up my maximum ride distance from 30 miles to 50, and then 50 to a century.



    I know this has absolutely nothing to do with cadence but there's a significant difference in your mileage in two different threads. If you're going to ask for help, make bold statements, or discredit another poster's advice(as you did to Chasm) it helps to have the facts straight so that others can take or give proper advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paisan View Post



    I know this has absolutely nothing to do with cadence but there's a significant difference in your mileage in two different threads. If you're going to ask for help, make bold statements, or discredit another poster's advice(as you did to Chasm) it helps to have the facts straight so that others can take or give proper advice.
    Thnk U,
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    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axiom View Post
    I guess because of the fact that I bodybuild, "gear mashing" works better for me.
    I don't bodybuild (powerlift, actually) anymore but my legs are still strong. I find myself mashing as well and it takes a great effort to stop.

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    like i said, once i learned to spin at a higher cadence i could go farther, longer and consecutive days. i still mash but i save that for overpasses, sprinting to get into the left lane to turn, sprint away from dogs, catch up to the 80 year old guy on a rusty mountain bike that just past me, mash through the wind that has me going 9mph, catch up and try to pass the girl who just flew by me (yes ego thing), mash to not get caught at the red light.

    its nice to save your legs during a ride to use when needed. it a balance that is available for you to use how you want to. dont over think it and just ride, have fun, then repeat.

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