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Old 06-04-07, 01:15 PM   #1
jim p
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Increasing Cadence

I usually ride with a cadence of approximately 80 rpm. I have been experimenting with using a higher cadence just to see how I would like it. For me to ride at 90 rpm there is little to no change noted except for a little faster leg movement. When I get to 100 rpm I have to move forward on the seat or I notice a great increase of pressure on the hands. When I move forward on the seat the seat is no longer wide enough to support the sit bones and things get uncomfortable. At the present if I hit 110 rpm I start to bounce so for now this is my limit.

So is this typical for most riders? If this is the case it would appear that the old kops would need to be discarded because my knee is going to be an Inch or more in front of the pedal axel if I move the saddle forward to help me spin faster.

It also seems that for me when I am pedaling around 80 rpm that my weight is distributed between my hands, seat and feet such that I am fairly comfortable. When I move forward on the seat for spinning, almost all the weight is taken away from my feet and my hands and seat have to support most of my weight making the hands and seat much less comfortable. What would I need to do as far as fit to even these weights back out a little? I am thinking that raising the bars would take weight off the hands and therefore it would have to either go to the seat or the feet.

Maybe I can just get an old banana seat and then I can move anywhere I feel like and keep spinning.
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Old 06-04-07, 01:27 PM   #2
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I like the banana seat idea. Actually I read somewhere that for most recreational riders, the most efficient cadence is 80-90 rpm. Maybe you are just proving that to be true.
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Old 06-04-07, 01:31 PM   #3
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Yep, I find that between 80-90, 85-95 is about where I like to be. Much more than that and my HR starts to go up with very little in the way of payoff. Unless you count the increased HR as the payoff.
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Old 06-04-07, 01:33 PM   #4
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I ride with a cadence of around 100 on the road bike-90 to 95 on the tandem and 80 to 90 on the MTB. Then I get to a hill and the lowest gear and the hill goes on and the cadence drops on all of them to a lot lower.

Only thing about a higher cadence is that if you are comfortable with it- Then use it. Cadence of 80 is not bad so unless YOU have a reason to raise it- then why bother. Only reason I can think of is that since using a higher cadence- I have taken the strain off the knees---- No mashing up the steep inclines and burning out the quad muscles.

I started using a higher cadence after spinning classes. But on the Road- I would find a cadence I was comfortable with- like your 80- and just go one gear lower and keep the same speed. After a while- I found that the one gear lower had given me a higher cadence,and speed as I found myself going up one gear and still keeping the higher cadence. Then it was time for a lower gear and start training again.

If you are experiencing body position problems then stay at your 80 cadence- Try going one gear lower for a couple of miles on the flat- but you will find that some of us will have a lower cadence in any case.
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Old 06-04-07, 01:36 PM   #5
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You've learned an important lesson. Fit, can be managed for particular "styles" of riding as well as physical parameters. In fact, all you've done is restated the "fit" differences found among the needs of time-trialists, climbers, sprinters etc.

Certain pro riders usually adjusted the fore/aft positions of saddles before the era of "specialty bike" afforded them entire bicycles for separate stages or races..... You can adjust for a particular saddle-sitting. But most riders already have saddles that allow for enough positioning without actually resetting the saddle.

You may have specific leg-bone hip characteristics that make your situation "special." Seek professional assessment if you really want to determine the best solution. I doubt a banana seat is among the choices.

Last edited by Richard Cranium; 06-04-07 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 06-04-07, 02:39 PM   #6
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Like Professor Cranium I suspect a fit problem. I don't know
enough for any particular suggestions.
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Old 06-04-07, 03:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
You've learned an important lesson. Fit, can be managed for particular "styles" of riding as well as physical parameters. In fact, all you've done is restated the "fit" differences found among the needs of time-trialists, climbers, sprinters etc.

Certain pro riders usually adjusted the fore/aft positions of saddles before the era of "specialty bike" afforded them entire bicycles for separate stages or races..... You can adjust for a particular saddle-sitting. But most riders already have saddles that allow for enough positioning without actually resetting the saddle.

You may have specific leg-bone hip characteristics that make your situation "special." Seek professional assessment if you really want to determine the best solution. I doubt a banana seat is among the choices.

Not often I'll do this, but +1 to what Richard said. I've found that if I'm bouncing it usually means the seat is too far back and/or to high for the cadence.
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Old 06-04-07, 04:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSLeVan
Not often I'll do this, but +1 to what Richard said. I've found that if I'm bouncing it usually means the seat is too far back and/or to high for the cadence.

I've just read the same thing. I was having problems with bouncing problems as well and lowered the saddle about 1/4 " and it squared it away, good luck.
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Old 06-04-07, 07:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the great replys. I have only been riding for about 2 years and I am still trying to get in shape and develop cycling muscles and cycling techniques. I was happy to see that what I am experiencing is typical and that fit changes might be required to achieve different riding styles. I probably wont make many changes for now except I may give lowering the seat a try because I don't like the seat to bar drop that I have now.

I would have to say that I am a recreational rider even though I am trying to get stronger. I try to ride 20 miles a day and my average speed is around 13 mph. I can average 15 mph but this takes all that I have. I can cruise around 20 mph on the flats for a couple of miles but I don't know how long I could hold this speed since I only have one spot that is flat for this distance. If I was strong enough to mash for the whole ride it would be great because while I am mashing almost all of my weight is on the pedals so the hands and rear get a break.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-04-07, 08:54 PM   #10
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My q-rings have sure made it easier for me to maintain a faster cadence.
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Old 06-05-07, 05:40 AM   #11
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I don't find myself changing my seat position based on my cadence. I do think that there seems to be a comfortable cadence and you have to work at it if you want to increasing it. But a lot of this fo me has to do with what gears I am in. If I am going 20mph and trying to pedal at 110 rpm in a 52/23 I feel like I am spinning a fury and it is not comfortable to me. However, doing the same cadence in a bigger gear say 52/15 and going 29mph in a pack feels very comfortable.
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Old 06-05-07, 05:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim p
Thanks for all the great replys. I have only been riding for about 2 years and I am still trying to get in shape and develop cycling muscles and cycling techniques. I was happy to see that what I am experiencing is typical and that fit changes might be required to achieve different riding styles. I probably wont make many changes for now except I may give lowering the seat a try because I don't like the seat to bar drop that I have now.

I would have to say that I am a recreational rider even though I am trying to get stronger. I try to ride 20 miles a day and my average speed is around 13 mph. I can average 15 mph but this takes all that I have. I can cruise around 20 mph on the flats for a couple of miles but I don't know how long I could hold this speed since I only have one spot that is flat for this distance. If I was strong enough to mash for the whole ride it would be great because while I am mashing almost all of my weight is on the pedals so the hands and rear get a break.

Thanks again.
The first few years of riding I kept my cadence around 95 and used whatever gear was needed to move along within a prescribed Heart Rate. Since the legs have gotten a little stronger, I have noticed that I tend to push a harder gear or two but the cadence is now in the 85-90 range.

I'd be careful about dropping the saddle too much. It sounds like if anything you might want to first try moving forward just a little-if that is where you're finding you're winding up. Knee pains will be the first to tell if you if have the saddle pretty far off from where it needs to be.
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Old 06-05-07, 06:34 AM   #13
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The other thing I find that works for me is I will usually push a higher cadence when I am on the front rather than drafting. I tend to shift to a bigger gear when I am behind since it allows me to rest a bit more and provides additional torque to cover gaps if they develop.
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Old 06-05-07, 07:54 AM   #14
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cadence

For me 85-95. I have found that staying closer to 95 is easier on the high milage knees.
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Old 06-05-07, 02:41 PM   #15
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When I started riding somewhat seriously last summer, the idea of spinning at 90 seemed ridiculous. But I worked on it and pretty soon was averaging above 90 for most of my rides, even up to 50 miles, if the weather was really nice. On a really good day, I can keep it above 90 for most of the ride.

But I tend to drop down to around 82-85 when I ride with people or when there is headwind, etc. If I'm pulling, the cadence jumps back up, but if I'm drafting, it goes down.

Higher cadence is easier on you and I think the trick is to be able to get your cadence up and then use bigger gears at the higher cadence. I'm not there yet.
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Old 06-05-07, 09:38 PM   #16
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I am going to take everyones advice and just keep on pedaling. I will continue to try and find my best cadence. I will probably be happy with about 95 and I am not that far away now. Maybe with a little more practice, riding, and adjusting the fit; things will come together. But if I have to settle for my present cadence that will be ok also. I guess that my main reason for wanting to go a little higher is to try and get a little insurance that I wont cause myself any knee problems from pushing too higher of a gear. I really like to ride for exercise and knee problems would probably put a damper on the riding.

So I guess for now it is going to be low gears and higher cadence practice and maybe a month from now I will be able to decide if it is going to pan out for me.
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Old 06-05-07, 10:59 PM   #17
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I've recently noticed that my natural cadence has slowed a bit. Maybe it is age related, I don't know. When I was at the peak of my recreational cycling "career" my spin was usually around 90 to 100. On Monday's ride, while in a good groove on a rare flat road, I checked my cadence for the first time in ages. To my surprise it was around 80 to 85. When I stepped it up a bit I felt uncomfortable, even after a downshift.

I really am not going to try to fix things, at this point. I'm more than glad just to be riding and enjoying cycling at any cadence. 80 rpm feels good now, so 80/85 it is. No big deal, just a personal observation.

Guess I'm not a spinner any more.

Last edited by Louis; 06-06-07 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 06-06-07, 07:08 PM   #18
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I am experimenting with this issue also. My motivation is that I get dropped too often on hills. I am very competitive on flats but not hills. This 25 mile park road I use has some modest hills. I can (and have) done the 25 miles with the big ring (on a triple crank) many, many times. Average speed is above 17 solo.
I noticed that the guys dropping me are always in the center ring and of course use higher cadence.
My cadence is comfortable around 80 to 100 RPM. I often drop to lower cadence in a hill and often stand up and power the last section.
Lately I have experimented using the center ring around the park. Initial results are that this is a different form of biking for me. My stroke is much smoother and I see an improvement in a hill. I also get leg burning and lost some speed on flats. (I realize that I should change to the big gear on flats but I am trying to use higher cadence in general)
I hope this long post makes some sense? Any comment is welcome.
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Old 06-06-07, 07:53 PM   #19
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There is a reason the bikes have gears and shifters.
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