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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 05-25-07, 09:33 AM   #1
banerjek
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Is your spin rate slower on a bent than a DF?

Just wondering if it's just me. On my bents, I've noticed my sweet spot for spinning is about 93 rpm. If I'm really putting a lot of leg in while climbing up hills, I'll let that drop into the low 80's. I tend to switch gears if I go over 100.

On the other hand, on my DF, my preferred cadence is 100-105, and when I'm going over 21mph and some change, that rises to around 110. I usually drop a gear if my cadence dips below 95. The only time I'm slower on a DF is on a standing climb, but since you can't stand on a bent, that doesn't really count.

Has anyone else noticed a slower spin rate when on a bent, or is there something strange about my riding habits?
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Old 05-25-07, 09:49 AM   #2
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I tend to spin higher rpm when riding my recumbemt.

On my road bike, DF frame, I ride 175mm crankarms, usually sping at 85-100 rpm cadence.

On my recumbent I ride 165mm crankarms, spin at 90-110 rpm but I shift between gears a whole lot more on the recumbent.

Shorter crank arms allow me to spin smoother at higher cadence.
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Old 05-25-07, 09:59 AM   #3
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much faster on the bent, especially uphill.
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Old 05-25-07, 10:25 AM   #4
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Faster on the bent, better for the knees.
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Old 05-25-07, 10:44 AM   #5
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I switched to Bents and completely lost my spinning for steep hills ?
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Old 05-25-07, 12:30 PM   #6
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I'm about the same on both platforms. I run 170s on everything.
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Old 05-25-07, 07:12 PM   #7
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Same here; 95 -105 average on either bent or DF.
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Old 05-25-07, 07:46 PM   #8
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faster on my 'bent, out of necessity
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Old 05-25-07, 08:04 PM   #9
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The thing I find about my trike is that I'll spin a lot slower on the level, but I spin a lot faster going up hills. Of course, I've never been much of a spinner. Fortunately, my knees don't bother me.
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Old 05-26-07, 12:35 AM   #10
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105 cold 120 warm, cruising either platform
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Old 05-26-07, 05:58 AM   #11
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Much faster on a bent, partly due to the mechanics of the bent and partly because I have shortenend cranks on mine. I've had a stroke and my left leg is a bit weaker than the right, so geared down the front chain ring and went to shorter cranks (153's from the stock 175's) and for me it works beautifully. Heck, I even have a significantly higher cadence than the average bent driver, but it works for me OK.
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Old 10-07-07, 11:53 PM   #12
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Reviving this old thread because I'm finding it difficult to spin as fast on my bent as I do on my upright. Only started riding bikes again in April, with 600+ miles on an upright and just topped 175 miles on my first bent. On my upright I've increased my cadence from 65-70 in April to around 85. On my bent, I'm having a hard time maintaining over 75 on flats. This is riding a LWB Sun with a lower bottom bracket. Cranks are 170 on both.

When I'm doing 80-85 on my upright, it feels natural. On my bent the same cadence feels like it takes a lot more effort, and doesn't feel as smooth.

A case of not having my "bent legs" as yet??

Last edited by Tom Bombadil; 10-10-07 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 10-08-07, 09:10 AM   #13
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Reviving this old thread because I'm finding it difficult to spin as fast on my bent as I do on my upright. Only be riding anything more seriously since April, and just topped 175 miles on my first bent. On my upright I've increased my cadence from 65-70 in April to around 85. On my bent, I'm having a hard time maintaining over 75 on flats. This is riding a LWB Sun with a lower bottom bracket. Cranks are 170 on both.

When I'm doing 80-85 on my upright, it feels natural. On my bent the same cadence feels like it takes a lot more effort, and doesn't feel as smooth.

A case of not having my "bent legs" as yet??
Shift down a gear or two. You should be able to achieve any RPM you want with the right gear selection.

I tend to spin faster on my bent since I can't stand on the pedals to accelerate like I can on my DF bikes.
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Old 10-08-07, 10:13 AM   #14
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I tried shifting down. As I said above, I found it difficult to keep a smooth spinning motion when I got it up to 85-90. I had to really work at it and it felt like I was spinning out. I read here that some are spinning at 110-120! I don't know how you do that and keep going, at least on flats.

It wasn't that I couldn't force my cadence up to 85-90, it was that it was very uncomfortable to maintain that cadence. Which is unlike my experience on an upright, where that same cadence feels comfortable.

It also felt like the 170mm crank arms on my bent were longer, and required more reach, than the 170mm crank arms on my upright. This contributed to my discomfort at higher cadences.
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Old 10-08-07, 06:38 PM   #15
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I spin slower compared to my upright mountain bike. Thats ok though, a slower spin on a recumbent aerodynamically yields a higher overall forward speed. If you apply the same amount of power say at 80 rpm vs 100 rpm, you will go a tad faster doing 80 rpm
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Old 10-08-07, 09:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I tried shifting down. As I said above, I found it difficult to keep a smooth spinning motion when I got it up to 85-90. I had to really work at it and it felt like I was spinning out. I read here that some are spinning at 110-120! I don't know how you do that and keep going, at least on flats.

It wasn't that I couldn't force my cadence up to 85-90, it was that it was very uncomfortable to maintain that cadence. Which is unlike my experience on an upright, where that same cadence feels comfortable.

It also felt like the 170mm crank arms on my bent were longer, and required more reach, than the 170mm crank arms on my upright. This contributed to my discomfort at higher cadences.
How's the saddle position? You could try nudging it a little closer to the pedals.

I spin about the same on my bent as I did on my MTB - fairly slowly.
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Old 10-09-07, 11:02 PM   #17
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How's the saddle position? You could try nudging it a little closer to the pedals.

I spin about the same on my bent as I did on my MTB - fairly slowly.
Yeah, I've played around with that too. Up to about 3 weeks ago, the seat position was definitely off, but it is much better now. If I move it any closer, then the backstroke is too close. When it was too far away it was really hurting my cadence as it was too much of a reach.

I think the main thing is just working hard on it. I'd love to try out a 165mm crank as I think that would help. Wish that were an easier thing to do.
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Old 10-10-07, 03:50 AM   #18
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If you go to your LBS and ask if they have a set of cranks for a 24" kids MTB you may be able to try short cranks on the cheap.
I got a set of 152 cranks with 24/32/44 rings for 25 ish Australian dollars.
They are steel but work well, just be aware that if you have hills you will need to use lower gears to climb with and you must down shift as you slow down or you will have trouble winding up.
It will take a while to get aerobically fit enough to sustain high rpms, but your legs will love you for it.
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Old 10-10-07, 06:33 AM   #19
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Slower

Slower on my bent. I have the same size crank on both: Bent & DF. My average cadence 90-110.

Cadence- go to google look up the average cadence of guys like Armstrong. His cadence is higher then most. This information might be something to go by...

Departamento de Ciencias Morfológicas y Fisiología, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. alejandro.lucia@mrfs.cisa.uem.es
PURPOSE: The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the preferred cycling cadence of professional riders during competition. METHODS: We measured the cadence of seven professional cyclists (28 +/- 1 yr) during 3-wk road races (Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España) involving three main competition requirements: uphill cycling (high mountain passes of approximately 15 km, or HM); individual time trials of approximately 50 km on level ground (TT); and flat, long ( approximately 190 km) group stages (F). Heart rate (HR) data were also recorded as an indicator of exercise intensity during HM, TT, and F. RESULTS*: Mean cadence was significantly lower (P < 0.01) during HM (71.0 +/- 1.4 rpm) than either F and TT (89.3 +/- 1.0 and 92.4 +/- 1.3 rpm, respectively). HR was similar during HM and TT (157 +/- 4 and 158 +/- 3 bpm) and in both cases higher (P < 0.01) than during F (124 +/- 2 bpm). CONCLUSION: During both F and TT, professional riders spontaneously adopt higher cadences (around 90 rpm) than those previously reported in the majority of laboratory studies as being the most economical. In contrast, during HM they seem to adopt a more economical pedalling rate (approximately 70 rpm), possibly as a result of the specific demands of this competition phase.

*TT (Time Trials), F (Flat Stages) and HM (High Mountain Passes).
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Old 10-10-07, 07:28 AM   #20
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Faster on the bent. I always turned 90 to 100 on an upright but I feel better at 100 to 110 on the bent. I have 172.5s on both.
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Old 10-10-07, 11:52 PM   #21
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Even after 5 year still slower on the bent...
I sometimes wonder if all you guys who say you do 100 to 150 cadence do have a cadence meater??
I do and while sure I can get up to 130... it's not for long
I can go all day at 80 but 100s are only short bursts.
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Old 10-11-07, 08:13 AM   #22
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Relax

Hey Leigh_caines relax, the guys aren't better then you, they just can't count or just because they can do 170 or more for 5 seconds it’s become a norm in their imagination.

See the paragraph on my thread above and you'll see your doing just fine. Some pro riders will get up to 150's and 170's (I’ve read of rare cases a bit higher) and that's when they are sprinting. Most of us would bounce off our bikes at cadences that high. I actually think some guys count a half cadence as full. To do a 150+ for any period of time is not considered normal, not even for Lance Armstrong, who is around 120-130 and that's above most pro riders who do around 110.

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Old 10-12-07, 12:29 AM   #23
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Old 10-12-07, 03:12 AM   #24
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Hey Leigh_caines relax, the guys aren't better then you, they just can't count or just because they can do 170 or more for 5 seconds it’s become a norm in their imagination.

See the paragraph on my thread above and you'll see your doing just fine. Some pro riders will get up to 150's and 170's (I’ve read of rare cases a bit higher) and that's when they are sprinting. Most of us would bounce off our bikes at cadences that high. I actually think some guys count a half cadence as full. To do a 150+ for any period of time is not considered normal, not even for Lance Armstrong, who is around 120-130 and that's above most pro riders who do around 110.
Actually there are people that can spin fast for extended sprints of a bit more than seconds.
As stated earlier my cruise is 105 cold and 120 warm, I can sustain 180 rpm for more than 3 minutes in a sprint with 152 cranks, on 170's last time I checked about the mid 160's for the same time.
And my spin at those speeds is as smooth as silk above that, yeah it gets messy.
Checked on a cadence meter, calculated back by speed and gearing and the cruise rpm also counted.
Contary to Hash's opinion these speeds are acheivable but I would not recommend them for all, I have a knee injury and as I got stronger I had to find a way to get the power to the road without damaging my knee further, my high cadence was the solution.
And it's nothing to do with being better as shown by the TDF riders there are all different cadences in the top riders.
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Old 11-12-07, 08:47 PM   #25
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I spin the same.... although accelerating from a stop is harder.
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