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  1. #1
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    What do you think the best gear ratio for me is?

    I'm trying to figure out how to get the best flying 200 and how to hit my maximum speed. I've come up with some puzzling data over the past few weeks.

    It seems regardless of what gear I use, my max speed is always the same. I still have some other gear ratios I want to try out but I suspect i'll get similar data.

    I've disregarded the speed data from my computer and have only been using a cadence sensor and using an online calculator to calculate speed.


  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    I'm a data nut, too.

    In short, the rule of thumb is to use the biggest gear that you can spin at a max of 135-140 RPM on a flying effort. (The rule used to be 150RPM, when "sprinter gears" were 90-92".)

    That being said, I've heard several sprinters say that they will clock the same times using gears 6 gear-inches apart. Basically, if 37.5MPH is your top speed, you are going to hit that using 92-98 gear-inches, no matter what. This seems to be the case for you, too.

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    While I can understand similar times within a 6 gear inch range, i'm getting the same top speed in a 25+ gear inch range.

    I'm trying to grasp what that means and use that to find out how I can increase top end speed.

    Does getting the same top speed with a 25 gear inch range mean i'm power limited and my maximum power output only yields 37.5?

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    I could be wrong, but here's my summation. You would require a certain amount of power to overcome the resistance forces like wind, drivetrain loss to obtain a certain speed. The power you output on the bike is a factor of the torque you apply to the cranks and the velocity or rpm with which you can turn them. If you think of it like an engine, this would mean from your summation that you have quite a long and flat torque peak, whereas from what Carleton said, the pros would have a much shorter peak that they have developed over time.

    From my own experience in our last season, I started doing top speed revouts as part of training on 1 day a week. After a month of doing those, I added 3km/h to my top speed, but pretty much peaked out at that for the remainin 2 months of the season after I changed my training focus for kilo style efforts.

    Something I recall from a few years ago, was that one of the hardest things to develop is the ability to put down power at high speed or rpm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WTBATS View Post
    While I can understand similar times within a 6 gear inch range, i'm getting the same top speed in a 25+ gear inch range.

    I'm trying to grasp what that means and use that to find out how I can increase top end speed.

    Does getting the same top speed with a 25 gear inch range mean i'm power limited and my maximum power output only yields 37.5?
    Essentially yes, you're putting out enough power to accelerate the bike to 37.5mph in the given conditions. However, your range is rather wide and inefficiencies usually surface before that on either side. As far as what gearing is optimal for most people, agree with Carleton. And more practice on gears in that range will probably help.
    Last edited by JMCX; 06-04-13 at 06:18 AM.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTBATS View Post
    While I can understand similar times within a 6 gear inch range, i'm getting the same top speed in a 25+ gear inch range.

    I'm trying to grasp what that means and use that to find out how I can increase top end speed.

    Does getting the same top speed with a 25 gear inch range mean i'm power limited and my maximum power output only yields 37.5?
    Top speed is only one key metric. If you were able to look at your speed over time, you may notice that on smaller gears your speed-endurance may not be as good as on larger gears. Basically, your average speed over the specified distance is probably higher with bigger gears. That's what matters most. Flying (not standing) 200M, 500M, and 1000M times might show this to be true.

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    Following back up with a few weeks of additional data. I'm able to get a bit more variation between the speeds now.

    It looks like bigger gears are turning out to be better for me instead of spinning at 160+.

    I've been progressively moving up in gear inches every training session. I have a timed flying 200 coming next Sunday so I think i'll try a 53x13 for the hell of it to see what happens.

    So far it seems i'm hitting my top speeds there.



    52 is my largest chaining and I want to try bigger to do some over-gear training. I'm going to look for a 12t as cogs are generally cheaper than chainrings.

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    Senior Member BrainInAJar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    In short, the rule of thumb is to use the biggest gear that you can spin at a max of 135-140 RPM on a flying effort. (The rule used to be 150RPM, when "sprinter gears" were 90-92".)
    That hold true regardless of the track? Burnaby's a pretty slow track because it's so short.

  9. #9
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Top speed is only one key metric. If you were able to look at your speed over time, you may notice that on smaller gears your speed-endurance may not be as good as on larger gears. Basically, your average speed over the specified distance is probably higher with bigger gears. That's what matters most. Flying (not standing) 200M, 500M, and 1000M times might show this to be true.
    I agree with Carleton here, You'll probably have to look at speed/time/distance/power and to see what exactly is happening. Speed and gearing only tell you a little bit of the problem. I used to do a little data analysis for car racing, and there are just SO many parameters to take into consideration. This is another reason I hate/love track racing, (I feel like) its extremely hard to collect accurate/meaningful data with just a cycling computer. You'll need lap times (and accurate ones at that) to be able to see all the data points.

    I need to figure out how to do that last part (collect accurate lap times) but until then, my slow ass just needs to work out on track.
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

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    In the ideal world i'd have timing strips setup so I can test every gear accurately. Unfortunately all I have is a simple computer. I could use the GPS to determine flying 200 times but the accuracy is far from decent. For now all I have to go off of is cadence.

    I've never used a SRM before nor seen what the software is capable off. A few questions to those who own one:

    - Is the software capable of specifying a duration to calculate power within that time span? e.g. I want to know what my 5s, 10s, 15s power is and where that occurred on the track.
    - Can I also do the same with speed? Ask for it to find the highest average speed for a 5s, 10s, 15s range.

  11. #11
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTBATS View Post
    Following back up with a few weeks of additional data. I'm able to get a bit more variation between the speeds now.

    It looks like bigger gears are turning out to be better for me instead of spinning at 160+.

    I've been progressively moving up in gear inches every training session. I have a timed flying 200 coming next Sunday so I think i'll try a 53x13 for the hell of it to see what happens.

    So far it seems i'm hitting my top speeds there.



    52 is my largest chaining and I want to try bigger to do some over-gear training. I'm going to look for a 12t as cogs are generally cheaper than chainrings.
    You also rode a max of 39.1MPH on 50x14 (at 140RPM) a week before. A lot can happen in a week (weather, conditioning, rest, hydration, etc...) Notice that your two top times came at 128 and 140 max rpms. Your best is in-between there somewhere. It is definitely not in riding a gear bigger than 52x13. You are kidding yourself if you think so. Those are Chis Hoy / Gregory Bauge gears.

    You definitely should not find this out in competition. Test before competition.

    A lot of us like to dream of "rising up to the occaision" in comp and throwing on a bigger gear. Nope. It simply doesn't work that way. Like and idiot, I did this at Masters Nationals and missed the podium.

  12. #12
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTBATS View Post
    In the ideal world i'd have timing strips setup so I can test every gear accurately. Unfortunately all I have is a simple computer. I could use the GPS to determine flying 200 times but the accuracy is far from decent. For now all I have to go off of is cadence.

    I've never used a SRM before nor seen what the software is capable off. A few questions to those who own one:

    - Is the software capable of specifying a duration to calculate power within that time span? e.g. I want to know what my 5s, 10s, 15s power is and where that occurred on the track.
    - Can I also do the same with speed? Ask for it to find the highest average speed for a 5s, 10s, 15s range.
    To answer your questions: Yes and yes.

    Every 1/2 second the head unit records speed, cadence, torque, power, distance traveled, time, etc...

    You cannot pinpoint your positions on the track using SRM/Powertap. But, you *can* trace backwards based on torque spikes and zeros. For example, everyone stops applying torque the split second they cross the finish line of a Flying 200M. From there you can "walk backwards" in the file just over 200M to create a section of your Flying 200M. For simplicity and consistancy, I select a 12" section of time leading up to when I stopped applying torque.

    You can also see in the files when you are in the turns...your speed increases (long story). So, you know where you are on the track.

    Here is a Flying 200M file from Giovanni Rey:

    Green line = Power
    Purple line = Speed
    Blue line = Cadence
    Black text = Distance in KM (only shown in section averages)
    Black text at bottom is elapsed time

    Power is a calulation of Torque and Cadence. So when Torque is zero, power is zero. Look for when he crossed the finish line. Please note that this may not have been a 12.0" flying 200M. It is 1m42s and 12s slices of data.



    Notice how section 5 of the graph is 12". Notice the averages of the other colored data points (speed, cadence, power). Notice the green power spike. That's when he jumped out of the saddle out of turn 4 and down the home straight on this 250M track. You can see his current speed and cadence when he jumped. From eyeballing it, it looks like he jumped out of the saddle at 26mph and 95RPM. using that I can calculate what chainring/cog he's using, but I'm tired right now

    His averages:
    Cad: 138rpm
    Speed: 37.56mph

    At the 200M start line:
    Cad: around 145rpm
    Speed: around 40mph (max of the entire effort)

    At the finish line:
    Cad: 130rpm
    Speed: around 35mph
    (software will give exact values. I'm going off of the screen shot of the software.)

    This is how you analyze a 200M using SRM much more data than a stopwatch can provide. The only thing that can improve this is video camera...and we all have cell phones that can do that for us.
    Last edited by carleton; 06-18-13 at 01:29 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    You also rode a max of 39.1MPH on 50x14 (at 140RPM) a week before. A lot can happen in a week (weather, conditioning, rest, hydration, etc...) Notice that your two top times came at 128 and 140 max rpms. Your best is in-between there somewhere. It is definitely not in riding a gear bigger than 52x13. You are kidding yourself if you think so. Those are Chis Hoy / Gregory Bauge gears.

    You definitely should not find this out in competition. Test before competition.

    A lot of us like to dream of "rising up to the occaision" in comp and throwing on a bigger gear. Nope. It simply doesn't work that way. Like and idiot, I did this at Masters Nationals and missed the podium.
    By no means was I ever planning of doing a 200 with anything bigger than a 52x13. However, I do plan on over-gear training on larger than 52x13 to develop more power to make easier gears easier.

    I ended up NOT doing the 200 today with a 52x13. I had 4 hours of sleep, temps were in low 60's, slight sprinkles on the track, got to the track late with 20min of warm up. It was not the day for me to go big.

    I stuck with the data I had at the time and did a 49x13 again (101.8). I ended up going faster today with a max cadence of 142 and ended up with a 11.9 on a "bad day" given the circumstances.



    Given the data, on a warmer day I may try a 50x13 instead. Of course, training in something a bit larger first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    To answer your questions: Yes and yes.

    Every 1/2 second the head unit records speed, cadence, torque, power, distance traveled, time, etc...

    You cannot pinpoint your positions on the track using SRM/Powertap. But, you *can* trace backwards based on torque spikes and zeros. For example, everyone stops applying torque the split second they cross the finish line of a Flying 200M. From there you can "walk backwards" in the file just over 200M to create a section of your Flying 200M. For simplicity and consistancy, I select a 12" section of time leading up to when I stopped applying torque.

    You can also see in the files when you are in the turns...your speed increases (long story). So, you know where you are on the track.

    Here is a Flying 200M file from Giovanni Rey:

    Green line = Power
    Purple line = Speed
    Blue line = Cadence
    Black text = Distance in KM (only shown in section averages)
    Black text at bottom is elapsed time

    Power is a calulation of Torque and Cadence. So when Torque is zero, power is zero. Look for when he crossed the finish line. Please note that this may not have been a 12.0" flying 200M. It is 1m42s and 12s slices of data.



    Notice how section 5 of the graph is 12". Notice the averages of the other colored data points (speed, cadence, power). Notice the green power spike. That's when he jumped out of the saddle out of turn 4 and down the home straight on this 250M track. You can see his current speed and cadence when he jumped. From eyeballing it, it looks like he jumped out of the saddle at 26mph and 95RPM. using that I can calculate what chainring/cog he's using, but I'm tired right now

    His averages:
    Cad: 138rpm
    Speed: 37.56mph

    At the 200M start line:
    Cad: around 145rpm
    Speed: around 40mph (max of the entire effort)

    At the finish line:
    Cad: 130rpm
    Speed: around 35mph
    (software will give exact values. I'm going off of the screen shot of the software.)

    This is how you analyze a 200M using SRM much more data than a stopwatch can provide. The only thing that can improve this is video camera...and we all have cell phones that can do that for us.

    WOW. This is absolutely fantastic. This is everything that i've wanted and everything that I need. Makes me feel like what i'm doing now is just child's play. I definitely need to start saving up for a SRM power meter. Thanks for the input. I've never seen what the software was capable of.

    I couldn't immediately see the polling rate difference from wired vs wireless. I'm assuming wired can poll every .5S while wireless might be every 1S? What do other sprinters say about wireless? I'm assuming it's pretty crucial to get that extra .5S of data.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTBATS View Post
    WOW. This is absolutely fantastic. This is everything that i've wanted and everything that I need. Makes me feel like what i'm doing now is just child's play. I definitely need to start saving up for a SRM power meter. Thanks for the input. I've never seen what the software was capable of.

    I couldn't immediately see the polling rate difference from wired vs wireless. I'm assuming wired can poll every .5S while wireless might be every 1S? What do other sprinters say about wireless? I'm assuming it's pretty crucial to get that extra .5S of data.
    Wired/wireless doesn't factor into the polling rate. The head unit determines the polling rate. To my knowledge, only SRM head units (both wired and wireless versions) record as fast as every 0.5s. Garmin only as fast as 1s.

    Wired is good for getting data faster. It takes longer for the wireless head units to "wake up" and start recording. So, standing start specialists (sprinters) prefer the wired for that reason. If all of your events don't hinge on the standing start, then wireless would be the easier option.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTBATS View Post
    By no means was I ever planning of doing a 200 with anything bigger than a 52x13. However, I do plan on over-gear training on larger than 52x13 to develop more power to make easier gears easier.

    I ended up NOT doing the 200 today with a 52x13. I had 4 hours of sleep, temps were in low 60's, slight sprinkles on the track, got to the track late with 20min of warm up. It was not the day for me to go big.

    I stuck with the data I had at the time and did a 49x13 again (101.8). I ended up going faster today with a max cadence of 142 and ended up with a 11.9 on a "bad day" given the circumstances.



    Given the data, on a warmer day I may try a 50x13 instead. Of course, training in something a bit larger first.
    Nice! 11.9 on a bad day is impressive.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    As the British (and other teams) have demonstrated: Numbers don't lie. And if we record and properly analyze the right numbers, we can see more than what a stopwatch can show us.

    I believe that this is how they groom their young talent so quickly. They bypass years of trial and error and years of the athlete learning how to communicate what the body is doing to his/her coach.

    The Brits actually hired a guy whose job was to analyze data files from the athletes. He later married Victoria Pendleton...lucky dog.

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    An update on my latest timed (wired) 200. On a decent day, I ended up getting a 11.53. I had a good nights rest, tt's started late morning. The temperatures were rather on the cold side - 60's but the wind was mild and the air was slightly humid. I ended up having to use my clincher for a front wheel because my tubular tire had been shredded apart and haven't been able to replace it yet. I "feel" that with an aero front wheel I may have been able to do a 11.3 or so.

    I stayed with a 49x13 as i'm feeling more and more comfortable with it. I'll likely hold off trying 200's with a larger gear until winter.

    Lately i've been training standing starts with a 52x12 and I think it's helping my strength to push the 49x13 much easier.

    I'm excited about the new announcement for the Garmin Vectors. I'll wait awhile to see what other trackies say about it, but it would be great to purchase an easily transferable power meter system.

  19. #19
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    Carleton,

    Do you mind to post more power files on flying 200's?

    I only have a powermeter in my road bike, which I mostly use for trainings since right now I'm living far away from the velodrome.

    It's not common to use powermeters on the track over here and very hard to get data to analyze. Currently using WKO+.

    Kind of boring working only with cadence and speed when you are used to power data

    Anyway, I'm trying to find a used SRM for the track...

    Is it possible to use Garmin + bike telemetry?

    PS: track training in a road bike gives you great expertise on maintenance and great deals online...

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