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Thread: Cadence

  1. #1
    427 Cobra
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    Hi all,

    I've looked through this Forum and cannot see if anyone has asked the question before...

    I'm new to road cycling and have found that I can roll along comfortably at 30kmh (18mph) with a cadence of around 80 -85rpm.

    I have read a number of different articles regarding spinning and increasing cadence and wondered should I gear down and increase my cadence to 95+ but obviously keep my speed at the above.

    In better words spin faster but stay at the same speed. Will this do anything for my fitness and weight loss?

    ... .. ( Sorry two questions in one)

    Having ridden with two other riders, I have noticed that we all are travelling at the same speed, however we are all in different gears. One is really spinning at 95 -100 and the other is pushing a high gear and just turning over at about 75...??

    Any thoughts...

    Bernie

  2. #2
    部門ニ/自転車オタク NomadVW's Avatar
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    For all the searching you'll do you'll find people on all ends of the argument. My personal experience is that I used to spin at around 90rpm. I could maintain 32-34kph for short distances. Now I generally spin at 100rpm and can maintain the same 32-34kph under similar weather/terrain for much longer distances.
    Envision, Energize, Enable

  3. #3
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Everyone has different sweet spots with their cadence. Some people can spin at 100+ all day, others at 80. I am most efficient at around 90. I have been doing certain exercises to increase my cadence and it is slowly rising.

    This probably isn't much help is it.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  4. #4
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel
    Everyone has different sweet spots with their cadence. Some people can spin at 100+ all day, others at 80.
    I agree with this and I think that it a physiological thing dependent on your particular mix of slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. Faster cadences seem to attract those who have a decent CVS; slower cadence seems to be preferred by those who are strong, but perhaps their CVS is not so well developed.

    Regardless, what would you rather push, a 200 pound weight 2 times for a total work load of 400 pounds or 40 pounds 10 times for a total work load of 400 pounds?
    Last edited by NoRacer; 02-21-06 at 09:44 AM.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  5. #5
    Senior Member park's Avatar
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    I think most people do what feels right but you could find your ideal cadence by using a power meter or computrainer. By doing time trials at different cadences you can compare power output and heart rate to help you zero in on the most efficient cadence.

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    I find working within the 85 to 115 range works best for me. I would not go below that for cardio / fitness except while standing on hills of course.

  7. #7
    so whatcha' want? bigskymacadam's Avatar
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    that and 90-100 is supposed to be better in the long for your knees/joints.

  8. #8
    There are no short cuts
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    Being a new rider your cadance will naturally be slower at first. The more you ride the cadance will naturally increase untill you find a sweet spot and then it will be easy.

    I've been riding 2 years now and at first my cadance was around 55 to 60 and now it's 80 to 90. I've seen all the post on cadance and say spin faster and wanted to spin faster but just made me tired.

    I started listening to my body and it really likes +/- 85. Some days it is a little faster but not all the time.

    I wouldn't worry about cadance right now just ride and it will come.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Search for "cadence" and you'll find a tonne of articles. There's no one "right" answer. Optimal cadence varies with terrain and speed. Typically the faster you go, the higher the cadence because you're reaching the limits of how much force you can apply to the pedals. Maximum-speed requires the highest cadence because you're already exerting 100% of your force on the pedals. Only way to increase power-output at that point is to spin faster. But in order to pedal that fast and actually maintain constant pedal-pressure all the way around, you have to train the motion and neural timings at even higher cadences...
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 02-28-06 at 03:22 AM.

  10. #10
    427 Cobra
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    Thanks guys.



    Yes I take the point that I'm very new to cycling and guess it will come naturally once I find the 'sweet' point.

    I was somewhat concerned that I may be out there trying to get miles/k's under my legs but basically just doing the wrong thing. This had concerned me when I was riding with the other two riders and observing their gears used.



    I will get on and 'search' cadenece and sit back and do some reading (confuse myself)...

    Thanks

    Bernie

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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel
    Everyone has different sweet spots with their cadence. Some people can spin at 100+ all day, others at 80. I am most efficient at around 90. I have been doing certain exercises to increase my cadence and it is slowly rising.

    This probably isn't much help is it.
    This may be the best advise I've seen on this board. There are some "experts" on this board that will maintain that it is impossible for a human to maintain a cadence above 90!

    For me it depends upon the time of year and where I am in my training. Early on I usually will be most comfortable at a higher cadence during a race of 100 to 110. Later in the season 90 to 95 works better for me because my legs are stronger.

    An easy rule of thumb, if your legs get tired, spin faster. If you are running out of breath, spin slower in a harder gear. If your legs are tired and you are also out of breath, well then it's time for a beer!

  12. #12
    427 Cobra
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    Lapdop,

    Yes thanks for the advice. I know it's simplistic but good advice. I found I was spinning faster as it was comfortable for me - due to leg tiredness/fatigue.



    I've a bit of time ahead of me to work through this. Must say that I feel very comfortable in the 80 - 90 range. So will keep here and just build up some miles under my legs. Currently doing around 30 miles per day in both hills and flatland.



    Thanks again



    Bernie
    Last edited by Bernie Knight; 03-01-06 at 06:02 AM.

  13. #13
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Sort of on-topic. My training last night was to do an hour of spin-ups. Basicly what this does is get your legs used to spinning a higher cadence. To do them slowly spin up to your maximum cadence, when you start to bounce slow down just a little until you are smooth. Once you get to the smooth cadence hold it for 20 - 30 seconds. Rest for about three minutes and repeat. Do this five to ten times during the hour. Make sure you warm up about 15 minutes of so and cool down afterwards.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  14. #14
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Cadence and a smooth pedalstroke come with time in the saddle. Many beginners do not have a smooth pedalstroke, and find it more comfortable to spin at a lower rpm. With time, some progress to a higher rpm, while others remain "mashers".

    If you are new on the bike and can comfortably maintain 85 rpms and not bounce around on the seat like you're on a pogo stick, you are doing fine. Maintain a still upper body, and concentrate on round, fluid pedalstrokes. In time, you will find that you can maintain 90, 95, even 100+ rpms comfortably.....not saying that you will be riding at those rpms all the time (it's an individual thing as stated before to what is your comfort zone), but you will have the ability to do so. Also, by spinning at a higher rpm, you are producing less power per pedalstroke, so in theory you can maintain the effort over a longer period of time than at a lower cadence pushing a bigger gear.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  15. #15
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, of the two, cadence or smooth pedal-stroke, I would focus on being smooth and circular and ignore cadence for the most part. By working on form, finding the dead-spots in your stroke and filling them in, you'll have higher average force around the entire stroke and end up generating more power. You'll find that your cadence and speed will automatically increase.

    And as the speeds and cadence increase, resist the temptation to shift up. Doing 4 complete pedals strokes in the same amount of time where you previously mashed 3 will just mean that you have to exert yourself only 75% as much for the same speed.

    I use LapDog's technique for finding my comfort-zone that balances out the muscle vs. aerobic system as well. Even though I do spin-up exercises in the 200-220rpm range, I rarely ever ride at those cadences. In an all-out sprint, I'll be around 130rpms. But because I have the form to spin 200rpms, I'm very, very smooth and efficient at 130rpms. In most around town riding, I'll be around 75-85rpms on the hills, 85-95rpms on the flats at 18-22mph and 95-110rpms from 22-28mph.

  16. #16
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Even though I do spin-up exercises in the 200-220rpm range, I rarely ever ride at those cadences.
    Holy Jesus.....I can spin smoothly at 130 rpms, but 200+ rpms??
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  17. #17
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    Holy Jesus.....I can spin smoothly at 130 rpms, but 200+ rpms??
    Pretty much the same thing I was thinking.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Heh, heh... I'm certainly not smooth at 200rpms, there's a lot of bouncing and yanking going on . Some of the track guys I ride with can hit 240-250rpms! FWIW, the exercise bikes they have in the spin-classes only go up to 199rpms...

  19. #19
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    You can train yourself to spin at higher rpms just like you can train yourself to do speed work intervals or hill climbing workouts. I think the results are that you will be in better physical shape and also be able to cross over some mental barriers. Even for a recreational rider its good because you can use these tools in your rides.

    Its like what high technology research has done in electronics will somehow cross over to our everyday lives.

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