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Study Says High Cadence of Little Value to Amateurs

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Study Says High Cadence of Little Value to Amateurs

Old 09-26-20, 06:33 PM
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rsbob 
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Study Says High Cadence of Little Value to Amateurs

They were looking at 90 RPM and no pro athletes. Pretty small sample size but thought is was worth a chat.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190212120114.htm

i know I feel better around 90, which is purely subjective. Interesting they didnít test for the most effective cadence for recreational amateurs but then they provide no baseline of fitness or age or years of cycling. Meh
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Old 09-26-20, 07:00 PM
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“Using a group of nine volunteers...”

I got a couple buddies, a neighbor, and the guy down the street who walks the dog to disprove that study.

John
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Old 09-26-20, 07:20 PM
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I'm not qualified to comment on the scientific merit, but I will note that it apparently took six scientists to do this research on nine subjects.
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Old 09-26-20, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I'm not qualified to comment on the scientific merit, but I will note that it apparently took six scientists to do this research on nine subjects.
Thatís how you know itís quality science.
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Old 09-26-20, 07:22 PM
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Lots of opinions on this topic,
i do better around 80.
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Old 09-26-20, 07:26 PM
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Probably best to apply effort over speed when looking for noob benefits.

Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
ďUsing a group of nine volunteers...Ē

I got a couple buddies, a neighbor, and the guy down the street who walks the dog to disprove that study.

John
you're short a few peoples.
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Old 09-26-20, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I'm not qualified to comment on the scientific merit, but I will note that it apparently took six scientists to do this research on nine subjects.
Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
Thatís how you know itís quality science.
Thatís how you know it was written by a whole bunch of assistant professors who need publications in order to get tenure.
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Old 09-26-20, 07:39 PM
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The question I always have when they do these cadence studies is how used to riding at high cadences were the subjects? I mean, when I first started trying to spin >90, I found it really difficult. I wasn't smooth, I bounced a lot, and it took concentration to keep my cadence high. Now, years later, I'm most comfortable between 95 and 105, and sometimes it feels like I can put down more power at 105 than in the next higher gear at 95. Climbing, though, I'm most comfortable at around 85.

Here's a link to the abstract of the actual article, which doesn't really find what the headline and lede would suggest.
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Old 09-26-20, 07:50 PM
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What almost all these researchers ignore is the actual reality of riding a bicycle for speed and distance. Most if these studies concentrate on fining the pedaling that is most efficient for human metabolism not the best for highest speed. Therefore the most efficient cadence (in terms of metabolism) is somewhat lower than the most effective cadence for going fast.

When we are riding we are rarely constrained by food, oxygen, and water as the limiting factor therefore a higher, less efficient metabolically speaking, cadence 'feels' more right to us cyclists than lower cadences.
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Old 09-26-20, 08:40 PM
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Oh, ffs. There's no one right answer. People vary too much in the balance between cardio endurance and leg strength.

Is this Recycled Argument Thread Week?
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Old 09-26-20, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
They were looking at 90 RPM and no pro athletes. Pretty small sample size but thought is was worth a chat.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0212120114.htm
Metabolic efficiency doesn't win races or minimize fatigue on long rides, and less is a good thing when you have over 7% body fat because reducing that makes you faster up hills.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 09-26-20 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 09-26-20, 09:04 PM
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This could have been put out by The Onion.

"However, an international team of scientists led by King's College London has found that the oxygenation of thigh muscles is in fact negatively affected by cadence when recreational cyclists pedal very hard."

Seems to revolve around an apparently made up term "cycling exercise intensity", and of course the straw man "efficiency"


https://sports.theonion.com/scientis...-ho-1845081906
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Old 09-26-20, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
What almost all these researchers ignore is the actual reality of riding a bicycle for speed and distance. Most if these studies concentrate on fining the pedaling that is most efficient for human metabolism not the best for highest speed. Therefore the most efficient cadence (in terms of metabolism) is somewhat lower than the most effective cadence for going fast.

When we are riding we are rarely constrained by food, oxygen, and water as the limiting factor therefore a higher, less efficient metabolically speaking, cadence 'feels' more right to us cyclists than lower cadences.
Did you read the abstract? Heart rate goes up, metabolic efficiency decreases slightly, power exerted on the pedals decreases more.

Of course, the Nobel winning scientists around here will argue this.
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Old 09-26-20, 11:19 PM
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I dunno. Unless they were riding Rivendells with Rene Herse tires, I can’t see how they could reach a definitive conclusion.

John
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Old 09-26-20, 11:52 PM
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High cadence has many benefits. For me, my hip sockets do not hurt as much as grinding out quad burning gear ratios.

Then there is less fatigue on long rides, more efficient muscle power, and better recovery. When you use a higher cadence, there is less muscle pressure on your blood pipes. This means better blood circulation to the muscles while pedaling. This means better oxygen transfer to your muscles and better waste product removal. This means you will not hurt as much the next day. When you are pedaling a big gear hard, you are clamping your veins shut. This means more lactic acid buildup.

Work=Force x Distance. So for X amount of watts power output, if you increase the distance traveled by the legs by spinning, you decrease the force. Well doh, that's why we have gears.

Spence Wolfe at Cupertino Bike Shop would not sell Juniors anything bigger than a 47 T chain ring. Better on a young body to spin, for reasons unknown to me as I am not a doctor.

To learn how to spin, get on a track bike or a fixie for 2000 miles. Apply even power all the way through the pedal stroke. Your rear end might hurt more for a while, because there will be more weight on the saddle, but you will get used to it. Pedal like a pro. Not like some hamburger who just fell off the hay wagon.

Last edited by cjenrick; 09-27-20 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 09-27-20, 04:20 AM
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Shame that this counts as research. And at such a prestigious place like KCL.

So few test subjects, no mention of their level of training, no mention of what cadence they are used to. Just from personal experience, when I tried to up my cadence (from ca. 70 to ca. 80) the first couple of weeks I felt that it wasn't beneficial. If you have amateurs suddenly do something they are not used to, no **** the body isn't as efficient with that.
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Old 09-27-20, 04:45 AM
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There is no best cadence. There are different slightly better and slightly worse cadences that are different for every rider on different parts of every different ride.

Ideally, one should be comfortable pedaling smoothly at every cadence between ~60 and ~120 rpm, depending on the terrain, the wind, the effort, how one feels in the moment, the phase of the moon, etc.

Sometimes you shift with your gears, sometimes you shift with your body, often you do both. And that's how it should be.

Lon Haldeman won RAAM on a bike with a 3-speed freewheel and one chainring. From Santa Monica to New York in 9 days, 20 hours, and 2 minutes. If memory serves, his bike was geared 42 x 13-14-15. When you think about the range of cadences he must have pedaled... over the Sierras, Rockies, and Appalacians, across the Great Plains... it shows exactly how silly the idea that there is a "most efficient cadence" really is. Granted, Lon Haldeman isn't human, but I doubt he'd have been faster with more gears. It's not as if three speed clusters were cutting edge in the early 1980s. If he'd wanted to build gearing that would let him do the whole thing at 90 rpm, he could have. And if it would have made him more efficient, he would have... I can't think of anything that puts a greater premium on physical efficiency than a 3000 mile time trial.

Not to say that we should all be riding Lon Haldeman's bike. As I said, dude ain't human. But extreme examples often have lessons to teach, and this is one of them.

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Old 09-27-20, 05:15 AM
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"This experiment proves, that under these specific and very precise but potentially unrealistic conditions, within these very narrow parameters, these nine (yes, only nine) test subjects behaved in a certain way to certain stimuli."

A more precise precis.

Who picked 90 rpm for non-cyclists? Who picked non-cyclists? Where is the longitudinal study, showing how pedaling at 90 affects subjects over several months? Where is the control group which was not allowed to know what cadence they were pedaling or even that what they were being monitored for?

Who ever said 90 rpm was a suitable cadence for first-time riders anyway?

This study proved exactly that these six scientists filled some free time doing this study. Beyond that the results have no real-world application.

Sounds of groaning can be heard from the grave of Richard Feynman.
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Old 09-27-20, 05:36 AM
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I have resolved to train myself to have more endurance at 90 or higher rpm, but so far it isn't happening. I seem to stick with 80rpm. It seems obvious you can put out more power with less muscle at higher rpm, which is why I want to train for it.

I don't see how they do a reasonable study with what amounts to untrained subjects. It seems to me that the average occasional cyclist rarely gets above 70 rpm. Pedaling at 90rpm is probably going to be somewhat unpleasant for them except at very low power levels.
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Old 09-27-20, 05:53 AM
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Scientific or sloppy, the result matches an observation: All pro cyclists ride with high cadence. Many strong and fast recreational riders do just fine grinding.
cheers -mathias
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Old 09-27-20, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
It seems obvious you can put out more power with less muscle at higher rpm, which is why I want to train for it.

I don't see how they do a reasonable study with what amounts to untrained subjects..
No, it isn't obvious at all-generally the faster you pedal, the more the muscle needs to be oxygenated. There's a lot of questions about whether fewer pedal strokes at higher torque is actually better.

As to the sampling, if they used "trained" cyclists , and everyone is basically being trained by high cadence, how would we know those cyclists wouldn't be more efficient if the had been trained for high torque/
lower cadence riding?

As to the obvious "why is all the training high cadence" question, I suspect that the history of EPO plays a much bigger role in that than people are willing to admit. Basically, you have an entire generation of trainers who learned their trade during that era, and they trained the next generation and so on. We may or not still have rampant EPO, but I don't think it's a coincidence this style became dominant during the era.
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Old 09-27-20, 06:07 AM
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According to GCN channel in youtube, they found in real world tests that high cadence is only useful (overall efficient enough) when sustaining high power output such as during climbing or cruising at high speed.

Because they also found you put more energy into pedaling the faster you spin even at "zero" load such spinning on the trainer with zero resistance. That wasted energy BUT speaking of wasted energy as a matter of %, the percentage of wasted energy in pedaling becomes less as sustained power gets higher.

So there's a point it actually becomes a good thing to spin at high cadence when sustaining high power output such as fighting wind resistance when cruising at high speed. Probably not useful to commuters due to their speed but maybe useful to amateurs who are trying to increase their speeds.
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Old 09-27-20, 06:14 AM
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These type of studies are irrelevant and only have one purpose, to give cyclists on internet forums something to debate and argue about...Just go out and enjoy riding your bike and forget about studies.

Last edited by wolfchild; 09-27-20 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 09-27-20, 06:28 AM
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There's one variable that I think is not adequately accounted for.....recreational rider vs professional. Having been a college QB and SS I have gotten to see some amazing athletes. I guarantee they are not like the rest of us. And, exercise does not affect their bodies like it affects the average recreational athlete.
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Old 09-27-20, 07:34 AM
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This discussion reminds me of the pearl of wisdom I was told once: "You woundn't sweat so much when you ride if you'd just stop drinking all that water!"
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