Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Mash or Spin?

Old 05-06-21, 08:06 AM
  #51  
Phil_gretz
Journeyman Bike Commuter
 
Phil_gretz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 6,567

Bikes: '71 Jeunet 640, '79 Peugeot PXN10LE, '88 Fuji Saratoga, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite, '18 Velobuild VB-R-022

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1275 Post(s)
Liked 1,137 Times in 611 Posts
I grew up in the 1960s and early 1970s. The conventional wisdom then [ahem] was to spin. So I learned to spin.

Fast forward 45 years, and I'm still spinning. Although like @DaveSSS above, I did about a decade or so of heavy lifting for bulk in my 30s to 40s, and did weekly squats and leg presses. My knees are "creaky" now, but I'm generally without pain still.
Phil_gretz is offline  
Likes For Phil_gretz:
Old 05-06-21, 08:40 AM
  #52  
Trakhak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 2,677
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 871 Post(s)
Liked 611 Times in 362 Posts
Maybe your ideal cadence range is similar to your ideal running pace range. Runners don't change their pace much going up hills or down hills or on the flats, and most endurance runners seem to maintain a pace of around 85 to 95 strides per minute, I think I read somewhere. Rather than running at the equivalent of a mashing pace for climbing hills, runners subtly adjust their stride length---the equivalent of shifting closely spaced gears to maintain a steady cadence.

That said, I'll now head out on my track bike with a 71" gear to fool around in the hills of northern Baltimore County. I should know better.
Trakhak is online now  
Old 05-06-21, 09:28 AM
  #53  
cubewheels
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 1,784

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Phantom 20 kid's MTB, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 763 Post(s)
Liked 363 Times in 292 Posts
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
My preferred cadence has been a mash for 5 decades now and my knees and back are fine.
I often mash on the flats but definitely not on >10% climbs! I did it once on 11% gradient with the 50t big ring and 18t cog with a 40 lbs bike + load without proper "warm up" and my ride was ruined for the day hurting my lower back.
cubewheels is offline  
Old 05-06-21, 09:42 AM
  #54  
livedarklions
Certified Genius?!
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 8,772

Bikes: Serotta Atlanta; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Giant OCR A1; SOMA Double Cross Disc

Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4558 Post(s)
Liked 3,668 Times in 2,064 Posts
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Wow, that was a bit harsh. Especially considering my post merely referred to post counts/join dates… public information shown next to everyone’s name in each post. Oh well, at least we’ll always have our thread. You know, the one where you decided I was the problem but the moderator requested you curtail posting and leave the thread!

It’s been a while since I’ve noticed you posting. If you've just returned from a period of not posting much welcome back. I still do enjoy reading many of your thoughts. Mash On!
And, funnily enough, no one's posted on that thread since December. Given the subject matter of the thread, somewhat ironic.

Not sure how much passive aggressive you can put into that few posts, but you seem to be going for a record Then you change your tone completely at the end. I'm going to run with the end part,

Yes, I was sick for a while. I'll take the kind words at the end of your post as a much-appreciated olive branch and declare hatchet buried.

I'd appreciate it, however, if you in the future refrain from straw man "paraphrases" of my postings. The reason I put you on ignore was I was getting rather sick of you putting stupid words into my mouth that I then have to take the time to correct. It's a really dishonest rhetorical technique, and you do it a lot.
livedarklions is offline  
Old 05-06-21, 10:18 AM
  #55  
spelger
Senior Member
 
spelger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: reno, nv
Posts: 847

Bikes: yes, i have one

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 400 Post(s)
Liked 363 Times in 209 Posts
Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
back in the day, Jan Ulrich was always known as a masher, but he still "mashed" at 85 rpm up Alp d'Huez (and we all know Lance prefer his 100 rpm, lol).

Mashing at LOW POWER is not something to worry about. But try mashing at HIGH POWER, it will be a different story on your knees and back.
Nobody can mash at high power over a sustained period. Standing on the pedals on an uphill and letting your body weight do the pedalling.. is not mashing, you're just doing zone 2-3 at best, hardly a high power output effort. Now if you say you stand and mash at 60 - 70 rpm while climbing... at threshold power... then count me as impressed.
tell that to the power meter on my trainer. i don't have one for the bike, my FTP is a sad 220, good enough for me though. when i stand and mash on simulated climbs i can routinely reach 300+ and have recorded as high as 500 (short burst times...10 seconds or so, had to get that jelly leg badge). granted i don't only let my body weight do the work but this certainly is not a zone 2-3 effort. i am a low cadence guy during these efforts, sub 60 and lcoser to 50.
spelger is offline  
Old 05-06-21, 06:30 PM
  #56  
PaulH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,658
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 43 Posts
I've got an internally geared hub, so ratios are fixed. I've often thought of getting a Rohloff so the climb would be easier.
PaulH is offline  
Old 05-06-21, 06:58 PM
  #57  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 755
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 218 Post(s)
Liked 307 Times in 206 Posts
Here’s a second take on the use of the full range of cadences for fun and profit.

https://cinchcycling.cc/blogs/news/h...nce-in-cycling

Otto
ofajen is offline  
Old 05-06-21, 06:59 PM
  #58  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 4,751

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1477 Post(s)
Liked 757 Times in 384 Posts
My knees are shot. Mashing seems to stress them. Spinning doesn't.
Paul Barnard is online now  
Old 05-06-21, 09:39 PM
  #59  
cubewheels
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 1,784

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Phantom 20 kid's MTB, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 763 Post(s)
Liked 363 Times in 292 Posts
Originally Posted by spelger View Post
tell that to the power meter on my trainer. i don't have one for the bike, my FTP is a sad 220, good enough for me though. when i stand and mash on simulated climbs i can routinely reach 300+ and have recorded as high as 500 (short burst times...10 seconds or so, had to get that jelly leg badge). granted i don't only let my body weight do the work but this certainly is not a zone 2-3 effort. i am a low cadence guy during these efforts, sub 60 and lcoser to 50.
Try dropping one or two cogs to raise the cadence a bit and still mashing as hard as you can, should get you to about 600 watts but you'll burn out sooner than 10 seconds
cubewheels is offline  
Old 05-07-21, 07:02 AM
  #60  
burnthesheep
Newbie racer
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2,555

Bikes: Propel, red is faster

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1144 Post(s)
Liked 1,011 Times in 637 Posts
To get more technical about it versus my earlier post........it's nature combined with nurture.

People always look at this topic with the bike in the way blinding our thoughts.

Humans started out running, like forever before bikes existed. Notice how running pace and running cadence kind of follows bike demand and cadences......interesting ehhhh.

Divide run cadences by two:
-jog or novice runner, Z1 spin with the kids: 120 spm, bike 60rpm
-5k pace or am runner, Z4 threshold effort: 180 spm, bike 90rpm or so
-all out sprint run or bike: over 180spm, bike track sprinters are WAY up there

You're probably worn with a certain tendency to have a certain running gait and cadence, then can develop that as you grow or use it. Same for the bike, but the bike will be a bit predetermined to an extend by your human running.

Just a thought....chicken and egg kind of.
burnthesheep is offline  
Old 05-07-21, 07:08 AM
  #61  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 7,349

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1516 Post(s)
Liked 876 Times in 470 Posts
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
And, funnily enough, no one's posted on that thread since December. Given the subject matter of the thread, somewhat ironic.

Not sure how much passive aggressive you can put into that few posts, but you seem to be going for a record Then you change your tone completely at the end. I'm going to run with the end part,

Yes, I was sick for a while. I'll take the kind words at the end of your post as a much-appreciated olive branch and declare hatchet buried.

I'd appreciate it, however, if you in the future refrain from straw man "paraphrases" of my postings. The reason I put you on ignore was I was getting rather sick of you putting stupid words into my mouth that I then have to take the time to correct. It's a really dishonest rhetorical technique, and you do it a lot.
Ok, LDL. I’ll refrain from critiquing your posting style here and continue with the olive branch / hatchet thing. I’m sincerely happy that you’re feeling better and back on board.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Old 05-08-21, 12:40 PM
  #62  
fredlord
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 32 Posts
Interesting thread. At almost age 59, my body seems to be generally holding up ok, but my knees are a bit noisy and sometimes a little unhappy, and I suspect that they get that way after rides where I may have mashed a little too enthusiastically. I'm generally a spinner, but sometimes mashing feels so good (at the time!).

I've recently discovered a Youtube channel called "The Legs Over Toe Guy". Looks like it could be very useful. When I have a bit more time I'm going to check out his stuff properly. Anything to learn more about increasing the life of my knees and making them more efficient.
fredlord is offline  
Old 05-10-21, 12:30 PM
  #63  
yukiinu
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Be careful.

I had developed a consistent rpm spin in same gear, same flat 20 mile route for years. One day I changed to highest gear and mashed the route and crippled my knee for a year and had to stay off the bike. Why? Because the crank arm was bent after a woman stepped out in front of me, I swerved to miss her and hit my pedal on a parking bumper and went over the handlebars. I unknowingly spun for years with the very slightly bent crank arm but I learned it was bent when I mashed that one time. And still have to be careful with that knee.
yukiinu is offline  
Old 05-10-21, 12:42 PM
  #64  
buegelfrei
Member
 
buegelfrei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 33

Bikes: Daylight ARC c1 XXL 20", Surly Big Dummy, c.1983 Merckx Professional

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Pardon my ignorance, but when we talk about “mashing”, we aren’t talking about riding in the saddle are we? Everybody stands up, right?

When standing up to accelerate or climb, I definitely want a lower cadence which means shifting to a higher gear. In the saddle, a gear that feels too high has always made me feel like I’m going slower.

Nowadays I do most of my miles on a BMX racing bike (saddle not much higher than the top of the cranks’ rotation), so all pedaling is out of the saddle. Roughly 54 gear-inches. My top speed (according to Strava) isn’t very fast, but it does work out to a cadence around 165 rpm. I could go up a tooth in front but I figure it would be better to get that cadence up to 170.
buegelfrei is offline  
Old 05-10-21, 01:09 PM
  #65  
AlanO
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 57
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 12 Posts
I’ve always shifted to maintain cadence.
AlanO is offline  
Old 05-10-21, 10:40 PM
  #66  
Ironfish653
Dirty Heathen
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: MC-778, 6250 fsw
Posts: 1,462

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 535 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 184 Posts
Originally Posted by buegelfrei View Post
Pardon my ignorance, but when we talk about “mashing”, we aren’t talking about riding in the saddle are we? Everybody stands up, right?
.
Not exactly; It’s more about cadence / effort on ‘flat’ roads or long, shallow climbs: ‘Mashing’ is pushing a bigger gear, at a lower rpm, and higher peak effort; ‘Spinning’ is the opposite, a lower gear, and higher rpm, typically lower peak effort but higher cardiovascular intensity.

You tend to see ‘mashing’ with newer riders, and larger stronger/more muscular riders, especially if they’re coming from another sport. (I’m an ex-rower, so low rpm , high effort is my default setting)

Depending on what you’re doing, either technique is valid, especially if you’re riding a single speed, or a vintage bike with a limited choice of gearing. However, if you’re doing long rides in varied terrain, then ‘spinning’ a lower gear at a higher cadence may feel ‘slower’ you’ll be able to sustain it for a longer time. (Could make a big difference on a 100-mile ride)

if you’re to the point where you’re out of the saddle, you’re headed for max effort, regardless of what your preferred technique is.
Ironfish653 is offline  
Likes For Ironfish653:
Old 05-11-21, 12:35 AM
  #67  
phtomita
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 695

Bikes: '86 Nishiki Tri-A, '84 Centurion PT15, '87 Centurion IM Master

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 202 Post(s)
Liked 68 Times in 53 Posts
My LBS guy taught me to keep a good cadence to avoid knee problems, so I try to keep cadence around 80~90.
phtomita is offline  
Old 05-11-21, 06:58 AM
  #68  
canadian deacon
Senior Member
 
canadian deacon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: East Coast Canada
Posts: 125

Bikes: Ratty ol' fixed gear and a 2013 Kona Dew Deluxe (SS conversion)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
My default is to mash a high gear, and spin a lower one for hills and headwinds. I do tend to use a higher gear than most for hills, and do a lot of standing.

Lots of threads about this--people need to use whatever works best for them and ignore people who try to prescribe the superior method based on what works for them. Legs and cardiovascular systems are not standard issue, so different styles suit different people.

And there really is no evidence other than anecdote (not scientific) that mashing is bad for the knees, but expect a bunch of posts that will state that as fact. It appears to be an article of faith amongst trainers, but I've never had anyone successfully produce a study of any kind that indicates that this is so.
I am marginally close to 60 and ride a fixed gear each day to work. I think my bike is around 70 gear inches. My trip now is around 20 minutes in variable terrain but I commuted for about 6 years with a hour long ride (still fixed gear). I don't have any problems with my knees.

I mash and hold to the HTFU rule of cycling.
canadian deacon is offline  
Likes For canadian deacon:
Old 05-11-21, 08:03 AM
  #69  
63rickert
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,794
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 904 Post(s)
Liked 230 Times in 173 Posts
Learned how in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Everyone rode the same then. If the club ride had visitors from Belgrade or Barcelona or Buenos Aires everyone was on the same program. First 20 or 30 minutes would be spin. With conversation. Everyone on same program with no square pegs made it easy to spin along at 110-120rpm. Everyone on same program made the conversation easier too. The pedal speed fostered smoothness and group solidarity.

AFAIK this exists nowhere at present. Last club I knew of that did this was in 80s and it required a rule and a bit of enforcement. Which was unfortunate. We did send three to the pros in three years.

Almost no one does an entire ride averaging above 100rpm. But if you don’t even have the capacity to spin along at 110rpm you are missing out.

Discussion always deformed from the start because so few even know what a high smooth stressless spin feels like. Everyone knows what a mash is.
63rickert is offline  
Old 05-11-21, 09:14 AM
  #70  
livedarklions
Certified Genius?!
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 8,772

Bikes: Serotta Atlanta; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Giant OCR A1; SOMA Double Cross Disc

Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4558 Post(s)
Liked 3,668 Times in 2,064 Posts
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Learned how in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Everyone rode the same then. If the club ride had visitors from Belgrade or Barcelona or Buenos Aires everyone was on the same program. First 20 or 30 minutes would be spin. With conversation. Everyone on same program with no square pegs made it easy to spin along at 110-120rpm. Everyone on same program made the conversation easier too. The pedal speed fostered smoothness and group solidarity.

AFAIK this exists nowhere at present. Last club I knew of that did this was in 80s and it required a rule and a bit of enforcement. Which was unfortunate. We did send three to the pros in three years.

Almost no one does an entire ride averaging above 100rpm. But if you don’t even have the capacity to spin along at 110rpm you are missing out.

Discussion always deformed from the start because so few even know what a high smooth stressless spin feels like. Everyone knows what a mash is.

If this works so well, why is nobody doing it anymore?

Honest question.
livedarklions is offline  
Old 05-11-21, 11:53 AM
  #71  
hotman637
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Well I'll be that guy, LOL! I have bad knees but can ride no problems. By bad knees I mean lot and lots of meniscus damage with replacements coming in the next couple of years. I normally spin but am a masher for mountain climbs. As my knees have gotten worse I've had to stay completely out of the mountains. I can still ride my usually 25+ daily rides as long as I don't mash. If I do my knees will swell and become so painful I can't hardly walk. So yeah, put me in the camp of mashing is bad for you. I'd bet even if you do "get away with it" and feel no effects currently it will effect you as you age. Just my two cents....

I had knee problems in my 20s but I am 63 now and have NO knee or any other joint problems!
Why? YOGA! I have played basketball tennis biking running etc. for years and I am in better
shape then ever! DO YOGA! As for mashing move your seat UP ONE INCH and tip your seat
forward as far as it will and PUT MORE WEIGHT on your peddles! You will get FREE SPEED!
Siting on your ass and spinning is not good use of your weight!
hotman637 is offline  
Old 05-11-21, 12:12 PM
  #72  
jamesdak 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 6,655

Bikes: Paletti,De Rosa Neo Pro,Pinarello Monviso,Duell Vienna,Giordana XL Super(2)Lemond Maillot Juane (2) & custom & Versailles,PDG Paramount,Serotta CSI,Fuji Opus III,Davidson Impulse,Pashley Guv'nor,Evans,Fishlips,Jan De Reus,Prologue TT,Y-Foil,Softride

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1638 Post(s)
Liked 1,082 Times in 552 Posts
Originally Posted by hotman637 View Post
I had knee problems in my 20s but I am 63 now and have NO knee or any other joint problems!
Why? YOGA! I have played basketball tennis biking running etc. for years and I am in better
shape then ever! DO YOGA! As for mashing move your seat UP ONE INCH and tip your seat
forward as far as it will and PUT MORE WEIGHT on your peddles! You will get FREE SPEED!
Siting on your ass and spinning is not good use of your weight!
No offense and yeah for Yoga. But the rest of your "advice" is a recipe for disaster.....
__________________
Steel is real...and comfy.
jamesdak is offline  
Likes For jamesdak:
Old 05-11-21, 12:19 PM
  #73  
hotman637
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
No offense and yeah for Yoga. But the rest of your "advice" is a recipe for disaster.....

Have you ever tried it? So many people say it does not work but the ones who DO IT say it is great! It is like green eggs and ham!
hotman637 is offline  
Old 05-11-21, 12:19 PM
  #74  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 755
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 218 Post(s)
Liked 307 Times in 206 Posts
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
If this works so well, why is nobody doing it anymore?

Honest question.
Food for thought...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cyc...-froome-191779

Also, IME, ride single speed and cadence will be your servant, not your master... geared bike or no.

Low, medium and high cadences all have their uses throughout a ride 👍

Otto

Last edited by ofajen; 05-11-21 at 12:32 PM.
ofajen is offline  
Old 05-11-21, 12:30 PM
  #75  
livedarklions
Certified Genius?!
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 8,772

Bikes: Serotta Atlanta; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Giant OCR A1; SOMA Double Cross Disc

Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4558 Post(s)
Liked 3,668 Times in 2,064 Posts
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Food for thought...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cyc...-froome-191779

Also, IME, ride single speed and cadence will be your servant, not your master... geared bike or no. 👍

Otto

I grew up riding single speed and three speeds, which I generally kept in high gear most of the time, so yeah that's basically still my approach even with 20 gears.
livedarklions is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.