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Wattage for a new cyclist.

Old 01-16-24, 06:36 PM
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Wattage for a new cyclist.

I’ve done some research into what is considered “good wattage” for a newbie cyclist. Most places give me a power output table based upon weight. However, it seems that once you cross a third certain threshold, maintaining a wattage per kilo is considerably harder to do. Being 6‘6“. I am naturally heavier than the average individual, although it’s mostly not fat, nor muscle, but mainly my large frame. Do I really have to output an average of nearly 500 W for an hour in order for me to be considered good at cycling? That just seems a bit extreme to me, maybe it’s because of new to the sport and that comes with time, but that seems a little far out there what do you guys think?
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Old 01-16-24, 06:51 PM
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As a new cyclist the last thing you need to worry about is w/kg. You should worry about fitness and the various physical adaptions that happen.

Asking what is a good w/kg is a lot like asking: "What is a good weight for a dead lift? (or squat, or whatever) There really isn't a good answer because of all the different ways a person can be strong. How a person uses what is available from practice, genetics, age, etc... matters more.
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Old 01-16-24, 06:52 PM
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If you're brand new to road cycling power output should not be a big focus. Work on developing your bike handling skills and learn how to ride safely (by yourself and with others).
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Old 01-16-24, 07:11 PM
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Don't sweat the watts/kg or FTP thing...they're basically the cycling equivalent to a dick measuring contest. As a newbie cyclist, you'll see big gains initially, after that they start to become increasingly marginal. You need to build a certain amount of base fitness before you should even begin to worry about power numbers. Just get the miles in for now and learn more about the sport(and yourself) before you start seriously targeting power.

As a metric, FTP in watts/kg isn't the only thing that counts. Some guys have amazing numbers for an hour, but can't sprint to save their lives. If you absolutely have to find some meaning in your numbers, you'll likely find that there is a certain power number/time ratio that you're pretty good at, i.e. 10 second, 5 minute, 10 minute power numbers etc. I too have a large frame and am content knowing that I'll likely never reach a 5 watts/kg FTP, but I have a pretty strong long sprint, so that's something I can find pride in.
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Old 01-17-24, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by The6_6biker
I’ve done some research into what is considered “good wattage” for a newbie cyclist. Most places give me a power output table based upon weight. However, it seems that once you cross a third certain threshold, maintaining a wattage per kilo is considerably harder to do. Being 6‘6“. I am naturally heavier than the average individual, although it’s mostly not fat, nor muscle, but mainly my large frame. Do I really have to output an average of nearly 500 W for an hour in order for me to be considered good at cycling? That just seems a bit extreme to me, maybe it’s because of new to the sport and that comes with time, but that seems a little far out there what do you guys think?
you may want to state how heavy you as opposed to your height. For example, while i don't coach anyone as tall as you, i coach someone who is 6f1 and has a mass of 69 kg. 500 W is *huge*. however, you could have a mass of 90kg or 130 kg or some other number.

On the other hand if you've looked at the power profiling chart for FTP and looking at the "Good" range, it's important to understand that this table varies from the very best in the world to sedentary/chronically ill people. Good is just a classification on that scale that many people will never reach either due to genetics, age, health, or lack of time to train that much.
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Old 01-17-24, 06:14 AM
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It depends on your definition of a “good” cyclist. If you are talking about average power over an hour, then I would say anywhere over 3 W/kg is “good” and over 4 W/kg is very good for an amateur racer with average genetics. Over 5 W/kg puts you into pro race territory. 6 W/kg is World class.

You mentioned 500 W over an hour and let’s say you weighed 100 kg, that would still be 5 W/kg. That would be enough to pull on the front of a pro peloton!
As a beginner, you would be doing very well to achieve half of that power for an hour.
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Old 01-17-24, 10:20 AM
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So if your wattage is good for a new cyclist, then does that mean you'll be happy and not try to increase it?

To me it matters not what you are. Except maybe on race day if you race. But the better thing is what you become after riding as often and for as long as you can.
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Old 01-17-24, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Ric Stern
you may want to state how heavy you as opposed to your height.
I typically weigh between 90-95 kg.
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Old 01-17-24, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by The6_6biker
I typically weigh between 90-95 kg.
500 W and 95 kg, you'd be bottom end pro level, possibly World Tour level depending on your CdA and bike skills. (albeit your CdA may be pretty poor due to your height). Either way this isn't what'd be considered a good wattage for a newbie or anyone.
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Old 01-17-24, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Ric Stern
500 W and 95 kg, you'd be bottom end pro level, possibly World Tour level depending on your CdA and bike skills. (albeit your CdA may be pretty poor due to your height). Either way this isn't what'd be considered a good wattage for a newbie or anyone.
I guess the places didn't I looked at didn't do a good job of delineating between their "tiers" of power outage. But currently I am outputting 305-320 watts on average for an hour. Would that be pretty typical for a 6-month cyclist?
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Old 01-17-24, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by The6_6biker
I guess the places didn't I looked at didn't do a good job of delineating between their "tiers" of power outage. But currently I am outputting 305-320 watts on average for an hour. Would that be pretty typical for a 6-month cyclist?
Well, you've got me beat. 35,000 miles since 2014 and the best I ever did was measured at 303 watts for 20 minutes and 282 watts for an hour. I weigh 85kg. At best, I'm middle of the road average. If I really apply my self I can blow myself up and sometimes nearly crack the top 10% of any given sprint or Strava segment.

Don't compare your self to me. I am the literal text book definition of average.

Do you have a Power meter? Strava guestimates are notoriously unreliable.
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Old 01-17-24, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
Do you have a Power meter? Strava guestimates are notoriously unreliable.
Yes, my father was a professional triathlete, so I have accesses to a lot of his bells and whistles.
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Old 01-17-24, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by The6_6biker
I guess the places didn't I looked at didn't do a good job of delineating between their "tiers" of power outage. But currently I am outputting 305-320 watts on average for an hour. Would that be pretty typical for a 6-month cyclist?
320 watts / 95 kg = 3.368 watts/kg

I'd say you're doing pretty darn good for 6-months. If you already have good fitness from participation in other sports, it usually transfers well to the bike. Strength is strength. However, raw power is only part of the overall equation. As you gain more experience on the bike and develop your pedaling mechanics, you will also gain power from improved technique. My point being, don't get too hung up on improving your FTP through strength training alone. There are significant gains to be had through improved mechanics and technique.
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Old 01-17-24, 11:13 PM
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A good cyclist is kind, cooperative, rides well with others, and rides safely. That last one is trickier than the rest of them and is the most important. Study up on that one. Don't worry about what power you should produce. Instead, concentrate on learning what power you can produce for what period of time in what terrain. Ride lots and especially ride hills. Cycling is all about riding hills. When you are comfortable riding for 50-100 miles solo, try group rides. That's where I found the most fun and learned the most about cycling. I've ridden a good bit with an fellow as big as you. He found the most fun in randonneuring.

It is said that for a person just beginning in endurance sports that it takes about 7 years to reach full development. Enjoy the journey..
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Old 01-18-24, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by The6_6biker
I guess the places didn't I looked at didn't do a good job of delineating between their "tiers" of power outage. But currently I am outputting 305-320 watts on average for an hour. Would that be pretty typical for a 6-month cyclist?
that suggests your FTP is about 3.3 W/kg. that's a decent enough level to do entry level cycle racing (albeit i'm not including other aspects). Some people never get to this level. some people start above this level. i started below this level (as a 14 yr old) and my first year of racing i came last in every race i did. over a period of years i worked my way up to a cat 1 cyclist (took about 6 years). my progress was potentially delayed due to the fact that i'd been extremely ill from the age of 12 to 14.

currently at 54 yr old (in my 41st consecutive racing year) my FTP is ~4.2 - 4.4 W/kg which is the same as my best years from my 20s, is classified as "very good". Your 500 W suggestion at 95 kg, would be classified as "exceptional". if some scale says that's "good" it's either been incorrectly marked up, you've done your math wrong, or something like that
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