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Cadence Question(9 posts)

Cadence QuestionRoadracer
Jul 14, 2003 12:07 PM
I have biked for many years, mostly solo with a few road races each year. I just purchased a new computer with a cadence function. I had always heard that you generally want to be in the 90-100 rpm range. I was surprised that my comfort range is 78-85, any more than that and generally the speed bleeds off and my legs get fatigued. The exceptions to this seem to be up steep hills where I will gear down and the rpm's will go up or where I am sprinting.

So the question is, is this normal or is it something I should work to correct? It appears that I am pushing a much bigger gear than riders around me, but since I do so comfortably should I change?

If you need additional info let me know. Thanks for your input.

you could try...C-40
Jul 14, 2003 1:11 PM
Since power = torque X cadence, a low cadence must be made up with more torque for a given amount of power.

The only way to know if a higher cadence would be beneficial is to gradually increase your cadence and see if your average speeds and/or endurance improve. When pushing the limit of endurance, a higher cadence helps keep the legs fresher.

I would try staying in a lower gear that requires more cadence. Sometimes it's just a habit to keep clicking the gears up until your cadence drops. I perform brief high cadence intervals 120-135 rpm, usually in the small chainring. The other day I got up to 29 mph in a 39/14, which figures out to 135 rpm.

I would also double check your cadence reading by riding in a gear ratio and speed that produces a known cadence. For instance, a 39/15 at 90 rpm is about 18.25 mph.
re: Cadence QuestionJimP
Jul 14, 2003 1:14 PM
Jan Ulrich pushes big gears at a low cadence with great success. It all depends. Many riders who have damaged their knees have attributed it to pushing too large a gear at too low a cadance. I used to train in the winter on a wind trainer at 100-105rpm so that when I hit the road a 100 rpm cadence would feel normal. I now ride in the 85-90 rpm range unless I am challanged. Age and not enough competitive riding has made me a little lazy.
Jan Ulrich = big gears = knee problemsKerry Irons
Jul 14, 2003 4:05 PM
Well documented with Ulrich's knee problems. It cannot be said with high certainty that this was caused by his low cadence stomping, but low cadence is OFTEN a path to sore and damaged knees. Since every world record in the past 50 years has been set at a cadence above 95 rpm, we reach some obvious conclusions about the most successful way to deliver power to the pedals.
Yep, and..Al1943
Jul 14, 2003 8:02 PM
on the tour coverage this year it was said that Jan Ullrich is working with a higher cadence this year.
Balance of Cardio and Muscular...pedalpete
Jul 14, 2003 1:40 PM
I believe it is a question of where you balance your force vs. cardio.
I too push a larger gear at a lower cadence than most of the people I ride with.
When I try to up my cadence, my heart-rate jumps considerably. I have done some training to increase my cadence, and I found it did work, I was able to spin faster without increasing my heart-rate as much, but I found that my body still prefered to push a bigger gear at a lower cadence.
I've been riding for 10 years, and I think we are just going through a phase right now thanks to LA which makes everybody want to get a higher cadence (and if you look at riders in the tour, it looks like they are all trying to adapt Lance's technique).
I wouldn't be surprised if this trend swung back the other way in the next 5 years.
You serious?filtersweep
Jul 14, 2003 7:27 PM
I don't think Lance has that high of a cadence in the first place... maybe for an ex-triathlete- but to credit Lance with reshaping the general cadence of the tour is a bit extreme. There seems to be enough science to support higher cadence.

Chain rings haven't grown any larger ;)

Finally- riding a bike does involve a bit of form and technique... both of which need to be learned (as you mention).
You are partially correct...pedalpete
Jul 15, 2003 10:40 AM
From a sit and spin perspective, LA's cadence isn't that high, but remember a few years back, all the comments were on how strange it was to have such a high cadence while standing.
Now everybody is maintaining a high cadence in most situations (excluding a few gear mashers left).

Good point about Chain rings not growing any larger...though, they haven't gotten any smaller either (excluding Angliru);)
I made the switch from pc to macandy02
Jul 15, 2003 6:27 AM
I used my rollers for at least an hour a day during the winter just spinning as fast as I could. When the spring hit I found myself able to keep around a 115rpm for hours. It has gotten out of hand however when a someone noticed the other day that I was still in my little chain ring at 33 mph! When he said something I jumped to my big ring and was able to increase my speed with any jump in heart rate