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What's An Average Cadence?(24 posts)

What's An Average Cadence?huffer
Nov 19, 2003 11:39 PM
On my last few rides I have been toying with faster cadences to see if I have better/worse endurance, average speed, etc. I find that for me, 120 rpm is as fast as I can spin without bouncing out of my saddle. My typical cadence is 95, plus or minus 5. Is this the average for most people? Just curious. I've read some cyclists can do 200 rpm, which is completely insane. Anyone come close to doing this?
Nov 20, 2003 4:11 AM
From what I've seen this is all subjective, it will vary on the person. My typical is 95-105. I would have to say that 200rpm is insane. I can't imagine go much beyond 135 which is around my max without bouncing around, and even then I couldn't really maintain that pace. I find my 95-105 offers a nice balance between lungs and muscles, but again this would be for me.
Mine is 93 - 98 nm.OwenMeany
Nov 20, 2003 5:25 AM
I'm about 85.dzrider
Nov 20, 2003 5:53 AM
I worried that it should be higher, but it just felt way more natural and comfortable than pushing it up to 90 or 95. Then I read somewhere that Andy Hampsten also spun about 85 and I stopped worrying.
re: It depends on the terrainhudsonite
Nov 20, 2003 6:01 AM
My target range is 90 to 95. But the actual cadence changes depending upon the terrain and how many gears I have left. Typicals numbers are:

On the flats 85 to 95.
On large hills 65 to 80.
Really big hills when out of gears 50 to 60.
Downhill 100 to 120

I used to push big gears with lower cadence. At the time, my target was about 70. Knee problems have pushed me towards higher cadence. I must say, that higher cadence is better for the knees. Did not see any change in average speed, maybe a little slower with the higher cadence, but not enough to worry about.
Nov 20, 2003 6:47 AM
I think a huge mythology has built up around cadence. Cadence should be appropriate to terrain and intent, and you should be comfortable over a wide range. 'Constant cadence' as a realitic everyday goal mystifies me. Maybe it justifies having too many gears on your bike, and so is a marketing tool, but other than that it's just lore without substance.
ditto...nmDave Hickey
Nov 20, 2003 7:07 AM
Don't agree totally....zero85ZEN
Nov 20, 2003 7:39 AM
Look at the average cadence of all the hour record holders for the last 30 years. Around 105 - 110.

A lot depends on body type of individual rider.

However, generally speaking, a higher cadence is more efficient.

This past season I began keeping my cadence high on climbs. My comfortable range on the flats is around 105. I focused on gearing way down and trying to hold my cadence on climbs. The result was astonishing to me. I was able to climb faster, with more consistancy, could accelerate on a climb if I needed to, and I recovered more quickly after the climb. Despite all the hype, a higher cadence is a huge part of why Armstrong has won the Tour for five years straight. Watch his cadence in the mountains and compare it to Jan's. Easy to see why he accelerates away from the big German at will.

The other thing that I noticed using this climbing method this past summer was that, on group rides, other riders would initially surge ahead of me at the beginning of climbs (the were climbing in bigger gears) but I would almost always catch and pass them before the top.
Isn't there is kind of a "normal range" for your riding?dzrider
Nov 20, 2003 8:10 AM
I also vary greatly, even more since taking up a fixed gear bike. I do, however, find myself riding along comfortably at about 85rpm when I'm not contending with traffic or big hills. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that normal range is what people are asking about rather than a slavish effort to find a constant cadence. I can't find one with my fixed gear bike on the stand.
in the spring 115 later in season ~95andy02
Nov 20, 2003 7:10 AM
After being on the rollars all winter I start out spinning at 115-120 and move into bigger gears and lower cadence.
people probably estimate too highDougSloan
Nov 20, 2003 7:47 AM
I know I use a fast cadence, and I've compared myself with others who claim clost to 100. However, I've done tons of riding on a Computrainer, which always shows instant, average, and highest cadence. My average for a time trial effort is around 95, even though the peak during that effort might be around 110. For a rolling hills workout, especially if I do any standing, it's around 85 or less. Long climbs really bring it down.

Also, if you coast on the descents, your cadence during that time is close to zero. That's going to bring down your average.

I heard that all hour record performances have been set at average cadences over 100. It's pretty easy to figure that if you use a fixed gear, too (which hour records on the track do). Using a fixed gear on the road, I can always tell exactly what my average cadence was if I know my average speed. For example, if I average 20 mph, and the gearing results in 100 rpms at 20 mph, it's pretty straight forward. There is no choice.

It can take real work and concentration to maintain high cadences. It's very easy to trail off a bit, more so than if you were pushing 80 rpms.

I've regularly hit around 180 rpms on the fixed gear and a few times on the road, which desperately trying to catch a group that dropped me on the preceding hill. Bad climbers need big gears and high cadences to catch up on the descents. ;-)

180????? what? Are you kidding?andy02
Nov 20, 2003 8:23 AM
I have hit 140+ a couple of times and been bouncing all over the place.
he's not kidding. Fixed gear, no brakes, big hillcmgauch
Nov 20, 2003 8:42 AM
I haven't done 180 rpms yet, but I've done a bit over 160 on my fixed down big hills, and I'm new to it.
secrets to not bouncingDougSloan
Nov 20, 2003 10:13 AM
What I've learned to help not to bounce:

1. Raise your butt slightly off the saddle; stay close enough to use the saddle for stabilty, but unweight; this alone really helps. Hard to do it for a long time, though.

2. Use the drops and bend your arms.

3. Keep you weight balanced.

4. Allow your ankles to flex (talking mostly about fixed gear). Particularly when the pedal starts to come up on the back, allow your ankle to give a little. The tendency is to stiffen up.

5. Practice. Do some descents that would be 40-50 mph on a coasting bike in a fixed gear ratio of about 70 gear inches. A 42x16 at 40 mph is 198 rpms. Only touch the brake, if you have one, to keep from going out of control. You will learn very fast.

I have to try that one nmandy02
Nov 20, 2003 10:27 AM
I practice seated sprints.853
Nov 20, 2003 12:32 PM
On a very slight decline, I get to about 135rpms and that's when I go for it. I've been able to hit 196-198rpms, of course, I'm doing a sprint, once I hit my max I coast rest and repeat. The secret is to always maintain pressure on the pedals - always push ahead! If you are just spinning along you will always bounce around. My position is usually in the drops or hoods, sitting on the tip of my seat.
It's all about practice!(My goal is to break into the 200's)
re: What's An Average Cadence?FTMD
Nov 20, 2003 8:02 AM
Real world riding usually sees a cadence of around 97 when I'm in decent shape. After knee problems and really focusing on spinning, I think I've found the high 90's to be my most efficient zone. I can go higher, but think I lose efficiency and comfort. I've done 160ish on rollers but that doesn't translate to real world riding at all.

Of course, this is in regard to flat ground. I'm typically out of the saddle on hills to avoid a lot of shearing force on my knees and the cadence is much lower.
Yeah, I've done like 198 with 'we have lift-off' bouncing.hrv
Nov 20, 2003 8:15 AM
But with time the bouncing should be less and less. That was on a very easy gear, going downhill. Trackies typically are in the 200+ range, since that's the only way to build speed with one gear. Sprinters too, I guess.

Don't have an avg. cadence function, but I would say it could range from 40 to 150 on a typical ride. Obviously that 40 is on some steep s%^t, need to work on raising that.
Like to spin my a$$ off on downhills, in prep. for track training.

Everyones different, but 95 sounds great. Keep working at the 120 range and see if the bouncing lessens. Raising your 'natural' cadence by just a few revs. will mean you're faster, if that's your goal. Try riding at 100 - 105 for long stretches and see if you can get comfortable. If not, keep styling at 95.


p.s. have you tried 1-legged spin-ups, either on trainer or road?
Pop one leg out, spin w/ other leg, gradually increase speed until
you bounce. Repeat with other leg, 3+ sets. Finish w/ 2 legged spin-ups. After a while your cadence should increase, although 95 is a pretty healthy cadence already.
One-legged spinning...huffer
Nov 20, 2003 10:34 AM
I've read about that being a great way to improve your pedal stroke (ie turn squares into cirlces), but haven't tried it yet. Good thought, something for me to work on this winter on the ole' trainer.
done that one it is more of a check then a skill builderandy02
Nov 20, 2003 11:02 AM
I will sometimes ride one leg unclipped up a small hill on the way back to the house if it has been a short ride
One-legged spinning..._rt_
Nov 20, 2003 11:12 AM
part of my base training is 1 leg drills on the trainer. do a 10-20 minute warm up, then unclip 1 foot & rest it on the trainer. now, pedal with the other leg for 5 minutes. you want to be in a gear that you have to work to keep a cadence of 50-60 rpm and your heart rate should be somewhere in your level 2 zone. after 5 minutes, clip your unclipped leg back in and pedal with both legs for 5 minutes. then clip the other leg out and do 5 minutes on the leg that doesn't feel like it's going to fall off. i do this drill 2x/week. if you have one leg that is stronger than the other you can do more time on one leg and less on the other.

the first time i did this drill i pedaled in shapes that have not been identified in geometry! my circles are much better now but 5 full minutes on each leg is a killer.

It exposes flaws in your pedal strokeDave Hickey
Nov 20, 2003 11:15 AM
We've done it the last two weeks at my LBS spin class. I found that my weaker leg(right) actually has a smoother stroke than my stronger leg(left). I over compensate with my left leg...
re: What's An Average Cadence?PbOkole
Nov 20, 2003 10:05 AM
I typically do 80-100rpm. On the road, I can spin up to 150-160 for short periods downhill or small gear sprints. On a trainer, I have hit 221 rpm for a VERY brief time.

On the rollers I can up to 185-190...Swat Dawg
Nov 20, 2003 5:37 PM
before I got so squirrely that I am almost power sliding off the rollers. I pretty sure I'm accurate cause I have the Cateye Astrale with a cadence meter. I have never been able to figure out this cadence thing though; I can spin up to almost 200 on rollers, and about 175-180 on the road, but I can't do any of this with any significant power. I also can't figure out why spinning at this speed is difficult for anybody else, cause it comes pretty easy for me. Without concentrating much I can get to 150, but from there I have to focus. In races, I usually look down and see my cadence between 110-120, often over 120, but again this is because my legs haven't had the strength to push the same speed with a 90-95 cadence. I would gladly take the strength and lose some of the spin, cause by the end of a race my cardiovascular system is pretty taxed and I have trouble holding wheels on that last lap when everybody takes it up a notch. I don't see what the point is if my legs are going around really fast, if I'm not pushing a lot of power to the wheels. I am in the weight room now trying to improve my strength so I will be capable of more power next season. Hopefully that will fix the limiter that prevented my break out season. Probably not though. :-(