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Roadies: Optimal pedaling cadence

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I got ''seriously'' into biking from the beggining of the last season and through my physical progression (rides 30 kms long with an average of 26 km/h to 80 kms with a 32km/h average) i've noticed that my optimal cadence has evolved. At beginning, 85 rpms was just fine and now i just can't go under 95 or i burn myself in about 10 kilometers.

I was wondering what was your optimal candence related to how much you ride, what size are you, what terrain do you ride. Also, should i try to be efficient in a wider range of rpm or focus on one tiny spot?
post #2 of 21
Hi HH,

Like yourself, rediscovered cycling last year.

My target cadence is 100. I keep it above 85 and it will become less composed at about 110. I'm using interval training to reinforce these levels and to smooth thing out above 110.

I ride 500 to 600 miles a month, I'm now 210 lbs.

Michael
Edited by WILDCAT - 7/8/2009 at 11:59 pm GMT
post #3 of 21
 
A review of my log for this year (since my Garmin arrived) shows average cadence generally between 80 and 85.  This is consistent for rides of 20-80+ miles originating from my home in Dillon, CO.  On flats, moderate grades and down hill my cadence usually ranges 90-110+ Climbing can see as low as 60-65, probably more typically 65-75.

I'm currently hovering around 150lbs, rode 250-300 miles last week, and riding a triple with 30-39-53 and a 12-23 cassette.

What's optimal?  I dunno... 
post #4 of 21
Optimal is whatever works best for you. No two people will be the same.
Experiment to your hearts content and with enough mileage you will zero
in on where you need to be. Same thing with gearing.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post

Optimal is whatever works best for you. No two people will be the same.
Experiment to your hearts content and with enough mileage you will zero
in on where you need to be. Same thing with gearing.

+1

Optimal cadence depends on myriad factors: physical, psychological, etc.

Some folks are fast spinners, pedaling at 100-110 rpm all the time, and that works for them.

Others are mashers, grinding along at 70-80 rpm, and that works for them.

Still others fall into the middle, or off either end, and that works for them.

And this ideal cadence can change from year to year, or even from month to month, as fitness levels change.  As you get more fit, you may find that your ideal cadence is faster (or sometimes slower) than it was, and that's normal.  I know that my ideal cadence increased a little as I became more lean and climbed more hills, and that it can waver over the course of a ride or depending on the kind of ride I'm doing.  

So don't sweat it too much.  Just like with ski technique, there isn't a truly "one size fits all" solution to ideal cadence.
post #6 of 21
What is the lowest possible cadence where we can reliably say 'you're using predominantly fast-twitch fibers'? 
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post


What is the lowest possible cadence where we can reliably say 'you're using predominantly fast-twitch fibers'? 

Around 60-65 rpm is around the bottom end for most folks in terms of engagement of fast-twitch fibers.  Most cycling coaches will have folks stay about 70 just for good measure, though.
post #8 of 21
I am a mountain biker and race on a singlespeed so my cadence tends to be low and I mash a lot. On the road I rarely have average cadence higher than 65. I feel best at 70-75.
post #9 of 21
Cadence, schmadence.  Just ride.  Enjoy it.  Quit worrying about the dum-stuf.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by axebiker View Post

Cadence, schmadence.  Just ride.  Enjoy it.  Quit worrying about the dum-stuf.
 


Wow, that's pretty enlightening!  Let's get rid of all advice and instruction.  Then we can just enjoy our mediocre world.!
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post

I am a mountain biker and race on a singlespeed so my cadence tends to be low and I mash a lot. On the road I rarely have average cadence higher than 65. I feel best at 70-75.

Mountain bikers, particularly skilled single speeders tend to have smooth spins. I ride/race geared bikes however, I like to pace myself off single speeders. This also varies with a 26er (higher cadence) versus a 29er (slower cadence). I think mountain biking can make a road biker have a smoother cadence.

As far as myself my cadence varies anywhere from probably 65 to 90. Training and fun riding I tend to ride slower, pulling a larger gear, and a slower cadence. Racing increases the cadence, drops me down to a lower gear at times (because I'm riding faster, and have to recover).
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post




Mountain bikers, particularly skilled single speeders tend to have smooth spins. I ride/race geared bikes however, I like to pace myself off single speeders. This also varies with a 26er (higher cadence) versus a 29er (slower cadence). I think mountain biking can make a road biker have a smoother cadence.

As far as myself my cadence varies anywhere from probably 65 to 90. Training and fun riding I tend to ride slower, pulling a larger gear, and a slower cadence. Racing increases the cadence, drops me down to a lower gear at times (because I'm riding faster, and have to recover).
 

what would wheel size have to do with cadence?

ok yeah the gear ration are different but thats why people run higher gears on 26er than 29er, the overall cadence usually ends up being where someone wants it.

For instance fast 29er SS around here run 32-19ish where as ast 26er guys run 32-16ish.





Edited by BushwackerinPA - 7/10/2009 at 02:59 pm GMT
post #13 of 21
 To ride smoothly, its best if you find your own optimal cadence(mt biking or road) for your optimal heart rate, then shift the bike to accommodate climbs, downhill, flats, etc to maintain that cadence.

Obviously, your cadence is not going to be exactly the same all the time, but this will help you smooth out your ride and feel great.
post #14 of 21
Didn't you just answer your own question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post




what would wheel size have to do with cadence?

ok yeah the gear ration are different but thats why people run higher gears on 26er than 29er, the overall cadence usually ends up being where someone wants it.

For instance fast 29er SS around here run 32-19ish where as ast 26er guys run 32-16ish.





Edited by BushwackerinPA - 7/10/2009 at 02:59 pm GMT
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post

Didn't you just answer your own question?

 



 


I stated the the fact that the final drive was different.

but to dsicount your comment about 29ers have a slower cadence.

Who has a slower cadence?

a 29er with a 32-32

or a 26er with a 32-11

extreme examples but in the SS world people run nearly the same overall gear on a SS bike. One or the other ends up being the cadence speed.

Even in the geared world you can still generaly end up in the same cadence. Plus 22 front rings a on 26er are dumb anyways.

OT
Are you racing in Davis this weekend?

I am between this and a 25 mile road race by my house.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post





I stated the the fact that the final drive was different.

but to dsicount your comment about 29ers have a slower cadence.

Who has a slower cadence?

a 29er with a 32-32

or a 26er with a 32-11

extreme examples but in the SS world people run nearly the same overall gear on a SS bike. One or the other ends up being the cadence speed.

Even in the geared world you can still generaly end up in the same cadence. Plus 22 front rings a on 26er are dumb anyways.

OT
Are you racing in Davis this weekend?

I am between this and a 25 mile road race by my house.

 

Forgive me for responding generally. Comparing the 29er and the 26er in general terms (equal to or close gear ratios). 29er takes longer to spool up, slower cadence than 26er on climbs. In general a 29er is like pushing a bigger gear.

<bad word> Dude, I can't ride. I had to take 2 percocet just to get some sleep last night. I've been doing some <gag> trail running. Just the pressure of my forearms weight on my biceps, is enough to make my arm ache from the tips of my fingers to my neck. I hurt my neck last season. So, well I'm really starting to wonder about my racing career. Weber officially called me an old guy. 2 more years and I'll qualify as a Masters racer.

You're asking me whether to do the WV state champ race or a road ride? Even though we haven't offically met. I would think you would already know that one. 2-3 years ago Jeremiah Bishop parked beside us. He asked us what tires he should run! We said probably a pretty heavy knobby. He pulled out a couple of tires that were worn to the cords. We picked out the one that had a faint glimpse of some tread on it. He then proceded to win the race! Thats the stuff I live for.

BTW, quit pulling the hills so much with your hamstrings. Give your achilles a rest.
post #17 of 21
For roadies, is cadence everything or does the concept of spinning with a constant light pressure on the pedals throughout 360 degrees of revolution still matter? I've always tried for 90 rpms, but, working to develop a very smooth leg/foot action, free of a lot of pressure on the down stroke, is something I constantly remind myself to work on.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post




Forgive me for responding generally. Comparing the 29er and the 26er in general terms (equal to or close gear ratios). 29er takes longer to spool up, slower cadence than 26er on climbs. In general a 29er is like pushing a bigger gear.

<bad word> Dude, I can't ride. I had to take 2 percocet just to get some sleep last night. I've been doing some <gag> trail running. Just the pressure of my forearms weight on my biceps, is enough to make my arm ache from the tips of my fingers to my neck. I hurt my neck last season. So, well I'm really starting to wonder about my racing career. Weber officially called me an old guy. 2 more years and I'll qualify as a Masters racer.

You're asking me whether to do the WV state champ race or a road ride? Even though we haven't offically met. I would think you would already know that one. 2-3 years ago Jeremiah Bishop parked beside us. He asked us what tires he should run! We said probably a pretty heavy knobby. He pulled out a couple of tires that were worn to the cords. We picked out the one that had a faint glimpse of some tread on it. He then proceded to win the race! Thats the stuff I live for.

BTW, quit pulling the hills so much with your hamstrings. Give your achilles a rest.



the achilles is fine now I have rode everyday since last friday. Friday 25 Mile MTB, Saturday  15 miles MTB ride/40 miles Road Ride, Sunday 20 mile MTB 2 miles of BMX track;)/20 mile hard effort road ride, Monday easy 20 mile MTB ride/ hour of BMX tracking, tuesday Cat 4/5 Crit 18 miles of REALLY hard effort, wednesday easy 10 mile MTB ride coaching skills with the local club, Thursday 20 mile HARD effort Road Ride trying to similate crit.  MY achilles is for sure fine it will have its first real test during the 101 I think.

despite all the riding I ll still get creamed in a WVMBA expert race buts that what Ill enter.
post #19 of 21
Sorry for the hijack roaadie dudes. BWPA, the expert/pro/open class in wvmba is World Class. If you do well there you can be fairly certain you will place top 10 in any Norba race. Its just that tough. If I run a sport class, I can be pretty certain to be 1, 2, or 3. If I run expert I'll be lucky to place 20th in a big race.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post






the achilles is fine now I have rode everyday since last friday. Friday 25 Mile MTB, Saturday  15 miles MTB ride/40 miles Road Ride, Sunday 20 mile MTB 2 miles of BMX track;)/20 mile hard effort road ride, Monday easy 20 mile MTB ride/ hour of BMX tracking, tuesday Cat 4/5 Crit 18 miles of REALLY hard effort, wednesday easy 10 mile MTB ride coaching skills with the local club, Thursday 20 mile HARD effort Road Ride trying to similate crit.  MY achilles is for sure fine it will have its first real test during the 101 I think.

despite all the riding I ll still get creamed in a WVMBA expert race buts that what Ill enter.



 
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post

Sorry for the hijack roaadie dudes


Do it again and we'll  come over there and









shellac your bars
post #21 of 21
Yeah, the Hellbender bar could use a nice coat.

The Burritos aren't bad either.
http://www.hellbenderburritos.com/
Edited by Johnnys Zoo - 7/15/2009 at 02:24 pm GMT
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