My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

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My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby samsplan » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:31 am

I've always been a pretty fast, focused commuter. I generally like to get from point A to B as fast as possible, and reckon I may as well get a good workout from my commute. I'm ashamed to admit that this has led to a brazenly bad habit of often running red lights when I deem it 'safe' (but I'm really trying hard to rein that right back after reading another thread on here) - anyway that's a whole other issue...

I've started taking my riding a bit more seriously, starting to throw in a few training hill climbs and that sort of thing.

So I've been thinking about cadence a bit, and though I don't have a sensor for it, I figure I can get a pretty good estimate just by counting for 15 seconds and then x4. To get to the point - my normal, feels "comfortable, efficient, almost resting" cadence is about 105 rpm. To really 'spin', to get to a cadence that feels fast, I've got to hit about 125 rpm! A cadence of 80 would really feel like I was grinding away, so maybe this explains why 40-50 was such a painful struggle on a recent long hill climb (my lowest gear is 42/23 and gradient > 10%).

I've read that normal, efficient cadence should be 80-90. Is it a problem I'm nowhere near that? And if it is, what should I do to change?
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by BNA » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:19 am

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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby Grant W » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:19 am

Hey Sam,
For a gradient of 10%, riding 42-23 is a bit of an ask comfortably. I might consider buying a rear cassette up to 27/28 and that will make your climbing a little easier as well as increasing your cadence.

Cadence is a personal thing, but climbing at over 100 seems extreme.
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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby sogood » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:50 am

For most people, cadence would drop a bit on a climb. Quite natural.
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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby tripstobaltimore » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:44 am

samsplan wrote:I've always been a pretty fast, focused commuter. I generally like to get from point A to B as fast as possible, and reckon I may as well get a good workout from my commute. I'm ashamed to admit that this has led to a brazenly bad habit of often running red lights when I deem it 'safe' (but I'm really trying hard to rein that right back after reading another thread on here) - anyway that's a whole other issue...

I've started taking my riding a bit more seriously, starting to throw in a few training hill climbs and that sort of thing.

So I've been thinking about cadence a bit, and though I don't have a sensor for it, I figure I can get a pretty good estimate just by counting for 15 seconds and then x4. To get to the point - my normal, feels "comfortable, efficient, almost resting" cadence is about 105 rpm. To really 'spin', to get to a cadence that feels fast, I've got to hit about 125 rpm! A cadence of 80 would really feel like I was grinding away, so maybe this explains why 40-50 was such a painful struggle on a recent long hill climb (my lowest gear is 42/23 and gradient > 10%).

I've read that normal, efficient cadence should be 80-90. Is it a problem I'm nowhere near that? And if it is, what should I do to change?


Do what you feel most comfortable at. The 'recommended' range is 90-100 for regular riding, so you are not too far off. Don't get to carried away with cadence, its not overly important. As long as you are not grinding away at 40rpm I think you're doing ok. Cadence does usually drop on hills.
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Postby Bantam Roosta » Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:22 pm

Nothing wrong with your situation. My flat rolling cadence is between 100-110. Hill climbs drop to between 60-75. Sometimes lower if particularly steep and I've blown up.
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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby chris641 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:27 am

My flat cadence is around 95, and i try to keep it around the same when i'm climbing hills. I just shift to a gear that allows that. Obviously you can't do that because you don't have a low enough gear, so the only way to solve your problem is to get a smaller chainring or a larger cassette! :)
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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby samsplan » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:51 pm

Thanks for all your helpful comments! I'll continue riding happily with my normal, on-the-flat cadence around 105. As for those hills, most aren't too bad; I can often keep my cadence over 80, or at least over 60 on the somewhat steeper ones. It's only on the 10% grinds (or when my I'm dead) that it drops to 40.

To help on the hills I'm looking at swapping my 42 chainring out for a 39. I might also change my 7 speed cassette for one with a 26 and/or 28 cog on it. Should be all good!

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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby chris641 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:38 pm

I run a 53/39 and a 25/12 and that seems to work well for keeping a good cadence on anything up to 10%. Switching to a 39 would be a good move i think!
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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby Rockford » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:47 pm

I did 105 cadence on the trainer tonight. I can't see how anyone would cycle normally or feel it's at a 'resting' pace spinning that fast. :shock: I was sitting on around 38Km/h on a fairly low gear (53/18). How fast are you going when you are cycling?
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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:23 am

Rockford wrote:I did 105 cadence on the trainer tonight. I can't see how anyone would cycle normally or feel it's at a 'resting' pace spinning that fast. :shock: I was sitting on around 38Km/h on a fairly low gear (53/18). How fast are you going when you are cycling?

I used to pootle along at 100-105rpm. I'm lower now days that I am less powerful.
Just a matter of what you are used to/prefer.
Track riders are used to higher cadences.

Focus on the effort level and pick a gear that feel good. Cadence just comes along for the ride.
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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby Max » Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:36 am

Generally I'm doing anywhere between 80 and 100 for an average ride. On a good day, I find that I can consistently hit and maintain a cadence of around 120. It feels right for me when I'm doing it. After the Max-runs-over-a-huge-snake-and-freaks-out incident, I hit a cadence of 175 :shock: :lol:

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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby samsplan » Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:55 pm

I'm happy to keep my 'normal' cadence where it is for now. I don't know how this all works scientifically - ie exactly which aspects of one's physique/fitness/strength affect what cadence feels normal and what feels fast?

Rockford wrote:I did 105 cadence on the trainer tonight. I can't see how anyone would cycle normally or feel it's at a 'resting' pace spinning that fast. :shock: I was sitting on around 38Km/h on a fairly low gear (53/18). How fast are you going when you are cycling?

Rockford, I don't have a trainer, so I can't say anything for my cadence/speed in controlled indoor conditions. But on the open road, I tend to average somewhere between 30-35 km/h. On the flat without wind, I estimate I would be spinning about 105 in probably 42/15, and doing about 35km/h (I do have a speedo, but no cadence sensor, so that data just comes from sometimes counting the number of pedal strokes for 15 seconds).

[EDIT: According to this calculator, 105 in 42/15 would mean I'm doing 37km/h... so maybe it's slightly less than 105 in 42/15, I'm not sure. The hardest thing is knowing what's actually flat!]

samsplan wrote:To help on the hills I'm looking at swapping my 42 chainring out for a 39. I might also change my 7 speed cassette for one with a 26 and/or 28 cog on it. Should be all good!

Increasingly frequent slipping of the chain when under pressure has dictated a new cassette and chain. So I've replaced my 7 speed 13-23 with an 11-28 (which I rediscovered in the shed, and is near-new since it was bought for a now written-off MTB shortly before I crashed it). I wasn't too sure about going from 13-14-15-17-19-21-23 to 11-13-15-18-21-24-28 and dealing with greater jumps between my gears. But so far so good :)

Of course (Murphy's Law) I mildly injured my knee while running on Saturday, didn't I? So I haven't yet had a chance to do any real climbing with the new cassette. But I'm hoping 42/28 will give significantly less leg agony than the old 42/23!! I'll play with this setup for a bit before seeing about throwing a 39 into the mix.
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Re: My 'normal' cadence is ~105...

Postby samsplan » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:11 am

Rockford wrote:I did 105 cadence on the trainer tonight. I can't see how anyone would cycle normally or feel it's at a 'resting' pace spinning that fast.

Previously, I said that a cadence of 125 was beginning to feel fast. As for when I'm really spinning flat-out, this calculator prompted me to consider my cadence when descending big hills flat out :D

Case study:
I rode down Mt Ainslie a couple of weeks ago with my old 13-23 cassette. It's a fairly straight descent, so there's plenty of opportunity to build-up speed. I pedalled hard enough to max out my highest gear (53/13) and hit 77km/h. I was spinning fast. Don't know if this is right, but the cadence calculator deduces 150rpm. I certainly can't keep that up for too long!

I'm keen to see if I can achieve the same cadence with the newly acquired 53/11 option. Apparently, that would be 91km/h :shock: wow! Hope I don't get any speed wobbles...
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