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Cadence equals Speed?

littleking02littleking02 Posts: 132
edited December 2010 in Road beginners
I was told last weekend by a member of my team that, to go faster i need to find the right gearing combination followed by consistent cadence. Does that also mean consistent speed for a long period of time? can you have hight cadence and fast pace in a flat road? so basically does cadence in other word mean speed?
ITS BY DOING WHAT EVER, THAT YOU BECOME WHOEVER!

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  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    I was told last weekend by a member of my team that, to go faster i need to find the right gearing combination followed by consistent cadence. Does that also mean consistent speed for a long period of time? can you have hight cadence and fast pace in a flat road? so basically does cadence in other word mean speed?

    Based on gearing - it can.

    100rpm in a high gear won't make you go nearly as fast as 100rpm in a low gear.

    Think of a car - if you put it in 1st gear and rev the engine to 7000rpm, you won't be going nearly as fast as when the engine is in 5th gear doing 7000rpm.

    So, without making the gearing easier, by upping your cadence, you will up your speed. If you have to change the gears (make it easier) to up the cadence, then you may not be increasing your speed.

    Most people find that a higher cadence/lower gear option will not tire your legs as much as a bigger gear/lower cadence.

    Make sense?
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    I think to go faster you need to be more powerful, you can do this by riding a gear at a faster cadence, or by pushing a bigger gear at the cadence you prefer to ride at.

    Generally if you had no bigger gear to go to, you would need to pedal faster to go any faster.

    I race at over 30 mph with a average cadence of around 90 rpm, that cadence will be below and over this during the race however depending on terrain and wind. You can quite easily have a high cadence and a fast pace on a flat road if you like that fast cadence (then again what is a high cadence?).
  • make good sense! so is it best to be consistent in terms of RPM in what ever the terrain? If so, would that help in order to preserve your energy or u can go faster, or other advantage?
    ITS BY DOING WHAT EVER, THAT YOU BECOME WHOEVER!
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Cadence is not the same thing as speed.
    If you want to go faster you need more power*. If you don't have any more power you wont go faster. You can assume that power is a constant for any rider. You can train to add a little more but basically you have what you have.

    Cadence pedalling is a means of using that power efficiently over long periods of time. It prevents fatigue.
    You lower your gear and increase your rate of pedalling. The power output is the same but the force on the pedals is less.
    For high cadence pedalling you need a crank of appropriate length, not too long.
    You also need muscles of the correct type. Sprinters have different muscle type to marathon runners. It seems to be method favoured by non-sprinters.

    High cadence sprinting is a bit different, you are riding into the lactic acid threshold and not interested in endurance.

    (*or less weight or less drag)
  • Speed is all about power. One of the ways to generate more power is to rotate the pedals faster (it's also why motorbike and F1 engines rev so high) for the same pressure applied. You also have a much more limited capacity to "mash" the pedals over a period of time based upon the types of muscles involved (slow & fast twitch) so you need to conserve this capability for hills and accelerations.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    It depends on what type you're riding/racing you're doing - you need the ability to 'spin-up' to a high cadence to accelerate, particularly on the road or track. If you're stuck in a big gear rolling along and suddenly there's an attack - if you haven't got the kick in your legs, it'll be a long. hard slog to get back on. For the sake or economy, sticking to a steady cadence and varying your gears to suit the terrain is an ideal - it might work that way in a TT with predictable effort and course profile - it generally doesn't work that way in a road race, where it's often full-on solely for the purpose of breaking up the group,
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • John.TJohn.T Posts: 3,698
    100rpm in a high gear won't make you go nearly as fast as 100rpm in a low gear.
    Not sure about this PF. I rather think it is the other way round. Now if I could only manage 100 rpm on my 53/12 I would be flying. I can however do it for quite a while on 42/17 fixed.
    :wink:
    To the OP. What he was meaning is you need to find a pedaling speed (cadence) that you are comfortable in and can hold then use the gears to enable you to hold the cadence as the terain changes. Not an exact science as you will find you use a slower cadence on hills and probably even slower out of the saddle. You need to find a comfortable range, usually between 60 and 120 rpm but mostly around 90rpm. In a RR you will need faster cadence as Monty says. It is much easier to whip the pace up when needed.
  • mrwibblemrwibble Posts: 980
    Gear inches is a factor as well.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    Speed is all about power. One of the ways to generate more power is to rotate the pedals faster (it's also why motorbike and F1 engines rev so high) for the same pressure applied. You also have a much more limited capacity to "mash" the pedals over a period of time based upon the types of muscles involved (slow & fast twitch) so you need to conserve this capability for hills and accelerations.
    It's a bit chicken & egg, speed v power. Ultimately with an engine you need to get more fuel in, as fuel = power. Given that engine technology has given us pretty efficient engines, the way to more power is to get more fuel & air in over a given time period. The ratio has to be right, no good pouring more fuel in without the oxygen to burn it. There are two ways to get more fuel & air into an engine; make it bigger, or make it spin faster. M/bikes & F1 preclude the use of big engines for different reasons, so they go down the path of a relatively low capacity spinning at high speeds to draw the additonal fuel & air in to generate more power.

    So - gets to point eventually - the analogy between a car engine & legs isn't strictly relevant. As stated, it's the muscle fibres that have the effect, and experience from many sources all directs us to the idea that higher cadences provide for better & more consistent power output on a bike. But you don't need to pour more fuel down your throat to do the higher cadence like an engine would.

    For all that, aim to hit a consistent cadence of at least 85 and build up to over 90. The top boys are hitting 120 as their norm. For some of us that's not an achievable target, nor is it neccesarily a valid target, not for the cycling that I do. Below 80 isn't good though for road biking, and that's what we discuss on this sub-forum.

    Happy Christmas anyway.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    If you want to improve the speed of your pedalling you need to train at high candence independantly of power or speed.

    Change to a much lower gear than you would normally use.
    Gradually spin up your cadence. If you increase it slowly you will be more attuned to the feel.
    Keep ramping up the cadence until it feels uncomfortable or you are rocking about on the saddle and try and stabilize yourself. Keep pedalling like that for a minute with your upper body relaxed.
    If you do this every session your legs will get the message that they can work faster.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    John.T wrote:
    100rpm in a high gear won't make you go nearly as fast as 100rpm in a low gear.
    Not sure about this PF. I rather think it is the other way round. Now if I could only manage 100 rpm on my 53/12 I would be flying. I can however do it for quite a while on 42/17 fixed.
    :wink:

    Erm, yeah. I got it backwards! I thought 53x11 was a low gear and 53x27 a high gear. :oops:
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