With its dis­re­gard for in­di­vid­ual abil­ity, it’s hard to be­lieve but this one’s true

Cycling Plus - - NEW KIT -

This one-size-fits-all piece of ad­vice seems to have such a dis­re­gard for in­di­vid­u­al­ity that it must be un­true, but ac­cord­ing to

Pro­fes­sor Swain it’s solid guid­ance. “For most well-trained cy­clists op­er­at­ing at a mod­er­ate to high in­ten­sity, 85-90rpm is prob­a­bly the best. This has to do with the economy of con­vert­ing mus­cu­lar power into me­chan­i­cal mo­tion. A higher rpm pro­vides a smoother, more eco­nom­i­cal en­ergy con­ver­sion. How­ever, a higher rpm re­quires more work just to move the mass of the legs. At low ex­er­cise in­ten­si­ties, ca­dences be­low 70rpm are most eco­nom­i­cal, which is why most un­trained rid­ers use a low rpm.”

Stephen Che­ung, PhD, lead ed­i­tor of Cycling Sci­ence by Hu­man Ki­net­ics agrees: “This is a good rule for ev­ery­day rid­ing, as power is a com­bi­na­tion of both torque and ca­dence. A much lower ca­dence places a lot more strain on your mus­cles, tir­ing them sooner. There are times to break this gen­eral rule. When climb­ing, you will nat­u­rally tend to ride at lower ca­dences be­cause of the change in po­si­tion due to grav­ity, but this also per­mits you to re­cruit more mus­cles.”

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