General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Bike cadence 108. Too high? Rss Feed  
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2013-07-17 11:04 AM

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Subject: Bike cadence 108. Too high?
I knew my bike cadence was high, but I never counted until last night. Checked it 3 times throughout the ride and got 108 every time. When I tried to gear up and maintain the same speed (22ish) my HR dropped a bit but my legs started to burn.

Would I see some benefit with doing some big gear work and trying to lower my cadence a bit?


2013-07-17 11:21 AM
in reply to: WayneMott

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Subject: RE: Bike cadence 108. Too high?
108 is a little high, i usually don't spend too much time there. what was you overall average cadence? that is a better indicator than a few glances. most likely you only looked when you were aware of your legs spinning.

typically the higher your cadence, the higher your HR at the same speed/power. likewise a lower cadence will lower your heart rate, but as you felt your legs start to burn. just have to pick which muscles you want to work more, legs or heart. most people have a happy median in there somewhere.
2013-07-17 11:31 AM
in reply to: WayneMott

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Subject: RE: Bike cadence 108. Too high?

sounds like you're in the market for a power meter.  Gives you power and cadence- upload to training peaks or golden cheetah, and you can plot your HR/Power/Cadence relationships to your heart's content.

but yeah- that does seem a bit high.  I seem to gravitate towards ~88 as my nominal.  But quite a bit of variance around that.  108 is generally a little beyond the point where most people are getting less efficient power. 

2013-07-17 12:00 PM
in reply to: WayneMott

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Subject: RE: Bike cadence 108. Too high?

Higher than typical? yes.  Too high? that's a good question.

As has been said, your 3 times counting is really not that "scientific" in that it can and does change constantly throughout a ride.  Getting a PM or even just a computer that can measure it for you more constantly would be best.  If you get the PM with a HRM you can then plot your best power/cadence/hr curve.

For what its worth, I find that I'm usually in my "sweet spot" in the mid 90s.

2013-07-17 12:02 PM
in reply to: WayneMott

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Subject: RE: Bike cadence 108. Too high?
it would be VERY high for me... but I'm comfortable in the low 80's. Is it TOO high... hard to tell. Your body is pretty good at finding it's optimal cadence, but it never hurts to experiment with different rpms.
2013-07-17 12:27 PM
in reply to: Leegoocrap

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Subject: RE: Bike cadence 108. Too high?
I am consistently in the 100-105 range so doesn't sound too high to me, but a power meter would be the way to go to find out.


2013-07-17 1:15 PM
in reply to: WayneMott


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Subject: RE: Bike cadence 108. Too high?
If you have a 53T chainring at 108 rpm, you're spinning in the 19/21 cog. Even with a compact 50 you'd only be in the 19. You can match the 22 mph with a 90 cadence if you drop to the 16T cog with a compact (or 17T if standard 53). If you have the ability to spin continuously at 108, you must have good form or you'd be bouncing off the saddle a couple minutes in. Moving a few cogs down should be no problem. In my opinion, one of your goals should be to have interval sessions at lactate threshold. Burning is part of it.
2013-07-17 2:27 PM
in reply to: WayneMott

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Subject: RE: Bike cadence 108. Too high?
Originally posted by WayneMott

I knew my bike cadence was high, but I never counted until last night. Checked it 3 times throughout the ride and got 108 every time. When I tried to gear up and maintain the same speed (22ish) my HR dropped a bit but my legs started to burn.

Would I see some benefit with doing some big gear work and trying to lower my cadence a bit?


I typically ride with a high cadence, but more like 90-100. However, I have been varying a lot more this year, and driving more in lower 80's range.
occasionally I'll find myself up in the 110's.

My legs feel comfortable at different cadences depending on the terrain, how tired I am, and what I'm trying to accomplish.

for example I'll push a bigger gear to lower the cadence for awhile and then switch gears to a higher cadence...mixing it up like this helps for the long rides basically whatever feels the best at the time..
2013-07-17 8:38 PM
in reply to: cpzone

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Subject: RE: Bike cadence 108. Too high?
I don't have a power meter and probably won't be able to make a purchase that big for a few months at least. I just bought my bike a month and a half ago. It is definitely on my wish list though.

Originally posted by cpzone

If you have a 53T chainring at 108 rpm, you're spinning in the 19/21 cog. Even with a compact 50 you'd only be in the 19. You can match the 22 mph with a 90 cadence if you drop to the 16T cog with a compact (or 17T if standard 53). If you have the ability to spin continuously at 108, you must have good form or you'd be bouncing off the saddle a couple minutes in. Moving a few cogs down should be no problem. In my opinion, one of your goals should be to have interval sessions at lactate threshold. Burning is part of it.


Oh trust me, I get plenty of leg burn on my rides. All of my rides are hard whether they be interval, or time trial style rides. When I said "my legs start to burn" I meant that they were burning to the point of having to stop or drop the pace within a couple of minutes. With a higher cadence, I can maintain the same speed while "rationing" out the energy in my legs and not be completely "burnt out" until I finish the ride.

My rationale tells me that if I spend more time pushing big gears, then my cadence will naturally lower as I gain strength because I'm able to ride the same speed with a lower HR without the rush of lactic acid into my legs.

.. and I'm not sure what cog I was in. I do have a 53t up front.
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