What is Cycling Cadence and Why it is Important?
Whether you're an elite cyclist or a recreational rider in it for the health benefits, you've likely questioned your cycling cadence and overall efficiency on the bike.
What is cycling cadence? Why does cadence matter in your riding? And how can we measure our cadence? You'll find the answers in this article.
What is cadence?
In simple words, cadence is simply the speed at which you pedal. Cycling cadence is how fast your feet move on the pedals in one minute, measured in RPM.
So, if you’re cycling at a cadence of 90 RPM, you’re turning the pedals 90 times in one minute.
However, you don't have to cycle for long to notice that riders pedal at different speeds. When you see professional riders in a race, they pedal fast, especially on a flat course. Their cadence is usually very high, often 100 revolutions per minute (rpm) or more. Most will pedal slightly slower on a climb, but still much faster than the average cyclist.
Recreational riders pedal slower, around 60rpm, while fit amateurs pedal faster, around 80 to 90rpm.
Does it matter whether you have a high or low cadence? Let's inspect why cadence matters and how to measure it.
Why is cadence important?
Cadence is important because it affects how much power you generate on the bike. Power is calculated by multiplying how hard you press on the pedals (torque) with how quickly you turn them (cadence).
Pedaling at a slower rate usually makes your muscles work harder, whereas a faster rate makes your cardiovascular system work harder.
If you are strong, pedal slowly. If you are weak, use a lighter gear and pedal quickly.
It is say that trying to cycle at a higher speed while using a harder gear and pedaling slower, is more likely to cause muscle strains and soreness after a ride than cycling at the same speed with a faster pedaling rate and lower gear resistance.
If you pedal too fast, your pelvis may move too much and make it harder to pedal. You'll also get tired faster.
How to Measure your cadence?
To measure your cadence, count how many times your legs go up and down in a minute. But for a more accurate record, there are electronic devices such as cadence sensors you can use.
What is the cadence sensor?
A cycling cadence sensor is like a speedometer for your bike. It tells you how fast you pedal in rotations per minute (RPM), which is the most accurate way to measure cadence.
Cycling cadence sensors are essential for bikers and cyclists who want to maximize their workout results. These devices allow cyclists to measure their energy output in RPM.
Most cadence sensors for bikes are designed to attach to the left-side chainstay. A magnet on your crank arm passes a sensor. It counts how many times it goes by and sends a signal to your bike computer. This way, you can record your cadence over time and analyze it as your training progresses.
The Coospo cadence sensor connects to your bike's crank. It sends cadence information to the computer. No magnet is required for easier setup.
The device also has ANT+ and Bluetooth. This allows you to easily connect to your favorite training apps. It also helps you collect better data while riding.
Cycling cadence sensors have different prices based on their features and brand. Coospo cycling sensors are one of the cheapest options, costing less than $30. To improve your cycling cadence, get a cycling cadence sensor. It's a good investment for becoming a better cyclist.
Types of Cadence Sensors
- The cadence-only sensor measures only the rotations per minute of the crank arm.
The Coospo BK9 cycling sensor includes both the BK9C cadence sensor and the BK9S speed sensor. The basic principle is to utilize a geomagnetic sensor and an acceleration sensor. The cadence sensor should be mounted on the crank.
- The speed/cadence combo is the most popular, providing both speed and cadence data to cyclists through a combination of sensors. This type of sensor simply has three pieces, including two magnet sensors capturing both speed and cadence.
The Coospo BK805 is a device that can send your speed and cadence information to bike computers or cycling apps. This helps you keep track of your cycling performance while you ride.
Coospo cycling sensors use Bluetooth 5.0 and ANT+ technology to provide seamless connectivity to fitness apps, GPS bike computers, and smartwatches.
How to use a Cadence Sensor?
Installing a cadence sensor on your bike is simple!
To install, use the rubber bands or included materials to attach the sensor to the inside of your crank arm. Place the sensor inside the crank arm to protect it from your shoe and other possible harm. Additionally, it's best to install the sensor on the left crankarm.
To learn how to install and use a Coospo cadence sensor, you can watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlsBmTyiSuQ
What’s a good cycling cadence for yourself?
There’s no ideal good cycling cadence for everyone. Your physical fitness experience level will affect your cycling cadence goals and abilities. However, you can use these general recommendations as a guide to improve your cycling cadence:
- Beginner cyclists: 50 to 60 RPM
- Intermediate cyclists: 60 to 80 RPM
- Experienced cyclists: 80 to 100 RPM
- Expert cyclists: 110 to 120 RPM
In conclusion, understanding your cycling cadence can greatly improve your performance on the bike. By measuring your cadence and experimenting with different RPMs, you can find the optimal cadence that works best for you.
Investing in a cadence sensor can also help you track your progress and make adjustments to your training. So, next time you hop on your bike, pay attention to your cadence and see how it affects your cycling experience. Happy riding!