Determining optimal cadence for an individual road cyclist from field data

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Bibliographic Details
Title translated into German:Bestimmung der optimalen Trittfrequenz für einen einzelnen Straßenradfahrer basierend auf Felddaten
Author:Reed, Robert; Scarf, Philip; Jobson, Simon Adrian; Passfield, Louis
Published in:European journal of sport science
Published:16 (2016), 8, S. 903-911 , Lit.
Format: Publications (Database SPOLIT)
Publication Type: Journal article
Media type: Electronic resource (online) Print resource
ISSN:1746-1391, 1536-7290
Online Access:
Identification number:PU201610007137

Author's abstract

The cadence that maximises power output developed at the crank by an individual cyclist is conventionally determined using a laboratory test. The purpose of this study was two-fold: (i) to show that such a cadence, which we call the optimal cadence, can be determined using power output, heart-rate, and cadence measured in the field and (ii) to describe methodology to do so. For an individual cyclist's sessions, power output is related to cadence and the elicited heart-rate using a non-linear regression model. Optimal cadences are found for two riders (83 and 70 revolutions per minute, respectively); these cadences are similar to the riders’ preferred cadences (82–92 rpm and 65–75 rpm). Power output reduces by approximately 6% for cadences 20 rpm above or below optimum. Our methodology can be used by a rider to determine an optimal cadence without laboratory testing intervention: the rider will need to collect power output, heart-rate, and cadence measurements from training and racing sessions over an extended period (>6 months); ride at a range of cadences within those sessions; and calculate his/her optimal cadence using the methodology described or a software tool that implements it.