Cadence - How to learn more?

So I have been riding without a cadence sensor for a while (6 months often and 5 years before that casually). I finally got a power meter installed and learned my natural cadence is 70 RPM.

I am 6’3” 190 lbs and my fitness background involved power-lifting. So always stronger > endurance.

I tried a week at a higher cadence (90 RPM) and similar power to before (based on feel and speed for known routes…so it was pretty close). and my knees are killing me. It felt like there was no resistance.

I suppose I should have taken more gradual steps…but now I am wondering if maybe I shouldn’t even bother? And just let my body do whatever.

I have read studies on cadence and conclusions are all over the place.

Curious if anyone has “forced” themselves into a higher cadence and what your outcome was? Is 70 RPM just way to low and limiting for me long term? Curious where I can learn more about this.

Ty for any input from anyone.

This is why Xert doesn’t have any ‘cadence’ or ‘pedalling’ drills in our library. As far as I’ve seen in the literature, there isn’t any conclusive evidence that training a particular cadence is ‘better’ than your natural/preferred cadence (called freely chosen cadence or FCC in the literature).

On that note, the ‘ideal’ cadence for every individual does generally follow a ‘J-curve’, where the optimal cadence starts near the athlete’s FCC and should increase as power demand increases, up until you reach a cadence around ~120rpm. At that point, increasing the cadence only serves to increase oxygen cost of cycling & doesn’t really impact mechanical load anymore.

Xert learn’s each athlete’s preferred cadence & uses that to provide “ideal” cadence targets, based upon the target power of the interval. Athletes with Garmin’s can also install the ‘Bioshift’ ConnectIQ data field, which displays cadence, relative to optimal cadence, at your current power output. It can be quite helpful for things like Time Trials :slight_smile:


Would Bioshift account for a decreased cadence on hills? I prefer to stand and I drop into the 50s but I can put out more power “easier”. At least a lower RPE.


Not at the moment. We do know that gradient can influence the FCC.

It could be something to incorporate into the app, but it would require up to date, accurate slope data.

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A previous coach of mine said to choose your own cadence and just push down on the pedals. So I wouldn’t worry if your cadence isn’t so high.

What I think is useful for group rides and racing, is the ability to change cadence to adjust your speed, often changing cadence to follow and attack is quicker than changing gear, therefore for some cases there are advantages to being able to vary cadence.

Cycling cadence: how fast should you pedal?

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