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Bike Computer - the importance of Cadence

Hi folks,

I currently have a Cateye wireless computer (no cadence) hooked up to my mtb but also need one for my road bike. I'm not completely against the idea of not having one on my mountain bike and just transferring it across.

Is it worth buying a computer with speed and cadence or have I already got something that will do the job?

I know through measuring speed and cadence you will find your optimum gear settings, but do you not find this out naturally through the speed clock?


  • I have a cadence sensor and I do find it useful especially when trying to do speed drills that are above my natural cadence. It is helpful with gear selection also because say you have an optimal pedalling cadence of 90rpm and a goal heart rate of say 135bpm you can get a good idea of the gear that will allow you to hit your goal heart rate zone at optimal cadence.

    Using just speed is ineffective because you could be hitting a certain speed at a number of different cadence levels. The reason why this is an issue is you could be pedalling far too fast or pushing too big a gear and it will effect your efficiency.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Got cadence, got HR....check 'em every so often to make sure I am right....I usually am, through paying attention & learning how things feel at particular speeds/HR/RPM etc.
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    If you are an Age Grouper, you haven't got some expensive coach telling you to go faster, or slower, pedal faster, pedal slower. The gadgets can do that for you - so you can learn what to do. Once you've learned what it feels like, it doesn't matter so much whether you have them or not.

    Gadgets == Coach. Or at least the nearest most of us AG'ers get to one.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    completely unscientific but I've used my cadence sensor to help me with what gear to use and to see what cadence I can maintain on a certain gear - and to tell myself I'm being completely pathetic when its drops like a stone when I go up a bigger gear - its got me off the granny wheel but then that might have happened as I've got more used to being on a bike - only used on the turbo though and the DVD I use includes cadence as part of the session
  • hussler.hussler. Posts: 390
    I dont bother with Cadence at all....If the gear is too hard to push I change up and If im not getting the 'im not working hard enough' feel I change down.....

    As mentioned above people get carried away with gadgets and numbers....oooo I should be doing 95 rpm at all times.... blah blah....

    I dont care what cadence I do... If im pedalling slow then im pedalling slow, if im pedalling fast ill pedal fast....

    And for everyone who thinks you have to be doing it by cadence etc to be fast then id just like to say that I usually finish within the top 5-10 on bike splits during any race....and I tend to opt for a slow cadence big gear.....
  • jacjac Posts: 452
    I certainly find cadence a very useful tool.
    Finding your optimal cadence is a case of trial and error.
    But once you're there it certainly helps with keep an even effort, IMO.
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    hussler. wrote:
    I dont bother with Cadence at all...
    You don't need to. The results you get show that you understand what you are doing - either instinctively (which some do) or through experience. Some people haven't learned it, or don't naturally do it. They don't know what it feels like.
  • jacjac Posts: 452
    Q for Hussler: If you don't bother with cadence how do you know you're spinning a low cadence?
  • hussler.hussler. Posts: 390
    Because my legs/feet are turning the pedals slower than if they were going fast....lol
  • Thanks for the info, think I'll swap them over for now, work on feel then after a few rides, consider whether the extra feedback on cadence is required.
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