High RPM: Further Observations

13 May 2003

The following article illustrates some of the factors concerning the advantages of high pedal rates in relation to the power manifested at varying RPMs. 

By ideal pedaling cadence we mean the rate that requires the least consumption of oxygen and/or the lowest cardiac frequency. (Eur.J.Appl.Physiol 53:339-342, 1985). 

Note how the most ‘profitable’ (ideal) rate gets gradually higher with the increase of power output from the rider (see graph, below), referred to climbing.

This is probably a physiological adjustment that occurs in order to avoid excessive force peaks with each pedal rotation (see graph, below).

A pedal rate at 90 RPM will in fact have markedly lower force peaks (expressed in kilos) in comparison with a rate of 60 RPM.