Is there a difference between bike max HR and running max HR?


Just a general question if I may.

Is your max on the bike different to your max hr when running?

The reason I ask is because I took my HR today after the most steepest of hills that I do in my area. It is very steep and my front wheel lifts off the ground a bit as I go up it. I do find it very hard and I'm exhausted when I get to the top, so today I just wondered what my max was when I reached the top.

Now my max for running is 183. I was therefore surprised when I took my HR at the top of this hill on my bike today as I took it for 10 seconds and the times'd it by 6. It was 31 for 10 secs which means it was 186! I was surprised at how high it was!

 My route has three big hills so I thought I would check out my reading after the next hill, which is not so steep but still a stonker and quite long. I pushed it up it and took my HR again. This time is was 28 which is 168. This made sense as it was not as steep.

The last big hill my HR was 28 again, so I think I must have read my HR correctly for the first hill as it is a right pig of a hill.

So this would mean that my max for the bike is higher than my max for running? Is that how it is? Or is it that everyone is different and some are the other way around?

I'm curious that's all. So just wondered if anyone could enlighten me.

 One other question. I never get out of the saddle for hills, but always remain seated. Now I've heard people say that this is harder. Is that right? When I heard this I did get up out of the saddle for a hill, but I can honestly say I thought that felt harder!

I'm guessing that this is just horses and courses?

Ta and hope my questions are not totally daft!


  • it's normally 10-15 beats LOWER on a bike as it is not load bearing.  One of your measurements must be wrong.

    As a matter of interest, why did you not use a HRM to measure max?

  • Hi Gumps

     Is it?? Oh! The reason I didn't use a HRM was because I only thought about it once I was already out and didn't have it with me. Maybe when I do this route again then I'll wear it and see what it reads then.


    This is an interesting article and goes against the received wisdom.    As a runner turned cyclist I must admit that when I used a HRM I did find my mates who were pure cyclists could generally get quite high heart rates for a 10 mile TT compared to me.  

  • usually running is higher than cycling - but taking it for ten and multiplying it is not gonna be very accurate anyway -hrm is best - as you use a percentage - we arent talking about massive amounts anyway.
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