Just so I can get am idea (im new to Tri if you hadnt guessed/read my other posts).

What sort of legspeed / rpm so you aim to maintain on long rides / Ironman?

Is there more to it that this?


  • I think its typically 80 - 100rpm that the books recommend. Although I don't actually measure this when I'm riding, and it would vary slightly depending on terrain.

    If you want to get good at cycling - go and join a local bike club. Your bike handling will improve, you can follow their examples, and more incentive to get out for the long runs on a weekend.

    You need a big base of steady miles before you can begin working on your speed.
  • I always aim for 90-95. This varies from person to person (look at the difference between Jan Ulrich and Lance Armstrong for example). Use your gears to try and maintain you most economical cadence whether you are popping down to the shops for a paper or cycling a 112 mile ironman leg.
  • I aim for 80-100 rpm.
    One thing you need to do is pedal at a high cadence (90+) in the last mile or so of the bike leg - this helps you run well straight out of transition. (If you arrive in transition heaving a big gear around you will plod out onto the run).
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    My best bike split was at a flat sprint-tri race where i went from top gear to second-top gear (yes, i dont know my gears!) and therefore alternating every several minutes between cadence of around 70 and 90.

    well worked for me, ended up just over 2mins off stephen bayliss. although i did break a red light and get dq'd for my efforts :O(
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Daz, what ever happened to, 'it was amber officer...'?
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    chief!!! chief!! welcome!! like the pic!
    ha thats exactly what marianne said! you both on same wavelength!?

    there was guy in front of me by about 20metres....and HE stopped. SO made it bit more difficult. Last time I raced I had to stop twice. This time was buggered if I was going to do it for a corner on the inside (impossible to get hit)

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • I am the same as Ironbloke and aim for a cadence of 90-95.
  • You need to be at 100 its the best speed for running of the bike, if you are pushing a gear and it less than 90-95 the gear is too big - efficency is the key word.
  • 90 then build up to 100 as i approach t2
  • Seems 80-90 is the consensus (building up to 100 or so for T2 to ease the transition onto the run).

    I assume while im in Base1 I should train on a gear appropriate to my training heartrate threashold then.
  • cadence will depend on you. If you are stronger in the legs than in the heart so to speak then you can push a bigger gear. If however you are fitter in the cardio area then spin at a higher cadence to take the pressure off the legs a bit. Cyclists generally spin at 100+ but they don't have to get off the bike to run. The interesting thing about cadence is that the most efficent cadence for power output(mechanically speaking) is lower than the cadence found to be most efficent for cyclists bodies. 90 seems a good middle of the road but it has been said by top tri coaches to try and bring your bike and run cadence into line so as to minimise the shock to the system i.e. 90 spins per leg a minute and 90 steps per leg a minute or whatever you are.It may be a good idea to start at your running cadence and experiment from there. At the end of the day its horses for courses but if you are new to cycling its better to spin a lighter gear than grind away.
  • Watching the time trials at the world champs there was a big variation in cadences.
  • Learn to fast pedal ("twiddle") smaller gears first. This will build up strength in your legs and help to avoid knee injuries later on. This is easier the younger you learn the knack. The best thing to use to train for this is to get a bike with a fixed gear with a very low ratio (appx 62" is comfortable). Another advantage of this is that you only need minimal kit on the bike (no back brake required) and so it makes a cheap hack bike.

    Aim to pedal over shorter distances (build upto 1 hour) at first at high rpm (120 rpm is good) - you'll soon find that pedalling at 90-100 rpm on longer rides comes easy. Later you'll find you can pedal the bigger gears at similar rates which means higher speeds and since you've done it gradually, you'll not leave your knee caps lying in the gutter behind you!.

    Good luck.
  • My Fixie is about a 66" gear. Still not taken it down the 3 mile descents we can get to in Wales ! Fear my legs might unscrew !
  • Know the feeling - I used to go regularly over Box Hill in Surrey, there are hair-pin bends on the way down from there!!
  • ooooh - that makes for an interesting fixed descent !

    You do get used to not using brakes when you come to T junctions and stuff. Quite a shock when you have to slam on on a normal bike !
  • There is a bigger variance on TT and cycling cos they are not Triathlon - you have to get off and run in a Tri

    Remember TRI is a sport in its own right not a collection of sports
  • Thats right and possibly the most important factor governing your cycling style. As a triathlete you have to run after the bike.The same rules don't apply to cyclists 120rpm for intervals may be helpful for technique but probably no more than other drills like single leg or rollers work.
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