The benefits of high cadence or, "spinning" is also good for low drive-train wear

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
We all hear the stories about the need to replace the chain after several hundred of miles, often followed by replacing the expensive cassette. I've just used the chain gauge to determine the wear of the chain on my Vado (it was replaced in May this year, and I ride a lot). What a surprise: The chain is still before the 0.75 mark. How come?

-- It's the cadence -- was my brother's comment.

How true. So many of us "mash" the cranks, rotating it slowly with great force because we believe it is easy to move our legs slowly. I got in my mind the Lance Armstrong's lesson early: spin the cranks. Rotate them fast in lower gears. Keep high cadence. It is good for you. It is good for the drive-train.

How fast is "spinning"? Oh, few of us are Lance. Still, cadence over 70 rpm is good. The cadence over 80 is ideal. I came to regular spinning over 80 rpm by practising it and can do 110 in bursts now. The cadence meters in my Vado and Trance E+ are of great help. (I practised higher-cadence riding by downshifting and forcing myself to spin the cranks at long riding distances disregarding how silly it felt in the beginning).

Benefits:
  1. Better for knees
  2. Very good for blood supply to your legs
  3. You feel less tired and the ride seems effortless
  4. Proper heart rate leading to body mass loss
  5. Low wear on the drive-train because the motor also provides less torque, not only your legs
  6. Most of e-bike motors are more efficient and powerful at higher cadence (several manufacturers such as Yamaha understood their error and improved the performance of their motors at higher cadences)
  7. Better acceleration
  8. Less use of the battery
There are certainly more benefits of high cadence riding but I cannot remember them all.

Thoughts?
 
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Dallant

Well-Known Member
We all hear the stories about the need to replace the chain after several hundred of miles, often followed by replacing the expensive cassette. I've just used the chain gauge to determine the wear of the chain on my Vado (it was replaced in May this year, and I ride a lot). What a surprise: The chain is still before the 0.75 mark. How come?
-- It's the cadence -- was my brother's comment.
How true. So many of us "mash" the cranks, rotating it slowly with great force because we believe it is easy to move our legs slowly. I got in my mind the Lance Armstrong's lesson early: spin the cranks. Rotate them fast in lower gears. Keep high cadence. It is good for you. It is good for the drive-train.

How fast is "spinning"? Oh, few of us are Lance. Still, cadence over 70 rpm is good. The cadence over 80 is ideal. I came to regular spinning over 80 rpm by practising it and can do 110 in bursts now. The cadence meters in my Vado and Trance E+ are of great help. (I practised higher-cadence riding by downshifting and forcing myself to spin the cranks at long riding distances disregarding how silly it felt in the beginning).

Benefits:
  1. Better for knees
  2. Very good for blood supply to your legs
  3. You feel less tired and the ride seems effortless
  4. Proper heart rate leading to body mass loss
  5. Low wear on the drive-train
  6. Most of e-bike motors are more efficient and powerful at higher cadence (several manufacturers such as Yamaha understood their error and improved the performance of their motors at higher cadences)
  7. Better acceleration
  8. Less use of the battery
This is the core of my biking style and the first four are the core of my reasoning when I was trying to convince my wife to get an ebike. I wish I had some sort of cadence counter on my bike.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
As a prior road rider and cycling coach, yes, the benefits are exponential, The most imp. is the health benefit , for the whole circulatory system, blood gets oxygenated a lot better , it goes in all the tissues , very good for all the body organs. If you pedal at least 90min. @ 85-90rpm ,maybe 85avg. for the next few days and beyond the benefits are amazing. Every day a 90min. ride like that is very good !
The growth hormone levels will go way UP, testosterone too...nothing but great health👌

The opposite with low cadence is bad and many cyclists develop problems due to that pedaling style.

This skill can be trained , 30sec. first, then 1min. 5-6repeats @ 75rpm then 80rpm and higher. Could go all the way to 110 or 130rpm once you master it. After a few tries, you will get the hang of it and start spinning naturally faster.

On my present ebike i had the chain +cassette changed after about 11.000kmiles. For my road bikes @20.000miles. But that's @ 95rpm avg. cadence.


This is a rpm chart, very useful for racing 🚴‍♂️or just to learn about speed/cadence.



Don't grind the gears , don't mash them on the steep or low incline hills , shift before and shift often.

Great advice from Stefan ! I don't have his skills to explain it so well and describe this as perfect as him😉
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
So PAS 3 8th gear my entire 45 minute ride no bueno?
45th minute is the moment your body would just start burning fat... Honestly, riding in high PAS is not really efficient (my own experience). With growing mileage, and improved cadence (as well as longer and longer net ride time), I started reducing PAS. The bathroom scales was surprised, as to say it ;)
 

bikeman242

Active Member
  1. Most of e-bike motors are more efficient and powerful at higher cadence (several manufacturers such as Yamaha understood their error and improved the performance of their motors at higher cadences
Thoughts?

I believe that goes both ways on the Yamaha motor - on my PW-X, after several hours on the saddle, I thoroughly enjoy going into a higher gear, dropping my cadence, and letting the motor do the work while I relax and enjoy the scenery.:)

I wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't call it an "error"
 

E-Wheels

Well-Known Member
We all hear the stories about the need to replace the chain after several hundred of miles, often followed by replacing the expensive cassette. I've just used the chain gauge to determine the wear of the chain on my Vado (it was replaced in May this year, and I ride a lot). What a surprise: The chain is still before the 0.75 mark. How come?

-- It's the cadence -- was my brother's comment.

How true. So many of us "mash" the cranks, rotating it slowly with great force because we believe it is easy to move our legs slowly. I got in my mind the Lance Armstrong's lesson early: spin the cranks. Rotate them fast in lower gears. Keep high cadence. It is good for you. It is good for the drive-train.

How fast is "spinning"? Oh, few of us are Lance. Still, cadence over 70 rpm is good. The cadence over 80 is ideal. I came to regular spinning over 80 rpm by practising it and can do 110 in bursts now. The cadence meters in my Vado and Trance E+ are of great help. (I practised higher-cadence riding by downshifting and forcing myself to spin the cranks at long riding distances disregarding how silly it felt in the beginning).

Benefits:
  1. Better for knees
  2. Very good for blood supply to your legs
  3. You feel less tired and the ride seems effortless
  4. Proper heart rate leading to body mass loss
  5. Low wear on the drive-train because the motor also provides less torque, not only your legs
  6. Most of e-bike motors are more efficient and powerful at higher cadence (several manufacturers such as Yamaha understood their error and improved the performance of their motors at higher cadences)
  7. Better acceleration
  8. Less use of the battery
There are certainly more benefits of high cadence riding but I cannot remember them all.

Thoughts?
You are onto it👍
For my use case I find best the best performance for me and the motor is spinning with a cadence between 80-90
This is one of the reasons I chose the Shimano E8000 motor, as it loves to spin
 
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RabH

Well-Known Member
On my present ebike i had the chain +cassette changed after about 11.000kmiles. For my road bikes @20.000miles. But that's @ 95rpm avg. cadence.
I just changed my chain today after 3,699 miles, I thought that was good! 😮 My bike has 22 gears which helps to keep a high cadence, this is why I get such great mileage from my battery! Great advice there Stefan!:)
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
this is a big problem with hub drives you cant really spin and maintain a speed the bike will just keep going faster till it tops out at its set speed. this is what turned me off when I started test driving e bikes. you need a mid drive or at least torque sensing to spin. but hub drives tend not to be geared well for spinning.
 

David Berry

Well-Known Member
Consider the following: for an ebike travelling at the same speed a chain will travel considerably further and faster at 90 rpm than at 60 rpm (for the same distance covered).

So why would there be less wear on a chain that travels further? I cannot figure that out!

I also suspect that higher-cadence riders will be changing gears more often, resulting in yet more wear on the chain as it is twisted by the derailleur.

Explanations rather than assertions, please.
 
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fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
Consider the following: with my ebike travelling at the same speed my chain will travel travel considerably further at 90 rpm than at 60 rpm (for the same distance covered).

So why will the chain wear out more rapidly at the lower cadence when it has travelled less?

Explanations, please. (Not simply assertions that that is what happens when there is a greater load on the chain.)
because you tend to push harder on the pedals.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Consider the following: for an ebike travelling at the same speed a chain will travel considerably further and faster at 90 rpm than at 60 rpm (for the same distance covered).

So why would there be less wear on a chain that travels further? I cannot figure that out!

I also suspect that higher-cadence riders will be changing gears more often, resulting in yet more wear on the chain as it is twisted by the derailleur.

Explanations rather than assertions, please.
It's smaller forces acting on the drive-train at high cadence, David. The chain is made of ultra-hardened steel, so friction is not the damaging factor here. The chain is damaged by stretching it by tensile stress. Now, the rider who's mashing exerts high torque on the cranks. That stretches the chain by high force coming from the chainring. The situation becomes dramatic with mid-drive motor. The stronger the rider presses the pedals, the more power from the motor, adding to already high force but often it is "4x you".

On contrary, the principle of the bike gearing is the lower gear it is the less torque is needed at the crank to get the same torque at the rear wheel. Not only the rider inputs less torque (at the cost of faster spinning) but also the motor reacts with less assistance. The overall torque at the chainring is far lower, the tensile force and thus tensile stress in the chain are far lower.

@fooferdoggie said an interesting thing about hub-drives. There, only the rider acts on the chain so the chain in that type of e-bike lasts long.

David, please Google out "mashing vs spinning"; there are many articles even for traditonal bikes to be found.
 
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reed scott

Well-Known Member
Stefan is correct and his explanation factual. But David Berry's point is valid. When spinning, the chain is experiencing much more use. Less forceful use but use. A case for good lube. Lubrication would counteract much of the effects of spinning to a great degree but have little mitigation in regards to the stretching force seen with slogging type pedaling.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't call it an "error"
@bikeman242: A misunderstanding. Yamaha made their early motors (also used by Giant) to be great at low end. The intention was a MTBer should be able to get high motor torque at very low cadence because they often need to ride uphill from standstill. They also developed the Zero Cadence concept, so pressing on pedals started the motor instantly. Both features are just great. The Yamaha's "error" was overlooking the high cadence cyclists. So Yamaha motors were performing worse at high cadence than the competition. The PW-X2 motor was improved in the terms of high cadence performance.

But it was not only Yamaha/Giant but also Brose/Specialized. These motors were good enough from the Gen 2 but were missing proper tuning. Now, the rider of Brose S Mag or Specialized 2.1 can tune the motor to indicate the rider prefers high-cadence and how fast the motor reaction on pedal press should occur. Same thinking as for Yamaha.
 

David Berry

Well-Known Member
Another query for the mechanically-minded; again, I'm way out of my comfort zone but not out of my inquisitive zone!

Here's my understanding of what does or does not happen when a chain 'stretches'…
  • the flat plates on the sides of the chain are not elongated;
  • the rivets and rollers linking the plates do wear (actually shed metal) so that the link becomes loose.
A 'stretched' chain is one which has play in its 'joints' — the joints being the rivets and rollers which have been worn down through shedding metal.
 
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