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

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😉
Great site for people to understand their gear ratios and options.

I have a similar chart for my own bike that I created in Excel. I then have a little abbreviated table that I have printed out and displayed on my bike as follows:

1600467918334.png


as an aide memoire as to what gear I should be in at a certain to achieve a cadence of 90. That way you can trust your legs to tell you when to change gear but you can always check that you didn't change too soon.

Also, my bike is a hub drive and I disagree to some extent with the suggestion that hub drive motors prevent "spinning" - it rather depends what speed you want to achieve and what PAS level you are at. On my bike it is perfectly simple to reduce the PAS and therefore the maximum speed that it will provide assistance to and correct gear choice still allows for "correct" cadence. I also spend most of my ride just above the maximum speed that PAS will offer assistance so I am just using the PAS to get me to the speed and cadence to keep me there.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Great site for people to understand their gear ratios and options.

I have a similar chart for my own bike that I created in Excel. I then have a little abbreviated table that I have printed out and displayed on my bike as follows:

View attachment 65745

as an aide memoire as to what gear I should be in at a certain to achieve a cadence of 90. That way you can trust your legs to tell you when to change gear but you can always check that you didn't change too soon.

Also, my bike is a hub drive and I disagree to some extent with the suggestion that hub drive motors prevent "spinning" - it rather depends what speed you want to achieve and what PAS level you are at. On my bike it is perfectly simple to reduce the PAS and therefore the maximum speed that it will provide assistance to and correct gear choice still allows for "correct" cadence. I also spend most of my ride just above the maximum speed that PAS will offer assistance so I am just using the PAS to get me to the speed and cadence to keep me there.

Good information... most recreational cyclists should pedal at a higher cadence for better efficiency.

The pros routinely hit 100+ RPM. ;)
 
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Johnny

Well-Known Member
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.
Stefan are you certain about this? If I am not mistaken you are claiming that what happens to the chain is deformation.
But then how do you explain metal shavings that come out of the chain?



Is there an test which compares a lower cadence against a higher cadence under the same power output? I would love to see that.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Stefan are you certain about this? If I am not mistaken you are claiming that what happens to the chain is deformation.
But then how do you explain metal shavings that come out of the chain?

Is there an test which compares a lower cadence against a higher cadence under the same power output? I would love to see that.
The real reason of the chain damage (as David has correctly pointed out) is...

An article quote:
Chains are a consumable part of the bicycle drive train. As you pile on the miles, your bike’s chain will wear out. The internal parts of the chain, the rivets and rollers, begin to wear out and give the illusion of stretching. This wear can cause the chain to mesh poorly with cogs and chainrings, causing poor shifting, premature wear to the cogs and even skipping over the cogs. Since it’s far more expensive to replace your cassette than it is to replace a chain, knowing when to replace your chain can actually save you some money in the long run.
Unquote.

We replace the chain because it stretches (often after just several hundred of miles). You determine it with a chain gauge tool. When the teeth of the gauge drop inside the links at the 1.0 mark, you need to replace the chain. Nobody measures the wear of the chain due to friction, and many of us lube the chain (after degreasing it) as Reed Scot pointed out. A stretched chain may look as a new one, yet it is useless.

Your question involving "the same power output" is somewhat devious. It all can be explained by the rules of mechanics... I may do a test, though, as my Vado has a power meter and the cadence meter.

Good read:
.

Another good read:

Does your bike mechanic whistle softly when she examines your drivetrain? [...] If you want to save your back, your knees, your energy, and your mechanic’s sanity, make sure you aren’t committing any of these six gearing sins.

Yet another good read:

Riding in a cross gear or very low and heavy gearing combination does indeed put greater force on your drivetrain rather than finding a consistent, moderate cadence. However, it is really the shifting and grinding wear under great load associated with low cadence riding which leads to shorter drivetrain life and not the actual low cadence. If you tend to “mash gears”, as they say, try getting comfortable shifting more often and intuiting which gear combinations will yield the right cadence for hill climbs, descents, sprints and the such to minimize wear
 
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Johnny

Well-Known Member
@Stefan Mikes

Stefan I think we can agree that these articles are not very scientific. I actually know what they say.

Here I want to bring this discussion to a bit more technical one. You or maybe a mechanical engineer can chime in.

The question is, what is the main contributor for rollers, bushings wearing out? According to your explanation it is deformation because of tensile forces, but that does not explain the loss of metal. The shavings that come out when you are cleaning a chain is probably from the friction between the bushing pins and rollers and many cyclists believe this too.

I agree that ill-shifting will decrease chain life but for the sake of the argument let's leave that aside. Suppose that we have two identical chains, carrying an identical 400w load, the chain line is straight and the cogs are of the same size. One is rotating at 60 rpm the other say 90 rpm. In this setup we measure time(the distance is not a good metric since it relies on independent variables here). Can we say that the 90rpm one will have a significantly longer runtime ?
 

Taylor57

Well-Known Member
Just a fly on the wall, but with 2 new Ebikes with both under 200 miles, I have so far cleaned and oiled the chains once with some stuff called Rock and Roll lube. How often should I be doing this?
 

David Berry

Well-Known Member
I have so far cleaned and oiled the chains once with some stuff called Rock and Roll lube. How often should I be doing this?
Taylor, you've scored the legendary Perfect Ten (out of ten) with a good maintenance strategy and a good product.

More of the same!
 
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Gionnirocket

Well-Known Member
@Stefan Mikes

Stefan I think we can agree that these articles are not very scientific. I actually know what they say.

Here I want to bring this discussion to a bit more technical one. You or maybe a mechanical engineer can chime in.

The question is, what is the main contributor for rollers, bushings wearing out? According to your explanation it is deformation because of tensile forces, but that does not explain the loss of metal. The shavings that come out when you are cleaning a chain is probably from the friction between the bushing pins and rollers and many cyclists believe this too.

I agree that ill-shifting will decrease chain life but for the sake of the argument let's leave that aside. Suppose that we have two identical chains, carrying an identical 400w load, the chain line is straight and the cogs are of the same size. One is rotating at 60 rpm the other say 90 rpm. In this setup we measure time(the distance is not a good metric since it relies on independent variables here). Can we say that the 90rpm one will have a significantly longer runtime ?

I don't think this example necessarily fits real life and the discussion. When riding, your trying to maintain speed and cadence not a wattage so the cogs will not be the same nor the tensile forces. Hence the reasoning though logical isn't relavant.

That said... I enjoy feeling a little resistance when pedaling and maintaining a higher cadenene may be beneficial but I find it boring especially at low speeds.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
@Johnny: I might have partial answers for you.

There are two different situations:
  1. Constant speed riding (steady state)
  2. Accelerating (dynamics).
The first situation is governed by the First Newton's Law of Motion. The relevant interpretation would be: "A cyclist moving at constant speed would need to input the same amount of power into the cranks disregarding what cadence he/she is".

The second situation is in agreement with the Second Law. Free interpretation: "Accelerating to achieve the same speed in the same time will require far more power in the high gear compared to the power required in a low gear; eventually, input power in both cases will equalise when the constant speed is achieved".

Here's my test: I had the assistance set to "it's 1x you!", that is, each rider's input watt was amplified with another watt from the motor. The objective was to start riding from the standstill to achieve 25 km/h at a mark (a specific tree at the side of the street) and then keep constant speed. Measure cadence and rider's power input.

In low gear, pedalling at 90 rpm started at some 40 W rider's power input and it was gradually increasing to reach 100 W at 25 km/h. (So the power input to the cranks varied between 80 and 200 W).
In high gear, pedalling at 40 rpm started at some 150 W and decreased to 100 W at 25 km/h. (The total power input to the cranks was 300 W to decrease to 200 W).

Of course, that was rather qualitative than quantitative test as it was not a lab. Important thing, however, is the initial power in high gear was 300/80 = 375% of the power in the low gear. If anything stretches the chain, it is the force during the acceleration.
-----------------
I cannot say whether riding at constant speed in high or low gear takes any effect on chain stretching (I'm too stupid to get it). No doubt, acceleration matters.

Some examples, Johnny:
  • Why do you ride uphill in low gear if you could probably do it in high gear? (Think of a mechanical bike to take out the motor from the equation)
  • Why accelerating from standstill is so hard in the top gear? Can't you feel the resistance of the chain?
  • Why is transmission used in cars, in the first place? (Easier to answer by a driver operating manual transmission).
Just food for thoughts.
 

Cyklefanatic

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?
Good points Stefan. I am curious how far did you get on your last chain? I am at 3,800 km on the original chain, I expect to go a lot further on it. Another issue of course is the assist level you use on mid drives. I have found that the more I ride the stronger I get and the less assistance I use. I have used the mission control app to reduce the level of assist in eco mode as I get stronger. I ride mostly in eco except for long climbs.
Dirt and sand are also chain killers so road riders gain an advantage there as well.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I cannot tell you as both my brother and I actively rode the Vado :) Similarly to you, I currently reduce the assist but increase it on return way from long trips, or, when I need to do my errands very fast :)
 

BigNerd

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.

But with hub drives, there is less strain on the chain as it's only powering the rear wheel.

So cadence isn't as much of a help with rear hubs as it is with mid-drives... which is what I assume this thread is suggesting.
 

BigNerd

Well-Known Member
true but it does not benefit the rider either.

Agreed. Which is why I look for a rear hub with gears so I can up my cadence off battery.

My current ebike (well... all crashed up now) I rarely used the battery because the gearing was pretty good.

Maybe I don't need an ebike, just a really good gear set on a light hybrid bike.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
Agreed. Which is why I look for a rear hub with gears so I can up my cadence off battery.

My current ebike (well... all crashed up now) I rarely used the battery because the gearing was pretty good.

Maybe I don't need an ebike, just a really good gear set on a light hybrid bike.
that could be then you will ahve a lighter bike that feels nicer to ride. myself I could only do maybe 15mph without help.