Serious cyclists are increasingly using power to gauge their training efforts, especially as power meters become not only more technically-capable but also more affordable. Learning the terminology that comes along with training with power can seem intimidating at first, but the glossary of common terms below will help speed your trip up the learning curve.
A device that measures the power you produce while riding.
How they work: A majority of available power meters use strain gauges to quantify how much your bottom bracket, crankset, freehub or pedal axles deform under the force of pedalling. Strain gauges output electrical resistance relative to the amount of mechanical deformation of the component to which they are mounted. The amount of mechanical deformation corresponds to how much torque you are applying to the pedals, and torque and pedalling cadence are used to calculate power.
A product of how much torque you are applying to the pedals and how fast you are pedalling. It is also defined as the rate of energy used or the amount of work done per unit of time. Power is expressed in watts (W).
For those who prefer to think in equations: Power = Work / Time = Force * Displacement / Time = Force * Velocity = Torque * Angular Velocity
The amount of power produced at any given moment.
The average amount of power produced over a given period of time, such as during any given workout or race.
The maximum amount of power produced during any given period of time, such as during any given workout or race.
A measure of power calculated using an algorithm that factors in the high and low power outputs that naturally occur when a rider is sprinting, doing intervals, climbing, descending, coasting, etc. It estimates total effort over a given period of time and is considered more accurate than average power by many experts because it better accounts for the actual physiological demands of a given ride.
The amount of power a rider can sustain for one hour. It is often calculated from the average power output measured during a 20-minute timed effort. Threshold Power is used to calculate training zones, and is sometimes called Functional Threshold Power.
The amount of force applied to the pedals. It is typically expressed in Newton meters (Nm).
How fast you are pedalling. Cadence is usually measured in revolutions per minute or RPMs and can be converted into Angular Velocity, which is usually expressed in radians/second.
The process of setting or correcting a measuring device such as a power meter so that it accurately outputs actual measurements.
Power to Weight Ratio
The amount of power you can produce divided by your weight, often measured in kilograms/watt or pounds/watt. Generally speaking, the higher the power-to-weight ratio, the better the cyclist.
Cyclists pay attention to many different numbers as they evaluate their performance in real time. Among them are distance pedalled, speed, heart rate and power output. Another parameter – one that is often a mystery to newbie cyclists – is pedalling cadence.
What is cadence?
Cadence is defined as the number of revolutions of the crank per minute (rpm). Typical pedalling cadences for trained cyclists range from 85 to 100 rpm. An untrained, recreational cyclist is more likely to pedal at a slower cadence, such as 60 to 70 rpm.
How do I figure out my cadence?
Many bike computers come with sensors that count how many times the cranks go round and display a rider’s cadence. Such sensors are typically mounted on or near the cranks.
But even without a bike computer, you can get a quick estimate of your cadence. Simply pick an interval, such as 30 seconds, and count how many times your legs go around during that period. Then double the number to calculate your cadence.
Why is cadence important?
Power is the product of the force applied to the pedals and cadence. Thus to increase power, you can apply more force to the pedals, pedal faster or do both at the same time. This means that it’s also possible to produce the same amount of power at different cadences – you just have to apply different amounts of force. For example, you can produce a given amount of power by pedalling slowly in a bigger gear or by pedalling faster in a smaller gear.
When you pedal fast in a lower gear, you tend to need less force so it fosters more slow twitch muscle fiber recruitment. The opposite is also true: when you pedal more slowly in a higher gear, you need more force so have to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. Generally speaking, pedalling at lower cadences requires relatively more effort from your muscles whereas pedalling at higher cadences requires relatively more effort from your cardiovascular system.
Every cyclists has different strengths and weaknesses; thus some tend to prefer higher cadences while others prefer lower cadences.
A bit of history
Many cyclists began caring about cadence at the end of the 1990s when Lance Armstrong became famous by winning the Tour de France while pedalling at a conspicuously higher cadence than many of his peers in the pro peloton.
Pros like Armstrong found that pedalling at higher cadences like 100-110 rpm felt more efficient, often helping them with muscular recovery and endurance as well as smoothing out any dead spots in their pedal stroke.
But not every pro goes for super high cadences. Another former Tour de France winner, Jan Ullrich, was famous for his slightly slower pedalling cadence, often in the 80-90 rpm range. When racing side by side with Armstrong, Ullrich appeared to be mashing gears and pedalling slowly.
In the past two decades with the advent of drivetrains including many gear combinations spanning a much larger range, it’s now possible for cyclists to be able to almost always pick the perfect gear to enable them to pedal at their preferred personal cadence, whether they are riding at relatively slower or faster speeds.
Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the cyclists among your family and friends? ROTOR has you covered for many important bike components. Read on for five great suggestions for what you can put under the Christmas tree.
Ride further and faster while pedalling with ROTOR’s Q-Rings. These oval-shaped chainrings help cyclists use their muscles more efficiently during the pedal stroke. ROTOR offers a variety of Q-Rings compatible with Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo drivetrains, and you can chose aero or non-aero rings made of carbon or aluminum.
We recommend picking a chainring with the same number of teeth, the same number of bolts and the same bolt circle diameter as the chainring already on the bike on which the recipient will be installing it.
Get more out of your efforts by training and racing with a power meter. ROTOR’s state-of-the-art 2INpower is a dual-sided power meter – with Bluetooth connectivity and a rechargeable battery – that tells you exactly how you are riding. It uses strain gauges in both crank arms to measure power individually output for each leg. Cyclists can use 2INpower’s precise data to identify weak spots in their pedal stroke, then target improvements accordingly for better performance.
Mountain bikers will love the new ROTOR RHawk and RRaptor cranksets – both are designed specifically for enduro use. And while all cranks come with molded rubber bumpers around their ends where the pedals attach, the RHawks and RRaptors also feature a large rubber bumper further up the crank arm so they will withstand bigger rock impacts.
Though both the RHawk and the RRaptor come in a standard black anodized finish with laser etched graphics, riders get to pick from seven different colors for the crankarm protectors, ranging from an understated black to bright neon yellow, orange, red, pink, blue and green.
If there is one component a cyclist doesn’t want to have to think about while training and racing, it’s their bottom bracket. Nothing beats a quiet, clean and smoothly spinning bottom bracket – it means every pedal stroke’s effort is going toward propelling the bike forward rather than toward overcoming the friction of a poorly functioning bottom bracket.
With UBB, ROTOR offers bottom brackets per many common standards such as English threaded (BSA), Italian threaded (ITA), BB30, Press Fit 30, BBright, BB 386 EVO, BB86, BB89 and BB92.
(or “Is Mountain Biking Harder Than Road Cycling?”)
To be good at anything you do, you have to have a clear purpose, therefore training has to have purpose. In mountain biking, that purpose is to improve your ability to power through and recover from the frequent hard efforts required by riding off-road. Training with a power meter will enable you to become stronger, faster, and fitter, which – when combined with superior technical skills, will make you an almost lethal mountain biker. Having a tool to measure, analyze, monitor and manage your training and racing will prepare you for known challenges and even ones that are unexpected, like wet sand and mud.
Like they say in the video, every mountain biker wants to get fitter, ride faster, and to make it easier. But the truth is, it’s never going to get easier, but if you follow the four steps listed below, you just get better.
Measure – most power meters are designed to calculate power and cadence, which are indicators of your fitness. Many power meters also measure pedal smoothness and torque effectiveness, which indicate how efficiently you pedal or, put another way, how much energy you are wasting if your pedal stroke isn’t optimized. The data that’s collected by a power meter is then exported to a .fit file, which can be read by a variety of applications specifically intended to crunch sport-performance data*. Or, you can simply email your .fit file to your coach, who can interpret your data to help you reach and hold you accountable to your goals.
Analyze – Once you’ve measured your performance – or collected data, you can analyze your data to see where your strengths and weaknesses are with respect to you as a rider, your bike, and influential circumstances (environmental, physical, technical, tactical, and psychological).
Monitor – You can leverage your data to track – or monitor – your performance, which is subject to training intensity, pacing, stress, nutrition, overtraining, and fatigue.
Manage – Your accumulated data tells you how to monitor your performance in the moment; now you can set long-term goals and manage your performance to achieve those goals.
“Training with a power meter is like having an onboard coach and test lab that gives you constant diagnostic feedback with which to make adjustments to your biomechanics on the bike, and to prevent injuries,” said Hicham Mar, elite cycling coach at the American Sport Training Center. “Your data is an honest account of your output, no matter if it’s windy, hot, or steep, and of your energy levels – how many calories you are burning and how many you need to consume to maintain your pace. This is especially important in mountain biking because riding terrain varies so dramatically from one area to another, that the only way to control the variables is to know how much power you’re capable of sustaining.”
Perception and “riding by feel” are not accurate indicators of sport performance and, while technical prowess can be a temporary substitute for fitness in mountain biking, improved output is the ultimate advantage to outperforming your rivals but more importantly, yourself. To be a better rider than you were yesterday, or the day before, understanding how you can improve will help you become a smarter cyclist.
*ROTOR has partnered with TrainingPeaks.com, which has provided a 4-week training plan plus 30 days of TrainingPeaks Premium to owners of INpower and 2INpower, (home.trainingpeaks.com/ROTOR)
ROTOR 2INpower was one of 51 winners awarded a prize during a ceremony on the first day of Eurobike.
“In the future, the Spanish supplier of sports cycling equipment will combine its highly respected drive technology with a system for power measurement,” remarked the panel of judges about 2INpower. “This is a true high-end product that sets the benchmark with its power measurement on both sides. In terms of functionality, the price is extremely competitive.”
Guests at the Eurobike Awards ceremony could be forgiven for thinking they were in Hollywood. The first day may not have seen Oscars presented to the international bike industry, but instead were honored with an accolade that is hardly any less prestigious. The Eurobike Award distinguishes products and concepts that stand out on account of their special innovations, new functions and outstanding quality. And for the crème de la crème, there was special distinction in the form of twelve Gold Awards and one Green Award.
Rotor 2INnpower Winner Eurobike Gold Awards-2016
When the Eurobike trade fair opened its gates for the 25th time in Friedrichshafen this morning, it also marked a quarter century of innovation within the bicycle industry. For a number of years now, the Eurobike Awards have served as a magnifying glass that focuses attention on new products and innovations from the bike sector.
“In what is an innovative sector in any case, there are always companies with special ideas that help them to stand out from the crowd,” said Dirk Heidrich, Eurobike project manager for the Messe Friedrichshafen. “Their innovations are far more than just the icing on the cake for the bike market, without the wealth of inventions within the industry, there would not have been such important stimuli for the market as mountain bikes or e-bikes, electronic bike components or fully-sprung suspensions. In this respect, the Eurobike Award is not only a recognition of good ideas, but also a yardstick for the future viability of the bicycle industry.”
Team ROTOR, Eurobike
The field of entrants for the 2016 Eurobike Awards shows that there is no cause for concern about the future of the industry; the 472 entrants are an impressive demonstration of the innovative spirit within the sector. In a two-stage decision-making process, an expert panel of six judges awarded a Eurobike Award to 51 new products after critical examination and intense discussion. Among them were twelve companies, which in the judges’ opinion, redefined the benchmark for innovation and are therefore worthy recipients of a Gold Award.
The Eurobike Award panel of judges
The Eurobike Award panel of judges were: Marcus Schröder, Managing Director EFBE Prueftechnik GmbH, Thomas Hellriegel, Triathlete and licensed coach, Marcella Crisanti, Editor-in-chief ciclonline.com and cyclonline.com, Kevin Quan, Designer and Engineer Kevin Quan Studios, Lotte Kraus, Biomechanical Expert Bike Biomechanics, Rik de Bruin, store owner Gek van Fietsen – Cycling Store