What is the best cadence for a triathlete?

Question from Mike:
What cadence would you recommend for triathletes?

The short answer is your natural cadence however there has been a lot of debate about what cadence is best.

On one side a higher cadence of 90-100 RPM like you will see most cyclists and pro triathletes use has shown a lot of evidence that it is more efficient and on the other side of the debate a low cadence of 70-80RPM has also shown a lot of results with some very good points.

I will give you an example. I use to ride with a cadence of around 100RPM, I was told by a very good coach that I was riding like a cyclist and not a triathlete. Unless I am whiling to do more miles each week, I need to lower my cadence.

I did some tests at a lower cadence and found I was riding much stronger with around 250km per week of riding with a cadence of around 75RPM. I rode like this for around two years till recently when I increased my cadence to around 90RPM, I notice a massive improvements with my efficiency when riding at sweet sport and threshold.

It is easy to go down a rabbit hole reading all the studies and looking at different data however I would say if your natural cadence is somewhere between 80 to 100RPM, I wouldn’t touch it. If your cadence is higher than 95 or lower than 80, I would maybe look at doing a few tests at different RPM numbers. This is best done in the off season and record everything so you can measure and track what works and what doesn’t.

Tim Egge


Got a Question?

If you have a question, email tim@trainsmooth.com

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