Ramp Test Cadence

I did a "Test’ Ramp Test yesterday before I start SSB1MV next Monday and the first ride is a Ramp Test. It did confirm what I thought my FTP to be about 210, tested to 213 (yes, I have work to do). I spun at 90 rpm which is high for me as a mountain/gravel rider. Should I increase the cadence when I gets hard? As I approached 300 watts I felt like I was mashing the pedals and should have built some cadence prior to the bigger numbers for me but does that spoil the test to spin 100 or 110 in the late part of the test?

Use whatever cadence feels natural. The cadence doesn’t spoil the test results if its 60 rpms or 120 rpms. I ride/race MTB and my average cadence for the ramp test is mid to upper 90s except for the last minute that drags down into the 80s.


I thought this video was helpful, and it matches my personal experience.

To summarize, your self-selected cadence is most likely the best cadence.


I believe if you watch the provided TR video in the ramp test workout. They mention that you should just use the cadence you can use at the time.

They just want you to stay seated.

I know that as the going gets really tough, I let my cadence fall during the ramp test.

So, early on I’m spinning 85-95 rpm.

Then when it gets ‘hard’ I’m around 80 RPM.

When I’m getting to my last minute(s) of the test I let the cadence drop as I need it to.

Essentially, I’m just doing what my body wants at the time. I’m not forcing a cadence upon myself, or even thinking about it. I’m just looking back at my last few ramp tests and this is what happened.

I feel that this has given me an accurate FTP estimation.

I think that if you are going to push yourself to maintain some arbitrary cadence, your going to be spending energy thinking and trying to do something that isn’t required. So you might underestimate your FTP value.


I tend to raise my cadence gradually as power increases, starting at around 80-85 and reaching 100-105 just before blowing up. Since power is a function of force times velocity that approach keeps force at a reasonable level throughout the test. I don’t think grinding at high power is ever a good idea, it puts a lot of load on joints and can lead to problems keeping you of the bike :frowning: