RPM/Cadence for newbie rider

I am new to the indoor training world and just did the ramp test. There is not a set rpm to go for only the power. I am using a cycleops fluid 2 with a stages power meter.
My question is there certain rpm i should be aiming for and keeping the gears accordingly to match that rpm or am i matching the gears to maintain the suggested power?

Thanks in advanced!

You should be targetting the power, not the rpm.

Just change the gears as necessary to keep the cadence in whatever is a comfortable range FOR YOU - and this is probably more of a "feel"thing, than a specific number.

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Great thank you. I know some workouts have rpm range but the FTP test didn’t really tell me much other than target power.
Thanks again!

As you train more, you’ll probably find your ideal cadence. 85-95rpm is the range for most folks when working at threshold from what I’ve read.

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The FTP test is just there to figure out your FTP for the rest of the plans/workouts.

Here’s my last one

See that blip in power a few steps from the end? I’m on a dumb magnetic trainer so I got to that point and was spinning out so had to switch to the big ring at the front and adjust the rear cog to suit so there’s a temporary drop then overshoot as I sort my cadence out.

The Cyclops is similarly “dumb” so no ERG mode where the trainer adjusts the resistance so you have to change gear to get different levels of resistance. Once you start doing the workouts the accompanying text suggests target cadence ranges so you’ll have to find the appropriate gearing to match both suggested cadence and target power. After a while you get a feel for which gear you need to be in for particular levels of effort.


Whatever works for you in the ramp test. Follow the workout instructions for cadence drills once you start a plan (a lot of SSB1 has cadence drills, pedalling efficiency).

The ramp test is just keep going as long as you can hit target.


The answer to your question is “Yes” you need to shoot for good cadence at all times on the trainer and bike in general. Generally, this is going to be somewhere over 60rpm for any riding, over 85rpm on the trainer.

For MTB I am typically 75-95rpm.
On the gravel roads, 85-100rpm.
On my Wahoo KICKR, 85-110rpm.

On you’re trainer, your goal is to match the target power during the workout.

Power (wheel output) = Force (pushing the pedals) x Velocity (how fast you spin)

So on your trainer, you need to pick a gear + cadence combination that allows you to hit your target power.
Unless you are intentionally doing slow speed cadence work, you should shoot for 85rpm. (this is what most of the instructions in Trainer Road tell me). You can change gears and cadence to hit the target power, but don’t be too dogmatic about hitting power exactly. You should IMO prioritize cadence assuming your power is plus or minus 5-10 watts.

When I was using a Kurt Kinetic trainer with virtual power, I usually rode in my big gear, and 15 or 14 on the back cassette and my cadence was usually over 85. (See image). For that session my notes indicate Big ring x 4th gear (I assume that means 4th easiest)

More info here if you want to learn more:

Power and Cadence:

Cadence and Pedalling:

My tips for training:

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I only average about 78 :man_shrugging:

I think it can al depend on your target races. Long distance (RAAM etc) riders seem to be very low (sometimes below 60)

Ironman distance about 80 or so

Shorter events people seems to spin faster

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Thanks for all the great info guys/gals! I found that 85 was a good cadence and ended up being in lower (slower/climbing) gear to hit 150s-160s.
I’m shooting for a few sprints to get my feet wet…literally but we’re shooting for the Augusta 70.3 in September.
All the info should help out! Next gotta be able to get the “special” area from hurting so damn bad now!!

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The constant sitting on a static bike gets most people, unlike out on the road where the bike moves beneath you, on a trainer you are pushing against an almost rigid object. Use the recovery intervals to stand up and ease the discomfort, you probably only have to stand for twenty seconds or so then you can sit down again.

After a few weeks it gets much more bearable. Honest!