Maximize Your Workouts by Measuring And Monitoring Your Cadence in Cycling

Cadence in cycling, or pedal speed, is measured in pedal stroke revolutions per minute (rpm). For example, a cadence of 60 RPM means that one pedal makes a complete revolution 60 times in one minute. Likewise, a cadence of 110 RPM means that one pedal makes a complete revolution 110 times in one minute. So, how do you measure cadence while you’re Spinning?

How to Measure Cadence

A Spinner® bike with a computer will display your cadence or you can monitor your cadence with periodic cadence checks. Simply count the revolution of one leg for 15 seconds and then multiply by four. Count by holding out one hand and let your thigh tap your palm at the top of each pedal stroke.

Cadence Range For Flat Roads

The cadence range for a flat road is 80–110 RPM, which is based on realistic road cadences in cycling. If you’re tempted to pedal faster, add slightly more resistance first — even a flat road means riding with some resistance.

In a Spinning class, we simulate the challenges of real road cycling, such as headwinds, road friction and bigger gears, by increasing the resistance.

How fast is too fast? If your Spinning cadence is over 110 RPM, it’s too fast. Even when your cadence is under 110 RPM, if you are bouncing in the saddle, that’s a good indication you’re not in control of your pedal stroke. When your cadence is too high with too little resistance, your pedals are turning because of the momentum of the weighted flywheel — it means you’re not working and it’s unsafe.

Cadence Range For Hills

The cadence range for climbing hills is 60–80 RPM. It’s a slower cadence in cycling because there is more resistance on the flywheel, simulating an uphill ride. The more you turn the resistance knob to the right, the steeper the hill, and the slower your pedaling becomes.

The lower limit of 60 RPM on a hill is set for safety reasons. To climb a steep hill, find the highest amount of resistance you can maintain while maintaining good form at 60 RPM. If your resistance is so heavy that you cannot maintain at least 60 RPM, you run the risk of putting too much stress on your knees. Your resistance is too high when you need to twist your body and throw your body weight into pushing the pedals downward. See the chart below to understand how to measure your Spinning cadence through five core movements:

Five Core Spinning® Movements Cadence Ranges Hand Position
Seated Flat Cadence: 80-110 RPM Hand Position: 1, 2 or 2.5
Standing Flats Cadence: 80-110 RPM Hand Position: 2 or 2.5
Jumps Cadence: 80-110 RPM Hand Position: 2 or 2.5
Seated Climbs Cadence: 60-80 RPM Hand Position: 2 or 2.5
Standing Climbs Cadence: 60-80 RPM Hand Position 3

Start Tracking Your Cadence Today

If you’re serious about taking your personal fitness to the next level — or that of your students — you should consider monitoring your performance consistently and accurately using Spinning® accessories, such as cadence sensors and bike computers. If you’re wondering how to measure cadence while Spinning in a safe, easy, and effective manner, this simple yet state-of-the-art technology is your best bet. Start tracking your cadence and improving your results today.


  • Cha

    What does hand positon 2.5 mean?

    Posted On April 17, 2014

    • Shannan Lynch

      Hand position 2.5 is one of our newest updates to the Spinning® Program. The Spinner® indoor cycling bike has evolved in many ways over the years, thus the hand position guidelines have been modified to adapt to the handle bar design. Below are two links the example and show HP 2.5! (Josh shows a great example on the front cover)

      Posted On April 17, 2014

      • Sandy

        Thank you so much for sharing this information and for showing the site with the new spinning updates. As a new instructor I struggle with ways to help my participants understand how fast/slow they should be pedaling. Just cuing them seems to leave them with doubt.

        Posted On September 24, 2014

        • L

          I’m with you Sandy!

          Posted On May 16, 2016

  • Donna Gomez

    Does HP 2.5 apply to “The Spinner” indoor bike only

    Posted On June 10, 2014

    • Christina Castaneda

      Hi Donna, Hand Position (HP) 2.5 is used on most indoor cycling bikes however every outdoor cyclist’s hand grip is unique to their comfort. On a road bike, HP 2.5 is not a safe grip because you are not in an advantageous position to utilize the brakes.

      Posted On June 27, 2014

  • Peter G

    As a roadie, I’m not sure I agree with the cadence specs above…

    Obviously, if you’re supposed to be mimicking outdoor riding, there SHOULD be times cadence is below 60 rpm on a climb… If you don’t believe me, follow me on the climb up Caesar’s Head!

    If you coach them correctly on pedal stroke, the heavy resistance & slower RPM is something they should be able to handle.

    Also, what’s wrong with above 110 rpm? Once again as long as you are coaching them correctly and have them watching you.

    Obviously, whoever said no higher than 110rpm has never ridden a fixie downhill!

    Posted On August 27, 2015

    • Lisa

      Peter, I believe those ranges are set because in general, most of our classes are taught to groups of various ages, experiences, and abilities. Those with your skills can certainly listen to their bodies and know when to push outside of each limit and how to do it correctly. The “average” participant will likely lower their gears way too much so as to impress others with how fast they can spin, so they can hit 120 + not realizing that on low gear they are not exerting any appreciable POWER, although they’ll be sweating (sweat can be very misleading as surely you know). Without appreciable resistance the leg muscles are not properly engaged and thereby provide no support to the poor knees. Conversely, some students (women usually) think that using a super high gear and grinding through at a low rpm will make their legs stronger. They then twist and crunch their bodies to compensate, not only affecting the knees but also their hips and back. And you know in real world climbing a very steep hill at a very low speed could make you fall backwards!

      If you know your audience, you can stick to the given parameters (60-110), explain the reasons for them, then allow the “pros” in the room to modify to their superior skill level.

      Posted On October 3, 2015

    • Diane

      anything on an indoor cycle over 110 is out of control. The rider does not have enough resistance and is nnot in control of their pedal stroke. I have been an indoor instructor for 21 years and have never seen a successful cadence over 105…the rider is bouncing, pedal stoke is out of control and the rider is eventually complaining of knee and hip soarness.

      Posted On October 8, 2015

    • Feal

      Your outdoor bike does not have a weighted flywheel to pull the pedal for you when there is no effort exerted like an indoor bike has. If you spaz out on a road bike at 140RPM and stop exerting pressure on the pedals, they will slow down pretty quickly due to the wind and road resistance inherit in outdoor riding. But with an indoor bike, that usually means the pedal would not appreciatively slow down for tens of seconds, thus pulling the rider’s leg for a ride.
      And on a road bike, you change to granny gear when riding up a hill so it wouldn’t drop to 30RPM and shift it to the biggest gear on downhills, to avoid your legs spinning at 200RPM.
      One thing I don’t agree with on these ‘spinning’ type of classes is on sprints or high intensity intervals. Sprints are usually done on large gears where one would go all out anaerobic for 20 or so sec. When they tell you to do sitting sprints on flat road resistance for 40 seconds or sometimes a bit longer, I hear lots of ‘phews’ at the of the sprint. If instead, they turned up their resistance to a ‘hard hill’ and went absolutely all out, they would be collapsing on their handlebars at the end.
      As for high intensity, the fad is ‘Tabata’, which is sold as 8 ‘sprints’, which again, ends up as going at a ‘flat road’ resistance. It is suppose to be 170% VO2 max, which roughly translates to 2x the pedal speed (or 1.4x pedal speed on a magnetic resistance bike) of when one is doing a good hill at around 85% of max heart rate. It should feel very uncomfortable during the first few intervals and death toward the very end, instead of the general feeling of ‘sight of relief’ that people generally have.

      Posted On March 15, 2017

  • joel


    anything over 105 rpm is out of control??? I honestly have a hard time going under 105 and that is still at a challenging gear.

    Posted On November 21, 2015

  • L

    Wendy, thank you very much for posting your RPM ideas in a such a descriptive format w/flat roads, and sitting and standing climbs!

    Posted On May 16, 2016

  • Thank you for sharing such a useful guide. I have learned new skills. Good luck.

    Posted On July 26, 2016

  • Dani Bernal

    Hi, Today I went at 54 RPM. What does that mean? that I was climbing a mountain? My nutrition has been on point and I felt really powerful today lol

    Posted On January 25, 2017

    • Hi Dani,

      54 rpms indicates you pedaled 54 times per minute. Climbing a mountain would depend on the level of resistance and whether you were in sitting or standing.

      We hope you enjoy your rides!


      Posted On July 6, 2017

  • Wyn

    I hi 207 rpm during most spin classes – what’s th quickest ever?

    Posted On April 8, 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *