Do I Need Cadence On My Bike Computer? Why Is Important

Cadence might seem like a big word for many beginners and some might even be wondering if it is necessary. Cadence measures the pedaling and power output of pedaling with the help of a sensor mounted on the bike. However, one of the questions that you might be wondering about is doing I need cadence on my bike computer.

If you are doing any form of training or you want to measure your pacing ability, having a basic understanding of cadence will be a way to ensure you don’t spend more effort than you have to. You could measure exactly how much effort you are putting in and this will make it possible to calculate your performance rate.

Using cadence is important at certain levels of cycling and you could use it to your advantage to ensure that your performance is better. This article aims to take a deep dive into cadence and help you understand how it works and what it means. The cadence sensor could take your performance to a new level.

Do I Need Cadence On My Bike Computer

What Is Cadence?

One of the most important things you need to know is what is cadence. Cadence refers to the number of revolutions you make with your pedals every minute. Each rider should have a different cadence level and when you consider the gear they are using for the performance, you also see the power output, which is measured in wattage.

The cadence sensor can help you measure the current pace you are at. You can also find the cadence of other riders at a professional level. Their cadence and performance are often listed by the teams. If you can get your hands on these figures, it will assist you in preparation. You can prepare for certain races and see which cadence you need to aim for.

Why Is Cadence Important In Cycling?

Power is one of the most important components of performance when cycling and if you have any measurement of your power, you will never be able to improve. Understanding your cadence level will allow you to set a specific target you can aim for. When doing a few training drills, you can use this to your advantage.

According to Dr. Xavier Disley, who did some research and studying on cadence and how it affects cycling, you want to aim for a higher cadence whenever possible. A lower cadence would put more strain on your muscles and this will be due to the muscle constantly working at the same tempo. The muscles will need to work more consistently, which means that you will move slightly slower.

When you push up to a higher cadence level, you will be putting out more power. More power means more speed. The higher cadence also means that each pedaling motion would push your further forward and activate a different muscle. Type 2 muscle fibers or fast twitch muscle fibers are often responsible for more cadence and power.

The Affect Of Body Composition On Cadence

Whether you knew it or not, cadence is affected by body composition and your body composition and build will heavily affect the level of cadence you can push. The more muscular you tend to be, the lower your cadence will be due to the additional muscle you are carrying. Since you have more muscles, you can resist for slightly longer. 

On the other hand, a smaller rider would not be able to push the same cadence for as long as the muscular rider, which is why muscular riders tend to keep the pace much higher on flat sections. A smaller rider can more effectively push a lower gear for more revs. This is why the smaller riders can often be more successful on steep climbs.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that a higher cadence will have a much more severe effect on your energy. You might be spending far more energy than you should if you pedal at a higher cadence for no reason. Most commonly, Tour de France cyclists would push up the cadence just after an attack and when they are trying to drop other riders.

While won’t go into this, you should understand that factors like the wind and the slipstream can affect the relationship between cadence and energy consumption. This is generally why you see many riders follow others in a slipstream to help prevent the unnecessary use of energy while cycling.

Do I Need Cadence On My Bike Computer?

Now that you have a slightly better understanding of cadence, it should be a bit easier for you to understand whether you need cadence on your bike computer or not. It will come down to your aspirations and we have identified a few situations where cadence could significantly benefit your performance and enable you to see the benefits:

Professional Riding

One aspect that makes sense for you to have the right cadence is when you are a professional rider. As a professional rider, cadence will be one of the most important aspects for you to consider. Cadence will be the tracking tool that is often integrated with power to ensure you measure and control your pace. You can improve your riding distance as well.

Professional Riding cadence


Since training is not directly applicable to your race data, cadence should not be that important when you are just hanging about on the bicycle. However, training is vital to improving your performance. You can use your standard cadence level as a reference point and this will make it easier for you to make minor improvements.

One thing your coach could do to help you improve is to give you a cadence target. Since you have a sensor on the bike, you can incrementally try to reach the cadence set out by your coach. Reaching the different levels of cadence and keeping up consistency will not only improve muscular strength but affect your fitness.

Comparing Cadence With Rivals

Cyclists always try to compete at a professional level and this means trying to gain the upper hand on one another in terms of cadence and power output. While you might not always have access to the cadence of your rivals, you could estimate the cadence. By estimating the cadence, you can measure how you compare and this will enable you to have a target to aim for.

Race Situations

While people can measure your energy with specific tools, sensors, and monitors, how you feel will have the biggest impact on what you can achieve. In a race situation, you can estimate the cadence of the other riders. If you have it in you, you can lift the cadence and even attack in certain sections that could help you win the race.

Do Beginners Need Cadence In Their Bike Computer?

As a beginner, the landscape changes, and different things like your fitness and your level of performance becomes important. If you are simply a casual rider, cadence might not have any real bearing on your performance. You will simply be riding around town and cruising at a very low cadence level.

The turning point comes when you are looking to improve and eventually make it to a professional level. If you have high aspirations, you might want one of the best bike computers like the Garmin Edge to assist you in cadence. By referring to the previous section, you can see just how much of an effect it could have on your performance. 

In essence, we believe that a cadence sensor comes down to personal preference and you should note that it will spike the price of the bike computer. Setting up the bike computer on your bike becomes slightly more complicated as well. You don’t want to overcomplicate things for yourself, which means it comes down to personal preference.

How Has The Cadence Sensor Changed The Landscape Of Cycling?

Since the introduction of cadence on the bike computer, the landscape of cycling has been revolutionized. A cadence sensor is a fundamental tool that can help riders better understand their performance on the bike. Nowadays, the training regimens that riders follow have been significantly increased, which has led to better performances.

If we look at the latest edition of the Tour de France, you will find that the speeds of the riders have significantly increased. Riders are completing stages more rapidly, and different recovery techniques play a role. Cadence has affected recovery. Riders know exactly how hard they need to push to ensure they can recover successfully.


Since your bike computer will be one of the most important tools in your cycling kit, you have the option of choosing the one that best meets your needs. The cadence sensor is an expensive addition to your bike, but the benefits are impeccable. We would most definitely recommend that you consider the cadence sensor on your bike for improved performance.

About Martin

I am Martin, I am the author of this blog. My main interests include cycling. That's why this blog was created. I have always been interested in technology and how bicycles are made, so I built one myself.

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