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I used lower cadence more often and over more time in the saddle on 26'r than 29'r. Infact finding my cadence climbing and especially punchy climbing on 29'r was the biggest adjustment factor by far. I'm still playing with it 7 years on.

Imo not much translates from road to mtn, two different animals entirely.

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Cycologist
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I kept both brakes on mine as I had no intension of learning any fixie rider tricks. I only rode it so I could ride my mountain bike better. I still think anyone who wants to work on their mtb game should get one. It put me on another level.
I've got a fixed gear, with brakes front and back as I do ride it in rolling hills.
 
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Elitest thrill junkie
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I used to pedal slowwwww until I got into road cycling. I eventually developed liking a cadance of about 90. I think it takes a certain amount of cardio training to make it doable. A higher cadance definitely has my heart rate a bit higher even at roughly the same speed/power.

It's tough to keep cadence high on a mtb. Fat tires and low pressures can get bouncy unless your technique is nothing short of perfection. Also a lot of sections are to rough to keep fast cadence. Sometimes you need some extra leverage that you can't get spinning a high cadence.
It's sometimes uncomfortable as hell to keep the cadence that high and I have to constantly scream at myself mentally to keep doing it...but it's faster.
 
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I tend to spin at a slightly lower cadence than my buddies. I don’t have a cadence meter, but counted it out using my gps garmin a month or two ago.

aparently I tend to spin in the 75-85 range.

I can push lower if needed, but it definitely doesn’t feel efficient (into the 50’s). Higher than that I can (90-100+) and do sustain if needed, but it pushes me into the red zone pretty quickly.

For what it’s worth, I do tend to ride shorter rides. And I’d self rate my leg strength as being better than my current cardio. So maybe it’s how I compensate?
 

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I think that's true, lower cadence means lower heartrate but on the flipside low cadence also produces more lactate acid buildup, so generally a higher cadence is better for endurance. I've seen a few studies suggesting that within reason self selected cadence is usually best.
The old rule of thumb is, if you're legs are screaming, shift to an easier gear and increase your cadence, if your heart is racing shift to a lower gear and drop your cadence, if both, ease off a little.
 

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I've never really paid attention to, or concerned myself with, cadence. For me, it's simply a mechanical decision to pick the gear (cadence) required to get the job done and have fun riding. But, I will say I've noticed that as I get older, I tend to increase cadence (downshift) more/sooner. I only make this observation by noticing which gears are wearing faster on my cassette now versus in the past. I guess I attribute this to a change in muscle strength as I get older. Seems cadence (lower gear, more leverage) is easier than more torque as I get older. Although, younger riders I ride with still comment that I ride in higher gears on climbs than they do. But whatever. I ride to have fun. :)
 

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It's sometimes uncomfortable as hell to keep the cadence that high and I have to constantly scream at myself mentally to keep doing it...but it's faster.
My fastest road bike rides have been with an average cadence of 95 to 100!!! I slip into 85 to 90 often and it's always been slower riding the same route at the same perceived effort. So if I'm doing an all out session I constantly need to keep reminding myself to spin faster. I feel like I get a better cardio workout this way too.

I think most people perform at their best at whatever cadence feels best but that doesn't seem to work for me unless it's a long endurance ride.
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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Please define "respectable." :unsure:
As for me, I typically feel lucky just to be able to successfully respond to whatever the terrain deals.
=sParty
This, and being in the right gear ahead of time or shifting rapidly to the right gear in time to deal with it. Too many variations in terrain to determine my all around cadence. Although I’d consider myself more of a spinner there are mashing times as well.
 

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I think that's true, lower cadence means lower heartrate but on the flipside low cadence also produces more lactate acid buildup, so generally a higher cadence is better for endurance. I've seen a few studies suggesting that within reason self selected cadence is usually best.
Yeah, makes sense. I think for me, I run out of cardio before I run out of the ability to clear lactic acid.....or something like that, anyway.
 
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