polar cycling efficiency

Cycling Efficiency expresses energy expenditure converted into the power that propels the bike forward. In other words, cycling efficiency represents the efficacy of skeletal muscles to transform the body’s stored biochemical energy into mechanical movement, while the remainder of the energy is lost as heat. The higher the efficiency, the more power one can produce to ride the bike with the same amount of energy and oxygen. This is vital for success in cycling races and other long-distance events.

Cycling efficiency only used to be measured in laboratory conditions. Now measurements in the field are easily conducted using Polar products featuring the cycling efficiency function.

Cyclists’ gross efficiency values typically vary between 17% and 22%. Therefore, even small changes in efficiency can mean the difference between success and failure. Efficiency can be improved even after years of training whereas e.g. maximum aerobic capacity (VO2max) is usually achieved within a few months to two years of skillful training.

In general, factors such as body size, gender, fitness level and skill affect individual differences in efficiency. Pedaling technique and breaks in continuous pedaling also have an effect.

It makes more sense to compare your current values to your earlier ones, and not to the values of other cyclists. Cycling efficiency values are especially helpful when they are measured over a longer period of time.