Understanding BPM and RPM in the Cycling World

Understanding BPM and RPM in the Cycling World

The Power of Music
A successful indoor cycling classes uses music to create energy which will pump up your participants.
Whether it is a sprinting, jumping, climbing, or flat road drill; it's important to set the music to match the drills.
The right music can make or break a class. Always match the profile of the drill to the correct tempo and think outside your own genre for music in a class.
RPM Versus BPM
RPM = Revolutions Per Minute "In cyclingcadence (or pedalling rate) is the number of revolutions of the crank per minute; this is the rate at which a cyclist is pedalling/turning the pedals. Cadence is directly proportional to wheel speed, but is a distinct measurement and changes with gearing—which determines the ratio of crank rpm to wheel rpm."
BPM = Beats Per Minute "Beats per minute (BPM) is a measure of tempo in music and revolutions per minute (RPM) is a unit of frequency." Michelle Colvin, Spinning Instructor.
Spinning Cadence (RPM) is recommended between 60-110 RPM which translates into the beats per minute range being 80-220 BPM. Sometimes you will find classes using a higher cadence with lighter resistance, however, remember the goal of a cycling class is to create Power which is translated into Cadence X Resistance.
Let's Combine the Two & Make Magic Happen!
Once you understand the difference, then we want to figure out how to best combine the RPM & BPM to create a great cycling experience.
On Average, take the BPM of the song and divide it in half to find your RPM. For example, the song "No Doubt About It" by Pit Bull has an average beat per minute between 125-130 BPM and would work well with a climbing drill using 60-70 RPM.
Always start with the song, figure out the beats per minute and then use a song that will match. Once you do this, your songs will come alive with the drills and your riders will feel the energy during their ride!
Check out this cool (old school) tool http://www.all8.com/tools/bpm.htm to figure out the BPM of a song
Happy Teaching!
Rachel Seay
Schwinn, ICC & Keiser Certified Spinning Instructor
BCRPA Fitness Educator & Certified Group Fitness Leader
Strength & Conditioning Coach

Looking for songs to match the drills? Check out our latest releases...