Torque is great, but what's really important is...

Work and Power

Although torque does have a lot to do with the bike and how it works, professionals and people in the know don't usually refer to torque the rider applies to the wheels. Usually, they'll talk about power. This makes much more sense, because cycling, in general, is a sport that requires you exert yourself for a relatively long amount of time, instead of just trying to exert the largest force you can (this isn't weight lifting). Good cyclist know that what they need to be able to do is produce a lot of power through the pedals for a long time.

Power is the amount of work done in a given amount of time. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that more power equals more speed. However, it has only been recently that measuring power output has become a common practice in training. Riders now train to maximize their power output. This is done a number of ways. There are special trainers that you can mount you bike into that will measure your power output:

The rear wheel is mounted into the trainer, and rolls on the roller.


But the new and best way to measure power is using a power measuring crank. You aren't confined to a trainer, and can get some real riding done.

Power measuring crank.


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