# Power to weight ratios

#### craig1985

Saw in an article on the front page (Rollin confident ahead of Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne | Cyclingnews.com), that Dominique Rollin of Cervelo can produce a maximum of 1700 watts, which is more then his team mate Thor Hushovd (1600).

Rollin is 188cm tall and weights 83kg. So what is his power to weight ratio and how is it worked out? It is something you can take from his weight and the amount of watts he can produce?

So how do we determine whether or not somebody is up to no good or not?

#### Galic Ho

craig1985 said:
Saw in an article on the front page (Rollin confident ahead of Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne | Cyclingnews.com), that Dominique Rollin of Cervelo can produce a maximum of 1700 watts, which is more then his team mate Thor Hushovd (1600).

Rollin is 188cm tall and weights 83kg. So what is his power to weight ratio and how is it worked out? It is something you can take from his weight and the amount of watts he can produce?

So how do we determine whether or not somebody is up to no good or not?

They put an SRM powertap on the Columbia leadout boys last Tour. Can't remember how many had one on, but Renshaw had one for at least one stage and so to did Cav. Both put out around 800 watts sustained in a final sprint. They also peaked near 1400 and one hit for about a second, near those figures you gave. Anything that high, well, it isn't sustainable because you are at exhaustion, hence it lasts for a fraction of a second, no more than two or three all up. Average it over the period and they are human.

The thing of course isn't whether a person can put out such power, but whether two or three weeks into a grand Tour it is naturally possible to still be hitting such power at the end of a 160 km plus stage, kind of like the last two HTC wins in the Tour.

#### 9000ft

craig1985 said:
So how do we determine whether or not somebody is up to no good or not?

By circumstantial evidence, innuendo, Internet rumour posse, hearsay, misinformation, and plain old suspicion. If all that fails, there's various forms of testing and method, but everyone knows that's a farce.

#### BikeCentric

craig1985 said:
Saw in an article on the front page (Rollin confident ahead of Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne | Cyclingnews.com), that Dominique Rollin of Cervelo can produce a maximum of 1700 watts, which is more then his team mate Thor Hushovd (1600).

Rollin is 188cm tall and weights 83kg. So what is his power to weight ratio and how is it worked out? It is something you can take from his weight and the amount of watts he can produce?

So how do we determine whether or not somebody is up to no good or not?

When determining p/w ratios one wants to look at sustainable aerobic power - generally what you put out in a balls out 1 hour time trial. These peak outputs from a sprint don't mean a whole lot.

#### rgmerk

craig1985 said:
Rollin is 188cm tall and weights 83kg. So what is his power to weight ratio and how is it worked out? It is something you can take from his weight and the amount of watts he can produce?

So how do we determine whether or not somebody is up to no good or not?

Power to weight is a fairly simple calculation. If you know somebody's power output (in watts), and their weight (in kg), you simply divide power by weight.

A few months ago, I borrowed a powertap and measured myself doing a 20 minute reasonably hard effort. I averaged 270 watts. I weigh about 68 kg, so my power to weight ratio over that time was 3.97 W/kg. (Yes, I'm very, very mediocre!)

As I understand it, typically such measurements are taken over periods of about an hour. Over that period, at the end of stages, grand tour GC contenders can do over 6 W/kg.

Sprints are "anerobic" efforts, and much of the time are conducted on level ground, so weight is pretty much irrelevant as a factor, and W/kg is not considered an important statistic for sprinters. Sprint efforts wouldn't be helped directly by EPO (though the EPO might well ensure they're still in the peloton when the sprint starts).

Incidentally, I would have thought that the world-class sprinters would have higher peak power figures.

If you're interested in power outputs and doping, I'd suggest you spend some time browsing the archives of The Science of Sport, which has some fascinating analysis.

#### blackcat

craig1985 said:
Saw in an article on the front page (Rollin confident ahead of Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne | Cyclingnews.com), that Dominique Rollin of Cervelo can produce a maximum of 1700 watts, which is more then his team mate Thor Hushovd (1600).

Rollin is 188cm tall and weights 83kg. So what is his power to weight ratio and how is it worked out? It is something you can take from his weight and the amount of watts he can produce?

So how do we determine whether or not somebody is up to no good or not?
Allen Lim has gone on record about what is possible, in p/w terms. Epicycle has the quote somewhere. I think he compares a mythical horse-man beast and over 6 watts/kg.

#### Trudovelo

Rollin probably also has a big motor. His teammates at Toyota called he "the Horse" because he can substain one horse power (746 watts) for one minute.

#### ihavenolimbs

blackcat said:
Allen Lim has gone on record about what is possible, in p/w terms. Epicycle has the quote somewhere. I think he compares a mythical horse-man beast and over 6 watts/kg.

Lim is probably estimating too low since Eddy Merckx could put out 6.1 - 6.3 W/kg, and he wasn't a pure climber . This was before doping using either EPO or blood transfusions too. So it's safe to say that Merckx was cleanish (in terms of O2 boosting).

Other climbers could climber faster than Merckx:
http://www.cyclingrevealed.com/nov05/top25-17.html

Also, I'm a no-talent, weekend warrior and I can put out over 5 W/kg on long climbs (330 W, 65 kg). Cadel Evans would def. be more than 20% faster than me.

#### rgmerk

ihavenolimbs said:
Also, I'm a no-talent, weekend warrior and I can put out over 5 W/kg on long climbs (330 W, 65 kg). Cadel Evans would def. be more than 20% faster than me.

That's not exactly "no-talent weekend warrior" territory...how long can you hold that power output?

#### ihavenolimbs

rgmerk said:
That's not exactly "no-talent weekend warrior" territory...how long can you hold that power output?

The longest climb around here is about 35 mins. (And I can't even maintain 300 W for long on the flat, poor setup?) Another problem is my "sprint" peak is about 700 W. That's a sprint of less than 11 W/kg . No acceleration, no top-end. So, on balance, my stats are fairly ordinary. According to Coggan's chart, that puts my sprint at "untrained".

Back to the OP's example, a really good sprinter is typically above 20:1 , like Rollin. Cav's is about 20:1 too, but he also has a very low-down sprint position, so he's probably very aero.

#### BikeCentric

ihavenolimbs said:
Lim is probably estimating too low since Eddy Merckx could put out 6.1 - 6.3 W/kg, and he wasn't a pure climber . This was before doping using either EPO or blood transfusions too. So it's safe to say that Merckx was cleanish (in terms of O2 boosting).

Other climbers could climber faster than Merckx:
http://www.cyclingrevealed.com/nov05/top25-17.html

Also, I'm a no-talent, weekend warrior and I can put out over 5 W/kg on long climbs (330 W, 65 kg). Cadel Evans would def. be more than 20% faster than me.

If you are not racing against pros then your numbers are way off. I know Cat 1's who have worse numbers than you claim.

#### ihavenolimbs

BikeCentric said:
If you are not racing against pros then your numbers are way off. I know Cat 1's who have worse numbers than you claim.

Nope, I'm 6', 65 kg, and have no muscles. Helps the power-to-weight ratio. Downside is I suck when things get anaerobic (which is why I'm stuck in Cat 2).

And I fear we may be off topic. I think it was supposed to be sprinter power-to-weight ratios?

#### Ripper

ihavenolimbs said:
Nope, I'm 6', 65 kg, and have no muscles. Helps the power-to-weight ratio. Downside is I suck when things get anaerobic (which is why I'm stuck in Cat 2).

And I fear we may be off topic. I think it was supposed to be sprinter power-to-weight ratios?

Hmm, if you focused on a functional strength regimen for about 6 months, you would likely experience an increase in power on the flats and a better sprint. The focus should help you get strength without gaining much weight, so it should have minimal impact on your climbing.

Seriously man, I am something like 10-14 kg heavier than you and in Cat 2 as well, yet we have very close sustained power levels - in other words, your power to weight is wayyyy better. The only thing that sucks for you is that it would be better if you were shorter (you would likely be able to be more aero).

#### BikeCentric

ihavenolimbs said:
Nope, I'm 6', 65 kg, and have no muscles. Helps the power-to-weight ratio. Downside is I suck when things get anaerobic (which is why I'm stuck in Cat 2).

And I fear we may be off topic. I think it was supposed to be sprinter power-to-weight ratios?

Well there you go - you ARE racing against pros since most races are P/1/2 combined. I think anyone who races in the P/1/2 pack is being excessively modest to characterize themself as a "no talent weekend warrior." LOL.

But seriously you have very good P/W ratios for climbing - I'll bet you don't get dropped on climbs even in regional P/1/2 races. If you are really skinny and truly have no sprint I would just focus on anaerobic training as you get close to your target events and you could still win longish uphill sprints and anything with a finish at the top of a long climb.

#### ihavenolimbs

Sorry, I didn't mean to slag off Cat 2 as "no talent". But I do think most riders can get to Cat 2 if they train systematically (since we often don't have time to train heaps). But to get to Cat 1 and be useful, I reckon one needs more than just a good motor but also at least one of:

1/ Very strong sprint (say >18:1 W/kg sprint)
2/ Very strong at climbing (>5:1 W/kg)
3/ Extremely anaerobic (a couple of minutes at 50 kph or 31 mph)

I.e. above average talent.

And if you have a fairly light build, I also think that most people can get to about 5:1 W/kg. I brought that up since I think that Allen Lim's claim that 6:1 W/kg is the limit is too low. The freakiest SOBs having only 20% better power-to-weight than me seems too low.

P.S. And you're right BikeCentric, tall and skinny people aren't very aero. Andy Schleck's problem also, relative to Contador?

#### Martin318is

BikeCentric said:
When determining p/w ratios one wants to look at sustainable aerobic power - generally what you put out in a balls out 1 hour time trial. These peak outputs from a sprint don't mean a whole lot.

You seem to be suggesting that there is only one relevant power to weight ratio. The reality is that different figures are applicable in different circumstances. For instance, when discussing the relative values of sprinters, short term peak p/w is applicable and when talking about gt climbers, 20min to 1hr p/w is probably the most applicable.

Either way, I'd recommend anyone interested do a search on Google on "Watts per Kilo".

#### ScienceIsCool

ihavenolimbs said:
The freakiest SOBs having only 20% better power-to-weight than me seems too low.

I don't know. I think 20% better power to weight is an incredibly huge difference at FTP. Even 5% difference from the riders around you would allow you to ride away from everyone on a long climb.

John Swanson

#### BikeCentric

Martin318is said:
You seem to be suggesting that there is only one relevant power to weight ratio. The reality is that different figures are applicable in different circumstances. For instance, when discussing the relative values of sprinters, short term peak p/w is applicable and when talking about gt climbers, 20min to 1hr p/w is probably the most applicable.

Either way, I'd recommend anyone interested do a search on Google on "Watts per Kilo".

What I was suggesting was in the context of the original posters question - how can we use p/w ratio to determine when a rider "is up to no good" i.e. doping. For this we need to look at sustainable aerobic p/w and that is what I meant by saying maximal p/w ratio does not mean a whole lot - it doesn't when trying to make a guess on whether a rider is doping or not.

Otherwise you are of course correct.

#### D Avoid

My power to hate ratio was greatly increased on Sunday aftersoon, as I had to listen to the entire commentary in Gelbeak or some such untested languish.

#### neptun1s

I agree with ihavenolimbs. I'm also cat 2 and my 60 minute power is around 5.1-5.2 w/kg. But because I only weigh 53-54 kg, my absolute watts are just too low for many Pro/1/2 races. Results are still possible, but they require some pretty savvy racing, and I realize the need for stronger anaerobic efforts if I ever expect to go anywhere in the sport....

#### Oldman

ihavenolimbs said:
Sorry, I didn't mean to slag off Cat 2 as "no talent". But I do think most riders can get to Cat 2 if they train systematically (since we often don't have time to train heaps). But to get to Cat 1 and be useful, I reckon one needs more than just a good motor but also at least one of:

1/ Very strong sprint (say >18:1 W/kg sprint)
2/ Very strong at climbing (>5:1 W/kg)
3/ Extremely anaerobic (a couple of minutes at 50 kph or 31 mph)

I.e. above average talent.

And if you have a fairly light build, I also think that most people can get to about 5:1 W/kg. I brought that up since I think that Allen Lim's claim that 6:1 W/kg is the limit is too low. The freakiest SOBs having only 20% better power-to-weight than me seems too low.

P.S. And you're right BikeCentric, tall and skinny people aren't very aero. Andy Schleck's problem also, relative to Contador?

I really appreciate this modestly accurate assessment. All items 1-3 are typical of good Cat 1's in one feature or another. Being a Pro usually requires attributes 2 & 3 at least and that qualifies you as a team worker. If you can "float" the 50 kph for the requisite 1-2 kms; you'll be a lead out guy and maybe the long shot finisher in a flatter race. The climbers generally gravitate to a type of climb ie: steeper climbs are spindly dudes, power climbs are the same fellows that can ride that fast 1-2kms but aren't carrying fat. If you're in any of these catagories you are enjoying your weekend wars.

#### amrstrongvscontador2010

Michelle ferrari states that it takes 6.7 watts per kilogram to win the tour de france / contest the tour de france . Even if someone has a number of 5.1 watts / kilogram ( which is in fact pretty good numbers) the amount of work to get to 6.7 watts per kilogram is ALOT of work and years of training , it may only be 20 % or roughly that but finding 20% increase when you have been riding for years and have good form is not an over night job . Also ihavenolimbs might have really good numbers but who is to say that he races smart and conserves energy ? ( no punt intended just putting it out there )?

#### chase196126

Just as Neptun brought up power to weight is not always a fair assessment of ability across the board. Large power to weight ratios will always trend to the smaller rider, even if he is riding at the same speed as a larger rider uphill.

For example:

A 90kg rider and a 70kg rider each with a threshold wattage of 5 watt/kg. 350 450 watts respectively. With the bike weight limits you get these numbers:

450/96.8= 4.65 (rounded up)
350/76.8= 4.56 (rounded up)

Because the bike makes up a smaller % of the larger riders system mass it has less effect. In order for the smaller rider to travel the same speed uphill he would have to produce 5.1 watts/kilo compared to the larger riders 5.0 flat.

Basically even watts/kilo calculations have to be take with a slight grain of salt when comparing riders of significantly different size.

Sorry if that was totally obvious...

#### Escarabajo

amrstrongvscontador2010 said:
Michelle ferrari states that it takes 6.7 watts per kilogram to win the tour de france / contest the tour de france . Even if someone has a number of 5.1 watts / kilogram ( which is in fact pretty good numbers) the amount of work to get to 6.7 watts per kilogram is ALOT of work and years of training , it may only be 20 % or roughly that but finding 20% increase when you have been riding for years and have good form is not an over night job . Also ihavenolimbs might have really good numbers but who is to say that he races smart and conserves energy ? ( no punt intended just putting it out there )?
6.7 W/Kg????

That is a huge number. In the calculations that I have made I have not seen this value unless the rider is doped to the gills.

#### I Watch Cycling In July

chase196126 said:
Just as Neptun brought up power to weight is not always a fair assessment of ability across the board. Large power to weight ratios will always trend to the smaller rider, even if he is riding at the same speed as a larger rider uphill.

For example: ...

Because the bike makes up a smaller % of the larger riders system mass it has less effect. In order for the smaller rider to travel the same speed uphill he would have to produce 5.1 watts/kilo compared to the larger riders 5.0 flat.

Basically even watts/kilo calculations have to be take with a slight grain of salt when comparing riders of significantly different size.

When comparing long performance (e.g. 1hr), lighter riders are in general able to produce a higher watts/kg for two reasons. The first is 'allometric scaling of VO2 max'. Smaller riders can burn slightly more oxygen per kg (roughly 3% per 10kg). The second is thermo-regulation. Lighter riders have a higher surface area to volume ratio, so they cool more easily.

None of this applies to anaerobic sprints of course...