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Cycling power-to-weight ratio (PWR)

The power-to-weight ratio (PWR) is the great equalizer among cycling and climbing. The PWR allows us to compare the cycling abilities between bikers of different size and weight.

Influence of gravity when cycling uphill

When climbing by bike you not just have to take road resistance into account but also gravity. Gravity increases with your weight becoming higher and the climb becoming steeper.
influence of weight and gradient on power output cyclist

Length of the climb - max sustainable power

Climbing a big climb can take over two hours. You need to be able to maintain your ratio for that time span. Some (professional) cyclists can produce 6.5 watts/kg during half an hour but may only be able to produce 6 watts/kg for an hour. So you need to know what your maximum sustainable power is.

Add climbs to your myclimbbybike and calculate your PWR and more

The weight of your body and your genes

Whilst you can try to train your body in certain directions, you (still) have the genes you have. Some have a body that is better for short heavy efforts, others, for long endurance efforts. The first (sprinters) have a good body muscle structure to climb short and steep climbs (e.g. Amstel or Ronde) as they can produce a lot of output during a short period of time, just like in a sprint. The others can sustain a certain power level during a longer period and are better at climbing long climbs.

Calculate your body mass index

The weight of your bike

Riding a lighter bike will of course increase your power-to-weight ratio. If you regularly climb by bike, it can help to choose a lighter (read: more expensive) bike with a compact or triple gear. However, itís better (and cheaper) to optimize your PWR-ratio through your own body, by good training.

Bikes for climbing

How to calculate your maximum sustainable power

You can get to know your maximm sustainable power on any decent bike computer device, but, if you have a good reference of a climb you did in the passed, and you know some other variables like your weight and the weight of your bike, you can calculate your power and power-to-weight ratio below. This equation also prooves that a difference of only a few pounds can already mean a benefit of more than a few watts of power.

Buying a decent bike computer

Calculate your power, power-to-weight ratio and kCalories

Fill out the data of a climb you did in the passed and get to know your power, power-to-weight ratio and kCalories consumed.


Please fill out all values.
Gradient: m
Distance (use","): km
Chrono: Hours Minutes Seconds
Weight: kg
Weight bike : kg
Speed: Km/H
Power: Watt
Power/kg: W/kg
Kcalories: Kcal

Typical power to weight ratio for men and women amateur cyclists

On, you can find the typical PWR for untrained to professional men and women cyclists.

How to climb faster?

So, apart from your own genes and parameters such as right gearing (resistance), cadence and technique the two main means to climbing better/faster are Gaining Power or losing weight. One should happen without cannibalizing on the other. At the end, it all comes down to the right nutrition andÖ training.

Other good sources:

1. Cycling training and supercompensation

2. Cycling power to weight ratio (PWR)

3. Compact or triple

4. Bikes and accessories for climbing

5. Cycling nutrition

6. Calculate your-body-mass-index


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