Cycling wattage & power-to-weight ratio calculator

Weight of the rider
(incl. clothes & gear)
Weight of the bike
Length of the route
Gradient of the route
Travel time

Power-to-weight ratio: watts per kg body weight

Wattage (total): watts, divided into:

Climbing performance watts
Rolling resistance performance watts
Air resistance performance watts

Calories burned: kcal ( kJ)

Training using your cycling wattage

In cycling today it has become commonplace to measure the training performance in watts/kg (power to weight ratio). This provides a relatively accurate indication and point of comparison, by which you can measure your training progress. Watt measuring systems offer significant advantages over the pulse for training control, but are more expensive and therefore mostly used by amateur and professional athletes. But you don’t need to fork out for high-tech equipment; our calculator will help you work out your individual wattage.

What does 'power-to-weight ratio' mean?

Relating power capacity to weight can be beneficial, as rolling resistance and wind resistance are also affected by weight and so are effectively factored in automatically. This makes it easier to compare athletes of different sizes. If you only want to measure your own capacity, knowing just your power output is sufficient.

Determining your power capacity in watts can be an advantage, as it is significantly more precise than using your pulse. The pulse is very slow to react and only reaches the target value after several seconds, while the power output adjusts instantly. The pulse can also be affected by many different factors, while the power output can give an indication of the actual training stress.

How does the wattage calculator work?

Our cycling wattage calculator can never be as accurate as a measuring system installed directly onto a bike, but the values provide acceptable approximations. To ensure the most accurate possible result, we make the following assumptions:

  • Still air
  • The most uniform possible gradient over the whole measured route
  • Neutral posture with hands on the hoods
  • Efficiency of the calorie expenditure corresponds to a trained athlete (more on the subject of calorie expenditure can be found in our calorie calculator - coming soon)

Choosing a route for power measurement

For best results find an appropriate route section, on which you can start up consistently. This will allow you to accurately compare the calculated values every time. The following factors affect the power output:

  • Climbing performance (gravity): The climbing performance is the power which is produced at a particular gradient. Quite logical actually. This can be calculated using our calculator, which also takes into account two further values.
  • Rolling resistance: Rolling resistance refers to the force created when a wheel is in motion, which acts against the direction of the movement. Rolling resistance increases proportional to weight, which is why it makes sense to analyse the power to weight ratio when comparing different athletes. Rolling resistance decreases with higher speed.
  • Air resistance: Wind resistance is the force, which acts in the opposite direction to the motion of an object moving through a gaseous medium (in this case, of course, the air). This also increases with body weight (because of the increase in the volume of the body) and so is insignificant when calculating power to weight ratios. In this case: The air resistance is higher, the faster the athlete is travelling.
Wattage is the sum of air resistance, rolling resistance and grade resistance
The wattage increases with increasing resistance forces

Accuracy of the calculated output

As mentioned above, the calculated values are only approximations, but greater accuracy can be achieved by choosing the steepest route possible. This is due to the fact that the effects of rolling resistance and air resistance will be reduced.

What the pros can produce…

The highest power to weight ratio measured in competition was produced by the former Italian cycling-sport pro Marco Pantani who conquered the legendary ascent of L’Alpe d’Huez in 1997 with 7.2 watts/kg in 37:35 minutes. The standards for racing cyclists are also divided into different categories. So amateur cyclists mostly fall in the range of 2.5 – 3.5 watts/kg for a 30 minute mountain trip, whereas world-class mountain cyclists can achieve a capacity of 6 to 7 watts/kg.

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