Cycling Wattage Calculator
Table of contents
What is the cycling wattage?Component 1: GravityComponent 2: Rolling resistanceComponent 3: Aerodynamic dragComponent 4: Cycling power lossesInterpreting my resultBonus: Estimate your calories burnt from your powerFAQsThis cycling wattage calculator is a tool designed for all cycling passionates. With its help, you can explore the relationship between the power you produce and various parameters such as speed, biking position, hill slope, or pavement type. For example, you can find out how much power you can save when switching from knobby to slick tires.
Thanks to this cycling power calculator, you will finally be able to compare two cyclists with fundamentally different styles — for example, a road cyclist who never gets off his slicktired bike and an MTB enthusiast who enjoys hardcore offroad adventures.
💡 To learn more about work and power, check out our work and power calculator.
What is the cycling wattage?
Cycling wattage is the power you produce with your legs to get your bike going (and, preferably, going fast). You can think of it as the ultimate measure of your biking skills: the more power you can produce, the better cyclist you are.
The cycling power is measured in watts. One watt corresponds to one joule of energy produced every second.
Our cycling wattage calculator is based on the model described in detail in the paper
. It assumes that the power you produce is equal to the sum of resistances you need to overcome, multiplied by your speed. Additionally, we take power losses into consideration.The cycling wattage formula that we use looks like this:
where:
 $P$ — Your power;
 $F_\mathrm{g}$ — Resisting force due to gravity;
 $F_\mathrm{r}$ — Rolling resistance force;
 $F_\mathrm{a}$ — Aerodynamic drag;
 $v$ — Your speed in m/s; and
 $\text{loss}$ — Percentage loss in power.
In the following sections of this text, we will look at each component of this cycling power equation in more detail.
Component 1: Gravity
If you're cycling uphill, you need to overcome the force of gravity. Naturally, if you're going downhill, gravity will actually help you, making you accelerate without any additional effort.
The force of gravity can be calculated as follows:
where:
 $F_\mathrm{g}$ — Resisting force due to gravity;
 $g$ — Gravitational acceleration, equal to $9.80665\ \text{m}/\text{s}^2$;
 $\text{slope}$ — Slope of the hill, expressed as a percentage (positive for going uphill and negative for going downhill);
 $M$ — Your weight in kg; and
 $m$ — Weight of your bicycle and any extra gear, also in kg.
Component 2: Rolling resistance
The next factor that will undoubtedly slow you down is the friction between your tires and the surface (see the friction calculator). The smoother the road and the slicker your tires, the less friction you will experience.
The formula for rolling resistance is:
where:
 $F_\mathrm{r}$ — Rolling resistance; and
 $C_\mathrm{rr}$ — Rolling resistance coefficient.
The estimates for the rolling resistance coefficient $C_\mathrm{rr}$ in our cycling wattage calculator are based on the findings of researchers from the and the :
Surface type  Slick tires  Knobby tires 

Concrete  0.0020  0.0025 
Asphalt  0.0050  0.0063 
Gravel  0.0060  0.0076 
Grass  0.0070  0.0089 
Offroad  0.0200  0.0253 
Sand  0.0300  0.0380 
Component 3: Aerodynamic drag
The third component of the power equation is the aerodynamic drag. It's a force of air resistance. Unlike the previous two components, it's dependent on your speed raised to the second power – the faster you are, the higher the air resistance. It means that the faster you go, the more difficult it is to keep speeding up.
The aerodynamic drag can be calculated according to the formula below:
where:
 $F_\mathrm{a}$ – Aerodynamic drag;
 $C_\mathrm{d}$ – Drag coefficient;
 $A$ – Your frontal area;
 $\rho$ – Air density;
 $v$ – Your speed; and
 $w$ – Wind speed (positive for headwind and negative for tailwind).
It is common to estimate the value of $C_\mathrm{d} \times A$ instead of determining each of these two separately. We are using the values suggested by Asker E. Jeukendrup in his book :
Position  $C_\mathrm{d} \times A$ 

Tops  0.408 
Hoods  0.324 
Drops  0.307 
Aerobars  0.2914 
The positions are:
 Tops – Hands hold the top straight portion of the handlebars.
 Hoods – Hands grip the brake lever hoods at the top of the curved portion of the handlebars.
 Drops – Hands hold lower down the curve on the dropped or curved section of the handlebars.
 Aerobars – Hands grip the extra handlebars on the front of the triathlon bike.
Additionally, our cycling wattage calculator estimates the air density at a given elevation above sea level (a.s.l.) according to the barometric formula:
where:
 $\rho$ – Air density;
 $\rho_0$ – Air density at the sea level, equal to $1.225\ \text{kg}/\text{m}^2$;
 $M_0$ – Molar mass of Earth's air, equal to $0.0289644\ \text{kg}/\text{mol}$;
 $h$ – Elevation above sea level;
 $R$ – Universal gas constant for air, equal to $8.3144598\ \text{N×m}/\text{(mol×K)}$; and
 $T_0$ – Standard temperature equal to $288.15\ \text{K}$.
After substituting the constants, we can simplify this equation to:
Component 4: Cycling power losses
Not all of the power that you produce when cycling is transferred directly to the wheels. Some of it is lost either due to the resistance of the chain or of the derailleur pulleys.
Our cycling power calculator assumes a constant 1.5% loss on your pulleys. The losses on the chain are dependent on its condition:
 $3\%$ for a new, welloiled chain;
 $4\%$ for a dry chain (for example, when the oil has been washed away by rain); and
 $5\%$ for a dry chain that is so old it became elongated.
You can check out
for more information about power losses.Interpreting my result
Now you know your cycling wattage – but what does that number mean, exactly? The table below provides an overview of the powertoweight ratio (power that can be produced per kilogram of body weight) over different durations compiled by Dr. Andrew Coggan, a renowned exercise physiologist.
Cyclist type  5 minutes  20 minutes  1 hour 

Recreational  2.5  2.1  1.8 
Amateur  3.7  3.3  3.0 
Professional  7.0  6.1  6.0 
Bonus: Estimate your calories burnt from your power
For a cyclist, power is probably the most useful piece of data you can get. By knowing your power, you can learn about your performance, health, and even the state of your body. Of all of these values, the most mainstream of them has to be calorie consumption.
Not only are calories a common way for people to measure the level of activity they perform, but it also helps you better plan your nutrition and provides a measure by which you can set goals, be it fat loss, performance improvement, or building muscle.
It is for this reason that we have added Energy Consumption
section, that lets you estimate the calories you burnt on your ride. This is a very simple process since power and energy are related by a single value: elapsed time.
When we are talking about a human doing some work, we also need to take into account the inefficiencies of our bodies. Our bodies always burn more energy than they produce and that difference is what we call efficiency (see the efficiency calculator). Once we model these losses into our formula, we arrive at the following:
Here $\small\text{Power}$ refers to the average power you sustained for the $\small\text{Time}$ of the activity, $4.18$ is the conversion factor from Joules (SI unit) to calories, and $0.24$ is the efficiency ($24\%$) of an average human body when cycling.
Remember that this is an estimation that works better for steadypaced rides than it does, for example, for HITT training. This is because the efficiency of our bodies changes slightly with power output and effort level.
If you want a more detailed analysis of your calorie consumption on the bike and the fatloss implications, please visit our calories burned while cycling calculator.
What is my wattage at 35 km/h on flat ground?
Assuming you weigh 70 kg
and are riding a wellmaintained 8 kg
road bike, about 200 W
.
Many parameters affect this quantity, but it's safe to say that it lies between the newbie and the professional ranges.
What is the best type of handlebar to maximize my wattage?
Aerobars. If you want to get the most out of your legs, use the triathlon extension. The type of handlebars affects your wattage due to a contribution to the aerodynamic drag.
For aerobars, this contribution is 0.2914
. It increases to 0.307
and 0.324
respectively, for drops and hoods, and it's highest when you are relaxed on the tops, at 0.408
.
What are the components of the cycling wattage formula?
To calculate the wattage, you need three components:

Gravity
Fg
, with the formula:Fg = g × sin(arctan(slope)) × (M + m)
where:

g
— Gravitational parameter; and 
M
andm
— Masses of the cyclist and bike, respectively.


Rolling resistance
Fr
, with the formula:Fr = g × cos(arctan(slope)) × (M + m) × Crr
, where:Crr
— Rolling resistance coefficient.

Aerodynamic drag is given by:
Fa = 0.5 × Cd × A × ρ × (v + w)²
where:
Cd
— Drag coefficient;A
— Frontal area;ρ
— Air density;v
— Your speed; andw
— Wind speed.
What is the maximum wattage of a cyclist?
24002500 watts is a cyclist's maximum wattage when we consider short, peak efforts. For longer distances, the record is about 440 watts: Bradley Wiggins averaged this incredible power during his successful attempt to break the hour record.
For comparison, while cycling for leisure, at a speed of 20 km/h, you generate less than 100 W; on a normal training ride averaging 35 km/h, you can reach up to 250 W.