Cycling Efficiency

What is cycling efficiency?

Efficiency is a key performance measure for top cyclists. Polar Cycling Efficiency compares the power output to total energy expenditure estimated from heart rate during the exercise. Cycling efficiency value is displayed as percentage and it is typically between 17-22%. The higher the efficiency, the more power one can produce to the bike with the same amount of energy and oxygen.

Theoretically, cycling efficiency is the efficiency of the human body to transform chemical energy into power output to speed the bike through the crank and chain. The remainder of the energy is lost as heat.

Even if you have reached your maximum aerobic capacity (VO2max), you can still improve your cycling efficiency by e.g improving your cycling technique.

What affects Polar Cycling Efficiency accuracy?

The accuracy of Power Output Sensor and OwnCal affect the cycling efficiency value. This means that a correct Power Output Sensor installation and updated user settings (weight, VO2max and HRmax values) are essential for cycling efficiency accuracy. If, for example, a person's maximum aerobic capacity (VO2max) improves, but VO2max setting in the Polar computer does not match this improved value, the given Cycling Efficiency value will exceed the actual cycling efficiency.