# Are Watts the only thing that matter?

So i got a weird question…
Assuming i’m going uphill with a steady power of 200 watts.
Now imagine 2 scenarios:

Scenario 1: i ride seated with a cadence of 95-100rpm using small ring at the front.

Scenario 2: i ride out of the saddle with a cadence of 60rpm using big ring at the front.

Do i go faster in any of these scenarios? Or are Watts the only thing that matter? As in, if i’m pushing the exact same Watts in any of the above scenarios, i’m going the same speed regardless of cadence used and regardless of using big ring or small ring at the front…

Mostly, yes. I can think of two small variables:

1-Drivetrain friction. Most powermeters these days measure wattage upstream of drivetrain friction, so while you may be putting 200 watts into the pedals, in one situation you might be losing more watts to drivetrain friction. For example, if you’re heavily cross-chained in order to stay in the big ring.

2-Aerodynamics. If you’re riding 200 watts up a relatively steep hill, this wouldn’t have any impact. But, if you’re riding 200 watts up a 2% grade, you might be going fast enough that the seated position is faster due to being more aerodynamic.

Ok cool.
So in “normal” real life scenario as a general rule of thumb, watts are all that matters.
That’s good to know.

Thanks a lot Christian.

Well, almost.

Watts are all that matters assuming all the opposing forces are the same

Important distinction because I see a lot of riders sit bolt upright in the position where they produce the most power and throw aerodynamics out the window.

Yeah, i get what you’re saying.
Mostly i was just asking from a pedalling eficiency point of view…
Recently i’ve been enjoying climbing out of the saddle a lot more, and when i do that, my cadence naturally drops down. And i was just wondering if i was losing speed by doing so, even though the wattage stays the same. If that makes any sense?

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