Power to weight ratio explained: watts per kilo matter - here’s how to improve yours

Unless you only ever ride on pancake-flat surfaces, improving your power-to-weight ratio is a must

Male cyclist training to improve his power to weight ratio
(Image credit: Future)

Cyclists have a reputation for caring deeply about weight, and it’s hard to argue against the caricatures. To give just one example, take Specialized’s flagship race bike, the Tarmac SL8. Two framesets with differing carbon layups are sold, with the weight difference between them standing at around 280 grams and the price difference is over a grand. The premium placed on lightness of weight is pretty clear to see. 

And there's a good reason for this. Despite aerodynamics being the biggest determinant of your cycling speed in so many situations, when climbing on steep gradients, it’s gravity which is the primary force that you need to overcome - and shedding weight makes that job easier. 

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Anna Marie Abram
Fitness Features Editor

I’ve been hooked on bikes ever since the age of 12 and my first lap of the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in the bright yellow kit of the Hillingdon Slipstreamers. For a time, my cycling life centred around racing road and track. 

But that’s since broadened to include multiday two-wheeled, one-sleeping-bag adventures over whatever terrain I happen to meet - with a two-week bikepacking trip from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia being just the latest.

I still enjoy lining up on a start line, though, racing the British Gravel Championships and finding myself on the podium at the enduro-style gravel event, Gritfest in 2022.

Height: 177cm

Weight: 60–63kg