GPS Cadence v Calories

Has anyone with a Garmin (version??) GPS and a cadence sensor looked at the calorie burn estimate?

I have the Garmin 305, but no cadence sensor. I use the “Bike” setup.

I’m looking for input on calorie burn and approximate rpm.

I suspect that the calorie burn is probably not accurate. My usual average over 40-50km is around 20kph. I have the “bike” weight set to 20 lbs I think (should check that) based on my KH36 with handle bar, and a usual Camelback with some tools, small basic First Aid, Larabars, gels, and 1.5l of water. Looking at my ride yesterday, it was indicating about 850 calories per hour.

I figure that I am about MAX RPM around 22-24 kph, and that is probably (estimate) about 110rpm. So I am looking input on RPM in the 18-24 kph range on 125mm cranks on a 36" if you have that cadence setup.


The calorie calculation is probably based on some sort of average for bicycles. That’s a guess. But I don’t know how unicycles would compare to that, and even then wheel size probably makes more of a difference than it would on bikes.

Cadence is not a useful bit of information for unicycles unless they are geared. Otherwise cadence is an automatic function of speed. If you were to hook up a cadence sensor it might be interesting to see how that affected the calorie calculation. It probably assumes much slower cadences for the speeds we go, so the Garmin is assuming we are riding more leisurely than we really are… :slight_smile:

One of the biggest complains of the 305 is the calculation of calories. I think the motion based calc is better… but I am not sure. I would have a look on the garmin forums for their conversion calcs.


You’re doing better than you estimate. At 24 km/h your cadence is 208.9*24/36 = 139 rpm. This assumes, of course, that the true diameter of the wheel is 36 inches and the uni is ungeared. (see Fastest speed on a unicycle)

Yeah, Garmins are notorious for overestimating calories. Even when set to bike–which is far less strenous than muni when uphills and downhills are involved (no coasting, you know!)–I get way more calories burned than is realistic. During a six-hour muni covering 17 miles, it gave something like 6000 calories burned. I suspect it was closer to half that, really.

The only thing even more out of whack than the calories on Garmins is their elevation calculations! But I still love using the gps for speed and course info.