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Thread: Pedaling at Max Gear + 1 (Flashing 8's)

  1. #1

    Question Pedaling at Max Gear + 1 (Flashing 8's)

    I have an instructor that demands we do flashing 8's ... the red lever all the way pushed forward. Yes ... when the 8's flash on the computer display.

    I am wondering what your thoughts are on that ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Somewhere in the US


    No clue what you're talking about. Purpose??
    Sounds like a gimmick that I would sprint in the opposite direction.
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  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by EuroD View Post
    No clue what you're talking about. Purpose??
    Sounds like a gimmick that I would sprint in the opposite direction.
    If you own a Keiser you know that the gear goes up to 24, but we do flashing 8's (really what would be gear 25 and 'the emergency brake' on the bike). I just want to know if there is any benefit in doing so, or is it just a very bad idea ?

  4. Default

    From the Keiser M3 Quickstart Guide and from the Service Manual the flashing '88' is the emergency brake area. It is meant to stop the flywheel and the pedals. All the manuals for the Keiser bikes refer to gears 1-24.

    My interpretation would be that it is probably not a great idea to work there for the bike's health. Oh, and probably not safe for the riders if they are not maintaining a safe 'minimum' cadence (for most IDC programs, never below 60rpm for the average participant).

    Riding with the gear flashing '88' would be kind of like doing a brake stand in a car - hard on the engine, hard on the brakes, and burns the rubber off the tires. A lot of smoke, a bit of thrill, but no benefit…
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Golden, Colorado


    I would've thought it would be obviously unfeasible in your average in, if you can barely turn the pedals, the power reading on the console is going to be fairly close to zero, right???

    Do folk actually try to follow this cue?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    New York, New York, United States


    This seems totally crazy to me. Most people can barely sustain resistance somewhere in the mid-teens - never mind trying to pedal at 24. I never cue a number for resistance on the Keisers.

  7. #7


    I start at about gear 12 myself and add up to 8 gears when doing a class. So maxing out at gear 20 (about 50 rpm) .. as I am only 160 lbs and cannot do any more for any length of time. I will admit that I have done the emergency brake - 88 thing .. but it just seems pointless to me now.

    I personally refuse to do anything over gear 20 .. as I like my knees. I personally think anything more would be a way to destroy your knees and that is not worth a few minutes of bragging rights. But some do the maxing of the bike .. it is a regular thing for them.

    One of my instructors can crank out 1300 watts on that bike, but he is pretty special. He is my mentor and he says "Flashing 8's is stupid" .. but he is a cyclist, more so than a spin instructor and has been doing it over 30 years.

    He did demo it recently (in an attempt to get the students to stop doing this kind of thing). He did 160 watts at Flashing 8's (emergency brake) and 500+ watts at gear 20. So he said .. what is better ? I am sure he could have done way more but it got the point across.

    I think that pretty much sums that one up. He of course is not the instructor that does the '88' setting.

    I normally do up to 180 watts average in a 45 min class (so I am not in the same league as these big guys) and totally agree that unless you are a 240 lb person like them .. then gear 20+ is not likely going to be too much benefit as your RPM will likely be small. But there are several regulars in my class that regularly do 300+ watts as a constant state and gears over 20. Me .. I cannot do it as they weight 80 lbs more than me .. and are 8 inches taller. That makes a huge difference from what I have seen when it comes to power, though their watts / lb is very similar to mine.

    But thank you for your insights .. it helps clarify what I have recently thought about it.
    Last edited by edmscan; 03-01-2016 at 01:56 AM.

  8. #8


    Bad on the knees too. Every bike is diff. every person is diff not everyone can ride at gear 20. When I taught on keiser bikes I always used the rpms adding gears to maintain 60+(where we were at the time).


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