Document Type

Journal Article


Cycling Research Center


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Originally publshed as: Menaspà, P., Haakonssen, E., Sharma, A., & Clark, B. (2016). Accuracy in measurement of elevation gain in road cycling. Journal of Science and Cycling, 5(1), pp. 10-12. Article available here.


Accurate measures of elevation gain are important for monitoring energy expenditure and physical load. The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of barometric devices used for measuring elevation gain. Observational validation study. Twenty-eight barometric altimeter devices (SRM and Garmin) were used to measure total elevation gain during cycling over three different climbs (length range: 3.2-18.4 km), giving a total of 216 climbs. An online mapping tool ( was used to calculate the criterion measure of total elevation gain. Data were categorised into two weather conditions: dry and wet. The standard errors of the estimate for total elevation gain measured by SRM and Garmin devices were 1.5% and 1.9%, respectively. In dry conditions, SRM devices underestimated the total elevation gain by an average of ~5% while the Garmin devices underestimated it by ~2%. In wet weather conditions the bias worsened to -25%. Measurements of total elevation gain recorded with devices of differed brands were similarly accurate in dry weather conditions. Wet weather conditions significantly decreased the accuracy of total elevation gain measurements.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.