Forcing an agressive bike position upon yourself.



swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat
Greg was pretty special to watch. Cycle Sport, the UK magazine, posted two articles on the 1989 Worlds last month. One is Sean Kelly's account. Finishes don't get better than this--Fignon jumps on the last hill, the only move he has left. Greg drags the group up to him, Fignon wags his finger at him: "You just trying to make me lose?" Kelly gets back on at the bottom of the hill, Greg leads out the sprint at 200m, and nobody can come around.

And then there's the textbook domination of the '83 Worlds.
Greg didn't drag the bunch up to Fignon. There was no finger wagging. Greg dropped the group, caught Fignon and dropped him on the way to the summit to catch the few guys that were still out in front. Bauer dragged the bunch up the hill and popped a tire on the way down the other side. A few cat and mouse shenanigans on the way down and LeMond took it in the sprint.

I needs to gets me somes of those 'iron injections' that his soigneur Otto gave him. From the brink of retirement to insta-fast.
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat
Greg was pretty special to watch. Cycle Sport, the UK magazine, posted two articles on the 1989 Worlds last month. One is Sean Kelly's account. Finishes don't get better than this...
Unless we're including 92 Milan-San Remo where Sean Kelly drops the field going downhill on the switchbacks after the climb up the Poggio catching Argentin with 1K to go. The look on Moreno's face must have priceless when he realized the old man had caught him.

Kelly was one of my early favs not only for his exciting finishing speed but also because he validated my personal preference of lower saddle and compact upper body. Friends of mine would constantly harang me about needing a longer stem to which I'd reply "this one feels good... and I look like Sean Kelly" ;P
 

PoorInRichfield

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Originally Posted by swampy1970
That's Greg going downhill, he didn't ride that low...

If you stick your seat far enough back then you take most of the weight off your hands when you pedal.
The following picture is apparently from Jens Voight's new Trek Madone...



Is his seat all the way back for the reason you mention? Looks odd to have the seat pushed so far back. I thought maybe he was doing that to trying and force some shock absorption by forcing the saddle rails to act like a cantilever or something.
 

danfoz

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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield

Is his seat all the way back for the reason you mention? Looks odd to have the seat pushed so far back. I thought maybe he was doing that to trying and force some shock absorption by forcing the saddle rails to act like a cantilever or something.
Its a seatpost with zero setback. 2cm is pretty common so imagine the saddle that much forward and it would be closer to the neutral position on the rails.

2cm setback (offset) on post:
 

CAMPYBOB

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Quote by Swampy:
"I needs to gets me somes of those 'iron injections' that his soigneur Otto gave him. From the brink of retirement to insta-fast."

Think panniers...motorcycle...
 

531Aussie

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Apr 11, 2004
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Yeah, old Roger.....

Every time I ramble on about this, some gen-y 'dude' tries to point out that I'm wrong, coz he doesn't wanna hear that there's an alternative to having his bars a foot lower than his saddle. :)

We don't need low bars to get aero -- see fig.1: old Roger.
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His bars are barely any lower than his saddle, yet his back is obviously as low as anything. "Oh my god! How is that possible?!?" I hear the kiddies ask.

If a rider is well balanced over the bottom bracket, by using (firstly!!) the correct size bike (not one that's 2 or 3 sizes too small, with a 74.5 degree seat tube), 'enough' setback, and perhaps even (shock/horror) a slight upward saddle tilt, then heaps of weight is taken off the hands (as Swampo suggested). This means we should be able to ride low without having to hold ourselves up with our arms, which obviously reduces hand numbness, and shoulder and upper back discomfort.

I like the old test of riding low and taking the hands off the bars to see how far ya can ride; it's a ripper.

I dunno how the fark guys like Hesjedal can ride like that for more than about an hour, and that's in a race, where you tend not to notice pain as much. :)

And if someone doesn't like Roger's position, then check out the guy Swampy loves: Alf Engers (fig 2) :) And if ya don't like that, check out just any other legend from the old days.
Better yet, check out the Youtube below of the 1989 World Championships. At the 7m48s mark, after they've got back onto flat roads, Lemond attacks, and the other riders go after him. Check out how aero they ride when they're hammering, even though they all have little saddle-to-bar drop. There are a billion other videos from the 80s and 90s showing the same thing. The old dudes knew how to farkin get aero without riding an XXXXXS frame with bars so low that they're barely legal.

The only half-decent criticism I've heard of the "old style" is that lower back flexion is increased, instead of flexing at the hip, as guys like Hesjedal apparently do. However, I don't remember the pro peloton being riddle with back injuries in the days of yore. (If someone mentions Merckx, I'll spew up) :)

I've also heard guys saying that they need uber-low bars for sprinting. Firstly, I don't really buy it; secondly, super-deep drops were available for those who wanted them (check out pics of Cipollini's bikes); and thirdly, most guys I see sprinting don't make full use of low bars anyway, coz they still have their upper body sticking up in the wind. I can't believe more guys don't copy Cavendish.

So there!
Eh, I've lost interest.... :)


Fig. 1: Roger De Vlaeminck being awesome


Alf Engers
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CAMPYBOB

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Alf...wearing short shorts, flaunting the bling on a 5-speed TT drillium with tag paper clearances!

Roger...using the blue rubber shift lever covers!
 

PoorInRichfield

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Jan 1, 2014
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Originally Posted by danfoz

Its a seatpost with zero setback. 2cm is pretty common so imagine the saddle that much forward and it would be closer to the neutral position on the rails.

2cm setback (offset) on post:
What I don't understand is that Trek makes a seat post with an offset that fits the Madone. Even if they didn't, I'm sure they could've made one for one of their team riders if it was needed. So why did Mr. Voight opt to shift his saddle far back instead of just getting the ~correct~ seat post? I guess we'll never know unless one of us can ask him ;)
 

danfoz

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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield

So why did Mr. Voight opt to shift his saddle far back instead of just getting the ~correct~ seat post? I guess we'll never know unless one of us can ask him ;)
Who knows? He certainly seems like the kind of guy who gets what he wants either via his gregarious form of charisma or his caffeine induced mania, and it's not one of those old school 2 bolt types either, I'm not familiar with that seatpost/mast but it looks like all the stress gets delivered to that single bolt, and Jens ain't no featherweight.
 

CAMPYBOB

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Quote by PiR:
"So why did Mr. Voight opt to shift his saddle far back instead of just getting the ~correct~ seat post?"

It was the only way he could get his legs to shut up.

Either that or he enjoys a little extra rail flex in his suspension setup.


Alf and Roger might have 4" of seatpost showing. That was about the norm in 1972-1980. Most guys 'rode the frame' and not a foot of seatpost or a 140 MM stem. Even with a longish track stem, Alf looks particularly squared up despite being deep in the hooks.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Remember that handlebar shape has changed over the decades. Traditional bends generally put the hoods, where most of the riding is done, 2-5 cm lower than the top of the bar. Also, the drop on those bars was generally 130-145 mm. The compact bars most riders, pros and duffers alike, are in the 125-130 mm range, with the hoods usually being the highest point on the bar.

Physique has something to do with it too. Merckx rode with considerably more than a fistful of seatpost showing, but his lanky build let him reach farther for the bar. And he wasn't much more radical than two riders of similar builds from the '50s, Hugo Koblet and Ercole Baldini.



Historically, I chose Moser for taking the Merckx position to the next level, an evolutionary step. The '80s saw more widespread adoption of this position.



In the days of steel, top pros used custom frames. Merckx's bikes were shorter in the top tube than standard builds. Eddy built carbon frames for his son Axel were that even more extreme in this regard.

To me, the greatest fit puzzle was Fausto Coppi. While his overall height was probably just a little taller than average, his bikes look like they were fit for his long legs rather than his torso.

The one thing that I'm sure of is that the difference between contemporary pro riders and weekend duffers has never been greater.
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by CAMPYBOB
Alf...wearing short shorts, flaunting the bling on a 5-speed TT drillium with tag paper clearances!

Roger...using the blue rubber shift lever covers!
King Alf!

He once got a speeding ticket on a main road during a time trial - I **** ye not.

The man was a legend... and not just because of the speeding ticket.

Apparently his drillium handlebars used to whistle. Years before the USE aerobars had the brake levers inline with the bar tops, Engers experimented with regular 'flat handlebar' brake levers hidden behind the bar tops.


One of the best stories of that era was one about Engers main competitors, Eddie Adkins. On the way to a 25 mile TT he spotted a woman trapped under part of a car. Eddie stopped and lifted the corner of the car to allow bystanders to help her out. After the deed was done, Eddie went and just made it to the TT in time and did a 50 minute 25, just shy of the comp record at the time.

 

swampy1970

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Originally Posted by oldbobcat

The one thing that I'm sure of is that the difference between contemporary pro riders and weekend duffers has never been greater.
I think it's part common sense, part knowledge and part pussification.

Weekend guys don't need to ride ass up and head down and with the advent of more office jobs (aka more sitting down rather than standing and keeping those hip flexors stretched) and more lard arses, a lot of guys don't have a choice in the matter. Even when I get down to within 10lbs of my old racing weight I can't get anywhere near the position I used to time trial in. My bars are literally about 7 inches higher.

With the advent of power meters and programs like Golden Cheetah any schmoe can go out and somewhat replicate windtunnel tests. Guys who measure the nth degree like Messers Chung, Simmons or Coggan can get results that are on a part with a wind tunnel. You learn quick what really works and what doesn't and some of the time the results are counter intuitive. Drop the bars too much and you may end up reaching too far and hunching the shoulders or awkwardly bending your back raising drag. Raise the bars and relax a bit and drag can be lower.

The eyes can deceive but the numbers never lie.
 

CAMPYBOB

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World Champ Eddy with 3" to 4" of post showing and levers well below the bar top:



Eddy with a Holy Campy T-Wrench in his right hand. Note the non-rediculously long stem with plenty of vertical showing. Bonus points for anyone under the age of 25 that can identify the black instrument with a dial in the left backgound! Hint, Steve Jobs did NOT invent it.



Bike stands are for wimps! Real cannibals use a couple of chains hanging from the ceiling! Whatever happened to chrome-plated Campy clamp-on double tunnels?!?! Gone by the time this picture was taken...despite the fact the rear brake cable is still secured with three chrome Campy clamps.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Originally Posted by swampy1970

I think it's part common sense, part knowledge and part pussification.

Weekend guys don't need to ride ass up and head down and with the advent of more office jobs (aka more sitting down rather than standing and keeping those hip flexors stretched) and more lard arses, a lot of guys don't have a choice in the matter. Even when I get down to within 10lbs of my old racing weight I can't get anywhere near the position I used to time trial in. My bars are literally about 7 inches higher.
I agree. I've got The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles on my bookshelf now, which is about custom touring bikes, French custom touring bikes. And there's a photo of Lily Herse in the late '40s, the daughter of Rene Herse, the great builder, in the process of winning an amateur hillclimb. She is seated, hips a little higher than the hands, hands throttling the hoods, back stretched over the top tube, and taking no prisoners, athletic but not radical. In short, excellent bike **** for guys who like strong, assertive women.

Age and amateur aspirations are great excuses for not getting down like Ryder, or even Greg, but I can't help feeling that if you have to sit up like a squirrel munching an acorn you should probably be riding a hybrid.
 

CAMPYBOB

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Lily Herse!



Quote by OBC:
"if you have to sit up like a squirrel munching an acorn you should probably be riding a hybrid."

Heh! We always heard that called the 'sit up and beg' position...as in 'a squirrel begging for a peanut in the park'. It equally applies to guys sitting on zero-turn mowers and geezer motorcycles with bar risers.
 

oldbobcat

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Originally Posted by CAMPYBOB
Lily Herse!
Amazing, huh? Taking her turn at the front of a bunch of guys, fenders, racks, and all. I think this photo is at the front of my book. I'll try to upload a scan of the other one this weekend.