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Old 12-21-10, 11:08 AM   #1
sulr
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Standing position biking on a MTB. Does it have long term negative affects?

So I have been commuting on my mountain bike (2005 giant boulder) for 3 almost 4 years now. It is a heavy bike but also feels like a tank compared to the track bike I own.

I always ride standing up on it even when I have heavy bookbag and back rack full of things. I also rarely shift from the rear end low 13 teeth cog and the 48 teeth chainring because constantly shifting is annoying. Until today, I never considered the possible long term issues that could arise from a constant standing position. I just got a job where I will need to bike everyday approximately five miles back and forth.

Might anyone have past experiences with long term biking issues or suggestions for making adjustments? I can't imagine I'll shift into higher gears or stop standing, but if anyone wants to inform me I would appreciate the information!

Thanks,
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Old 12-21-10, 11:11 AM   #2
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There's a reason they put a seat on bikes.

Press Any key for the answer.
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Old 12-21-10, 11:25 AM   #3
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Standing isn't very aerodynamic if you care about that. It can also lead to problems when traction is really bad.

I don't know if it would cause any physical issues down the road. Not sure why it would.
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Old 12-21-10, 11:30 AM   #4
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I doubt if there is any long term harm from riding while standing, but if you always ride standing up and never shift, you might want to get a single speed bike and take the seat off. It'll be lighter, for sure, and without a seat, it will not be much of a magnet for thieves.
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Old 12-21-10, 11:32 AM   #5
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Only thing i can think of is possibly breaking a worn chain.
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Old 12-21-10, 11:39 AM   #6
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There's nowt so queer as folk.
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Old 12-21-10, 11:44 AM   #7
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There's nowt so queer as folk.
???
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Old 12-21-10, 11:49 AM   #8
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Yeah, if you don't switch gears then you should just run it single speed, it will be lighter without all those little bits and bobs, somewhat easier to maintain too.
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Old 12-21-10, 11:59 AM   #9
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Why has no one batted an eye at the fact that this guy rides 10 mile standing?

What possible point could there be to doing that?
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Old 12-21-10, 12:16 PM   #10
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Standing while pedaling isn't the most efficient way of getting where you are going but I am no judge of how you get there. =) If you have been doing this for years I don't know if you will all of the sudden decide to stop. Like others have said you might as well run the bike single-speed if you aren't going to shift. 5 miles each way isn't that far unless you have some big hills. If you shift downand learn to spin a bit you might find you like that or not.
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Old 12-21-10, 12:21 PM   #11
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I'd also like to understand why anyone would do this (standing the entire way). Am I missing something?
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Old 12-21-10, 12:34 PM   #12
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WWSBS?

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/standing.html
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Old 12-21-10, 12:40 PM   #13
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It isn't the standing, it is cranking along in too high a gear. This is probably a lot harder on your joints, especially your knees, than necessary.

But, control of the bike is not as good this way and that is a bad thing in traffic.
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Old 12-21-10, 12:41 PM   #14
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say that while standing won't actually hurt you, it does seem to indicate that there is something wrong with the bike. It might be a mechanical fault, or it might just be a matter of fit. Either way, a bike that you can't ride sitting down has a problem.
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Old 12-21-10, 12:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamish5178 View Post
Why has no one batted an eye at the fact that this guy rides 10 mile standing?

What possible point could there be to doing that?
People have been known to walk and run great distances while standing. One of the guys I was riding with this weekend stood a lot of the time. Not sure why. Maybe it points to some of sort of fit issue. Maybe he just likes to stand.
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Old 12-21-10, 12:51 PM   #16
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I read about a mountain bike champ that always stands to pedal, don't remember her name right now though.
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Old 12-21-10, 01:17 PM   #17
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I see lots of people riding those tiny wheeled BMX bikes essentially stand to pedal nearly all day when sessioning for long periods. Though, it's hard to speak to the long term effects of their behavior considering how high impact the sport they've chosen is.

However, I tend to agree with the other respondents in saying that for your longer distance riding you'll be doing you should spend a little time figuring out how to ride in the saddle. I think you'll find it easier on you physically and, provided your fit is right, more enjoyable.

While standing, do you typically find yourself spinning smoothly or do you feel as though you're constantly accelerating? If you're not pedaling much and riding while standing, seems similar to the stance I've seen some take on a bike of that type anyway.
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Old 12-21-10, 02:55 PM   #18
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Long term, you're going to die.
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Old 12-21-10, 03:03 PM   #19
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I take it there is nothing wrong with the bike (fit, saddle, shifting, etc.), you just prefer standing? If so, then pedal away.
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Old 12-21-10, 03:07 PM   #20
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If you rode that BMX bike well into your teens, you would be used to standing.

Hill climbing dropping your rivals, break away on road bikes requires it..
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Old 12-21-10, 03:18 PM   #21
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BMX bikes have very low seats (or no seats for some models) because BMX racing is an out-of-the-seat, balls-to-the-wall sprint for maybe a couple hundred yards at the most, or they're used for freestyle or trials riding where you're out of the saddle and balancing on the pedals anyway. They're not really intended for commuting or distance riding, they're special bikes for a special type of racing.

You only have so many standing pedal strokes in your system per day, so what you're doing is really an inefficient way to ride. Learn to use your saddle and use your gears -- one of the LAB cycling courses might be a good idea -- and your body will thank you for it.
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Old 12-21-10, 03:37 PM   #22
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OP, how often do you pedal when riding standing up? The whole trip or do you coast most of the time?

Pedaling while standing up uses more energy than sitting down. That's why its used mainly for sprinting or gaining speed when already in motion. I was forced to stand up for 3 miles before because my seat post clamp broke and had to ride it standing up to the nearest bike shop. I'll have to say that I did not pedal the whole way because it was hard even when I'm not sprinting. I can't imagine doing this for 10 miles or more.

Long term problems when pedaling the whole trip, quicker muscle degeneration, maybe, because you are redlining all the time. Coasting, not so much long term issues.
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Old 12-21-10, 04:00 PM   #23
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OP, how often do you pedal when riding standing up? The whole trip or do you coast most of the time?

Pedaling while standing up uses more energy than sitting down. That's why its used mainly for sprinting or gaining speed when already in motion. I was forced to stand up for 3 miles before because my seat post clamp broke and had to ride it standing up to the nearest bike shop. I'll have to say that I did not pedal the whole way because it was hard even when I'm not sprinting. I can't imagine doing this for 10 miles or more.

Long term problems when pedaling the whole trip, quicker muscle degeneration, maybe, because you are redlining all the time. Coasting, not so much long term issues.
Or he might just get stronger. Standing doesn't necessarily mean redlining.
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Old 12-21-10, 05:37 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the input everyone is giving me (even the wittier responses )

I have a singlespeed track bike, which I do sit down on more than I ever have on my mountain bike. Even on longer 50-75 mile bike rides I selectively stood up) However, the roads in philly (at least the ones I travel on) are horrible. There is also tons of construction happening and very bumping roads otherwise. After having to get my wheels trued more than I ever have had to with my mountain bike, I realized that I should just use my mountain bike for city commuting. Perhaps I just need a different wheelset.

I did have a crappy mongoose bmx bike that I used to ride going to my friends houses when I was younger, and I always stood on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnwalker View Post
OP, how often do you pedal when riding standing up? The whole trip or do you coast most of the time?

Pedaling while standing up uses more energy than sitting down. That's why its used mainly for sprinting or gaining speed when already in motion. I was forced to stand up for 3 miles before because my seat post clamp broke and had to ride it standing up to the nearest bike shop. I'll have to say that I did not pedal the whole way because it was hard even when I'm not sprinting. I can't imagine doing this for 10 miles or more.

Long term problems when pedaling the whole trip, quicker muscle degeneration, maybe, because you are redlining all the time. Coasting, not so much long term issues.
I am pedaling most of my trip and rarely coast. To answer exile's question, I am used to constantly pedaling because the singlespeed is in fixed gear, so I am used to it I suppose. I am also aware that I lose aerodynamics while standing.

These preferences aside and my own abilities as a cyclist, I was just wondering about potential long term affects. Perhaps I should look into smaller wheels or hybrid bikes that are closer in geometry to track bikes (I really need something that can handle winter weather and bumpy/pothole ridden roads.). I'm not really sure, essentially I was just wondering about health issues that could arise, and some of you touched upon that, so thank you.

And thanks icebiker, never knew I would die
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Old 12-21-10, 05:41 PM   #25
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Speaking as a runner and downhill skier, I say that babying your knees and conserving energy is over-rated. If the OP enjoys riding in this fashion, then s/he should just keep doing what s/he's doing. As for long term health issues, it can't be any worse than running (probably better, since even pedaling hard lacks the pounding shock of footfalls); that is to say, it's good for you, it'll make you stronger and live longer.

Short term health issues might arise if you don't maintain your drivetrain. Standing out of the saddle, I've broken a chain, a cassette cog, and a pedal. The first two broke as I was cranking from a stop in a tall gear. I was lucky when the cog broke and landed on my feet, and less lucky when the chain broke and landed on my top tube. The pedal shearing off of the crank was the unluckiest of all, as it happened during a hard +25 mph sprint, and I landed on my back, in traffic, with road rash down both flanks, some gorgeous bruising on my shoulder and hip, and a bloody calf from 8 or so neat little chainring tooth shaped holes in my leg. The ring had pierced my Achilles, and I couldn't run for about two weeks. The pedals were Kona Jack Sh!ts, and never was there a more aptly named component.

Like others have said, if you aren't using the gears, you might as well lose 'em; then you can run a nice, sturdy SS chain.
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