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  1. #1
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Standing or sitting?

    Do you climb standing or sitting?

    Just as a throw in. The MTB community (press mostly) think that full suspension mountain bikes are much more effecient because the suspension allows the rider to spend more time in the saddle and less time standing. Now this may be obvious when discussing rough or loose terrain but they also claim that climbing hills is easier while sitting. This is the basis of the premis that a 30lb full suspension bike can be more effecient than a 25 lb hardtail with front suspension only.

    2nd throw in. TDF riders appear to get out of the saddle for short bursts of power (or as reported to stretch muscles in a different way) but soon return to the sitting position to spin on up the hill. The idea here is that standing is powerful but consumes a great deal more energy than sitting.

    Ready...Set....Go!

  2. #2
    Senior Member snavebob's Avatar
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    Sit, easier on the 53 yr-old knees.

  3. #3
    Senior Member piper_chuck's Avatar
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    I think it's pretty widely accepted that standing consumes more energy, and is therefore less efficient, than sitting. The only times I stand are:
    • When I want to stretch or give my butt a break.
    • When I want quick acceleration or extra power, and don't want to have to shift down.
    • When I've reached the lowest gear on a hill and and it's still too high. Once you go below a certain RPM, but you're still having to work hard to maintain momentum, it's easier on your knees to stand. When faced with this, I typically alternate between seated mashing of the pedals and standing.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Stand in a higher gear until I poop out, then shift to granny when I sit.

  5. #5
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Mix, I stand when I need to get my cadence up and then sit once I have a tempo, I do this on the flats as well at times.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  6. #6
    SSP
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    As I've gotten stronger and lighter (5' 11", 168 lbs), I find I do more climbing standing than I used to.

    I now practice it, and can climb efficiently for 2 miles up a local 6% hill. When done right, it doesn't seem to use any more energy than sitting (at least, my heart rate's about the same). Plus, you can use your body weight to drive the pedals down. And, I strongly suspect it's easier on the knees than sitting because there's less torque when your leg's straight.

    On short climbs, I'll mostly stand and power over them. On long sustained climbs, I'll mostly sit and only get out of the saddle for steep sections or for a change of pace.
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    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    As a nube building up my strength, standing is easier than sitting on the steeper hills. I can sit just fine on mild inclines.

    BTW: I wasn't sure what the question would be from your title. Thought it might be a pottie joke.

  8. #8
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Climbing?

    I don't tackle anything over about a 7% grade. I do those sitting. Last time I remember standing and pedaling was back in May.
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  9. #9
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Recumbent: Sitting, of course.
    Upright tandem: Sitting, since we haven't mastered, or even tried, out-of-saddle pedaling yet.

  10. #10
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snavebob View Post
    Sit, easier on the 53 yr-old knees.
    Actually, standing is easier on the knees, but it is definitely harder on the frame and cranks. I alternate between sitting and standing, depending on the length and grade of the climb. Having snapped a crank during an out-of-saddle ascent, I do tend to quite a bit more sitting than standing, for safety reasons.
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  11. #11
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    I sit and spin if the situation allows for it. I stand when I need to, for speed or (mostly for) power. I discovered that I'd lost the ability to stand and climb for long periods of time when I came back to cycling this summer, so at first I sat for all of my climbs. Lately I'm getting the fitness back so that I can stand if I need or want to and not have my legs get all rubbery. Yesterday on the training ride, we went up two rather steep and long hills where I was not able to sit and spin. Another rider, who is amazingly strong, was able to do just that and cruised up the hills and passed me like I was standing still.

    -soma5

  12. #12
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruF View Post
    As a nube building up my strength, standing is easier than sitting on the steeper hills. I can sit just fine on mild inclines.

    BTW: I wasn't sure what the question would be from your title. Thought it might be a pottie joke.
    Moi..?..

    I assure you that my jokes rarely get that good.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Sit. Obsessive fear of chain breaking unexpectedly

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    It does depend on how long and how steep. mile long 10 % and it will be sitting- 15% and the cadence will drop towards the top so stand- 20 % and I don't have low enough gears so stand most of the way.

    Now offroad poses a problem- 15% hill on loose soil or rocks and you need grip on the rear tyre so sit. But a slight rise in elevation and you want to get out of the saddle- so you lose grip-back in the saddle and the front wheel comes off the ground so throw the weight forward and stay on the saddle. So weight is more forward and wheelspin- It is a juggle as to where the weight is going to have to be on the bike
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  15. #15
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I sit most of the time, but I don't hesitate to stand when I need a burst of power or to stretch my back.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP View Post
    As I've gotten stronger and lighter (5' 11", 168 lbs), I find I do more climbing standing than I used to.

    I now practice it, and can climb efficiently for 2 miles up a local 6% hill. When done right, it doesn't seem to use any more energy than sitting (at least, my heart rate's about the same). Plus, you can use your body weight to drive the pedals down. And, I strongly suspect it's easier on the knees than sitting because there's less torque when your leg's straight.

    On short climbs, I'll mostly stand and power over them. On long sustained climbs, I'll mostly sit and only get out of the saddle for steep sections or for a change of pace.
    Now here's a rider who has mastered the art of standing and using his weight to mash the gears. I think he will save his knees and still be fresh at the top of the climb. Somehow he's conserving his energy by not overworking the quads. He's so efficient that if you watch him from his back, there's very little sway from side to side. This takes practice. Now he's got another "trick" in his arsenal.

  17. #17
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    Now here's a rider who has mastered the art of standing and using his weight to mash the gears. I think he will save his knees and still be fresh at the top of the climb. Somehow he's conserving his energy by not overworking the quads. He's so efficient that if you watch him from his back, there's very little sway from side to side. This takes practice. Now he's got another "trick" in his arsenal.
    Yep...with practice you can get very comfortable at it, and not go anaerobic.

    Here's a few specific tips for efficient standing:

    1) Straighten your leg on the downstroke and use your body weight.
    By straightening your leg (similar to the "mountaineer's rest step" taught in climbing schools), you give that quad a temporary reprieve from effort.

    2) Stay "light on the pedals".

    3) Don't get too far forward.
    That puts excess weight on the front wheel, which makes forward progress more difficult. I find I have to straighten my arms and force myself back a bit from what feels like the more "natural" position, in order to get my weight far enough back. This might, or might not, apply to everyone - body dimensions and bike fit/size come into play here. The important thing is to make sure you're not hovering over your bars, pushing that front wheel into the pavement.


    Find a one or two mile climb, and practice climbing it entirely out of the saddle. Before long, you'll look like Lance or Pantani, "dancing on the pedals" up the mountain. And even if you're not as fast as them, you'll still look way cool.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Old School's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonecrd View Post
    Mix, I stand when I need to get my cadence up and then sit once I have a tempo, I do this on the flats as well at times.
    +1
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  19. #19
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    Haven't had to stand yet this year. Of course now with the 'bent I won't
    be able to so perhaps my stubborness about staying in the saddle on
    hills will payoff in less transition time into the new realm.

  20. #20
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    My first thought was this thread was about using an outhouse in the middle of a long ride.
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  21. #21
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    I'm a girl; I always sit. Or perch...

  22. #22
    50K Roadie
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    I usually get out of the saddle on hills when they start getting steep enough that I really lose pace as I downshift going up. It just seems more natural to push it uphill (for up to 10-15 seconds) until I get close to the crest or it levels out more. Most hills are short around here, thankfully. For the longer hills, I generally keep it parked and grind it out at the slower pace, though I might get up briefly a time or two.

  23. #23
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    As to pro's climbing techinque: I usually don't have a serious climb after 100k of flat out riding! Ever notice when a group of pro riders are climbing and one guy stands they almost all stand for how ever long the fisrt guy stays up does. Point being that it is pretty hard to use pro racing techniques in everyday riding.

    I alternate but usually stand. Feel I get more of my upper body involved with standing.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ftsoft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snavebob View Post
    Sit, easier on the 53 yr-old knees.
    Well, that's certainly NOT true. As someone who has had 4 knee operations I can testify to standing while climbing as much better for your knees. It's harder on your legs though, especially if you don't do it a lot.

    Frank

  25. #25
    Senior Member snavebob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftsoft View Post
    Well, that's certainly NOT true. As someone who has had 4 knee operations I can testify to standing while climbing as much better for your knees. It's harder on your legs though, especially if you don't do it a lot.

    Frank

    Really!? Every time I stand to climb a hill my left knee hurts. When I sit it feels much better. I strained it earlier this summer when climbing a hill in the wrong gear and it has hurt ever since when I stand to climb a hill regardless of the gear. I don't mind the workout it gives my legs I just wish my knee didn't hurt standing.

    Bob

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