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Old 04-24-12, 12:49 PM   #1
stevebiker
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Ride upright or hunched over?

Most bikers I see are hunched over on those low-slung handlebars. Most of them say it's to reduce wind resistence. True, but I can't see riding bent over like that.

First, your back is bound to give you grief after awhile. Not exactly good posture.

Second, you have to lift your head up to see, which after awhile will probably result in a pain in the neck.

I like to right upright. Sure there's some wind resistence, but at least I'm riding in a natural style and not like some cro-magnum looking for loose change on the ground.

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Old 04-24-12, 12:59 PM   #2
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Ride how you like, but it's clear that you don't know what you're talking about.
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Old 04-24-12, 01:00 PM   #3
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Recumbent.
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Old 04-24-12, 01:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by stevebiker View Post
Most bikers I see are hunched over on those low-slung handlebars. Most of them say it's to reduce wind resistence. True, but I can't see riding bent over like that.

First, your back is bound to give you grief after awhile. Not exactly good posture.

Second, you have to lift your head up to see, which after awhile will probably result in a pain in the neck.

I like to right upright. Sure there's some wind resistence, but at least I'm riding in a natural style and not like some cro-magnum looking for loose change on the ground.

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You are right, and everyone else is wrong ... good luck.

However, if your bike fits you properly, you may find out it's not as bad as you think.
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Old 04-24-12, 01:07 PM   #5
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The forward lean on a road bike is much better for your back.
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Old 04-24-12, 01:46 PM   #6
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Please share with us your thoughts on clipless pedals.
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Old 04-24-12, 02:28 PM   #7
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Ride how you like, but it's clear that you don't know what you're talking about.
And I thought the Arrogant Roadie Prick had gone extinct...

For the OP: "Hunched over" is the wrong term. If you subscribe to the "handlebars way lower than the saddle" school, you want a more or less straight back, with a bend at the waist. And it IS hard on the neck, for marginal benefits.
Brief history lesson (I can go on and on...): drop bars were developed to give the OPTION of an aero position, with the tops about level with the saddle to allow comfortable cruising. Over the years, many racers and wannabe racers and wannalooklike racers have shoved the bars lower and lower, so they suffer nearly all the time. Works for pros, who can train six hours a day, but it's hard for the rest of us.
Several years ago, after 30 years of trying to make my body conform to a racer's idea of how a bike should be set up, I decided to raise the bars and make the bike fit me, rather than the other way around. Instantly, I could ride 30 percent or so longer without discomfort, and my times on familiar rides went DOWN, whether because I was fitter or I didn't have to fight the bike.
Don't completely ignore the advice of the ARPs, but for ordinary humans, there are other ways to set up a bike than the one you see in the Tour de France.
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Old 04-24-12, 02:31 PM   #8
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I have seen the light.

No... waitaminute.

That is total crap.
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Old 04-24-12, 02:41 PM   #9
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Please share with us your thoughts on clipless pedals.
OK if I share mine? I've done the same 25-mile RT commute 80-100 times a year since 1979, on almost every combination of bike, tires and pedal systems, from a recumbent on fat cruiser rubber through a singlespeed, three different mountain bikes, half a dozen road bikes with tires ranging from 23 to 41mm, and with pedals from BMX flats to high-zoot clipless. For a lot of that time I kept careful (obsessive?) records of equipment and times, and I don't find ANY correlation between pedals and speeds. Tires make a little difference, not as much as I'd expected. The bike makes some, but of my five fastest trips, three were on the singlespeed (it's a good Reynolds 531 frame) and one on an old Bridgestone mountain bike.
Pedals? Meh. I have clipless on my Rambouillet, but either Power Grips or toe clips on everything else. I still swap them out occasionally just for a change, and in everyday riding, at least for me, they don't make enough difference to measure.
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Old 04-24-12, 02:46 PM   #10
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Tires make a little difference, not as much as I'd expected. The bike makes some, but of my five fastest trips, three were on the singlespeed
Wind makes the biggest difference. If only there were some way to be more aerodynamic while riding.
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Old 04-24-12, 02:51 PM   #11
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I have seen the light.

No... waitaminute.

That is total crap.
TWO ARPs. Maybe they'll breed...
This is the attitude that's kept Americans off bicycles for 50 years, and made things harder for those of us who do ride: There's only one way to do things, and anyone who doesn't do them your way is a hopeless dick, not worth noticing. The average guy tries riding for a few days, can't get comfortable or turn a 53-tooth chainring and loses interest. Meanwhile he's been ridiculed by the self-styled "real" cyclists, and he sees them running stop signs or taking what he believes is his share of the road, and he becomes a cycling opponent because he thinks everybody on two wheels is an arrogant ass. We run into this every time we try to get a new bike lane or a place to lock up in my town: two-thirds of every government body or citizens' committee comes to the meeting already pissed off at cyclists because of previous experience.
Thanks for contributing, though...
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Old 04-24-12, 03:02 PM   #12
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Mostly hunched over (I prefer to think of it as stretched out). But between the old cruiser, three road bikes and handful of mountain bikes I have bikes setup for several back angles from 10 degrees to 90 degrees.

I advise against riding continuously for more than an hour with a 90 degree setup. I know it sounds weird but that can be pretty hard on the back especially on rough roads.
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Old 04-24-12, 03:04 PM   #13
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hunched over and in the drops is not the same thing. if you ride hunched over, in the drops, your back will hurt. but you'll probably ride hunch over on a cruiser and your back will hurt. bad posture will not improve with different bars.
I ride 80% in the drops because it's better for my back, which is straight. as for looking ahead, it''s just not that hard to do.
curious, how long were you riding before you decided that others were cro-magnums looking for loose change on the ground. and does demeaning others that don't do things your way improve your self esteem?
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Old 04-24-12, 03:07 PM   #14
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Ride how you like, but it's clear that you don't know what you're talking about.
Thank You.
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Old 04-24-12, 03:08 PM   #15
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arrogant ass.
Thanks for contributing, though...
you're welcome.

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Old 04-24-12, 03:18 PM   #16
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And I thought the Arrogant Roadie Prick had gone extinct...
LOL. What a ****. Read the OP again, he's clearly trolling. And if he's not, he clearly doesn't know what he's talking about, as you have demonstrated in your reply.

FWIW, riding flat-backed is not hard on the neck. If you rotate your pelvis forward and open your chest you can look ahead without your neck being strained. And this is not advice for the pros in the TDF, I am a pretty average 57year-old performer.

But feel free to continue to make assumptions. It's the only way to maintain your conviction that you know everything.
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Old 04-24-12, 03:56 PM   #17
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And I thought the Arrogant Roadie Prick had gone extinct...
Hardly. Read any thread where the ARP Conventional wisdom is challenged, or even questioned. Be it pedals, posture, or provenance of the equipment. The ARP's tout their all knowing knowledge and experience that makes them the "Competent" Masters of the Bicycling Universe.
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Old 04-24-12, 03:57 PM   #18
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Upright, thank you very much. Have never liked that hunchback posture.
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Old 04-24-12, 03:59 PM   #19
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The substantive replies seem to concede that riding hunched over (90 degree angle) is hard on the back, esp. for more than an hour or so. That's what I thought. But if your experience is different, let us know.

I'm a new biker, and have started with a low-end bike modified with higher bars so I can ride upright. (And low-resistance tires, which makes a world of difference.) Riding for me is not a race, though those $3,000.00 racing bikes, as I call them, sure look cool. And light as a feather. But the bars are all dropped down to a "hunched" riding position. Thus the reason for my post.

If anyone finds that postion perfectly comfortable for longer rides (2+ hours), let me know. I'm a hiker by first love, but the nearest mountains are about 800 miles away, so bike by default but love it. Biking is great.

Last edited by stevebiker; 04-24-12 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:04 PM   #20
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I think you misread my post. I measure back angle with level ground being 0 degrees, thus upright=90 degrees.

Riding "hunched over" places less weight on your butt and helps keep the spine from compressing as each bump in the road is encountered.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 04-24-12 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:18 PM   #21
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i require a fair bit of saddle to bar drop to be comfortable on a bike. my road bike drop is about 4". my hybrid drop is about 3". this is because if i sit too upright, my back will get aches and pains.

my folding bike has bars that are about dead even with the saddle, and if i ride it for too much more than an hour, i'll start getting back pain. my road bike where i'm allegedly "all hunched over" (though in reality "stretched out" is a better description) is far more comfortable and i can ride it for hours on end (i rode it 900 comfort-filled miles across great britain last june). i think the more horizontal position of the back helps absorb jolts and vibrations from the road better than the vertical back position of an upright posture.

however, everyone's body is different. if sitting upright works for you, don't let any tell you otherwise. remember the first rule of bike club: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong. do what works for you.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 04-24-12 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:26 PM   #22
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If anyone finds that postion perfectly comfortable for longer rides (2+ hours), let me know. I'm a hiker by first love, but the nearest mountains are about 800 miles away, so bike by default but love it. Biking is great.
I thought I already did that. by all means ask more questions you'll have no interest hearing the responses people give, substantive or not. we love wasting our time helping people verify what they already knew to be true.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:39 PM   #23
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I thought I already did that. by all means ask more questions you'll have no interest hearing the responses people give, substantive or not. we love wasting our time helping people verify what they already knew to be true.
This. There's no point in feeding a troll.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:47 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by stevebiker View Post
The substantive replies seem to concede that riding hunched over (90 degree angle) is hard on the back, esp. for more than an hour or so. That's what I thought. But if your experience is different, let us know.

I'm a new biker, and have started with a low-end bike modified with higher bars so I can ride upright. (And low-resistance tires, which makes a world of difference.) Riding for me is not a race, though those $3,000.00 racing bikes, as I call them, sure look cool. And light as a feather. But the bars are all dropped down to a "hunched" riding position. Thus the reason for my post.

If anyone finds that postion perfectly comfortable for longer rides (2+ hours), let me know. I'm a hiker by first love, but the nearest mountains are about 800 miles away, so bike by default but love it. Biking is great.
What a train wreck!

Some people can't tolerate or don't like not riding upright. Many people deal with it just fine. Feel free to ride the way that works best for you.

The mistake you are making is the assumption that your experience as a "new biker" is relevant to experienced cyclists.

My bars are lower than my seat and I regularly ride 60+ miles (including 100+ mile rides) and I have no trouble. This experience is common (that is, there are many riders who do similar rides and have no problems).

If your speed is 15+ mph (approximately), there is no easier way to increase your average speed than to not ride upright. If your average speed is low, it doesn't matter so much.

Last edited by njkayaker; 04-24-12 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:51 PM   #25
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TWO ARPs. Maybe they'll breed...
This is the attitude that's kept Americans off bicycles for 50 years, and made things harder for those of us who do ride: There's only one way to do things, and anyone who doesn't do them your way is a hopeless dick, not worth noticing. The average guy tries riding for a few days, can't get comfortable or turn a 53-tooth chainring and loses interest. Meanwhile he's been ridiculed by the self-styled "real" cyclists, and he sees them running stop signs or taking what he believes is his share of the road, and he becomes a cycling opponent because he thinks everybody on two wheels is an arrogant ass. We run into this every time we try to get a new bike lane or a place to lock up in my town: two-thirds of every government body or citizens' committee comes to the meeting already pissed off at cyclists because of previous experience.
Thanks for contributing, though...
Useless.

There are lots and lots of casual cyclists in the US.

Ride the way that works best for you.
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