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  1. #1
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Seat angles, power, and sore necks

    This past week, I discovered cracks in one of the seat stays on my Challenge Seiran SL highracer. The shop I went to only had some Bachetta stays, so I thought I'd give them a shot. Just to get my bike on the road quickly, I decided not to address some installation issues and just used the bottom halves of the stays. This had the effect of giving me a much more reclined position with the top of the seat about 3" lower than before.

    This has had a number of side effects. The first is that my riding position is much further back on the seat so I had to bring in my boom a couple inches. However, the new weight distribution is WAY more comfortable (no more "recumbutt"), I like the muscle sets that get engaged better, and it feels like the power might be better. The short but relatively thick stays are stiffer and more secure than the original equipment titanium ones. The new position lets me use my hams as well as other sets more plus the breathing is excellent. Speeds above 25mph are improved and this is really noticeable at 40+. Handling is decent, though slightly degraded for tighter work.

    The biggest downside is that the neck position is terrible to the point of being painful. Even with my old setup, I had to get my neck in shape, but I can't imagine doing a ride of any significance without a brace. Also, my bars are now in my line of sight which obscures vision somewhat.

    But the new position is so much more comfortable and the high end speed is enough more fun that I'm trying to figure out what to do. One thing I am wondering is if I'm not experiencing a placebo effect -- could just laying further back really improve my power or is that just in my head? Also, how bad is this neck thing going to be on longer rides? Lastly, presuming I should keep this new position which has me laying practically on my back, what neck rest would you recommend to attach to a Velokraft carbon fiber seat?

  2. #2
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    What angle is the seat at right now? My bikes are around 22 degrees, but some of the fast crowd seems to like angles in the 10-15 degree range. And yes, lowering the seat can make a big difference in cruising speed. One thing to watch for is that your center of gravity not get moved back too far. My rule-of-thumb is for my shoulders to be ahead of the rear axle by at least an inch or two, so you're not unweighting the front end.

  3. #3
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    What angle is the seat at right now? My bikes are around 22 degrees, but some of the fast crowd seems to like angles in the 10-15 degree range. And yes, lowering the seat can make a big difference in cruising speed. One thing to watch for is that your center of gravity not get moved back too far. My rule-of-thumb is for my shoulders to be ahead of the rear axle by at least an inch or two, so you're not unweighting the front end.
    I don't know the exact angle, but eyeballing it, it looks somewhere around the 15 degree range. Shoulders are slightly in front of the rear hub and coincidentally, I pulled an emergency maneuver this morning that momentarily locked the rear wheel without locking the front. I took it through a series of tight curves at speed to see what I could do and it was reasonably close. For broader curves and straightlining, it feels confident at any speed.

    Legs feel good with this setup -- my normal way works the quads a bit too hard. But right now, neck position is so strained it actually gives me a headache. Part of me says to get a headrest, part of me says I'm trying to lean this seat back a bit too far.

  4. #4
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    Neck rests leave your head free to look around, bob for balance and leave your helmet alone.
    So, most head rests are really actually neck rests.

    Yes, you need one.

    Mr. Pedals likes to keep his shoulders ahead of the rear axle and that's superb advice.
    I must keep my inner ear inside the axles.
    When I've tried to ride my bike with the balance-sensing organs in my head behind the rear axle... well, balancing gets kind of fun.
    But that's just me.

    Google is your friend, my friend.
    I can't/won't help you find a head rest as I feel it's a very personal choice, much like your helmet, gloves or shoes.
    "We don't have to be mean because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    -Buckaroo Banzai

  5. #5
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Yes, get a neck rest and enjoy the recline. I'm one of the 10 degree people and really like it. Snooze 'n Cruise.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

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