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Help with form, I seem to bounce a lot in the saddle.

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Help with form, I seem to bounce a lot in the saddle.

Old 08-12-08, 07:34 PM
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TheatreME
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Help with form, I seem to bounce a lot in the saddle.

Hey all,

I seem to bounce a lot in the saddle when I try to spin really fast. The only thing that seems to help is gearing up, where the higher resistance smooths out my pedaling. I dont think my seat is up too high as there is a slight bend in my knees at the bottom of the stroke I know I should just go and get a professional fit, but I dont have the cash at the moment or a local shop I trust.

I am riding a LHT, with a brooks saddle that is set pretty level. Any ideas from the group? I know this is a vague description, if you need more info just let me know.

Thanks

-E
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Old 08-12-08, 07:37 PM
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what kind of a bike are you riding?

<edit> surly LHT?
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Old 08-12-08, 07:39 PM
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Sorry for the short hand. I am riding a Surly Long Haul Trucker with drop bars. I have a long stem (120mm) and spend most of my time, even when I dig, on the hoods.

Thanks

-E
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Old 08-12-08, 07:43 PM
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Bounce as in rock side to side, or up and down?

-R
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Old 08-12-08, 07:46 PM
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What is your cadence when you start bouncing? What kind of pedals do you have?
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Old 08-12-08, 07:52 PM
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loosey goosey

you only need about 80rpm to prevent knee injuries.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:58 PM
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I am bouncing up and down and use platform petals, namely crank brothers 50/50s. As to a specific cadence when I start to bounce I am unsure as I dont run a computer.

Thanks

-E
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Old 08-12-08, 08:14 PM
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Clipless help smooth out your spinning considerably.
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Old 08-12-08, 08:14 PM
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Clipless help smooth out your spinning considerably.
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Old 08-12-08, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TheatreME View Post
I am bouncing up and down and use platform petals, namely crank brothers 50/50s. As to a specific cadence when I start to bounce I am unsure as I dont run a computer.

Thanks

-E
My guess would be that you are simply not able to get a smooth enough pedal stroke at higher cadences with the platforms. If you are spinning fast enough to bounce, shifting will benefit you. Why are you concerned about having to shift, anyway?
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Old 08-12-08, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by thebarerider View Post
What is your cadence when you start bouncing? What kind of pedals do you have?
Good call with cadence. I rode a 100 mile fast freakin hard core charity ride a couple years ago mostly next to this TALL man on a full suspension mtb fitted with street tires - he was a strong guy - but MAN - his bouncing annoyed the heck out of me - so that's what I was aiming at - but yeah - are you in switching gears correctly, cadence etc is the best way to go...
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Old 08-12-08, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TheatreME View Post
I am bouncing up and down and use platform petals, namely crank brothers 50/50s. As to a specific cadence when I start to bounce I am unsure as I dont run a computer.

Thanks

-E
It's hard to address your question if you don't know what your cadence is.

When riders talk about their cadence, they usually mean the maximum rpms they can crank without sacrificing good form. Everybody will start bouncing at a certain rpm. For a great rider, that point might be > 120 rpm. For a hack, it might be < 80 rpm. So that's why you need to know what your cadence is in order to know if it's even a problem.

You can figure your cadence without a computer. You can use a sports watch with a stop watch function. Just find a nice level course and put your bike in an easy gear. Pedal as fast as you can without bouncing, then count your revolutions for 15 seconds and multiply by four to determine rpm. Do this three or four times and compute your average. If it's anything above 80 or so, you're doing well.
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Old 08-12-08, 10:23 PM
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platforms, eh? Have you tried pedaling like your walking up stairs? Calf flex, roll on to the ball of the foot and push back/scrap with toes with the lead foot/leg pressing down? Go for circles. I was really bouncy with platforms when I started up again, too. Clipless took alot of that away and riding fixed has made me MUCH better at round push/pull pedaling. When your back leg is coming up concentrate on using your quads to pull that leg up.

Its like walking up stairs...

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Old 08-12-08, 10:47 PM
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What's your crank length and inseam? IF your cranks are too long, that can destroy your cadence.
My observations about crank length and bad knees-
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=361045
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Old 08-12-08, 10:55 PM
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Millions of cyclists managed to pedal without bouncing before clipless pedals were invented--only a few years ago. Some of us manage it even now.
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Old 08-13-08, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TheatreME View Post
Hey all,

I seem to bounce a lot in the saddle when I try to spin really fast. The only thing that seems to help is gearing up, where the higher resistance smooths out my pedaling. I dont think my seat is up too high as there is a slight bend in my knees at the bottom of the stroke I know I should just go and get a professional fit, but I dont have the cash at the moment or a local shop I trust.

I am riding a LHT, with a brooks saddle that is set pretty level. Any ideas from the group? I know this is a vague description, if you need more info just let me know.

Thanks

-E

I think all newish riders do this. While bike fit may have a little to do with it, this is generally about pedaling form. Your legs are pushing up and down instead of spinning in a circle. Visualize moving your foot in the circle, and that your foot is a little farther along in the circle than the pedal. You need to be ahead because if you fall behind and are just chasing the pedal around the circle you'll start to bounce again.

That said... maybe you really are geared lower than you need to be. Work on form, but don't beat yourself to death until you get it worked out.


The only fit-related issue I can think of is if the seat were too high. This causes your pelvis to rock side to side. This is different than the "beginner bounce", and not good for your long-term health.
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Old 08-13-08, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TheatreME View Post
Hey all,

I seem to bounce a lot in the saddle when I try to spin really fast.
Everyone bounces at some point, but the more you practice, the higher the RPMs before you start bouncing.
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Old 08-13-08, 12:37 PM
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Try feeling like you're "wiping" your feet at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Sort of like wiping the soles of your shoes on the ground. With clips/straps or clipless this is much easier to do, but no matter what it helps your feet go around the dead center at the bottom much more smoothly.
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Old 08-24-08, 07:12 PM
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I noticed that I was bouncing if I exceed ~92RPM. It seems as though my seat may be too low and i'm lifting off of the seat. It's definitely not rocking since I don't do it at lower speeds.

When I'm coasting and extend my leg, I feel like I'm lifting off of the seat, as well. I'm going to raise the seat 1/8" and see how it goes.
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Old 08-24-08, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by TheatreME View Post
I am bouncing up and down and use platform petals, namely crank brothers 50/50s. As to a specific cadence when I start to bounce I am unsure as I dont run a computer.

Thanks

-E
You don't need a computer for cadence as long as you're marginally musical (can you do the Macarena?) and have a sense of tempo.
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Old 08-24-08, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TheatreME View Post
I seem to bounce a lot in the saddle when I try to spin really fast.
You need to work on your peddling form. There are a couple ways of doing that.

First option is riding a fixed gear bike. This is the old school, Belgian racing coach way of doing things. Since you can not freewheel (i.e. coast) you can easily see where the problem is and fix it.

Second option is a series of exercises I picked up from books written by cycling/triathlete coach Joe Friel. Both are done on a trainer. First one, you pedal with one foot only putting the other foot on a stool or something. Focus on making your pedal stokes smooth instead of start again, stop again. The second is riding at very high cadence (over 110/minute) for as long as you can without bouncing up and down. Do 3-6 sets of each of these after a 20 minute warmup several times a week until your form improves.

Another cheater option is to get Roter Q Ring cranks. These are elliptical crank rings that supposedly help remove the dead spots in your peddling.

One final thing, I find the craping your foot analogy to be a poor one. Instead, I would imagine peddling pushing forward instead of down. I also pull up on the dead spot on hills in addition to my normal pedaling. This produces more power by using other muscles and has done wonders for making me a much faster climber.
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Old 08-24-08, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bikinpolitico View Post
I also pull up on the dead spot on hills in addition to my normal pedaling. This produces more power by using other muscles and has done wonders for making me a much faster climber.
This is the only way my fat ass gets up a hill

The OP may have a problem with this chunk of advice due to riding platforms.
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Old 08-24-08, 09:26 PM
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Being a newbie myself, I find pedaling correctly is a challenge. The difficult part about pedaling consistently at a fixed rpm is that I almost have to put no weight on the the pedals, and split the body weight between the saddle and the handle bar. I'm still wrapping my brain around how to do so comfortably for miles and miles of riding. So am I suppose to find a gear that I can comfortably pedal at the rpm I want and yet provide enough resistance to bear a good portion of my body weight to relieve the burden on my rear end?

P.S.: my saddle is 130mm, which seems a tiny bit too small to ride comfortably for a long time. Now that I'm used to it, my rear doesn't hurt any more on short rides. But I have to wonder if it would be more comfortable to swap in a wider one.
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Old 08-24-08, 09:28 PM
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While it may be a choppy pedal stroke, also take a look at your tire pressure, it may be too low. What tire size and psi are you running? Try running higher pressure and see if that helps. Try 10psi increments.
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Old 08-24-08, 09:29 PM
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Even with platforms you can learn to pedal in circles. You just can't lift on the upstroke...

With higher cadence trying to move your feet in actual circles is far more important to a smooth pedalling style. It'll also help by avoiding your feet moving around on the platforms like I suspect they do at the moment when at higher cadences.
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