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Pro cyclists and saddle position

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Pro cyclists and saddle position

Old 01-13-17, 10:14 PM
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B1KE
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Pro cyclists and saddle position

I was watching some cycling footage from this year and noticed a lot of the riders sitting on the tip of the saddle when they are in the Stopa and sometimes in the hoods. What's the reason for this? Isn't it uncomfortable and shouldn't they be sitting over the widest part of the saddle to generate maximum power.
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Old 01-13-17, 10:15 PM
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They have tuff butts.

Thinks they may have their weight on their arms and legs, not the butt.

Most of them ride 20,000 miles a year
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Old 01-13-17, 10:33 PM
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Sorry about butchering the title, auto correct is a *****.
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Old 01-13-17, 10:34 PM
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fixed it....
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Old 01-13-17, 11:32 PM
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I have a bike expertly fit to my body and riding style, and I ride 6000+ miles a year.
My style has me moving to different saddle positions depending on conditions.

I scoot way forward up on to the nose, for power that comes close to what I get standing out of the saddle.

When I want to engage ankling,
I scoot back to the widest part.

When I am just cruising along and tapping out tempo I go for a high cadence from the mid point of the saddle.

My main ride buddy thinks it odd that I use 3 saddle styles, but to each their own.
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Old 01-13-17, 11:37 PM
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There's a rule that they can't have their saddle any further forward - though you could. Moving the hips forward decreases the angle between upper and lower body, which has the effect of making it easier to breathe and still stay low. That's why they do it and they get paid for that, too. On the climbs, they sit in the saddle normally to better engage their hams and glutes. Moving forward makes it more of a quad thing. I'll move forward sometimes if I'm bridging up or the like, just for short periods. It works. Yes it's uncomfortable and doing it much will give you a numbie.
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Old 01-13-17, 11:39 PM
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Most cyclists do not stay in a single position on the saddle. You'll find that a lot of pro cyclists will shift right to the tip of the saddle during very hard efforts at the end of climbs, but will be further back during the beginning and middle of stages. The further you are pushed forward, the more emphasis is placed on the quads, which I'd argue is the strongest leg muscle for most people. The further you are back, the more your glutes and hamstrings are engaged. Great for long endurance, but I'd argue for maximum power, the quads will generally produce more power.

Also it's important to not forget that pro cyclists generally weigh anywhere from 120 lbs (like Quintana) to 140 lbs for your typical climber. Slightly more for your taller rider or a sprinter, but even those types rarely get over 170 lbs. When you weigh that little and put that much power in the pedals, there really isn't a whole lot of pressure and weight being put on the saddle.
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Old 01-14-17, 12:07 AM
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UCI rules - plumb line from tip of saddle to center of BB may not be less than 5cm.

The reason is to maintain leg/torso angle as close as possible to 90 degrees where they can get more power.

In a more upright position, you can sit farther back.
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Old 01-14-17, 12:44 AM
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For good pedaling efficiency, the angle between legs and torso has to be kept in a small range. If your upright position has you pedaling comfortably while seated on the back of the saddle, leaning your torso forward to get aero can make that angle too small, and pedaling feels like you're scrunched over and have your knees coming too close to your chest. Instead, when getting aero, you want to rotate your whole body forward relative to the bottom bracket: hands down, head down, butt forward. That way you can have a low profile and feel good pedaling.

As far as comfort goes, it's okay to be on a narrower part of the saddle when you're postured more aggressively: the sit bones are wider in back than in front, and when you're rotated forward, you're sitting on the narrow parts.

To get upright again, you rotate backwards around the bottom bracket: hands go higher, butt goes to the back of the saddle, a wider part of the sitbones is now making contact with the saddle and the saddle is wider in back to make that comfortable.
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Old 01-14-17, 12:56 AM
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Racers were sitting on the nose of the saddle ("riding the rivet" from the days when saddles were leather riveted to steel frames) long before UCI made the 5 cm rule. Many racers had at least three saddle positions far apart. The normal position, sit bones over the wide rear of the saddle, pushed way back for power climbing seated (esp in the days before low climbing gears) and sitting "on the rivet" going hard. If you move the seat far enough forward to be under you in that forward position, the wide part will cut off your circulation as you move back.

Both seat position and seat shape are compromises, at least for a lot of us. But being too narrow when we are sitting on the nose really isn't as bad as it looks as that only happens when we are riding very hard and unweighting the saddle. But having your seat too far forward when you want ot power climb is a killer, cutting off key circulation.

I had lots of time to consider issues of such importance on the long rides of my racing days.

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Old 01-14-17, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
For good pedaling efficiency, the angle between legs and torso has to be kept in a small range. If your upright position has you pedaling comfortably while seated on the back of the saddle, leaning your torso forward to get aero can make that angle too small, and pedaling feels like you're scrunched over and have your knees coming too close to your chest. Instead, when getting aero, you want to rotate your whole body forward relative to the bottom bracket: hands down, head down, butt forward. That way you can have a low profile and feel good pedaling.

As far as comfort goes, it's okay to be on a narrower part of the saddle when you're postured more aggressively: the sit bones are wider in back than in front, and when you're rotated forward, you're sitting on the narrow parts.

To get upright again, you rotate backwards around the bottom bracket: hands go higher, butt goes to the back of the saddle, a wider part of the sitbones is now making contact with the saddle and the saddle is wider in back to make that comfortable.
Too take this a little farther, I rotate my seat and handlebars as a unit around the BB (on paper, not literally) setting up different bikes depending on their functions. Fix gears get rotated forward. (More weight on my hands but much better for long hauls into the wind where a lower gear isn't an option.)

Ben
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