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Off the Saddle Climbing

MichuelMichuel Posts: 269
The BikeRadar Home article "Up and Away" evaluates seated vs off the saddle climbing. It says at lower efforts this is inefficient because greater muscle activity is used than needed but at higher effort this muscle activity is used.

This seems plausible but the article doesn't mention previous findings on seated vs non-seated climbing: that off the saddle the body is carrying its own weight like running and this extra load causes say another 10 or 20 Watts work which is inefficient.

However all reports say that best compromise is alternate on and off saddle spells to ease muscle work particularly for steep climbs. But they've got to come to that conclusion because that's the way most climbers ride ie on steep climbs off the saddle but back on the saddle for a rest. One can't expect a research recommendation to run counter to what cyclists have been doing for the last 100 years.

Research thus explains and confirms rather than changes over riding style questions.

Posts

  • damage36damage36 Posts: 282
    By and large, those BikeRadar articles are not usually revelations. Recent ones such as 'protein help recovery' are hardly startling. I think they are aimed at people totally new to cycling or certain concepts. Helpful if not insightful.
    Legs, lungs and lycra.

    Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,601
    Shorter hills(less than a mile) can usually be conquered standing up. Big mountains
    are usually done seated. While you may see "pros" up and out of the saddle on big
    climbs occasionally, it is usually only done to breakaway a bit or to simply work different muscles for a moment or two, then back in the saddle. There are exceptions but the norm
    on big, long, climbs is "in the saddle".

    Dennis Noward
  • MichuelMichuel Posts: 269
    dennisn wrote:
    Shorter hills(less than a mile) can usually be conquered standing up. Big mountains
    are usually done seated. While you may see "pros" up and out of the saddle on big
    climbs occasionally, it is usually only done to breakaway a bit or to simply work different muscles for a moment or two, then back in the saddle. There are exceptions but the norm
    on big, long, climbs is "in the saddle".

    Dennis Noward

    I disagree with "simply to work different muscles for a moment or two".

    Viewing photographs on TourdeFrance mountains in "Cols Mythiques du Tour de France" shows a sizeable proportion of photos of riders off the saddle. It is fairly rare for these slopes to exceed 12%.

    Wasn't Armstrong's climbing technique to alternate on and off saddle as well as high cadence on Alpe d'Huez? I've watched Virenque climb a whole mountain off the saddle in the Tour in a sole breakaway.
  • N4PALMN4PALM Posts: 240
    I found the other day I was forced to stay seated even tho I was itching to get out of the saddle. The problem was a very steep and wet road and getting out of the saddle was just casuing me to spin the rear wheel. Most annoying.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,601
    Michuel wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    Shorter hills(less than a mile) can usually be conquered standing up. Big mountains
    are usually done seated. While you may see "pros" up and out of the saddle on big
    climbs occasionally, it is usually only done to breakaway a bit or to simply work different muscles for a moment or two, then back in the saddle. There are exceptions but the norm
    on big, long, climbs is "in the saddle".

    Dennis Noward

    I disagree with "simply to work different muscles for a moment or two".

    Viewing photographs on TourdeFrance mountains in "Cols Mythiques du Tour de France" shows a sizeable proportion of photos of riders off the saddle. It is fairly rare for these slopes to exceed 12%.

    Wasn't Armstrong's climbing technique to alternate on and off saddle as well as high cadence on Alpe d'Huez? I've watched Virenque climb a whole mountain off the saddle in the Tour in a sole breakaway.

    I watched a fair share of the "Tour" this year and there were a lot of people climbing
    in the saddle. There are always times when someone is "out" but having watched most
    of the mountain stages from start to finish I would have to say that most of these guys
    spent a whole lot of time in the saddle as compared to out of it. As for pictures, I would say that out of saddle pic's make it in to print more because they are more "action" looking.

    Dennis Noward
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