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Accelerating from zero

BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
What's the most efficient way? Getting off the saddle and on the drops, like a sprint effort, or sat down, keeping the power pretty solid?

The reason I ask is because staying seated seems to be better for me personally, yet all the guys in track racing always start off the saddle. They always look really constipated when they do it! :lol:

The low gears are the reason I prefer to stay seated (and i'm paranoid that my chain's gonna snap again! :lol:). Is it different on a fixed gear bike?

On a road bike (9kg) with gears, I can do 0-20mph:

Sat down: in approx 4.5 seconds - up to 15mph very quick, the remaining 5 a bit slower.
Off the saddle and on the drops: in approx 5 seconds - up to 10mph very slow, the remaining 10 very quick.

So there's not much in it. :| Off the saddle efforts from zero are more tiring, I think.

I see MTB guys in a MASSIVE gear constantly stopping at the lights and really struggling to get going - perhaps this way is actually efficient somehow...? :? Or are the track racers just afraid of wobbling about and falling off?

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  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    You should get together with Willhub, you seem like brothers.

    You are both in Manchester too - you could go riding together and discuss these questiions in depth.
    I like bikes...

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  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    This is my last silly question, I promise! :lol:

    Silliness aside, i'm genuinely interested in why the track guys start off like that. :? It must be the best way, but all logic and experience tells me it's not! I'm going down the velodrome soon so i'm sure i'll find out...
  • AidanRAidanR Posts: 1,142
    Presumably only having one gear doesn't leave them much choice...
    Bike lover and part-time cyclist.
  • Bhima wrote:
    This is my last silly question, I promise! :lol:

    Silliness aside, i'm genuinely interested in why the track guys start off like that. :? It must be the best way, but all logic and experience tells me it's not! I'm going down the velodrome soon so i'm sure i'll find out...
    All logic and experience tells me it is.

    By standing you are able to engage a far greater range of muscle groups (upper body) as well as gain significant additional leverage. When attempting to accelerate the fastest from rest, you need to apply the maximal forces possible. Standing enables that. Sitting does not. Even when starting from speed, I know no ordinary functioning cyclist that can produce more sprint power from a seated position than they can when out of the saddle.

    If you inspect a photo of a good track TT rider just as they explode from the gates, then tilt the photo so the bike is pointing upwards somewhat, you'll see that the position is not dissimilar to performing a (one-legged) deadlift.

    I do not however advise people do full effort standing starts on anything other than a track bike set up for the purpose.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    Plus a track chain is a lot bigger and stronger than a road chain. Designed to take the force applied to it.
  • EdwinEdwin Posts: 785
    True, track chains are thicker.
    I ride a fixed with a 44x12 gear. Try getting up to speed sitting down on that. You'll soon understand :)
    In fact my arms hurt nearly as much as legs when I started going up hills on it, simply from pulling up on the bars - you can use your whole body out of the saddle.
  • Standing up you can use your upper body strength pulling on the bars so you'll have more power, in turn better acceleration. I think.
  • Pokerface wrote:
    Plus a track chain is a lot bigger and stronger than a road chain. Designed to take the force applied to it.
    It's more than just the chain.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    Pokerface wrote:
    Plus a track chain is a lot bigger and stronger than a road chain. Designed to take the force applied to it.
    It's more than just the chain.

    No - it's NOT more than just the chain! Especially when I was talking about about why a road chain might snap under pressure while a track chain is designed to take the force of such pressure! :)

    Unless you mean the chain line being perfectly straight also on a track bike?
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,595
    Pokerface wrote:
    Pokerface wrote:
    Plus a track chain is a lot bigger and stronger than a road chain. Designed to take the force applied to it.
    It's more than just the chain.

    No - it's NOT more than just the chain! Especially when I was talking about about why a road chain might snap under pressure while a track chain is designed to take the force of such pressure! :)

    Unless you mean the chain line being perfectly straight also on a track bike?
    I've destroyed chainrings doing standing starts uphill on a singlespeed. I've broken freewheels doing the same thing.

    It's not just the chain.
  • Richie GRichie G Posts: 283
    At the risk of hijacking the thread, i've always wondered what the most efficient way to start a time trial is? I've seen quite few guys obviously starting in a very big gear and having work really hard out of the saddle to get up to speed. Would it not be better to start in a small gear, then keep changing up as you accelerate (as would in a car, for instance)? Any thoughts?

    Rich
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    whyamihere wrote:
    Pokerface wrote:
    Pokerface wrote:
    Plus a track chain is a lot bigger and stronger than a road chain. Designed to take the force applied to it.
    It's more than just the chain.

    No - it's NOT more than just the chain! Especially when I was talking about about why a road chain might snap under pressure while a track chain is designed to take the force of such pressure! :)

    Unless you mean the chain line being perfectly straight also on a track bike?
    I've destroyed chainrings doing standing starts uphill on a singlespeed. I've broken freewheels doing the same thing.

    It's not just the chain.

    Ah yes - but have you snapped your chain!!?? :)
  • ColinJColinJ Posts: 2,218
    Pokerface wrote:
    whyamihere wrote:
    Pokerface wrote:
    Pokerface wrote:
    Plus a track chain is a lot bigger and stronger than a road chain. Designed to take the force applied to it.
    It's more than just the chain.

    No - it's NOT more than just the chain! Especially when I was talking about about why a road chain might snap under pressure while a track chain is designed to take the force of such pressure! :)

    Unless you mean the chain line being perfectly straight also on a track bike?
    I've destroyed chainrings doing standing starts uphill on a singlespeed. I've broken freewheels doing the same thing.

    It's not just the chain.

    Ah yes - but have you snapped your chain!!?? :)
    I have a bodybuilding friend who was shaped like a shorter version of Chris Hoy. I went for a few rides with him and he always insisted on doing the hills in a high gear and really mashing the pedals round. I feared for the safety of his bike so I rode up alongside him on one particular hill and was in the process of telling him that he'd end up breaking something if he didn't use a lower gear and spin more when his chain exploded under the force he was putting through it!

    I broke a crank on a hill once.

    I was on a ride a few weeks back when one guy ripped a sprocket through the splines on his hub. It was quite funny - he had one gear that wouldn't drive him forward, but the freewheel was obviously intact because all his other gears still worked.

    There are certainly quite a few parts on a normal road bike that you can break through brute force.
  • I have snapped a chain, broken a stem, broken handle bars, cracked frames, ruined a cluster....

    Do standing starts on a bike made for it.
  • eheh Posts: 4,854
    The original post asked most efficient, surely the most efficient is sitting down. Although fastest has to be out of the saddle.

    Reason track folk start out of the saddle is that the fixed gear leaves you little option as the ratio will be mostly decided by whats quickest when in full flight. If you pick a nice easy gear to start with then you'll end up speed limited because you can't pedal fast enough.

    I always start a TT sitting in a sensible starting gear (say big ring and middle of block) then go up the gears as I speed up. Partly I do this as it stops me starting to quickly and allows me to come up to speed in a fairly relaxed, smooth way. Still I'd suggest doing some 10s and see what works for you.
  • The OP asked about most efficient way of accelerating from zero and then immediately referenced track riders. The question wasn't "what's the best way to start a time trial?". That is an enirely different question.

    No matter what gear you're in (within reason), a standing start (done properly) will always be a faster acceleration than a seated one.
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    No matter what gear you're in (within reason), a standing start (done properly) will always be a faster acceleration than a seated one.

    You're probably right.

    But how do my original figures contradict this then? I'm pretty sure it depends on the speed you're trying to get to.

    I'm only going up to 20mph in my test but, if the test went up to 30, i'd probably see a quicker acceleration from a standing position, as the first increase to 10mph was POOR compared to the seated position (and the opposite is true beyond 15mph-20mph-ish).

    Oh, and for the record, I did my tests here, where the wind conditions are pretty consistent:

    n587602072_1814659_4597.jpg

    I meant to ask about time trials too - but forgot to mention them in the original post...

    I think, standing probably only is more effective once you have some momentum going - i.e. - you're going beyond 15mph. So, really, the best way, in my opinion (on a geared bike) would be to sit down and then stand up once you reach 15mph...
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Bhima wrote:
    I think, standing probably only is more effective once you have some momentum going - i.e. - you're going beyond 15mph. So, really, the best way, in my opinion (on a geared bike) would be to sit down and then stand up once you reach 15mph...

    Not ideal for a TT though. I start TT's standing up, and in a medium gear, as I get a fast start with minimal effort, and then get into a low pro position as quickly as possible, and then change up as required.

    Some people might not be as good out of the saddle in lower gears, hence why they might be slower, I for one am faster from standing, though whether it is the efficient I can't say.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I can do 0-25mph in 6seconds :P

    I dont make a habbit of timing myself much tho.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    This might be a silly question - but how do you time yourself for this test?

    And get such an accurate reading, etc...
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    When I do it i'm probs like 2 seconds either way out.

    It seems like 6 seconds, but then again, it really does seem like time stands still and you look at your speedo and it's longer than you expected.
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    A mate I was out riding with has a really good stopwatch that he uses for timing his climbs. He started timing when I set off and I shouted "stop" when I reached the target.

    Even if the timing was out, it was clear that the sitting down start was faster because I reached the target in a slightly shorter distance. (I started in the same place both times)
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I find sitting down starts always a slight stall at the start, I'm like twice as fast accelerating off the saddle.
  • BigStu2BigStu2 Posts: 794
    Best training I've had over the years for Standing starts is racing cars away from traffic lights. Pick a light post or a streetsign about 50, 100 meters after the lights and beat the car there. A great anerobic workout that also helps with getting clipped in quickly and upshifting smoothly at a ridiculously high cadence. As for efficiency the first two gear shifts are out of the saddel the rest firmly planted seems to work best.
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