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Descending with saddle up

andy_welchandy_welch Posts: 1,101
edited June 2012 in MTB general
As I was bouncing down what for me was a steep and rocky descent having failed once again to stop and drop my saddle, it struck me that I quite like descending with the saddle fully extended. In fact I only really drop it because I know that's what you are supposed to do. Feeling the saddle gives me a good idea of what the back of the bike is doing. I can still get behind it, although I'll admit that getting back up again isn't always so easy. Anyway, I figured that there are 4 options here.

1. I'm doing it wrong and I should keep dropping the saddle as it will make me a better descender in the long run.

2. What I think of as steep and technical is no such thing and I'll realise why people drop their saddles when I hit proper technical descents.

3. It's not that unusual and some folk do just prefer to descend with the seat fully extended.

4. I should STFU and just ride.

Since it's too late for number 4 I thought I'd ask for your opinions on the matter.

Cheers,

Andy
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Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    People prefer different things, I ride with the saddle up 99.99% of the time, for the same reasons as you.

    Only if I am doing trials like stuff will I drop it.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    People over-fixate on getting back/behind the saddle... You can still do that even with the saddle up, but what you can't do is move your body as freely while over the bike- whether that's raising and lowering your weight to maneuvre the bike (ie pumping/squashing), or counterleaning, or just lowering your COG for stability.

    Not that you need to do any of these things.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • felix.londonfelix.london Posts: 4,067
    Sounds like it could end in tears :shock:

    For me it's not the steepness of a trail that warrants a low saddle. It's the speed I'm going and the terrain

    In fact when it's super steep you generally are hovering around behind the saddle but when it's not so steep but a very long, fast & bumpy descent the bike is moving around a hell of a lot underneath me (in all directions - but mainly UP & down) and I'm normally hovering around directly over or to the sides of the saddle. Throw in the odd kicker or waterbar to clear and believe me you want that saddle well out the way
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  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    i rode brechfa the other week and as it's the first time i'd done it i didn't know a big descent was coming up and i had my saddle at full height and as i was descending i got whacked in the nuts by the saddle going over quite a rocky section - it bloody hurt :lol:

    as a rule i drop my saddle for descending
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,588
    do it quite a lot. I have long arms and legs, my saddle is lower than ideal and my bikes are on the small side so its easy to move around
  • AbraAbra Posts: 338
    welshkev wrote:
    i got whacked in the nuts by the saddle

    Ouch! :?
    DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
  • MountainMonsterMountainMonster Posts: 7,423
    Only on really rough descents do I drop my saddle drastically. When i'm on normal trails, I keep it high enough to pedal well, but low enough to move around, but I normally buy bikes just that tiny bit too small to compensate.
  • YeehaaMcgeeYeehaaMcgee Posts: 5,740
    Northwind wrote:
    People over-fixate on getting back/behind the saddle... You can still do that even with the saddle up, but what you can't do is move your body as freely while over the bike- whether that's raising and lowering your weight to maneuvre the bike (ie pumping/squashing), or counterleaning, or just lowering your COG for stability.

    Not that you need to do any of these things.
    ^^Very much this.
    The main reason I drop my saddle is so I have room to manouver when landing drops and whatnot. I need to absorb the impact with my legs, and I can't do that very well with the saddle in the way. It usually results in a bent saddle, and tender undercarriage.
  • ThewaylanderThewaylander Posts: 8,767
    Its normally when i hit table tops i'm raelly happy it's down mind, Nothing more comedy then getting a saddle up your bum, But for descending i still drop it and find it useful for movement, but less so tha jumping.

    So same as above :)
  • mrmonkfingermrmonkfinger Posts: 1,452
    #3, leading to #2 and then to #1

    IMO, etc.
  • bellysbellys Posts: 456
    Buy a dropper post then you don't have to stop. Iv got a Joplin but still leave it up some times
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    bellys wrote:
    Buy a dropper post then you don't have to stop. Iv got a Joplin but still leave it up some times

    i'd love to but cove have built their bikes with a stupid size seat post :x
  • schmakoschmako Posts: 1,982
    When your saddle seizes you have no choice! :D

    (thankfully only on the xc bike)

    However on the patriot I only ever drop it for steep DH stuff. (i.e. Fort Bill)
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    I dont like doing steeper technical stuff with my saddle up - I was riding the other day with a group of people I didn't know on a trail I wasn't overly familiar with and we didn't stop rolling into it so I stayed witht he pack. I am glad I didn't drop the saddle as it had some short sharp climbs that would have been too steep out of the saddle to maintain traction on but some of the down bits were steep rock rolls to flat compressions and getting back behind the saddle and absorbing the compression was an exercise in near testicular mashing.

    That said for the majority of riding I'll keep it up as its too much of a faff dropping it - if I know its a long down section I'll drop it and it stays down on my DH bike whatever.
    welshkev wrote:
    bellys wrote:
    Buy a dropper post then you don't have to stop. Iv got a Joplin but still leave it up some times

    i'd love to but cove have built their bikes with a stupid size seat post :x

    KS posts go down to 27.2 and are well thought of. My Heckler has a 26.8 post!
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  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    Gravity Dropper mostly comes in 27.2 and is still one of the best, btw- just that it looks awful ;) Certainly not required but I do love my dropper posts.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • i never touch the height on my bike, i can sit on the rear tyre if needs be, quite often on the slow steep techy bits its a right off the back job,
    watched a majoritively Xc race down here in the spring, the course guys used some of the lines the DH guys had built in the course, ive ridden them a few times in the past, cracking runs, Big rockgardens, techy Steep sections to drop down etc, the lycra clad guysdidnt even slow down for most of it, all on their 9ers, one guy got fed up of being slowed he took the drop line over the roll in, overtaking as he did!!
    made me think about the saddle up saddle down side, these guys just dont worry about it and get on, and at speed, when ever we've ridden the sections they used a lot of the guys are stopping and adjusting, over thinking, and bottling it,
    i like the simple side of just leave it be and ride the bike!! and ride a bike that Fits you properly!
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  • andy_welchandy_welch Posts: 1,101
    Thanks for all the responses. Very interesting.

    I agree that it probably is #3, leading to #2 then #1, but based on your replies I think I'll go with #4 for now :)

    Cheers,

    Andy
  • FBM.BMXFBM.BMX Posts: 148
    To me it isn't so much you CAN make it down (along and up too) with the saddle up, but it is certainly too restricting for my tastes.

    It isn't getting your weight back that is helping at times, it's getting your weight lower. Generally with censored over wheel, you can do naff all with the bike apart from point and hold on. Getting back isn't helping to work the bike. It is actually bad technique, it's just a way of making do with saddle in the way, not really riding in a manner which works best.

    To ride well and work the bike properly, you have to shift you mass around the bike freely and easily, a high saddle stops this.

    The same people who are generally in the saddle (apart from legit xc monsters), end up with naff all strength and tire very quickly over rough terrain.

    Also it is MTBing, not off road road biking, surely you want to drop the saddle, hop some gaps, go off kickers and manual about? Certainly very un-enjoyable with a saddle in your chest or going up your bacxkside blowing feet off the pedals.

    Plus the more you ride with saddle down, the stronger you'll get.
  • ThewaylanderThewaylander Posts: 8,767
    FBM.BMX wrote:
    To me it isn't so much you CAN make it down (along and up too) with the saddle up, but it is certainly too restricting for my tastes.

    It isn't getting your weight back that is helping at times, it's getting your weight lower. Generally with ars* over wheel, you can do naff all with the bike apart from point and hold on. Getting back isn't helping to work the bike. It is actually bad technique, it's just a way of making do with saddle in the way, not really riding in a manner which works best.

    To ride well and work the bike properly, you have to shift you mass around the bike freely and easily, a high saddle stops this.

    The same people who are generally in the saddle (apart from legit xc monsters), end up with naff all strength and tire very quickly over rough terrain.

    Also it is MTBing, not off road road biking, surely you want to drop the saddle, hop some gaps, go off kickers and manual about? Certainly very un-enjoyable with a saddle in your chest or going up your bacxkside blowing feet off the pedals.

    Plus the more you ride with saddle down, the stronger you'll get.

    From a technique point of veiw he is right.

    Getting low is the key to good speed, and being able to hop around like a nutter for fun.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Does beg the question - why don't DH riders all ride with it fully slammed? Some ride it at XC height, or very near it!

    It is all down to taste.
  • YeehaaMcgeeYeehaaMcgee Posts: 5,740
    I haven't seen any of them ride with it at XC height - more a compromise position kind of thing.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I suppose what I am trying to say that right down isn't always best for all - somewhere in between as you say seems to work, others just like the full length (!)
  • mrmonkfingermrmonkfinger Posts: 1,452
    Saddles should be in an XC position, minus about four to six inches.

    It's the law.
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    supersonic wrote:
    Does beg the question - why don't DH riders all ride with it fully slammed? Some ride it at XC height, or very near it!

    It is all down to taste.

    a supposedly fully slammed saddle for tall guys like peaty or minnaar is an xc saddle height for most!! I always wonder how peaty rides with his saddle so high, then I remember just how tall he is :lol:

  • From something I read in MBUK a while back, I was under the impression that DH saddle heights have crept up over the years as riders have started to realise the benefits of actually pedalling. (A search for old photos of the famously pedalling-averse Rob Warner suggests that maybe that isn't true though).

    Anyway, I tend to properly slam my seat down for the reasons stated by others above, but am trying to get out of the habit; I really want a dropper post but as they 'only' drop 4 inches I'm trying to get into the habit of only dropping my current post 4 inches to get the feel for it.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    From something I read in MBUK a while back, I was under the impression that DH saddle heights have crept up over the years as riders have started to realise the benefits of actually pedalling.

    Doubt that- in the modern era all downhillers have always pedalled, just that they do it standing up... and until the droppers came in none of them ran their seatposts at anything like a pedalling height.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    Northwind wrote:
    From something I read in MBUK a while back, I was under the impression that DH saddle heights have crept up over the years as riders have started to realise the benefits of actually pedalling.

    Doubt that- in the modern era all downhillers have always pedalled, just that they do it standing up... and until the droppers came in none of them ran their seatposts at anything like a pedalling height.

    even though they have dropper posts readily available to them, no one uses them except in south africa, which is much more like an xc course than say val di sol or fort william

  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    Depends how steep/tech the riding is. I can ride the majority of trail centre descents with the seat up, but I need to drop the seat on more steep/techy downhill runs so I can move around more. It depends on the bike as well though. On the smaller bike, I need the seat lower on the techy stuff so I can move it around more, but on the bigger bike it doesn't bother me as much because I can just plough.
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  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    Anyway, I tend to properly slam my seat down for the reasons stated by others above, but am trying to get out of the habit; I really want a dropper post but as they 'only' drop 4 inches I'm trying to get into the habit of only dropping my current post 4 inches to get the feel for it.
    I find that an inch of drop makes a fair bit of difference on a trail centre, I'll only drop it by an inch or two.
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I found that I can ride just about anything with my saddle about an inch lower than where I used to have it when fully raised. I just got too lazy to drop it.
    Steve Peat had his saddle at almost xc height at Coombe Sydenham for the BDS race, a lot top level DH racers have their saddles very high. I ride with mine quite high on my DH bike
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