Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 50 of 279
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184

    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?

    Cleland Cross Country bicycles were invented in England before anyone there knew about mountain bikes. In 1979 the first 650b x 54mm Cleland bicycles were created and by 1981 the first 700c x 47mm Cleland had been designed based on Nokia (now Nokian) snow tires from Finland.

    In 1980, Cleland inventor Geoff Apps told Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly about his bikes and their big diameter tires and they were intrigued. So Geoff sent them as many of these tires as he could get hold of and many US mountain bikes were made to fit them. But because they were highly taxed as adult tires and the erratic nature of the supplies from Finland, the mountain bikes developed with 26" tires. A size originally intended for use on children's bikes.

    However the big wheels were by no means the only alternative aspect of Geoff Apps' Cleland off-road bicycles. The Cleland bicycles remain uninfluenced by mainstream mountain bike design and ethos. The fact that they not only work, but work very well, will almost certainly challenge your preconceptions regarding good mountain bike design. But these bikes are designed to push the boundaries of where and when you can ride not only off-road, but off-trail.

    This alternative lineage of mountain bike design lives on with Geoff and other Cleland enthusiasts like myself making and riding bikes inspired by his unique way of thinking.

    So to start the thread here is a link to the Cleland website and a camera phone video of Geoff Apps' favorite off-road ride,

    Philosophy | Cleland Cycles



    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-600247_455098351169739_2125616200_n.jpg

  2. #2
    Dinner for wolves
    Reputation: buddhak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,557
    Preconceptions often get in the way of a good time. I'd love to take a spin on one of these.
    Responds to gravity

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Velobike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    6,072
    Great pic demonstrating exactly what is meant by "...ride not only off-road, but off-trail."
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    871
    You make riding in the streams look so easy!

    Impressive!

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    You make riding in the streams look so easy!

    Impressive!
    Especially when you consider that there are slippy rocks and soft gravel sections under the water. By the way, that's not me riding in the video, it is Geoff Apps the inventor and designer of the Cleland off-road bicycle.

    This is a photo of the bike that was ridden up the stream.
    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-5668723545_55fcbcb86c_b.jpg

    Here is a list of the design features that make this kind of riding easier:

    *a high center of gravity for improved stability

    *very low pressure tires fitted on narrow rims so that the tires can snake and weave between obstacles

    *wide large diameter low pressure tires for improved traction

    *a rearwards weight bias to reduce the effect or front wheel skidding on balance and to encourage the front wheel to hop over obstacles

    *elliptical chain rings for improved low cadence efficiency and traction control

    *a high bottom bracket height to help keep the riders feet dry
    Last edited by GrahamWallace; 09-17-2012 at 08:34 AM.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Here is a video that shows a modern Cleland Aventura TT riding along another stream.

    The inspiration for these bikes comes from motorcycle trials riding so the ethos is to clear obstacles without putting a foot down. Going fast is not important as failure in this context is when you have to get off and walk. However riding through deep mud as fast as you can is great fun especially as the mudguards will keep the rider clean and dry.


  7. #7
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    1,140
    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post
    Cleland Cross Country bicycles were invented in England before anyone there knew about mountain bikes. In 1979 the first 650b x 54mm Cleland bicycles were created and by 1981 the first 700c x 47mm Cleland had been designed based on Nokia (now Nokian) snow tires from Finland. <iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://tinyurl.com/27shlk6" vspale=0></iframe>
    <iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://tinyurl.com/yz4gjyd" vspale=0></iframe>


    In 1980, Cleland inventor Geoff Apps told Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly about his bikes and their big diameter tires and they were intrigued. So Geoff sent them as many of these tires as he could get hold of and many US mountain bikes were made to fit them. But because they were highly taxed as adult tires and the erratic nature of the supplies from Finland, the mountain bikes developed with 26" tires. A size originally intended for use on children's bikes.

    However the big wheels were by no means the only alternative aspect of Geoff Apps' Cleland off-road bicycles. The Cleland bicycles remain uninfluenced by mainstream mountain bike design and ethos. The fact that they not only work, but work very well, will almost certainly challenge your preconceptions regarding good mountain bike design. But these bikes are designed to push the boundaries of where and when you can ride not only off-road, but off-trail.

    This alternative lineage of mountain bike design lives on with Geoff and other Cleland enthusiasts like myself making and riding bikes inspired by his unique way of thinking.

    So to start the thread here is a link to the Cleland website and a camera phone video of Geoff Apps' favorite off-road ride,

    Philosophy | Cleland Cycles



    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	600247_455098351169739_2125616200_n.jpg 
Views:	3592 
Size:	81.6 KB 
ID:	723883
    Great Pic

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Over 5000 miles from Marin County and a group of Cleland riders take a short break before heading back onto the muddy trails and hills of 1980's England.
    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-389174_455098137836427_1996628470_n.jpg

  9. #9
    Occasionally engaged…
    Reputation: Ptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,504

    Precedence is hard to establish...

    Just over 1000 miles from Marin County, a group of American calvary soldiers pose for a photo before heading back out onto the muddy trails and hills of 1897 Montana. They averaged over 45 miles a day for 41 days, riding 1900 miles to St. Louis, MO.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-bestbicyclecorps_01.jpg  

    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  10. #10
    Dinner for wolves
    Reputation: buddhak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,557
    Your great great grandpa's Surly Krampus ^ ^
    Responds to gravity

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bigwheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,167
    Give it up Graham. I am not really sure why it is so important for you blokes over there to try and be recognized as the "original big-wheeled off road bicycle".

    Yes, you guys predated the more modern movement currently enjoying a certain degree of popularity. But Gary Fisher got the credit for this round and he does tend to dress like an Englishman so maybe you could just adopt him in to your club?

    At the end of the long day the use of larger diameter wheels off road has been going on since the invention of the wheel. Your little club movement over there in the eighties, while significant, cannot hold a candle to the current version that started here in 1999 with the introduction of the "tire", thanks Mark!

    What has happened since that time is the result of at first a core group of "believers" if you will, not unlike your little band of Merry Men, weaving Bigwheels in to the fabric of the bicycle industry bit by bit and taking a good deal of crap along the way from many of those that fully embrace the concept today, and you know who you are. Now that they have gained such a degree of popularity it seems fashionable for others to gain the recognition they feel they deserve for being the first on the block but really, nobody gives a ****e because the big guns of the bicycle industry now hold the reins of the movement and their marketing departments can spin the wool over the publics eyes faster than you can say 700c.

    So keep riding your Clelands with pride and the knowledge that you were riding around at all off road before lots of people. Perhaps use your energy to come up with some new innovation because innovation is the blood of the bicycle industry and transfusions are needed every once in a while.

    Carry on.

    Bigwheel
    A bike by any other name is still a bike.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BigDaddyFlyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,831
    Interesting read, thanks for posting!

    There is one thing that makes me scratch my head a bit. This:

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post


    *a high center of gravity for improved stability
    Can you explain this a little further? From my experience a lower center of gravity makes for better stability.

    Thanks!
    Please Note: I no longer work for Airborne. If you have an Airborne question or problem please contact them directly.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    2,537
    That's just dandy, where's my knickers?

  14. #14
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
    Reputation: NEPMTBA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    7,920

    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by PeT View Post
    Just over 1000 miles from Marin County, a group of American calvary soldiers pose for a photo before heading back out onto the muddy trails and hills of 1897 Montana. They averaged over 45 miles a day for 41 days, riding 1900 miles to St. Louis, MO.
    And why not Horses?

    They graze as they go, water at any stream, can carry more gear, and are faster...LOL

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Hi Bigwheel,

    You may note that my use of the term "Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?" is proposed as a question not a statement. Of course as a general statement it isn't true as pre- tarmac cycling history is all about riding big wheeled bikes off-road. And some of the wheels were very big indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel View Post
    .... it is so important for you blokes over there to try and be recognized as the "original big-wheeled off road bicycle".
    No it is not important and the modern 29ers did not evolve from Geoff Apps' 1980's 700c bikes. However the facts about the large diameter tires he exported to the US in the early 1980's maybe of some interest to those who are curious about the true history of 29er bicycle innovation: Most commentators miss this bit of the history out because it happened so early on.

    The fact that from 1980 onwards Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly corresponded regularly with Geoff Apps in England. They also talked on the phone, exchanging many ideas of including the advantages of bigger wheels.

    They asked Apps to export his large Finnish snow tires which he did by the hundred. Frames to fit these tires were built by the top Marin frame builders including Tom Ritchey. Fisher, Kelly and others had success at the races using these early large wheeled bikes.

    In 1988 one of these tires, a 700c x 47mm version was copied by Bruce Gordon and Joe Murray to become the original "Rock n' Road" tire. Ibis frame builder Wes Williams then built bikes to use these tires and became the main evangelist for the use of bigger wheels off-road. It was he solicited the support of Gary Fisher in pressurizing a reluctant Mark Slate of WTB to produce the Nanoraptor. Not that Gary Fisher needed much persuading as he had previously experienced racing success on Apps' big tires.

    Is this story Important? Well the idea of big wheeled mountain bikes is logical and would have happened eventually anyway. At best Geoff Apps incidental involvement meant it happened a few years earlier than otherwise?


    By the way, I started this thread because a Fat-Bike thread on chain-cases was drifting off topic towards that of Cleland innovations in general. I could have placed a Cleland lineage thread almost anywhere, but as I placed it here I thought I had better come up with a title that explainanatory title.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel View Post
    So keep riding your Clelands with pride and the knowledge that you were riding around at all off road before lots of people. Perhaps use your energy to come up with some new innovation because innovation is the blood of the bicycle industry and transfusions are needed every once in a while.
    Cleland Innovations here:
    R and D | Cleland Cycles
    Last edited by GrahamWallace; 09-18-2012 at 03:07 PM.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyFlyer View Post
    Interesting read, thanks for posting!

    There is one thing that makes me scratch my head a bit. This:



    Can you explain this a little further? From my experience a lower center of gravity makes for better stability.

    Thanks!
    Here is a concise explaination from Wikipedia:
    "A bike is also an example of an inverted pendulum. Just as a broomstick is easier to balance than a pencil, a tall bike (with a high center of mass) can be easier to balance when ridden than a low one because its lean rate will be slower."
    Bicycle and motorcycle dynamics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Full explanation of inverted pendulum theory here:
    Inverted pendulum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Sorry but I am a bit busy at the moment but I should have time to explain the positive and negative implications of this later. If anyone is interested?

  17. #17
    Occasionally engaged…
    Reputation: Ptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,504
    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    And why not Horses?

    They graze as they go, water at any stream, can carry more gear, and are faster...LOL
    I don't think you'll get a horse (with a rider) to go over 40 miles a day for 41 days...it will break down or die before that -- you certainly would (at best) finish with less than half your troop. But if you read about those guys in the Calvary with bicycles, it seems to have pretty much been an experiment, just trying to see what was possible.

    An interesting aside -- I live and run and ride on trails in the "Wild West" with many a would be cowboy doing the horse thing out on the trails. I NEVER get passed by them -- wether I'm running or riding, I'm always the one wanting to get by. And every other group has to tell me that they could go faster if they wanted to -- clearly getting passed by pudgy middle aged guys on foot or an old bike doesn't set well with them. I just don't understand this fascination with horses -- they're slow, they stink, they're expensive as hell. They do, however, look good grazing in a green meadow with the sun setting behind them...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    44
    I'd like to chip in a bit here about centre-of-gravity (or mass) and stability in relation to the Cleland Aventura design. I may ramble on a bit, so why not put the kettle on and make yourself comfortable?
    Those readers with a huge emotional and financial investment in current mountain bike design are not going to want to read this.
    OK, let's start with stability in bicycle design. You hear it all the time: this tyre/chainstay configuration/handlebar stem/anything will make your bike more stable. Even Graham fell into the trap above. This phase 'more stable' assumes that a bicycle is to some extent stable in the first place; it has inherent stability. You may have noticed how bicycles, when left to their own devices, fall over. So much has automobile technology wormed its way into our brains that the 'low-centre-of-gravity-increases-stability' thing has become received wisdom in all vehicular design. It is a true statement when referring to a car; a car has inherent stability, but not true about a bicycle, which does not.
    Are you with me so far: a bicycle is not stable, never has been, never will be.
    So, we should be thinking along the lines of 'maintaining balance' or 'controlling instability'. Using phrases like this help all of us understand and address the problem; it is as important that the rider recognises these factors, as it is incumbent on the designer to incorporate features that take this fundamental into account.
    I think I'll roll a cigarette before starting on the next bit.
    Having established in my own mind that a bicycle in inherently unstable, I'm wondering how many people reading this would agree? In essence, I don't care. All I really care about is my own bike. Oh, yes, and I'm quite keen to let others know, just in case they may be able to benefit from what I have learned over the past forty years of riding off-road, like shareware.
    Back to bicycle design. Unstable bicycle being ridden by a hooman bean is still unstable. You may, or may not, be aware that as you ride along, you are constantly weaving your front wheel from side to side. Just look at cycle tracks in the snow; one steady one (rear wheel) and one weaving back and forth across it (front wheel). This action is you trying to stay upright. The bike wants to fall over to the left, you steer to the left and bring the bike back up to equipoise, only for the bike to immediately want to fall to the right, you steer to the right, and so on for the entire bike ride. These adjustments to the steering are really quite small, but they are most certainly there. Every time you twitch the steering to maintain balance, you use energy because it requires effort. What I want to do is make that effort both easier and the action more controllable.
    Now think about levers. Think about a nut that is done up really tight. To undo it we need a long wrench, not a short one. With a long spanner (oops, wrench) we can get more leverage; it is easier to turn the nut, your hand travels further to do so and you are able to control the operation more. These factors are important, it's easier and you have more control if you travel a greater distance (no, not on the ride, idiot!).
    Now think back to riding a bicycle, you are using a lever to stay in balance; the lever (spanner, er, wrench) is the parts of your bicycle that are between your bum and the ground. Where the rear wheel touches the ground represents the nut; your bum, aided by your upper body, is like your hand turning the wrench.
    We're nearly there.
    With a high centre-of-gravity on a bicycle, you make that lever as long as possible. This gives you the ability to better control the instability of the bicycle to maintain balance, and it takes less effort, even though you are moving your upper body more than a rider on a bicycle with a low centre of gravity.
    I hope this has got you thinking and not yawning.
    This is one of the many design factors in the Cleland concept that contradicts conventional 'received' wisdom about bicycle design. Everyone says something, so it must be true; to go against the common sense of this used to be called heresy, nowadays, you simply get ignored by the vast majority. However, you and I know what the truth may be, and probably is.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post
    Here is a list of the design features that make this kind of riding easier:

    *a high center of gravity for improved stability
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    OK, let's start with stability in bicycle design. You hear it all the time: this tyre/chainstay configuration/handlebar stem/anything will make your bike more stable. Even Graham fell into the trap above.
    OK Geoff. What I meant to say was... *a high center of gravity to allow a larger angle of lateral lean from which equilibrium can be recovered.

    I feel happier now I have made that clear and so corrected my little faux pas!
    (excuse the French)

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post
    Here is a concise explaination from Wikipedia:
    "A bike is also an example of an inverted pendulum. Just as a broomstick is easier to balance than a pencil, a tall bike (with a high center of mass) can be easier to balance when ridden than a low one because its lean rate will be slower."
    Bicycle and motorcycle dynamics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Though counter-intuitive, a tall, top heavy and unstable object will take longer to reach the point where balance can no longer be recovered than an identical but shorter object. So with a bicycle balance is really about human reaction time with a taller bicycle giving its rider more time to react to being thrown momentarily off balance.

    Despite appearances penny farthing bicycles have a high degree of lateral stability whilst small children's bikes are much more laterally unstable and especially so at low speeds.

    If you watch a cyclist attempting a track stand you will notice two things: They will stand high out of the saddle so as to raise their center of gravity as high as possible. They will also move their weight forwards towards the front wheel as this reduces to a minimum the amount of forwards or backwards movement needed to maintain balance.

    Received wisdom is that it is predominantly steering geometry that effects handling. And so the fact that the position of a riders center of gravity has profound effects handling is usually given little consideration..

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    130
    The discussion on low center of gravity versus high is really interesting... I understand that reaction times have to be faster on a lower bike, but in all other respects my personal experience as a tall guy has been that a lower bike OR motorcycle is much more stable. My 29er is much more stable with a longer wheelbase and being in the bike instead of on top of it. If any of you guys ride dirtbikes or streetbikes you may have heard about the guys who invented the Gurney ALLIGATOR... it was based on a Honda XR650L, and they put the seat way down low... everything about the bike improved... cornering, stability etc.

    Here's a quote from Gurney:

    "The Gurney ALLIGATOR has a look and riding feel unique and different from anything on the road. Unlike other motorcycles, the rider sits below the top of the tires with feet in a forward position. The fuel tank is mounted below the seat and behind the engine. Gurney originally moved in this design direction because he is tall and many bikes made him feel as if he were pitching forward when going downhill. The Alligator is this concept taken to its logical extreme. What works so well for tall people works equally well for people with shorter legs. They do not have any trouble getting on or off the bike, are no longer worried about falling over at a standstill and being closer to the ground, they feel much more comfortable and safe. This low CG concept has been developed and refined over the years into something quite extraordinary: a motorcycle with a confidence inspiring riding feel, obvious and significant aerodynamic benefits and most of all: a fun factor to match."


  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    44
    Thanks for your input 2tall.
    With regard to the motorcycle, I suspect there are other factors at work.
    My initial thoughts are that the relative weights of the rider and fuel, and the overall weight of the motorbike, mean that the lowered C/G has less impact than on a bicycle, where the weight of the rider is possibly two thirds of the overall weight. Additionally, the motorbike is designed for relatively high speeds on smooth surfaces, whereas my proposition refers to much slower speeds on rough terrain.
    Nevertheless, riders of this style of motorbike are reporting improved handling characteristics over the conventional motorbike configuration.
    There is possibly an element of perception here?
    Also, being a tall person, almost any configuration of bicycle you ride will have a relatively high C/G.
    There is another factor that concerns me in this regard, and that is spinal health. I have given some thought to how I would design a Cleland to suit a tall rider. However, since no-one has asked me to do so, I don't know what the outcome would be.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Hi 2tallrid3r,

    I completely understand your point of view as the whole topic appears contradictory and confusing.
    For stable vehicles like cars a low center of gravity well within the wheelbase improves stability. But without external interference, inherently unstable objects will always fall over even though taller objects will take longer to do so. Compare the time taken for a telegraph pole to fall to that of a pencil?

    The best way that I know to test this on a bicycle is to try riding a BMX bike whilst standing bolt upright compared to crouching down. You will find that lowering the body's center of gravity makes balancing more difficult and that this applies at both low and high speeds. This is even easier to test by riding a children's kick scooter.

    Another thing to notice is that moving the center of gravity towards the front wheel makes it easier to balance at low speed but more difficult at high speed. At high speed your better to have your weight towards the rear where the effects of the steering are more subtle.

    In reference to the Gurney ALLIGATOR. If this low approach is effective in improving handling I do wonder why it is not used for racing motorbikes? I suspect that It may be because the inverse pendulum effect is even more extreme when motorbikes corner at speed. In this instance it's not only gravity that is trying to destabilize the motorbike but also some very large centripetal forces.
    Last edited by GrahamWallace; 09-20-2012 at 09:07 AM.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Recumbent v. Upright.... .....Who is most wobbly?

    One Hour Recumbent Bike Race - YouTube


    Tall Bike
    tall bike asheville nc - YouTube
    Last edited by GrahamWallace; 09-19-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  25. #25
    Occasionally engaged…
    Reputation: Ptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,504
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    There is another factor that concerns me in this regard, and that is spinal health.
    From the Cleland Cycles Philosophy" page: "Geoff’s competition motorcycle observed trials experience was his key influence. In this sport, the competitive riding is done ‘standing on the pegs’. This position provides a high centre of gravity for manoeuvrability, allowing rapid and extreme upper-body moves to adjust balance, traction and steering, with a minimum of effort.
    In his bicycle design, Geoff placed the saddle and handlebar so as to replicate this stance. The resultant upright riding position proves gentle on the wrists, perfect for low-speed riding and beneficial to long-term spinal health."

    I would disagree that siting upright on a saddle transmitting impacts up a vertical spine is conducive to "long-term spinal health". The relevance of observed trials experience and 'standing on the pegs' is irrelevant as you don't have a seat slamming on your coccyx, compressing your discs. I believe you've done a disservice to good traditional bicycle design with respect to how the spine is appropriately supported and protected -- think of the spine as being like a suspension bridge rather than a vertical I-beam. Most casual observers would consider my frames too long in the top tube, but the position I can achieve comfortably (as per the old cyclotouriste and old-road racing school dictums about frame design and positioning -- hips rearward, back loosely swayed) allows all day comfort, good handling, power application, and aerodynamics. Here I thought it was fat Americans driving the trend towards upright riding positions (can't bend over 'cause of the gut)! I can believe the 'standing on the pegs' seated position helps handling in certain situations, but sitting in that position? -- not so much.

    A couple of questions for you you Cleland Cycle guys -- what's an average speed for a ride, like for the one in the video? (not so different from my rides, sans water -- I live in a desert). What's kind of distance does a good weekend ride on off-road terrain cover? I have formed some opinions based upon what I've learned from the Cleland website about where and how those bikes would be fun and where they might not be so much fun, and it would be enlightening to have some input on average speeds and distances covered. Thanks!
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jmmUT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,258
    The BMX Cruiser class were originally klunker looking things with 26" wheels for off.road riding (before tracks were nice and manicured). These popped up mid-70's Examples:

    1978 Cook Bros Cruiser - BMXmuseum.com
    1978 Bassett Star Cruiser - BMXmuseum.com

    But way before that, kids have been riding their Stingrays in dirt races in Holland in the 50's and became popular by the 70's in the USA.
    BMX in Holland in fact started in the 1950's, check this out! By Gerrit Does - Oldskool - News - FAT BMX

    But of course none of this has anything on the first road racers who decided to go off road in the late 18800's/early 1900's which became what we now call Cyclocross
    Cyclo-cross - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    The point is, there just is no singular origin of the mountain bike. People for a long time have realized that riding bicycles around on dirt was pretty darn fun and many awesome people and groups mentioned in this thread and others all pioneered pieces of the sport and I am thankful for all of them.

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    44
    "The relevance of observed trials experience and 'standing on the pegs' is irrelevant as you don't have a seat slamming on your coccyx, compressing your discs."
    You're quite right, I don't have a seat slamming on my coccyx. With handlebars relatively close to the saddle, I am easily able to take the weight off my rear-end when appropriate. The discs in your spine are there in order to accommodate compression, as occurs when running or jumping. As in running and jumping, my knees are able to flex to mitigate impacts.

    "I believe you've done a disservice to good traditional bicycle design with respect to how the spine is appropriately supported and protected -- think of the spine as being like a suspension bridge rather than a vertical I-beam."
    A vertical I-beam is a rigid structure, whereas the spine is a compressable structure in its vertical state. We are no longer creatures that walk on all-fours, we have evolved into bipeds and our spine has altered to suit that posture, not entirely successfully. However, in quadrapeds, the spine is an arch, not a suspension bridge.

    "Most casual observers would consider my frames too long in the top tube, but the position I can achieve comfortably (as per the old cyclotouriste and old-road racing school dictums about frame design and positioning -- hips rearward, back loosely swayed) allows all day comfort, good handling, power application, and aerodynamics."
    If you're happy with your posture, then stick with it. However, should you find in the future that not maintaining lordisis begins to affect your spine, then you may consider investigating alternative postures, if it's not too late. I think there is a clue in your phrase "old-road racing school dictums"; I'm not interested in racing, so a racing posture is not appropriate. Personally, I find the 'traditional touring posture' you describe very uncomfortable indeed. Should I therefore suffer for the sake of tradition?

    "Here I thought it was fat Americans driving the trend towards upright riding positions (can't bend over 'cause of the gut)!"
    The vast majority of cycling in Germany, Holland, Denmark and other mainland European countries is done in the upright posture. Of course, you don't see this in magazines and videos, it just goes quietly on in the background, folks routinely cycling for their day-to-day transport requirements; nothing to do with large guts.

    "I can believe the 'standing on the pegs' seated position helps handling in certain situations, but sitting in that position? -- not so much."
    The posture you advocate places equal weight on the handlebar and saddle, with the legs suspended, free to pedal. The posture I advocate is much more poised, with the ability to readily transfer weight between the saddle, pedals and handlebar, altering the bias between these three points according to the terrain.

    "A couple of questions for you you Cleland Cycle guys -- what's an average speed for a ride, like for the one in the video? (not so different from my rides, sans water -- I live in a desert). What's kind of distance does a good weekend ride on off-road terrain cover? I have formed some opinions based upon what I've learned from the Cleland website about where and how those bikes would be fun and where they might not be so much fun, and it would be enlightening to have some input on average speeds and distances covered. Thanks!"
    Speed, average or otherwise, and distance are things I rarely think about. On a typical Cleland ride, these factors have no bearing on the pleasure to be derived from a good pootle. So, I can't give you any data on those matters.

    Thanks for contributing to this thread; I hope this has clarified some of the issues you have raised. It's always worth remembering; there are more ways of killing a cat than cutting its throat. An odd aphorism, but I'm sure you get the drift.

  28. #28
    Occasionally engaged…
    Reputation: Ptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,504
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    You're quite right, I don't have a seat slamming on my coccyx. With handlebars relatively close to the saddle, I am easily able to take the weight off my rear-end when appropriate.
    Let's see -- I take it either you ride remarkably dull terrain (probably not true) or at an unusually slow speed (maybe) or for very short distances (maybe), or you never sit down (probably not true). All cyclists try to take weight of their rear-end when appropriate but no cyclist does it for an entire ride -- assuming "real" off-road terrain, a moderate speed, and long enough duration to mean you don't ride every bump perfectly. This is one reason I asked for an objective measure of what a "Cleland poodle" was like (speed and distance) -- claims of comfort using the Cleland position for any length of time/distance or at moderate speed on rough terrain just don't compute for me. Further, I note that the Cleland R&D page is investigating suspension seatposts and it sports a picture of a sprung saddle -- I humbly submit that a frame designed for off-road riding that requires either is coming up short.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    The vast majority of cycling in Germany, Holland, Denmark and other mainland European countries is done in the upright posture.
    Apples to oranges -- there are multiple reasons for commuting on a bike that is different than from one designed to either (a) go fast, (b) ride rough terrain, (c) be comfortable over a long distance. I have and use a commuter bike myself -- it's the right tool for the job.


    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    The posture I advocate is much more poised, with the ability to readily transfer weight between the saddle, pedals and handlebar, altering the bias between these three points according to the terrain.
    I see no enhanced advantage of the Cleland positioning relative to weight transfer as compared to standard mtbs, and certainly not to the type of frames/setups I have for my own -- I believe claims that one position enhances the ability to transfer weight quickly and precisely more than another are not supportable by experience in the field.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    It's always worth remembering; there are more ways of killing a cat than cutting its throat. An odd aphorism, but I'm sure you get the drift.
    I think something was lost in translation...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  29. #29
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    44
    Clearly PeT, you inhabit a different universe to that which I inhabit.

  30. #30
    conjoinicorned
    Reputation: ferday's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,527
    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post
    Recumbent v. Upright.... .....Who is most wobbly?

    One Hour Recumbent Bike Race - YouTube


    Tall Bike
    tall bike asheville nc - YouTube
    Terrible analogy.

    Interesting thread, I've read everything I can find from Geoff and whether I agree or not I admire the passion and drive to experiment. Cool stuff.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  31. #31
    Perpetual n00b
    Reputation: dgw2jr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,755
    PeT, watch the video in the OP. GeoffApps is riding through creeks and bushwhacking with some decent elevation gain. That terrain doesn't look very boring at all. The speed is low relative to riding buff singletrack. I know when I'm bushwhacking and I have no clearly defined path in front of me that I ride slower and prefer a more upright riding position for more stability.

    There is too much variation in riding style to say that any one riding position is best for everyone.

    Just found this video: Mudbike - The 1982 Cleland Aventura - YouTube

    Looks like that bike and riding position are well-suited to the type of riding done in the British Isles. From what I hear/read they don't get a whole lot of sunshine and dry trails over there so they end up riding in slop much of the time. Also, with the freedom to roam, they can ride pretty much anywhere they please. Through a creek or up a mountain side, there's no one to tell em it's off limits. So an all-terrain bicycle like the Cleland probably works perfectly for them.
    Last edited by dgw2jr; 09-20-2012 at 08:44 AM.

  32. #32
    Perpetual n00b
    Reputation: dgw2jr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,755
    Discovering more of Grahams videos: 29er TrailBlaze - Mountain biking without following trails - YouTube

    The riding position looks very similar to how I used to ride my Mukluk during the winter. Seat up high for good leg extension, sweepy Mary bars with stem at the top of the steer tube. Stable as heck on 4" tires. Felt good on the back and wrists letting the legs carry all the weight and do all the work. Also made it easier to lift that front wheel up and over things, or make a sharp turn as seen in the first pic.




  33. #33
    Occasionally engaged…
    Reputation: Ptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,504
    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    There is too much variation in riding style to say that any one riding position is best for everyone.
    Exactly. I understand that different definitions of fun and particularly different climes will dictate different riding styles, bikes, and positions. Perhaps a Cleland is the optimal bike for riding over hill, dale, and through creeks for 6 miles, perfecting trials moves and stopping at a pub to throw back a pint or two. I am not at all convinced that a Cleland is the right bike for riding over hill, dale, and through creeks at even moderate speeds for 16 miles, let alone 26 or 66, and then getting up in the morning and doing it again. Hence my questions and comments.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  34. #34
    AZ
    AZ is offline
    banned
    Reputation: AZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    19,205
    That's what is so great about MTBing, there is a ride for everyone. Pick one you like and go ride it.

  35. #35
    Natural Born Killer
    Reputation: nemhed's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    370
    This discussion reminds me of the seating position debate among motorcyclist. Most Harley/cruiser riders can't understand how being bent over on a sport bike could possibly be comfortable. Most sportbike riders can't understand how it is comfortable to sit upright with your legs and arms stuck out in front of you. Of course riding styles and purposes make all the difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Skrufryder View Post
    Silly rabbit Jack Daniel drinking donkey kissing caterpiller

  36. #36
    Natural Born Killer
    Reputation: nemhed's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    370
    Quote Originally Posted by 2tallrid3r View Post
    The discussion on low center of gravity versus high is really interesting... I understand that reaction times have to be faster on a lower bike, but in all other respects my personal experience as a tall guy has been that a lower bike OR motorcycle is much more stable. My 29er is much more stable with a longer wheelbase and being in the bike instead of on top of it. If any of you guys ride dirtbikes or streetbikes you may have heard about the guys who invented the Gurney ALLIGATOR... it was based on a Honda XR650L, and they put the seat way down low... everything about the bike improved... cornering, stability etc.

    Here's a quote from Gurney:

    "The Gurney ALLIGATOR has a look and riding feel unique and different from anything on the road. Unlike other motorcycles, the rider sits below the top of the tires with feet in a forward position. The fuel tank is mounted below the seat and behind the engine. Gurney originally moved in this design direction because he is tall and many bikes made him feel as if he were pitching forward when going downhill. The Alligator is this concept taken to its logical extreme. What works so well for tall people works equally well for people with shorter legs. They do not have any trouble getting on or off the bike, are no longer worried about falling over at a standstill and being closer to the ground, they feel much more comfortable and safe. This low CG concept has been developed and refined over the years into something quite extraordinary: a motorcycle with a confidence inspiring riding feel, obvious and significant aerodynamic benefits and most of all: a fun factor to match."
    I'm not buying the claims made about this motorcycle and that "everything" was improved. If that was the case then MotoGP bikes would look like this. In road racing motorcycles "mass centralization around the roll axis" is the current goal, not the lowest cg possible. A lot of this also applies to bicycles. Sorry for adding to the derailment of this thread.

    P.S. Of course there's a vast difference between how a MotoGP rider controls his bike vs how a trials rider controls his bike. Both depend on the gyroscopic stability of their rotating wheels, but a trials rider really makes use of a relatively high center gravity when compared to a road racer.

    P.S.S. I love pretty much anything on two wheels.
    Last edited by nemhed; 09-20-2012 at 11:35 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Skrufryder View Post
    Silly rabbit Jack Daniel drinking donkey kissing caterpiller

  37. #37
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally Posted by PeT View Post
    A couple of questions for you you Cleland Cycle guys -- what's an average speed for a ride, like for the one in the video? (not so different from my rides, sans water -- I live in a desert). What's kind of distance does a good weekend ride on off-road terrain cover? I have formed some opinions based upon what I've learned from the Cleland website about where and how those bikes would be fun and where they might not be so much fun, and it would be enlightening to have some input on average speeds and distances covered. Thanks!
    Different Cleland riders will of course have different riding habits, but here is some data from my rides this year.

    Maximum distance covered in a single days riding is 60 miles. This was a very long and rainy day about 60% of which was off-road and though muddy and wet, the going was not very technical nor the hills very steep. Riding through mud can be very hard work and once it took me 10 hours to ride 40miles.

    According to my SatNav a more typical day of lowland riding was 28.9 miles in length and only 35metres between lowest and highest altitudes.The SatNav recorded an average speed of 6.3mph and a top speed of 20mph. The average speed is lower than expected but I don't know if the SatNav factors in the numerous stops along the way. The conditions were again muddy and large sections of the trail were waterlogged. And this was in high Summer. When crossing one waterlogged field, at one point the water was up to our knees. It was like cycling across a shallow lake.

    These were both group rides with most of the other riders riding mountain bikes. As usual I had no problem in keeping up with the other riders, even on the road sections, despite my using very low tire pressures.

  38. #38
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Hi dgw2jr,

    It is interesting that you have independently come up with a similar solution to that which Geoff did 30+ years ago.

    The FatBikes have the same, go anywhere ethos as the Clelands.
    They also both share the use of ultra low tire pressures. All you say about easily lifting the front wheel and being able to turn sharply is pure Cleland.

  39. #39
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    44
    A quick note about access:
    In England and Wales access is very limited; cyclists can only use designated 'byways', (roads that have been allowed to deteriorate into tracks), and 'bridleways', principally intended for horses, which use often makes them virtually impassable for cyclists. Thus most mountain bike riding is illegal.
    Scotland, however, now has 'Freedom to Roam' legislation in place, and you can go anywhere you want on a bicycle, except in places like working quarries or peoples gardens.

  40. #40
    All Play
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    17
    Wow thats pretty cool

  41. #41
    Perpetual n00b
    Reputation: dgw2jr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,755
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    A quick note about access:
    In England and Wales access is very limited; cyclists can only use designated 'byways', (roads that have been allowed to deteriorate into tracks), and 'bridleways', principally intended for horses, which use often makes them virtually impassable for cyclists. Thus most mountain bike riding is illegal.
    Scotland, however, now has 'Freedom to Roam' legislation in place, and you can go anywhere you want on a bicycle, except in places like working quarries or peoples gardens.
    Thank you for the correction. We have none of that here that I'm aware of. We assume everything is off-limits here in the states, even the wilderness, which is pretty weird considering our population density as a country is pretty low.

  42. #42
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    44
    That 'off-limits' situation must be quite a spoiler. However limited the access is in England, at least all legal paths are marked on our Ordnance Survey maps.
    Scotland has followed most of mainland Europe where complete freedom to roam is long established.
    Restricting access is really very stupid; anyone who is going to cause damage will gain access anyway, regardless of the law. So, law-abiding folks suffer pointlessly.

  43. #43
    Perpetual n00b
    Reputation: dgw2jr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,755
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    That 'off-limits' situation must be quite a spoiler. However limited the access is in England, at least all legal paths are marked on our Ordnance Survey maps.
    Scotland has followed most of mainland Europe where complete freedom to roam is long established.
    Restricting access is really very stupid; anyone who is going to cause damage will gain access anyway, regardless of the law. So, law-abiding folks suffer pointlessly.
    Gun owners apply the same logic. "If you outlaw guns, then only the outlaws will have guns."

    Somebody thought this post was pointless and irrelevant, as well as argumentative. How so?
    Last edited by dgw2jr; 10-11-2012 at 12:37 PM. Reason: WTF?

  44. #44
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    The implications of not allowing access to wilderness are interesting. Without access bikes specifically suited to exploring wild areas are unlikely to be designed and sold.

    In Britain we have a number of "trail centers" with purpose built trails designed to be exciting to ride. These are very popular and so are the types of bikes best suited to ride them. The only problem with that is that trails of this type, smooth, banked, well drained and free of vegetation are seldom found in nature. Like the London Olympics course, some consist mostly of smooth unsealed roads, and it can be more difficult to ride along the grass at the edge, than the trail itself. The next step may be to put roofs on these so that they can be ridden more safely when it's raining.

    I don't at all mind that people enjoy riding these man-made trails. It's just a long way away from the ideas of exploration and being at one with the natural environment that inspires me. It also promotes bike designs that are not necessarily suited to being ridden in the wild. For instance, despite the UK often being wet and muddy I have never seen off-road bikes, apart from Clelands, with effective fenders. Perhaps the emergence of FatBikes and bicycle SatNavs will help promote wilderness riding? Though this is unlikely in countries where it is prohibited.

  45. #45
    transmitter~receiver
    Reputation: meltingfeather's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    8,838
    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    And why not Horses?
    I feel like I'm playing teeball here, but let me take a swing anyway...

    because horses are not bicycles?

    Yeah... thanks... thought of that one all by myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  46. #46
    Dinner for wolves
    Reputation: buddhak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,557
    The riding position on these Clelands reminds me of a guy I once saw at the Thursday night ride/race at my local uber-technical trail system. This trail features many sharp turns, many huge log-overs, short steep climbs, and plenty of slow speed technical moves. The guy was riding some kind of FS bike and I was struck by his high handlebar position and short cockpit. I remember talking to the guy about his set-up, but I forgot what he had to say (it was about 7 years ago, forgive me). In any case, he was about 5'8", 40+ years old, and had a decent gut. He was slow, but he was steady. He cleared many obstacles and lasted over 15 miles - no mean feat on this trail. I couldn't believe it at the time, but his upright cockpit was working for him on a very challenging trail.

    Long and boring anecdote, I know. But it illustrates the start of a lesson it has taken me many years to learn: rider style, terrain, and bike set up are three variables that come together and generate an infinite number of possible ways to have fun on/off the trail.
    Responds to gravity

  47. #47
    mtbr member
    Reputation: smilinsteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8,605
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    anyone who is going to cause damage will gain access anyway, regardless of the law. So, law-abiding folks suffer pointlessly.
    Riding off trail by its very nature causes damage; more or less depending on where you do it.
    There is pristine wilderness where even on- trail riding is not allowed. There is no way you can "gently" ride though wilderness. You change it. There is good reason to disallow this kind of riding in many places.

  48. #48
    Perpetual n00b
    Reputation: dgw2jr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,755
    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Riding off trail by its very nature causes damage; more or less depending on where you do it.
    There is pristine wilderness where even on- trail riding is not allowed. There is no way you can "gently" ride though wilderness. You change it. There is good reason to disallow this kind of riding in many places.
    Water and air also change the environment. As do animals, such as deer and the predators that follow them. I guess the point you are making is that humans are far more efficient at changing the environment than any of the aforementioned. I suppose some issues with access here in the states is that someone will always try to find a way to commercialize it and turn a profit. Little shops and inns start to pop up to accommodate more people seeking recreation. Before ya know it, ya got strip malls and a Wal-mart where a swamp used to be. The trails are taken over by ATV's or dirt-bikes. All "camping" is done in an RV the size of a small house with all the luxuries included. The natural appeal of the area is lost.

  49. #49
    mtbr member
    Reputation: smilinsteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8,605
    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    Water and air also change the environment. As do animals, such as deer and the predators that follow them. I guess the point you are making is that humans are far more efficient at changing the environment than any of the aforementioned. I suppose some issues with access here in the states is that someone will always try to find a way to commercialize it and turn a profit. Little shops and inns start to pop up to accommodate more people seeking recreation. Before ya know it, ya got strip malls and a Wal-mart where a swamp used to be. The trails are taken over by ATV's or dirt-bikes. All "camping" is done in an RV the size of a small house with all the luxuries included. The natural appeal of the area is lost.
    Well, that wasn't exactly the direction I was going. My point was simply that trails allow us to enter nature without disturbing it as much as you would by going off trail. I used to live in Tucson where they talked about some micro plant life in the soil that holds it together, provides nutrients, reduces erosion etc. You disturb the soil and it could take decades to return to normal in that environment. Here in Colorado, the high altitude tundra is similarly fragile.
    Sure water and animals disturb things as well, but that is part of the environment which is in balance. You throw things out of balance very quickly if you disregard rules for trail use. You can see in many places where a few people have left scars that don't heal.
    You also have an effect on wildlife, mating and migration patterns, nesting, etc.

  50. #50
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    184
    Hi buddhak,
    I guess that Geoff is unlikely to be the only motorbike rider who has tried to reproduce the trials bike experience having crossed over to off-road cycling? Or maybe this rider discovered his riding style through experimentation and exploring alternative approaches.

    Hi smilinsteve,
    I take your point about our responsibility to preserve and respect wilderness environments. Such unspoilt natural environments are rare in the UK. Even areas we think of as wild have actually been formed through centuries of sheep farming etc. And some trails are so eroded by centuries of people and livestock that they are now sunken deep into the earth. In a way we don't have to worry as much as some other countries about damaging and changing the environment. Centuries of intensive agriculture has already done a million times more damage than bikes could ever do.

    Clelands and Speed:
    Some times we ride slowly. Sometimes we ride fast. Sometimes we overtake mountain bikes. Sometimes they overtake us. Especially so on long hill climbs when the extra weight of the Clelands takes it's toll. (Weight is not an inherent property of the Cleland design, but because we don't have the resources or money to make them ultra lightweight). Only on road or into strong headwinds is speed an issue. But this is also an issue for most mountain bike designs.

    Here is a head-cam video of my 1988 Cleland overtaking a mountain bike. You can also see from the camera angle just how relatively high the Clelands are. There great fun to ride. You do have to get used riding a bike where you can't touch the floor whilst sitting on the saddle. But once you have mastered getting on and off, it feels perfectly normal.
    Last edited by GrahamWallace; 09-21-2012 at 12:14 PM.

Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •