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  1. #1
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    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

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    Preconceptions often get in the way of a good time. I'd love to take a spin on one of these.
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    Great pic demonstrating exactly what is meant by "...ride not only off-road, but off-trail."
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    You make riding in the streams look so easy!

    Impressive!

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    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.

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    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.


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    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. 

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    Great Pic

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    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

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    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...

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    Your great great grandpa's Surly Krampus ^ ^
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    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 shite 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.

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    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!
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    That's just dandy, where's my knickers?

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    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

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    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.

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    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?

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    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...

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    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.

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    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)

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    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..

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    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."


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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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...

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    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.

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    "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.

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    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...

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    Clearly PeT, you inhabit a different universe to that which I inhabit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post
    Recumbent v. Upright.... .....Who is most wobbly?

    One Hour Recumbent Bike Race - YouTube


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    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.
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    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.

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    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.




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    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...

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    That's what is so great about MTBing, there is a ride for everyone. Pick one you like and go ride it.

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Wow thats pretty cool

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    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.

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    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.

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    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?

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
    That's one of the advantages of a fatbike.

    My 4" tyres make much less impression on the soil than a rambler or a deer.

    I suspect the ultimate offroad bike (as opposed to mtb built trails and hardpacked dirt) would be a Cleland style with the new Surly Krampus 29er+ tyres or the 4" fat tyres.

    This type of bike is not about speed, it's about getting there and enjoying the view while doing so, otherwise you may as well go to a velodrome or some other bicycle playground/trailpark and go really fast.

    The comparisons to the 1890s and early 1900s 28" rimmed bikes aren't really valid. Those were designed for road work, albeit on dirt roads, and they are just about unrideable if you try to take them through the sort of stuff that the Cleland bikes get ridden through. Around 1900 28" rimmed bikes were being sold with 2" tyres in Australia for bush work. This would have been of some help in the bulldust areas, but the geometry was unsuited for any technical offtrail use.

    My opinion is based on having owned several early 1900s 28" wheeled bikes and a recent attempt to build a retro 29er mtb out of one. It will require considerable changes to the bike's geometry - which I'll do because it's fun. If it works I'll post it up in this forum - it will get raced - but it will probably end up more like an early Scottish path racer than 29er.
    Last edited by Velobike; 09-21-2012 at 05:17 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    That's one of the advantages of a fatbike.

    My 4" tyres make much less impression on the soil than a rambler or a deer.
    You may be right, but regardless of your tire size, in most of the places I ride or have ridden, riding off trail is wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    That's one of the advantages of a fatbike.

    My 4" tyres make much less impression on the soil than a rambler or a deer.

    I suspect the ultimate offroad bike (as opposed to mtb built trails and hardpacked dirt) would be a Cleland style with the new Surly Krampus 29er+ tyres or the 4" fat tyres.

    This type of bike is not about speed, it's about getting there and enjoying the view while doing so, otherwise you may as well go to a velodrome or some other bicycle playground/trailpark and go really fast.
    Yet they still make an impression. "Ultimate" means irreparable destruction? It does in the cryptobiotic soils of the American southwest, where trails provide sustainable recreation.
    Your rose colored glasses and romaticized picture of "enjoying the view" don't change the facts. Some people prefer to go as fast as they can. They call it fun, and suggesting it belongs in a velodrome is ridiculous to the point of absurdity.
    Just because it isn't your flavor doesn't make speed any lesser of an enjoyable ride quality Grant, er... I mean, Velobike.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    Yet they still make an impression. "Ultimate" means irreparable destruction? It does in the cryptobiotic soils of the American southwest, where trails provide sustainable recreation....
    If a deer can posthole it, I will ride on it. Humans are part of the landscape too.


    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    ...Your rose colored glasses and romaticized picture of "enjoying the view" don't change the facts. Some people prefer to go as fast as they can. They call it fun, and suggesting it belongs in a velodrome is ridiculous to the point of absurdity.
    Just because it isn't your flavor doesn't make speed any lesser of an enjoyable ride quality Grant, er... I mean, Velobike.
    Yep, just as absurd as not appreciating that some people are not interested in speed. And who's Grant?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    If a deer can posthole it, I will ride on it. Humans are part of the landscape too.
    I'm glad you don't live around here. That's the attitude that destroys wilderness recreation areas.
    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Yep, just as absurd as not appreciating that some people are not interested in speed. And who's Grant?
    Ah, yes... this is true of course. The thing is though, nobody who enjoys speed is here saying "enjoy the view" riders should be on handicap-access paths at old folks homes. It's a pretty typical retro-grouch, my-way-is-better attitude. Grant is Grant Petersen, the retro-grouch and Lycra/go-fast denigrating archetype. You would probably love his writings. Look up the blog on the Rivendell Bicycles website.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
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    [QUOTE=meltingfeather;9712835]I'm glad you don't live around here. That's the attitude that destroys wilderness recreation areas. (self contradictive?)

    Come now...if man was not part of nature, nature left to itself...dies. Nothing would stay the same. Nature is a process of life unto death followed by rebirth. Nature is a part of creation, it is not GOD, to be held above man.

    Fat bike type tires provide the best means to traverse over the earth while doing the least change to the soil. This fact has been deomstrated in many photos posted by Velobike himself.

    Here in the states the 'goverment' owned lands belong to...we the people. More and more...we the people are being shut out from enjoying OUR land. A small minority uses as an excuse the abuses of a few to close them down. Truth is it is all about control...control of...we the people by those who who would restrict freedom at any level.

    But back on track...the Cleland bicycle shod with fat bike tires presents a type that should cause one to rejoice at the prospect of traversing the land with the least change.
    Is this not progress?

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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    Yet they still make an impression.....Some people prefer to go as fast as they can. They call it fun, and suggesting it belongs in a velodrome is ridiculous to the point of absurdity.
    Just because it isn't your flavor doesn't make speed any lesser of an enjoyable ride quality....
    Well personally, I love to ride slowly and I also love to ride as fast as I can.

    Riding fast in itself, is not inherently more destructive to the environment. Especially when using low pressure tires, there is a strong argument that the faster you go the less time the ground has to compress and so the shallower the impression left behind. Also a higher gear means that the acceleration from each pedal stroke is spread over a larger distance and more momentum is maintained in-between pedal strokes

    The problem is more to do with braking and cornering habits. Clelands use low pressure tires on narrow rims which means you can't do violent tail slides without the tires rolling off the rims. The fact that 80% of the weight is over the rear wheel means that front tires float over the terrain causing little damage We also use the best modulated brakes we can find in order to avoid unintended lock-outs, and elliptical gears as a form of traction control. However, though authorities may ban bikes because of the damage caused by inappropriately aggressive riding, the careful and considerate also have to live with the consequences.

    Low pressure tires, bike design and considerate riding can keep environmental damage to the minimum. And whilst most ecosystems will quickly heal from the damage caused by an occasional rider, large rider numbers on a single trail will inevitably lead to long term damage.


    Since this is a 29er thread.
    Here's a picture of a Geoff and a 1981 700c x 47mm Cleland Range-Rider. Taken in 1984, this picture appeared in Charlie Kelly's 1988 "mountain Bike Book"
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-4321632293_01fcfb3fa1_b.jpg  


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    At the moment, I'm running 65mm tyres, and before long will have some 75mm tyres. Still have some clearance, chainline and fender problems to resolve yet. There's no way I can squeeze anything wider into the current Aventura frame, and there's no way I can afford a new frame for the foreseeable future.

    That old 29er still exists. We're hoping someone can restore it so it can be displayed in a museum. This is how it looks today.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-dscf2760.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post
    Well personally, I love to ride slowly and I also love to ride as fast as I can.

    Riding fast in itself, is not inherently more destructive to the environment. Especially when using low pressure tires, there is a strong argument that the faster you go the less time the ground has to compress and so the shallower the impression left behind. Also a higher gear means that the acceleration from each pedal stroke is spread over a larger distance and more momentum is maintained in-between pedal strokes

    The problem is more to do with braking and cornering habits. Clelands use low pressure tires on narrow rims which means you can't do violent tail slides without the tires rolling off the rims. The fact that 80% of the weight is over the rear wheel means that front tires float over the terrain causing little damage We also use the best modulated brakes we can find in order to avoid unintended lock-outs, and elliptical gears as a form of traction control. However, though authorities may ban bikes because of the damage caused by inappropriately aggressive riding, the careful and considerate also have to live with the consequences.

    Low pressure tires, bike design and considerate riding can keep environmental damage to the minimum. And whilst most ecosystems will quickly heal from the damage caused by an occasional rider, large rider numbers on a single trail will inevitably lead to long term damage.


    Since this is a 29er thread.
    Here's a picture of a Geoff and a 1981 700c x 47mm Cleland Range-Rider. Taken in 1984, this picture appeared in Charlie Kelly's 1988 "mountain Bike Book"
    Well put, and I don't disagree.
    However, I don't think a Cleland or fat bike should be a license to do whatever you want. Sustainability is key, which sometimes means using trails.
    Rants about access are misplaced, or at least way off topic.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    ...Come now...if man was not part of nature, nature left to itself...dies. Nothing would stay the same. Nature is a process of life unto death followed by rebirth. Nature is a part of creation, it is not GOD, to be held above man.....
    ...the Cleland bicycle shod with fat bike tires presents a type that should cause one to rejoice at the prospect of traversing the land with the least change.
    Is this not progress?
    Well said.

    As a descendant of people who were forcibly cleared of their land to create what is now promoted as "wilderness" I am deeply suspicious of the exclusionary dictums of the urban eco-aesthetes of wealthy western countries.

    And back on track, or should I say "off track", I can't think of a better way to traverse soft country than with a fatbike. The geometry of a Cleland bike looks to me ideal for the sort of slow going that that entails. Whether it is marketable to a population to whom mountainbiking involves leaping, sliding, and thrashing round a maintained trail as fast as possible, is another story though. It's a completely different category of bike. To use a motorbike analogy, a Rokon compared to a motocross bike.
    Last edited by Velobike; 09-22-2012 at 05:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    Well put, and I don't disagree.
    However, I don't think a Cleland or fat bike should be a license to do whatever you want. Sustainability is key, which sometimes means using trails.
    Rants about access are misplaced, or at least way off topic.
    A rant? True

    Way off topic? Depends upon your perspective.

    Can you see it as a call for you to marry your passion for nature with your profession to say yes instead of no? You are a civil engineer, are you not? People with such skills are needed to strike a balance to the where, when, how much, and why.

    Velobike has gone to some amount of trouble to post pictures of evidence on a thread on the fat bike fourm, I forget the title, perhaps he will chime in with it, it could be useful to you should you choose. In any even it was maybe about a year ago last spring?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    A rant? True

    Way off topic? Depends upon your perspective.
    Not that I wasn't to begin with. Topics like these tend to drift that way.
    I think Cleland's are cool bikes... and I certainly appreciate the rides/riders depicted here and what they do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    Can you see it as a call for you to marry your passion for nature with your profession to say yes instead of no? You are a civil engineer, are you not? People with such skills are needed to strike a balance to the where, when, how much, and why.
    Absolutely. That is why I became a civil engineer in the first place. Civil engineering is at the interface of civilization and the natural environment. As I said, sustainability is key... at least to me. I was just countering the point that a Cleland is a license to go and do whatever you want... because deer to it or the evil corporate-government complex robbing the populous of it's own lands or whatever you can come up with aren't mitigating factors in my mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    Velobike has gone to some amount of trouble to post pictures of evidence on a thread on the fat bike fourm, I forget the title, perhaps he will chime in with it, it could be useful to you should you choose. In any even it was maybe about a year ago last spring?
    I don't disagree that fat bikes cause relatively little damage... never even took up that topic.
    I have to admit, "exclusionary dictums of the urban eco-aesthetes of wealthy western countries" is hilarious like an internet fail video... and, once again, absurd. Good for a laugh, but not something I want to waste my time reading on a regular basis... very much like Grant Petersen's contributions to the annals of e-cycling.
    I'm not sure which narrow band of his lineage Velobike is evoking. Life forms have been expelling eachother since the dawn of time and no doubt every one of us has ancestors on both sides of an emotionally charged expulsion story. There are just so many layers of irony to enjoy in that one smug statement.
    Originally I responded to two counts: the attitude that one should be able to do whatever one pleases if mounted on a fat bike/Cleland, and the statement that people who want to go fast should be at the velodrome.
    Last edited by meltingfeather; 09-22-2012 at 10:52 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
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  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    ...I have to admit, "exclusionary dictums of the urban eco-aesthetes of wealthy western countries" is hilarious like an internet fail video... and, once again, absurd...

    Originally I responded to two counts: the attitude that one should be able to do whatever one pleases if mounted on a fat bike/Cleland, and the statement that people who want to go fast should be at the velodrome.
    And there I was smugly thinking that that cap fitted you really well, perhaps a bit tight because you sound a bit cranky to me, what with all the personal cracks.

    But let's leave the ideological discussion to those who actually live a pure eco-life*, and concentrate on the Cleland bike.

    The trailpark/velodrome remark was because there was an implied criticism of the potential speed of the Cleland bike, so I responded with a sort of an ironic reductio ad absurdum, to illustrate that speed on mtbs is best enjoyed on hardened surfaces. My bad.

    As far as an "attitude that one should be able to do whatever one pleases if mounted on a fat bike/Cleland", I don't recall seeing that mentioned. It's not do, it's go. There's no such thing as wilderness here. Every square foot of the country has had human presence at some stage, the empty land is actually depopulated areas. Our general ethic is leave it as you found it, we're raised with that, and we teach our kids that. I spend a lot of time in the mountains in Scotland and I have seen no evidence that our open access laws for bicycles have caused any problems.

    Hence my statement that a fat tyred Cleland style bike would probably be the ultimate off track bicycle.






    *I've no idea what a pure eco-life may be, but I suspect using a car, living in a 1st world urban environment, consuming goods transported vast distances, and having the leisure time to play with bikes, is not it.
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    All thread de-railment aside, I find the Cleland design fascinating from more of a "bicycle as practical transportation" standpoint versus a "weekend toy/exercise equipment" standpoint. Of everything I've read in this thread, one of the factoids I'm most surprised about is the 80% rearward weight bias. I'd love to get a chance to ride one in it's "natural environment" but alas in my part of "the middle" (read flyover state) we don't usually see things this interesting in the local bike shop or on the local trails. Again from a design standpoint, it's interesting to see how things evolve when not overly influenced by outside forces, or sort of a divergent evolution so to speak. Just from looking at one I would call it more of a flat land bike, although I'm sure that's not the case. There are "hills" in Great Britain. It also looks like the toe overlap with the front tire might drive me crazy. Sadly I'll probably never know for sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    All thread de-railment aside, I find the Cleland design fascinating from more of a "bicycle as practical transportation" standpoint versus a "weekend toy/exercise equipment" standpoint.
    For me the most universally important aspect of the Cleland design is improved comfort and safety. This is because these aspects could encourage a whole new demographic to cycle off-road. Namely those who like the idea of cycling but don;t enjoy being uncomfortable whilst doing so. We do get reports from cyclists from all over the world who have made their own bikes influenced by aspects of the Cleand design. Most rewarding are the tales of everyday cyclists in third world countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    Of everything I've read in this thread, one of the factoids I'm most surprised about is the 80% rearward weight bias.
    The rearwards weight bias is variable. Lean backwards off the saddle and it could be 95%. Stand forwards with your upper body in front of the handle bars and it could be only 20%. Even in the saddle there is a good degree of flexibility with 80% being the number you get when you sit bolt upright with no weight on your arms.

    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    I'd love to get a chance to ride one in it's "natural environment" but alas in my part of "the middle" (read flyover state) we don't usually see things this interesting in the local bike shop or on the local trails. Again from a design standpoint, it's interesting to see how things evolve when not overly influenced by outside forces, or sort of a divergent evolution so to speak.
    We don't consider the design as our intellectual property and would cooperate with any manufacturers who wanted to make them. A UK manufacturer was intending to re-manufacturer them a couple of years ago but this never happened. Hopefully one day they will be manufactured, and people will be able to try them for themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    Just from looking at one I would call it more of a flat land bike, although I'm sure that's not the case. There are "hills" in Great Britain.
    Despite the flatland looks Clelands have the reputation of being excellent climbers.This has its own counter-intuitive explanation in physics the result of which is they can climb 44% slopes for as long as the riders legs and lungs can cope. Their very well moderated brakes also make them good at descending. If things go wrong you can just jump off the back.Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-r0012768.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    It also looks like the toe overlap with the front tire might drive me crazy. Sadly I'll probably never know for sure.
    I've never noticed this to be a problem. Maybe I have just got used to it?

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    Interesting to me how even the most obvious (in my mind) truths become contentious.
    Funny this world we live in. For example, I remember when air pollution was just bad. I never imagined I'd live in a time where there was a "pro-pollution" stance.

    But back to the original off-topic topic. Is it so hard to imagine a good reason for different levels of access rules for different places with different levels of wilderness and the sensitivities that go with it?

    I had some friends in Alabama who laughed at my conservative ways (yes, it is liberals who want to conserve! Ironic eh?)
    Clear cutting the thick woods down there, cutting down hundred year oak trees because they needed firewood, I mentioned something about what a shame that was.
    "ha ha. The land is here to use! "
    or maybe they said something like
    Come now...if man was not part of nature, nature left to itself...dies. Nothing would stay the same. Nature is a process of life unto death followed by rebirth. Nature is a part of creation, it is not GOD, to be held above man.


    The funny thing about those guys, was that they live in a place that is ugly. Completely f%cked up.
    They drive 4 hours to where they can get to a piece of woods they can hunt on, and that is just a tree farm. Trees in rows. I'm not kidding.
    Maybe they don't see the irony because they have never been to a truly beautiful place in its natural state. They don't see the irony, but I hope you do.

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    I picture really is worth a thousand words, isn't it?
    It looks to me like there are trails in the area, but this guy decides he wants to ride down on the hill with no trail. It sure looks like fun to do that.
    And if he was the only one to do it, it probably wouldn't be too much of a problem.
    But if lots of people see how cool that hill looks to ride down, what happens? The plant life dies under the tire tracks, the dirt is slightly depressed, forming water channels, the rain starts forming gully's, etc. After this hill becomes a popular mountain bike destination for a couple of seasons, it looks like an eroded, dead, scarred up mess. It might even become unridable, in which case it would be ok to go find another hill, and start over, right?


    Is that really a better option than having a trail down that hillside that people can enjoy while keeping the surrounding environment relatively stable and undamaged?

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    smilinsteve,

    You are indeed correct and as a result I would refuse to identify that location if anyone asked. Of course someone could always recognize the location from the photo and go there with the intention of riding down this slope. In fact I first discovered this slope when I saw a large group of mountain bikers trying and failing to ride down it. They either went over the handle bars of chickened out. The slope is not at all smooth and steeper than it looks in the photo. And there is no run out at the bottom so even the downhill bikes would have nowhere to go except into the trees. The dilemma is that they could ride down if they had Clelands. But is this an argument for Keeping the Cleland design a secret?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    And there I was smugly thinking that that cap fitted you really well, perhaps a bit tight because you sound a bit cranky to me, what with all the personal cracks.
    lol... from the guy who brought the "personal crack." my comments were solely in relation to yours... you are the one who used the label "eco-asthetete" and implied some sort of skewed hiprocrisy.
    by all means, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    The trailpark/velodrome remark was because there was an implied criticism of the potential speed of the Cleland bike, so I responded with a sort of an ironic reductio ad absurdum, to illustrate that speed on mtbs is best enjoyed on hardened surfaces. My bad.
    this comment would have been the end of the discussion. since smilinsteve, who you were addressing, said nothing about speed, it seemed odd and as i said, absurd.
    i guess i don't "know" you well enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    As far as an "attitude that one should be able to do whatever one pleases if mounted on a fat bike/Cleland", I don't recall seeing that mentioned. It's not do, it's go. There's no such thing as wilderness here. Every square foot of the country has had human presence at some stage, the empty land is actually depopulated areas. Our general ethic is leave it as you found it, we're raised with that, and we teach our kids that. I spend a lot of time in the mountains in Scotland and I have seen no evidence that our open access laws for bicycles have caused any problems.
    That's great, and I think leave it as you found it is all either of us alluded to. Some places you can do that by riding a fat bike across hill and dale, some places you can't. I thought it might be a context thing. I was just pointing out, as smilinsteve was, that it is context dependent, which you seemed to reject. both of us qualified the need for trails as being context dependent (e.g., "some areas," etc.).

    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Hence my statement that a fat tyred Cleland style bike would probably be the ultimate off track bicycle.
    It is... in places where such a bike does not cause irreparable harm. Your statements and those about "elevating nature to the level of God" or whatever were in no way qualified... and to me conveyed the sentiment that humans should be able to go where they please at their whim because deer and air and water do.

    i think we've beat this enough, eh? my apologies if I offended. cranky I am not.

    let's see more Cleland pics!






    *I've no idea what a pure eco-life may be, but I suspect using a car, living in a 1st world urban environment, consuming goods transported vast distances, and having the leisure time to play with bikes, is not it.[/QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

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    Smiling Steve: whilst I am vaguely sympathetic to your concerns, in this country at any rate, your concerns are unfounded:
    a) The vast majority of mountain bikers don't explore; they prefer to stay on well-ridden clear firm tracks.
    b) Property law and access rights mean that there are fences and hedges everywhere, rarely can you ride off trail for more than half a mile before having to stop and lift your bike over a fence or stile; not very appealing to the average rider.
    c) Much of the UK is intensively managed; to find these areas of interest usually requires a fair amount of research, and the vast majority can't be bothered.
    d) What Graham didn't mention is that the none of the mountain bikers in the group he was with would dare to ride down that slope; it's a lot steeper than the photo shows.
    e) You see that scar up the other side of the valley; made by sheep.
    f) When the farmer wants to check his sheep, he drives up in a 4X4.
    g) Most off-trail terrain is simply too difficult/boring for the average mountain biker.
    h) Getting trails built/made is not at all easy; to make it a worthwhle distance, it often has to cross the land of several landowners, rarely are they all that keen to allow it.
    So, although you have a case, the actual amount of damage that is likely to be caused by Cleland and Fat Bike explorers is very small indeed, and most unlikely to attract hoards of mountain bikers.

    Off topic, off trail, off piste ~ typically Cleland

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    Thanks Graham for addressing the questions poised by Nemhed.

    For those with concerns with toe overlap because of the short wheelbase there are things that can be helpful.

    1 A wider BB

    2 Or, you may find yourself as in my case. I ride a 89 Fisher (full rigid) with toe clips until about a month ago. While on a ride I turned my attention to the slight, but not bottersome stress at my knees.I removed them. Low and behold, my toes turned away from the centerline and my stance upon the pedals was somewhat wider. Yeah, I walk like a duck!

    3 Lower the BB somewhat, to place your toes at a point lower and further from the tire. Should this not at first seem like the direction you would choose to go, with the advent of Srams XX1 you could find yourself willing to trade increased chainwheel clearance for a loss of pedal clearance?

    @ Graham or Geoff...would you care to post more of the geo stats on your design? I have tried to quess some, but nothing beats the facts, would give me and others a starting point from which to apply your design freatures to fit ourselves. I have not found them posted on your site, did I miss?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    Thanks Graham for addressing the questions poised by Nemhed.

    For those with concerns with toe overlap because of the short wheelbase there are things that can be helpful.

    1 A wider BB

    2 Or, you may find yourself as in my case. I ride a 89 Fisher (full rigid) with toe clips until about a month ago. While on a ride I turned my attention to the slight, but not bottersome stress at my knees.I removed them. Low and behold, my toes turned away from the centerline and my stance upon the pedals was somewhat wider. Yeah, I walk like a duck!

    3 Lower the BB somewhat, to place your toes at a point lower and further from the tire. Should this not at first seem like the direction you would choose to go, with the advent of Srams XX1 you could find yourself willing to trade increased chainwheel clearance for a loss of pedal clearance?

    @ Graham or Geoff...would you care to post more of the geo stats on your design? I have tried to quess some, but nothing beats the facts, would give me and others a starting point from which to apply your design freatures to fit ourselves. I have not found them posted on your site, did I miss?
    I think this refers to the AventuraTT, a profile of which appears on the home page of the Cleland website.
    Look closely; the toe does not overlap the wheel/tyre; it overlaps a very flexible mudguard extension. It is therefore not an issue.
    This overlap exits because the frame used for this prototype was bought off-the-shelf.
    A purpose-built fame design would have the bottom bracket axis further to the rear, which would eliminate this insignificant aspect.

    Do you actually mean a wider BB, or do you really mean Q factor?
    In view of my above comments, lowering the bottom bracket is neither desirable or necessary.
    Note also: swing pedals effectively lower the rotational movement of the feet to more or less the average bottom bracket height.

    So, look again at that profile, more carefully this time. If you click on it, you get a larger image, and if you click again, you get a magnifier for an even closer look.

    I do apologise for there being no concise description of the AventuraTT on the Cleland website. If I find time, soon I'll create a special page to cover a complete and detailed specification.

    As requested, and not un-connected to this reply, here are some more Cleland photos; these appeared in another MTBR thread recently. You'll notice I never clean my bike; I don't need to.
    On the subject of more Cleland photos; have you clicked on the Flickr link to the right of the homepage? There are loads of photos, several with comments and technical notes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-dscf2767.jpg  

    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-dscf2770.jpg  

    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-dscf2773.jpg  

    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-dscf2774.jpg  

    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-dscf2775.jpg  


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    GrahamWallace, thanks for addressing my post. From my personal experience with my own explorer/commuter bike I would find clipping the mud flap with my toes annoying, but that's just me. I would shorten it up a bit. Actually touching the tire would get beyond annoying. Looking at those drive train pictures makes me feel like I'm looking at some alternate universe bike with the elliptical chainrings, square water bottle, and offset pedals. But I appreciate the rational for all the the tech details. I also appreciate the "why clean it if its just going to get dirty right way" ethic!
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    Well, in practice, your toes don't actually touch it while pedalling, except on very rare occasions.
    The point you really have to consider is that it is of optimal size and length to serve its principle function of protecting the chain from stuff thrown up by the front wheel; shorten it and it no longer functions.
    The Cleland design is full of compromises in its ethos of functionality, and this is but one; a very small annoyance pays very big dividends.
    The non-cleaning ethic is another aspect of its functionality; this bike is built to be ridden, not to be cleaned.
    I recently read a report about a mountain bike enduro where each lap was about 7 miles. Due to the mud on the course, the riders had to replace disc pads every three or so laps, and the derailleurs had to be cleaned down every lap. To my mind, that's not functionality; I suppose a Cleland would have done quite well, but not with me riding it!
    Your description of your bike as explorer/commuter is excellent; I use the Aventura for utility as well as exploration, with its mudguards, chainchoobz, bash plate as trouser guard and upright stance, you can ride it in everyday clothes. Functionality again...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    Smiling Steve: whilst I am vaguely sympathetic to your concerns, in this country at any rate, your concerns are unfounded:
    a) The vast majority of mountain bikers don't explore; they prefer to stay on well-ridden clear firm tracks.
    b) Property law and access rights mean that there are fences and hedges everywhere, rarely can you ride off trail for more than half a mile before having to stop and lift your bike over a fence or stile; not very appealing to the average rider.
    c) Much of the UK is intensively managed; to find these areas of interest usually requires a fair amount of research, and the vast majority can't be bothered.
    d) What Graham didn't mention is that the none of the mountain bikers in the group he was with would dare to ride down that slope; it's a lot steeper than the photo shows.
    e) You see that scar up the other side of the valley; made by sheep.
    f) When the farmer wants to check his sheep, he drives up in a 4X4.
    g) Most off-trail terrain is simply too difficult/boring for the average mountain biker.
    h) Getting trails built/made is not at all easy; to make it a worthwhle distance, it often has to cross the land of several landowners, rarely are they all that keen to allow it.
    So, although you have a case, the actual amount of damage that is likely to be caused by Cleland and Fat Bike explorers is very small indeed, and most unlikely to attract hoards of mountain bikers.

    Off topic, off trail, off piste ~ typically Cleland
    very informative, thanks. this makes a lot of sense, and it is now easy to see how context is so determinant.
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    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
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    Ultimately there can be be a certain irony to riding a Cleland over challenging terrain. This is the fact that sometimes you may be able to make faster progress on foot, without using a bike at all. Or even by carrying the bike over the worst sections of trail.

    But the ethos of reaching the destination and not having to turn back whatever confronts you is strong. A kind of survivalist mentality where the worse the trail conditions or weather, the more enjoyable the riding is. Conversely on warm dry Summer's days with smooth easy trails a Cleland can feel somewhat out of place and over engineered with its fenders, guards, elliptical gears, hub brakes and low pressure tires. All that remains of use is the comfortable easy to balance tall riding position.

    Does this make me leave the Cleland at home on such days and make the logical choice of using my carbon fiber full suspension XC bike. Well not very often. I would miss the standing out of the saddle standing bolt upright on the pedals, my head 7 feet plus above the ground whilst the handle bars oscillate backwards and forwards with rise and fall of the terrain. Just like the way children love to ride there BMX bikes.

    If you find it difficult to imagine how a Cleland rides. Just think BMX with very big wheels, and you wont be that far off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post
    Here is a video that shows a modern Cleland Aventura TT riding along another stream.

    I'm not knocking the bikes, but I honestly don't see anything in that video that I haven't done with my 26" (or now with my 29'ers) bikes,including the stream riding.

    The part where he rides over the log is just plane silly. They slow the video down as if getting over the little log is a big accomplishment.

    And either the rider is really twitchy in his riding style, or the bike makes for a twitchy riding style.
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    Quote Originally Posted by neveride View Post
    I'm not knocking the bikes, but I honestly don't see anything in that video that I haven't done with my 26" (or now with my 29'ers) bikes,including the stream riding.

    The part where he rides over the log is just plane silly. They slow the video down as if getting over the little log is a big accomplishment.

    And either the rider is really twitchy in his riding style, or the bike makes for a twitchy riding style.
    The 4th paragraph on the home page of the Cleland website says:
    "The Cleland Aventura can do some things more easily or efficiently than a mountain bike because it follows function before form. By the same token, a mountain bike can do some things an Aventura can’t; both do similar things, but in slightly different ways."

    For every mountain bike rider who looks at the little log being ridden over, there are (nominally) 9,999 people who would think it a major accomplishment. The video is more aimed at the 9,999. I suspect that most mountain bike riders realise this.

    Below the water's surface are slippery slimy rocks and stones, sandy patches and hollows. Because of the angle of the sunlight, these are impossible for the rider to see. When the front wheel hits them, the steering twitches. As an experienced rider, including stream riding, I would have thought you could have figured this out for yourself.

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

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    Sleep well...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffApps View Post
    The 4th paragraph on the home page of the Cleland website says:
    "The Cleland Aventura can do some things more easily or efficiently than a mountain bike because it follows function before form. By the same token, a mountain bike can do some things an Aventura can’t; both do similar things, but in slightly different ways."

    For every mountain bike rider who looks at the little log being ridden over, there are (nominally) 9,999 people who would think it a major accomplishment. The video is more aimed at the 9,999. I suspect that most mountain bike riders realise this.

    Below the water's surface are slippery slimy rocks and stones, sandy patches and hollows. Because of the angle of the sunlight, these are impossible for the rider to see. When the front wheel hits them, the steering twitches. As an experienced rider, including stream riding, I would have thought you could have figured this out for yourself.
    Websites say a lot of things--we call that marketing. So lets leave that where it lies.

    I somehow doubt the 9,999 riders that this video is aimed at are regularly in the habit of thinking "damn, if I only had a different, more purpose built bike, then I'd decide to ride up this stream". So i think maybe there is a lot of confusion about who this video is aimed at. I mean, I doubt someone who thinks getting over that rather small log is a big accomplishment is also the same person who regularly wants to ride up streams.

    The twitchy-ness I was referring to was not during the stream ride--that I would expect to be twitchy. It is the rest of the video--on the non-stream trails, where the bike and rider appear twitchy. Places that should be smooth and flowing I suspect a lot has to do with the gear the rider is in, as well as the layout of the bike.
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    [QUOTE=GeoffApps;9715648]
    Do you actually mean a wider BB, or do you really mean Q factor?
    QUOTE]

    Sorry for the delay, yes a wider Q factor, I was thinking a 100mm BB and 4-5" tires.

    At 65 a more upright position has its appeal. My currant bike, a 26er has,the best I can measure a 625mm FC and a 130 stem. The Surly Moonlander with 30" tires has a FC of 623.4 and a stem of 90 in size small.

    If I apply your idea on position, I should come close? And any concerns about toe overlap are dealt with. I am also thinking that in reguards to your stats on geo, the position over the pedals overides the others? My currant bike, I am told has a 73.5* STA,
    Close to yours?

    By the way Graham...you did not say just how you got back up that hill...through lots of effort...no matter the method!

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    What do mountain bikers who have ridden alongside or a test ridden a Cleland think?
    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-dscf5084w.jpg

    Bear in mind that an unusual bike like a Cleland takes quite a while to get used to. So the quotes below are just initial reactions.

    These are are all the Cleland related comments from the ride report of a group of UK mountain bikers, who Geoff joined for a recent days ride in the Scottish Hills.

    The full report can be found here from page 7 onwards:
    Retrobike National Series Rd 5: Tweed Valley ~ AFTERMATH pg7 | Retrobike

    "Great to meet several new faces and several I'd met before.
    It was also a real pleasure and an honour to have Geoff Apps along on his prototype Cleland Aventura. Really fantastic bit of design and engineering and a really nice person to chat with. Pretty handy on a bike too".

    "The upside was I got a few chances to chat with Geoff and hear some of his fascinating ideas about cycling techniques. Everyone that tried his bike were quite taken with it, Mikee in particular".

    "Lord apps ...
    been thinking of how to word my apprasial of sir geoff's bicycle
    went thru the engineering slant then the flowery prose
    in the end i thought id tell it as it is
    i caught up with geoff on one of the early climbs ,i complimented him on the bike , and his reply included the words "want "and" go" in it
    jeff looks a bit smaller than me , but it seemed to fit fine , so when i mastered the technique of mounting the steed i was off (geoff later gave a demo of the moving off bit)
    as an engineer i'm not a sceptic with most things ,including this bike
    but i was not prepared for the experience
    the nearest i can get to is , you know that time when you've packed up
    your rear wheel drive car in the wet field and your trying to get to the exit road slippy slidey no traction type thing
    then some idiot in a landy is driving about up and down thing just because
    they can ?
    thats what the clellands like ,i rode it up the trail a bit then rode over a grassy bit between 2 trails , with no problems , very little body shift is required you just turn the pedals and it goes up ,well anything
    the (i assume )chris bell egg rings went un-noticed until someone pointed
    them out , obviously done right ,like the rest of the bike
    as for speed on it ,well i dont know as geoff wanted it back for the down bits , but he looked smooth and fast on the bits i saw
    and the "lovely hill" as he called it ,i missed him out climbing everyone
    all in a lovely fella and a cracking bike , i hope you make some more sir

    so i met a legend , rode his bike ,and found a new hero
    top day out i'd say "

    "It was great treat to meet Geoff and hear all the reasoning behind each detail on this amazingly capable machine. I didnt get to ride it unfortunatley but I did note that not one person went away unimpressed"

    "Some interesting bikes but Geoffs Clelland definetly stole the show".

    I stuck with Geoff and chatted about his bike. He was having a bit of difficulty with his breathing (smoking too much was his excuse but I hope I'm still riding at 63!!) so we walked up a bit together. He let me ride his bike up one of the steep bits and I have to say after 1 pedal turn I could see what is was all about. The unbelievable grip, smoothness and just plain ease of riding was astonishing. More later......

    "Geoff let me ride his bike quite a bit and I think he thought I'd pinched it as I went off on my own a fair distance while he pushed my bike - sorry Geoff, but it was your own fault for designing such an awesome addictive machine!!"

    "When I rode the Cleland I wasn't sure about it downhill, but Geoff soon showed it was excellent there too as he shot away from me like a bullet on the first slippery muddy rocky downhill. I just couldn't believe it. he just made it look so easy while I was slip-sliding away..... "

    "Good also to meet Geoff Apps having read plenty about the man and his bikes over the years. Good chap and handy rider too".
    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-inners02_127.jpg
    Last edited by GrahamWallace; 10-03-2012 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Typos

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    There I was demonstrating how easy it is on an Aventura to pick your nose without having to dismount.

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    I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of higher COG=more stable? Inverted pendulum? Mind boggling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post

    @ Graham or Geoff...would you care to post more of the geo stats on your design? I have tried to quess some, but nothing beats the facts, would give me and others a starting point from which to apply your design freatures to fit ourselves. I have not found them posted on your site, did I miss?
    This may help. It's the drawing for a 650b Cleland I had made in 1988. It has a 100mm wide bottom bracket and about 40mm clearance between frame/forks and tires so 29er wheels should fit. I'm 6 foot two inches tall so the frame would need scaling down for smaller riders. There are modern bikes with similar geo stats. And a small sized frame size will give you the shorter wheelbase required.
    Cleland: The original big wheeled off-road bicycle?-highpath_322_131.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of higher COG=more stable? Inverted pendulum? Mind boggling.
    It is!

    But to describe it in a different way to earlier explanations...

    As the bicycle falls its center of mass accelerates, due to gravity, and describes a 90 degree semicircular arc until it hits the ground.

    The taller the bike the longer the circular path taken by the mass and so the slower the fall. A 1m center of mass would take half the time to fall of a 2m center of mass.

    When the bike and rider are balanced, gravity is not rotating their center of mass but pulling it straight downwards. The more the bicycle leans the stronger the rotational pull of gravity and so the faster the acceleration.

    A tall object though initially falling slower will actually be falling faster when it hits the ground.

    In practice there are two crucial angles for a given height of bike:

    The angle at which the bicycle cannot be rebalanced by swerving at a given speed.

    And size of the angle from the vertical that a bike can be balanced without any overt use of the steering. (The track stand angle or riding on sheet ice angle)

    Here is video that shows why a bicycle is a form of inverted pendulum.

    One robot wheel moves from side to side just like the front wheel of a moving bicycle weaves from side to side as you steer. The other wheel remains stationary in a similar way to the rear wheel of a bike. What it does not show is that increasing the height of the robot/pendulum would make it rock more slowly and so give the robot more time to react.
    Inverted Pendulum - YouTube
    When you think about it, long ordinary pendulums also swing more slowly than short ones.


    I hope this helps?
    Last edited by GrahamWallace; 09-24-2012 at 04:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWallace View Post
    It is!

    But to describe it in a different way to earlier explanations...

    As the bicycle falls its center of mass accelerates, due to gravity, and describes a 90 degree semicircular arc until it hits the ground.

    The taller the bike the longer the circular path taken by the mass and so the slower the fall. A 1m center of mass would take half the time to fall of a 2m center of mass.

    When the bike and rider are balanced, gravity is not rotating their center of mass but pulling it straight downwards. The more the bicycle leans the stronger the rotational pull of gravity and so the faster the acceleration.

    A tall object though initially falling slower will actually be falling faster when it hits the ground.

    In practice there are two crucial angles for a given height of bike:

    The angle at which the bicycle cannot be rebalanced by swerving at a given speed.

    And size of the angle from the vertical that a bike can be balanced without any overt use of the steering. (The track stand angle or riding on sheet ice angle)

    Here is video that shows why a bicycle is a form of inverted pendulum.

    One robot wheel moves from side to side just like the front wheel of a moving bicycle weaves from side to side as you steer. The other wheel remains stationary in a similar way to the rear wheel of a bike. What it does not show is that increasing the height of the robot/pendulum would make it rock more slowly and so give the robot more time to react.
    Inverted Pendulum - YouTube
    When you think about it, long ordinary pendulums also swing more slowly than short ones.


    I hope this helps?
    Thanks. That's a good explanation. But, on the other hand

    For any given angle of the bicycle and rider, the moment on the pivot point (the contact patch) is greater when the COG is higher. So it takes more force to stabilize the bike from any given lean angle.
    It seems to me that if you lower the COG, you are able to have more lean with less likelihood to fall over, since distance from the COG to the pivot is smaller (lower torque)..

    How does your explanation fit into the following observation:

    A tightrope walker uses a weighted pole, curved downward, not upward, to stabilize himself. The length of the pole increases his moment of inertia, which stabilizes him against small forces that would move him away from equilibrium. Meanwhile, the lower COG means deviations from center have less of a torque on him that would cause him to fall. In fact, if you could lower the COG below the pivot point, as is possible with the tightrope walker, deviations from center create a torque that tends to right the walker.

    So in this case, clearly a low COG is better. What is different about the bicycle?

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    Wow, Graham...Thanks!

    At first look it seems as if currant bike if fitted with your idea of stem and bar placement would require little change. Perhaps a Syntace VRO stem in small, (55-105 in adjustment) with larger clamps to extend the range might be workable.

    Of course, if done to my currant bike, it would lack some of your other features. But it does allow me to better place in my mind your concept.

    Thanks again!

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    In practice there are two crucial angles for a given height of bike:

    The angle at which the bicycle cannot be rebalanced by swerving at a given speed.

    And size of the angle from the vertical that a bike can be balanced without any overt use of the steering. (The track stand angle or riding on sheet ice angle)
    I'm not sure about the first angle, but the second angle should be greater when the COG is lower, it seems to me.

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    Here's a wee experiment.

    Take a thin rod about 12" long, place a weight at one end.

    Balance it on your fingertip with the weight down. Now move your finger quickly to one side while trying to keep the rod balanced. Odds are you won't manage to keep it balanced even though the CoG is low.

    Now do it with the weight at the top. I'll bet you'll find it easier to balance even though the CoG is high.

    That's how I envisage what Graham is explaining, a high CoG makes it easier for the rider to handle sudden lateral displacements of the bikes contact patch.
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    In even more practical terms; in a side by side comparison between a Cleland and a recumbent in all riding conditions, which would be the better bicycle in most conditions? My money would be on the Cleland. Low CG is not the be all end all when it comes to two wheels vehicles. Whether a Cleland makes a better off-road bicycle than say a more "common" XC bike probably comes down to personal taste and riding styles, rather than the relative CG of the two bikes with their accompanying riders.
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    Before you read my answers I recommend you check out this video on Rotational Dynamics: Angular Acceleration and Rotational Inertia.
    Lesson 25 Sample - YouTube

    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Thanks. That's a good explanation. But, on the other
    hand

    For any given angle of the bicycle and rider, the moment on the pivot point (the contact patch) is greater when the COG is higher. So it takes more force to stabilize the bike from any given lean angle.
    It seems to me that if you lower the COG, you are able to have more lean with less likelihood to fall over, since distance from the COG to the pivot is smaller (lower torque)..
    Pivot point = Fulcrum

    Effort or Input = the downwards force of gravity or/and the lateral movement of the fulcrum.

    Load = COG

    As a lever mechanism there are some problems here:
    a) We have two inputs one at either end of the lever
    b) We have a fulcrum or fixed pivot which is restrained in two dimensions but not fixed. Therefore it cannot be a fulcrum.
    c)Considering the torque loading at the contact point is pointless as the torque is not applied there but at the COG. Unless you rigidly fix the wheel to the ground?

    I do understand where you are coming from here. A rider can use the inertia of his body weight to move a bicycles mass to the left or right whilst the contact patch acts as a fulcrum. This can indeed help to maintain balance. It's similar to the way a runner balances the rearward movement of their left leg by moving their right arm forwards.



    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    How does your explanation fit into the following observation:

    A tightrope walker uses a weighted pole, curved downward, not upward, to stabilize himself.
    The pole does not have to curve downwards but will lower the combined COG of man and pole if it does. In inverted pendulum theory height is inversely proportional to acceleration so a lower COG will accelerate faster than a smaller one. However the rotational inertia of the pole would slow down any acceleration.

    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    The length of the pole increases his moment of inertia, which stabilizes him against small forces that would move him away from equilibrium.
    Yes, Newton's third law of motion is at work here as every clockwise rotation of the pole will cause an equal and opposite anti-clockwise moment of the walker. This is the mechanism that enables him to balance.

    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Meanwhile, the lower COG means deviations from center have less of a torque on him that would cause him to fall.
    Whilst small deviations from the center balanced position do create less gravitationally induced torque, it is the rotational inertia of the pole that counters lean. At best effect of the COG height is only to give him more or less time to react.

    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    In fact, if you could lower the COG below the pivot point, as is possible with the tightrope walker, deviations from center create a torque that tends to right the walker.
    The tightrope walker are two separate but coupled systems. Only when the combined COG is below the rope could balance be maintained without the effects of the relative movement between walker and pole.

    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    So in this case, clearly a low COG is better. What is different about the bicycle?
    A balanced tightrope walker is indeed a form of inverted pendulum so according to inverted pendulum theory a tall tightrope walker should fall to his death more slowly than a short walker. But according to Newton's third law of motion the the rope would rotate to the left as the walker unbalances to the right. This is the equivalent of an inverted pendulum where the movement at the bottom of the pendulum makes things less stable. Instead of moving to restore the state of balance as is the case with a bicycle.
    For the tightrope to be like a bicycle the rope would have to move in the same direction as the fall.

    Types of inverted pendulum.
    There are two separate models of inverted pendulum here. One with a fixed pivot point where maintaining balance is impossible and the only thing to be learned from this is the physics of how inverted pendulums fall. The other is the inverted pendulum were the pivot can move in 2 dimensions where with the correct countering movement, balance can be restored and maintained.

    The reason in physics as to why a taller bike falls slower are closely related to the reasons why a 29er wheel takes more energy or time to accelerate it up to a given speed. The only difference is the direction of the input force as gravity acts vertically and bicycle wheel drive forces act horizontally.

    The key to understanding this is indeed rotational Inertia, and rotational acceleration.
    Think pirouetting ice skater!

    Alternatively try riding a Penny Farthing. There low speed lateral stability is truly amazing.

    After reading this Bigwheel should sleep very deeply indeed

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    I for one think this thread is pretty BA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Here's a wee experiment.

    Take a thin rod about 12" long, place a weight at one end.

    Balance it on your fingertip with the weight down. Now move your finger quickly to one side while trying to keep the rod balanced. Odds are you won't manage to keep it balanced even though the CoG is low.

    Now do it with the weight at the top. I'll bet you'll find it easier to balance even though the CoG is high.

    That's how I envisage what Graham is explaining, a high CoG makes it easier for the rider to handle sudden lateral displacements of the bikes contact patch.
    Funny, in the video Graham just posted the guy balances a golf club with head up and head down and says its easier with head down, (COG closer to fulcrum, ie. finger)

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    Graham. Thanks for the explanations. Its a really interesting topic to me, and one I haven't thought about much in the past, and haven't had much time to ponder lately. So, I'll have to ponder this some more.

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    A simple way to explain this issue is with the following concepts:
    -High CG- greater range of stability (angular amplitude) but a stronger and slower input is required to correct it.
    -Low CG- smaller range of stability (angular amplitude) but weaker and faster inputs are required to correct it.

    From a mechanical engineer's point of view, this pretty much sums it

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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Funny, in the video Graham just posted the guy balances a golf club with head up and head down and says its easier with head down, (COG closer to fulcrum, ie. finger)
    Try it for yourself rather than rely on someone else's opinion.

    A club head is pretty broad, so that's not hard to balance. Try it with something that won't balance because its end is very narrow so it's relying on your dynamic input to stay up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    A simple way to explain this issue is with the following concepts:
    -High CG- greater range of stability (angular amplitude) but a stronger and slower input is required to correct it.
    -Low CG- smaller range of stability (angular amplitude) but weaker and faster inputs are required to correct it.
    That's my understanding. Center of gravity is an important thing. I can recall in my younger years in the martial arts. I was going to Hollywood to appear in action movies but life got in the way. In that context low CG makes you heavy and stable. It connects you to the earth. High CG is the opposite. As a pilot CG means everything. A plane rotates around three axis.CG changes with the distribution of weight within the aircraft. It's vital to calculate CG to insure it's within the envelope of the given aircraft.

    All that probably has nothing to do with bikes but underscores the importance of CG in virtually every aspect of our lives. I see where Graham and Geoff are going with all this. I'm thinking a slightly higher CG might give me more control with smaller/slower movements needed for corrections. This does seem the opposite of my current beliefs but I'll see how it goes. I suppose it's what you're used to.

    Thanks Geoff and Graham for posting such a thought provoking thread giving us commoners something to think about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    In even more practical terms; in a side by side comparison between a Cleland and a recumbent in all riding conditions, which would be the better bicycle in most conditions? My money would be on the Cleland. Low CG is not the be all end all when it comes to two wheels vehicles. Whether a Cleland makes a better off-road bicycle than say a more "common" XC bike probably comes down to personal taste and riding styles, rather than the relative CG of the two bikes with their accompanying riders.
    I think the problem with recumbants is not the low center of gravity, but the ability of the rider to adjust COG while riding. Sitting in a chair is not an athletic position, and balance requires positional adjustment.

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