1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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  1. #1
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    Out of saddle when climbing?

    Is it more energy efficient to be out of the saddle during climbs? I ride a full suspension and feel like i waste a lot of energy when I am out of the saddle. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I think it depends on what type of rear suspension your bike has and how efficient it is.

  3. #3
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    If your FS, don't you have some type of rear shock lockout to some degree?
    I find it easier to stand and pound out a short climb vs seated spinning.

  4. #4
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    Re: Out of saddle when climbing?

    I rarely stand to climb on my trance. It has to be a monster of a hill. I DO slide forward on the saddle, pull my elbows in, and drive the rear wheel into the ground.

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    Stephen

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizrut View Post
    Is it more energy efficient to be out of the saddle during climbs? I ride a full suspension and feel like i waste a lot of energy when I am out of the saddle. Thanks!
    Your body has pretty sharp senses, but can it tell apart the difference between responsiveness, acceleration g-forces, quantity of energy spent, average speed, and overall level of ease and efficiency between different climbing experiences all while factoring your body's physical condition, weight of the bike, tire quality and tire pressure, terrain surface conditions, etc.? What can you contribute to the feeling of energy loss and what values are you using most to come to that conclusion?

    The message I'm trying to get out is basically there's no universal answer, only generalizations, and that you should trust your feelings, but verify. You should hone your senses yourself, figuring out what it is that's leading to that feeling. Too many would jump to the conclusion that the suspension is absorbing energy based on vague logic/reasoning and unreasonably restrict themselves from hammering out of the saddle based on that deduction. Cyclometers, GPS, heart rate sensors, power meters, etc. seem to have gotten popular to assist in figuring this out. Experimenting it yourself, sitting through and standing with various styles, should give you a clear answer. Maybe that answer will change as your physical power, equipment, and terrain changes. Look at others and you may discover different styles work for them, and copying their style might not work for you, maybe unless you adapt to it and train it to make it work. That's all it really boils down to, adapting and training your body to different things, and having sharper senses makes adapting faster.

    Generally, I find it more "efficient" (quicker and easier) to be out of the saddle for short "punchy" climbs where I can carry a lot of speed coming into it and almost hold onto that speed throughout the entire climb. Else, I just "sit and spin" (sometimes I hover above and in front of the saddle, not technically sitting) to better conserve energy, only getting up to push a higher gear (perhaps if the pitch gets steeper for a short distance), also in cases where I need to get through sections that require bit of speed/momentum and body english to carry myself over/past some obstacles. If I have plenty of energy and am under certain circumstances, such as running out of time/daylight or being in a 2-3 lap XC race, especially if I want to pass someone that I know will be slower than me on sections coming up, out of the saddle climbing sounds like a good idea. There's a lot more to it, but it's better to train your body and mind to adapt to your local circumstances and not unreasonably believe that being out of the saddle on climbs is to be avoided, even if it's popularly generalized that FS are "inefficient".

    Not sure what kind of answer you are looking for, or expecting, but simple answers like siting and spinning is more efficient and "FS are inefficient" are rather vague and unhelpful answers. Not saying those generalizations are untrue, but saying that the reality is that you have a human body that is amazing at adapting and you should be more concerned about making that more efficient at doing one thing or another. It tends to be efficient at whatever you drill it to do, improving at things you do through routine, and if your routine is hammering out of the saddle on every hill you see, you can very well make it up a mile long hill out of the saddle with less energy spent than if you sat and spun a low gear. I know I feel strangely exhausted following my newbie friend going slow through the chunk, and slowly up the hills, riding in a manner I'm unaccustomed to.

    I don't want to make you feel regret for buying a bike that doesn't give you that "familiar feel" that allows you to ride like you did on your prior bike did, as most new bikes will feel different, especially going between FS and no rear suspension, and that without more details, all others can say is to just adapt, unable to offer any advice as to how to better adapt. In short, just enjoy the ride and don't sweat such details. It should be natural, maybe evolving.
    Last edited by Varaxis; 10-01-2013 at 07:57 PM.

  6. #6
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    I've heard it said that standing is 20% less efficient than sitting...Sometimes you have to stand to increase your power output though so it can be a question of what works rather than what's efficient. You certainly wouldn't want to stand the whole way up a long climb but you may have to do it on short steep climbs just to stop yourself stalling.

  7. #7
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    With full sus, I climb seated forward on the saddle, nose in taint for steep stuff. This conserves energy (I'm all about conserving my limited energy). I'll pop out of the saddle as needed to get over obstacles.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  8. #8
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    Sometimes I stand sometimes I sit it all depends on the climb. If the climb is moderate and has obstacles I usually stand. If it is a long moderate ascent that is relatively flat I might sit. It all depends. Sometime I feel like I'm expending less energy with a taller gear standing that I would be spinning and sitting on an easier gear.

  9. #9
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    Not more efficient, but sometimes necessary.

  10. #10
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    Since I've started using clipless pedals, I think I get almost as much energy when sitting because I can push & pull on the pedals, vs just hammering down on the pedals when standing. I can pull up the pedals when standing, but it doesn't have a smooth feel to it.
    I also don't drop my seat post during normal riding. If I did drop the seat down, standing might work better.

  11. #11
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    I find that if l get to the bottom of a hill and l am tired, it can be easier to get out of the saddle for the climb.
    I am not sure which is more efficient, but it seems to give me a bit extra when l might otherwise have stopped for a breather.
    I lock out the fork but don't usually bother with the shock, as it does not seem to make much difference.
    So to sum up, l do both, depending on how l feel at the start of a climb!
    This applies to off-road riding.
    On longer, road hills (the start of my regular ride is 3 miles of steady road climbing) l tend to stay seated.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Not more efficient, but sometimes necessary.
    This, I only get out of the saddle when i need to.

  13. #13
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    Re: Out of saddle when climbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by lizrut View Post
    Is it more energy efficient to be out of the saddle during climbs? I ride a full suspension and feel like i waste a lot of energy when I am out of the saddle. Thanks!
    You probably do.

    In general, we're more efficient in the saddle. Especially if your bike gets squishy when you stand up on the pedals.

    Some things that can make standing useful
    -being on a steep enough hill to run out of gears. The power band when standing is at lower rpm.
    -it can be a nice break during an extended climb.
    -sometimes it's impossible to move one's weight far enough forward while in the saddle.
    -sometimes it's part of a technical move
    -some people, more frequently light people, just climb better that way.

    Play around with it. It can be particularly interesting if you use GPS or something, and can get a record of what your effort was on a climb and how fast you completed it.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that efficiency isn't the be-all and end-all. In competition, for example, people race much shorter distances than what they can ride. So, efficiency doesn't really matter in the same way. I'll spend energy left and right on being faster.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    I do most of my climbing seated. Even with a hardtail it just more efficient. The only time I stand is on short (30 second or less) climbs where it is easier to stand power through than to drop a bunch of gears and spin. The other time is when it is a technical requirement where I need to clear stuff. I find that standing in a semi squat with alot of weight on the front wheel gives me excellent bike control to climb over stuff. By standing I can better react to weight transfer to either move forward to keep the front end pinned down or move back to keep rear wheel traction. This faster reaction to weight transfer and balance is key on technical climbs.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the responses!

  16. #16
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    Good thread!

    I'm just starting out and was a bit surprised to find that the front end on my bike (Giant XTC2 29er HT) comes up very easily when I'm seated and climbing a rocky hill. Obviously, being a noob, I'm not carrying much speed, so imagine a slow seated climb and hitting rocks on the way up. I've tried to correct this (with some success) by a) carrying more speed, b) spinning a lower gear, and c) keeping my elbows up and out to pull my torso forward to weight the front. I don't lock out the fork (Recon) which is set at 90 psi (for my 165 lbs weight) and middle of the road rebound damping.

    On the flip side, if I stand on a climb, I spin the rear and lose momentum. I'm riding the stock Racing Rob tires at 30/32 psi F/R on rocky, New England terrain which is dry right now.

    Is the front end popping up a problem with technique, geometry of the XTC, fork setup, or maybe all of the above? Any ideas?

    Scott

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by duc_181 View Post
    Good thread!

    I'm just starting out and was a bit surprised to find that the front end on my bike (Giant XTC2 29er HT) comes up very easily when I'm seated and climbing a rocky hill. Obviously, being a noob, I'm not carrying much speed, so imagine a slow seated climb and hitting rocks on the way up. I've tried to correct this (with some success) by a) carrying more speed, b) spinning a lower gear, and c) keeping my elbows up and out to pull my torso forward to weight the front. I don't lock out the fork (Recon) which is set at 90 psi (for my 165 lbs weight) and middle of the road rebound damping.

    On the flip side, if I stand on a climb, I spin the rear and lose momentum. I'm riding the stock Racing Rob tires at 30/32 psi F/R on rocky, New England terrain which is dry right now.

    Is the front end popping up a problem with technique, geometry of the XTC, fork setup, or maybe all of the above? Any ideas?

    Scott

    The steeper the grade, the more forward your butt needs to go on the saddle, sometimes to the point of have the saddle nose firmly in your taint (tiant what's in front, taint what's in back, it just taint!). For seated climbing, it's nice to have a taint-friendly saddle. Keeping your butt in the saddle keeps the rear wheel planted, and as you've surmised, keeping your upper body forward and down keeps the front from wandering. It's a bit of a contortion to stay so low and so forward, but it works.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  18. #18
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    Eventually, you'll find that sweet-spot, standing body positioning on the hardtail, where you can kinda just let your body weight hang back against your arms to maintain rear wheel traction, but also preclude any of the more troublesome out-of-control front wheel lift.

    It's pretty cool when it happens and you gain tons of confidence about uphill obstacles since you're always just a little rear weight shift away from a mild wheelie.

    You just have to keep at it and experiment while you're riding.

  19. #19
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    How heavy are you?
    It's entirely possible your FS shocks need adjustments for your weight to be less saggy when standing.
    Have you tried that yet?

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 4

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by duc_181 View Post
    ...Is the front end popping up a problem with technique, geometry of the XTC, fork setup, or maybe all of the above? Any ideas?

    Scott
    Technique. The best way to keep the front end down is sit on forward tip of saddle. That keeps you weight down and low up front, but also drives weigh to keep the rear end down too. The trouble is there is a perfect balance point where you can keep the front end down and maintain good traction. It take time to develop the feel of where this is.

    Now there is also bike geometry component. The lower the front bars are the more weight goes on the front bars. If you see riders with bars much lower than seat that generally improves climbing by keeping the front end down. Also moving seat forward on the rails does that too. However too much and it hinders descending by moving the same weight forward and can cause an uncomfortable position. So it is all about balancing conflicting needs.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  21. #21
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    Re: Out of saddle when climbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by duc_181 View Post
    Good thread!

    I'm just starting out and was a bit surprised to find that the front end on my bike (Giant XTC2 29er HT) comes up very easily when I'm seated and climbing a rocky hill. Obviously, being a noob, I'm not carrying much speed, so imagine a slow seated climb and hitting rocks on the way up. I've tried to correct this (with some success) by a) carrying more speed, b) spinning a lower gear, and c) keeping my elbows up and out to pull my torso forward to weight the front. I don't lock out the fork (Recon) which is set at 90 psi (for my 165 lbs weight) and middle of the road rebound damping.

    On the flip side, if I stand on a climb, I spin the rear and lose momentum. I'm riding the stock Racing Rob tires at 30/32 psi F/R on rocky, New England terrain which is dry right now.

    Is the front end popping up a problem with technique, geometry of the XTC, fork setup, or maybe all of the above? Any ideas?

    Scott
    I've never been into letting my saddle get up in there. It didn't even buy me coffee! I drop my chest low over the bars. If that's not enough, I get out of the saddle, but only by a very tiny amount, and start moving forward over the bike until it's balanced as I'd like. So, that's the technique part...

    Geometry of the XtC frame is probably fine. But if you haven't fit the bike yet, the bars are likely too high and/or too close to you. Bikes lately come out of the box with stubby little stems and they tend to put them angled up and all the way on top of the spacer stack. If you also feel cramped, try putting your bars a little lower. Go a spacer at a time - small changes make a big difference there.

    You're probably also using too much tire pressure. At over 170, I was using 25 and 30 with 2.1" tires. Unless you pinch flat with less, you haven't found your minimum pressure yet.

    Good luck!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  22. #22
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    The rebound of the front fork is adjustable on most forks.
    Look into adjusting the psi pos and neg and also the rebound or gates.
    My new front fork was like a pogo stick until I adjusted it.
    Now its transparent and just goes without giving me any thought to the reaction of the fork on any ossacion.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 4

  23. #23
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    I think I'll work on technique first, since I know that probably needs the most improvement. Maybe a little less tire pressure and a bit more fork damping to slow the rebound. I'll also look at the bar position... I'm coming from the road so I'm used to being bent forward. Thanks for the tips on position though - like I said, that's what I'll be working on first/most.

    Any comments on the racing Rob tires? They don't look as knobby as some others I've seen.

    Thanks,
    Scott

  24. #24
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    On loose dirt or rocks it easy to loose traction without big knobfilled tires. When I got my HT I found the sweet spot on my forward position to get the most traction seated and un-seated, however uphill on loose or rocky ground would just spin w8th no grip. They were similar stock schwable tires like yours. I upgraded to big knobies and now I can maintain great forward motion on any surface. It was a combination of technique and equipment customizations. Changing the stem for a shorter unit also helped me out in the comfort dept.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 4

  25. #25
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Schwalbe has a couple of alliteritave XC tires. I have my hardtail set up with a Rocket Ron in front and a Racing Ralph on the rear. I like them a lot. I have them in 2.25" and I think the fanciest compound and casing.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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