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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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    New question here. technical climbing - sit or stand?

    Coming from background of roadie racing in the early 90s I never stand on the technical climbs. Am I giving something away doing that? The only time I get out of the seat is for any log crossing or a particularly sharp edged rock or root, but that's mainly for comfort. I seem to make it up the toughest climbs I've found on my own that are rideable, but I'd like to know if it's something to get good at as I pretty much consider myself a climber...

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  2. #2
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    If you are able to do it seated, and you are making all of the tough climbs, I would say that you are already doing it correctly. Why change?
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  3. #3
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    On climbs I always sit. It puts more weight on the back tire giving better traction and less slippage. Sometimes when sprinting up a paved surface or some trail surfaces I may stand for a short stint, but 90% of the time I find sitting to be more effective due to the friction/traction advantage.
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  4. #4
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Seated, in a slightly higher gear is ideal.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  5. #5
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    For me there are a ton of variables and I mix it up quite a bit depending on what they are. If I have some decent speed and come to a steep, but not too long pitch it's usually better for me to get out of the saddle and power up in a taller gear rather than shifting down and sitting. Similar situations often come up during long climbs where I find that standing to get over steeper sections instead of shifting is faster and also conserves energy (as long as traction is available).

  6. #6
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    Just making sure as I'm in the ride 3-4x a week stage and watch videos on YouTube and I saw more standing up than I was expecting.
    "It's not us, it's the mud!" - foxhound.rank

  7. #7
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    technical climbing - sit or stand?

    What do you consider technical? I would say that a technical climb is something that requires me to shift my weight around to maintain traction or burst up/over something. In these situations, I am almost always out of the saddle, or at least just lightly perched on the saddle nose, but not putting much if any weight on it. For example, desert SW style rock ledges, or rock gardens.
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  8. #8
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    the answer is, it depends

    some climbs I pick through, next day same climb I hammer in big ring and everything in between. stand, sit, stand then sit, sit then stand. whatever

    depends on the climb, traction, rocks/roots, grade ...everything. there is no correct answer than just ride it

    typically for the climbs so steep the front wheel has a real hard time staying put (essentially a no-fall zone) those are always 'seated but barely seated' with fine tuning weight distribution by the microsecond

  9. #9
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    Yeah.. It really depends. In perfect, smooth, gradient inclines, I'd sit.. But where I ride, with roots and rocks and trees, I may sit or stand depending on the incline, turns, obstacles, etc.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    the answer is, it depends

    some climbs I pick through, next day same climb I hammer in big ring and everything in between. stand, sit, stand then sit, sit then stand. whatever

    depends on the climb, traction, rocks/roots, grade ...everything. there is no correct answer than just ride it

    typically for the climbs so steep the front wheel has a real hard time staying put (essentially a no-fall zone) those are always 'seated but barely seated' with fine tuning weight distribution by the microsecond
    Yeah this is east coast woods. A fair amount of roots, not much for rocks usually and steep enough to not see many (usually none) wheel tracks going all the way up. One in particular is a mixed use trail with a horse farm nearby, the trail is never mtb manicured smooth through there between the water erosion and horseshoes tearing up the softer top soil. I'm guessing steeper is possible, the normal seated position would have you flip off the back of the bike, I just haven't found it yet.
    "It's not us, it's the mud!" - foxhound.rank

  11. #11
    EDR
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    If I can do it fully seated then the climb is not very 'technical'. It's just a climb. On techie stuff I always need to get my butt off the saddle at least a bit so I can move around, or lift the front.....or lift the back.

    Here is one of my favorite vids of a local trail here in town. It shows some good examples of technical up hill riding. 1:50 is good example of having get off the saddle but if you watch closely Kenny gets off the saddle slightly quite often. Not a full on stand up, like if you were stretching your legs but rather just giving room between your butt/thighs and the bike.

    Bike rider and videographer credits go to local rider and Pivot rep Ken Bennett.


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    Seated, in a slightly higher gear is ideal.
    or a slightly lower gear could be ideal...
    2014 Nail Trail 29er

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    If I can do it fully seated then the climb is not very 'technical'. It's just a climb. On techie stuff I always need to get my butt off the saddle at least a bit so I can move around, or lift the front.....or lift the back.
    That is exactly how I describe it. Technical climbs are ones where the climbs are limited by your ability to get over rock, roots etc. Non technical climbs are lungs/legs. This applies to short 100 yard climbs or longer ones. When just climbing I tend to be seat and for very steep, smooth climbs seated works well when sitting on the tip of the saddle. I keep the front end down and it gives good rear traction. However when rocks and roots come into play I will climb in "short stand" position where my butt is only slightly off the saddle. Just enough to put all my weight on the pedals and order handlebars. This allows me to quickly move my weight to get the right front end grip and rear grip as well as being able maneuver the bike and let the rear wheel come up over ledges. Done just right it amazing what you can climb up, but it is all about perfect balance and control. It does take alot of strength and energy to climb like this so I use this technique only when it is critical to clear certain sections of a climb.
    Joe
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  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Whatever works.

    For a while, I was doing most of the really low-speed technical climbing sections with my butt on the saddle. It helped me maintain traction. There are a couple problems with that approach, though - sometimes I'd loop out on really steep bits, and it was hard to move further forward over the bike once I was committed. And, it was hard for me to help the bike up and over a ledge.

    Lately, I'm climbing out of the saddle more. It's actually more about higher-speed situations. I washed out my front wheel the other day and realized I'd gotten into a bad habit of pulling back on the bars when applying power in climbs. This messes with my weight distribution, and I realized it had also been making it harder for me to hold a line, say over a root bed or something. When it gets really steep, I can maintain better weight distribution by getting out of the saddle, just a little bit, and moving forward over the bike. The above poster mentions a "short stand" - I think I've stumbled into about the same idea. It's very different from the tall, hips-forward stand I'll sometimes do when I want to stretch my legs and maybe need to put some power down but traction and handling aren't really a problem.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    Maybe this question just high-lights my biking shortcomings but when things get really steep how do you avoid having to stand? At a certain steepness I simply cant't keep the front wheel down - even if shifting my butt to the front of the saddle and bending my torso forward. In those cases I need to stand to move more weight forward unless I want to wheelie up the hill. Is that just me? I don't mean to hijack the thread -- it seems relevant.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    Maybe this question just high-lights my biking shortcomings but when things get really steep how do you avoid having to stand? At a certain steepness I simply cant't keep the front wheel down - even if shifting my butt to the front of the saddle and bending my torso forward. In those cases I need to stand to move more weight forward unless I want to wheelie up the hill. Is that just me? I don't mean to hijack the thread -- it seems relevant.
    Those are the times when I find I miss bar-ends.
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  17. #17
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    You can have bar ends!

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  18. #18
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    technical climbing - sit or stand?

    I've only encountered a grade so steep that standing was the only option at one place: the Slickrock Trail. Those grades are essentially unclimbable on dirt, where the traction isn't as remotely as good as on rock.

    In my experience, I'm not smooth enough at pedaling out of the saddle to avoid spinning out on dirt at any grade approaching Slickrock steep. But, I can climb pretty steep grades by scooting waaaaay forward on the saddle and being smooth.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    You can have bar ends!

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    I actually don't do even remotely as much climbing as I used to, but I would totally rock bar ends if I did. I spent a lot of time on them bitd and really appreciated the range of body position and grip options they afforded.
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  20. #20
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    They make those ergo ones now that are aerodynamic lol

    I think we all miss them just a little bit.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    They make those ergo ones now that are aerodynamic lol

    I think we all miss them just a little bit.

    Sent from my 831C using Tapatalk
    Huh? Aero on a mtb?

    If technical, I'm usually out of the saddle. If not, usually seated depending on how hard I'm pushing it on the climb. If I'm really hammering, I'll be standing.

  22. #22
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    Re: technical climbing - sit or stand?

    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    What do you consider technical? I would say that a technical climb is something that requires me to shift my weight around to maintain traction or burst up/over something. In these situations, I am almost always out of the saddle, or at least just lightly perched on the saddle nose, but not putting much if any weight on it. For example, desert SW style rock ledges, or rock gardens.
    ^this. Riding in Pennsylvania as I do requires one to be very dynamic when climbing. A large majority of my climbs have multiple pitches often separated by waterbars/big d@mn roots so you have to roll with the punches so to speak. Long story short do whatever works for you and your terrain.
    Here is the thing about equality, everyone's equal when they're dead. - Gavroche, Les MisÚrables

  23. #23
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    Re: technical climbing - sit or stand?

    I use platform pedals, so my best option is to stand for more efficient/power pedaling on climbs.

    In the future, I will try clipping in to experience power pedaling even while seated.
    What works for me may not work for you. What's best for you depends on many factors. We are different from each other.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    Maybe this question just high-lights my biking shortcomings but when things get really steep how do you avoid having to stand? At a certain steepness I simply cant't keep the front wheel down - even if shifting my butt to the front of the saddle and bending my torso forward. In those cases I need to stand to move more weight forward unless I want to wheelie up the hill. Is that just me? I don't mean to hijack the thread -- it seems relevant.
    Well it depends, how is your cockpit set up? If your saddle is too far back, and/or stem too short, maybe that's limiting your ability to keep the front wheel down. If you're using a setback seatpost, it's worth trying a straight one to play with saddle position a bit.

  25. #25
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I was still using bar ends about a year ago.

    I think wide bars make it a little easier to get forward without them. With narrower bars, I'd start to feel pretty cramped.

    Or, maybe I just got accustomed.

    I do miss them now and then when I do an extended period of steady-state riding. I'm lucky enough not to do that often when I go out to do MTB, however.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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