Pedaling out of the saddle- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Pedaling out of the saddle

    I've been riding regularly for five years, but only recently decided that I need to stop being a lazy rider and improve my riding technique. One of the items my skills improvement list is pedaling out of the saddle.

    I am a spinner all the way. It's gotten to the point that I'll stay seated and spinning on the flats over minor roots and obstacles. I hate standing that much. I also know that ditching this aversion to standing will make me faster and smoother. At first I thought that practice would make perfect, and tried standing a lot more while I ride my training loop (a 1.2 mi pump track with no elevation change at all in Houston), but I was wrong. I've found that I'm more jerky in my transitions, and when I'm tired I get my center of gravity too far forward of my bottom bracket.

    What do you guys think? How do I improve my technique? I don't want to ride out of the saddle all the time, but I don't want to wreck just because my calves are jello and I'm supporting myself too much with my arms.
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  2. #2
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    Work on your core it would help smoothing out the transition and keep your cadence smooth as well. It's much easier to stand on a SS because you are in a less torquey gear.

  3. #3
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    Yep, Mimi is right.
    Ride a SS or a rigid, or at least pump up your psi way up, you'll stand more. Sometimes I'll lower my saddle all the way to force/remind me to stand. Sometimes just for training/technique I'll ride a full hour or 2 out of saddle.
    Round and round we go

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Yep, Mimi is right.
    Ride a SS or a rigid, or at least pump up your psi way up, you'll stand more. Sometimes I'll lower my saddle all the way to force/remind me to stand. Sometimes just for training/technique I'll ride a full hour or 2 out of saddle.
    You are an animal Meat an hour or 2 out of the saddle is nuts. I wish I have your lungs and ability to ignore pain. Good job.

  5. #5
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    Rigid SS. you will learn to stand and improve technique real fast.
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  6. #6
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    There's two things a body has to do on a bike: pedal and maintain balance.

    I find pedaling is generally more efficient in the seated position. So I stay seated as much as I can and spin. I suppose single speeds may require standing to crank up enough power for hills, but you don't say your on a SS, so I assume you have gears.

    Maintaining balance is another story. Rear suspension makes it possible to sit though small stuff, but I'm out of the saddle, or at least have some/most/all of my weight on the pedals for most obstacles. Whether moving fore, aft or to the side, I'm dancing to stay upright.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  7. #7
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    I keep forgetting people ride geared bikes, as I'm always in an SS mode of thinking since I converted. I never stand up to peddle unless absolutely necessary and on an SS this is usually on technical rocky sections or steep uphills.

  8. #8
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    I'm a pretty committed spinner, whatever bike I'm on. I recently counted rotations and found I like to pedal over 100 rpm.

    That said, it can get in the way of having a nice flow. If you're planning to be out of the saddle for an extended period, like a climb, try shifting up a gear or two. I find it improves my balance to pedal against a little higher resistance when I'm doing that. When I'm doing a really long climb, I'll alternate between sitting and standing.

    Also keep in mind that you need two things from your drivetrain on a mountain bike - it needs to deliver power to the rear wheel, but you also need to be able to do a certain amount of work in an acceptable amount of rotation at the crank to pop up your front wheel and send little bursts of power to the rear wheel on technical terrain where you can't necessarily pedal full circles. Sometimes that means I push a little higher gear off-road than I would choose on pavement.

    If your technique isn't letting you get in and out of the saddle as necessary and in a fluid way, it's getting in your way. IMO, there's nothing wrong with being in the saddle most of the time - that's what it's there for - you just need to be getting out of the saddle rather than plowing into things with your butt planted.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    I guess I shouldn't take my BMX background for granted, eh?

    Higher gear all the way, low gears always made me feel like I was falling if a tried standing up, and the rear would often spin on the ground (dry conditions). When you're standing you're pedaling with your upper body too, you need to rock the bike against your feet... if that makes sense... pull up on the side you are pedaling down on (rather than pushing down on the opposite side), this will vastly improve your balance, as well as well as building shoulder/back muscles, which will make for better control when things get tricky (and probably help with hops).

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