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Technique: Climbing out of the saddle

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:00 am
by Johnny Rad
Two questions:

1) When climbing out of the saddle on a moderate to steep climb, I think that I'm unweighting my rear wheel too much. I can occasionally feel the rear wheel come off the ground. Am I too far forward? What mechanics should I consider?

2) When others climb out of the saddle, some throw their bike back and forth while others seem to keep it magically upright. As long as we're talking about climbing out of the saddle, I figured it was worth asking about. Previous posts that I've read seem to indicate that its a rider preference thing and the difference isn't worth worrying about if you're happy with your technique. Comments?!

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:24 am
by zebragonzo
1) probably!

2) I've never heard anyone advise to rock the bike when going uphill; it uses more energy.

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:24 am
by Weenie

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:28 am
by Danton
This belongs in the training section.

Try to stand a bit further back. If this feels wrong, think of a shorter stem. Or check your tyre pressure, many think more bar/PSI is better but this is not the case, you need grip and deformation for low rolling resistance. Lower pressures mean more grip. Also try to pedal smoothly and carry your momentum efficiently, like a MTB rider climbing fast on loose rocks.

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:26 am
by Gijs
2) a retired pro (Henk Lubberding, TI-Raleigh) advised me to rock the bike while climbing. And he knows his stuff about cycling techniek!
The better climbers in the pro-peloton still do this. (Contador, Cunego, Ricco, and so on)

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:39 pm
by rustychain
I do alot of climbing out of the saddle. Six miles never sat down on one climb (for training). Everyone is different but for me the amount of sway often varies according to how much power I put out. In an uphill sprint the bike moves alot as I am using my arms and body weight to full advantage. Tempo climbs I tend to rock much less. IMO climbing out of the saddle takes a fair amount of pratice to become effecient. For years I was like the Kaiser, sitting and pushing big gears. Then I spent a season doing as much out of saddle climbing as possable. The result is I have learned to climb at a lower HR when out of the saddle under some conditions. That would be my advise to you. Climb alot out of the saddle and listen to what your body and powermeter tell you.

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:44 pm
by the Repeater
Never take anyone else's advise on technique and form without a grain of salt.

Everyone's body and optimum mechanics are different.



Try to maintain a smooth and "quiet" body, without bracing your arms... 'push' against the bike rather than force it... you will use less energy and not have roughness problems as you mention. Some people will rock the bike more than others depending on how much they move their arms and their knee mechanics.

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:53 am
by Johnny Rad
I like the points I see here on rocking the bike back and forth.

What about my dilemma about unweighting the rear wheel? Is it normal? Am I too far forward and should just shift my weight back a bit?

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:58 pm
by rustychain
Your weight can be to far forward and some bikes geometry makes the situation worse. I think frames with very short chainstays are most prone to this. When I has a custom frame built one of the questions I was asked was how much climbing I did out of the saddle. My new frame came with a bit longer chainstays and the new bike has no problems with the back wheel lifting or skipping. Its all about weight distrabution. Next frame you get you may wish to consider this aspect. For now try mpving your body back, you may need to lower you body to a less upright position as well

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:10 pm
by Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez
If your rear wheel bumps while climbing out of saddle, you may work on your pedalling style to be more fluid I think. Well, if you means that climbing out of saddle is going full throttle, may be it's only the balance of the upper body.

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:08 pm
by weenie #2533
you are saying your wheel is bouncing of the ground?
Try to ride at lower cadence while you are out of saddle?

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:44 am
by MaaseyRacer
1) If your wheel is breaking loose try moving your hands to the drops of your bars.

2) Get a power meter and see which method makes more power for you. If it is neither, see which is more comfortable for you.

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:48 am
by Mottsauce
MaaseyRacer wrote:1) If your wheel is breaking loose try moving your hands to the drops of your bars.


I've tried this a couple of times after watching videos of Pantani doing it. I did feel like I generated some power (kind of like a hard sprint position), but it was horribly uncomfortable for any period of time...I guess it could work if you're flexible enough.

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:41 am
by HammerTime2
... or have enough EPO in your system.

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:31 am
by Hyde
Pantani wasn't your usual climber nor was he clean. Try to climb out of the saddle in the most fluid manner you can. Rocking the bike a bit may be a part of your style but I wouldn't go crazy with it.

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:31 am
by Weenie

Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:29 pm
by Gregorio
I think most would do better to keep back straight , stay over the pedal and minimize rocking the bike.
You better have a strong core as well.