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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:29 pm 
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KWalker wrote:
Some would say that the wide bars felt more stable, but that indicates their entire position is poor if they need a much wider hand support structure just so they're stable on the bike. If a person claims that bar width makes them more stable, then their position is inherently poor be it fore/aft or seat height related or general functionality. Wider bars also do not give more leverage, so that argument is out the window as well.


I'm 6'1" and have gone from a narrow 42 (~41) to a 44 bar. Felt perfectly stable while riding alone with the 41s. Noticed in a pack though, that I wasn't holding my line as well as I liked. Wider bars made me more stable in that aspect.

Don't think it's my fit but my shitty pedal stroke. My coach has been having me do a lot of work on it the last few months. Drills and core exercises. Already improved a lot.

Could probably swap back to the 42s.

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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:02 pm 
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A choppy pedal stroke would usually indicate a poor fit in some regard.

Coggan and Allan discussed this in their last webinar, but pedal stroke efficiency is a red herring according to all studies done on the subject. The amount one can improve is within a very small percentage range and it depends on if they're an untrained cyclist (studies showed ~5%) or trained (studies show .5% being the average). If widening your bars stabilizes you more, chances are your seat is too far from the bb in some measure, which is probably the most common fit problem in US fitters. Widening your hands by that much would improve handling of there was a lot of weight on them. I used to have the same problem after my first fit and went to 44s. My seat height then was 790mm. Now its 768mm with about the same setback and 42cm bars. My guess is under load you topple forward. Try pedaling at threshold for a few minutes on a flat road at normal RPM. Take your hands off the bars and try to maintain your speed, cadence, and power without falling forward or altering your stroke. If you can't pass this chances are something is up in that regard and not with your bars.

I digress, but I'm glad its working out for you or at least it seems to be, there just isn't any research to show that people can really make their pedal stroke more efficient at max power, power they'd use during a race, or a meaningful pedal quadrant.

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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:02 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:23 pm 
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wassertreter wrote:
I'm always wondering why people are working their bars so much when climbing out of the saddle. (I mean normal climbing, not sprinting). Maybe it's because I've been a runner for many years and my arms are weak, but I seem to never exert any actual force with my arms on the bars. My weight is over the pedals and all I do is keeping the bike upright.

This is a honest question, not an attempt at mockery.


If you want to be putting serious wattage into your legs, you have to stabiize your torso (so your hips etc don't just torque around and you bounce up and down and sideways). To stabilize your torso, you have to stabilize its connection with the bike, which is to say, your shoulders/arms/hands. If you aren't there, you are either not putting out your potential power to begin with, or you're wasting it on uncontrolled body motion.

Wide bars force you to work the bike more and flip it back and forth, because you are basically tilting the bike with each pedal stroke so you are pulling (or otherwise supporting) the bike in vertical line with your pedal downstroke. If you didn't, and you put any amount of power into the pedals, you'd tilt the bike over uncontrollably. This is a way to handle bar width that's unstable to begin with, and only gets justified on the erroneous theory that wider bars somehow support you better or give you better power output. It's someone who works the bike back and forth a lot that is wasting the most energy and showing it most clearly, and who needs to look at narrower bars the most. Yes, you have to get used to them. Yes, you will put out more power and ride faster.


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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:27 pm 
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Just to be clear, I'm not working on improving my pedal stroke in order to improve power. I'm doing it to be a smoother and more pro looking rider.

KWalker wrote:
Try pedaling at threshold for a few minutes on a flat road at normal RPM. Take your hands off the bars and try to maintain your speed, cadence, and power without falling forward or altering your stroke. If you can't pass this chances are something is up in that regard and not with your bars.


Will do!

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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:13 pm 
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Well, I can see you're sweating the details then because you have pro saddle setback, pro frame, sharp looking kit, and matching accessories with slammage. I don't know what else you can really do at this point.

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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:16 pm 
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Bicycle riding is serious business.

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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:32 am 
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KWalker wrote:
A choppy pedal stroke would usually indicate a poor fit in some regard.

Coggan and Allan discussed this in their last webinar, but pedal stroke efficiency is a red herring according to all studies done on the subject. The amount one can improve is within a very small percentage range and it depends on if they're an untrained cyclist (studies showed ~5%) or trained (studies show .5% being the average). If widening your bars stabilizes you more, chances are your seat is too far from the bb in some measure, which is probably the most common fit problem in US fitters. Widening your hands by that much would improve handling of there was a lot of weight on them. I used to have the same problem after my first fit and went to 44s. My seat height then was 790mm. Now its 768mm with about the same setback and 42cm bars. My guess is under load you topple forward. Try pedaling at threshold for a few minutes on a flat road at normal RPM. Take your hands off the bars and try to maintain your speed, cadence, and power without falling forward or altering your stroke. If you can't pass this chances are something is up in that regard and not with your bars.

I digress, but I'm glad its working out for you or at least it seems to be, there just isn't any research to show that people can really make their pedal stroke more efficient at max power, power they'd use during a race, or a meaningful pedal quadrant.


i guess there are always exceptions to prove rules but i know a few riders who have a choppy stroke, and when they "fitted it out" they lost power


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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:51 am 
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RussellS wrote:
wasabi1 wrote:
Noticed recently that a few pros seem to be riding narrower and narrower bars.
Guess the main reason is narrower body, less frontal area therefore more aero.


No. Pros use narrow bars because it allows them to do their job better. Pros ride in 100-200 bike packs. Shoulder to shoulder. Touching shoulders, touching hands/hoods. Narrow bars allow pros to get into narrow gaps easier. Or fit between other riders easier.

Exactly, this is a big deal.

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 Post subject: Bar width
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:41 am 
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I'm 179cm tall with broad shoulders, I'm riding with 46cm Belgian drop Deda Newton bars that feel fine, in fact my arms have to bend inwards for both the drops & hoods...I won't be going narrower any time soon...

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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:00 am 
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11.4 wrote:

If you want to be putting serious wattage into your legs, you have to stabiize your torso (so your hips etc don't just torque around and you bounce up and down and sideways). To stabilize your torso, you have to stabilize its connection with the bike, which is to say, your shoulders/arms/hands. If you aren't there, you are either not putting out your potential power to begin with, or you're wasting it on uncontrolled body motion.

Wide bars force you to work the bike more and flip it back and forth, because you are basically tilting the bike with each pedal stroke so you are pulling (or otherwise supporting) the bike in vertical line with your pedal downstroke. If you didn't, and you put any amount of power into the pedals, you'd tilt the bike over uncontrollably. This is a way to handle bar width that's unstable to begin with, and only gets justified on the erroneous theory that wider bars somehow support you better or give you better power output. It's someone who works the bike back and forth a lot that is wasting the most energy and showing it most clearly, and who needs to look at narrower bars the most. Yes, you have to get used to them. Yes, you will put out more power and ride faster.


+1

When talking about stabilizing torsos etc, also don't forget the importance of core strength. So besides tweaking the equipment and buying narrower handlebars many guys would benefit from improving their core strength in order to achieve a stable maximum power pro-like ride.


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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:06 pm 
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Core strength is a red herring for cycling. The NM of torque it takes for one pedal stroke at even 150% of FTP is lower than it is to walk up stairs with just your bodyweight. If you're noodling over from doing that, then there is an issue, but unless you have some serious pelvic alignment issues or engage in track events that require maximal output its not that big of a factor.

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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:29 pm 
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Posts: 847
I'm going to have to call you out on that one (not just because you seem to have a collection of red herrings). In a sport where your contact with the asphalt is less surface area than half your shoe and your largest contact point with your equipment isn't much larger than a cell phone -- it makes A LOT of sense that core strength can help in a variety of ways.

To briefly name a few:

Anything that involves taking one or both hands off the bar
Descending
Anything involving higher speeds
Avoiding damaged bits of road
And certainly not least of all; limiting wasted movement in other parts of your body (e.g. isolating your legs)



Core strength and stability has been a staple of mine for many years due to various physical hobbies and I have seen time and time again how it's benefitted me when compared to riding partners who do not have such a base.


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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:49 pm 
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Imaking20 wrote:
I'm going to have to call you out on that one (not just because you seem to have a collection of red herrings). In a sport where your contact with the asphalt is less surface area than half your shoe and your largest contact point with your equipment isn't much larger than a cell phone -- it makes A LOT of sense that core strength can help in a variety of ways.

To briefly name a few:

Anything that involves taking one or both hands off the bar
Descending
Anything involving higher speeds
Avoiding damaged bits of road
And certainly not least of all; limiting wasted movement in other parts of your body (e.g. isolating your legs)



Core strength and stability has been a staple of mine for many years due to various physical hobbies and I have seen time and time again how it's benefitted me when compared to riding partners who do not have such a base.


If you're calling me out then you just don't understand physics. What you wrote was anecdotal drivel. There are dozens of red herrings in cycling propagated only by 'tradition' and this is one of them. NM of force are NM of force. If your max pedal torque is say 70NM/leg and you weigh 70kg, the force of gravity alone produces a higher torque required to climb a stair. You can find this

In terms of studies Levin et. al 2008 showed a decrease in performance from an experimental group performing resistance training over a control group performing cycle
training alone.

Also, there was a good QA analysis of a 4hr pro 1 road race that concluded: "The highest AEPF he generated during the 4 h race was ~500 N, whereas eyeballing things it appears that the Y intercept of his AEPF-CPV relationship (IOW, his maximal strenght) is 900-1000N. IOW, it looks as if he never needed to use more than 50-60% of his maximal force generating capacity (a.k.a., strength) while pedaling." So, never once did the person exert the force you'd need to run up a set of stairs. Core muscles are postural and thus slow twitch and do not somehow "fatigue" from sitting on a bike and pedaling the way they might if the pelvis weren't supported. In weightlifting terms, the above rider never used more than 60% of the force of a 1 rep max single legged squat and that was during the peak sprint. This would represent a load lower than bodyweight that one could sustain for very long, continuous periods of time without fatiguing. When we used to do rep max tests, 60% was usually 30 reps or so, but the more aerobic athletes could bang out upwards of 50. So, his force for 10s was equal to a load someone could squat with one leg for over a minute. Not high.

Average core stability is more than enough for cycling unless you have pelvic tilt/alignment problems. I think you also clearly don't understand that to active the core as a stabilization chain, the load has be extremely high. Coasting through a corner at 40mph might incur a lot of g forces, but the body does not need to brace the pelvis more to do this if the weighting of the bike is correct.

Seems Andy Coggan is in agreement in places in this thread, which features everyone endlessly debating with no evidence:http://forum.slowtwitch.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=1161585

I would link the many wattage debates, but won't help if you're not a member
The big caveat to all of this is overall pelvic alignment and stability. Many people work desk jobs and pros spend an ungodly amount of time sitting whether on the bike or on the couch recovering and thus become fairly unfunctional. If you have functionality problems then yes, it is of course beneficial. Better functionality usually leads to better athletic performance over time, but core strength in and of itself is not essential for cycling. Its simply not a limiter in many sports, especially ones where your core is fully supported. If your friends have "core" problem chances are their bike fit is terrible.

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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:43 pm 
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You sure seem to get defensive in a hurry.


I'm sorry you spent so much time assaulting your keyboard just now; the majority of your response was a tangent irrelevent to the point I was trying to make. As a result, I'm not going to argue every point you made because I don't disagree with the majority of them.
I'll be sure in the future to not post quickly from my phone if I anticipate you taking offense.


Now, my contention about core strength was referring to stability/balance. If you don't think this is applicable I'd suspect you've been smoking too much red herring. Riding a bicycle requires balance, even more so if you take your hands off the bars. I'll agree that if your balance is shite while your hands are on the bars you may have a poor fit - not everyone is going to be perfectly fitted on their bike. It happens.
I, for one, sometimes take my hands off my handlebars to do other things. It's nice not to crash into a ravine when I need a goo.

In this regard, I draw from something I learned at the motorcycle track. I had an instructor who placed his bike on stands and had you get down into a "tuck," then he told you to take your hands off the bars. You should be able to do this at nearly any given time throughout a race and the only way to do this is by pinching the tank with your legs (not applicable here) and keeping your core "tight." Too much weight on the bars and you'll fold the front in a turn. I cannot believe that your position alone on the bike can provide this same support. Unless you're sitting upright... in which case refer to my comment about the ravine.

"Average core stability" is a red herring. I've seen people fall down while walking for no good reason.

You absolutely do NOT need a lot of weight to "activate the core as a stabilization chain." Go stand on a baseball with one foot and balance. What's holding you upright?


You obviously have a lot of knowledge and statistics at the ready (fun fact: 86% of statistics are made up on the spot - you can google that), it's a shame you seem to use it for evil (that's half sarcasm).


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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:43 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Bar width
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:10 am 
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Imaking20 wrote:
You sure seem to get defensive in a hurry.


I'm sorry you spent so much time assaulting your keyboard just now; the majority of your response was a tangent irrelevent to the point I was trying to make. As a result, I'm not going to argue every point you made because I don't disagree with the majority of them.
I'll be sure in the future to not post quickly from my phone if I anticipate you taking offense.


Now, my contention about core strength was referring to stability/balance. If you don't think this is applicable I'd suspect you've been smoking too much red herring. Riding a bicycle requires balance, even more so if you take your hands off the bars. I'll agree that if your balance is shite while your hands are on the bars you may have a poor fit - not everyone is going to be perfectly fitted on their bike. It happens.
I, for one, sometimes take my hands off my handlebars to do other things. It's nice not to crash into a ravine when I need a goo.balance is not derived from core strength, its derived from motor learning patterns that you learn through repetition and anticipatory reactions from your nervous system. Core strength would only matter if it influenced these

In this regard, I draw from something I learned at the motorcycle track. I had an instructor who placed his bike on stands and had you get down into a "tuck," then he told you to take your hands off the bars. You should be able to do this at nearly any given time throughout a race and the only way to do this is by pinching the tank with your legs (not applicable here) and keeping your core "tight." Too much weight on the bars and you'll fold the front in a turn. I cannot believe that your position alone on the bike can provide this same support. Unless you're sitting upright... in which case refer to my comment about the ravine.
Steve Hogg has this as a fit parameter to determine seat setback and height and guess what, after thousands of bike fits he has stated that he has never seen a cyclist with a core that is too weak to pass the test, only a poor seat position that doesn't facilitate it.
"Average core stability" is a red herring. I've seen people fall down while walking for no good reason.

You absolutely do NOT need a lot of weight to "activate the core as a stabilization chain." Go stand on a baseball with one foot and balance. What's holding you upright?
That is standing-cycling is done stitting. That's also a measure of balance, not of 'core stability'. Core stability would be the core's ability to fire and engage as needed and if one lacked it, they would buckle from the mid section not topple because of weighting. I think you are confusing the nervous system and coordination with the muscular system's strength and endurance. While the nervous system controls muscle recruitment, the bosu ball fad readily demonstrated why balance does not equal strength and how the two are not mutually connected. Female gymnasts have some of the best balance in the world as do figure skaters and its not linked to their core strength. This is a common misconception about yoga as well

You obviously have a lot of knowledge and statistics at the ready (fun fact: 86% of statistics are made up on the spot - you can google that), it's a shame you seem to use it for evil (that's half sarcasm).You can google the study I cited and sign up for the Wattage list and use the search query "core stability" to get the other result I posted. You could also read a basic physiology text or anything written by a modern strength coach that works in a sport that requires agility or coordination. I can tell you that NFL coaches are not worried about 'core stability' when they need running backs to put up a good score at a combine and have a lot of useful information on the whole core strength debate that has taken place in the general public fitness circles in the last 10 years, but has never proven to amount to anything.

Responses above are in bold

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