Technique: Climbing out of the saddle

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Johnny Rad
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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?!

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by zebragonzo

1) probably!

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

by Weenie

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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.

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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)

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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.
WW Velocipedist Gargantuan

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the Repeater
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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.
Serious delirium.

Johnny Rad
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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?

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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
WW Velocipedist Gargantuan

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Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez
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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.

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weenie #2533
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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?

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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.
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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.

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by HammerTime2

... or have enough EPO in your system.

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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.

by Weenie

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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.

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