Randoms: Albstadt World Cup XC 2019

May 19, 2019 at 1:51
by Ed Spratt  
Steep climbs mean even steeper stems.
Steep climbs mean even steeper stems.

With the first round of the XC starting today, take a look at some of the interesting tech that our photographers spotted out in Albstadt. From vibration damping to new bikes and even fancy coffee machines there has been plenty to see at the season opener in Germany.

Trickstuff Picolo Brakes Superior Bikes
Trickstuff Picolo Brakes Superior Bikes
Trickstuff Piccolo Brakes.

Nino s massive chain ring.
Nino's massive chainring.

Oil slick treatment on Anton Cooper s bike.
Oil slick treatment on Anton Cooper's bike.

New Ghost Bikes softtail
New Ghost Bikes softtail?

The Olympia in its entirety.
This Olympia hardtail caught our eye while strolling through the pits.

This Olympia hardtail caught our eye while strolling through the pits.
The Olympia features a rather interesting frame design.

Accepts 29in wheels and maybe 700c
Accepts 29in wheels and maybe 700c?

The rather posh tox box of Cannondale mechanic Andi Pscheidl. Hand made attention to detail leveled up.
The rather posh tox box of Cannondale mechanic Andi Pscheidl. Hand made attention to detail leveled up.

Scott Odlo s solution to keeping those AXS batteries charged and organized.
Scott Odlo's solution to keeping those AXS batteries charged and organized.

Another damper on Nino s bike.
Vibration dampers Nino Schurter
Nino Schurter's Vibration Dampers.

Lots of shock tuning and valving going on regardless of how tame the course has become.
Lots of shock tuning and valving going on, regardless of how tame the course has become.

A Lefty getting the right settings.
A Lefty getting the right settings.

Just about every pit has an espresso machine we are thinking of a team coffee taste test at round two
Just about every pit has an espresso machine, we are thinking of a team coffee taste test at round two?

Who do you reckon will win
Who do you reckon will win?


MENTIONS: @mdelorme @andy9



105 Comments

  • + 122
 Why are riders, particularly pros like Nino, still using those snake oil Vibration Dampers. This sort of mythical made up black magic needs to be called out for what it is. Bollocks. Science and rational thinking is what will move society forwards, not medieval magic.
  • + 37
 The mental side of things is HUGE in racing. If they believe it helps, it makes them perform better regardless of whether it really works or not. Also sponsor money.
  • + 34
 @K4m1k4z3: Anyone with a brain would have to unplug any knowledge of physics to believe it though, so i don't get how they can feel a benefit when your conscious brain tells you there is no possible way.

Mind you, I'd stick something on my bike if i got paid for it.
  • + 18
 Reminds me of the $1,000+ speaker wires that people buy. Absolutely no scientific evidence that it does anything, but somehow the snake oil sells.
  • + 4
 @K4m1k4z3: So it's a bit like taking the Extra Large Placebo pills then !
  • - 19
flag ctd07 (May 19, 2019 at 3:07) (Below Threshold)
 @ninjatarian: bit like carbon frames, wheels and.... basically anything for the average joe O_o
  • + 6
 I can only imagine them getting well paid for it.
  • + 4
 @ctd07: no. These are proved improvement, average, pro or whatever. This stickers won't do anything at all to anyone.
  • - 13
flag ctd07 (May 19, 2019 at 4:09) (Below Threshold)
 @fracasnoxteam: keep sipping that snake oil lol
  • - 8
flag mongoose24 (May 19, 2019 at 4:15) (Below Threshold)
 @ninjatarian: snake oil salesman running the USA or is he ?
  • + 21
 ......and here we have the reason why. Publicity for a product. Marketing. Nino uses it. PB photograph it. We comment on it. Job done!
  • + 6
 @simooo: Except the brain performs in weird and wonderfully irrational ways.
  • + 0
 This is more urban legend than fact now. But most people wont notice the difference or care as perception depends on your predominant senses ( Representational systems aka perceptional means ) and test conditions

@ninjatarian:
  • + 17
 I kept zooming in thinking I couldn’t see these “vibration dampers” didn’t realize it was a sticker that does it. Smh
  • + 9
 I don't know how to say it not to insult anybody.

Let's just say that you have less of a chance to find a professional athlete (of any kind) that is scientifically driven than just picking somebody like that from a random crowd.
  • - 4
flag JohanG (May 19, 2019 at 6:57) (Below Threshold)
 ok so basically Nino is a really good bike rider but kind of a dummy. He ditched 27.5 for 29 cause it's better but gets suckered by these carnival tricks? His every equipment choice is now called into question.
  • + 2
 just like power balance wrist band that claims improve balance and core strength...the demo's are incredible impassive but some how behind your head you its does't work like it says but many give it a go though.....
  • + 6
 Pinkbike and other media should give them no coverage. It’d make the value of sponsoring a rider who uses them worthless.
  • + 0
 Seems like you could slap a few strips of Dynamat leftover from your car stereo install. Done. But isn’t XC also about weight?
  • + 2
 lol just did something similar on a larger scale with my van...thick sound deadening stickers on my sheet metal.
  • + 2
 @tevaru: the best story about that is a mate of mine brought a whole bunch of fake power balance wrist bands from bali to sell them here. He sold them all even though he advised they were fake. Even he kept one for him and still swears it worked!!!
  • + 1
 RE balance bracelets, i was drunk when i was shown the 'power' that it has and saw through the deception - standing on one foot, your hand gets pushed down with the bracelet and pulled to the side without it, of course tipping you over in the second case. As for the vibration dampening stickers, you actually need quite a bit of knowledge to safely determine that they in fact can't do anything. It's not an average Joe thing, sadly. And yes, science and rational thinking will move us forward in the world, but that's sadly not how the population works lately...
  • - 1
 @ninjatarian: maybe not $1000+ but $100s+ high-end speaker cables do make a huge audible difference over bell wire.
  • + 11
 Y'all need to chill. I have an essential oil that I'll sell you that help with stress....
  • + 2
 @ctd07: Don't confuse the effective improvement vs the actual.

Whether or not carbon frames make any difference, they are objectively lighter, if that's what you're after.
These anti vibration doo-dads objectively do nothing physically.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: Only if it has CBD.
  • + 1
 what are we actually looking at here? never heard of these before :/
  • + 46
 Re: "Accepts 29in wheels and maybe 700c?"

29" wheels are 700c wheels. If a bike accepts 29", it is already accepting 700c. Our 29" tires will mount to 700c road rims because 29" is 700c.
  • + 11
 O great ANOTHER wheel standard ffs!
  • - 19
flag eriksaun (May 19, 2019 at 8:16) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah road wheels are around 27” so even a 27.5 mtb will fit a 700c road wheel. And truthfully most 26 mtbs will too.
  • + 0
 but the difference in overall wheel size, due to tyre diameter will mess up the geometry. 29ers will accept 26" wheels too, but it will ride like a bag of ass.
  • + 0
 Boost hubs for road/gravel? Anyone? Trek?
  • + 0
 @eriksaun: you're wrong 27.5 is 650b (rim)... Road are 700c (rim) aka 28" aka mtb 29"
  • + 3
 I'm surprised a Pinkbike editor didn't know this.
  • + 1
 Ya know, for the rider that can only afford one $5000 bike buts wants to shred a triathlon course and XC on the same bike with different same-sizey wheels.
  • + 1
 @M1k3S: Let's see if Mike Levy can come up with a snappy label for *that* niche!
  • + 2
 @eriksaun: Not sure why you got downvoted into oblivion for this; it's accurate. 700c road wheels with tires do sit around 27" tall and require considerably less clearance so they can sometimes fit in 26" wheel MTB frames. Remember when we all had to buy 29" extenders for our truing stands? Remember how 700c wheels could already be trued with the tire on before that?

Also a quick plug for ISO sizing: 28", 29", and 700c are all ISO 622; 27.5", 650b, and old 26x1 1/2 (not the same as 26x1.5) are all ISO 584; and 26" as most of us know it is ISO 559. If we as an industry could get our shit together and start exclusively using the only tire/rim measuring system that makes any sense - which already exists and is in place - we could free up a lot more time to argue about other stupid shit like those vibration dampening stickers.

www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
  • + 1
 @fullfacemike: Fully agree with you*, but when I refer to wheel sizes by their ISO diameter, people view me as a pedantic nerd - more so than usual, that is.

* including those damned stickers
  • + 17
 That Olympiaondraker looks interesting
  • + 21
 "Accepts 29in wheels and *maybe* 700c"... Come on PB, keep up.
  • + 5
 @Tambo:
Yeah right, seriously PB?
  • + 22
 Pretty shitty randoms article..."Nino's massive chainring." Well? How massive? Does he have a 38? A 40? Maybe even a 42?
  • + 2
 Yes how big is Ninos chainring PINKBIKE please answer @mnorris122:
  • + 13
 @Tambo: I hope they were joking because if not it means a serious lack of knowledge! 29in wheels and maybe 700c are both 622mm!!!
  • + 10
 All those Trickstuff brakes are soooo sexy!
  • + 6
 those bikes look like weapons of torture.
  • + 6
 It must take serious kahunas to ride a stem like that
  • + 1
 With a bit of ingenuity they could figure out that a normal stem and inverted riser bar does the same. But that wouldn’t look elite Smile glad to see girls using droppers. Boys tend to be 3-5years behind girls in mental development, they will get there.
  • + 3
 I believe it's Anton Cooper's, and since he is quite small it compensates for the 29 inch wheels
  • + 6
 It's Anton Cooper's bike. He's not the tallest, and likes a low position.

Previous bike check of his: www.pinkbike.com/news/anton-coopers-trek-procaliber-hardtail-at-stellenbosch-world-cup-xco-bike-check.html
  • + 21
 @WAKIdesigns: a normal riser bar inverted wouldn't work because there is also the up sweep that would become a down sweep which you wouldn't want.
  • + 1
 @dwojo: look at Schurter's bars (complete with voodoo placebo worthless sticker)...
  • - 1
 @Tambo: I would love to see a video from their testing... @mattwragg - can you make a visit to the magic aluminum brick factory? Big Grin it probably looks like a set from Austin Powers
  • + 1
 @dwojo: There are negative riser bars with up sweep.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: an inverted riser bar would have your hands sloping down...uh nice try though?
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: Completely wrong about the riser bars and 'normal' stem thing. But, what else is new.

That doesn't even take into account the ingenuity you think it takes to try something so incorrect. If your idea was viable (it isn't) It would be the same level of ingenuity it took to just use a flat bar and negative stem.
  • + 1
 Stem isn't so extreme when viewed on flat ground instead of hanging nose down on a bike stand.

I'm surprised he can read his bike computer? Think they'd make a wedge to level it out some, or stem cap mount...
  • + 2
 @stiingya: if you look at the riders on the bikes and look at their hand to pelvis level they aren't that extreme either, it's mostly that they are small riders on big bikes(or tall front ends).
  • + 1
 Hasn't anyone developed a direct mount stem yet, to mount to the (lower) fork crown? You can't spin the bars anyway with the bars that low so you could just as well put the stem that low (and actually use riser bars the proper side up). They can always use a top cap with a bicycle computer mount so that it is oriented in a way that they can see it.

@WAKIdesigns : Yes girls are ahead in their development but then again great things have come from being stubborn and immature. So don't rush it. I'm still stubbornly not running a dropper seatpost and I'm patiently awaiting greatness Wink .
  • + 2
 @vinay: as far as I remember you don’t ride in undulating terrain. Here they ride up and down all the time, one could argue XCers need droppers more than Enduro racers
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Oh yeah, my climbs are only a few minutes at most. I also used to climb seated when I started out because I was taught that was surely the best way to do it. And in a way there was an advantage because it was easy to find grip in loose but steady terrain. But I also hated it because there was simply no fun in it. A curled posture makes me grumpy. It may be just me though but I realized I just don't like that posture. Not just on the bike. I don't like working on a touch-screen either. Maybe if it is tilted or vertical like a blackboard, but when it is on the table I find myself getting mad. Say what you want about old fashioned drawing tablets but I much prefer the tablet flat in front of me and the screen up ahead so that I can actually sit up straight and look ahead.

I can definitely apply more power when standing. On one of the longer climbs I can stomp past quite a few seated riders, then take a short chill at the top before I roll down the descend. How much more fun is it to not chill at the top but immediately flick the switch, push the saddle down with your butt so that you can roll down whilst your legs are still burning from the climb?

That said, for longer climbs I can imagine the seated position takes some load off your legs which preserves you for the fun bits. Now of course trading fun for preservation would be a daft choice for me. I'm out there to burn all I've got in the shortest possible time. I'm not racing nor am I trying to travel in the most efficient way.

But I can of course imagine the position others find themselves in. If you're racing, efficiency is key. But it still doesn't seem to make sense in the big mountains. You climb for half an hour or more. Then at the top (and if you're proper enduro) you may put on the mouthguard, put the goggles in place etc. Then back at the bottom you do the high fives, chill a little, prep for the climb to the top again. Both ways, it seems kind of silly to need on the fly adjustment of saddle height. In an enduro race, the same goes unless you find an uphill section in your run and need to recover a little. But considering the nature of an enduro race, these uphill sections should be only short so I doubt anyone would be quicker climbing these seated than standing up. That said, if the climbs are really tech and slippery I can imagine the tall (raised) seatpost could help as a crutch to smooth out the pedal strokes and gain traction. Indeed more than anything I expect XC racers to benefit from them. They do some serious climbing and they need to be efficient. Especially (multi day) marathon racers (XCM) who basically just ride regular XC bikes. And of course in the non-racing scene, those who do epic full or multi-day rides then of course it must be nice to be able to sit every now and then and a dropper would be great.

My point was more that I still and very consciously don't ride with a dropper seatpost simply because for the kind of riding (terrain, duration, intensity...) I do there is no point having the saddle high. And the complaints on here about the added complexity of internal cable routing (and crowded handlebars) and durability issues don't quite inspire to invest in such on-the-fly adjustment. There seems to live a kind of perception by many here on Pinkbike that the high saddle is the default and you need a dropper post to get the saddle out of the way. Whereas I am pretty sure that many riders on here could have more fun if they'd practice their out of the saddle skills and strength. My neighbor is an ice speed skater. They're used to squatting low and applying power for a couple of minutes. I decided he wanted to pick up mountainbiking for spring and summer so he got himself an XC hardtail and I showed him the pumptrack, some local trails, he got some of my old platform pedals and I taught him some basic stuff. He has no trouble pedaling standing for a couple of minutes. Heck, imagine someone skating seated as doing so standing is deemed impossible!
  • + 2
 @vinay: : "it seems kind of silly to need on the fly adjustment of saddle height."

I change saddle height like I change gears, to be able to quickly and variably adapt to the ever changing terrain. It also work like changing gear in that it aids efficiency. Makes me and a lot of other folk faster. Up or down hill.
  • + 1
 @imajez: Thanks for your response. Of course the bit where you took my quote from was in the context of bigger mountain sections where you are either climbing or descending for longer sections. But I get that you may like to point at your own riding where I suppose if you adjust saddle height so frequently that it must make sense. I just have a hard time picturing myself doing that and I don't recall having ever seen a product video or a fellow rider do this to support this image. At best I've seen the saddle pop up again for a climb or level section, but I've never managed to see someone drop the saddle on the fly. And that's the part that scares me. The motion of keeping the lever depressed while I put my weight on the saddle and then release it in time before I take my weight off seems critical. What if I don't release the lever in time or the cable just sticks just a tiny bit? The saddle will raise when I really want to have it down. It sounds like a horror situation to me. I have done a good bit of seated pedaling when I started out, just because I was told that was the way to do it. But I've never managed to apply more power to the pedals seated than standing so I don't get how I could possibly be faster that way.

So again if people see an advantage for themselves then that's great. I just meant to point out that I don't see it work for myself.
1. I feel standing up with the saddle low makes it more fun as the bike feels so much more alive. This goes for climbing, descending, level sections... Sitting on a high saddle never felt fun on any type of trail worth riding.
2. As mentioned earlier, the fear factor goes up. It takes some timing and coordination to lower the saddle in a trail section where I'd rather focus on other stuff.
3. On my bike, to go from slammed up to XC height requires an adjustment of 300mm. I usually ride it low or nearly slammed though I had the frame built so that a 400mm rigid seatpost (with 100mm min insertion) and a qr seatpost clamp gives me all that adjustment just in case I'd need that. Never ridden it that high, but I could if I wanted to. Obviously an extended dropper post could be easily that long so I have that covered. But no dropper currently offers 300mm stroke. So even with a dropper post, chances are that I still need the qr clamp from time to time which kind of defies the whole point of even bothering with one.
4. When going OTB, the saddle takes a beating. Granted, I've destroyed most saddles back when I was riding with the saddle high. Still I think it still does take some big hits even with the saddle low and especially considering the reliability issues everyone seems to be having, I'm not eager to put something this kind of money yet so fragile in such a critical position.

So yeah again I'm not trying to keep people from running dropper seatposts (if there even were a reason to tell people their bike is supposed to be like), I just pointed out why I don't see it make sense for me.
  • + 1
 @vinay: to each their own, ride how you want, etc.

But.. " I suppose if you adjust saddle height so frequently that it must make sense. I just have a hard time picturing myself doing that and I don't recall having ever seen a product video or a fellow rider do this to support this image. At best I've seen the saddle pop up again for a climb or level section, but I've never managed to see someone drop the saddle on the fly. And that's the part that scares me."

WOW, unless you purposefully ride where nobody else is riding. (which honestly I often like to do! Smile ) OR only ride with the same set of friends who share your outlook/no droppers/only old under seat levers maybe??? I can't imagine you wouldn't see "on the fly" seat adjustment on any given day out mountain biking...? For sure there are places where it's all elevation gain and then all decent where someone might not have much need of adjusting their saddle height. (or people are just shuttling?) BUT, the "butt bounce/push" to get your saddle down becomes second nature. Anytime there is an opportunity to flow and pump it's just automatic to drop the saddle on the fly. For me, and I think most, you don't "bottom it out" every time, just nudge it out of the way enough depending on the terrain, timing, etc. I will grant you that now and then there is a mistake, you go to lower your seat right as something unexpected happens and get all discombobulated. But I can honestly say I can only think of a couple of times in all these years that it was a big deal...

You "would" see it on youtube constantly, except you just don't see a person's dropper post in the camera view very often...

Your points.
#1, exactly why having a dropper post is so nice!
#2, like anything it does take some time to get used to, but it's no different than shifting gears, or changing hand positions on the bar/brakes for different conditions, etc. Before long you just do it, it's not something you have to think or plan for!
#3 Other than DJ or DH racing I can't see a need to have a seat that far out of the way, not on a trail ride?? (I've made the argument that "some" people using super long droppers are just doing it for looks) Admittedly, with a 125mm dropper I do find myself contacting the seat at the DJ park, (I suck at jumping, but the seat to butt "surprise" mid air is a little disconcerting so sometimes I will lower the post the rest of the way manually when at the jump park) But with a 150mm post it's a rarity for me, again I suck at jumping so for sure someone who actually gets air probably really does need that seat really out of the way!
#4, seems like a very outdated/old opinion of the technology. It's come a LONG way... Granted, over the years I have broke a cable, broke a lever, and had a post not want to stay locked "up". But I've also had to push, carry, throw a bike off a small cliff into a tree so I could climb down before I fell down, shoulder and climb up a steep last bit of Mesa in the dark, etc. for all kinds of mechanical or medical issues over the years... stuff happens! Parts break, people wreck now and then, it's mountain biking not chess!

Again, in the end you should ride how you want to. Just discussion...
  • + 1
 @stiingya: Thanks for the elaborate response. I'm not entirely against the concept of the dropper seatpost and I can see them make a lot of sense for some (or many) riders out there, I'm just trying to find out what I may be missing as everyone seems to love them and I just haven't found how I could like them. I did try a buddies bike once (an enduro bike from Canyon iirc) and I couldn't even mount it with the saddle high. I had to have him lower the seat for me Wink . But I suppose if I would appreciate a dropper I should at least appreciate a raised saddle for part of my ride. And I just haven't found that. I leave the saddle fairly low (lower than in my pictures, it was that high because I clamped the seatpost in the workstand during assembly of the bike) not even that much for jumping but mostly for pumping and cornering. There is always something to pump and obviously corners are everywhere.

So yeah you did convince me on #2 and #4. Anyone can probably get used to using them and reliability is probably up there by now. It wasn't that long ago though that everyone seemed to be complaining about constantly sending them in for repair, them twisting or developing play etc. People don't complain like that even for the lower end Shimano drivetrains, disc brakes and even lower end suspension. Stuff just works as it should, even at Deore level. It just didn't seem to be the case with dropper seatposts.

My take is different on #1 and #3 though. Obviously the low saddle doesn't help me any on the climbs (where I stand tall anyway) but they don't bother me either. For all the rest, cornering, pumping, jumping, descending... the low saddle just feels better. So I just haven't found the advantages of a high saddle. Yes you can use it as kind of a crutch when climbing to smooth out the pedal strokes yet still keep the pressure on the rear wheel, but that's all I can think of.

As a working dad most of my rides are on my own indeed but when riding with others I still never see the constant adjustments @imajez is making. People do raise it for the climbs and lower it before the downs but it doesn't look as smooth or natural. Plus their seated climbing looks like a slug whereas my standing climbs feel nice and open.

I'll be on a clinic next month so I'll see whether the coaches there have some advice that will help me experience the advantages of the raised saddle.

Next time a PB reporter follows a rider across the XC track, I hope they follow a rider who rides with a dropper post. Just to get an idea of how and where they use it.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Sorry for the long winded replies...

Well 1st, if your not sitting down while you ride then I guess I would agree that a dropper post doesn't really matter? (not sure if your saying you ride standing the whole time or not between your posting?) I have made a game out of not sitting down just for the fitness aspect on shorter rides. But I honestly couldn't spend 3-4 hours riding out of the saddle!!! Smile The biggest benefit of sitting down I can think of is saving energy so you can ride longer or harder during certain sections? I guess aerodynamics? (grew up in Wyo and wind was a real issue!) Sometimes balance/traction is better "spread" out over the bike when your seated than standing IME crawling up steep or long climbs it can be easier to keep a consistent pedal stroke because your weight is on the seat and not the pedals. (think South Mountain nothing but rocks, or decomposed Granite can be tricky to retain traction during steep climbs, stand for the power but then end up spinning out) Obviously the flip side of that is true, there are lots of time out of the saddle climbing is the better choice. Both! For sure it depends how and where you ride? I have rode DJ or "too small for me" DJ sized mountain bikes on bigger trail rides for fun where I couldn't actually get the seat high enough and had to stand to get climbing power. But for me it wasn't a "better" riding experience. Fun though!

2nd, "if you are" sitting down while you ride. Then the benefit of a taller seat is getting more leg extension and full use of the muscle groups. You should be able to get better leverage and a better spin/cadence, etc with a higher seat. Course I've been out climbed by someone who didn't raise their seat all the way. This was back when droppers were still very expensive and the reliability issues you refer to were still a headache. So that dude rode with his seat maybe 3 inches lower and he could out climb me easy! Course that dude could out ride me in every way... AND once cost wasn't a limiting factor he went with a dropper.

3rd, the point of the dropper post is you get both 1 and 2 in the same package! Smile

As far as the tech issues; 5-6 years ago you would of had a point. But there's like 2 posts about droppers not working well in the first few pages of the mechanics lounge forum posts. That's a pretty small percentage. If a person was to gauge the state of mountain bike components by looking at those forums they'd probably come to the conclusion that suspension doesn't last and there is no parts compatibility!!! But dropper concerns would be pretty minor...?

I agree, it would be interesting to see how a XC racer uses a dropper post. As far as Enduro I'd think beyond the big UP and big Down that they would still be adjusting their posts per terrain. Sometimes they need to stand and sprint along with pump, flow, jump, etc. but sometimes they just need to conserve their energy and stay efficient = sit and spin when appropriate. As a trail rider that's really how I'm using it. Sit and spin when that makes the most sense, and If I've stood up on the bike for more than a few seconds I've butt bounced the dropper a ways if I didn't do it automatically before I stood up. And as soon as the trail mellows out, or starts to climb or I'm just "tired", I've extended the dropper again and will sit back down and on and on.

The kind of limited use of the seat dropper your describing sounds like back when a lot of posts had levers beneath the seat and you had to let go of the bar, grab the post/lever and push or pull to move the seat. For sure that was more limited use. (I specifically got my first KS post with the lever because then I could move it between bikes cause I couldn't afford more than one dropper post! Smile )

It will be interesting to hear what the clinic has to say, what kind of riding is it? Have fun!!
  • + 1
 @stiingya: I appreciate your long replies and you sure have a point. It really depends on how and where you ride. See, I already ride a good lot in the saddle (seated) just to go to work, bring kids to school, do the groceries, go other places etc. It may be 90 minutes to two hours a day on average. That's steady seated stuff. To not turn into a diesel, I decided to avoid doing this for my training too. I've got the Z2-Z3 zone longer endurance type "training" ticked off, what I'm left to do is explosive, strength and interval stuff. Seated long sessions have no place there. I also just usually don't have the time to ride for several hours. My rides are 90 minutes up to 2hrs a time. Sometimes less if I just go out for some specific tech practice (manuals, bunny hops, front wheel pivots etc). Mountain unicycle riding (MUni) is mostly seated or at least with the saddle between my legs (I really need that reference and stability) but it is still quite intense on the core.

So yeah I do realize seated pedaling could make things easier at times (both physically as well as technically when finding traction on a climb) but I think I may have set goals to try and be able to do everything standing. For the challenge, the fun (the bike comes to life like that) and just because I already do more than enough seated pedaling in "normal" life.

But you bring up that other point where XC racers constantly adjust saddle height just to have a different reference surface to push against when controlling the bike. I control my bike with the saddle too, but with the saddle much lower. So yeah I am interested to see how and why the higher saddle (as a control surface, not as a seat) could be useful. I've never seen a lesson on this nor have I ever seen anyone do this. I'm getting "digital" coaching from Ryan Leech and his team (ryanleech.com) and I've got a book from Lee McCormack on pumptrack riding. But never have I found anything on using the saddle except that for some exercises they stipulate to lower the seat. Also for the clinic, what was recommended upfront is that I should have a way to lower the seat. Not necessarily on the fly, just be able to get it out of the way.

The clinic is just general mountainbiking. Roots, climbs, drops, rocks, corners, a bit of everything. I just signed up as I thought it would just be fun. Always good to have someone take a look at what you're doing and give you some pointers.

But yeah, I'm definitely open to this kind of constant saddle adjustment. Where to do it and how it could be useful. Maybe when they follow a WC XC rider with a dropper post, I may be able to see it.

Cheers!
  • + 2
 @vinay: Bejesus Christ just borrow one... benefits of having a dropper post are obvious and if you can’t see it, it must do with some bleep in your head, we all have it, it’s fine. If I had the cash i’d have one on my commuter. I had a Reverb on my commuter for 3 months and enjoyed it on every single god damn day. Up on pedaling, down for manualing and bunnyhopping, in between for wheelies. Using the remote almost as often as shifting gears. It’s literally like round Earth vs flat Earth. I’d rather have a hardtail with a dropper than a fully without one. In fact as soon as I get my DJ/XC hardtail design ready I will install 200mm One Up dropper on it.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Yeah I borrowed someones bike once to try a section we just built. All I wanted is to slam the saddle all the way down and even then it was higher than what I was used to. I'll try one once more if I get the opportunity. I'll also try to pay attention to how others are using theirs (in video or real).
  • + 1
 @vinay: It's all good! As long as were having fun that's all that matters!

Weather was cold n windy yesterday, snow on the mountain! So I went down to a trail next to the river, (little elevation change, lots of tight twisty rooty ups and downs, but flat overall) and rode "standing only" with my seat dropped down. (well I sat once on the dropped seat to limbo under some branches) It was FUN! For some reason it makes the ride feel "trialsy" to me when you never sit down? Even rear wheel lifted around a tight corner. (just a little, I got no skilz!) Smile

Then the sun came out and the wind stopped and I decided to drive over to some different trails and I rode back the way I came like I normally do. I was MUCH faster, sit and spin and I can keep a cadence. Also sitting you have a lower center of gravity VS standing so a lot of corners you just pedal through, or slightly stand, drop you seat just a little so you can move the bike under you and then back to pedaling. Anyway, for a trail like that with little elevation change you gotta pedal near constantly to go fast enough to have fun. But it's so tight you really can't "sprint" all the time. And for me it was harder to keep up speed standing only? So as much as it made the ride really fun and interesting "standing only", it also ended up being really limiting to me? (course, maybe my standing skilz just suck)

Then when I drove over to the other trails there is enough elevation change to require actual climbing! And I got to admit I gave up on the standing thing within a few minutes! Smile Sit and spin just seems easier. Granted, I started off climbing up the fire road = boring. But get's you to the top quicker. Then part way back down and traversing over with lots of mixed climbing and descending. For sure I stand and climb often, quick steeps, the last little bit to get you over the top, just to change it up on a really long climb, or just when you get caught in the wrong gear to stay seated! Smile But other than training/fitness I don't see the point of standing and climbing the whole way up that fire road...?

Admittedly, writing this, it does make me curious to go back and try it... but at the time it just seemed like I was spending too much energy standing while climbing, and that I was going to have less fun on the way back down because of it!!?

Anyway, gawd I need to spend less time in online forums... back to work!!! Smile
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice ? Smile
  • + 1
 @stiingya: Cool to hear you were open minded and experimented a little. Yeah the bike really comes to life when you stand up, doesn't it?

I'll try the mid height saddle again as you said but I prefer it low so that I have more room to shift my hips off center in corners. I don't stand tall through a corner but I drop my hips a bit and I also shift them sideways a little. Not sure how much it is but at least it feels restricted if I can't because of a saddle.

I do stand tall on less technical (fireroad type) climbs though. I just prefer the posture, just like when you hike up a hill. I don't have really long climbs over here but when I do travel and climb longer climbs (was in South Tirol, Italy last summer) standing up still feels fine with me. It does require a fairly modern bike with decent reach though. My previous hardtail had only about 375mm reach or so (a 16" DMR Switchback, basically the same geometry as their original Trailstar which was a trail/dj bike) and when climbing steep I had to lean back as my kneepads would otherwise hit the handlebar. So that was limiting. But for me at about 6ft tall, the 460mm reach I have now is just fine. But yeah, maybe there is no point standing instead of sitting on climbs like that. It is just a personal preference. I prefer the more open posture. As mentioned earlier, a curled/closed posture makes me grumpy. I don't get along with working on tiny smartphones either. Nor do I like working on a tablet with touchscreen. I put the screen up in front on me and use a drawing tablet on the table/desk in front of me. And I prefer to stand when I work. So yeah, it may be just me. Not necessarily a reason to do so other than personal preference.

What is true is that when there is little resistance it is difficult to keep spinning the pedals at high cadence. I think my standing cadence is way lower than when seated. I shift to a heavier gear instead. But if I can't shift heavier (I can't run a bigger ring in the front than 36t round or the 34t oval that I currently have) I can't keep up with the high cadence and do maybe sets of five circles with little breaks in between. But if that happens, I'm either on boring smooth and flat stuff where I'm not inspired to push it anyway. Or when it is actually more rolling terrain, I prefer to gain speed through pumping instead. On heavier or uphill terrain, I have no problem to keep pedaling as obviously cadence will never get so high that I can't keep up.

But yeah as said, everyone is different. If you do enjoy the standing riding on the more level terrain, you could try to do that more and see how it goes. If you want to do it through corners, squat a big into them and raise your body when you exit them. No need to stay low all the time but it does help to be low through the corner itself. Maybe your (slightly lowered) saddle could help support you through that bit (though of course it still limits you from shifting your hips to the side should you wish to) but you can raise your body again when you exit.

Also mind you it seems like your sessions are way longer than mine! And still my legs can feel destroyed the day after a 90minute ride. More than it was a good while ago. It is quite intense and that's fine with me. I just need to take my time to recover. I'm turning 40 this fall so recovery is taking longer now. But if you do epic rides you don't want to burn yourself out over a short section so I get you just want to chill sometimes and sit down.
  • + 2
 @vinay: Having a fixed height saddle is like having a single speed gear. A SS has some advantages and can be good for training, but more gears are just way more versatile and useful.
Being able to quickly alter saddle height , even by just a smidge or by a 150mm gives you more control and options. I'd use for for XC racing, if I still did that and even for DH stuff as you don't always want seat all the way down.
It's a revelation. Wink
  • + 0
 @imajez: That's a nice analogy but I'm not sure whether it holds 100%. You can hold your hips anywhere between the saddle and well, where they are with your legs stretched. So with a high saddle you have a small range, with the saddle low the range of motion increases. So the saddle position changes the range where the hips can be, but it doesn't dictate where they are within that range. A singlespeed setup has fixed transmission ratio. It doesn't give you a range to play within. It is just that. So you may wish for a heavier gearing when rolling smooth/downsloped terrain and instead wish for lighter when riding soft/rough/upslope terrain. But you can't change it with your body position or anything. If you want heavier gearing, you either have to change your singlespeed setup or just shift gears if you have gearing.

I do of course agree that your analogy does apply for people who prefer to sit for (nearly) all their riding or at least want the saddle as a reference for where they are on the bike (and want to change that reference depending on what kind of terrain they're riding). I checked today, with completely stretched/locked legs my saddle is where my knees are. When in a more natural riding pose, the saddle ends up slightly above my knees. I prefer to not have it any higher because I think I use the knees to push the saddle to one side even though my hips go the opposite side. I do this mostly in level (so not bermed) corners. If I turn left, my hips go right but my right knee pushes the saddle to the left. At least that's what I think is what happens. I'm usually not consciously looking at how I ride Wink . Either way, this wouldn't work as well if the saddle is much higher.

I'm still open to trying one but until then I'll try to see how people are using them as you describe (in video and real).
  • + 2
 @vinay:
In the early days of MTBing Cindy Whitehead won a 50 mile XC race and became a star. The reason, her saddle fell off near start and she simply carried on. Everybody [except you] knows how very much harder it is to pedal, particularly such distances without any saddle support. Even if I and many others will get off saddle for certain types of technical riding or drop it out of way.

So I think the point you seem to be ignoring is that having a saddle up allows you to rest whilst saddle takes your body weight, instead of always using your 'antigravity' muscles to keep you upright. Something which takes energy. Also as others have mention seating allowing you to spin the pedals, which is hard to do whilst standing. In my case I can also use my hamstrings or even use just my hamstrings to give my quads a rest as there is no weight going through pedals. Spinning allows you to ride further/longer, because each pedal turn is easier. Imagine carrying many tonnes of potatoes two hundred metres. Yes I can carry a sack of spuds on each shoulder, but would tire pretty quickly doing that. But if I carried half a sack's worth at a time i could carry on all day and ultimately move more spuds. I have literally moved many tonnes of spuds in the past. Wink

Uh, the analogy was an er.. analogy, not an exact simulacrum. And for those of us who use saddle, it's pretty close. Same goes for carrying potatoes.
  • + 1
 @imajez: As I pointed out in almost ever post of mine here, I can see how others can benefit from seated pedaling and using a dropper seatpost. It is just that I didn't see those advantages for me as my rides are typically between one or two hours so usually there is no need to preserve energy and sit down. I understand it may be different for others. Especially racers or people who ride very long distances. I also admit that I can't spin high rpm when standing, only when seated (on a high seat). Then again that would only work on relatively smooth terrain or on a bike with rear suspension. When those sections are part of the race course in XC, they need to sit on a high seat and spin high rpm, I get that. It is just that I'm not racing so I either use such sections to recover standing (as I said, I just prefer that posture) or if I'm really tired I sit down on my low saddle and just take it very easy. I'm usually not inspired to really push myself on those sections. And the climbs, descends, corners etc where I push myself it is usually not possible (for me) to pedal at high rpm anyway.

But of course you are very correct in that when it is important to preserve energy on a long ride or when you need to go fast on a smooth pedally section the high saddle (hence the dropper post) makes a lot of sense.
  • + 1
 You call the course tame, I call it lame. How much more ridiculous will the WC courses become. Racing on hundreds of feet of boardwalk? What’s next a teeter totter? Slip’n’slides? Riding through bounce house? Luckily no one was seriously hurt.
  • + 1
 What is the problem with the Albstadt Course then, to your mind?
  • + 4
 I always thought Direttissima is hard to spell but Piccola seems not to be easy as well...
  • + 0
 I guess the misspelled caption proves your point.
  • + 4
 Too many batteries! Aaaaghhh!
  • + 3
 The batteries are for the espresso machine.
  • + 0
 @caRpetbomBer: would need a lot more batteries to run an espresso machine.
  • + 4
 Looks like could mount handle bars on fork crowns for this race?
  • + 1
 That will be next!
  • + 1
 They did that to a Marco Pantini time trial bike back in '98 or '97 so it could be done here too.
  • + 1
 My OCD cant handle the Rocket knob left partially open. The R should also be on the steam wand not the water spout. Arrrrgh! OVER CAFFEINENATED CORNHOLIO!!!!
  • + 1
 My rocket is the same way, spare the valve instead of your ocd, over tightening the knob prematurely wears out the valves essay.
  • + 1
 @DONKEY-FELTCHER: Its not overtightening, at least not on mine. The knob on my rocket turns about 1/4 before it opens which means I can close it too with 1/4 turn to play with before hitting any resistance, which happens when the R is in its rightful place.
  • + 2
 That espresso machine is no wonder SRAM bike parts are so expensive!
  • + 1
 Old school rocket r60 will last forever!
  • + 0
 That bloody stem in 1st picture. May as well turn the bike upside down instead!
  • + 4
 Probably Anton Cooper's bike. Anton Cooper is very small and rides 29" wheels. His bar is roughly level with his seat, despite the crazy stem angle: antoncooper.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/full-sus.jpg
  • + 1
 The bike is nose down hanging on a bike rack or something. On level ground it makes more sense for a short XC rider...
  • - 1
 @R-M-R: that is fugly
  • + 4
 @dirtybikejapan: True, but going fast is what pays the bills, not fashionable stems!
  • + 1
 Is that an angleset on it too? looks like the fork crown is set back, going for a steeper head angle maybe (or is the headtube on that trek just fat at the bottom?
  • + 1
 @dickyelsdon: Good question. The Headtube on the Trek is fatter at the bottom, and I think it's accentuated here because of the small frame/headtube size/length. But that shot does kinda seem like the heatube is "slightly" steeper??

But probably just the way the headtube looks, here is a larger frame and it looks a little like that too.

bikerumor-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/S6O4193.jpg

Also on the full "level" bike shot it doesn't seem as bad either?

antoncooper.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/full-sus.jpg
  • + 0
 that was a cyclocross course. what a joke.

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