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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not a beginner, but I thought this was the best place for this question...

I got a new bike this summer (Yeti 575) that I love. But I just can't seem to get myself to spin on the bike. I got into the habit of spinning after about a week's worth of practice on my old bike, but I just can't get my body to do it unless I'm focusing on it. Could this suggest there is an issue with how the bike fits, or should I just give it more time/patience?

Next week I'm hoping to ride 4 or 5 times (a lot for me, normally I ride twice a week), and I'm hoping to really concentrate on spinning to see if I can get past this issue.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Domestic Fowl
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I guess I don't understand your question. "Spinning" is basically using a lower gear and a higher pedalling cadence...... i.e. lower ledal load, but turning the pedals over faster. This helps prevent the buildup of lactic acid in your legs.

Tell us why you think you're not getting it. The opposite of spinning is "pedal mashing" where you are in a larger gear (higher pedal load) and using a lower cadence (turing the pedals over slower). This tends to make your legs hurt more and blow up your cardio.

[edit]
Often people will spin a gear that is too low. This is inefficient because you're not doing as much work as you could be doing. Basically, you want to you want to push the biggest gear you can maintain a high cadence at for a long duration. If your gear is too big, you won't be able to maintain your high cadence for a long duration. If your gear is too small your work is too easy and you're not optimizing your power output.
[/edit]
 

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Is your position the same as on your old bike? If your saddle position is significantly further back, spinning could be tough. Most folks find that sliding a bit forward on the saddle facilitates spinning, while sliding toward the back is better for lower cadence power (as in seated climbing). This is all referenced to an "optimal fore/aft saddle position".
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
worldpiste said:
Is your position the same as on your old bike? If your saddle position is significantly further back, spinning could be tough. Most folks find that sliding a bit forward on the saddle facilitates spinning, while sliding toward the back is better for lower cadence power (as in seated climbing). This is all referenced to an "optimal fore/aft saddle position".
I would guess that it is further back, but I'll have to look. I went for a 3" XC bike to a 5" trail bike. My guess is that the geometry would push me back just a bit (more relaxed geometry), but I'll double check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FreeRangeChicken said:
I guess I don't understand your question. "Spinning" is basically using a lower gear and a higher pedalling cadence...... i.e. lower ledal load, but turning the pedals over faster. This helps prevent the buildup of lactic acid in your legs.
OK, maybe spinning isn't the right word. I have a hard time pedaling in a smooth, circular motion - pusing down AND pulling up at the same time. Most of my effort is put into pushing the pedal down - I just can't get myself to also pull the pedal up at the same time. It doesn't matter what gear I'm in, or how hard I'm working - it could be an easy roll along a relatively flat section of trail, or a tough climb. If I concentrate, I can do it briefly (about 10-15 revolutions), but I have a hard time doing it for extended climbs, and I can't get my body into the habit of doing it at all.

Does that clear things up? If spinning isn't the right word, what is?
 

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Domestic Fowl
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jacksonpt said:
OK, maybe spinning isn't the right word. I have a hard time pedaling in a smooth, circular motion - pusing down AND pulling up at the same time. Most of my effort is put into pushing the pedal down - I just can't get myself to also pull the pedal up at the same time. It doesn't matter what gear I'm in, or how hard I'm working - it could be an easy roll along a relatively flat section of trail, or a tough climb. If I concentrate, I can do it briefly (about 10-15 revolutions), but I have a hard time doing it for extended climbs, and I can't get my body into the habit of doing it at all.

Does that clear things up? If spinning isn't the right word, what is?
It's "circular pedalling", which is part of good spinning technique. You were close enough. Worldpiste's info regarding seat position could be the ticket.

Here's a general guiideline for getting good fore/aft seat position: (You will need help to do this right.)

1) Make sure your seat height is adjusted correctly. You should have a slight bend in your knee when the pedal is at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

2) Sit on your bike in your normal riding position with the cranks horizontal.

3) Have your helper take a plumb line (a string with a weight tied to it) and plumb down from the dimple just below and to the side of your kneecap of your forward foot. Ideally, this plumb line should be pretty close to the center of the pedal spindle.

This is a general rule of thumb and as always, there are exceptions to the rules. If you still have your old bike it would be good to perform this measurement on both bikes and see how the two differ. If there is a big difference, this could be the answer.

Good luck.

FRC
 

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jacksonpt,

I ride a fair amount of fixed gear (road), so am usally over-analyzing my own spin.

Anyway here's a slightly different way of thinking about getting a good spin. I think it works far better than the usual emphasis on pushing down-pulling up-pushing across the top-scraping **** off across the bottom. This is a far more 'right brain' approach that gives you a lot less to think about.

First half; don't think about pushing/pulling the pedals harder, rather just try to make the cranks go around faster.

Second half (important): pedal in such a way that the pressure of the shoe on each foot is as equal as possible all around your foot, i.e. not more on the bottom, top, front or back.

If you put these two things together, you'll have the roundest, most efficient pedal stroke you can get and be using the optimum combination of muscles to achieve it. And all without having to think too much about it.

By the way, if you're getting much bob from front or rear suspension, smooth spinning will be pretty difficult. Good luck,

WP
 

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Two things help me alot..

1st:
Try relaxing the rest of your body especially your arms. If you tend to tense up those other parts it gets a little difficult to let your legs rotate freely and smoothly.
2nd:
It helps to initially concentrate on the 2nd portion of the spin. These parts are the "scraping off the bottom of your foot and pulling up" motion of your spin. The first portion of the spin - the pushing forward and down motion comes to you automatically at this point being that you aren't a beginner. After a while the whole spin will come together and become 2nd nature. Then you'll be able to concentrate on spinning faster and harder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
FreeRangeChicken said:
1) Make sure your seat height is adjusted correctly. You should have a slight bend in your knee when the pedal is at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

2) Sit on your bike in your normal riding position with the cranks horizontal.

3) Have your helper take a plumb line (a string with a weight tied to it) and plumb down from the dimple just below and to the side of your kneecap of your forward foot. Ideally, this plumb line should be pretty close to the center of the pedal spindle.
I had my saddle height correct, but it was very far back. I did the dimple/pedal spindle thing and the spindle was noticably forward of the dimple, the entire pedal was, as a matter of fact. I adjusted things a bit and got it so the dimple over the rear half of the pedal. I'll try it like that, then adjust it a bit more if necessary. I didn't have my old bike to compare to at the time, but I'll compare the two when I have more time.

Thanks for the tip - I'm hoping to get out tomorrow to see how it feels.
 

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Domestic Fowl
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jacksonpt said:
I had my saddle height correct, but it was very far back. I did the dimple/pedal spindle thing and the spindle was noticably forward of the dimple, the entire pedal was, as a matter of fact. I adjusted things a bit and got it so the dimple over the rear half of the pedal. I'll try it like that, then adjust it a bit more if necessary. I didn't have my old bike to compare to at the time, but I'll compare the two when I have more time.

Thanks for the tip - I'm hoping to get out tomorrow to see how it feels.
It will be interesting to see how this measurement compares with your other bike. If you feel too scrunched up after this adjustment you may need to lengthen your stem.

You can compare "cockpit length" between bikes by measuring from the back of saddle to the center of the handlebars on each bike.

Good luck!
 

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A wheelist
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jacksonpt said:
I have a hard time pedaling in a smooth, circular motion - pusing down AND pulling up at the same time. Most of my effort is put into pushing the pedal down - I just can't get myself to also pull the pedal up at the same time.
Trying to push down AND pull up is bogus. Other guys here have mentioned this tip - concentrate on pulling BACK at the bottom of the stroke only. Just like you're scraping dog $hit off the sole of your shoe.

I have another tip that is part of a mental pedalling process that I teach - while you're riding, imagine having cranks on your bike that are two inches long and that the only way youre going to pedal the bike is to TWIRL those babies. That will smooth out your stroke.
 
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