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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Adapting saddle height for nasty xc courses?

I`m new at training on my road bike and i started experiencing knee pain so i I raised 1 cm on my seat post and voila problem solved.
I went and checked on my mountain bike`s seat height, and i raised it 1 1/2 cm and it feel right on spot.
I trail tested it on a 2 xc courses and on long 2-3 hours fire roads rides, and it was a pretty nice move with just a little efect on my handling but nothing that bad, until.....

I went to this NASTY XC course were there was held a World Cup event some time ago, it`s pretty technical and it is nastier because of very few peopple using it, rain, no manteinance and stuff...

I almost died in a ugly dropoff, i couldn`t make it and had to bail out. i also had an issue on riding down a steep rock, and in other really steep rocky downhills i didn`t feel confident. On the other hand i sure did need that little higher saddle height for all the extenous steep and technical climbs of the course.

I am known around here for going down fast, the more technical the terrain it`s better for me, but i lack of power and speed on long climbs, and on the technical spots of the climb where you need power boosts. So i tought that sacrificing a little downhill skills for climbing efficiency was ok but after this im not that sure.

Do the xc country pros, or any experienced xc racer for the matter, use their seat a little bit lower than optimal? Or do you adjust the height specifically for the course?
Should i commit myself to handle the bike this way?
Should i use my seat lower on this course only?

Thanks
 

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MBAA!
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A good rule of thumb is, on your downstroke, your knee should be bent slightly. The more technical the trial, the more your knee should bend. But the more your knee bends, the less efficent and more painful your pedaling will be.
 

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There might be differences of opinion, but it's a safe guess almost everybody's xc saddle is a tad lower than their road race saddle. Not much mind you, but a little.

I think this is where calf muscles come into play - to me those are the adjusters that allow you to get up out of a tall saddle for the technical parts. You should be able to get up on your toes and have plenty of height over the saddle while still pedalling.

Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
power or survival?

That`s how i always set up my bike.
A cm or 23 below the sweet spot, the one i know use at my road bike and that i tried to use on my xc bike.
What intrigues me is that i noticed a lot of difference in power transfer and in comfort with the higher setting, so that`s why i wondered what would a xc racer think about it?
Loose the comfort and power efficiency of the higher setting "correct settin"; or lower it down to be more in control.
Because when i race xc usually my handling is very poor because of the stress, nervousness, and trying to pass and not being passed.
Besides this isn`t trail riding where you lower your seat for the downhills, this is a xc race where seat set up is a definitive situation.
 

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pornstar said:
That`s how i always set up my bike.
A cm or 23 below the sweet spot, the one i know use at my road bike and that i tried to use on my xc bike.
What intrigues me is that i noticed a lot of difference in power transfer and in comfort with the higher setting, so that`s why i wondered what would a xc racer think about it?
Loose the comfort and power efficiency of the higher setting "correct settin"; or lower it down to be more in control.
Because when i race xc usually my handling is very poor because of the stress, nervousness, and trying to pass and not being passed.
Besides this isn`t trail riding where you lower your seat for the downhills, this is a xc race where seat set up is a definitive situation.
I have my XC bikes set upjust 1/4" lower than my road bikes, so that I can maximize the power on the climbs. Climbing is where most races are won or lost, especially where I live in the Bay Area.

For the few races that reguire more technical ability as well as climbing, such as most Super D races or the Downieville Downhill, it would be handy to have an adjustable seatpost, like the gravity dropper. If you look at Mark Weir's Downieville bike in the latest MBA, you'll see that he used the gravity gropper to great success.
 

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Get A Gravity Dropper Seat Post

The only time you need full leg extension on a bike is when seated and applying power, the rest of the time it is in your way. Get a gravity dropper seat post, at the flick of a switch on your handle bar you can lower the seat 4 inches. This gives you the best of both worlds, full height for climbing power and much lower for descending control. What a great device.
 

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$$$$$$$$$$

BetterRide said:
The only time you need full leg extension on a bike is when seated and applying power, the rest of the time it is in your way. Get a gravity dropper seat post, at the flick of a switch on your handle bar you can lower the seat 4 inches. This gives you the best of both worlds, full height for climbing power and much lower for descending control. What a great device.
You guys are forgetting to add the point that the gravity dropper nearly cost an arm and lefg. Also, they are unpratical for xc racing.
 

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goat said:
You guys are forgetting to add the point that the gravity dropper nearly cost an arm and lefg. Also, they are unpratical for xc racing.
Unpractical for XC racing?! Yeah, I guess saving a lot of time on every decent and every corner is a bad thing. LOL If you race xc without one you are losing time. Yes, they weigh a few onces more than a standard seatpost but they will more than make up for the weight by giving you more control and confidence on the descents.
 

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BetterRide said:
Unpractical for XC racing?! Yeah, I guess saving a lot of time on every decent and every corner is a bad thing. LOL If you race xc without one you are losing time. Yes, they weigh a few onces more than a standard seatpost but they will more than make up for the weight by giving you more control and confidence on the descents.
I've never been in a XC race where I felt like the height of my saddle was costing me time, nor have I ever thought of it as a problem. For the most part, I don't even notice that it is there.

Something like a gravity dropper might be useful for beginner or sport level racers who haven't fully developed their technical skills, but it is nowhere near a requirement to ride well and fast.
 

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Iktome said:
I've never been in a XC race where I felt like the height of my saddle was costing me time, nor have I ever thought of it as a problem. For the most part, I don't even notice that it is there.

Something like a gravity dropper might be useful for beginner or sport level racers who haven't fully developed their technical skills, but it is nowhere near a requirement to ride well and fast.
The following statements are fact, not my opinion.
Know one can descend as well with their seat in full cross country height as they can with the seat lowered. Pro cross country racers use the gravity dropper and devices like it for this reason.

Why is the above fact?
1. Just look at all pro downhill racers, low seat. If we could descend as quickly with our seat high we would all run a high seat so we could pedal faster.

2. Look at the best super-d racers which are usually the fastest descenders from the pro cross country field. Mark Weir uses gravity dropper, Ariel Lindsey uses the Maverick adjustable seat post, Abby Burns uses Maverick adjustable seat post, Marla Streb uses gravity dropper, Mike West uses Maverick adjustable seat post. Now go to usacycling.org and look up the above riders and check their super-d results, more podiums than all the other racers combined. These racers also use their adjustable seat posts in XC racing.

What I love about the internet is I often learn a lot from it. I would love to hear from the readers of this forum the reasons I may be misguided in what I said here.

How does a high seat post help me descend? How does a high seat post not get in the way when I want to bunny hop? Why are all downhill racers so dumb as to run a low seat when you can descend just as well with a high seat?

If you provide logical answers and examples to the above questions I will change my mind.
 

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not one xc racer

BetterRide said:
The following statements are fact, not my opinion.
Know one can descend as well with their seat in full cross country height as they can with the seat lowered. Pro cross country racers use the gravity dropper and devices like it for this reason.

There is no pro as of now that is on the norba or world cup xc circut that uses the gravity dropper. Pro xc racers are espeacially worried about weight and not adding uneccacary grams, ounces,pounds etc. Also, with xc racing at that level you do more climbing and pedalling than decending. In fact that is were races are one or lost. For the most part in xc racing the decents are not so technical as to were a low seat post is absouloutly neccacary. Plus carbon fiber is a stiffer lighter material that is widly perffered by xc racers. As of now the gravity seat post is not made in carbon fiber neiteher in the production modul or in the factory teams model.
However, you are correct about super d racers using the gravity dropper. It is perfect for that. However, I can not think of one pro level xc racer that uses one. Prove me wrong and then I will be convinvced. The gravity dropper is simply to heavy, and not reliable to yet meet the demands of pro level riders. Maybe in a few years but not now.

GOAT
 

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goat said:
BetterRide said:
T

There is no pro as of now that is on the norba or world cup xc circut that uses the gravity dropper. Pro xc racers are espeacially worried about weight and not adding uneccacary grams, ounces,pounds etc. The gravity dropper is simply to heavy, and not reliable to yet meet the demands of pro level riders. Maybe in a few years but not now.

GOAT
Last I checked, Mark Weir, Ariel Lindsey, Abby Burns, Mike West and Marla Streb are all pro cross country racers and they all use seatposts than can be lowered. Marla and Mark both use the gravity dropper and it is 4 oz heavier than a regular post. I have used my gravity dropper for a year and two months and it has worked fine I have not heard of any reliability issues with the post. I am sure there is a mathematical formula that can calculate the time penalty for an extra 4oz and would be willing to bet the 20-40% faster descents would make up for the slight time lost on the climbs. It seems to me that the extra energy spent by hauling 4 extra ounces up the hills would be offset by using less energy and saving time on the descents. Imagine how much less energy you would use in a race if you could exit every corner just 2% faster (which a lowered seatpost will easily allow you to do).
 

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BetterRide said:
Last I checked, Mark Weir, Ariel Lindsey, Abby Burns, Mike West and Marla Streb are all pro cross country racers and they all use seatposts than can be lowered. Marla and Mark both use the gravity dropper and it is 4 oz heavier than a regular post. I have used my gravity dropper for a year and two months and it has worked fine I have not heard of any reliability issues with the post. I am sure there is a mathematical formula that can calculate the time penalty for an extra 4oz and would be willing to bet the 20-40% faster descents would make up for the slight time lost on the climbs. It seems to me that the extra energy spent by hauling 4 extra ounces up the hills would be offset by using less energy and saving time on the descents. Imagine how much less energy you would use in a race if you could exit every corner just 2% faster (which a lowered seatpost will easily allow you to do).
Ok, now list all the XC racers that don't use a gravity dropper (and who are much faster than your list). We aren't talking Downhill or Super D. And even if we were talking Super D, I'd expect you to list Adam Craig, who is the two-time defending national champ in the Super D. Unless the fastest Super D guy doesn't use a gravity dropper, which wouldn't support your argument.

There's no question that in a Downhill race, you don't want a saddle at XC height. But that isn't the issue. The question is what's the best saddle height for a 2 hour XC race, which is most likely to be determined by how hard you can pedal.

And what on earth do you know about "fact"? It is absurd to suggest that you know for a fact that a lower saddle benefits you in every technical section, in every corner (by exactly 2%), of every cross country race. On 99% of most XC courses (not Downhill, not Super D), saddle height is not really a handling issue. If you think otherwise, maybe you should actually get out and race every once in a while.
 

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wrong!

BetterRide said:
Last I checked, Mark Weir, Ariel Lindsey, Abby Burns, Mike West and Marla Streb are all pro cross country racers and they all use seatposts than can be lowered. Marla and Mark both use the gravity dropper and it is 4 oz heavier than a regular post. I have used my gravity dropper for a year and two months and it has worked fine I have not heard of any reliability issues with the post. I am sure there is a mathematical formula that can calculate the time penalty for an extra 4oz and would be willing to bet the 20-40% faster descents would make up for the slight time lost on the climbs. It seems to me that the extra energy spent by hauling 4 extra ounces up the hills would be offset by using less energy and saving time on the descents. Imagine how much less energy you would use in a race if you could exit every corner just 2% faster (which a lowered seatpost will easily allow you to do).
I think you are hugly mistaken. Yes they do use the gravity dropper. But not on xc races. First off, Mark Weir only uses his gravity dropper during super d and downieville races. Marla Streb, (who by the way is retired) only used her gravity dropper for the same purpose.
What was the origianal topic of this thread anyway?
GOAT
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
goat said:
I think you are hugly mistaken. Yes they do use the gravity dropper. But not on xc races. First off, Mark Weir only uses his gravity dropper during super d and downieville races. Marla Streb, (who by the way is retired) only used her gravity dropper for the same purpose.
What was the origianal topic of this thread anyway?
GOAT
It stareted caused i raised my seat a bit and i felt wonders in power input, with a very little effect in the handling dept.
That was until i went to a really technical xc race course... it has several downhill parts full of rocks and chutes very nasty in deed where i felt as i would die if i even try to go down with the seat new height. I couldn´t make the runs that day, but i came back with my seat in the previous lower position and i nailed them with a lots of effort but i did o thgrough them.
So it came to my mind this question:
Do pro XC racers set their seat in a slightly lower position of the correct Power sweetspot when they face xc race courses with very difficult downhill sections?

Or should i just leave the seat as high as needed and walk the uggly sections until i learn to drive my bike with the seat as high?
 

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Your XC bike should be set up for optimal efficiency and power output. Races are won in the climbs. Set it up with the seat at the height that is most comfortable and offers proper knee extension (any bike fit article will explain this), and then learn how to descend with the seat at that height... on the nasty stuff drop your butt behind the seat (as the pros do). Racing with your saddle lower than optimum will blow up your knees.
 

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I was simply explaining away to get max power and descend well. If you read the orginial post the rider said “I almost died in a ugly dropoff, i couldn`t make it and had to bail out. i also had an issue on riding down a steep rock, and in other really steep rocky downhills i didn`t feel confident. On the other hand i sure did need that little higher saddle height for all the extenous steep and technical climbs of the course.” The gravity dropper or the Maverick seat post is a great way to do this.

“The question is what's the best saddle height for a 2 hour XC race, which is most likely to be determined by how hard you can pedal.” I completely agree with you, you will make up a lot more time pedaling than you will descending in an xc race and if you only had one choice in seat height high would be the way to go. Why limit yourself to one seat height when you can have two for a very small weight penalty was all I was SUGGESTING.

It saddens me that some people want to argue so much that they will misquote someone just to argue with them. “It is absurd to suggest that you know for a fact that a lower saddle benefits you in every technical section, in every corner (by exactly 2%), of every cross country race.”. First off I did not say exactly 2% because it is most likely quite higher. I said “Imagine how much less energy you would use in a race if you could exit every corner just 2% faster (which a lowered seatpost will easily allow you to do). This means exactly what it says. The personal attacks are so nice too. “And what on earth do you know about "fact"? If you think otherwise, maybe you should actually get out and race every once in a while” . You must be a big hit at parties when you personally attack people you have a disagreement with.

And last but not least you said; “It is absurd to suggest that you know for a fact that a lower saddle benefits you in every technical section, in every corner (by exactly 2%), of every cross country race. On 99% of most XC courses (not Downhill, not Super D), saddle height is not really a handling issue.”

Why is that absurd? I backed it up with solid theory and actually asked for theory that would prove me wrong. I love learning and if you can explain how having a seat higher will help your bike handling I would enjoy hearing and would admit I was wrong.

And BTW Adam Craig kicks ass and is a really nice guy but not knowing him as well as the other riders I mentioned I have no idea what kind of seat post he runs.
 

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goat said:
I think you are hugly mistaken. Yes they do use the gravity dropper. But not on xc races. First off, Mark Weir only uses his gravity dropper during super d and downieville races. Marla Streb, (who by the way is retired) only used her gravity dropper for the same purpose.
What was the origianal topic of this thread anyway?
GOAT
Thanks for saying I was mistaken, I like sharing different veiw points and using that made this sound more like a discussion than an arguement/attack.

I was under the impression Mark used the gravity dropper in some xc races too. It sounds like you know him well so I guess I was mistaken about that. My main point was the fact that they use the posts in super d (and that some of them, the Maverick racers and Marla use them in xc) which is bike handling intensive but not as rough as downhill shows that lowering your seat is big help, otherwise why would they use them.

You are mistaken too, Marla is not retired. She resigned with a lot of her sponsors recently.
 

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BetterRide said:
Thanks for saying I was mistaken, I like sharing different veiw points and using that made this sound more like a discussion than an arguement/attack.

I was under the impression Mark used the gravity dropper in some xc races too. It sounds like you know him well so I guess I was mistaken about that. My main point was the fact that they use the posts in super d (and that some of them, the Maverick racers and Marla use them in xc) which is bike handling intensive but not as rough as downhill shows that lowering your seat is big help, otherwise why would they use them.

You are mistaken too, Marla is not retired. She resigned with a lot of her sponsors recently.
Hey well, I think we all learned alot about this argument. For instance I thouught I read somewere that Marla was retired. I think that I am geting all the luna chixx teams mixed up oh well. I guess I am wrong. Sorry if there were any personal attacks. Talking about seat posts, I just bought a new easton ec 70 carbon fiber seat post. I am stoked to ride it! Herd mixed reviews about it, but I will keep everybody posted.

GOAT
 
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