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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The first 15 months I've had this rigid SS I rode with the seat slammed. Never sat on it except when I stopped to drink water. Stood to climb, stood to descend. Coming down over rocky, slick, technical terrain was great with the seat out of the way. Last couple rides I tried with the seat raised to a position that was comfortable when pedaling seated. It's great on easier parts of climbs and on the flats. Really great. But I'm trying to figure out where to put myself when coming down over the rough stuff. Put my hips back and crouch low over the bar, I feel like I might go OTB any minute, though I haven't really been close. Put my hips way back so the seat is in my gut and the front end is so light it's hard to steer. Either way, my legs can't absorb as much as when the seat is slammed.

What do you guys do? What's the best position for descending?
 

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It's all about what's normal for you. You will find many people in their respective corners. Many love their droppers and you'll still find people who can ride virtually anything without them.

If you don't want to buy a dropper a quick release collar on your seatpost 8s the old school way of doing it or running your post an inch or maybe even two below what's recommended until you get comfortable.

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Living Life with a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury is not Fun so go foe a Ride
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Just learn to ride with your saddle up.

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Just learn to ride with your saddle up.

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Look. This sounds really.....sarcastic, or caustic, or whatever, but honestly, it's not horrible advice. The answer is kind of you're trying too hard. I just got my first bike with a dropper post this year. That means I rode for 32 years without one. So, yeah, I learned to ride with the saddle up, or "high posting" as the kids call it now, apparently. I've poked fun at guys with droppers, but not because they had droppers, because they would be like, oh, don't ride that thing over there, old man, you can't do that without a dropper. Well, I can. Now that I have a dropper, I can see why some of them might think that, but the fact is, it's something you have to get comfortable with. You're trying to get too far forward or too far back. Quit worrying about getting as low as you can, and worry about keeping your legs long without being locked, so you CAN still absorb some stuff, and get where your weight needs to be, not where you can get lowest.

One thing I would point out, is on a more old school bike, high posting seems to be easier. The steeper seat tube angles of bikes that are actually coming with droppers seem to make it a little more difficult to get the seat out of the way when you don't have a dropper. But, it can still be done.
 

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To add to the last response, make sure your shorts arent too baggy and snag on the seat. Speaking of the seat, one other comment is to make sure it's not too wide so you can easily move behind it.

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no dropper post! want to keep it simple. maybe a quick release seat clamp. but i prefer to just ride right :)
You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either you learn to adapt and accept the limitations of a rigid post, or you get over your Puritan ideals of what a mountain bike should be like and embrace the dropper post. We all have limits of how complex, heavy, and expensive we are willing to allow our bikes to become. With time, I have warmed up to the dropper post and find it to be worth the extra complication. Excluding the option of a dropper post but accepting disc brakes, tubeless tires, clipless pedals, LED lights, threadless headsets, sealed bearings, etc is hypocritical. What arbitrary criteria makes one technology acceptable but another off limits?

Just learn to ride with your saddle up.
This. People have been riding all kinds of terrain since the beginning of mountain biking with a high post. Where I live, most people are choosing a dropper post (myself included), but I know people who do big drops, jumps, etc with a high post. It can be done, so if you're hell bent on simplicity, just adapt.

I've always thought it would be cool to just ride with the seat slammed down low. From years of riding BMX with 1" of exposed seatpost, I know how nice it is to have the saddle out of the way. As much as I'd like to think I am hardcore enough to ride without a saddle to sit on for pedaling efficiency, I know my core is not hard enough. I could do that for a very short ride, like a <30 minutes loop for 5 miles perhaps, but supporting and balancing all your weight without sitting would be murder on most people's backs.

The shape of the saddle helps too. A saddle with a big whale tail like a Pure-V can be comfy for long days in the saddle, but the extra surface area can get in the way.
 

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no dropper post! want to keep it simple. maybe a quick release seat clamp. but i prefer to just ride right :)
Dropper is just a quick release with a thumb control. It would be a lot more fun. But if you are determined to be a purist and suffer for no reason, you'll just have to pick your poison. Just because some people have a massive thigh gap and can do some things with the seat up, doesn't mean everyone can, or that anyone can do as much with the seat stuck up their backside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks all for the thoughts and advice. I'm familiar with dropper posts. I ride one on my FS. I have also ridden hardtail old-school geometry bikes with non-dropper posts for too many years to count, but I don't remember the seat being in the way so noticeably. From my initial post ("... best position for descending") it should be obvious that I want to adapt. Should that fail, I'll consider equipment solutions. I'm not sure it's a puritanical view of what a bike should be as much as it's an opportunity to evolve into a better rider.

I'm familiar with the position my body should be in with such a setup going down steep stuff: wrists rolled, elbows out, chest down, back flat, hips back, legs nearly straight, heels down, head up. In an attempt to try to explain my specific issue more clearly: In this position it seems like I have only a few inches between the seat and my crotch, so I'm able to use only 30% or so of their capacity to absorb hits. Then I bounce around a bit. The seat hits me and throws me off balance a bit, etc... I tried moving my hips behind the seat. That helps with the shock absorption but makes the front of the bike light.

Of course, I need more practice. Only two rides in with this setup. I haven't crashed, but I haven't felt as in control either. I like the idea of lowering the seat a little. That should give me more leg flex and hopefully make this transition smoother as I try to adapt.

Thanks again for the ideas!
 

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I tried moving my hips behind the seat. That helps with the shock absorption but makes the front of the bike light.
If I understand that correctly, it could be that the overall reach (distance from the BB to the grips) is a bit long for you when it comes to descending. When you get in a confident descending position, your arms could be too stretched out to really control the bike.

Since you're not using the saddle in this situation, the cockpit size from the saddle to the grips is relevant. What's the horizontal reach of that frame, and how long/ high is your stem? Moving the grips down and back a bit might help in this case: lower or flat handlebar, shorter, lower stem.
 

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I'm not sure it's a puritanical view of what a bike should be as much as it's an opportunity to evolve into a better rider.
But kinda the same thing. The implication is that you should be able to ride anything on any bike setup, and if you can't, you are a lesser rider. But the reality is that whatever you can do with the seat up, aside from going fast because your pedal stroke is efficient, you could do better with an ideal bike setup. That is going to be true no matter how good, or bad, of a rider you are. If it is only the added challenge you are after, get a quick release and raise the seat on the descents, and lower it on the flats. And then swap out the free hub for a fixed gear and remove the brakes.
 

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I'm not sure it's a puritanical view of what a bike should be as much as it's an opportunity to evolve into a better rider
Why stop at the dropper post? What about that specific new idea makes you want to draw the line there? If you really want to evolve into a better rider, why not ride a coaster brake beach cruiser or a fixed-gear cyclocross bike? Unicycle? Ride blindfolded?

I am not trying to be snarky, just pointing out the direction that line of thinking is headed. I agree that it's nice to ride the simplest bike you can manage for a variety of personal reasons. I do the same with a steel singlespeed that is rigid part-time. I am just not sure why people get hung up on the dropper post. If you want the confidence that comes with a dropped saddle, the dropper post is the solution. If you don't want that solution, don't use it and adapt.
 

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I dont have a dropper and my mountain bike seat is a little lower than the height of my road bike seat. I still have an efficient pedaling position and i have a little more room so the saddle doesnt slam into me in the rough.

I dont know what psi you run but possibly lowering it could help with the bouncing, but we all have that happen sometimes on an unexpected rock. Its not often though. My guess is technique.

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why not ride a coaster brake beach cruiser or a fixed-gear cyclocross bike?
I have a fixed gear touring bike that I take on the trails for fun *once in a while*. About 90% of my road rides are on fixed gear. Also went through a phase with a rigid single speed 29'r riding on the hardest trails I could find. After a while, and a broken toe, a broken hand, countless face plants and a shoulder surgery later, I realized that any benefit in skills was very short lived. You very quickly adapt to the bike that you ride. Fast forward 10 years, and the bike I ride for skills is a trials bike. My mtb's all have droppers. Basically, it is a whole lot more fun, with fewer injuries. Just separate those impulses and put them into their proper place.
 

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Dropper post
This made me lol. Reading the OP it was like he was asking someone to say it was OK to put a dropper on there.

no dropper post!
Excellent response!

Just learn to ride with your saddle up.
^ this!! It sucks once your used to riding with a dropper (especially if your 6'3"), but ultimately it's kinda scary on descents at speed by comparison to a bike with a dropper.

I'm not sure it's a puritanical view of what a bike should be as much as it's an opportunity to evolve into a better rider.

I'm familiar with the position my body should be in with such a setup going down steep stuff: wrists rolled, elbows out, chest down, back flat, hips back, legs nearly straight, heels down, head up. In an attempt to try to explain my specific issue more clearly: In this position it seems like I have only a few inches between the seat and my crotch, so I'm able to use only 30% or so of their capacity to absorb hits. Then I bounce around a bit. The seat hits me and throws me off balance a bit, etc... I tried moving my hips behind the seat. That helps with the shock absorption but makes the front of the bike light.

Of course, I need more practice. Only two rides in with this setup. I haven't crashed, but I haven't felt as in control either. I like the idea of lowering the seat a little. That should give me more leg flex and hopefully make this transition smoother as I try to adapt.
I find that a 1/2 to 3/4 inch lower saddle on the SS (as the set, standard position) is an excellent compromise. It's not ideal for seated climbs, but I don't have any knee issues and my legs seem to tolerate the lower position quite well. The lower saddle really helps on the descents, just that little bit really helps for me.

I too like the simple "pure" setup/experience. Less is more. I won't put a dropper on the SS, it's harder in a few ways but ultimately good for building skills.

TLDR: The short answer is you'll just have to slow down on the descents. It's the only way to stay safe. Faster up, slower down. Usually the former more than offsets the later.

Stick with it. :thumbsup:

Edit: oh, and I wear nice long baggies for good measure. ;)
 

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Personally, I follow Dickey-logic and ABD- always be droopin’. count me firmly in the ‘Pro-dropper Camp.
I get the Max simplicity edict, I really do. A bike with only brake lines is clean, beautiful. I honestly still don’t have a lockout lever on my fork because I’m avoiding too many cables.
I held out for years on my SS and one by one my fellow SSers all got droppers. They ride faster and smoother over increasingly gnarly terrain and I flat fell behind. I got on board and flat have more fun now. I also keep up again.

They make sense on a hardtail as much as a FS bike because your legs are your suspension.
They make sense on an SS because of the ‘body english’ that is more prevalently used.

At this point, I don’t ask myself ‘should my seat down for this?’ It’s down. I ask myself “Should my seat up for this?’

If you remain unconvinced, then my recommendation is to just put your seat 3/4” lower than ‘proper’ and recognize that you will make some compromises in seated power, but gain maybe just enough maneuverability to make it worth it.
 

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I spent @ least 2 years running my seatpost @ full extension before I realized it just wasn't safe to do so. I spent the first 2 years adjusting my body position, riding style & cockpit to make descending easier. Many OTB experiences and finally a broken collar bone & the goofy frame that didn't allow hardly any drop was gone. From then on it was slammed posts on any descending. Last season I finally came across a 200mm dropper post I wish I had years ago. All that simplicity purist less maintenance is crap imo. if you end up busted / injured.
 
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