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Not a role model
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you google "mtb attack position" and look up the images, you'll see a variety of standing positions, some with leveled off backs, some with arms almost straight down, some looking like they're hovering over a public toilet...

If I were to choose one, I think this is the one I'd like:

Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame Mountain bike

Looks like a nice A-frame is made with the arms and torso, well centered, with a lot of weight supported by the pedals. Doesn't look like much movement is needed to transition to a more comfortable standing pedaling position, or to the seated position (if he had a dropper post to extend the seat).

I'd argue that the bars can be a bit higher and further out, else it might seem a bit cramped and the knee can bang into the controls. Would bring the rider's center of mass closer to being centered between the wheels too. Basically, apply the trend of forward geo.

Basically, I'm wondering if current bike geo forces us into uncomfortable attack/ready positions. I recall a bike, the Foes Mixer, claiming to feature a "constant attack position", and that idea sort of stuck. What if the ready position were made natural through thoughtful geo? Going to think up how to set up experiments to investigate further.

What do you all think?
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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Looks like he's on too small of a frame and he's too upright.
Agree.

This is basically what it looks like but every individual is different.

Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle tire Bicycle frame

As long as you are standing and allowing the bike to flow beneath you. Everything else comes natural.
 

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The ready/attack position isn't suppose to be comfortable. It is a position that you should only spend a very small fraction of your ride in. If you watch a good rider descending the vast majority of the time they are in the neutral position, they only switch to the ready position when they need to, and they are out of it as soon and as quickly as possible.

The ready position isn't really a fixed position, it is more a continuum. The more stability you need the wider and lower you need to be.

One point to be aware of is to really focus on hinging at the hips. Too many rides get low by bending their legs instead of hinging at the hips. When your legs are bent you do not have a lot room to absorb bumps.
 

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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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The ready/attack position isn't suppose to be comfortable. It is a position that you should only spend a very small fraction of your ride in. If you watch a good rider descending the vast majority of the time they are in the neutral position, they only switch to the ready position when they need to, and they are out of it as soon and as quickly as possible.

The ready position isn't really a fixed position, it is more a continuum. The more stability you need the wider and lower you need to be.

One point to be aware of is to really focus on hinging at the hips. Too many rides get low by bending their legs instead of hinging at the hips. When your legs are bent you do not have a lot room to absorb bumps.
Agreed. I've always held that a good descent should be as exhausting as a good climb.
=sParty
 

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jcd's best friend
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I think riding in the ready/attack position should be very comfortable. I need to have coffee in 1 hand while holding the bar with the other. I don't want to spill my coffee while on the trail.
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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The correct comfortable attack position is subjective.

Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle tire
 

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since 4/10/2009
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The ready/attack position isn't suppose to be comfortable. It is a position that you should only spend a very small fraction of your ride in. If you watch a good rider descending the vast majority of the time they are in the neutral position, they only switch to the ready position when they need to, and they are out of it as soon and as quickly as possible.

The ready position isn't really a fixed position, it is more a continuum. The more stability you need the wider and lower you need to be.

One point to be aware of is to really focus on hinging at the hips. Too many rides get low by bending their legs instead of hinging at the hips. When your legs are bent you do not have a lot room to absorb bumps.
Depends on the sorts of rides you do, I guess. I frequently do rides where the downhill is several miles long, fast, and technical, and you've gotta hold a ready position for quite some time. "Comfortable" is relative, too. Holding the ready position takes a good bit of muscle engagement, especially in your core. The better you can engage your muscles for long stretches, the more "comfortable" it's going to be to hold a ready position on your bike. Those long, technical downhills are definitely exhausting. But I'd still say that a ready position on its own isn't inherently uncomfortable. Your bike should allow for it to be reasonably comfortable, and discomfort should come from the muscle engagement you're using to control the bike.

You still need to have a slight bend to the knees. Yes, you need to hinge at the hips, but your legs need to be able to absorb hits towards your body as well as extend away from it. Think of it like the preload or sag on your bike's suspension. Same principle. You don't want your legs completely extended or your muscles excessively tensed, or you'll get bucked off.

I do agree that body position is a continuum, and that the more stability you need, the lower and wider you need to be. No question there. Ninjichor is again demonstrating that he has a tendency to overthink and overcomplicate a subject. I also totally agree that the guy in his example pic is on a bike that's WAY too small (the potential for toe overlap is frightening), but he's also demonstrating a more neutral position that's more relaxed (less muscle engagement, so good to alternate with ready/attack to take a break when the trail allows for it) and gives you a better view down the trail.
 

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Professional Crastinator
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I had the opportunity to ride Ray's Indoor MTB Park 2wice in the last 4 days. If you keep moving, you are always in the attack position. Stuff comes at you constantly. While it is not uncomfortable (at all - at least on my completely dialed 29er), the muscle engagement (<--there's that term again) required to "attack", adjust, pump, drop, flow, corner, and pedal all leads to fatigue and a breakdown of the correct attack form. It's a great workout. There is no trail in the world that packs that much stuff in such a small space (afaik), so it's great for dialing in a bike for some hard trail riding, while also dialing in your attack position. I'll be the first to admit that if your position is bad, or you are whipped, you will probably hit the deck at least once. ...or the wall, and then the deck. ;)
BTW - I'm starting to think I need a dropper. (say it isn't so!! :eekster:)

-F
 

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Not a role model
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After examining multi-discipline top pros in action: Brandon Semenuk, Mitch Ropelato, Bernard Kerr, Brian Lopes, Chris Akrigg...

I don't see a frequent pattern of the flat back position, besides when riders are performing an aero tuck. Plenty of resources at VitalMTB, including Rapidfire videos. One resource that seems to support the upright position is the G-out project photo shoots (example).
 

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While modern DH riders tend to ride in the flat back position, it's generally more upright than you see in instructional material. Years ago the bikes were too small to ride without hunching.

 

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since 4/10/2009
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After examining multi-discipline top pros in action: Brandon Semenuk, Mitch Ropelato, Bernard Kerr, Brian Lopes, Chris Akrigg...

I don't see a frequent pattern of the flat back position, besides when riders are performing an aero tuck. Plenty of resources at VitalMTB, including Rapidfire videos. One resource that seems to support the upright position is the G-out project photo shoots (example).
just stop.

you're not going to find piles of photos with people doing textbook perfect ready positions. you'll find a few, from skills instructors. But then you're going to find a metric assload of pictures of people at random moments during a ride. Many of those moments are going to look incredibly awkward, because the picture was snapped in the middle of a movement. And that's the thing. you will NEVER hold a single static position for any appreciable amount of time when you're riding. if you're not dynamic, always adjusting to the terrain and the bike, then you're crashing.

Stop staring at google images and slideshows trying to learn about a single body position. Go ride.
 

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Not a role model
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't like how that guy's shoulders are way forward of his CoG. When shoulders are that forward, weight is inevitably going to be shifted to the bars, which compromises front end handling.

I'd recommend the guy to raise his bar height a few inches.

Heavy feet, light hands.
 

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I don't like how that guy's shoulders are way forward of his CoG. When shoulders are that forward, weight is inevitably going to be shifted to the bars, which compromises front end handling.

I'd recommend the guy to raise his bar height a few inches.

Heavy feet, light hands.
A "few inches?" Even an inch is a pretty huge change for any bike fit adjustment, imo. Assuming of course that the bike is properly sized and fitted reasonably well, which the one in the picture seems to be.
 
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