Peak power and saddle height

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MarkAshton
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Peak power and saddle height

Postby MarkAshton » Fri Oct 12, 2012 08:49 am

Hi

I seem to run a saddle height at the lower end of the scale. Have had a few bike fitters look and say I could maybe raise it a tad but its certainly within the "acceptable" range. I am mainly focused on TT's, and I feel more comfortable at my current saddle height. I have raised it by small amounts a few times and always prefer the position I have currently.

One thing I notice is that when I am riding with others in my ability (or lack of) to accelerate in the saddle from low speeds (either on a small kick or just on the flat), I consistently find I struggle to match their power and fall off the pace a little. What usually happens is they accelerate away from me and then I pull them back. This is also very obvious when pulling away from lights on my commute. Guys on hybrids can out jump me from the lights.

My question is could a lower saddle height affect ability to produce very short duration power?

keef66
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby keef66 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 09:28 am

When I had my bike fit the chap spent some time increasing saddle height by small amounts saying that would give me a bit more power.
Thinking about sprinting out of the saddle, your leg is very nearly straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke, so I suspect it makes sense to try and emulate that when seated too?

Trev The Rev
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby Trev The Rev » Fri Oct 12, 2012 09:32 am

MarkAshton wrote:Hi

I seem to run a saddle height at the lower end of the scale. Have had a few bike fitters look and say I could maybe raise it a tad but its certainly within the "acceptable" range. I am mainly focused on TT's, and I feel more comfortable at my current saddle height. I have raised it by small amounts a few times and always prefer the position I have currently.

One thing I notice is that when I am riding with others in my ability (or lack of) to accelerate in the saddle from low speeds (either on a small kick or just on the flat), I consistently find I struggle to match their power and fall off the pace a little. What usually happens is they accelerate away from me and then I pull them back. This is also very obvious when pulling away from lights on my commute. Guys on hybrids can out jump me from the lights.

My question is could a lower saddle height affect ability to produce very short duration power?


Is your gearing too big? That might explain your slow acceleration. Or are you very heavy?

MarkAshton
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby MarkAshton » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:26 am

6'1" @ 68 / 69 Kg.

Not a gearing issue. Notice it on either of my bikes (compact and standard)

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amaferanga
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby amaferanga » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:53 am

So you have the right gears on your bikes, but are you using the right gear to accelerate? What sort of cadence are you accelerating with?
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Zoomer37
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby Zoomer37 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:07 am

As long as its not obviously too much you'll probably be able to push more through the pedals when the saddle is a bit lower as you tend to use your glutes and hamstrings more, but it may fatigue the muscles quicker.

If you dont seem to have the ''kick'' at lower speeds perhaps its just your legs lacking a bit of power, or as the other guy said, your using too big a gear.

If you can put the power down when your up to speed and you feel comfortable on the bike then leave it alone. Small mm adjustments do make a difference, but let it get into your head too much and you'll be pissing about with the saddle height every ride.

Trev The Rev
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby Trev The Rev » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:41 pm

amaferanga wrote:So you have the right gears on your bikes, but are you using the right gear to accelerate? What sort of cadence are you accelerating with?


Some people on here would say something along these lines.

""Cadence is a red herring. Lack of acceleration is nothing to do with cadence. The lack of acceleration is entirely down to a lack of power. The guy needs to buy a power meter, train with power under the guidance of a good coach, sports scientist or doctor and concentrate on power. Cadence is a red herring. We train with power not just to power.""

I however would not say that.

MarkAshton
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby MarkAshton » Fri Oct 12, 2012 16:03 pm

I do have a power meter but don't really need one to quantify a guy on a Hybrid pulling away from me at the lights (momentarily I should add), or struggling a bit to close a small gap in a pace line if one forms.

I was thinking of just concentrating on putting out the biggest power I can when pulling away from lights in the seated position - could this help?. Not sure why but I never like to pull away from the lights out of the saddle (I am certainly more powerful but feel a bit too "keen")

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Herbsman
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby Herbsman » Fri Oct 12, 2012 17:00 pm

Trev The Rev wrote:
amaferanga wrote:So you have the right gears on your bikes, but are you using the right gear to accelerate? What sort of cadence are you accelerating with?


Some people on here would say something along these lines.

""Cadence is a red herring. Lack of acceleration is nothing to do with cadence. The lack of acceleration is entirely down to a lack of power. The guy needs to buy a power meter, train with power under the guidance of a good coach, sports scientist or doctor and concentrate on power. Cadence is a red herring. We train with power not just to power.""

I however would not say that.

For fark's sake. Grow up.
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cyco2
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby cyco2 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 21:07 pm

MarkAshton wrote: Not sure why but I never like to pull away from the lights out of the saddle (I am certainly more powerful but feel a bit too "keen")


Seems to me you have put your problem at pulling away as a matter choice. You like to pull away slowly where as your companions like to pull away fast. I practice this on hills. Letting the riders get well in front and then blitzing them in a race to the top. All in the mind or you have a rubbing brake block, soft tyres or have your saddle set so you look like a circus monkey. :lol:
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dw300
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby dw300 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 03:14 am

This isn't complicated .. at 68/69kg, they likely have more power than you. Add your relatively long levers into the equation, and you probably aren't a high cadence cyclist, so you're never going to be one of the faster accelerators.
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Alex_Simmons/RST
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby Alex_Simmons/RST » Sat Oct 13, 2012 03:25 am

Some people are blessed with nearly 100% slowtwitch fibres and couldn't sprint their way out of a paper bag.
Chris Boardman's peak power was <900W.

If you want to improve your ability to accelerate from low speed, then guess what sort of training is best for that?

But if you are not blessed with fast twitch fibre, then you will never accelerate as quickly as others who are. All you can do is improve upon your own current ability.

And for Trev's sake - the rate of acceleration from low speed on flat terrain is almost entirely a function of W/kg.
Acceleration and speed from a high pace is mostly a function of W/m^2 (power to CdA ratio).

marz
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby marz » Sat Oct 13, 2012 03:27 am

MarkAshton wrote:6'1" @ 68 / 69 Kg.

Not a gearing issue. Notice it on either of my bikes (compact and standard)


Yes, but what gear are you in when you set off from the lights. Generally I pick a gear that allows me to quickly spin up and accelerate and where I have to change gear after the 5th or 6th pedal stroke.

Barrzy257
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby Barrzy257 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:51 am

Try and see how high you can jump stood in a stationary position, then do te same without fully extending your legs as much, you won't jump as high? So the small increase in saddle height will increase that explosive power, but you won't be as comfortable. So unless your in races, then stick to comfy!

MarkAshton
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby MarkAshton » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:27 pm

cyco2 wrote:Seems to me you have put your problem at pulling away as a matter choice.


This seems about right. I seem to have a bit of a mental block about sudden accelerations

Alex_Simmons/RST wrote:Some people are blessed with nearly 100% slowtwitch fibres and couldn't sprint their way out of a paper bag.
Chris Boardman's peak power was <900W.


The biggest 1 second power I have recorded (from training data over a few years) is around 850 watts,so I think I am very slowtwitch dominant.

Barrzy257 wrote:Try and see how high you can jump stood in a stationary position, then do te same without fully extending your legs as much, you won't jump as high? So the small increase in saddle height will increase that explosive power, but you won't be as comfortable. So unless your in races, then stick to comfy!


Is this true? No one has really answered if saddle height can affect peak power (or at least pointed to any scientific proof which suggests it can). Why would a higher saddle height be more uncomfortable?

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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby okgo » Sat Oct 13, 2012 15:06 pm

If the best 1 second you have is 850 then that's your answer I would think. I ride with a similar chap, great TT'er great climber, but has no kick, not a problem just have to work with it.
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Barrzy257
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Re: Peak power and saddle height

Postby Barrzy257 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 20:10 pm

Sorry didn't mean its uncomfartable to have your seat higher, I just thought that's what you meant when you said you preferred it at the lower height!


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