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The pedaling technique thread

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Sep 23, 2010
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This probably belongs here. From a world champ who has been training on PowerCranks getting ready for RAAM. We have been pushing him to do some of the RAAM on his PowerCranks as we thought it would help him. He wasn't sure so he decided to do a TT on regular cranks and PowerCranks to compare. Here is his post of the comparison.
I have been waiting 2weeks to do a comparative test on the 11.5mile hilly tt course on the PowerCranks Frank Day and could wait no longer. Last week was heavy rain, this week wasn't much better.
2weeks ago in good weather I got 27mins 23secs. Tonight I only raced maybe 75% if that, freewheeled some of the time, took it very carefully around corners as it was raining and the roads were extremely wet and dangerously slippy. I did 27mins 46secs. I could have easily gone 2 or 3mins faster in good conditions. Quite simply the PC's are faster, harder work but faster. If you don't believe me get a pair and try them yourself. Type in the code 'Hoppo2014' and you will get discount and support my RAAM. You can't lose
 
FrankDay said:
This probably belongs here. From a world champ who has been training on PowerCranks getting ready for RAAM. We have been pushing him to do some of the RAAM on his PowerCranks as we thought it would help him. He wasn't sure so he decided to do a TT on regular cranks and PowerCranks to compare. Here is his post of the comparison.

Hopefully you've got him riding his cranks set to 125mm so he can really tear up the RAAM this year;) I'll be following his near certain domination of the race.

Hugh
 
Sep 23, 2010
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sciguy said:
Hopefully you've got him riding his cranks set to 125mm so he can really tear up the RAAM this year;) I'll be following his near certain domination of the race.

Hugh
He has resisted going shorter. That is an awful lot of change for an elite to make in a short period of time (remember, he just started training on the PowerCranks about a month ago). Perhaps, in view of this result (which I am sure he found surprising as he had resisted racing on the cranks) he might consider going a little shorter now as we think this would be especially beneficial to him for the flats on this 3000 mile race. We will see what he does.
 
FrankDay said:
I did 27mins 46secs. I could have easily gone 2 or 3mins faster in good conditions. Quite simply the PC's are faster, harder work but faster. If you don't believe me get a pair and try them yourself. Type in the code 'Hoppo2014' and you will get discount and support my RAAM. You can't lose

Hmmm

Totally not an advert :rolleyes:
 
Sep 23, 2010
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I thought this data from Dr. Jim Martin (originally posted in the PowerCranks thread) should be reposted here. In it he separates out the muscular from non-muscular forces that result in the total pedal force.
Slide4_zpsc2792b74.jpg

I think moving forward, when we talk about pedaling technique we should understand that pedal forces are not muscular forces.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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FrankDay said:
I thought this data from Dr. Jim Martin (originally posted in the PowerCranks thread) should be reposted here. In it he separates out the muscular from non-muscular forces that result in the total pedal force.
Slide4_zpsc2792b74.jpg

I think moving forward, when we talk about pedaling technique we should understand that pedal forces are not muscular forces.

You can see from above data that the application of maximal torque through 12, 1 and 2 will involve the application of greater muscular power than the maximal used for 3 o'c torque.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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coapman said:
You can see from above data that the application of maximal torque through 12, 1 and 2 will involve the application of greater muscular power than the maximal used for 3 o'c torque.
Show us it is possible then we can break down how it happens.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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FrankDay said:
Show us it is possible then we can break down how it happens.

There is no need to break down how it happens, I have already explained that.


" In outdoor tug o'war leg muscles are used in the same way as mashers use them in their downstroke, lower leg muscles are not used. With the indoor tug o'war two powerful forces have to be generated, downward to produce sufficient shoe/mat friction resistance and forward to drive the body backwards. Maximal use is made of lower leg musles. Because the cyclist's cleat replaces the need for shoe/mat friction, a cyclist can separate and merge these two powerful forces (forward and downward) for an extended powerful pedalling stroke from 11 to 5 o'c."
 
Sep 23, 2010
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coapman said:
There is no need to break down how it happens, I have already explained that.
Yes, but you haven't shown that the forces you say you generate are the forces you actually generate. When you show us you are actually doing what you think you are doing then I will believe your "breakdown". I simply don't believe you are doing what you think you are doing.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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FrankDay said:
Yes, but you haven't shown that the forces you say you generate are the forces you actually generate. When you show us you are actually doing what you think you are doing then I will believe your "breakdown". I simply don't believe you are doing what you think you are doing.

Hmmm ... sounds familiar. Why do you ask for something you yourself cannot provide?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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elapid said:
Hmmm ... sounds familiar. Why do you ask for something you yourself cannot provide?


From Pez

"Myth #1: Riding a fixed gear improves pedaling efficiency and leg speed
I might as well get the big one out of the way first. Fixed gear bikes are a great toy for tooling around town, cruising the beach, or propping up for all to see outside the coffee shop, but they have no place in a serious road cyclist’s training routine, unless your primary goals are riding on the velodrome. Here’s why:

• When you practice high cadence training on your road bike you are forced to recruit the muscle fibers that are necessary for quick contractions in the pattern required to keep the pedals moving. However, on a fixie, the pedals are always spinning in perfect circles at very high speeds no matter how sloppy or inefficient your stroke is. Your muscles aren’t required to act, they are really only required to react.

• Riding a fixed gear is the exact opposite of riding PowerCranks, whose advantage has been proven repeatedly on this very site. PowerCranks require your muscle fibers to fire throughout the 360 degree pedal stroke. You are required to push across the top, push down in the front, pull across the bottom and pull up in the back. Your pedal stroke may slow temporarily, but the muscular foundation becomes so solid that it only takes a few weeks of high cadence on your road bike to turn the strength you built on the PowerCranks into power.

• Compared to a fixed gear, even on a regular road bike, your muscle fibers are forced to fire in a very efficient manner. At the very least, you’ll have the experience of pushing down and, to some extent, controlling the movement throughout the pedal circle. On a fixed gear, the bike is literally doing all the work for you. You’re really not teaching your legs anything but to get tossed around at ridiculous speeds. Think about a gym member who takes indoor cycling classes which utilize a large heavy fly wheel. They may get their legs whipped around in crazy circles at a cadence of up to 140 rpm, but have you ever seen them achieve this on a real bike? Trust me, it doesn’t translate.

As a final proof, I offer you up this example. Every year while racing, I finished my season on the track. In 2008 I wrapped things up with the Points Race at Elite Nationals. Even though I geared up to a 50 x 14, due to the increased competition (Garmin Chipotle, Health Net, Rock Racing), I still spun out at about 150 rpm on some of the sprint laps. When I jumped back on my road bike today, however, I felt like I was chopping broccoli. My legs became so accustomed to the forced circles of the track bike that they became lazy, losing the ability to do the work themselves.

Just like with anything in cycling, skills are extremely specific. If you plan on racing on a fixed gear then it makes sense to train on one. If you plan on racing on the road, train on your road bike or, even better, do you winter base on PowerCranks, teaching your muscles to fire in absolute perfection and coordination, and then switch to your ride bike just a few weeks before race season. Save the fixie for the high school kids riding in tight jeans. "
 
Fixed gear or free hub, what matters is the power output. Making such blanket statements as these without proper context is misleading and unhelpful.

One can very well improve performance with a fixed gear, but not by tooling around. Saying fixed gear is not good for your development because some people don't ride hard on them is just a dumb argument.

Likewise if you tool around on a free hub bike, you won't improve either.

And implying a fixed gear pedals for you is also silly. Your speed is a function of your power output and the resistance forces. That relationship doesn't change whether on fixed or free hub.

It's also equally disingenuous to claim one must train on a fixed gear to improve.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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Alex Simmons/RST said:
Fixed gear or free hub, what matters is the power output. Making such blanket statements as these without proper context is misleading and unhelpful.

One can very well improve performance with a fixed gear, but not by tooling around. Saying fixed gear is not good for your development because some people don't ride hard on them is just a dumb argument.
I don't think that is what he said. His myth #1 was "Riding a fixed gear improves pedaling efficiency and leg speed" Do you have any evidence that riding a fixed gear hard improves pedaling efficiency and leg speed? You don't. But, you criticize him because you believe one can improve performance training on a fixed gear if one trains hard. Of course that is true but it doesn't negate what his original thought was so what you said was really off topic.
Likewise if you tool around on a free hub bike, you won't improve either.

And implying a fixed gear pedals for you is also silly.
Your implying that he implied that fixed gear bikes "pedal for you" is just plain silly. What he said is that fixed gear bikes force the pedals around whether one is pedaling with good form or no form because all of the momentum of the bike is put into the pedals if one "stops pedaling" and we simply are not strong enough to resist such forces.
Your speed is a function of your power output and the resistance forces. That relationship doesn't change whether on fixed or free hub.
True, but he didn't say anything to the contrary, he was talking about pedaling technique.
It's also equally disingenuous to claim one must train on a fixed gear to improve.
This I can agree with. Our experience is, if we are using PowerCranks as a measure of what constitutes good pedaling technique (it is as we define it, your definition may differ), that some who train on fixed gear bikes have excellent technique while most do not.

Of course, part of the problem with any of these discussions is no one really knows what constitutes optimum technique nor what technique any given rider is actually using because it is almost impossible to know because there has never been a way for the average rider to measure technique. Hopefully the easy availability of power meters that measure technique (pioneer and iCranks being the first) may make this guessing game a thing of the past and these discussions will go beyond opinion.
 
Sep 8, 2014
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Alex, Hamish, and Hugh:
Have you guys noticed that this forum is always you rational guys vs. coapman and FrankDay? What percentage of the posts on this forum come from the five of you? 90+%?
You, the rationals, try to debunk things but you just can't win. Every thread is a Tar Baby.
Also, I have recently developed a suspicion that coapman doesn't really believe anything he posts. Rather he is trolling to see how much of a response he can get out of you rational guys. He thinks to himself "How can I really push their buttons?" If I'm right he must get tremendous entertainment.
Try not posting to this forum for six months and see what happens. At worst the other two will post some silliness but no one will pay any attention. I reckon the forum will be nearly dormant.
Of course, if you enjoy these arguments then by all means keep it up. Finally, remember that all press is good press. So every time you guys respond to a post about a certain product you are doing FD a favor.
Cheers,
Jim
 
Good advice Jim

I blocked Frank a year ago and never respond to his messages, only report trolling and spam. I have now blocked Noel as well for the reasons you suggest.

I advise others to do the same.


Bio_McGeek said:
Alex, Hamish, and Hugh:
Have you guys noticed that this forum is always you rational guys vs. coapman and FrankDay? What percentage of the posts on this forum come from the five of you? 90+%?
You, the rationals, try to debunk things but you just can't win. Every thread is a Tar Baby.
Also, I have recently developed a suspicion that coapman doesn't really believe anything he posts. Rather he is trolling to see how much of a response he can get out of you rational guys. He thinks to himself "How can I really push their buttons?" If I'm right he must get tremendous entertainment.
Try not posting to this forum for six months and see what happens. At worst the other two will post some silliness but no one will pay any attention. I reckon the forum will be nearly dormant.
Of course, if you enjoy these arguments then by all means keep it up. Finally, remember that all press is good press. So every time you guys respond to a post about a certain product you are doing FD a favor.
Cheers,
Jim
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Bio_McGeek said:
Alex, Hamish, and Hugh:
Have you guys noticed that this forum is always you rational guys vs. coapman and FrankDay? What percentage of the posts on this forum come from the five of you? 90+%?
You, the rationals, try to debunk things but you just can't win. Every thread is a Tar Baby.
Also, I have recently developed a suspicion that coapman doesn't really believe anything he posts. Rather he is trolling to see how much of a response he can get out of you rational guys. He thinks to himself "How can I really push their buttons?" If I'm right he must get tremendous entertainment.
Try not posting to this forum for six months and see what happens. At worst the other two will post some silliness but no one will pay any attention. I reckon the forum will be nearly dormant.
Of course, if you enjoy these arguments then by all means keep it up. Finally, remember that all press is good press. So every time you guys respond to a post about a certain product you are doing FD a favor.
Cheers,
Jim

Thanks for your insulting remarks.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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A couple of weeks ago I was at an expo with the iCranks and got a fair number of reasonably experienced riders on the iCranks and was able to look at their technique. This is what I learned from the experience.

1. Very few people were awful on the upstroke. Almost everyone who got on the cranks had zero or minimal negatives being measured. There were a few who were really awful though. I did manage to remember to record one of them and I will post an example of his technique below.

2. Despite people showing no negatives when pedaling on regular cranks when we changed them to PC mode we saw increases in what they did on the backstroke and over the top. This is hard to explain as one wonders what the feedback is that causes them to change if there are no negatives on regular cranks. Feedback must be extremely subtle. Perhaps the iCranks are not sensitive enough to pick up very tiny or short duration negatives.

3. Almost everyone was weak across the top compared to the bottom of the stroke.

4. Changing to PowerCranks mode demonstrably and immediately improved the amount of work done over the top by almost everyone.

5. One rider was especially difficult to explain. When he first got on on regular cranks he showed no negatives on either leg but his left leg was much stronger than his right, like 65/35. When we changed him to PowerCranks mode suddenly his right leg was now stronger than his left like 40/60.

6. It seemed to me that the real value of measuring technique (in most people) would not come from putting someone on a bike for 3 minutes at an expo when they are thinking about it but would come from looking at what they are doing after two hours when they are tired and not thinking about it.

Here is a screen shot of one of the more "awful" techniques seen. Note that he is doing 168 watts of forward power and 22 watts of negative power for a total of 146 watts to the chain, a 13% loss.
5bobq9.jpg

Here is what changing this person to PowerCranks mode did to him. Pay no attention to the power change. I am more interested in the technique change. The biggest change is in the last half of the upstroke and across the top. This is the area where most people saw change. Another difference is I don't think his pedaling is as "smooth" as on regular cranks. I attribute this to his having to think about what he was doing.
2vxk4lw.jpg
 

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