View Full Version : Summary: Cycling seat position

Hans Gros Phd
12-01-1996, 08:58 PM
I would like to thank you for your fast responses:

B.J. Fregly
Douglas Griffin
Morris Levy
Jensen, Randall L
Super sus
Ton van den Bogert

My original questions can be summarized as follows:

>1. is there any scientific literature on this problem? (Cycling seat position)
>other than:
>Whitt; Wilson: Bicycling Science, MIT Press, 1982
>2. has anybody knowledge about scientific studies dealing with optimal seat
>3. are there current biomechanics and/or Ex. physiology research projects in
>this area?

Here is a list of the references (with some annotations *) I received:
Burke, Edmund. The Science of Cycling: Effects of Saddle Height and Pedaling
Cadence on Power Output and Efficiency. 69-90, Champaign Il. USA: Human
Kinetics Publishers, 1986.

E. Burke (ed.): High-Tech Cycling, Human Kinetics, 1996.
*Chapter 4 reviews the current knowledge on optimal seat position,
from scientific studies as well as practical experience.

Fregly, B.J. et al. "A state-space analysis of mechanical energy
generation, absorption, and transfer during pedaling." Journal of
Biomechanics v 29 n 1 1996. p 81-90.

Gonzalez, Hiroko et al. "Multivariable optimization of cycling
biomechanics." Journal of Biomechanics v 22 n 11-12 1989 p 1151-1161.

Gregor, R.J., Broker, J.P., and Ryan, M.M. (1991). The biomechanics of
cycling. Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews, 19, 127-169.

Ingen Schenau GJ van: Cycle power: a predictive model. "Endeavour" New
Series. 12:44-47, 1988
*van Ingen Schenau has done lots of other work on the role of biarticular
muscles, and their role in movements such as cycling. Try doing a search
using his name.

Jorge, M. et al. "Analysis of EMG measurements during bicycle
pedaling." Journal of Biomechanics v 19 n 9 1986 p 683-694.

Nordeen-Snyder, K.S., The effect of bicycle seat height variation upon oxygen
consumption and lower limb kinematics. Medicine and Science in Sport and
Exercise, 9(2), 113-117, 1977.

Shennum, P.L., deVries, H.A. The effect of saddle height on oxygen
consumption during bicycle ergometer work.l Medicine and Science in
Sports 8: 119-121, 1976

Thomas, V. Saddle height. Cycling 7: 24, 1967

Thomas, V. Saddle height- conflicting views. Cycling 4: 17, 1967

Thomas, V. Scientific setting of saddle position. American Cycling
6(4): 12-13, 1967.

Too, D. (1996). The effect of pedal crankarm length on joint kinematics
and power production in upright cycle ergometry. The Research Quarterly
for Exercise and Sport, 67 (1)(supplement), A22. (Abstract)

Too, D. (1994). The effect of body orientation on power production in
cycling. The Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 65, 308-315

Too, D. (1991). The effect of hip position/configuration on anaerobic
power and capacity in cycling. International Journal of Sports
Biomechanics, 7(4), 359-370.

Too, D. (1990). Biomechanics of cycling and factors affecting
performance. Sports Medicine, 10(5), 286-302.

Too, D. (1993). The effect of hip position/configuration on EMG patterns
in cycling. In J. Hamill, T.R. Derreck, & E.H. Elliot (eds.),
Biomechanics in Sports XI (pp. 126-131). University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, Massachusetts.

Too, D. (1989). The effect of body orientation on cycling performance.
In W.E. Morrison (ed.). Proceedings of the VIIth International Symposium
of the Society of Biomechanics in Sports, (pp. 53-60). Footscray
Institute of Technology, Victoria, Australia.

Too, D. (1991). The effect of body orientation on EMG patterns in
cycling. In C.L. Tant, P.E. Patterson, & S.L. York (eds.), Biomechanics
in Sports IX (pp. 109-115). Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Yoshihuku, Yasuo et al. "Optimal design parameters of the bicycle-rider
system for maximal muscle power output." Journal of Biomechanics v 23 n
10 1990 p 1069-1079.

Yoshihuku, Yasuo et al. "Maximal muscle power output in bicycling as a
function of rider position, rate of pedaling and definition of muscle
length." Abstracts of the XII Congress, International Society of
Biomechanics, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Journal of Biomechanics v 22 n 10
1989. p 1104.

Additional comments:
>From Jensen, Randall L. I get information about a project dealing with
bicycle-efficiency that found results similar to my experiences.
=> Moving the saddle forward reduced oxygen cost; moving it back or in a
standard position were not different. An abstract of the project was
presented at the 1995 ACSM meeting #331 and published in Med. Sci Sports
Exerc. 27:S58. Dowdey and Jensen were authors.

>From Fregly, B.J. I get several comments. He means: " It is possible to do
biomechanical studies to determine the seat height and location for, say,
optimum mechanical energy flow to the crank (see below). However, such
studies usually analyze only the net effect of muscles (i.e., a net torque
actuator at each lower extremity joint). This is a good starting point, but
to truly answer the question,
more complex models are needed which include individual muscles. This
approach would take into account muscle-tendon force-length, force-velocity,
and moment arm characteristics. Of course, this immediately gets into the
muscle redundancy problem and, since muscles are dynamic actuators, would
require dynamic optimization/simulation techniques to study."

>From Danny Too I received: " The optimal seat-to-pedal distance (seat
height) for
an upright cycling position appears to be different, depending on whether
the goal is to maximize aerobic work or anaerobic work."

I hope that I could help those, who deal with this subject/topic like me.

Best regards

Dominik Kroutvar

*e-mail: domi@studbox.uni-stuttgart.de *
*or e-mail: ispgros@servus.rus.uni-stuttgart.de *
*Fax: +49 7153 58636 *
*Address: Dominik Kroutvar *
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