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Summary: Cycling seat position

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  • Summary: Cycling seat position

    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: *
    *or e-mail: *
    *Fax: +49 7153 58636 *
    *Address: Dominik Kroutvar *
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    * 73262 Reichenbach *