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sEMG in Recumbent Cycling - A Field Study

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  • sEMG in Recumbent Cycling - A Field Study

    Dear All,
    I received the following inquiry from Dr. Jim Parker regarding a field study of recumbent cycling with sEMG. I have already given him my opinion from a neurophysiology perspective regarding potential pitfalls and recommendations for his study, but I felt his inquiry would benefit from the broad biomechanics knowledge base of BIOMCH-L.

    Best Regards,
    Matt Tenan

    Hi Matt,
    First a little background. For the purpose of this proposal, “road bike” refers to the standard bicycle design where the pedals are located almost directly below the rider. It's widely accepted that recumbent bicycles, where the pedals are located forward of the rider, are more comfortable and ergonomic than road bikes, causing less pain and/or soft tissue damage to the neck, shoulders, wrist, and perineum. On the other hand, recumbent bicycles have a reputation for being slower, especially when climbing hills. We believe that recumbent bicycles are limited in hill-climbing speed because the most common designs for recumbent bicycles don’t allow muscular activity from the upper body to contribute significantly to the hill-climbing effort. There is significant upper body input when hill-climbing on a road bike, but not with most recumbents, which are rear wheel drive (RWD) and any pulling/pushing motion on the handlebar only acts to make the front wheel wobble. Cruzbike, Inc., produces several models of moving bottom bracket front wheel drive (MBB-FWD) recumbent bicycles. This design allows significant upper body input into the handlebars, energy that directly affects the drivetrain through tilting/angling in very much the same manner as a road bike when hill-climbing. In fact, road bikes and the MBB-FWD recumbent bicycle have the drivetrain confined to a compact tetrahedral structure, very much unlike any other recumbent bicycle. Here's what we’d like to document in a scientific trial: which muscles of the upper body, lower body, and core are engaged (and to what degree) on a RWD recumbent vs. a MBB-FWD recumbent vs. a road bike during flat “relaxed” riding and during hill-climbing.

    Can you advise the feasibility of such a trial? Is there a portable EMG recording device that can mount to a bike on the road?

    We believe the MBB-FWD format has the potential to revolutionize the bicycle world. A bicycle with all the advantages of a road bike and a RWD recumbent could greatly increase the acceptability of bicycles as practical transportation around the globe. If we can document the upper body involvement of the MBB-FWD format, this would go a long way toward that goal.

    Jim Parker

  • #2
    Re: sEMG in Recumbent Cycling - A Field Study

    Hi Jim,

    As a bio-engineer and triathlete I found you study interesting.
    we have got a Bts FreeEMG. It is a compact wireless emg, it could work in local mode and then you can download your data on your pc.

    Daniele Trinca