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Straight line vs. curved when sprinting
Last Post 01/26/2022 12:32 PM by Hot Habanero. 7 Replies.
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07/14/2021 08:15 AM
Stumbled upon a thread on another site where a commenter was saying that he can sprint faster by not swaying the bike side-to-side, thus taking a straighter overall line. 

In practice, this would appear like a Cat. 5 newbie standing out of the saddle with arms and elbows locked, bobbing up and down frantically as they surge towards the finish line. 

I think the guy is missing the point of why you get out of the saddle when sprinting but perhaps I'm the the one in the wrong.  In theory, the guy isn't necessarily wrong as a straight line path for the wheels seems like the best approach. 

But, swaying the bike under your body allows you to leverage your own body weight into each down-stroke combined with even more power being generated by your arms and upper-body muscles.  Utilizing so many muscle groups at one time takes an enormous amount more energy which is why your heart-rate and breathing quicken and you can't sustain it for long.

Thus, while the wheels may not be taking the shortest path to the finish line, the increase power being generated while out of the saddle and swaying the bike back and forth more than compensates for the additional distance the wheels travel. 

Am I wrong?


07/14/2021 11:08 AM
Rocking the bike and wheels has little to do with how straight a line you ride (other than it takes a little practice to go straight while doing so). My mentors many years ago stressed straight line tire tracks. I focused on that climbing. (Not so much sprinting simply because my races were going to be won or lost on the inclines. Sprinting well was the difference between 12th and 14th! On a good day.)

My many years of climbing fix gears have honed the concept of full rock and straight tire lines. Of course, there it is easier because your cadence is so low. Funny, last Sunday I rode up the local big hill, Bald Peak, on the fix gear, unscrewing the 17 tooth at the bottom and flipping 23 to 12 and back until I was back on the valley floor. This meant doing several grades in completely wrong gears. One was about 200' up in the 42-12. I didn't rock the bike at all. Simply did a full body, smooth, even push-pull and let momentum carry me through the top and bottoms of the pedal stroke. (Huge workout for my forearms!) I've been carrying and handling a lot of concrete tile. Not much riding. Fix gear is fun because I get to harness the strength I do have at the moment. And between the work on the yard and the fix gear, I have core strength!

Now to suit up and move another 1/2 pallet of tile, piece by piece, to the patio and lay it in place. Later, cement it. Mixing - another hand/wrist/forearm workout. In a couple of weeks, I should be able to twist my ti bike's headtube to a permanent set! (OC who's seen my massive build is quietly laughing his arse off.)
Cosmic Kid


07/14/2021 11:29 AM
Am I wrong?

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!


07/14/2021 01:01 PM
Regarding traction, turning uses up some of the total grip
Orange Crush


07/14/2021 01:14 PM
Not sure that this has anything to do with straight line. The swaying is how you transfer maximum power onto pedals. I'd like to know what sprint technique he employs not swaying. This requires a video. (edit - I worked a summer in construction Ben; I was similarly massive back then LOL, just having come off my years of competitive swimming).


07/14/2021 01:23 PM
Think I saw the thread on roadbikeforums or something like that. My guess is that he looks like a complete Fred with his arms locked and basically bouncing straight up and down. Visually a disaster. I guess the funniest part is that he actually thinks he is right.

If anyone still thinks keeping your bike perfectly straight while trying to sprint out of the saddle, they've never seen videos of Abdujaparov in full tilt.


07/14/2021 04:07 PM
That sounds like advice from an old Bicycling magazine.

"Do your first century!"

"Sprint faster? Go in a straight line."


01/26/2022 12:32 PM
Posted By Evan Solida on 07/14/2021 01:23 PM
If anyone still thinks keeping your bike perfectly straight while trying to sprint out of the saddle, they've never seen videos of Abdujaparov in full tilt.

Nailed it!
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