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Discussion Starter #1
On fast descents, my weight is carried mostly on the pedals at 3 & 9 o'clock. I think this helps lower the center of gravity & creates a more stable ride.

I dont know how to do the tuck downhill with the hands on the bar, close to the stem & fear learning this technique because of old age.

Is this idea correct or is it dangerous?
 

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gophilip said:
On fast descents, my weight is carried mostly on the pedals at 3 & 9 o'clock. I think this helps lower the center of gravity & creates a more stable ride.

I dont know how to do the tuck downhill with the hands on the bar, close to the stem & fear learning this technique because of old age.

Is this idea correct or is it dangerous?
Yes, the cranks should be at 3 & 9 o'clock, but for other reasons. You really can't lower the center of gravity of your legs anyway, since whenever one leg is up the other down, so the center of gravity of the legs stays around the same place.

The reason for keeping your legs at 3 & 9 o'clock are threefold: Firstly, it decreases the overall frontal area of the legs, especially if you keep your knees pulled into the frame (tought to do with one leg down); Secondly, it allows one to "absorb" bumps and rough pavement with the bent legs by unweighting the saddle; finally, it allows one to keep a knee (or two) pressed against the frame to quell vibrations in the frame (and can stop or prevent shimmies).

Tucking with your hands by the stem can decrease drag, and is a technique that is not that difficult to learn. The geometry of a bicycle makes it more stable at speed, so at descending speeds very little steering input is required to keep the bike on its path. Practice by riding on the flats with your hands by the stem, and try some shallow downhills, and finally graduate to some steeper downhills. But at the same time, practice being able to move your hands quickly to the drops and the brakes.

Riding downhills with my hands near the stem is my preferred position, and I've descended at speeds up to 50mph this way.
 

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How old?

gophilip said:
I dont know how to do the tuck downhill with the hands on the bar, close to the stem & fear learning this technique because of old age.
Just how old are you, anyway? A lot of us "older guys" descend this way quite comfortably. Whether it's risky is pretty much inversely proportional to your skill level. For some people, getting out of bed each day is risky :) Mark McM has explained things well in his post.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks forn the advise.

To clarify.

more weight on saddle vs. more weight on pedals
(both positions with pedal at 3 & 9)

Doesn't the weight shift from the saddle to the bottom bracket/cranks lower the center of gravity? and I imagine create stability?
Is this idea even desired on descents?

Yes, I will start practicing the tuck carefully,
esp the quick manuever to the brakes

I am 46 yo. So my fear should not be from old age but rather poor handling skills!
 

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gophilip said:
more weight on saddle vs. more weight on pedals
(both positions with pedal at 3 & 9)

Doesn't the weight shift from the saddle to the bottom bracket/cranks lower the center of gravity? and I imagine create stability?
Is this idea even desired on descents?
Your center of gravity remains the same as long as you do not MOVE on the bike. Putting more weight on the pedals does not lower your center of gravity - the only thing that can is by physically moving your whole body downwards.

Put the weight wherever your feel is most comfortable. Technically you have more control over the bike when your weight is more on your feet and less on your butt; however, neither will make you faster, unless cornering - but even that depends more on overall control. If anything, you can wear your legs out more if most of your weight is on your feet--but usually it's just personal preference.
 

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It sounds to me like this is a "cornering" question and not a descending question. If your going straight down hill, just get in the most aerodynamic position you feel comfortable with and hang on. Your speedo will tell you how your doing. I tend to drop my rear off the back of the saddle so that my stomach almost sits on the seat, and nobody passes me down a hill. As far as cornering, it is one thing to have it explained to you but in the end you have to go out and figure it out. I've been asked by people I ride with how the hell I go downhill and around corners so fast, and the only response I can give them is "don't touch the brakes." I'm able to conserve alot of energy in races because I can fly downhills with ease. Practice makes perfect, I live in the mountains and have been riding bikes down hill at 50+ miles an hour since I was in elementary school.
 

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I. I tend to drop my rear off the back of the saddle so that my stomach almost sits on the seat, and nobody passes me down a hill.
Whaaat??? that sound's reaalllly sketchy to do on a road bike at high speed. less weight on the front wheel would make it a lot harder to control it seems. But, It sounds like you know what works for you, so I guess stick with it. I use this technique all the time on technical decents on my MTB, but thats when you don't want weight on the front wheel or you'll go OTB.

To answer the original Q, generally the most stable for me is butt slightly above and behind the saddle, and squeeze the saddle w/ the inside of your thighs. the hands on the stem isn't hard to do, its more mental. what IS hard is ass on top-tube & hands @ stem.

once you're in the position its fine, but raising your center of gravity to get off the saddle is kinda scary. I've had my front end start to shimmy when I was trying to do that @ like 40 mph. YEEEEHAAAA!!!!
 
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