Is a high center of gravity a problem for taller riders?

lee

center of gravity acts as a lever
( between tyre-contact and cg )
distance x 2 – 1/2 force needed
( or torque  x 2 )
for a taller rider
real-!-emergency braking is more a problem
by definition

a taller rider can move more ?
yes – but
distance is longer = more time needed   !
and the saddle must be down … always
( and no luggage above the rear wheel )

do you agree ?

thanks


Hi,

Thanks for writing in. 

Here are some thoughts:

Theoretically, a taller rider is on a longer bike with a longer front center (horizontal distance from the bottom bracket to the front wheel’s contact patch). The longer the front center, the harder it is to be flung over the bars. So some of the effect you’re talking about will be mitigated.

The new longer/slacker bikes are great for tall riders.

A tall rider can get his/her COG very low with an excellent hinge. This is done better with the seat down, but you can still get your CG down with a high seat. You need great hip mechanics.

Downhill world champion Steve Peat is about 6’3″ tall. He can get very low, and his range of motion lets him absorb huge obstacles (I’ve ridden with him in Whistler). It’s common to see tall riders at the top of the sport. 

Emergency braking should be very rare. You should be looking ahead to see what’s in front of you.

Because you are looking ahead, you can see your braking points coming up, and you can start braking with plenty of time to execute the movements.

Hard braking is easier with the saddle down, but if you have a good hip hinge and high skills, the seat doesn’t have to be down. And you could bike well with luggage on the back, as long as it’s not too tall.

Speaking of physics, the greater the downforce you apply when you brake, the less you have to lean back in order to stay balanced. If you generate lots of load when you brake, you can stay pretty centered on the bike. This helps no matter how tall you are.

Tall riders have more range of motion than small riders. If your skills are dialed, a tall rider has some advantages in rough terrain.

One thing that’s great about mountain biking; It works for all body styles. Learn what your body is excellent at, and build skills to minimize your losses in other areas.

Being tall isn’t a big problem. Riding tall is a huge problem. But all riders can learn to hinge and ride low.

I hope this is helpful,

Lee

2 replies
  1. moose says:

    “Speaking of physics, the greater the downforce you apply when you brake, the less you have to lean back in order to stay balanced. If you generate lots of load when you brake, you can stay pretty centered on the bike. This helps no matter how tall you are.” I am interpreting this as sort of that ‘sine wave of love’ where you are in a constant cyclic loading and unloading of the bike, and choosing to apply the brakes specifically when you are heavy rather than dragging brakes all the way down the hill? I’ve been experimenting and practicing with this concept recently.

    One note I’ll make is that I was having a terrible time skidding and just feeling like I all-of-a-sudden had no control last week. Turns out that my tire pressure gauge (I use an external one because I don’t trust the built in pump ones and I want it to be precise) had broken. What I thought was 24 psi in my 2.8 tires turned out to be more like 35 when I tested it with another one. All of a sudden, I was back to ripping the last couple of rides. That just to say that it reminded me there is a lot that we CAN optimize, since we can’t change our height.

    Reply
  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Yes. Sine wave of love. Brake when you’re heavy.

    Let’s say you’re braking at 1G.

    If you drive 1G downward, the balance angle is 45 degrees backward. You have to move your COG back 45 degrees.

    If you drive 2G downward, the balance angle is about 30 degrees.

    If you drive 3G downward, the balance angle is about 20 degrees. You can get your braking done while staying more centered on the bike!

    Reply

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