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I just had my first spinning class and hadn't realised it was going to be a fixed gear bike, when the instructor was asking us to get out of the saddle (or half out) the necessary technique felt very unnatural and much more 'bouncy' than what I would do climbing a hill on a road bike. Does that mean bad things about my real world form or are they just very different things? And if so will a lot of spinning change how I ride?

  • To clarify - you're riding fixed gear bikes on rollers or trainers, inside a gym and not actually moving, right? Are you wearing cleats (either clipped in or toeclips) ? Do you normally wear cleats on the road bike? Are the handle bars drops similar to your road bike or are they something else? – Criggie Oct 5 '16 at 10:32
  • I was using toe clips on one of these: keiser.com/fitness-equipment/cardio-training/m3i-indoor-cycle. I normally wear cleats when I use a road bike. – user26491 Oct 5 '16 at 14:20
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    It feels bouncy because the the simple friction mechanism doesn't replicate real world conditions, where inertia, friction, and drag are at play. The fly wheel on exercise bikes will not have enough inertia to make it feel "real." – Rider_X Oct 5 '16 at 14:27
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    It feels bouncy because when you jump out of saddle, your body moves forward in relation to bike. On road, the you keep moving at roughly same speed and the bike slows down momentarily to accommodate the change in relative positions. A fixed exercise bike can't move, so you are moving and stopping instead and that is what you feel as bounce. Also, when standing on a real bike you rock the bike slightly to keep your body in place, but since this exercise bike does not allow sideways motion you have to move your weight sideways more. – ojs Oct 5 '16 at 15:51
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    I sort of missed the "are they just very different things" part... but yes, it is an answer. – ojs Oct 5 '16 at 20:04
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It impacts your real world form, but it doesn't necessarily do bad things.

The biggest change is going to be out-of-the-saddle riding. As was mentioned, there is a tendency to bounce up and down on a spin bike, and this naturally occurs when we leave the saddle by dropping our hips down and forward or move off the saddle with our chests vertical. Even in these positions you could stop the bouncing by focusing on spinning your feet while keeping your hips in place, but it's going to look goofy and you're going to waste yourself - like Tony Little on a Gazelle. The better spin bike posture is to raise your butt off the saddle and move your hips back not forward, and keep your back straight and flat (parallel to the ground). Now as you spin your feet you will have a better time immobilizing your hips in space because some of your weight is forward on your arms and you don't get wasted controlling the bounce. Also, to the extent that your hips are moving up and down, because your torso is not stacked on top of them, but rather leaning forward on a different plane, the up down movement is not transmitted to your upper body but stops at your hips. If you tried to use your hips to stop the motion while your torso was vertical your hips would be moving radically side to side like a salsa hula dancer.

  • Nice to see the OP has accepted your answer, @jqning, but I don't see how this actually answers the question. IMO it would also be a better answer if it stuck to facts, and explained clearly what you mean, rather than use terms such as goofy, waste yourself, and salsa dancer. It seems to be based on supposition, rather than experience. – andy256 Oct 10 '16 at 23:53
  • @andy256 good call on the salsa dancer analogy, I changed that. I also expounded on what happens when you drop your hips forward off the saddle, and then spin with your hips fixed in space. – jqning Oct 11 '16 at 2:50
  • ROTFLMAO! But it thinks that wasn't 15 characters. So maybe this is enough to satisfy it. – andy256 Oct 11 '16 at 3:02
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The exercise bike feels different, because it is fixed in place and can not react to your movements like a real bike.

When you jump out of saddle, your body moves forward in relation to bike. On road, the you keep moving at roughly same speed and the bike slows down momentarily to accommodate the change in relative positions. A fixed exercise bike can't move, so you are moving and stopping instead and that is what you feel as jerking motion. Also, when standing on a real bike you rock the bike to keep your body in place, but since this exercise bike does not allow sideways motion you have to move your weight sideways to put force on pedals.

  • Good explanation of what's happening. Will it change the OPs real world form? – andy256 Oct 6 '16 at 1:18
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I spend 2 mornings a week on an indoor trainer.It has the ability to change the level of effort up or down.When pedalling off the seat it is important to increase the load or level of effort then back on the seat and using the down button drop the level of effort. To get used to it get off the saddle for say 10 spins then back down for 10 etc. With the higher effort you will be pedalling slower with more tension in the leg muscle groups and you will be gaining better balance skills.

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