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Slammed Vs. Non Slammed | GCN Does Science


– Back at the Abu Dhabi tour in February, Matt noticed that some
of the pro’s positions were getting even more extreme. Stems were slammed and in some cases they even had the nose of the saddle tilted ever so slightly downwards. – Yeah, and after some really
high level investigation, I found out that it was because the UCI had relaxed the rule on how
far the nose of the saddle could be pointing downwards. So, the old rule was three degrees but now the pros could tilt it
downwards nine degrees allowing them to get into
a far more aero position. We’ve just got our fingers on the pulse. – Yeah, we have, but would that
position work for everybody? Well, guess what, we have
got some stems to slam. – [Matt] We have. – We’re going to put them on our bikes and find out firstly,
if we can actually ride in that position and secondly,
if it’s faster for us. Time to slam some stems
and get into some kit. – How low can we go? (upbeat music) – [Matt] Now, there aren’t many flat roads here in Alta Badia. In fact, we can’t find
any, but what we have found is a two point one
kilometre stretch of road that is ever so slightly downhill. This is to allow us to
do the sort of speeds the pros do even though we
can’t match their power output. We’re going to do three runs each trying to average three
hundred and thirty watts. (upbeat music) We’re both going to start
with our normal set ups, mine being a 12 centimetre
negative six degree stem with a ten mm spacer, whilst
Dan uses his standard set up of a 12 centimetre
negative six degree stem and both of our saddles
will be horizontal. (dramatic music) – Right, first one done, 2.1kms, 2 minutes 28
average power 332. (upbeat music) – Okay the first run with
my normal stem set up, a time of 2:36,
average power 326. (bass music) – [Dan] So, here is my
bike, with a slammed stem and doesn’t it look pro
except for the extra bits of head set space on the
top but we’ll ignore that. – [Matt] And check out my bike, not only do I have a negative stem, lowering my position at the front, but in addition, my saddle
has been tilted downwards to the maximum UCI limit
of nine degrees too. – [Dan] Now, that’s
our standard runs done, lets get slammed. (upbeat music) – Well that was my first slammed run. I’ve got to do two of those, but I was three seconds quicker
by average one watt more, so, not much in it although
my back’s a bit sore now and I felt like I was
recruiting different muscles. But it certainly felt aero
but the results, well, there’s not much in it, marginally faster. (upbeat music) Results time. – Yeah, we’ve just been
talking through them so they’re not a surprise to us but Matt, you saved on average five per cent. Your power however was
ever so slightly higher for the slammed section,
only by a couple of watts but that might have played a
small part in the time savings. For me, I saved on average nine seconds and that is despite quite a big anomaly. For the first time I did the slammed run, my time was actually very similar to those on my normal set up however, after that I averaged about eleven seconds higher, so, overall, a nine second difference. That gave me a percentage
difference of six per cent which is actually quite a bit isn’t it. – Yeah, I mean I think it just shows, I mean, I think it’s definitely something to take into consideration, I mean, I think what you have to look at is how it actually felt, I mean, and we need to mention
that I actually slammed or tilted my saddle down as
well to the maximum nine degrees allowed now by the UCI, so I
had a very different position to the one that I’m used
to, but I did feel very low, did feel very aero, I rode on the drops for all six of my runs,
but the one caveat for me, was when I finished my first run slammed, I had quite a sore lower back that thankfully it’s gone now, but yeah, definitely a bit of a twinge, so I think if you are gonna
look at slamming your stem, you need to do it slowly
and incrementally. – Yeah, well a couple of
points from my point of view. Firstly, I wonder whether
I did try to be more aero when I had a slammed
stem because I’m thinking well I’m really low at the front, I’m going to take advantage of this and perhaps I could get
myself slightly more aero in my normal position. I also think my slammed stem there is probably quite a similar position to what I had as a professional rider. Now before we started this video, I did think that on my normal set up now, when I’ve got my arms at ninety degrees that I was super aero, but looking back at some of the footage, I’m perhaps not quite as
aero as I thought I was. My back wasn’t quite as flat
as I thought it might be in that normal set up, but
yeah, I wasn’t as comfortable on those slammed set ups, it was harder to put out the same amount
of power for me personally. I just can feel it these days
in my shoulders and my neck, I’m just not used to being in
that position for that long and I don’t think I’d be able
to sustain it for very long. – Well I spoke to a few of
the pros earlier in the year about this position, but what
you have to bear in mind is they change positions, I
don’t know, October, November, and have the whole winter to train and adapt to that position,
whereas we had no time at all. We basically slammed, got
on and rode hard for two kms, but talking about the distance as well, we only rode for two kms
but saw respective savings of five and six per cent,
can you imagine the advantage for a pro, five or six per
cent over a four or five or even six hour race. – Yeah, certainly going
to be a bigger percentage, well, not a bigger
percentage but more power, ’cause they do far more than us of course. So, is it worth it for you
at home to slam your stem. Well, we’ve been chatting about this and we think the answer is probably no, unless you’ve got an
enormous amount of time to get used to it and also
some time to put aside and actually do some stretching because it is an extreme
position to be in. Bike riding is painful enough isn’t it? Going up climbs, really pushing yourself, feeling the pain in your legs and often other parts of your body, so, to add some extra
strain onto your neck and your shoulders and all
those other bits that hurt, when you’re really aero, I don’t think it’s personally worth it. – Yeah, and I think a lot
of the geometry of frame, is the endurance geometry of
a lot of bikes these days, if you suddenly slam from riding at a relatively high
position at the front, you could actually do
yourself some damage. There’s no harm at all in
trying to adapt your position to get more aero but our advice would be do it slowly over a longer period of time. – Yeah, well, if you
haven’t yet subscribed to the Global Cycling Network, you can do so now by clicking on the globe which is somewhere on the screen and as Matt just said, the biggest thing in terms of aerodynamics, is your body and you can change your body shape on your bike quite easily. We’ve got some tips just down here, on how to get more aero. – And to see the video
that led to this video, slammed extreme positions of the pros, click just down here.

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