Some evolving thoughts on the V20

I’ve managed to get a few rides in on the Cruzbike V20 in the past couple of weeks, and am concentrating on acclimation to the MBB technique after winter enforced a few months’ break. It’s starting to throw up some interesting observations.

When I got the V20 I was pretty quick to get it going and was out on the open road within a few hours’ practice. It seemed to me that learning MBB wasn’t too difficult – a bit wobbly and required constant input from the arms but not too hard overall.

I put in some more miles, and started to get a little tired of the effort needed to counter the pedal steer that MBB throws into the mix. After a 50 mile ride my arms would be pretty sore and it didn’t feel that great. I looked back on the thousands of miles I have done on the Fuego where I can really let go of all tension and let the legs just do their thing. I started to doubt the MBB platform and all the good things I have heard online about it, but decided to do what I originally intended when I bought the bike – knuckle down and do whatever is necessary to gain mastery of it via focussed training on pure technique. I have heard so many riders telling me that the mind eventually adapts and the pedal steer disappears, so I went right back to basics to try and make some progress.

This week I have concentrated on three things – no bar pulling at all at low wattage, cycling one handed at a little higher effort and cycling with just the palms of the hands touching the bars at my cruising pace, where pedal steer still exists but I am not actively pulling the bars to counteract it.

Just a few focussed sessions and the pedal steer has been reduced quite significantly. Being able to disengage the arms in the same way as you would ride on an RWD bent is a great relief after fighting the bike for several hundred miles.

What has been really interesting is that I have started to notice a brand new rocking motion in the pelvis which I don’t quite understand yet, but appears to be the body’s response to pedal steer that has started to reduce the wobble by counteracting both the amount of lateral force put into the front boom by keeping the feet straighter, and also a slight counter leaning movement which keeps the boom from wobbling too much. This has happened intuitively and when I try to consciously force it I end up weaving all over the place. It would seem that the plan is just to the let the body do what it wants and see where it goes.

The thing I like most is that this movement ties in very nicely with the body use promoted by the Alexander Technique and feels very natural. I did a quick session on the turbo today on the RWD Fuego and it felt somewhat tight and constrained after a few days developing this freer, more holistic pedalling style. I can see with time that I may come to view this as a superior pedalling style and am starting to understand why so many Cruzbikers are so passionate about the platform.

Also, laying down some serious power and really pulling the bars hard to shorten the distance from hips to pedal – wow, you can really motor over those rollers. In some ways like a DF rider standing up and sprinting but also different. Superb!

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, and how I feel about RWD bents after more time on the Cruzbike!

V20_HeriotRoad

2 thoughts on “Some evolving thoughts on the V20

  1. Good candid write up of what you noticed. I wonder how many Cruzbike owners ride other designs. Sure on BROL there will be a few but most bike companies like to think that their design is the ‘missing link’, the one version of laid back riding that will make the others obsolete.
    The bar pulling thing is the element I might find odd. Having said that the short, extremely rigid tiller bar on the M5 is a factor when ‘push comes to shove’. I realised that it was having some input when I wanted to keep powering up something suddenly steep. Pull on bar and avoid dropping a gear kind of effect.

    Oblique thoughts on the ‘what is the right way to cycle’ question….
    After skiing with a snowboarder at Glenshee the last few days I was able to see my analogy of bikes vs cycling variants up close. In the snowboarders case he learnt to ski at Hillend on the dry slope and didn’t enjoy much. Being a skate boarder he went on to really develop his snowboard technique instead. The extra skill and energy he uses on initial set off and using lifts does not delute his enthusiasm for the activity. As he used different boots I couldn’t have a go. He had no interest in trying skis again 🙂
    Body language completely different yet he can tackle the same topography except for very steep and icy runs where teh single edge of a board can only do so much versus two edges of a skis. Like ‘bent riders snowboarders spend a lot of time sitting down. Good ones through choice while they adjust boot clips etc. All snow sports participants fall and good snowboarders can roll over and get up faster than most skiers as their boards are more compact and can’t go in two different directions 😉

    I’ve relinked your site to arrive on home page now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David,

      I think there’s a place for all bikes – the more the better as you know 🙂 I’ll be getting divorced if I buy any more. That Pelso Brevet that appeared this week looks very nice indeed…… if only those darned RWD high racers didn’t have heel strike. Twisted legs with size 13 feet is a bit of an obstacle for me. Hence the Cruzbike. I love them all though and I hope all these companies can flourish.

      The bar pulling thing is definitely something you can only do on MBB – I don’t mean just offsetting the backward reaction to power at the pedals by pulling forward again, but intentionally pulling the steering from side to side in a similar way to a sprinter on a DF leans from side to side quite violently. It’s only something you can really do at higher power and requires veering from side to side a bit as you need to pull the steering far enough to each side to make it effective in shortening the distance to the BB. So you are pulling side to side quite quickly. I do agree with Cruzbike that this allows you to put more power through the cranks as you ‘pull’ the pedal towards you as you push forward with the foot. I also understand this is a contentious topic for many people, but I kept an open mind until I got a Cruzbike and then was able to verify it through direct personal experience. It definitely works but, like sprinting on a DF, will quickly put you into the red so is only really of use to give the legs a break on a long climb, or to get over a roller at high speed. It’s great fun and very different from the spinning up the hills I have become used to on the Fuego.

      I do also think there’s something about MBB that makes the whole act of cycling more holistic, but its early days for me yet so I’m not sure where that one is going to take me. I definitely like what I’ve experienced so far though.

      Like

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