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!