"Honking" experiment

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Mick F
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"Honking" experiment

Postby Mick F » 10 Feb 2010, 3:56pm

In Gear Ratios thread
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=33398
we were discussing the merits or otherwise of getting out of the saddle to climb a hill versus staying seated.

An experiment was suggested.

I nearly carried one out today, but I wasn't sure of the rules.

The rules, as I see them:
Climb a hill as fast as you can whilst seated and using any suitable gear.
Climb the same hill as fast as you can whilst out of the saddle and using any suitable gear.
The experiment must be on the same hill, over the same distance, and just a check on the timing.
The whole hill doesn't have to be used - some are too long!

Question:
Do we have to do both tests on the same day then repeat both tests the other way round on another day, or can the individual runs be done one at a time as time/rides permit?

I ask because it does seem like an awful waste of effort to climb a hill to go all the way down to climb again.
(I'm a wimp)
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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby Si » 10 Feb 2010, 4:03pm

but if it's a honking test should you not add in passes where you are honking and where you are spinning - thus you'd have to do the climb four times: sitting spin, sitting honk, standing spin, standing honk. Although I guess that we could fore-go the sitting honk for the sake of your knees.

And of course, we'd have to agree on the hill type. Being contrary, I find that on medium steepness hills I 'cruise' out of the saddle and sit to excelerate, whereas on steeper hills I do it the other way around.

Alas, I would like to offer to partake in such an experiment, but i'm of the bike again so will have to miss the fun.

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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby ferrit worrier » 10 Feb 2010, 4:39pm

Now I've got to admit when I saw the title I thought someone had given Mick a "Bulb Horn" and we were going to find out how effective it was, ooops got that wrong :lol: So what on earth is "Honking" I've never heard this before :oops: :!:

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Mick F
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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby Mick F » 10 Feb 2010, 5:01pm

A slang expression for getting out of the saddle and swaying back and forth up a hill, rather than using lower gears and less energy whilst seated.

Upside of honking, is that it's fast.
Downside is you have to be fit!

The question is, what is the "best" way up a hill. If you honk, you're tired afterwards and can't keep up with the bunch, but if you conserve energy by remaining seated, you can go for longer and probably faster in the long-run.

The experiment would have to be over a fair distance, because any decent cyclist could honk for a short distance. I do it sometimes rather than change rings to get up a short hill.
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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby MattyDeez » 10 Feb 2010, 9:12pm

Depends on the gradient, i normally stand up going up a very STEEP hill, like a 30% gradient.

If it's a long standing hill at around 10% i just sit down.

Depends on my mood and my legs too!

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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby Deckie » 10 Feb 2010, 9:22pm

It would be very hard to do this scientifically. If you tried one method after the other on the same day you could argue that you had lost some of your strength and energy reserves by the time you made the second climb up the same hill. If you try another day, the same may be true with the additional factor of potentially different road, taffic and climatic conditions.

Methinks this could be a two pipe problem....
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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby irc » 10 Feb 2010, 9:45pm

Deckie wrote:It would be very hard to do this scientifically. If you tried one method after the other on the same day you could argue that you had lost some of your strength and energy reserves by the time you made the second climb up the same hill. If you try another day, the same may be true with the additional factor of potentially different road, taffic and climatic conditions.

Methinks this could be a two pipe problem....


Why not do 3 runs. Sit, honk, sit again, then compare the average of the two sits with the honk. The difference between the two sitting runs would also give you an idea how much fatigue affected the times.
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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby Mick F » 10 Feb 2010, 10:52pm

irc wrote:Why not do 3 runs. Sit, honk, sit again, then compare the average of the two sits with the honk. The difference between the two sitting runs would also give you an idea how much fatigue affected the times.

As I said, ..... but I wasn't sure of the rules.
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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby hubgearfreak » 11 Feb 2010, 1:04am

Mick F wrote:A slang expression for getting out of the saddle and swaying back and forth up a hill, rather than using lower gears and less energy whilst seated.


energy is measured in joules. to move a given mass, vertically up a given distance will use the same energy, regardless of velocity. to do the same task over a different time scale will use different power, but the same energy. it's late, and i'm sure i'm not expaining myself too well, but your statement above shows you to be biased and have no chance of being an objective test subject.

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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby fatboy » 11 Feb 2010, 7:41am

energy is measured in joules. to move a given mass, vertically up a given distance will use the same energy, regardless of velocity. to do the same task over a different time scale will use different power, but the same energy. it's late, and i'm sure i'm not expaining myself too well, but your statement above shows you to be biased and have no chance of being an objective test subject.[/quote]

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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby robwa10 » 11 Feb 2010, 8:26am

On the subject of honking. I remember noticing that Lance in last years tour would crouch as he honked. He leant right over the bars and was in a relaxed aerodynamic position instead of being stood straight up. Maybe we should also test which type of honking is the most effective.

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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby Mick F » 11 Feb 2010, 8:37am

As I asked, we need the rules clarified!

My definition, as Hubbers pointed out, isn't a dictionary definition, but a basic description in response to a question.

However, to lift weight X up a hill/gradient Y at a speed Z takes a certain amount of energy. Change one of the parameters, and you change the energy required. Just coz you go up a certain hill at a slow speed or a fast speed doesn't mean that the energy expenditure is the same. Or is it?

In theory, Hubbers is right of course, but in practise, is he still right?.

This is why we need an experiment, but I don't know how to quantify the results or how to do the experiment.
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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby patricktaylor » 11 Feb 2010, 9:13am

What you need is 2 riders of equal fitness.

The other day I was chasing a rider who was about 50 yards ahead, up a long hill a few hundred feet up. I never get off the saddle, but he kept getting up and honking, then sitting down again, then another honk, etc etc. I'm sure we were both trying as hard as we could. This went on for 10 to 15 minutes, and I noticed that the distance between us stayed more or less the same. At the end of the climb he was still about 50 yards ahead.

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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby AndyB » 11 Feb 2010, 9:32am

Mick F wrote:In theory, Hubbers is right of course, but in practise, is he still right?

It shows us that a difference will be small, but there may well be a difference. When in the saddle nearly all the movement is directed to moving the bike forwards, but when out of the saddle there is lateral movement of the bike, and limited vertical movement of the rider (depending on style), both of which will require energy that does not contribute directly to forward motion.

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Re: "Honking" experiment

Postby thirdcrank » 11 Feb 2010, 9:48am

I'm not sure what an experiment might be designed to test or prove. Apart from anything else, a style of riding which might win a hill climb time trial or a prime in a road race or to start a breakaway, might well not be the best way to ride if a climb or climbs were only part of a longer ride.

It seems to me that riding out of the saddle is a way of making efforts - usually brief - when a rider is over-geared or to put it another way, it briefly allows the use of a higher gear. This is why many riders have a tendency to ride out of the saddle when they set off, rather than start in a low gear and change up, as they would have to when driving a car. In just the same way, a rider who comes to a short climb may stand on the pedals rather than change down. On a steep climb if a rider has no lower gears to use, standing on the pedals is the only alternative to walking. In the past, when downtube levers meant that riders had to anticipate the gear they would need for a climb, standing on the pedals may have been a necessity if they got it wrong.

It seems to me that standing on the pedals allows an extra burst of effort but in leisure riding that effort might be better used in extending the distance ridden in comfort. It is true that tired legs can be revived a bit by a change of pedalling style, but I think a lot of that is in the mind.

I suppose one experiment might involve a rider on a static bike, winching up a weight. I fancy that by standing on the pedals a rider would be able to lift a heavier weight in a given gear by standing on the pedals or in a single burst, lift it faster. OTOH, with freedom to choose the gearing to suit the size of the weight, I believe a sitting rider could maintain the activity much longer - all day if necessary - and in doing so raise a much greater aggregate weight.