On Jan 30, 2008 3:12 PM, Emily O'Brien <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote
> ...I'm just curious what you all have to throw out there, be it speculation, hearsay, or from refutable sources.
One watershed is described in Bernard Hinault's 80s technical book on bikes and fit that he wrote with his long time team mechanic, and IIRC, input from Cyril Guimard. I read this in the library and didn't get my own copy.
What I remember is their description of the evolving flat back, stretched out racing position which used a longer top tube and lower handlebar position. They saw this as an evolution from the egg-shaped position advocated in earlier racing (closer bars, rounder back, elbows tucked close to knees). They didn't credit Merckx much, IIRC, but implied that Merckx had moved away from the egg position toward a flatter back, and they were advocating further stretching out the position with longer reach and lower bars.
I remember that they were not advocating a steeper seat tube as one might assume with this position. In fact they give evidence in the book that relative femur length is predictive of cycle racing success, and published what the average femur length (in relation to height and other body measurements) and reported that Tour winners had always had longer than average femurs. For this reason they suggested that seat tube angle be kept shallow enough to accommodate these longer femurs. Greg Lemond, coming from his work with Hinault and Guimard, emphasized this too in his later book and his bikes tout shallow seat angle as a performance feature.
I remember their average body proportions were taken from western European populations, France especially, and I wondered about the range of different body types in Europe.