Getting out of the Tuck

We all remember the first time we saw that crazy top-bar-tuck descending style in the pro peloton nearly 5 years ago (mouths agape, whispering ‘whaa?’ in disbelief). These days all the kids are doing it and it doesn’t even come with a ‘don’t do this at home’ warning from the commentators much anymore.

Well, no longer friends. The UCI is banning the ‘super tuck’ from April, along with throwing bottles on the road (this will be fun to watch being put into practice).

In other Froome news, now that he’s at a new team he’s on a new bike (Factor). He likes the bike, but is not sold on the disk brakes that come with it. I remarked on this in a comment last week, but Ineos Grenadiers is now the only World Tour team that still has a whole fleet of bikes sans disk brakes.

Froome did say that the shift is inevitable and that you’ll be ‘made obsolete’ (a sentiment shared by at least one commentator on this blog on my disk brake post) if you don’t make the move. Read the article or watch the video – he certainly has a few reasons for not being pro disk and his overall ‘review’ of his new bike feels refreshingly honest.

Back to the super-tuck – I’ve been tempted to try it out myself, but never did for fear that I’d get into it only to find that I couldn’t get out. I’m glad I won’t be feeling the peer pressure anymore, unlike with my obsolete rim brakes.

30 thoughts on “Getting out of the Tuck

  1. Interesting comments but I do like the stopping power of disk brakes. With my style of riding I’m unlikely to be held back much by the issues he’s discussing. A slight rub every now and then that is easily sorted is a small price to pay for good brakes in the rain. The rest of it falls into the pro category or marginal gains territory.

    • If I lived in Ireland there’s no question what I’d be riding, I think, although I really have no experience with disk brakes, rain or shine. Here it’s exceedingly rare that I ride in the rain. My next bike will probably have disks whether I want them or not!

  2. I’m leaning towards a gravel bike for the ‘next’ bike and it will likely have discs. Froome’s review of the bike was interesting. Not sure it was a resounding endorsement yet. Coming off a serious accident like he had you would want the utmost confidence in your brakes. He liked the weight though.

    • I like your thinking, if only because I really want a bike with only one chainring! And yes, I suppose a gravel should have disk brakes…if you ride it on the terrain it’s meant to be ridden on. Getting snow up there, or is that restricted to the ‘far north’?

      • It feels like it’s been a cold overcast winter since September here! But snow generally melts as it hits the ground as it did today. Not as bad as the -51C with wind chill back home today!!

  3. Froome is quoted as saying “The distance between the disc and the rotors is still too narrow, so you’re going to get that rubbing, you’re going to get one piston that fires more than another, you’re going to get these little issues. I don’t think the pistons quite retract the way they’re meant to all the time. Quite often it’ll work on the stand and when the mechanic sorts it out, but once you get onto the road, it’s a different story.”

    I totally agree with this as far as it goes and said as much in my comment on your other post. (“From an amateur mechanic’s point of view, rim brakes are easier to deal with in some ways. At my level of (in)competence, the outcome of a rim brake tune up is at least deterministic: I have high confidence in a positive outcome and in the steps to get there. As a MTBer, I’ve been working on discs for over a decade and still find perfect pad/rotor alignment elusive, bordering on mystical. That is frustrating.”) In practice what it boils down to for me is that the up side of discs is big enough that I just decide to live with the fussiness and not obsess over the odd patch of rubbing or other minor misbehavior.

    It all reveals more about riders and personalities more than about gear. I have expressed Froome’s misgivings about discs to many a shop mechanic or other rider and I tend to get one of two responses. About 80% tell me, more or less politely, that I have a stick up my butt and, essentially, need to stop worrying and learn to love the bomb. The other 20% are on the Froome side of things and, by the way, also wish they still had their dad’s old VW microbus. Each perspective is irrational in its own endearing way.

  4. Oh, and on the super tuck: No. As a short recreational rider I’m not riding with such a flat back nor such a high seat-to-bar height discrepancy anyway, so there is even less room for me to try it if I wanted to. (I do occasionally drop into the old pre-dropper-post MTB position with my butt off the back of the seat, which has its own potential “front wheel too light” hazards.)

    • I wish I could find a way to post a photo here because I’ve got one of you with your backside behind the saddle, coming through a switchback on the Les Vignes descent!

        • Another thought on tucking and bike control: Having the seat out of the way hugely enhances your cornering control specifically and your ability to balance fore-aft pressure generally. That’s why MTB downhillers always have the seat slammed down to the seat collar, and why even XC racers are now using dropper posts despite the weight penalty.

          Now imagine how good a grand-tour-level road rider could handle technical descents without that damn seatpost in the way. And MORE SAFELY. I would bet a bottle of Vieux Telegraphe – that’s a case of Heady Topper to you, Gerry – that we will see modified lightweight dropper posts in the peloton within the decade.

  5. Without the super tuck or “puppy paws” over the bars, how am I ever going to solo off the front of the club ride and take the win ever again?!?! Haha! I’ve used the supertuck a couple of times down some long descents, but these days I just don’t risk it. The chances of a distracted driver or wallaby darting out in front is too much of a risk for me now.

    How long until dropper posts for road bikes?

  6. Also, I’ve got to agree with Froome about discs. They’re inevitable but they’re not quite dialled in to where they need to be yet for road bikes (on MTBs they’re ace). Rubbing, squealing, all different sizing and standards. Yes they certainly stop better than my carbon wheels – especially in the wet – but it’s still relatively early days for road discs and I won’t be switching just yet.

    • Cyril Guilmard – one of the best DS’s in the sport…and mediocre television commentator now – said the other day that braking efficiency is also limited to the rubber on the tires, i.e. you can have the best brakes in the world, but if your rubber is not gripping the road (wet or dry), nothing else matters. I can easily ‘skid out’ with a strong tug on my rim brake levers, so other than modulation and braking in the wet, I can’t see disks improving anything for me…and for modulation I really don’t need anything more, or at least I think I don’t.

      • I could definitely do with better modulation in the wet on carbon, but I ride those wheels so little in the wet I can certainly live without it. Even if I get caught in a shower, I just slow my roll, increase my braking buffer distances and stay safe!

        • I’m like you. I’ve only been caught in a ‘serious braking situation’ once or twice on my carbon wheels (in events in the Alps / Pyrenees) and I’ll admit I could have used much better performance. But it’s so exceedingly rare.

      • Gerry, saying “other than modulation and braking in the wet” about disc brakes is like saying “other than sex, children, and financial security” about marriage.

  7. Banning the super-tuck? That’s like trying to ban happiness!!! I use it a lot over 40-ish mph. It’s very fast but you do have to be careful when you sit up out of the position. Too fast and the wind will catch you. I won’t miss it, though. The UCI banned it for the pros, not me. I’ll ride that horse another 10 years till I’m too old to look that silly on my bike…

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