Effect of drop-style and triathlon handlebar positioning on oxygen consumption during constant load cycling
Sizer, Phillip S.
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Competitive cyclists have achieved marked performance improvements while using triathlon handlebar systems. The present experiment was conducted to evaluate cardiovascular behavior during cycling, while using both standard drop-style and triathlon style handlebars. The experiment involved 15 healthy male non-cyclists performing a series of four constant-load cycling trial sessions (five minutes each trial for three consecutive trials per session) in different position I workload configurations. The trial sessions were performed in both a low gear-ratio and high gear-ratio, each at a pedalling rate of 60, 75, and 90 rpm, and both in the drop-bar position and triathlon position. These trials were performed by each cyclist on a competitive racing bicycle which had been mounted to a wind trainer apparatus. The bicycle was modified to include the above mentioned handlebar configurations, racing saddle, and racing pedals I toe clips. The trial session work loads were randomly ordered and separated by at least a 24 hour rest period. Heart rate (HR) and oxygen consumption (V02) were monitored throughout each trial session. The data were analyzed using a 2 (Handlebar) x 5 (Workload) ANOVA for all 15 subjects (6 of which could not complete the high gear ratio, 90 rpm workload). An additional 2 (Handlebar) x 2 (Gear Ratio) x 3 (Pedalling Rate) ANOVA was performed for the nine subjects who were able to complete the final workload. A Newman Keuls Post-Hoc test was performed to locate any significant differences. All analyses were conducted with an alpha level of 0.05. No significance was found for handlebar format in either analysis. With the 2 x 5 AN OVA, significant differences were identified for workload in terms of all dependent measures. With the 2 x 2 x 3 ANOVA the high gear ratio produced significantly greater HR and V02 values versus the low gear ratio. Additionally, HR and V02 values significantly increased with each increase in pedalling rate. The results indicate that the lack of significant differences between the two handlebar formats could be attributed to the relative equality between each format in terms of combined work demands (static & dynamic) on the cardiovascular system. This information will be potentially useful to both cyclists and non-cyclists for their understanding of riding position exercise efficiency.