FL-X Study

30 % less vibration through the SQlab FL-X technology

 

Syntace and SQlab are the only manufacturers to remain undamaged in the large Bike Magazine break test. In addition to stability, SQlab focuses on damping behaviour. Accordingly, the 311 FL-X was developed with regard to flex behaviour. In an extensive study, we were able to prove that virtually all high-quality handlebars have damping characteristics between 0 % and 15 %, depending on their intensity. 311 FL-X has 30% more flex.

 

Experimental setup

The acceleration was recorded with two triaxial acceleration sensors at a frequency of 400 Hz (400 measurements per second). In order to determine the difference between the handlebar end and the centre of the handlebar, one sensor was mounted centrally on the handlebar and a second sensor on the handlebar end.

Test procedure

The test lap was ridden by Max Holz SQlab Category Manager Performance and Marathon Winner 2018 in Riva, Willingen and Leogang. The course included root sections, downhill and uphill sections as well as drops of different heights.

Analysis 

The diagram shows the reduction of the load in percent. It can clearly be seen that the SQlab 311 FL-X has a constantly high damping capacity between 18% and 31%.

Result

At accelerations of up to 50 m/s² (which corresponds to approx. 5g, i.e. 5 times the force of gravity), the SQlab 311 FL-X reduces the loads on the hand arm system by 18% to 20%. The other handlebars tested can only "work" a little or not at all at these accelerations and thus reduce the load only insignificantly.

These accelerations/impacts occur frequently in mountain biking, e.g. in root passages or braking bumps. The mountain bike specific problem "arm pump" is evident. The result is a numbness of the fingers and early fatigue. At higher loads, the 3OX Carbon reaches the highest damping depending on the area of use.

 

The pelvis

When sitting normally, the sitbones support the body‘s weight and have the capability to withstand high pressure. This should also be the case when riding a bicycle. With an athletic riding position, the perineal area of men and the lower positioned pubic bone arch of women on the saddle.

The well branched out network of nerves and blood vessels of the perineal area reaches from the anus via the genitals to the upper pubic bone arch. On the sides it reaches past the pubic bones. 

These are capable of carrying a small weight – but a pressure reduction is essential. An even pressure reduction in the perineal area and the pubic bones is achieved through the lowered nose of our SQlab step saddle concept.

The sitting position

When sitting, the sitbones (areas marked in green) serve the purpose of supporting the body’s weight, hence they can endure a high load and pressure. They should also be utilised in this way when riding a bike.

 

In a dynamic riding position the contact point moves from the tip of the sitbones, forwards along the pubic arch to the pubic bone and the central perineal area is used for resting on for both genders. Women however, typically have a lower pubic arch which can result in higher pressure from the saddle nose when riding in a dynamic riding position. The surface area the riders weight is resting on is especially critical in a very dynamic and forward riding position and in such a case the riders weight should not only be supported in the centre but also on the pubic bone.

 

The sitbone and pubic bones both come together from their widest points in a “V” shape. This means the more dynamic the riding position, the narrower the saddle is allowed to, and should be.

Already in 2002 we developed a simple equation which uses the distance of the sitbone tips in dependence of the riding positing to calculate the perfect saddle width. This method has meanwhile been established globally. The method may be interpreted slightly differently from different saddle manufacturers and many leave the adjustment equation away all together, but our basic concept is used in all of these measuring methods.

 

The flexibility of the spine has much less influence on the positioning of the pelvis as often assumed. Spine and pelvis should remain in a natural position relative to each other and not be forced into a certain position, even if the body is very flexible.

 

Especially with the SQlab step saddle it is no longer necessary to tilt the pelvis backwards as the typical pressure zone of the perineal area and pelvis arch no longer pose a problem due to the lowered position of the saddle nose. The energy which is often required to hold the pelvis upright while the upper body taks a dynamic and forward position is no longer required with the SQlab step saddle and can instead be used for pedalling and propelling the bike forward. In addition, there is substantially less load on the spinal discs.