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Supercross Is Short Stature an advantage

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It has a weight advantage for sure. In motocross and supercross if your putting your foot down, your obviously not doing well, so it doesn't really matter if your short. In the woods on the other hand, long legs are a great advantage when floundering through rocks and mud, so it goes both ways.

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I can remember hearing that taller guys have the advantage, in that its easier to move around on the bike and there's more clearance to let the bike move around under you. I think the only size that really matters is the size of your nuts.

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Less weight is an advantage for acceleration. Shorter people *tend* to have slightly faster reaction times because it takes less time for nerve impulses to travel from the brain to the toes for example. However, taller riders have a leverage advantage when it comes to moving the bike around and have more room to move around on the bike (as previously posted). Similarly, heavier, "fit" riders have a mass advantage for moving the bike around. Being too small, too tall, too heavy, or too light all have handling and performance disadvantages, so "smaller is better" for example, won't fly beyond a certain point.

A good rider is a good rider, but I'd have to say that small, fit riders have an acceleration and reaction time advantage - all things being equal.

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just look how much better pastrana was at the whoops than say RC.. not saying RC wasnt good at the whoops but pastrana flew threw those things.. somehow i believe just the way his stance was it had something to do with his long legs mabe more suspension in his lower body because they were abnormally longer than all the other riders? :)

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Less weight is an advantage for acceleration. Shorter people *tend* to have slightly faster reaction times because it takes less time for nerve impulses to travel from the brain to the toes for example. However, taller riders have a leverage advantage when it comes to moving the bike around and have more room to move around on the bike (as previously posted). Similarly, heavier, "fit" riders have a mass advantage for moving the bike around. Being too small, too tall, too heavy, or too light all have handling and performance disadvantages, so "smaller is better" for example, won't fly beyond a certain point.

A good rider is a good rider, but I'd have to say that small, fit riders have an acceleration and reaction time advantage - all things being equal.

Not buying the reaction time advantage. If you took a rider that was a full foot shorter and consider the fact that nerve impulse in regards to muscle position travels at about 100 meters/second, that would mean the the person that was shorter would have a full .003 second advantage in reaction time to the tip of his toe.

If you consider that most of the advantage in reaction time comes at the tips of the fingers, a person that is a foot shorter might have arms that are approximately half the height distance shorter so you would then have a full fifteen ten-thousandths (.0015) of a second advantage. I'm not sure how much that time would effect something practical like clutch lever movement, but I'll bet not much.

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In motocross and supercross if your putting your foot down, your obviously not doing well...

That is sooo true. And if I had to say that RV has a weakness in his riding right now, THAT would be it. Putting his feet down in the turns.

I don't think a rock hit his goggles knocking sweat all over the lenses like he thought at Washougal. I think he hit his head on the handlebars from sticking the turn and putting his foot down. We watched it in slow mo' several times.

I believe that's what cost him being able to challenge Dungey for the win.

Anybody else see this?

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Not buying the reaction time advantage. If you took a rider that was a full foot shorter and consider the fact that nerve impulse in regards to muscle position travels at about 100 meters/second, that would mean the the person that was shorter would have a full .003 second advantage in reaction time to the tip of his toe.

If you consider that most of the advantage in reaction time comes at the tips of the fingers, a person that is a foot shorter might have arms that are approximately half the height distance shorter so you would then have a full fifteen ten-thousandths (.0015) of a second advantage. I'm not sure how much that time would effect something practical like clutch lever movement, but I'll bet not much.

Let me try to put this in a better perspective. I'll use your numbers. For simplicity let's say that a rider gets one nerve impulse per second. That's obviously not the case, but it's an easy number to work with.

If a heat race lasts 5 minutes, that's 300 seconds of race time. If the "shorter" rider saves .0022 seconds (i'll split the difference with you) every second, he or she gets an extra .66 or 2/3 of a second extra during the race to perform (due to the time saved in reaction time).

For a 30 minute event, the shorter rider gets an 3.96 seconds saved solely in not waiting for nerve impulses to travel. That's a huge amount of time - especially if you consider that a rider has many thousands of nerve impulses every second. The shorter rider has much more time performing (and not "waiting" on nerve impulses) than the taller rider. This isn't just finger control, it's time for adjusting balance, throttle changes, etc. which use larger muscles than just the fingers and are generally slower acting. (Even at .0015 seconds advantage, that's still a 2.7 second savings).

Does that translate into a practical event like a clutch movement? For a single event, no. Granted in MX, shifts and jumps and rhythm sections occur in a predictable pattern and would tend to even the playing field quite a bit so if the shorter rider hadn't improved position in a given lap, then the rider has less of an advantage in subsequent laps because there's less time left in the race. And one bobble could easily wipe out any such advantage. But over time, yes. For hare scrambles and desert races, I'd suggest that the nerve reaction time as an advantage factor would be more significant.

Now, there's another aspect to this - all the nerve speed advantage in the world isn't going to do a bit of good if a rider's fast-twitch muscles haven't been trained properly, but that's a separate issue ("strength-training" riders who omit speed-training take note...). And of course that really doesn't matter much if the rider isn't in top mental skill or "in the zone". So overall, it comes down to the most physically and mentally fit and properly trained rider having the real advantage.

But that's not what the OP asked... :)

-Dave

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Pleaes God, let me die before I have to read anymore of the fabulous neurological workings of the human system....

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Pleaes God, let me die before I have to read anymore of the fabulous neurological workings of the human system....

Heheh, I kinda hated to write that, but the dude made an issue of the first post... :)

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By your theory, all factory teams would be hiring midgets. Now I've seen my fair share of races and I've yet to see a midget riding any bike, factory or not, in a national or professional supercross race. I've also never seen a midget play profession baseball; a sport that arguably requires the best reaction time of any professional sport. Come to think of it, I've never seen a midget play any professional sport. Size matters in some aspects but only pertaining to reach, weight, strength, etc. On paper you might be correct but in all practical terms there is no difference in reaction time between a rider that is 5'10" and one that is 5'6" or 5'2". And, if there is a reaction time difference, it has no practical or real advantage. There are several other factors that play into being a good rider than if you're short or tall.

So back to what the OP wanted to know and also a point that you brought up; being short might have some advantage in some situations, but reaction time is not one of them, dude.

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By your theory, all factory teams would be hiring midgets. Now I've seen my fair share of races and I've yet to see a midget riding any bike, factory or not, in a national or professional supercross race. I've also never seen a midget play profession baseball; a sport that arguably requires the best reaction time of any professional sport. Come to think of it, I've never seen a midget play any professional sport. Size matters in some aspects but only pertaining to reach, weight, strength, etc. On paper you might be correct but in all practical terms there is no difference in reaction time between a rider that is 5'10" and one that is 5'6" or 5'2". And, if there is a reaction time difference, it has no practical or real advantage. There are several other factors that play into being a good rider than if you're short or tall.

So back to what the OP wanted to know and also a point that you brought up; being short might have some advantage in some situations, but reaction time is not one of them, dude.

I definitely did not say that midgets would be better riders than appropriately-sized riders. In fact, I was very clear that beyond some point, size (short or tall, heavy or light, etc.) is a distinct disadvantage; and I included why other factors likely make a bigger difference in on the track. Try reading the original post. Then read my posts again. Everything you just stated is in there - in the correct context. Dude. :)

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I guess the only to settle the debate is to meet up, eat a PB&J sandwich and let the races begin. Only people that have been properly measured will be allowed to race and we'll see what happens.

Anyway, not trying to argue just make a point. All I'm saying is that I don't believe there is any advantage in reflex time if your short; you seem to think there is. The original poster asked if being short was an advantage. It might be, but not in regards to reaction time. That's all I have to say. Science may or may not prove me wrong, but I don't believe there is any reaction time advantage to being short. That's all. If you think there is some practical advantage, I challenge you to prove it with real world application. As for me, I'm all for a little "scientific experiment" if it gets me out on the bike.

Nate

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mass centralization is good for bikes and good for riders. there is the answer.

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Along with mass centralization, I think shorter riders are much less injury prone then taller riders. The leverage on their joints, as well as, longer bones to break means a great deal of taller riders will get weeded out as amatures. I'm pretty tall too and have been injury prone most of my life!!!

Or I'm just clumbsy!

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While I think the advantages or lack thereof might balance out in a race, just based on observation in other sports, being small does appear to have a big effect on speed. I watch lots of UFC and the smaller the weight class the quicker and more fast paced the fights. They seem to be able to keep a higher pace for longer. Watch a heavyweight fight, and generally its not as quick. Its more about power. If its fast paced it usually doesn't stay that way the whole fight. Less physical mass to move around requires less energy.

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I guess the only to settle the debate is to meet up, eat a PB&J sandwich and let the races begin. Only people that have been properly measured will be allowed to race and we'll see what happens.

Anyway, not trying to argue just make a point. All I'm saying is that I don't believe there is any advantage in reflex time if your short; you seem to think there is. The original poster asked if being short was an advantage. It might be, but not in regards to reaction time. That's all I have to say. Science may or may not prove me wrong, but I don't believe there is any reaction time advantage to being short. That's all. If you think there is some practical advantage, I challenge you to prove it with real world application. As for me, I'm all for a little "scientific experiment" if it gets me out on the bike.

Nate

Works for me, Nate!

I really do believe that there's something too it, but as you said there are other things to consider and it would certainly be hard to find riders of exactly equal talent and line them all up by height, and I certainly agree with you there. But barring that, I'm all up for a PB&J and a ride. :)

Now I just gotta haul the 250 from L.A. up to Red Rocks or something lol.

-Dave

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While I think the advantages or lack thereof might balance out in a race, just based on observation in other sports, being small does appear to have a big effect on speed. I watch lots of UFC and the smaller the weight class the quicker and more fast paced the fights. They seem to be able to keep a higher pace for longer. Watch a heavyweight fight, and generally its not as quick. Its more about power. If its fast paced it usually doesn't stay that way the whole fight. Less physical mass to move around requires less energy.

Yes, small lightweight people tend to have the ability to move like a little monkey. Also that there is less weight, they go faster.

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Dave, I wish I had my bike with me as I'm in LA right now, well Ventura County anyway. Anytime your passing through Southern Utah let me know; the red rocks are always begging to be ridden.

Nate

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Here is my theory: gymnastics favors smaller body types because the motion/movements are mostly tumbling. Smaller bodies have a huge advantage because of a more compact mass. I heard someone say MX racing is a like gymnastics on two wheels.

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