Robot’s Useless Reviews – The Super Tuck

At last news came that the UCI banned the “super tuck” position from professional racing contests. What a relief! I know this is something you’ve all been very worried about for a very long time, like freezer burn and the possibility of squirrels evolving eye lasers.

Once they wrapped up their most pressing work, suppressing opportunities for women in the sport and turning a blind eye to the worst indiscretions of Eastern European blood chemists, they started ticking off the other really important stuff, like banning the “super tuck.”

The Mediocre Tuck

Funny story, I used to employ what I’d call the “mediocre tuck.” Once while descending one of New England’s many snakey downhills , I employed this embarrassing technique, ass in the air and shoulders in ears, the better to win whatever group ride I was on at the time. I hadn’t really grokked the dilapidated state of the road surface though, and so, encountering one of New England’s many cavernous potholes, I slammed my chin directly into my stem cap.

After the bells of the local cathedral had stopped ringing and my jaw returned to its position on the front of my face, I said to myself, “You have to stop pretending you have someplace to be other than the back of the pack, buddy. Besides, you’re too pretty to be this careless with your baby soft pudum.”

The “super tuck” puts that pudum in extra big danger, but it ups the ante by also jeopardizing your vulnerable underbits. I don’t care if you’ve got block and tackle or a delicate flower beneath your chamois, slamming whatever you’re packing into your top tube shouldn’t be top of your priority list (right after ‘be a decent human’). If you really need those nano-seconds, then you ought to consider your life choices and/or shave your eyebrows. Those fuzzy caterpillars just ain’t aero.

Of course, the damage sustained by sudden and violent contact with a stem or top tube is only the beginning of the fun when the “super tuck” goes awry. The real bill comes due after you bounce off of the aforementioned and try to keep control of your bicycle machine, flailing at it like a surprised hiker trying to fend off a bear. Once that bounce transpires, there is no telling where your front wheel is going to end up. You guys used to be friends, back when you pointed it at stuff and it took you there. But freed of its responsibilities, you’re about to find out where your front wheel would rather be, and who it would rather not be taking there.

Per Steve Tilford, this is the fastest descending position. Looks cool too, and not at all dangerous.

But don’t take my word for it. Get yourself out on a roller coaster descent, swallow whatever naked fear pops into your speed-addled mind, and hunker down into a position part fetal and part starter-block, then point yourself at a pothole. Physics is likely to ensue, but do this experiment and then leave your results in the comments. We’ll see if we can’t somehow get this thing reinstated with the sport’s nefarious overlords with your attestations of success. If, on the other hand, you lose your genitals and part of your face in the process, please don’t file a lawsuit. You can’t sue science anyway.

All of this is, of course, based on my own experience, and as you will know if you’ve been reading my scattered typings for very long, I’m not the best bicycle rider you don’t know. It’s not for me to say whether Peter Sagan or Annemiek van Vleuten or Chris Froome is capable of safely employing the “super tuck” to dramatically change the course of cycling history. It’s for some technocrat in a high castle in Switzerland to say.

For you, my friend, I recommend you confine all your super tucking to the stationary trainer, in your basement, with the lights off and a futon on either side of you.


Subscribe to TCI today. I’m tired of eating Top Ramen and the Saltines I stole from the Wendy’s salad bar.

Join the conversation
  1. bluezurich says

    Which came first, the super tuck or the flat top tube? Mine are all round so, no sanctions or fines for me in my next 1.1 race.

  2. DaveinME says

    I’ve never used a super tuck position because the roads in Maine can vary from smooth to borderline gravel. With that uncertainty, I don’t take any chances once I am over 45 mph. Besides, I am usually only training or on a group ride so what’s the point?

  3. TominAlbany says

    My favorite method for going fast downhill?

    I get behind someone bigger than my 5′-6″/130lbs.
    Works every time

  4. southcarolinamtb says

    I agree with the silliness of the supertuck for us amateurs. I’ve tried it a few times just to develop a feel for it. It wasn’t easy, but I eventually got more comfortable with it. However, I was 0% convinced that it was any faster while in it and I was 100% convinced that getting out of it took some planning and also loss of time. None of that is good with situations that you only pretend to have control over. (c’mon, how many of us have crashed before on seemingly good road conditions?)
    But I see the pros differently and was really surprised by this announcement. The best part about this ban is that it will tamp down on the idiocy that us fun riders try to do while on the road. so here’s a question. Are we all sure that this ‘ban of the supertuck’ is real?? It does go into effect on April 1st and it would be a pretty awesome urban spoof! I haven’t bothered to check the UCI website. I’m boycotting them until I get my pro license for the Single Speed Over Fifty Slightly Skilled category.

  5. pfnavin says

    My personal “super tuck” (not in a long while, and I miss it): A row of Oreos and a glass of milk filled to the brim. Fifty-seven seconds of joy.

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