The Moser Position

For my money, the best slice of cycling video ever is Francesco Moser, appearing out of the dust, in the 1976 Paris-Roubaix. He blasts by the moto camera on the right, on a mission to get up to the front. Something about him appearing, then almost disappearing down the road. What was that? And there it is, the Moser position. His torso is pulled down low. If you want to go that fast you have to get that low. Back in the day, your frame size was directly correlated to your inseam, period. There were no slammed -17 degree stems or long seatposts. If you wanted to get aero you just had to bend at the hips and elbows, a lot.

Getting low is one thing, generating huge power from that position is something else, something Moser excelled at. Lo Sceriffo was not a man to be underestimated. In this excerpted video from A Sunday in Hell, Moser is powering up towards the winning break of four riders: Roger De Vlaeminck, Marc Demeyer, Walter Godefroot, and Hennie Kuiper (all former or future P-R winners). It is an all star break of Belgian-Dutch hardness and Moser bridges quickly. The winner was going to come from this group but it was not Moser’s year nor was the next edition so he made up for it by winning the next three consecutive Paris-Roubaix.

To see Moser powering up the side of the pavé like that, it’s some sort of poetry that captures just about everything I love about cycling.

The Moser scene plays out around 9:10 into the clip, but as always, it is pure pleasure to watch what leads up to it.

 

 

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65 Replies to “The Moser Position”

  1. @fignons barber

    And who was the winner of said edition?

     

    Peter Post; that guy had a doctorate degree in “hard”, and went on to a stellar teaching career.  Imagine being tough enough to manage not 1, but 2 Planckaerts…

  2. I haven’t watched Sunday in Hell since I gave away my VCR years ago.  Still have it on VHS tape, time to dig it out and borrow a player.

  3. @RobSandy

    @fignons barber

    @RobSandy

    And when was the fastest ever Paris-Roubaix?

    1964, on an altered course with only half the cobbled sections and a 35mph tail wind for virtually the whole race. Point?

    I didn’t know that about less cobbles and the wind. They were still hard back then, regardless.

    I don’t come onto Velominati to let facts stand in the way of my opinions.

    Love you, brother.

  4. @Haldy

    The last modern guy I remember using that position regularly was Servais Knaven, shown here during a very muddy P-R win:

     

  5. @wilburrox

    Haha, I think that’s it. No, like the chewing gum packaging the jersey was always red, white and blue. There are monochrome “replicas” for sale but I have no idea why.

  6. @Skip

    @MangoDave

    I haven’t watched Sunday in Hell since I gave away my VCR years ago. Still have it on VHS tape, time to dig it out and borrow a player.

    I haven’t been able to find it on DVD. Here’s the full length version on youtube.

    http://youtu.be/zxBTVU9JDrA

    Try here http://cyclingweekly.ipcshop.co.uk/shop/cycling-dvds/cycling-films

  7. The two bikes above are set up with identical measurements from saddle to ground and top of bars to ground. For what it’s worth, this puts the main top surface of the 2015 Chorus Ergopower levers 4cm higher than that of the mid-80s Cobalto brake levers. Effective reach is 1.5cm further with the newer levers.

    Yep, I know the bar tap on the newer bike is red, and it has a frame pump. Both remind me of my lost youth.

  8. These men were hard as f…k

    No light bikes, no wide tyres, no large cassettes, no anti vibration/shock bars or frame. No plastic, no carbon. Just pure steel, beautifully hand crafted bikes with lovely Gruppo sets. I love the old aero positions such as Moser and it worked well. A lovely powerful position. I watch this film once a month to appreciate the sacrifice of the vintage rider.  Set the alarm, get out of your beds, get dressed and go riding @5:30 just like Roger, ride 150km before breakfast then ride another 200km.

  9. Gave up your VCR? I still have two stored at my parent’s house. They’re not going anywhere until they force me to take ’em! Or they relocate and I have to move them myself.

  10. @Teocalli

    @Skip

    @MangoDave

    I haven’t watched Sunday in Hell since I gave away my VCR years ago. Still have it on VHS tape, time to dig it out and borrow a player.

    I haven’t been able to find it on DVD. Here’s the full length version on youtube.

    http://youtu.be/zxBTVU9JDrA

    Try here http://cyclingweekly.ipcshop.co.uk/shop/cycling-dvds/cycling-films

    Get thee to a Goodwill or somewhere similar. Pick up a VCR player for pennies but hope that the heads haven’t been trashed by the previous owner watching too much porn on fast forward.

  11. @Ron

    Gave up your VCR? I still have two stored at my parent’s house. They’re not going anywhere until they force me to take ’em! Or they relocate and I have to move them myself

    That doesn’t count. I have a VHS hooked up to a Sony Trinitron TV. I did, however, get rid of my Betamax VCRs.

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