Mountain Bike Positioning - Higher Power vs Improved Handling

A while back I worked with a trusted bike fitter that specializes in road cycling. He fit me on my MTB and all seemed well. At the start of winter I picked up a new bike and transferred this fit to the new bike and continued structured training to an all time high FTP. When the snow finally melted and I’d spent an adequate amount of time on the bike/trails it became apparent that my position was too far rearward to maintain an adequate “attack” position and weighting in the corners needed for XC racing.

With my newly adopted position that allows for proper cornering/handling my FTP has dropped by about 7%. Has anyone run into something similar to this and if so were you able to make up the decrease with time spent training in the new position? Do you try to find a happy medium between power and handling? In races/group rides my prior position left me getting dropped through the corners only to use my power to catch back up when I could lay it down. It was not a wise use of resources.

Thank you for any experience, help, or advice you can provide.

How did you come to this conclusion? Were you loosing the front wheel more often than you had prior to your new bike fit in corners and on climbs?

Was this immediately apparent and can’t be accounted by other factors? That’s quite a drastic drop in FTP. If you go back to your old bike fit does your FTP go up 7%? Have you tried splitting the difference? What exactly did you change (stack height, seat position-height, etc.) and by how much?


Thanks for the response @MI-XC

Yes front end bite was practically non existent in the prior fit unless I was sliding off the front of the saddle when seated. I was like a scud missile in the corners. The new position (slightly higher and farther forward) has allowed a more balanced feeling in the chassis. I now feel like front/rear traction is more balanced. Prior to the change I set the bike and myself on bathrooms scales to determine front/rear balance (in a seated position) and was running roughly 35ish% front bias and 65ish% rear.

In the new position when I go into a low hinge/attack position I’m now moving more upward from the seat instead of “pulling” myself forward on the bike for the same position in the old position.

I should really retract the 7% reduction in power comment as that is based on past peak FTP and a true comparison in the new position hasn’t been made as I haven’t hit a peak yet. Ultimately I can tell my hamstrings flexibility/power development is a limiter and holding even endurance power in the new position becomes more quickly fatiguing. My assumption/hope is time in the new position will yield adaptions. It was frustrating to see that much of the time spent in the prior position didn’t yield proper handling on the trails but is been fine on the road.

Is your pedal to seat distance the exact same for both, or did you end up effectively lowering your seat by moving it so far forward?

Good question and I don’t have an honest answer for you. My attempt at measuring lacked true precision because I wasn’t sure where to measure too on the seat and I needed to nose the seat down slightly to keep it from feeling like it wanted to split me in half.