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  1. #1
    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    Adjusting my saddle

    So I adjusted my saddle so I have an almost straight leg when the pedel is at its lowest point after a month or so of riding the saddle at the default position. After riding I felt a slight pull on the rear of my legs. Is this normal?
    A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
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    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Your saddle height, from what I know, should be positioned so your knee bends anywhere between 5 to 25 degrees at maximum extension while riding - keep in mind your foot is not/should not be flat while riding and maximum extension is not exactly straight down. Your hips should not bob when pedaling, which indicates you are overstretching your legs.

    That feeling your describe could be normal or it could not be. You could be on your way to destroying your knees or your legs could simply be adjusting to the new position. Get a professional fitting if you have the money or you can go to competitivecyclist.com and use their fit calculator.

    A VERY simple way to guestimate saddle height it to stand next to your bike while it is vertical (not leaned) and then raise one of your legs to the point where your thigh is parallel to the ground. To top of your saddle should be about at the height of the top of your thighs.
    Falling is learning...[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]...learn to not fall in a box.
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    Senior Member Cadfael's Avatar
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    It may also help to adjust the horizontal position of the saddle... move it either backwards or forwards on the the rails. The down side is... when you do this you also effectively alter the bend in your knee. Closer to the BB axis will mean more bend, away from the axis will mean a straighter leg... so you may have to adjust the height again! Moving it forward will help with cadence, moving it back will help with pedalling power. Of course, this will also change your reach to the bars... so some tinkering there will be called for....

    It is all about very fine tuning.
    Last edited by Cadfael; 08-24-08 at 11:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. I'll be trying it out here today and in the next few days to see if I can get it just right. It seems to be more of a case of trial and error.
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  5. #5
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    Here is some basic bike fit information. This may help. http://www.caree.org/bike101bikefit.htm

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    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kycycler View Post
    Here is some basic bike fit information. This may help. http://www.caree.org/bike101bikefit.htm


    One thing about that, though. From your URL:

    Then raise the seat until, as you pedal backwards with your heels on the pedals, your legs are completely extended at the bottom of the stroke.
    Now what I've gotten here is "almost extended", not completely extended.
    A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I fully extend my legs (without rocking the hips) with my HEELS on the pedals. Since you use the balls of your feet, that'll work out just right,
    I just get on the bike, get a bit of speed and pedal forward. It somehow doesn't make sense to me to pedal backward??

  8. #8
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    It may be that you're just getting used to riding, if you haven't done a lot in the recent past. I know that weird muscles hurt on me when I do something unaccustomed. If it still happens after a couple rides, you probably need to change something. It can take a while to get your saddle height dialed in just right.

  9. #9
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Keep in mind everyone is different and no numbers can peg you down as a fact (which is why economists are not paid more) - I am short of the heel extension thing and have my saddle a good 3 cm below my recommended height... it might be due to the fact that I like to spin a lot.... anyone want to do math and tell me what my cadence (cyclometer is broken) is when I go 21mph on 42x18 - thats 63 gear inches.
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  10. #10
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    The method of putting your heel on the pedal to determine seat height is dependent on the depth of the heel of your shoes. For example, mountain bike shoes typically have actual tread at the heel, whereas road bike shoes typically do not. In other words, I wouldn't use that method.

    Also, I have not heard of anyone recommending knee angles as low as 5 degrees. Most often I have heard of angles of 30-42 degree at BDC (For example, if I recall correctly John Howard recommends 38 - 40 degrees).

    Steve

  11. #11
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevetone View Post
    Also, I have not heard of anyone recommending knee angles as low as 5 degrees. Most often I have heard of angles of 30-42 degree at BDC (For example, if I recall correctly John Howard recommends 38 - 40 degrees).

    Steve
    Actually, I always learned that 25 was the starting point and work your way from there, but a couple of dudes at a LBS were adamant on 5 and they seem to get a lot of people going in for fittings - always when I am in there there is someone - and a pretty authoritative angle measuring stick so I figured they were right.

    Just for reference I am somewhere between 25-30 using rudimentary measuring methods, hence the give-or-take numbers.
    Falling is learning...[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]...learn to not fall in a box.
    Any good American will watch THIS -and- WHERE WAS MY BIKE MADE?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pueblonative View Post
    One thing about that, though. From your URL:



    Now what I've gotten here is "almost extended", not completely extended.
    Completely extended with your heels on the pedals pretty much = "almost extended" with the ball of the foot on the pedal for most people.
    Riding in the Central Ohio Tour due Cure, June 7th.

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    Quote Originally Posted by z415 View Post
    anyone want to do math and tell me what my cadence (cyclometer is broken) is when I go 21mph on 42x18 - thats 63 gear inches.
    You should be pedaling at a cadence of about 115.

  14. #14
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pueblonative View Post
    So I adjusted my saddle so I have an almost straight leg when the pedel is at its lowest point after a month or so of riding the saddle at the default position. After riding I felt a slight pull on the rear of my legs. Is this normal?
    I felt that same kind of strain when I had my seat just a bit too high. So, no, it's not normal.

    Having it too low will make your knees feel like you're doing squats; having it too high will make your knees feel like you're hanging by your feet from the ceiling.

  15. #15
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael word View Post
    You should be pedaling at a cadence of about 115.
    Thanks - want to tell me the formula or what not? I'd like to know.
    Falling is learning...[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]...learn to not fall in a box.
    Any good American will watch THIS -and- WHERE WAS MY BIKE MADE?

  16. #16
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z415 View Post
    Thanks - want to tell me the formula or what not? I'd like to know.
    I don't know the formula, so I go here:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

  17. #17
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    Keep on adapting your saddle position till you feel fine. There is no exact formula to calculate the ideal height.

    Keep in mind that most people are riding a too low saddle position. This is the result of riding bad saddle positions in childhood years. As a child grows (much faster than parents believe) and most adults tend to be too lazy to adapt their kid's saddle every month, it never catches up with the kid's actual length. Kids, being very "adaptive" themselves, get used to riding bad saddle positions easily. In adult life they have no idea of how a saddle should be set, so they keep riding it the wrong way.

    I found the best saddle position by increasing it's height by little increments untill my hips started to "wobble". Then I lowered the saddle by 1/3 of an inch; just perfect!

  18. #18
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Make sure that you're not too far back on the saddle or the seat's set too far back. Having an extended leg works better with a forward seat position and if your seat is set back, you'll want to be lower with more bend.

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