Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: NJ cellphone central
Bikes: Surly Ogre // (old and gone) Cannondale ST400, Rockhopper Sport
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Don't let fit issues discourage you, some of my trials with it
Just some notes for new or returning riders about what I've been going
through with getting my fit adjusted. Don't be discouraged if you have
trouble, just keep plugging along.
I haven't ridden in 25yrs and I'm in pretty bad physical shape, poor
cardio health and poor physical health from sitting all day at work. My
lack of flexibility in my lower back and hamstrings has definitely added
to my fit issues.
I'm 6'5" and 270 so I run into likely more issues around frame size and
overall fit than most and it definitely comes into play here.
After some time playing around with my saddle fit and bars fit, I've
remembered back that I had similar issues and learning curve years
ago but I really forgot about it.
The trouble I've been having is getting the balance between where
I'm well planted on my sit bones vs either sliding forward on the
saddle or having too much pressure on the soft tissues from the nose
being too high.
Lessons I've learned (and I'm not done being set up yet)
What feels like the nose of the saddle poking up can be due to..
Bars too low, stiff back or hamstrings can rotate your hips
too far forward if you reach down to a drop below saddle
height causing the poking feeling we don't want.
Seat too high. If your seat is too high, you can wind up
reaching too far and thus bending forward over the nose.
Seat too far back or the stem on the bars is too long, again
reaching too far for your level of flexibility or physical
size comes into play.
I wound up switching to an Adamo ISM noseless saddle before
I understood all of these rather subtle and finicky and
sometimes misleading causes and effects. I like the saddle
but I think I may be able to go back to my conventional
saddle by the time I get all my factors sorted out.
Lesson learned is to be more patient and think about the
interactions of all the adjustments carefully. What may
seem to be the root cause, often is a symptom of something
else in the whole picture.
Saddle fore-aft adjustment
I was initially fit by a shop very carefully. I was locked onto
a trainer and my knee position was carefully measured with a
plum bob and set to the "standard" What I found out is that it
was causing some strain on the back of my knee. I'm running
180mm cranks and I have flexibility issues and I found through
experimenting that the muscle load on my legs/knees was much
more balanced by being a bit more forward over the pedals.
This will vary on the cyclist's physiology and fitness level
too, but I swapped out an offset seat post for a zero-offset and
gained a couple more cm in forward saddle movement and now my
knees feel much more happy. The strain I feel (I'm in bad
shape) is much more balanced and in my quads more, the way I'm
used to it feeling.
Small adjustments here and giving it time to evaluate the change
is key. Be aware of strain on the knees that is out of balance,
either too much pressure behind or in front of your knees, it's
a fine line.
Also as mentioned before the saddle height affects how this all
feels too, many interactions here.
Bar height, reach and tilt.
As already mentioned the saddle issues are a bit complex but they
are also affected by the bar height and reach as well. There is
definite interplay on all of these adjustments and even a few cm
adjustment span can make large differences.
In my own case, my setup looked similar to many others' setups in
pictures as far as the seat to bars drop and reach. However due to
my flexibility issues it was causing me all sorts of trouble. I
tried a shorter stem, I varied my height both up and down and
finally decided to try to raise my bars nearly level with the
By raising the bars up quite a lot more, it has drastically changed
the overall feeling of the bars and saddle relationship. I dropped
out the shorty stem I got, went back to my longer stem and now I
sort of have to start over on the whole puzzle again. The ride I
did last night with the higher bars was amazingly more comfortable
for me and now I'm closing in on minor tweaks vs drastic measures.
After making this adjustment (I added actually a couple inches more
height) I can use the drops comfortably now. The sweet spot is
split between the hoods and drops and I'm evaluating another few cm
rise by shifting the spacers again.
This was a lot to read, but the main point I'm making is not to give in
quickly and don't settle for being uncomfortable on your bicycle. The
leaps and gains I've made going through this are really paying off.
I did a 13 mile ride last night and could have doubled it if I wanted
to. I ran out of daylight and forgot to bring my lights or I would have
easily added another 5-10 miles to the run. This would not have been
possible just a few weeks ago due to comfort and physical fitness
I'm only 60 miles in on restarting cycling and in just that time I've
made a huge difference in the enjoyment of the ride, so stick to it.
The fit forum is useful reading for sure.