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  1. #1
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    Can't get comfortable

    Hi, I lurk, and don't usually post, but have a problem I can't seem to solve. When I ride, I keep moving my behind farther back on the saddle until it's extended somewhat off the back of the saddle. That would be ok, except then I get a lot of chaffing. The obvious solution would be to raise the saddle, and that's the problem. If I raise the saddle where I feel like it needs to be, my feet don't touch the ground, not even on tiptoes. Any ideas would be appreciated because this is keeping me from enjoying my bike.

  2. #2
    del dot
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    Well, you're not really supposed to be able to touch both feet to the ground at once, if that's what you mean. If you can put both feet down at the same time (while your butt is still on the seat), your saddle is way too low -- not only will you have trouble finding a comfortable balance on it, as you mentioned, but you'll have to work a lot harder to pedal, and you'll be in danger of damaging your knees.

    A good first approximation to a comfortable seat height is that when you pedal, your knee should be very nearly straight (but not perfectly straight) at the bottom of each pedal stroke.

    If you've got a trusted local bike store (or a friend who rides a lot), you might have them evaluate your bike's fit. If not, we can give you lots of advice, but these things are easier to explain in person, with the bike right there, than in writing...
    Last edited by divergence; 08-30-07 at 01:48 AM.

  3. #3
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Why do you feel you need to be able to touch your feet onto the ground while sitting in the saddle? Seriously.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  4. #4
    tsl
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    If putting your feet on the ground while seated in the saddle is important to you--either by preference or by need--you need a different style of bike.

    All of the bikes in Electra's line let you do this. Trek has one model line that's similar, the Trek Pure. I'm sure there are others.

    Otherwise, forget it. Most bikes are designed for riding, not for sitting at stops. (And don't take that wrong, I don't mean that sarcastically.)

    Thus, they way they fit is governed by how you are seated while riding and in motion. This is also why one measurement of the top bar is called "standover height". When standing at at stop, it's the top bar you stand over, not the saddle.

    I have to be off the saddle and straddling the top bar to touch ground even with one foot on both my bikes. When I do, the nose of the saddle pokes me in the small of my back, just above the waistline. (And the standover height of the top bar clears the dangly bits.)

    I second the recommendation that you see a shop about getting a fitting. I go for a fitting every year. It's the best two or three hours I spend on myself. The reason I follow the recommendation of a fitting every year is that my return to cycling is still fairly recent. My body--muscle tone, flexibility, etc.--is still changing as I become more accustomed to cycling. For instance, while my femur length remains unchanged, my hamstrings are stretching which has allowed a both longer crank and a lower upper body position.

    I'm still trying out different shops and fitters, and so far, have stuck to those who fit by the old-fashioned way, visually while I ride my bike in a trainer. I still need the coaching that comes with that method of fitting. I've promised myself that next year, I'll try the local shop that has one of those body scanning things, just to see what that's like.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  5. #5
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    Wren, I ride a Giant Suede which has the pedals forward like the Trek Pure & the Electra Townies. I can sit and still touch my toes to the ground (but not be flat footed). I bought the Suede because I like the feeling of space between the seat & the handlebars (top tube length). Some people have suggested trying a set back saddle post to Becky (see post in Clydes forum) to get that feeling of a longer top tube if you feel too scrunched.

    I think my bike has a longer wheelbase than an average bike - 44" is what I measured from the center of each wheel. What kind of bike do you ride?

  6. #6
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Throw us a pic of you sitting on the bike. Take it from the side with foot on pedal
    and down as far it will go.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    I'm still trying out different shops and fitters, and so far, have stuck to those who fit by the old-fashioned way, visually while I ride my bike in a trainer. I still need the coaching that comes with that method of fitting. I've promised myself that next year, I'll try the local shop that has one of those body scanning things, just to see what that's like.
    I went to a shop that had the body scanning system to determine bike fit earlier this year because I was having some problems with the bike. The fellow doing my fit was a long time employee of the shop and had been doing fittings for years. He put me on a trainer, watched me ride and asked lots of questions. I asked why he didn't use the scanning system and he said it couldn't ask me how it felt

    BTW, the bike fit perfectly and it was the shoes and saddle that needed changing.
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  8. #8
    bobkat
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    If you do a lot of riding around town and stopping for cars and red lights, stop and go riding, one of the new generation crank forward bikes might be the right bike for you. Other posters have mentioned the Giants, the Townies and there are also the Rans series of crank forward bikes. These are not recumbents, nor are they uprights. Kind of an in between bike, not made for serious racers, mountain bikers, or road bikers.
    But they are sure a comfortable breed of bikes, and although I don't have one myself, the more I see of them the more I'm convinced that for the average almost-retired baby boomer who wants to get out and do some healthful riding or commuting to work, they are a great bike. And most important, are really comfortable! They are sort of a "good for nothing, but good for everything" bike. So if all else fails, you might try a few turns around the block with one of these. Their owners swear by them.
    Because of back problems I simply cannot ride an upright, but would dearly love to at least be able to ride an off road mountain bike on less challenging trails. I've been looking at the crank forward sort-of-mountain-bike from Rans. A serious mountain bike - heck no! But a reasonably good comfortable rideable bike for light off road riding for a guy like me? Possibly - I sure hope so!

  9. #9
    bobkat
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    Forgot to point out that because of their crank forward design and the riders lower position, they are definitely both feet on the ground when you stop. Hence their utility in stop and go conditions. You can still stand on the pedals to a degree, unlike recumbents, so are almost as good climbers as the average upright.

  10. #10
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    Hi, thanks for all the helpful responses. I've ridden a Townie, but think they are too twitchy on the front end, and also think they're cumbersome. 3 miles on on of those, and my behind is sore. I've also, more recently, test ridden a Zenetic, which I liked better than the Townie, but not as much as my Cannondale Comfort 400. I live on a busy street, and riding is done in traffic situation so it's very important that I feel confident in stopping my bike and maintaining control.

    Probably something that feeds into this problem is that I've had to raise the handlebars way up due to carpal tunnel syndrome. That solved that issue, but if I have to get off the saddle to stop, then I feel I'm jammed between the seat and the handlebars. I guess I'm hearing that I need to give the Zenetic another test ride.

  11. #11
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wren View Post
    Probably something that feeds into this problem is that I've had to raise the handlebars way up due to carpal tunnel syndrome. That solved that issue, but if I have to get off the saddle to stop, then I feel I'm jammed between the seat and the handlebars.
    Ah ha! This could be the issue right here.

    Your Cannondale Comfort 400 has an adjustable stem. When you raised your bars, how did you do it? Were you able to use a multi-tool, or did you have to use a big wrench?

    If the former, while you raised the bars, you also shortened the effective stem length, bringing the bars closer to you, which would certainly make you feel cramped and having to slide back on the saddle. BTW, I see this all the time when riding on the MUP. It's a common error, so don't feel bad if that's what you did.

    The way it needed to be done was to leave the stem angle alone and raise the entire affair by loosening a big ol' nut on the top of the head tube. That's how you raise/lower the bars without changing their distance from the saddle.

    If you're not sure what I mean, a quick trip to the LBS can help you out. I (hope I) attached a photo that may help.

    Either way, a fitting is cheaper than a new bike. Try that first. Worst case, it won't help on this bike but you'll know sizes and measurements to look for when shopping for your new one.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by tsl; 08-30-07 at 06:23 PM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


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  12. #12
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Actually, that will still bring the bars closer due to the angle of the headset. As you move higher you also move to the rear. But it is true that rotating an adjustable stem upwards will move the bars much closer to the rider than sliding the stem up will.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  13. #13
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Actually, that will still bring the bars closer due to the angle of the headset. As you move higher you also move to the rear. But it is true that rotating an adjustable stem upwards will move the bars much closer to the rider than sliding the stem up will.
    True. One then can adjust the stem angle down and forward at the pivot to compensate.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  14. #14
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    Ok, the stem was raised correctly, and think the height is maxed out, so guess I'll be shopping for a different bike.

    Appreciate your help.

  15. #15
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    That picture late asked for would help us make better suggestions.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  16. #16
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    I don't mean to be insensitive, but why not raise the seat to where it's supposed to be and practice stopping, getting out of the saddle, and putting your foot on the ground? It's really not some complicated, intricate move that requires the coordination of a gymnast. If you can ride a bike, you can learn how to stop at a corner.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wren View Post
    Ok, the stem was raised correctly, and think the height is maxed out, so guess I'll be shopping for a different bike.

    Appreciate your help.
    There are longer stems that you can buy without buying an entire bicycle.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    Throw us a pic of you sitting on the bike. Take it from the side with foot on pedal
    and down as far it will go.

    Yes, way more info needed to give free advice however poor it is.

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