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  1. #1
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Seat Position Not Comfortable

    First let me start with I haven't ridden a bike in at least 40 years ... Which means I'm a clueless old lady. Please take the time to explain and assume (rightly so) that I know nothing and probably understand less.

    My husband finally tracked down and bought a bike for me. It is a Trek Verve 1 WSD 13" frame. We changed the seat to one without a horn. That helped a lot, but I need to move the seat back further and my husband says it's as far back as it will go. The current position means I'm constantly slipping forward. We have tried tilting back, level, forward and everything in between.

    Can someone suggest the least expensive way to alter my bike and move the seat further back -- maybe 1-2 inches?

    I really want to be able to ride comfortably. My granddaughter and I love our evening rides together.

    Thank you for any help you are able to offer.
    Last edited by SewHelpMe; 07-21-13 at 10:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Thank you, Pedalocity. However we selected the 13" frame size after visiting 6 bike shops and the recommendation came from 4 of them. I'm only a bare 5'3" (and shrinking).

  3. #3
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Trek's website says their retailers will assist you in getting a good fit. Can you get back to the shop that sold your hub the bike and ask them for help?

    I'm pretty experienced with adjusting road bikes, but much less so with hybrid and comfort bikes.

    Question: if you are slipping forward, do you think your body wants to be forward? Also, how is your saddle height? You should not have it low enough that both feet are flat on the ground.

  4. #4
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Trek's website says their retailers will assist you in getting a good fit. Can you get back to the shop that sold your hub the bike and ask them for help?

    I'm pretty experienced with adjusting road bikes, but much less so with hybrid and comfort bikes.

    Question: if you are slipping forward, do you think your body wants to be forward? Also, how is your saddle height? You should not have it low enough that both feet are flat on the ground.
    Thank you for replying. Yes we can take it back to the shop again. They have not been able to get it comfortable for me so far. The problem is that I want to sit further back on the seat which means I'm hanging off the back and it is most uncomfortable. If I sit centered on the seat, my legs are almost vertical beneath me and I can't pedal well and keep slipping forward. There only suggestion was to tilt the seat upward in the front which put a lot of discomfort on my tail bone and other parts.

    As for the height, it's placed such that I can just touch the ground with my toes. Both the bike person and my husband insisted it needed to be that high, though I think I would have preferred a little lower.

    I keep wondering if there is a way to move the seat backward an inch or two. Is there some kind of modification that would do that without breaking the bank?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    One target for a good fitting is that with the cranks horizontal, the front edge of your knee is over the pedal spindle. It's usually tested with a plumb line. Clearly this criterion affects saddle fore-aft placement. When you are as far back as you can reasonably be, your knee just over the pedal spindle, like this? This "knee over pedal spindle" is often argued over, but to check yourself against this is not a bad idea. It's not a hard and fast rule, however.

    Also, if you pedal with the ball of your foot, your leg should not straighten completely (not sure you said it was straightening, but I'll throw this out anyway), there should be a small but significant bend to your leg. If you are straightening your leg completely your saddle is too high.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewHelpMe View Post
    We changed the seat to one without a horn. That helped a lot, but I need to
    move the seat back further and my husband says it's as far back as it will go.
    The current position means I'm constantly slipping forward. We have tried
    tilting back, level, forward and everything in between.
    Hi,

    I can't follow your predicament so I'm going to guess :

    Hornless saddles are a bad idea for a problem that doesn't exist.

    They are more of a seat than a saddle and need to be sat on.

    That they need to be a high as "normal" saddles is nonsense,
    they cannot allow anywhere near full leg extension without
    you effectively falling / sliding off the front of them.

    (Guess what the bit missing is for, amongst other things ....)

    Seat height is whatever works and is lower than "normal".

    KOPS (Knee Over Pedal System) is also pretty meaningless.

    Again it is whatever works.

    2" further back might cause reach issue making things worse,
    I cannot see how it will help the tendency to slip forward.

    Set the seat so you can touch the ground with the ball of each
    foot vertical. Perhaps lower. Move the seat forward over the pedals.
    Set the bars highish so your arms control your balance over the seat.

    Get it so you can perch on the "saddle" and if you lean back
    arms fully extended you start to slip off the back of the "saddle".

    That should give a good neutral position. Relaxing and leaning
    into the bars with bent elbows should allow modest pedaling
    staying on a contraption that doesn't belong on a bicycle .

    Just guessing and if the above doesn't work I don't know.
    I've never ridden and never intend to ride a hornless "saddle".

    I imagine it takes a finely honed sense of balance to go
    round corners on one, but I will never directly find out.

    rgds, sreten.

    What was wrong with the original saddle ?



    Hard to see such a luxurious lump being worse.
    Last edited by sreten; 07-22-13 at 12:59 PM.

  7. #7
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sreten View Post
    Hi,

    I can't follow your predicament so I'm going to guess :

    Hornless saddles are a bad idea for a problem that doesn't exist.

    2" further back might cause reach issue making things worse,

    What was wrong with the original saddle ?

    Hard to see such a luxurious lump being worse.
    The original seat hurt, plain and simple. The horn causes pressure on my tail bone which is damaged. We tried just about every horned saddle in 5 of the 6 bike stores and were going to give up on even getting a bike at all for me when one young man told us about the hornless variety. That solved the pressure problem.

    Hmm. Let me try again to explain the position problem, and it is identical with both the horned and hornless saddles.

    First, the saddle is as far back as it will go right now. When the pedals are horizontal to the ground, my knee extends past the spindle in the pedal by 2-3 inches. My husband checked with a plum line.

    Second, I am only just able to touch the ground with the balls of 1 foot when sitting in the saddle. I can not touch both at the same time easily.

    Lowering the seat so both feet touch the ground simultaneously on the balls of my feet increases the amount my knee extends beyond the spindle and increasing my need to sit further back on the seat. Raising the seat means I can't reach the ground at all. I realize some people can ride that way, but I can not.

    Tilting the seat down in the front while increasing the saddle height corrects the leg placement and I no longer feel like my legs are cramped and need to sit back further, which is where it is now -- instead I'm now consistently slipping forward and causing pain in my arthritic hands and wrists.

    Tilting the seat down in the back and lowering the seat increases the cramped leg feeling and I slip backwards off the seat and again over compensate with holding the handle bars -- again making arthritic hands hurt.

    Leveling the seat, setting to the height where I can just touch the balls of my feet to the groung keeps me in the saddle, eases up on my hands but I'm too close to the pedals.

  8. #8
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    One target for a good fitting is that with the cranks horizontal, the front edge of your knee is over the pedal spindle. It's usually tested with a plumb line. Clearly this criterion affects saddle fore-aft placement. When you are as far back as you can reasonably be, your knee just over the pedal spindle, like this? This "knee over pedal spindle" is often argued over, but to check yourself against this is not a bad idea. It's not a hard and fast rule, however.

    Also, if you pedal with the ball of your foot, your leg should not straighten completely (not sure you said it was straightening, but I'll throw this out anyway), there should be a small but significant bend to your leg. If you are straightening your leg completely your saddle is too high.
    I had my husband check and the front of my knee is 2-3" beyond the pedal spindle. I tried pedaling with the ball of my foot just now and kept slipping of the pedal. Seems I pedal more comfortably with area between the ball of my foot and it's center.

    I think what may not be clear, even though I posted the bike info, is that it's an upright comfort bike.

    I also have some physical limitations due to age (57) and surgery: arthritis, fused neck (limited mobility), damaged tail bone.

    I forgot, you asked about the bend: I think it may be correct as it currently is based on your description, even though I'm not pedaling with the ball of my foot.

    Thank you for your suggestions.
    Last edited by SewHelpMe; 07-22-13 at 01:59 PM. Reason: typos

  9. #9
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    Hi,

    Riding a bike where you can't reach the ground is very easy.
    Much easier than trying to ride from the saddle all the time.
    Stopping and starting is safe, simple and secure.
    Just get out of a saddle when you need to.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/starting.html

    A small skill to learn for optimum pedalling.

    rgds, sreten.

    KOPS is for road bikes, not sit up and begs.
    Last edited by sreten; 07-22-13 at 02:44 PM.

  10. #10
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sreten View Post
    Hi,

    Riding a bike where you can't reach the ground is very easy.
    Much easier than trying to ride from the saddle all the time.
    Stopping and starting is safe, simple and secure.
    Just get out of a saddle when you need to.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/starting.html

    A small skill to learn for optimum pedalling.

    rgds, sreten.

    KOPS is for road bikes, not sit up and begs.
    Thank you, but I'm unable to do it. As I've mentioned, I have some physical limitations. Mounting like that is to hard with arthritis, a fused neck and damaged tail bone. Suffice it to say I've had enough crashes trying to do just that. Thank you, once again for trying to help me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Sewhelpme, I think we understand you are on a comfort bike, not a road bike. So we're trying to adapt our knowledge, which for me is mainly for road and hybrid bikes, to your situation. I wish we were having more success.

    I think your history of injury is more salient than age, per se. I'm now 60, but with now 12 years back in the saddle of road bikes, and I had pretty good bike handling skills when I re-started. But I have not had any significant skeletal injuries, luckily.

    Can you find a position where you can ride with 30 minutes of stability and comfort by lowering the saddle? Generally a rider can lower a saddle ot the point where knee discomfort begins in the side and front of the knees, then raise it back up a quarter to a half an inch (non-scientific, but I have seen this help a rider. I think maybe some of your cycling limitations may abate a little with time and continued time in the saddle, just as a hypothesis. I think the first fitting and cycling goal for you should be to become able to pedal continuously for some period of time, repeat a bunch of times, and see if you are stronger and more stable as a result of this practice and training.

  12. #12
    Not About Hardware Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewHelpMe View Post
    I really want to be able to ride comfortably. My granddaughter and I love our evening rides together.
    SewHelpMe,

    How long are your evening rides in terms of time & distance?
    If you could cycle that distance comfortably at a nice pace for you and your g-daughter w/o stopping would that be a reasonable goal for now?

    Pics of your machine (w/ you in motion from the right side if possible) will help us quite a bit.

    Regards,

    -Bandera
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

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    Not About Hardware Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    I think the first fitting and cycling goal for you should be to become able to pedal continuously for some period of time, repeat a bunch of times, and see if you are stronger and more stable as a result of this practice and training.
    RF is onto the heart of the matter here, a close enough fit with regular repeats of the same course will build strength, flexibility and balance.
    Taking a day off between efforts to allow adaptation and prevent injury is wise but it's the repeated efforts that build a rider up.

    -Bandera
    Last edited by Bandera; 07-22-13 at 08:26 PM.
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

  14. #14
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    I wish we were having more success.

    Can you find a position where you can ride with 30 minutes of stability and comfort by lowering the saddle? Generally a rider can lower a saddle ot the point where knee discomfort begins in the side and front of the knees, then raise it back up a quarter to a half an inch (non-scientific, but I have seen this help a rider. I think maybe some of your cycling limitations may abate a little with time and continued time in the saddle, just as a hypothesis. I think the first fitting and cycling goal for you should be to become able to pedal continuously for some period of time, repeat a bunch of times, and see if you are stronger and more stable as a result of this practice and training.
    Actually, I think you folks are. At the very least, my husband understands better after doing the inventory to answer everyone's questions. Also, I think I better understand what I should be aiming for.

    You are probably correct about the injuries. But there are other limitations that are age related, but they don't seem to be part of the equation of getting comfortable in the seat.

    Riding: I rode a stationary bike for 2 years/2-3 times a day/averaging 45 minutes each. The subsequent 2 years were intermittent. The one good thing I seem to have going for me is that I seemed to have retained most of the muscles I built up in my legs.

    We got my bike on 7/15 and I've ridden every day since then. The last two rides were very leisurely so our grand daughter could keep up, but we spent a continuous 45 minutes on the bike covering 6 miles.

    Today we made some adjustments to the seat, moving it forward slightly, tilting it down a very small amount in the back and lowering it about a 1/4". My husband came up with it while trying to figure out how to get the front of my knee in alignment with the pedal spindle.

    A short ride around the block felt better but I'll know better after we go out for our evening ride.

    I realize I must be a frustration to many, and my apologies.

    I really do appreciate ask the time and advice being offered.

  15. #15
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    RF is onto the heart of the matter here, a close enough fit with regular repeats of the same course will build strength, flexibility and balance.
    Taking a day off between efforts to allow adaption and prevent injury is wise but it's the repeated efforts that build a rider up.

    -Bandera
    Truthfully, I'd like to ride several times a day. It's exhilarating!

  16. #16
    Member SewHelpMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    SewHelpMe,

    How long are your evening rides in terms of time & distance?
    If you could cycle that distance comfortably at a nice pace for you and your g-daughter w/o stopping would that be a reasonable goal for now?

    Pics of your machine (w/ you in motion from the right side if possible) will help us quite a bit.

    Regards,

    -Bandera
    We are logging in MapMyRide. I'll capture info and post with video later when we go riding.

    Currently there haven't been enough rides to formulate a consistency but I'd like the rides to be 60-90 minutes if its even doable with GD along. I have no idea of distance or even if i can take it into account given GD's need to stop periodically. However, I do try to keep moving on the bike, circling around, while waitibg for her and my husband stops with her. He understands my desire not to stop and cool down each time.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You may be speaking of needing a greater seat setback..

    replying to a similar posting .. Brompton saddle adapter pin atop a kalloy straight seat post

    and a Brompton saddle clip , or a generic saddle clip .. the SAP offers a horizontal tube to fit the saddle clip onto.

    and then the adjustment of setback is a placement on that tube and the sliding of the saddle rails on the saddle clip itself.

  18. #18
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    The upright position may be aggravating the tailbone problem, if you can find a position where you tilt your hips forward a bit you may be more comfortable. You might try dropping the bars a bit to see what the change in position feels like. Maybe even raise the seat while dropping the bars.
    Every living thing is a GMO.

  19. #19
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by SewHelpMe View Post
    I'll capture info and post with video later when we go riding.
    This is what I have for the rides so far. Distance in miles. Time in Minutes.
    Date Distance Time
    16-Jul 3.4 20
    17-Jul 4.17 30
    18-Jul 6.68 48
    19-Jul 5.98 41
    20-Jul 2.74 18
    21-Jul 5.92 41
    22-Jul 8.31 58

    I'm trying to upload 3 videos. The first one (about 30 seconds) was done by my granddaughter. Don't laugh too hard.

    The next 2 (about 5-10 seconds) were done by my husband. I hope the quality is sufficient as I have only one of those little cameras that happens to also do a bit of video recording, but it's not very good.

    Ok, the upload utility keeps telling me the uploads failed. I think the files are too large to be uploaded.

    See if you can download and/or view them from:
    http://www.digging4roots.com/ftp/ride/
    I converted them from AVI to MP4 files to make them smaller. But if you prefer, the AVI files are there as well.

  20. #20
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    The upright position may be aggravating the tailbone problem, if you can find a position where you tilt your hips forward a bit you may be more comfortable. You might try dropping the bars a bit to see what the change in position feels like. Maybe even raise the seat while dropping the bars.
    Actually, the upright position with the hornless saddle is quite comfortable and I no longer have pressure on the tail bone. It was the saddle with the horn that aggravated it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    You may be speaking of needing a greater seat setback..

    replying to a similar posting .. Brompton saddle adapter pin atop a kalloy straight seat post

    and a Brompton saddle clip , or a generic saddle clip .. the SAP offers a horizontal tube to fit the saddle clip onto.

    and then the adjustment of setback is a placement on that tube and the sliding of the saddle rails on the saddle clip itself.
    I read this to my husband and he thinks he understood. I may have more questions after he takes a look at the parts. Thank you.

  22. #22
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    Watching the videos it seems that, as you told, you need a saddle that can be moved a bit backwards. For your upright position I think it will be better to change your saddle to a bigger one with springs. It will be more comfortable because it dynamically adapts its level to correct weight distribution and soften road defects. Also, some bigger saddles (with or without springs) will give you a bit of freedom, so you can be sit in a few different positions and change your pedaling position when you are noticing a bit of pain in your back or butt. Meanwhile, if you replace your saddle for a bigger one, be sure that it has longer rails so you can have more freedom to move it backwards. You can combine it with a seatpost with some degree of curvature on its tip. It may help to keep balance of the saddle when it is installed in a far-back position.

    About the KOPS rule, it is to prevent damage on the knees when you apply force downwards. When you engage your muscles and the knees are more advanced than the feet, the knees suffer an "output" tension that is not good. Although it is not a rule-for-all, you should keep it in mind while placing your saddle. Also, you can take it in mind and move your body backwards when you are going to apply more force to your pedals, so you compensate the position and prevent the tension in the knees.

  23. #23
    Not About Hardware Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewHelpMe View Post
    This is what I have for the rides so far. Distance in miles. Time in Minutes.
    SewHelpMe,

    You are getting good consistent miles in, keep it up.

    The vids seem to show that you are pedaling w/ your instep vs. the ball of your foot.
    It's important to change this as developing a smooth, powerful spinning pedaling style is key to cycling efficiency/comfort for any bike rider.
    If you were to do leg lifts on a universal machine you'd never use your instep to address the bar but the ball of the foot.
    Same w/ cycling which is like doing leg work at your aerobic threshold (some day).

    Addressing the pedal w/ the ball of the foot will raise your saddle, at least by the distance between the ball of the foot & the instep.
    "Up" is also "Back". This is "a good thing", but flatfooting a start is out.

    Learn how to start by applying the brakes while straddling the bike w/ the "off-foot" flat on the ground and the "start foot" on the pedal parallel to the ground. Release the brakes while pushing your strongest leg down on the pedal stroke, ride the downstroke to lever yourself up on the saddle, engage your off leg and proceed. To stop modulate the brakes and ride the strong side pedal down to straddle the frame and "land" off-foot down while balancing against the brake force. Sounds scary, it's not. Find a nice big grassy area and practice, nothing like super mild cyclo cross for developing bike handing skills safely.

    Another "why". When properly fitted and adapted a cyclist is mainly supported by her legs w/ the saddle being a fulcrum and less of a support.
    More power, more comfort.

    Hope this helps, YMMV etc.

    -Bandera
    Last edited by Bandera; 07-23-13 at 11:47 AM.
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

  24. #24
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    Perhaps the bike you are working on is less than Ideal ..

    these sell well for a lot of people who say,
    First let me start with I haven't ridden a bike in at least 40 years ...
    http://www.trekbikes.com/ca/en/bikes...pure_lowstep/#

    Note how much steeper the seat tube is on the bike mentioned

    http://www.trekbikes.com/ca/en/bikes.../verve_1_wsd/#

    the crank forward types let the leg extension be adequate pedaling,
    but seat closer to the ground when rider wants to put a foot down.

    Actually, the upright position with the hornless saddle is quite comfortable and I no longer have pressure on the tail bone. It was the saddle with the horn that aggravated it.
    FWIW,

    Because the horn is on the front of the saddle and your tailbone, Coccyx is on the back of you,

    the horn was not the issue the, gap between the wider spaced cushions was what you changed
    to have space to let the tailbone curve inward with out contacting the saddle.

    other saddles offer a wide Y opening to do the tailbone clearance, without eliminating the front part,
    that is also a lever to help steer the bike through weight shifting.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-23-13 at 12:00 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Yes, it seems like you want to try to make this bike a crank forward type of bike when it is not. I don't know if a setback seatpost will help. A crank forward bike may be much more to your liking, like the Trek Pure, Giant Suede, and others.
    Every living thing is a GMO.

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