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  1. #1
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    Assess my bike fit for randonneuring (something's off, pictures inside)

    Hi,

    dropovi.jpgova1.jpgova.jpgova5.jpgova3.jpg

    edit: after a long discussion and many helpful comments, this is how I look now (image flipped for better comparison, animated gif at the beginning of page two:
    Here's a few pics, various pedal positions and one in the drops. This is me, 191cm of height (6.2 feet) on my 61cm Bianchi Volpe. It's a bike I bought a few months ago. I want to get into randonneuring next season, and while I have some endurance, various aches and pains are limiting me. It seems to me some adjustments are needed for fitting this bike. It feels good when I start my ride, but usually about 100km (60 miles) later, I experience shoulder/upper back and lower back pain, or stiffness.

    Before this, I rode a xc hardtail Merida, with not much problems comfort wise (it was not ideal, it had some issues, like numb fingers and some lower back issues, but something I came to expect as normal after a few hours in the saddle).

    There are no professional bike fitters where I live, so any advice from you guys is welcome. I was considering moving the saddle a little bit back, but really, I have no clue, it would just be a trial and error thing, I thought maybe I could get a place to start from with your help...

    Now this may be a core strength issue also, but I've done a bunch of exercises for that during the winter, and I know I'm stronger because I didn't have lower back issues when climbing steep grades this year (there is a 18+% hill it takes a few minutes to climb near me), which is something that was bothering me the last few years.

    Excuse the jeans/sock thing, I was just going around the block so I'm not dressed for riding.

    Here's a few pics, various pedal positions and one in the drops.
    Last edited by Pamtivek; 11-02-13 at 12:00 PM. Reason: updated with new info

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    Oh yeah, if it's of any use, here's the geometry of the Volpe in my size:
    Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 16.18.39.png

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    The first thing that comes to mind is to marvel that you were able to ride around in a busy street for these pictures.

    With the CAVEAT that I'm not an expert fitter, here are my thoughts:

    - Just eyeballing the saddle fore-aft, it looks like your knees are behind KOPS, which isn't a good or bad thing, but that you probably won't need to scoot the saddle back any further.

    - It's hard to tell with the rain jacket, but it looks like you are rounding your lower back and keeping your arms fairly straight. Whenever I have lower back pain from riding, it's because I allowed my back to round rather than rolling my hips forward to allow a flatter back. The flatter back then allows you to look ahead without craning your neck as much.

    - I've had wrist and shoulder pain in the past from locking my elbows with straight arms -- keeping my arms loose with a deliberate bend has helped a lot, but it took vigilance to break that habit.

    - Finally, you may find that your fit is on the aggressive side for really long riding. I like zipping around on a bike with lots of saddle to bar drop, but my rando-specific bike is set up to be more upright, with the drops position about where most roadies would have the hoods position. Hope this helps.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I'm no expert either. But looks like you could rotate your handlebars up just a tad and be more comfortable. Looks like you might could raise your saddle a tad, too, for that matter.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    The saddle to bar drop is not what I see on most randonneurs' bikes; at least not the ones riding 300k and over. OTOH I've heard people with chronic back pain saying that position is pain-free.

    Are you comfortable? That's the ultimate assessment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    The first thing that comes to mind is to marvel that you were able to ride around in a busy street for these pictures.

    - It's hard to tell with the rain jacket, but it looks like you are rounding your lower back and keeping your arms fairly straight. Whenever I have lower back pain from riding, it's because I allowed my back to round rather than rolling my hips forward to allow a flatter back. The flatter back then allows you to look ahead without craning your neck as much.

    - I've had wrist and shoulder pain in the past from locking my elbows with straight arms -- keeping my arms loose with a deliberate bend has helped a lot, but it took vigilance to break that habit.
    Thanks Scott, I think this may be the main problem. I never thought about it, did some googling, Joe Friel described it vividly:

    Take a close look at these two riders' positions. I like the posture of the rider on the left. His position on the bike has been fit quite well. But what I like the most is his hip position. He sits on the saddle with his hips rolled forward as if spilling water out of the front of a bowl made of his pelvis. In contrast, the rider on the right is sitting on his saddle as if it's a bar stool and he's leaning on the bar. His hips are not rolled forward. No water is being spilled from his 'bowl.' This results in a rounded back and unnatural neck and head position. The only way to see where he is going is to lift his head high and curve the neck thus making it more difficult to breathe. It also puts his legs in a position that reduces his potential for power and he has to reach more for the bars.
    (link:http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblo...e-posture.html)

    But, regarding the saddle to handlebar drop, I understand that brevet bikes usually don't have a lot of drop and that seems perfectly sensible to me on one hand, but then again, wouldn't it be easier to roll your hips forward with a lower bar? I'll measure how much drop I have today, it isn't much I think, I do have a bunch of spacers.

    As for saddle height, I was raising it incrementaly a few mm at a time for the first couple of rides until it felt it wasn't low anymore. I guess I can still try a bit higher, maybe it isn't too low anymore, but could be higher...will try

    Thanks everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamtivek View Post
    Thanks Scott, I think this may be the main problem. I never thought about it, did some googling, Joe Friel described it vividly:


    (link:http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblo...e-posture.html)

    But, regarding the saddle to handlebar drop, I understand that brevet bikes usually don't have a lot of drop and that seems perfectly sensible to me on one hand, but then again, wouldn't it be easier to roll your hips forward with a lower bar? I'll measure how much drop I have today, it isn't much I think, I do have a bunch of spacers.

    As for saddle height, I was raising it incrementaly a few mm at a time for the first couple of rides until it felt it wasn't low anymore. I guess I can still try a bit higher, maybe it isn't too low anymore, but could be higher...will try

    Thanks everyone.
    Yes, I was going to say that it looks like you're sitting 'square' on the saddle and would benefit rolling hips forward, and yes, lower bars help that happen, especially in your case, where it also looks to me like your reach is too short, and that a longer top tubed bike may have yielded a better fit.

    No matter; I'd say try sliding your saddle back a bit (yes, could be raised, too) and lowering your bars. If lower bars don't work, try a longer stem of the same rise, so you get more stretch, which will allow you to push your butt back and roll your hips forward more, again flattening the back.

    Admittedly, I know nothing of rando riding, but doing 70-80 miles per ride of aggressive, fast riding should be no problem, yet that's quite a bit different than 300km! Are people really riding 300km in a single ride? That'd take like half the day, literally! That's crazy. I've ridden 8hr days, on dirt, but 12-14hrs? Nuts. Anyway, I'll defer to those experienced in randonneuring if that's the case.
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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    No matter; I'd say try sliding your saddle back a bit (yes, could be raised, too) and lowering your bars. If lower bars don't work, try a longer stem of the same rise, so you get more stretch, which will allow you to push your butt back and roll your hips forward more, again flattening the back.

    Admittedly, I know nothing of rando riding, but doing 70-80 miles per ride of aggressive, fast riding should be no problem, yet that's quite a bit different than 300km! Are people really riding 300km in a single ride? That'd take like half the day, literally! That's crazy. I've ridden 8hr days, on dirt, but 12-14hrs? Nuts. Anyway, I'll defer to those experienced in randonneuring if that's the case.
    One of the great parts about randonneuring is that it challenges what you think you know about bike fit, gearing, saddle choice, nutrition, hydration, attitude, and a whole host of other things. And what works for a quick group ride or century might not work so well toward the end of a 300k or longer ride. So it's all about listening to your body and making adjustments, even if they seem counter to what you were convinced of before. I've heard randonneuring equated with problem solving, and couldn't agree more.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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    I went for a ride trying to ride with rolled hips. It was a short ride, about 30 miles, so nothing really conclusive, but I feel I can put more power and that I'm more nimble on the bike. Back feels fine. BUT... I feel weight on my hands... I guess rolling my hips extends my reach a bit, so I'm using my hands to prop myself against the handlebar, should be fixed by pushing the saddle back. Also, I feel more pressure from the saddle, on the parts that shouldn't be subjected to pressure I just brought the wrong allen key with me so I couldn't tinker with the saddle.

    Regarding saddle height, wouldn't pushing the saddle back distance it from the bottom bracket, effectively adding height?

    Scott, I totally get what you mean with problem solving. I spent more than an hour yesterday adjusting my cleats. Ended up rotating my right shoe cleat, positioning my foot slightly outward, which is the way it stays when I'm just standing about. This was to address some IT band tightness. I feel my right knee tracks better now. I also have mild chondromalacia. I always have problems with my right leg, never my left. I'm assuming there's some leg length discrepancy going on.

    Anyway, I guess this position I'm working on is not quite feasible for real long brevets, but I'll try and dial in a fit sustainable for a comfortable century at least, and then work from there...

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    honestly, even though you want to find a fit/position treatment for your issues - I don;t think it's there.
    from what comes across, your seem very much in ball park for position to be able to ride some long miles (from my view).

    I think it's more a matter of where your posture ends up after some miles; and possibly the amount of miles you are accustomed to.

    So first, mileage, since any one week can vary a bunch for many - lets use 2wks. In a 2wk period, how many miles do you ride? What constitutes the avg distance for a mid-wk ride, avg for a weekend day ride? How often in this 2 wk period do you do a 100+ km ride? How often do you do a 160Km ride?
    How many are wkday rides and how many are wkend day rides?

    Everything you note can oftern be attributed to riding posture. 9 out of ten times, upperback,neck and shoulder issues are posture. Lower back can be linked to posture also.
    WHile I've been a big proponent of not hunching the back (for lots of reasons), I know for some it can't be done and others will take a long time of conscious effort and some adjustment to take out the hump/hunch.
    From what I see, I can understand that the privates are underpressure when you try to roll the pelvis. You would seem to be at a higher saddle extension. If you want to consciously try to roll the pelvis, try lowering the saddle 3mm (2mm is a change, but not much, 4mm is quite a bit - so 3mm is a good experiment start). Lowering the saddle just a bit gives the privates some space when you 'tilt' and you current have the saddle well high enough.
    Going back on the saddle rails some 3mm will take some pressure off the hands and let you stretch a bit.

    Even though you have some bend in the elbows, do you have this at 60K and again at 100K ? A little more bend wouldn't hurt.
    Consciosuly think about relaxing the shoulders (s that the shoulder blades slide 'down'). Doing frequent changes in hand position are a good way to alert you to think/adjust the shoulders, the bend in the arms. Everytime I change my hand position, I actively think about dropping my shoulders and making a good arm bend. I know better, yet I find myself sometimes with locked elbows and tight shoulders... go figure.

    SO what does your 2 wk riding look like?
    Last edited by cyclezen; 10-06-13 at 03:11 PM.
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  12. #12
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    As far as I can see from pictures, your fit looks okay, but it is pretty aggressive in terms of bar to saddle drop. If you don't usually ride that position, and are not especially flexible, it will take time and adjustment.

    What is your typical speed and pedaling effort? The aero benefits of such a low position (less wind resistance) and the muscular benefits of a sharper hip angle (more glute used) really matter a significant amount around 18 mph (roughly) and above and at fairly vigorous pedaling intensity. And at vigorous effort levels, your pedaling is actually lifting your torso up, instead of your arms and back/core working hard. You should only need a couple fingertips on the bars and a firm but not tense core, to support your torso. At lower speed and effort, any overly low position is just putting more strain on torso and arms without equivalent benefit. So you might try rotating the bars higher.

    I agree with rolling your hips forward and keeping a flatter back. You might have to try some different saddles and saddle angles. It may be counter intuitive but nose down is usually not better than flat or slightly nose up.

    A longer stem could challenge your flexibility even more. But if you feel better riding at the far end of the hoods versus on where the hoods and bar join, then maybe a longer reach would help . Saddle fire and aft is an easy way to experiment with reach.

    Seat height looks okay, maybe could be higher. When your hips start rocking side to side, saddle is too high.

    The main thing is, 100 miles, 200 miles in the saddle is a long ride. I can ride 100 miles without back pain but it took time to work up to that.

    My guess is that stretching and flexibility exercises (don't forget the neck) will do as much or more than fine tuning fit.
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    Thanks for showing so much interest, it’s really helpful.


    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    I think it's more a matter of where your posture ends up after some miles; and possibly the amount of miles you are accustomed to.
    Good point, I imagine my posture might deteriorate after a few hours. I shall make arrangements with my super patient girlfriend to take pictures of me at the beginning and then again at the end of long rides.


    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    SO what does your 2 wk riding look like?

    Let’s say about 150 miles. A weekend long ride is from 60-80 miles (doesn’t seem much when you use miles instead of km’s heh), a midweek ride is 20 to 30 miles, the shorter ones are faster, or some kind of intervals or hill repeats (nothing constructive, done just for variety and fun). And then there is another weekend ride done with a few friends not (yet) that much into cycling, slow, cruising pace, 20 to 30 miles. I miss one of those rides often, so I’ll say a two week average comes down to 150 miles.


    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    As far as I can see from pictures, your fit looks okay, but it is pretty aggressive in terms of bar to saddle drop. If you don't usually ride that position, and are not especially flexible, it will take time and adjustment.

    Hm, a few comments about the drop being aggressive seem odd to me, so I went downstairs and measured it, it’s 7.5cm. Is that really considered to be a large drop? I already have a stack of four 10mm spacers, and the headtube sticks out a bit too.


    In fact, after that I went and took measures from my previous mountain bike I was using for all my long rides. Looks like I was in a more aggresive position on it: It has about 9 cm of saddle to handlebar drop (although with riser bars, but anyway, I spent most of my time with my hands closer to the middle of the bars), and also horizontal TT + stem length is 730mm on the mtb, and 705mm on my Volpe (until now I assumed the Volpe had a longer top tube).


    The longest ride I went on this year, was on that mtb, it was 105 miles, which was done a day after a 60 mile ride. I had a slight lower back tightness on that one, something I assumed would be gone with less saddle to bar drop of the Volpe. I don’t know, maybe I naturally kept my hips rolled on that one, I never really paid attention.


    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    What is your typical speed and pedaling effort? The aero benefits of such a low position (less wind resistance) and the muscular benefits of a sharper hip angle (more glute used) really matter a significant amount around 18 mph (roughly) and above and at fairly vigorous pedaling intensity. And at vigorous effort levels, your pedaling is actually lifting your torso up, instead of your arms and back/core working hard. You should only need a couple fingertips on the bars and a firm but not tense core, to support your torso. At lower speed and effort, any overly low position is just putting more strain on torso and arms without equivalent benefit. So you might try rotating the bars higher.

    Well on a flat 100km ride I usually average at about 16-17 mph, but it’s not a steady effort, long stretches go at 18 mph, 21 being the top end. I can sustain 23 mph for about 10 minutes, and 25 mph for about 90 seconds (I’m just saying this to point out that I’m not just using this bike for long slow rides, so there is a compromise to be made).


    Also, I’m pretty lean, I have 7.4% body fat if that has to do something with all of this. 22.3 BMI


    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    You might have to try some different saddles and saddle angles.

    I think I might need a wider saddle. I’ll try a San Marco Regal, there is a cheap used one I can get. It seems that the stock saddle that comes with the Volpe is not that good anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    A longer stem could challenge your flexibility even more. But if you feel better riding at the far end of the hoods versus on where the hoods and bar join, then maybe a longer reach would help .


    My guess is that stretching and flexibility exercises (don't forget the neck) will do as much or more than fine tuning fit.


    So with what I’ve said about the measures from my previous bike, I guess I’ll try with a longer reach, but first with moving the saddle back...


    Flexible I am not. When I’m warmed up, I can touch my toes with straight legs, but that’s about it. Far from it when not warmed up. Last winter I mustered up some discipline to work on my core, which helped me get rid of lower back pain when riding up steep or long climbs. I guess flexibility is the next weakness I should tackle. All the while tinkering with my fit. Your advice being quite helpful with that.
    Last edited by Pamtivek; 10-07-13 at 08:03 AM.

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    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Your saddle looks way low to me, and in at least one picture the saddle appears to be too far forward. I think you'll find that when your saddle is on the correct position your core will be more engaged and the weight on your hands will drop. Ditto, your lower back is not fully rotated.

    As far as RUSA randos, it's not just distance it's also climbing. So, your bike fit needs to support you on long climbs as well as being comfortable the flats, and it also means keeping things light.

    Personally, my neck and shoulders would be barking after fours hours if I had that much drop between the saddle and bars. I did 93K Saturday on a whim, but I flipped my stem over to a riser position before pulling out. Easy ride, and I think it is partially because I ride and train lower, so higher seems like a treat. Remember, you'll likely have the weight of your helmet, sunglasses, sweaty head to contend with for 7-12 hours, it gets to you.
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 10-07-13 at 08:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Your saddle looks way low to me, and in at least one picture the saddle appears to be too far forward. I think you'll find that when your saddle is on the correct position your core will be more engaged and the weight on your hands will drop. Ditto, your lower back is not fully rotated.

    As far as RUSA randos, it's not just distance it's also climbing. So, your bike fit needs to support you on long climbs as well as being comfortable the flats, and it also means keeping things light.

    Personally, my neck and shoulders would be barking after fours hours if I had that much drop between the saddle and bars. I did 93K Saturday on a whim, but I flipped my stem over to a riser position before pulling out. Easy ride, and I think it is partially because I ride and train lower, so higher seems like a treat. Remember, you'll likely have the weight of your helmet, sunglasses, sweaty head to contend with for 7-12 hours, it gets to you.
    Especially because I have a very large head

    what do you think about getting an alternative, riser stem, which I could then switch to when going for extremely long rides then? And, would that stem have to be a longer one, or same length, what are your thoughts?

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    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Might check saddle to pedal distance on road bike vs mountain bike. With pedal at lowest position. And compare saddle to bar distance. And the saddles, type and position.

    Would be interesting to see if there is a difference. Since you are comfortable on the mountain bike, makes sense to duplicate its position as much as possible on the road bike.

    Are you riding the mountain bike off the road? In that case you may be moving around more on the bike. On the road, possibly you spend longer in the same position.

    Anyway, I think you sound on the right path and I bet after a couple months of riding and stretching, you'll be more comfortable on the road bike.
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    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamtivek View Post
    Especially because I have a very large head

    what do you think about getting an alternative, riser stem, which I could then switch to when going for extremely long rides then? And, would that stem have to be a longer one, or same length, what are your thoughts?
    My general rule is to change as little as possible ride to ride, (and that includes my diet - pre-fueling for long rides is debilitating for me). What seems easy and efficient is having a 15 degree riser stem in down position, then flipping it for endurance rides. It does compact you a little, but the first problem area I'll have on a long ride is from the chest up, and hands coming up and back a little seems to relax everything out. I have a big head too, 12 hours downward dog is no joke. Plus, the drops will be more accessible, which is great for stretching the back and shoulders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamtivek View Post
    ...Good point, I imagine my posture might deteriorate after a few hours. I shall make arrangements with my super patient girlfriend to take pictures of me at the beginning and then again at the end of long rides. .
    Praise the SP girlfriend... but self-awareness might be all you need. You know what your best posture is, bring awareness to it whenever you can, in the ride. Finding yourself outside the 'metric' brings me awake and I quickly go from 'embarrassment' to determination to not fall into it again (but, of couse, being human, I do...)
    You're obviously very pragmatic about yourself and can find the 'faults'. It's a great trait towards improvement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamtivek View Post
    ...Let’s say about 150 miles. A weekend long ride is from 60-80 miles (doesn’t seem much when you use miles instead of km’s heh), a midweek ride is 20 to 30 miles, the shorter ones are faster, or some kind of intervals or hill repeats (nothing constructive, done just for variety and fun). And then there is another weekend ride done with a few friends not (yet) that much into cycling, slow, cruising pace, 20 to 30 miles. I miss one of those rides often, so I’ll say a two week average comes down to 150 miles.
    Northern Hemisphere - we're approaching shorter days and colder climate - my comments are directed to those seasons when riding can be maximized... 150 mi (your choice on units...) every 2 wks - 60 mile ride (your shorter 'long' day) = 90 remaining to spread over the rest of those 2 wks = 3 mid-wk rides or one more 60 ride and one 30... That's about 3 -4 days out of 14 - I think you might see it...
    Frequency and length - before doing 120 mi/200K ride? Long before a 120 mi day looms you need to step it up. Doing a 95-110 mi ride every 2 - 3 wks makes a 60 miler seem an avg bimble; and the body will become more accustomed to the time in the saddle (from my experience). I'm not gonna throw out my mileage, but is more on both frequency, duration and intensity, but when I do a 100 to 120 Mi day, I do 'feel' it... So if you plan on the Randonneur thing, it'll require more of most everything in prep.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamtivek View Post
    ...
    Hm, a few comments about the drop being aggressive seem odd to me, so I went downstairs and measured it, it’s 7.5cm. Is that really considered to be a large drop? I already have a stack of four 10mm spacers, and the headtube sticks out a bit too.

    In fact, after that I went and took measures from my previous mountain bike I was using for all my long rides. Looks like I was in a more aggresive position on it: It has about 9 cm of saddle to handlebar drop (although with riser bars, but anyway, I spent most of my time with my hands closer to the middle of the bars), and also horizontal TT + stem length is 730mm on the mtb, and 705mm on my Volpe (until now I assumed the Volpe had a longer top tube). .
    Drop is, well, personal. I don;t see yours as excessively aggressive IMO. Going higher has its consequences. Personaly, if I was higher, the onset of 'monkeybutt' would be much sooner... and the pressure on my spine and sitzbones over that ride would be more uncomfortable. You don;t have a bulky torso to hold up, so that amount of drop is really mild.
    If you've of an experimental nature - "flip it" up and do a 60 miler. You'll find out how much you might like it... (and also the shorter reach). It's not a permanent change, easily done and undone in 15 minutes of wrenching.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pamtivek View Post
    ...
    The longest ride I went on this year, was on that mtb, it was 105 miles, which was done a day after a 60 mile ride. I had a slight lower back tightness on that one, something I assumed would be gone with less saddle to bar drop of the Volpe. I don’t know, maybe I naturally kept my hips rolled on that one, I never really paid attention.

    So with what I’ve said about the measures from my previous bike, I guess I’ll try with a longer reach, but first with moving the saddle back...

    Flexible I am not. When I’m warmed up, I can touch my toes with straight legs, but that’s about it. Far from it when not warmed up. Last winter I mustered up some discipline to work on my core, which helped me get rid of lower back pain when riding up steep or long climbs. I guess flexibility is the next weakness I should tackle. All the while tinkering with my fit. Your advice being quite helpful with that
    .
    for some, having a comfortable 'stretch' to the position is improvement.
    you might try the 3 mm down and 3 mm back on the saddle (separate from the stem flip...) you can easily put a piece of tape on the rail directly behind the seatpost clamp, before moving the saddle back, and then get right back to 'home' if you need to...

    improving Flexibility has only an upside - always worth the effort - SP Girlfriend do yoga? a good thing to do together.

    a bit more riding time and I'm confident that the aches will move from the 60-80 marks to the 100-120 marks... tuning the posture helps a bunch, as do the little fit things...
    saddles can be a hit or miss, regardless of their cost or reputation. If the mtb saddle seems 'better' - move it over and try. or - find another saddle of similar shape/width to try.

    EDIT - also you gave horizontal measurement of 705 mm - maybe take a measure from mid-handlebar (at stem clamp) back to saddlenose - a number like 570 to 580 mm ish, thereabouts ???
    Last edited by cyclezen; 10-07-13 at 10:47 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    EDIT - also you gave horizontal measurement of 705 mm - maybe take a measure from mid-handlebar (at stem clamp) back to saddlenose - a number like 570 to 580 mm ish, thereabouts ???
    wow, good guess, 570mm exactly. And then the the hoods are maybe about 170 mm further, difficult to measure though.

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    I still get sore shoulders when riding long distances, but it's not too bad. I am pretty sure that lower back pain is overuse, because I can get that on shorter rides.

    I think you should try Peter White's saddle fore-aft test from THIS page. I had decided that I wanted a less aggressive fit for randonneuring, and I started having more pain, particularly in my hands. Also, I found that if I raise my handlebars too much, I end up losing too much power. Once I realized these things my hand pain went away. You might want to try your bars a little higher though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamtivek View Post
    wow, good guess, 570mm exactly. And then the the hoods are maybe about 170 mm further, difficult to measure though.
    it's not a particularly useful metric, but it is an indicator,
    really, the metric which is useful is the distance from the sitzbones to where you place your hands. Given many of us spend a good bit of time with hands cradling the 'hoods', given that, if you put a 'bar'/dowel across where the hoods contact the bars, measure from center of the front of the bar to the bisecting line across where you're sitzbones most likely contact the saddle - that's the metric which defines your torso and arm position. I'll take a stab at that - 92-93cm give or take...
    combine that with saddle/sitzbones behind the BB and saddle height extension, and you have an important position metric.

    Fit and position are constantly changing, in small ways, as we change, get older, or stronger, or incur injuries, etc.
    Once we settle on a position, our body adapts to that, over our riding time. Time then takes over and that which once was is not the same now.

    If we make significant large changes/adjustments, our body could react both in a positive and negative fashion. Small, but significant changes could indicate improvement without the dangers of negative impact if they don;t work.
    So making small changes might help 'tune' while large changes can 'damage'.
    You have many suggestions you could try. Small changes which are easy to make or undo, would seem to have a small downside. And every change you make will create some learning, wihch is a very good thing.
    Let us know how things go...
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    saddle setback not back far enough? I favor sitting back more.. You may not.

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    It's hard to see by eye what the knee angle is, but my guess is the saddle is too low. Once it's raised, it's reasonable to think about setback, trading off height and setback, knee position, reach, hand pressure, and saddle to bar drop.

    I definitely agree with the comment about raising the saddle until excessive hip rocking occurs, then down a couple of mm at a time. The problem is that excessive rocking implies perineal pain or abrasion. Whether you have that on a 25 mile ride, a 60, or it takes 120 for it to set in is, to me, one of the differences between a rando fit and a "local riding" fit.

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    Again, thanks for all the input.

    I switched to a slightly wider saddle, I raised it maybe 5 or 6 mm in all (I went for a short ride and raised it for a mm or two three times, so I guess it's about 5 or 6 mm up now). I also pulled it back a few mm. Now, what I found was, raising the saddle actually decreases the pressure I feel on my hands, which is kind of counter intuitive, what with the increased drop. But still, when riding with rolled hips, I still find myself sitting at the very back of the saddle, and then flexing my wrists outwards on the hoods, which stretches me out even more. Now this was quite a short and quick ride, 25 miles, I went out with the intention of adjusting my saddle, but didn't have a lot of time. I was focused on getting my hands and shoulders comfortable, but it looks like I'm leaning to a regular road race bike fit now, the trade off being increased demands on my lower back and flexibility I guess. I will go for a longer ride this weekend and report back. Probably with new pictures

    What's the difference between a shorter stem and a larger drop, vs a longer stem and less drop? Let's say the distance is equal between the two, but what are the differences in posture you get? I imagine a longer reach with less drop puts less stress on the neck compared to having the same reach because of a larger saddle to handlebar drop?

    Quite frankly, I imagined I would get far less saddle to handlebar drop on a 61cm Volpe (sort of a CX frame I guess) compared to a 21" mtb, but the more I tinker with it the more I end up with a aggresive sporty setup.
    Last edited by Pamtivek; 10-10-13 at 01:25 PM.

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    The jacket you have on in the pics messes up the view of your shoulders. Saddle height, cleat position, saddle fore/aft position come first. After that play with reach.

    If you have a deep divit between your shoulder blades when in the hoods, and the shoulders are rounded that needs to be corrected to neutral where the shoulders are not rounded from reaching too far and/or the space between the shoulder blades is relatively flat.

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