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Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

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Old 03-17-14, 06:58 PM   #1
justaguest
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Healthiest posture

Assuming zero preexisting back problems, what would be the healthiest cycling posture to maximize back AND knee health in the long-run? Is upright posture of European / classic roadster bike better than bent over road bike posture? Why? I'm guessing that an upright posture allows for better spine neutrality, but I'm not sure. Are there any legitimate studies on the subject (as opposed to uneducated opinions)?
Thanks!
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Old 03-17-14, 07:22 PM   #2
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Here is an interesting article about neutral spine that I could find
Eat Sleep Train Smart - The Fitness & Cycling Research Blog: Correct Cycling Posture: The Spine
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Old 03-17-14, 07:56 PM   #3
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In other words, what type of bike would you chose if you only cared about your long-term health and not so much about performance.
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Old 03-17-14, 09:16 PM   #4
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You can have a very forward-leaning torso while still having a neutral spine, if you bend at the hips instead of rounding your back. Flexibility helps but most of us can learn to do this to some degree.

Anyway, it is not as simple as which riding position gives you a "neutral spine".

A very upright position, even with a neutral spine, places all your weight on your pelvis (crotch or butt, depending on saddle type/angle). That can be uncomfortable or worse. Also, hitting a big bump with your spine vertical and butt planted firmly on saddle results in shock going into your spine.

As your torso leans forward, more weight is on your hands and arms. Pressure on your crotch is reduced (again, depending on saddle type/angle). Sometimes this is too much hand pressure, for long rides.

If you are pedaling vigorously, your legs actually support your weight as much as your pelvis does - your crotch/butt are kind of floating on the saddle.

If your torso is leaned forward, and you are pedaling vigorously, then you can take weight off your hands by positioning your pelvis rearward (usually means sliding your saddle rearward).

If you are leaning forward, your gluteus muscle (butt) is in a more powerful position and your hamstrings are more stretched (good for flexibility).

But if you are leaning too far forward, your neck starts to get strained.

Everyone will have an individual range of positions that are ideal. You have to balance all of those thing plus I'm sure others that I don't know.

My personal comfort zone is torso at 45 degrees or less from horizontal, saddle pretty far back, and bending at the hip.
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Old 03-18-14, 07:38 PM   #5
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Thank you very much for such a great answer! It is very helpful!
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Old 03-19-14, 11:51 AM   #6
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drop bars do offer a Quadruped like use of your arms .. though then people have neck problems
from tilting their head up. all the time

have you considered a Recumbent type bicycle?
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Old 03-19-14, 09:56 PM   #7
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I read that recumbent bikes are only good for people with pre-existing back problems.
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Old 03-20-14, 08:35 AM   #8
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Recumbents are not just for people with physical limitations.

They have various pros and cons, relative to conventional bikes.

In my opinion, a recumbent is worth trying out.
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Old 03-27-14, 01:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
You can have a very forward-leaning torso while still having a neutral spine, if you bend at the hips instead of rounding your back. Flexibility helps but most of us can learn to do this to some degree.

... saddle pretty far back, and bending at the hip.
Agree. Some call this tilting the pelvis back (actually, you are bringing the top of the pelvis forward and maintaining a straight spine)
Basically you are doing a squat, with your upper body far forward. You should feel like the force your legs is putting on the pedals is preventing your upper body from falling.
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Old 03-27-14, 02:35 PM   #10
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I read that recumbent bikes are only good for people with pre-existing back problems.
your reading list needs to be expanded a lot , then..

perhaps to include someone that actually likes them ..

Near zero effort ?, try writing here http://www.bikeforums.net/recumbent/

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-27-14 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 03-27-14, 02:42 PM   #11
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I try to stick my butt out in order to keep my back straight but it's a conscious effort not to hunch over. I don't ever achieve it but I try
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Old 04-05-14, 06:58 PM   #12
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I'm pretty certain the standard racing setup is the most comfortable and health-promoting position. Professional cyclists ride for hours every day and this wouldn't be possible if they were uncomfortable. It's counterintuitive to think that extreme aero position is comfortable but it is if you're reasonably skinny and healthy. The upright dutch-bike posture might be okay for flat urban areas but it sucks everywhere else.

Every newbie wants to second-guess the perfect setup but it's all a waste of time. Professional cyclists have done it all for you. The only reason a newbie can't do the same thing the pros do is because they're: 1. Too fat 2. Too weak.

Last edited by Clem von Jones; 04-05-14 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 04-05-14, 08:47 PM   #13
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There is more to a decent bike fit than being "extremely aero." If I lower my bar more than 6 cm below the saddle my power output drops considerably. (And at 6'2" and 160 lbs., I don't think I'm "fat!") Of course, I'm not "extremely aero" in that position -- but I'm not upright, either -- but being aero doesn't do me much good going up a 4 mile, 1,600 ft. climb, so I'll take a position that allows me to pedal at full power vs. being "extremely aero."
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Old 04-05-14, 09:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by pakossa View Post
There is more to a decent bike fit than being "extremely aero." If I lower my bar more than 6 cm below the saddle my power output drops considerably. (And at 6'2" and 160 lbs., I don't think I'm "fat!") Of course, I'm not "extremely aero" in that position -- but I'm not upright, either -- but being aero doesn't do me much good going up a 4 mile, 1,600 ft. climb, so I'll take a position that allows me to pedal at full power vs. being "extremely aero."
I'm just trying to dispel the notion that a higher posture is more comfortable than a lower.
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Old 04-18-14, 12:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
I'm pretty certain the standard racing setup is the most comfortable and health-promoting position. Professional cyclists ride for hours every day and this wouldn't be possible if they were uncomfortable. It's counterintuitive to think that extreme aero position is comfortable but it is if you're reasonably skinny and healthy. The upright dutch-bike posture might be okay for flat urban areas but it sucks everywhere else.

Every newbie wants to second-guess the perfect setup but it's all a waste of time. Professional cyclists have done it all for you. The only reason a newbie can't do the same thing the pros do is because they're: 1. Too fat 2. Too weak.
So what is the standard racing setup?
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Old 04-18-14, 09:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I try to stick my butt out in order to keep my back straight but it's a conscious effort not to hunch over. I don't ever achieve it but I try
I try to set up my bikes for the position recommended in the blog. I find that moving my saddle back enhances my ability to keep pelvis and lower spine in the suggested alignment without a lot of conscious effort. I try to get my center of gravity over the BB with my torso and arms also in the target position. My torso is then comfortable at 45 degrees or less above horizontal if I have a long enough stem. With that my whole upper body reaches forward. This in turn raises the neck and lowers the shoulders, and makes it easier to keep my head up to see. Also makes it easier to look behind me without wiping out.
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Old 04-19-14, 07:55 AM   #17
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So what is the standard racing setup?
This website lists critical measurements of specific race bikes under the heading Pro Bike. You can search for riders who are about your height and compare setups. Yes these professional cyclists are crazy thin, athletic, flexible, and strong. Pro Bike: Mark Renshaw?s Specialized S-Works Venge | Cyclingnews.com

Former pro turned old guy Greg Lemond http://cdn.mos.bikeradar.com/images/...ood-670-75.jpg
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Old 04-24-14, 07:03 PM   #18
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My personal comfort zone is torso at 45 degrees or less from horizontal, saddle pretty far back, and bending at the hip.
Me, too.

Stellar post BTW!!
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