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  1. #1
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Reach n' Saddle n' Cleats

    A three-part question. I recently had two bikes set up for me by the same fitter. I have some very mild knee issues, which are usually in check if my fit is correct and I don't overdo it.

    Bike #1 is a new endurance bike, which according to the fitter is set up almost exactly per his recommendations -- the handlebars are about 2mm too low, which is fine. It uses a Riva saddle. Plan is to use this for most rides, including some ultra-distance (e.g. 200k, 300k).

    Bike #2 is my older bike, a standard road bike. I plan on using it as a backup, rain bike etc., hopefully topping out at 50 mile rides. It has a Toupe saddle, which works just as well for me as the Riva. The handlebars are about 1cm lower, and the reach is longer by about 2cm.

    When I got the fit, the fitter moved my cleats all the way forward, and it just didn't work. So, I've moved my cleats back to their former position, which is probably 2-3cm.


    Question #1 : How important is the difference in reach, and what will it affect? I.e. is it worth trying to get it to match Bike #1 ?

    Question #2 : Is there a method to compare saddles?

    Question #3 : Should I change the saddle position, since I've changed the cleat position?

  2. #2
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    If the reach on bike 1 is good, than 2 cm longer is very likely too long. (2 cm can be HUGE in terms of bike fit.) If you moved the cleats rearward, you'll have to lower the saddle -- probably 5 mm -- to maintain the same leg extension.

  3. #3
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    1) Usually it's a 2:1 ratio the other way: lower the bars by 2, decrease extension by 1. Sit in a chair with arms and hands in riding position, rotate at the waist and see what your hands do. But you've ridden enough to know what you like. For someone with that much experience, I think feel is more important than what a fitter says, unless you try the new fitter's measurements and you have an "ah-ha!" moment. Also, I find with miles and conditioning that exact fit isn't all that important except for saddle position. Unless there's a problem. If so, fix it. One sees LD riders with fits all over the place. Some have full race fits with tons of extension, others sit almost upright.

    2) Yes, ride a century on them.

    3) Depends on your foot position. If your foot is flat at the bottom of the stroke, saddle height could remain about the same, but probably come down a hair. If toe down, not. Cleat position won't change your balance on the saddle, i.e. your hand pressure/position. It will move your feet slightly forward, which will engage your glutes and leg muscles a little differently, which will have an effect on your knees. I go by what feels right: where I feel I can generate good power on the hills without having undo strain anywhere. I'm one of those people who ride with their cleats all the way forward and never has a foot or calf issue, but not everyone is like that.

  4. #4
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    H'm, good to know. I'll see if I can pick up a different stem or bars.

    In terms of saddle, my question isn't about "which feels better." It's a question of how you translate a ride position for one saddle, to a different saddle. E.g. what I use for "reach" is based on the distance from the tip of the saddle to the hoods. Is there some way to translate that positional information from one saddle to another?

  5. #5
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    H'm, good to know. I'll see if I can pick up a different stem or bars.

    In terms of saddle, my question isn't about "which feels better." It's a question of how you translate a ride position for one saddle, to a different saddle. E.g. what I use for "reach" is based on the distance from the tip of the saddle to the hoods. Is there some way to translate that positional information from one saddle to another?
    Yes. As you see, distance from saddle nose to hoods or bars isn't very informative. Get into your normal position on a saddle and, with your pedals horizontal, drop a plumb bob from the bony protuberance below the kneecap of your forward knee to your pedal axle. Note the the distance fore or aft between the plumb bob and your pedal axle. Repeat with the other saddle or bike. That positions the saddle, assuming that the cranks are the same length. It helps to lean the bike away from the plumb bob so it falls to the inside of your foot. Other than just feel, I use the relationship between my forward knee and elbow when tucked to get the reach that I'm used to, testing bar tops, hoods, and drops.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Yes. As you see, distance from saddle nose to hoods or bars isn't very informative. Get into your normal position on a saddle and, with your pedals horizontal, drop a plumb bob from the bony protuberance below the kneecap of your forward knee to your pedal axle. Note the the distance fore or aft between the plumb bob and your pedal axle. Repeat with the other saddle or bike. That positions the saddle, assuming that the cranks are the same length. It helps to lean the bike away from the plumb bob so it falls to the inside of your foot. Other than just feel, I use the relationship between my forward knee and elbow when tucked to get the reach that I'm used to, testing bar tops, hoods, and drops.
    It's especially not informative when comparing different brands or constructions of saddle - such as Selle Anatomica with Brooks or S-A with Specialized. I even can't compare my different S-As that way because some have elongated more than others, due to tensioning.

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