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Old 07-10-11, 03:08 PM   #1
xssight
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Feet flat on ground

I'm new to cycling and wondering what the advantage is to bikes that don't allow you to put more than a tip toe or the ball of your foot on the ground. I've read posts that seem to dismiss bikes that allow you to put your feet down as something you couldn't use for anything more than the most casual cycling. I'm just curious what the advantages are to bikes that seat you higher off the ground. Thanks.
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Old 07-10-11, 03:17 PM   #2
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I don't think there is any designed advantage to it, but if you could put your feet flat on the ground with the correct saddle height then your bottom bracket would be scraping along the road!
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Old 07-10-11, 03:19 PM   #3
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Some time ago last year there was a discussion on this forum about this. Some say if you sit too low your knee would be always bent while paddling, which could harm your knees. Try search the forum.
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Old 07-10-11, 03:35 PM   #4
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Bikes that let you put both feet on the ground are designed with the crank (and bottom bracket) much farther to the front than the usual convention. They are not bad, the bottom bracket doesn't hit the ground, and your knees make the normal extention. They are more or less intended for casual riding, at least partly because your position is much less aerodynamic that road bikes.

For the original question, the advantage is in perceived comfort. As distance increases, the perception usually changes.
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Old 07-10-11, 03:55 PM   #5
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Bikes that let you put both feet on the ground are designed with the crank (and bottom bracket) much farther to the front than the usual convention. They are not bad, the bottom bracket doesn't hit the ground, and your knees make the normal extention. They are more or less intended for casual riding, at least partly because your position is much less aerodynamic that road bikes.

For the original question, the advantage is in perceived comfort. As distance increases, the perception usually changes.
This is right. I have bike built on "flat foot technology". An Electra Townie3. It's not anything you want to do 20 miles at a stretch on, but for under ten miles it's okay. Being the most inherently stable bike I have, this is the bike I tow my canoe with.
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Old 07-10-11, 04:19 PM   #6
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It's about efficient pedalling. If you're on a bike suitable for your size and you can put your feet flat on the ground, then your knees are too bent at the top of the pedal stroke and the force you have to exert with your leg this bent can, potentially, harm the joint as well as tiring the rider out more quickly.

If you, or someone else, isn't confident except with the saddle that low, then the solution is to raise the saddle a 1/4" at a time and get used to the new height. Keep on doing this until it's more or less the right height - check this by moving a pedal to its lowest point and place your heel on it. If you can move your knee backwards and forwards without lifting your rear off the saddle, it's as near the right height as you will need.

By this time, you should be comfortable with balancing with just the ball of one (or both) feet on the ground when you come to a halt. At which point, any nervousness should be a thing of the past.
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Old 07-10-11, 04:32 PM   #7
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It's about efficient pedalling. If you're on a bike suitable for your size and you can put your feet flat on the ground, then your knees are too bent at the top of the pedal stroke and the force you have to exert with your leg this bent can, potentially, harm the joint as well as tiring the rider out more quickly.

If you, or someone else, isn't confident except with the saddle that low, then the solution is to raise the saddle a 1/4" at a time and get used to the new height. Keep on doing this until it's more or less the right height - check this by moving a pedal to its lowest point and place your heel on it. If you can move your knee backwards and forwards without lifting your rear off the saddle, it's as near the right height as you will need.

By this time, you should be comfortable with balancing with just the ball of one (or both) feet on the ground when you come to a halt. At which point, any nervousness should be a thing of the past.
This is only correct for a conventional bike. A bike built with "flat foot technolgy", such as the Townie, and others, has, as Nermal said, the bottom bracket located much further forward in relation to the seat. This allows the seat to be much lower in relation to the ground while still getting proper leg extension while pedaling. For example: When replacing the chain you will have to buy two standard length chains, link them together, and remove a few links to get the proper length.

This type of bike is desirable for people who want to remain on the seat while putting their feet on the ground when they stop. On a conventional bike you should be off the saddle when stopped; and would have to be to put both feet on the ground if the saddle is adjusted to the proper height.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:00 PM   #8
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Last year we got Trek Pure's, a pedal forward design because my wife wanted to learn to ride, and I thought it would be the easiest one to start with, allowing more confidence. The longest ride we did was about 20 miles, 10 to a cafe where we had lunch then back. We now have different bikes, and do 20 miles pretty much all at once without a big stop. I couldn't see that on the Pure's. There was a point where I didn't think a big cushy seat could be uncomfortable. I found out they are.
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Old 07-11-11, 11:56 AM   #9
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Thanks. I understand now. I tried searching for my answer but didn't have much luck. Hopefully this thread will be easier for others to find.
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Old 07-11-11, 12:30 PM   #10
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Sounds like few here are know about a "layback" seat post. With a solid bar layback seat post 'feet on the ground' is easy without changing the entire bike geometry.
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 07-11-11, 03:40 PM   #11
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Recumbent.
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Old 07-11-11, 03:56 PM   #12
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Recumbent.
Folder

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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 07-11-11, 11:24 PM   #13
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Recumbent.
Indeed. Mine is quite comfortable all day long, and I have no problems putting my feet down when stopped. Several of my recumbent-riding friends ride brevets- continuous rides of 200, 300, 400, and 600 kilometers.

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Old 07-12-11, 05:35 AM   #14
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It's a geometry thing. You can put down more power to the pedals when you're leaned forward over the bars. The pedal-forward design used to allow one's feet to touch the ground works against an aggressive pedaling position. Pedal-forward bikes are ok for toodling around the neighborhood, but if you have steep hills to get up, or you want to go long distances, or you are interested in speed, then you are better off with more traditional geometries.
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Old 07-12-11, 07:55 AM   #15
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It's all part of the illusion that the entire cycling nation is going to start racing each other on a massive scale with very high end bikes that cost more than your car and that what you've just bought that you thought was just a nice light bike to ride is actually some kind of "starter" bike and if you don't ride said bike in just the right way your legs are going to fall off at the knees..etc.,etc. It's called cycling snobbery. Sorry, folks but I'm calling it like I sees it. I've been riding "flat footed" all my life and my thighs are a little on the large side and guess what..my knees are just fine. I've known guys that got knee replacements at my age, but they don't ride bikes. So just ride and enjoy it and don't worry that you're not doing something right. Pay attention to your pain and make the adjustments required and you'll be just fine.
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Old 07-12-11, 08:19 AM   #16
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It's all part of the illusion that the entire cycling nation is going to start racing each other on a massive scale with very high end bikes that cost more than your car and that what you've just bought that you thought was just a nice light bike to ride is actually some kind of "starter" bike and if you don't ride said bike in just the right way your legs are going to fall off at the knees..etc.,etc. It's called cycling snobbery. Sorry, folks but I'm calling it like I sees it. I've been riding "flat footed" all my life and my thighs are a little on the large side and guess what..my knees are just fine. I've known guys that got knee replacements at my age, but they don't ride bikes. So just ride and enjoy it and don't worry that you're not doing something right. Pay attention to your pain and make the adjustments required and you'll be just fine.
Sorry, but this is thoroughly bad advice if you're talking about riding a conventional road bike or hybrid. I'm glad you're OK, but most people wouldn't be, and it has nothing to do with snobbery. It has to do with physiology, efficiency, and protecting your joints. If you can put both feet flat on the ground while in the saddle, then while pedalling you must be exerting maximum pressure on the pedals with your knee bent at more than ninety degrees. That is harder work, and rougher on the knees, than would be the case if you raised your saddle to a sensible height.

Of course, I may have misunderstood and you may be talking about a different style of bike. But if so you need to be explicit, or there's a danger that people are going to be misled.
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Old 07-12-11, 08:46 AM   #17
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Oh, Ok, alright, danger Will Robinson. I'm talking about an inch, that's all. It was an opinion, not necessarily advice. There oughta be a law, right. Thanks for your concern.
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Old 07-12-11, 09:18 AM   #18
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'Crank Forward' is a bike category for the folks wanting a lower than tippy toe
seat to ground distance .

and not having the cash and desire for a recumbent..
local, just go for a ride, casual.
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Old 07-12-11, 09:27 AM   #19
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'Crank Forward' is a bike category for the folks wanting a lower than tippy toe
seat to ground distance .
...
local, just go for a ride, casual.
Right. And there is nothing wrong with casual riding.
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