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Old 09-13-09, 12:06 AM   #1
TheCappucinoKid
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How is my position on this bike?

Trying to figure out whether this bike is properly sized and fitted, or not. I'm about 5'4". The frame is 16.5" - 17" (measured from top of seat tube to middle of BB). The handlebars are flat, not risers. And yet, I "feel" quite upright on the bike. I'm guessing the length of the top tube must be shorter than what I'm used to, maybe that's why. I'm afraid that putting riser bars on it might screw up the nice feel it has. As you can see in the pic, my arms are fully extended on the flat bars (they're low enough to allow that). Is this good, or should they be bent a bit, with the bars raised? As far as my back and that is concerned, it feels right and fine. I rode many km with this bike today along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada. However, my hands were under duress. Fingers weren't numb, so much as the palms or back of the hands. A bit too much pressure due to the lower-than-I'm-used-to handlebars, but on a long ride, it became uncomfortable to keep both hands on the bars. Raising them might diminish comfort elsewhere, ie. back or shoulders. OTOH, I don't want to have to start wearing gloves all the time. FWIW, I'm used to riding a bulky 20" hybrid, with a much higher handlebar height. It is much easier to manoeuver the smaller Specialized, and even pull back on the bars to go uphill.

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Old 09-13-09, 12:14 AM   #2
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to my uneducated eye, looks like your legs are too bent...
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Old 09-13-09, 12:28 AM   #3
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to my uneducated eye, looks like your legs are too bent...
Which means the seat is too low, although it's hard to tell with the leg not in the 6:00 position. Raising the seat will put even more weight on his hands.

I'd suggest correcting your posture and increasing your core strength per Sheldon: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html#posture

Ergon grips will also help a lot by dispersing the contact area.
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Old 09-13-09, 07:14 AM   #4
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Looks way small for you, and you seem cramped. Saddle up and back may help. Those shoes don't help things either, you seem to be pedaling from the middle of your foot.
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Old 09-13-09, 07:16 AM   #5
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The bike is small for you, but you can make it fit. Raise the saddle first. You probably need a longer seatpost to get proper extension of your legs.

Right now, your back is nearly vertical. Raising the bars could allow you a slightly more upright position, but you are already almost as upright as possible. Gel gloves and bar ends will help with the numb hands.
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Old 09-13-09, 07:25 AM   #6
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You need to have your pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke to accurately determine saddle height. Hard to tell without being there in person , but it looks to me like you're too far forward also. Moving your butt back will actually take weight off your hands. This will make you bend forward slightly more, but your weight should be supported more by your core (torso) and not your hands. But remember, it's a very individual thing, what works for one may not work for another. Make adjustments in small increments.
For casual riding, your position doesn't look too bad. Hand numbness is something I've never gotten totally away from, but moving my position back helped alot. FWIW wearing gloves makes no difference one way or the other on numbness for me.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:32 AM   #7
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If you want to ride straight up and down, get another handlebar, with a lot more rise. That would go well with your raised, and moved rearward, seat. Before spending the money on the bars, try raising the seat, and adding Ergon Grips, to see if that helps. You won't be out anything, as you can swap the Ergons to new bars later, and you might find riding with a slight lean forward (with proper hand support) a nice way to ride.

You should be able to straighten your leg, with only your heel on the pedal, without rocking on the seat. Then, pedalling with the balls of your feet, will result in a slight bend of the knee, in the bottom of the pedal stroke.

That stuff, with Ergon Grips previously mentioned, will make a world of difference in riding comfortably.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:49 AM   #8
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Ergon grips, Specialized body geometry hybrid grips, are both good. I also wear Specialized Body Geometry gloves which alone help reduce hand soreness/numbness. Doing light shoulder/arm exercises helps with that as well, keeps blood flowing helps prevent pinched nerves by strengthening muscles.

That bike is way too small for you. you don't look 5'4", either. but it is a picture, so its hard to tell!

That is a more upright position than even I like. One of my bikes is close to that its ok for 5 miles max, more than that its too cramped.
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Old 09-13-09, 11:31 AM   #9
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to me, it doesnt look like it's too small since, when you are peddling, it looks as though your leg will be about 90% extended at the furthest position - which i think is how it should be.....

if it is small tho, like others are saying, adjust the seat height.
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Old 09-13-09, 11:38 AM   #10
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Thanks for the opinions. I had already read the section on posture from Brown. I didn't always understand what he was saying; (there's a huge lack of pictures on the site for many subjects, which would greatly help). I even did research on Google images for exactly what position "arching" refers to, and it looked like the back was bent forward in this position ("bowed"), which made no sense. Maybe if I can see what a picture of perfect posture on a bike looks like, I can better understand this business about shoulders and backs and flexing and rolling forward and upper spines dangling, held up by collar bones.

The seat is position at about the middle of its travel; if anything, just slightly forward of middle. As for the seat height, yes I'm aware my saddle's a bit low according to the standard method of seat height (having the knee only slightly bent at 6p). I find I have more power in my stroke and can maintain a comfortable cadence when the seat is a little lower than recommended.

I'm not sure how to tell if the bike is too small for me, maybe it is, but I know that I -can- get the seatpost at the recommended height no problem, and I have good control with a smaller than a larger bike. I can fit the riser style bars that's on my Giant Cypress, but wouldn't having a more raised posture than I have now be worse for the back? It seems to be either deciding to make your back worse or your hands worse! I am more upright on my (20") Cypress DX, and while I like the comfort of the upright posture, I do seem to find that a slightly leaning forward posture, as on this Specialized, is a nice way to ride. If I do decide to replace my (heavier) Cypress DX with this bike, I will definitely get the Ergon grips!

As for the feet, I'm not sure if the shoes have any bearing on this, because I always pedal in the middle of the foot. Didn't know you weren't supposed to?! I guess the front of the foot (ball) is what most people use?
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Old 09-13-09, 11:51 AM   #11
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Yeah you're "supposed" to pedal with the ball of your foot.
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Old 09-13-09, 12:12 PM   #12
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I assumed that, once the saddle was raised enuf to extend your legs, you would need to do the same for the bars, also assuming that you do like the upright position - buttttttt, I also suggested that you try to ride with a little mor eforward lean before laying out the $ for different bars.

p.s. It isn't possible to generate more power and higher cadence with a seat that is tooooooo low. Let those big leg , back, and butt muscles do their work....

Your KOPS position is way forward of where it should be, with the front of the knee over the pedal spindle. Get that seat up, and back, to try to get to a good starting point.

Lots to try and consider........

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Old 09-13-09, 12:19 PM   #13
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No, a more upright position will not necessarily make your back hurt. 65er's back hurts when he sits up straight on a bicycle, but that's unusual. For most people an upright position will put less strain on the lower back.

If you prefer a low saddle height, that's fine, but it puts a lot more stress on your knees. The straighter your leg is when you put a load on it, the less likely you will injure yourself.

I have a knee condition which requires I use a high and forward saddle position. I would disagree with advice to move your saddle back to compensate for a short top tube. I would suggest instead a longer stem. When you move your saddle back you are effectively changing the seat tube angle, which may or may not be desirable. If you don't feel comfortable think about trying some of the changes suggested here. Notice raising your saddle is the most frequently offered advice. Think twice before shrugging it off.

You are not increasing your power by pedaling with bent legs. The opposite is true.
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Old 09-13-09, 12:30 PM   #14
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I assumed that, once the saddle was raised enuf to extend your legs, you would need to do the same for the bars, also assuming that you do like the upright position - buttttttt, I also suggested that you try to ride with a little mor eforward lean before laying out the $ for different bars.

p.s. It isn't possible to generate more power and higher cadence with a seat that is tooooooo low. Let those big leg , back, and butt muscles do their work....

Your KOPS position is way forward of where it should be, with the front of the knee over the pedal spindle. Get that seat up, and back, to try to get to a good starting point.

Lots to try and consider........
Good post! KOPS is a good rule of thumb, measured from the front knee to the pedal spindle with cranks level to the ground. I think raising the saddle will get him close to that position, but he might need to move the saddle back some as well. I've owned a lot of less expensive hybrids like this one, in fact one was a Crossroads, and the slack seat tube angles typically found on such bikes has always meant I had to move the saddle as far forward as possible, even upgrading to zero offset seatpost to get me forward enough, but every body is different. None of this is written in stone.
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Old 09-13-09, 12:32 PM   #15
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hi op,

here's a video of what a back "arched like a bridge" looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0oiejAA1vA

move the seat all the way back. this will (1) put more weight on your butt and less on your hands. (2) better balance (3) help you to arch your back like a bridge.

you are a healthy fella but do back stretch exercises for a week. this will make it easier for you to adjust to a 45 - 55 degree back posture.

if you want to study your posture just have someone do a video recording or put your camera on a car trunk and ride around in an empty parking lot. then go home and see the frame by frame stills.
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Old 09-13-09, 05:28 PM   #16
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Kid - Check this out. It' pretty helpful.

http://www.jacksbikes.com/index1.html
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Old 09-13-09, 06:00 PM   #17
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No, a more upright position will not necessarily make your back hurt.
If it did then people wouldn't be able to sit on bars stools for long periods, which is demonstrably untrue...

A curved spine is safer for the discs it is made of when you go over bumps in the road- it sways instead of taking a vertical shock - but a reasonably fat moderate pressure tyre should take care of that.

Quote:
If you prefer a low saddle height, that's fine, but it puts a lot more stress on your knees. The straighter your leg is when you put a load on it, the less likely you will injure yourself.
This is true. The OP's seat should be much higher.

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I have a knee condition which requires I use a high and forward saddle position. I would disagree with advice to move your saddle back to compensate for a short top tube. I would suggest instead a longer stem. When you move your saddle back you are effectively changing the seat tube angle, which may or may not be desirable.
Yes. Moving the seat back to make the bar distance fit will interfere with the ergonomics of pedaling. The OP is already on the way to a blown knee, he should avoid doing anything to make it worse. Horizontal saddle adjustment is for getting the rider's pelvis in the right place relative to the BB. If he needs more reach - which he does - then he should buy a longer stem. Or a different bike. Stems are cheap, knees are very expensive.

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If you don't feel comfortable think about trying some of the changes suggested here. Notice raising your saddle is the most frequently offered advice. Think twice before shrugging it off.
Sometimes you have to try things you're not comfortable with. Especially when the alternative is a blown knee.

Btw - that bike doesn't look like a 17 to me. A 17 would be on the large side for a 5'4'' and this bike isn't.

Last edited by meanwhile; 09-13-09 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 09-13-09, 06:07 PM   #18
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Re. the handlebars - why not better grips on? Ergons are often reported as being the best - they need aligning correctly for your position, so read the docs. And now I've noticed how your foot is on the pedal, I'm even more convinced that the saddle needs to go up.
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Old 09-13-09, 06:14 PM   #19
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His seat is going to have to go back - his knee is a good 8" ahead of the pedal spindle. I don't think he will get that much by just raising the seat. Even with his feet way ahead of where they should be.
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Old 09-13-09, 06:20 PM   #20
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p.s. The straight arms are causing your hand problems. Lean a little forward to put a little bend in your elbows. Every jolt is slamming into the smallest joint in the line - hands and wrists...

And Ergon Grips will help hold your wrists up, which will also help alleviate that problem.
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Old 09-13-09, 06:25 PM   #21
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From the pictures, it appears you have long arms and legs for your size - getting stretched out a bit will help put you in a more supple position. It's your long arms and legs that make the bike look too small for you. Make it fit you, and you will feel a lot better, and enjoy it more.

It's OK to carry weight in your arms and back. But, you need flex in those things (slightly bent elbows). You just don't want to carry it on "down" wrists. That's where the Ergons will help.
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Old 09-13-09, 09:30 PM   #22
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I think I have rather short arms and legs for my size, if anything, but I'm told by one that they are in proportion to my height. I agree the bike does look small, like a tiny clown bike, in the photo. It also looks small in person. But what can I say, it measures 16.5"-17" from top of seat tube to middle of bottom bracket. A 16" frame is supposed to fit a rider 4'9" to 5'6", while a 17" is about 5'2" to 5'8". And I double checked, I'm 5,4! So either should be a fit for me. The Specialized's top tube is about 19" long, which is only 1" shorter than my 20" Giant Cypress DX frame. The measurements of the bike, the exterior look of it and the feel riding it all seem to say different things; leaving me wondering whether the bike is a good size or not. Which is precisely why I started this query.

If I raise my seat, and the bars, and get Ergon grips, all that won't really change the amount of pressure of my hands against the grips, but I will do further experiments with seat height and try riser bars, etc. The YouTube video was helpful, thanks. What is called "arched" in the video, I call "hunched over". It's just way more bent forward than I want to be (it's why I can't stand riding road bikes!). I can see it's because the forward angle of the stem on the guy's bike. But knowing its good for the back, I will in the future try to adjust to a position in between upright and the bent over position shown in the video, and adjust so my elbows are a bit bent. I will have to somehow raise the handlebar to relieve the hand pressure, while adjusting elsewhere so that I pitch my upper torso forward even more than in the pic, while at the same time ensuring my knee is situated over the center of the pedal. I guess I'll see how well I can accomplish all this. I can install the Giant's riser bar which has an angled stem that gives a lot of xtra options, but I might not need a different stem. I can probably raise the present one, I just haven't tried yet. When I get a chance to experiment with adjusting (and test riding) the seat, bars, etc., I will take everything into account; thanks.

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Old 09-14-09, 03:15 AM   #23
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Trying to figure out whether this bike is properly sized and fitted, or not. I'm about 5'4". The frame is 16.5" - 17" (measured from top of seat tube to middle of BB).

That bike is a LOT SMALLER than 17". A real 17" would probably be a little too big for someone 5'4". That bike looks too small for you. I'm 5'9" and ride a 17" bike.
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Old 09-14-09, 05:26 AM   #24
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That bike is a LOT SMALLER than 17". A real 17" would probably be a little too big for someone 5'4". That bike looks too small for you. I'm 5'9" and ride a 17" bike.
The wheels look like 26s and the seat tube looks like it is about a wheel radius - a 13 or 14. Even if the wheel's are 700c there would have to be something very weird about the photo for the frame to be much bigger.
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Old 09-14-09, 08:26 AM   #25
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The simple act of raising, and relocating the seat rearward, just might put you in enough of "the position" to eliminate a lot of problems. It will lengthen your legs, will cause you to lean a little more forward, bend your arms, pull your knees back to get the front of it over the pedal spindle, etc.

Then go to work on things like stem, bars, grips, etc.

Keep in mind, there are a few simple checks to get to a good starting point.... the front of your knee should approximate the pedal spindle when the pedals are horizontal, your butt should be on the seat, not your nether regions (start with a level seat, and adjust until you don't slide fore or aft, or feel the nose of the saddle,) you should be able to sit on the seat, with only your heel on the pedal, leg straight, and pedal backwards without rocking or bouncing on the seat. (then - pedalling with your ball of your feet over the spindle, you will achieve a partial bend at the bottom of the stroke.) It's not necessary that you be able to stand flatfooted while on the seat. Holding yourself up with toes is sufficient.

Once you achieve all this, start fine tuning for your own comfort - but give it a fair trial ......

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