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Old 07-19-11, 08:50 PM   #1
Triode
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All of a sudden it was as if the bike and I were one - from moving seat 3/8th inch

Short version -

Moved my seat forward 3/8 of an inch, bike handles better, everything so much better it is hard to believe.

Long version.

Am 65, bought new bike. First ride 8 days ago.

LBS looked me over, said this is your size, and that was it.

Bike felt twitchy, squirrely - I haven't ridden in 50 years. Finally got the seat high enough, learned that steering is mainly thru your hips, put outside pedal down with weight down on turn, etc. all that helped. began to feel like I am more confident of control.

Searched forum on "twitchy steering" saw a thread where poster stated moving seat forward a bit changed center of gravity and helped a lot.

I thought, I need to give that a try - then forgot to take wrench with, went out with my wife - feeling better and more confident.

Brought my wife home, made sure I had the correct tools, went back to paved bike path and moved seat forward 3/8 of an inch.

Alll of a sudden, damn! this is what it is supposed to be like!

Had a stunning 20 mile ride.

Pedaling was a lot better, felt like my feet were in clips, bike handling beautifully.

Kinda like I would just think where I want to go and the bike goes. All the stuff I had been fighting - just went away.

Don't let anybody kid you - fit is everything!
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Old 07-20-11, 06:09 AM   #2
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It's a great feeling, isn't it? Congratulations! (You do realize, though, that we now need photos of your new ride.)
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Old 07-20-11, 07:39 AM   #3
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Congratulations on mastering the 'seach' function. Glad you were able to tweak your cockpit position. I re-check fore & aft and seat height every so often to make sure they haven't wandered off the mark.

Enjoy the ride.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:45 AM   #4
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Absolutely - fit is a priority! I┤ve been riding semi-serious for decades and I still do adjustments in millimeters depending on what bike I┤m riding and what kind of ride it is. I recently had a new crankset on one of my bikes (a bike that was totally dialed in) and the millimeter adjustments began... Part of the fun, really.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:53 AM   #5
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is why bikes have all those adjustments available. one size does not fit all. the LBS should have dialed you in better to start with however. Glad you figured it out!
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Old 07-20-11, 12:34 PM   #6
Triode
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While I would think the LBS should have dialed me in better, it worked out pretty good.

If the LBS had set it up, and had been poor setup, might not have played with it so much thinking that they knew best.

This way, I have learned pretty early on, how very important it is - and how much small amounts can make a huge difference.
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Old 07-20-11, 01:31 PM   #7
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As a friendly word of caution, look out for knee pain. What I was taught was that seat fore / aft position is used to get your knee in the correct position for the crank length (knee over pedal spindle or slightly behind in pedal forward position), and not for comfort on the handlebars. If your knee is in front of the pedal spindle they will hurt. Adjust stem length for weight distribution, hand numbness, and steering input.

Your description of pedaling efficiency sounds like it helped, but doing it to correct steering twitchiness might cause other issues. Sounds like it fixed both yours though. Good luck!
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Old 07-20-11, 01:59 PM   #8
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What I find is that a LBS generally can be counted upon to help you figure out the general type of bike for your needs and the frame size, they completely overlook seat position, stem height and stem length.

Of those items, seat position is often the only one that can be adjusted for free. (Some hybrids do have adjustable stems, though.) You should definitely experiment and if you find that you would want a higher stem or something like that, solicit your shop's input and make some changes as appropriate.
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Old 07-20-11, 02:02 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input, I appreciate your comments.

I made the change because I continually found myself scooting forward on the seat. Not sliding, actually kept finding myself forward, so figured there might be a reason to give it a try. Mentioned the other things because they did play into my whole setup scenario.

No knee issues yet, but only about 15 miles on the new settings.

I will note that Keith Bontrager has some interesting thoughts on KKOPS

http://www2.bsn.com/cycling/articles/kops.html
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Old 07-20-11, 04:51 PM   #10
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I had seen that thread on the Sheldon Brown site awhile back, and as an Engineer, loved it. Thought he missed the variable of seat to bar drop &/or headtube length in figuring for how far the cg moves forward, but it may factor in not at all. And any article without Q factor mentioned a few times is gauche.. haha. When I read it, and was researching, thought this is a great theory to build a custom frame, and then researched other theories.

What it came down to for me was that on a stock bike of a given frame size, my only variables that control fit are seat height, fore/aft seat position, stem position on crown, stem angle from steerer tube, and stem length, and I listed these variables in order of ease of change. I play with bike configurations a lot, and test ride bikes (out of boredom) frequently, and have always resolved my knee discomfort in steps one and two. I can seem to be able to pick up in the first mile if my latest tweak screwed up my KOPS fit, and every time it has felt off, it has been. Perhaps I match the normal physiology he mentioned.

KOPS has caused me two issues: I can't use the carbon zero set back seat post I got for a steal (and now clearly overpaid for), and I became dependent on my plumb bob, which was fine until I lost it on a camping trip (it was tied to a spool of rope that made an excellent clothes line, and prolly still does for the next people at the site).
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Old 07-20-11, 06:48 PM   #11
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I've found forward saddle position helpful in preventing recurrence of patella femoral syndrome. I always push my saddle all the way forward and sometimes replace stock seatpost with zero offset model.
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