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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 10-05-07, 07:52 AM   #1
Idioteque
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another approach to fitting? which muscle groups

So,

since it's fairly hard to get a good answer about correct saddle height and knee bend just because it is a fairly personal domain, would someone please tell me which muscles should be working more for optimal speed and efficiency

Basically, i lower the seat a bit more and my calf muscles work much more and i overall feel decent power transfer throughout the spin

Then i up the seat and my calves suddenly do much less work, but now my leg is fully extended and i feel like i put more power into the downward pedal motion, i might even go faster this way too (sort of feels like that).

Other pro/cons are

with seat higher, i feel much better overall on the bike and can rest on the hoods better (i have a short torso and my stem is pretty short already)

with seat lower, well my calves get more muscular but my quads do less work ,even though overall i guess it might be more balanced?

Basically, from anyone who has changed pedaling styles and maybe has some experience, i'd really appreciate it

I'm starting base now for the next season and would like to be doing everything correctly
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Old 10-05-07, 08:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Idioteque View Post
So,

since it's fairly hard to get a good answer about correct saddle height and knee bend just because it is a fairly personal domain, would someone please tell me which muscles should be working more for optimal speed and efficiency

Basically, i lower the seat a bit more and my calf muscles work much more and i overall feel decent power transfer throughout the spin

Then i up the seat and my calves suddenly do much less work, but now my leg is fully extended and i feel like i put more power into the downward pedal motion, i might even go faster this way too (sort of feels like that).

Other pro/cons are

with seat higher, i feel much better overall on the bike and can rest on the hoods better (i have a short torso and my stem is pretty short already)

with seat lower, well my calves get more muscular but my quads do less work ,even though overall i guess it might be more balanced?

Basically, from anyone who has changed pedaling styles and maybe has some experience, i'd really appreciate it

I'm starting base now for the next season and would like to be doing everything correctly
Analysis of professional cyclists' pedal strokes has shown that aside from clearing the non-power producing leg on the upstroke, they don't really "pull up" at all. And one would guess that they are VERY efficient.

I would also argue that "spinning" a high cadence, thank you LA, is not the way to go for a lot of people.

In terms of the muscles producing power: almost entirely your glutes and quads. The glutes are the strongest muscles in your body, and you should barely feel anything going on there, if at all. The only time you should ever really feel it in your calves and hamstrings is during hard power climbs, or a sprint.
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Old 10-05-07, 08:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Idioteque View Post
So,

since it's fairly hard to get a good answer about correct saddle height and knee bend just because it is a fairly personal domain, would someone please tell me which muscles should be working more for optimal speed and efficiency

Basically, i lower the seat a bit more and my calf muscles work much more and i overall feel decent power transfer throughout the spin

Then i up the seat and my calves suddenly do much less work, but now my leg is fully extended and i feel like i put more power into the downward pedal motion, i might even go faster this way too (sort of feels like that).

Other pro/cons are

with seat higher, i feel much better overall on the bike and can rest on the hoods better (i have a short torso and my stem is pretty short already)

with seat lower, well my calves get more muscular but my quads do less work ,even though overall i guess it might be more balanced?

Basically, from anyone who has changed pedaling styles and maybe has some experience, i'd really appreciate it

I'm starting base now for the next season and would like to be doing everything correctly
I worked a lot with the formulas and the rules of thumb and the on-line advice, and finally decided to get a fitting. A local shop here in Michigan has guys who are aggressive roadies and triathletes, and have been trained in fitting. I'm not real aggressive, just working hard to lose weight and build base. I decided to get fit to preserve my joints and improve efficiency.

He measured my limbs et cetera and set my saddle at a baseline height. Then I got on and pedaled a while to warm up and "naturalize" my position. I ended up at KOPS. He adjusted the saddle position and angle for good sitbone support. Then he measured my knee angle, and readjusted everything to get a target knee angle, then sent me out to train and ride a few months. He set the handlebar just a bit below level, to allow for belly/thigh clearance.

Discomfort in the knees and hips is 99.9% gone, and I've worked distance up to aroudn 45 miles. I still struggle with saddle pressure and angle, but it's much less of an issue than before.

I have a much better spin, less forefoot pressure, a lot more power, better climbing, much easier to stand when pedalling, and an ability to sprint seems to be emerging! I'm 54, BTW, so feeling great about all this. I also have the clear sense that I will not hurt myself as I work up to a good base level, and then begin to work on more speed. BTW, this fitter charged $90!

I think you're in the right place wanting to get your body positioned right. But you might go around in circles, not haveing some clear guidance about getting yourself set right. You also might select some stressful setup, causing your next season to decline rather than grow!

Road Fan
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Old 10-05-07, 09:40 AM   #4
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I also noticed that my thighs work harder with a high saddle while my glutes work harder on a low saddle. I try to find the happy medium.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:09 PM   #5
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ah thank you, very helpful information indeed.

all my pain and burning does happen in the quads, i don't think ive ever felt anything in my hamstrings but once a year in glutes. hm calves, maybe only during longish standing session.

I guess i'm on the right track, will certainly get a fit that is better than basic 50 dollar fit. Hell i dont even have my cleats aligned by any standards other than mine.

Thanks again : )
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Old 10-05-07, 12:18 PM   #6
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Think of yourself like a machine made of levers. Then set your bicycle up so that the levers work the most efficiently. It's all basic engineering and physics.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:21 PM   #7
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Think of yourself like a machine made of levers. Then set your bicycle up so that the levers work the most efficiently. It's all basic engineering and physics.
i understand and agree with you, but i'd imagine it's hard to discern between certain muscle groups working without data, after a certain point it's not as simple as intuitive.
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