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  1. #51
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
    Thanks. Performing fits at the bike shop has to be a bit of a shell game. No doubt the vast majority of newbs that come in and want a road bike when set up initially prefer an upright position. But you know ultimately...like you described for yourself, a scrunched position is always less comfortable as miles accumulate out on the road. Fitting somebody clearly isn't easy...what they think they want generally isn't the best.I have such a friend that I ride with who moves along pretty well in spite of riding bolt upright...never uses the drops etc. I have explained to him why his position slows him down and he would not only be faster but more comfortable with a proper fitting and yet he hasn't morphed his position yet. Will see in the new riding year.
    Part of what helps us is taking a picture of their output on the fit they bring us. Then, as we move through the process we continue to show them the improvements. It's less subjective that way. So when they are done if they've picked up 15% more power, which is not unusual on an initial fit or many "Self fits" they get pretty happy. I describe it as going from 20mpg to 30mpg. Who does not want to ride faster with less effort?

    Obviously, the more miles they ride, the more they will be able to learn about their setup. Eventually, if you ride long enough you begin to get personal likes and dislikes, and that's more along the lines of what you see in setups for Lance (as you metioned) or Jens Voight. But, with all due respect to them, we see a lot of category racers trying to emulate what they see in magazines and it does not work for them.

    And as someone mentioned, cleats and pedals are huge. Knee, foot, hip pain, numb toes, none of that should be happening.
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  2. #52
    Senior Member Waves77's Avatar
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    Fascinating conversation, thanks guys!

    FWIW I recall reading somewhere lance Armstrong was born with a slight spine deviationdeviation and that that's the reason why he looks slightly hunched on the bike.

  3. #53
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    reg. the 2nd video, isn't the riders elbows too straight? the 1st riders elbows are bent quite a bit.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  4. #54
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    reg. the 2nd video, isn't the riders elbows too straight? the 1st riders elbows are bent quite a bit.
    12cm is too much drop for a so called B back IMHO

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
    With 78cm saddle top to BB height, you obviously have long legs. I do too incidentally...that is my saddle height. A good starting point for you which works for many and close for me is, use Competitive Cyclist's on line fit calculator. Have somebody help with your measurements.... As to fore and aft position, depending on your frame spec for seat tube angle, set the nose of your saddle about 8cm behind the BB by dropping a plumb line. I prefer the setback of Hincapie which is almost 10cm and you may prefer to ride behind KOPS a bit as well...his legs are longer than ours and rides with a saddle height of 80cm.
    That should get you close. Your riding position in the pic does not look correct with a huge stem height...perhaps due to too short a head tube but a two inch drop for the 'proper' reach is a very good starting point for many recreational riders.
    My saddle height is 81cm. Should my longer legs rule out KOPS? Should I have the saddle at least 8cm behind the BB - due to my longer than average tibias?
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  6. #56
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyK View Post
    My saddle height is 81cm. Should my longer legs rule out KOPS? Should I have the saddle at least 8cm behind the BB - due to my longer than average tibias?
    Hipcapie with almost a 36 inch inseam...most pro's ride close to the Lemond formula of .883 X inseam has a 80cm saddle height. Big George rides with 9.7cm of setback i.e. plumb off of saddle nose horizontal distance to BB cL. I ride with 10cm with a 35.25" inseam and 78cm saddle height as I like to ride slightly behind KOPS. So my response to you is yes. You have very long legs and I believe KOPS is a good 'general' target although the veracity of KOPS is often debated. The only way to know is to try it. Farther behind KOPS does close your hip angle but it does get your glutes involved and take weight off your hands. Guys with real long legs sometimes have a hard time achieving KOPS unless they have either a frame in the 72 deg sta range and setback seatpost...or extreme setback post + 73 deg frame. The reason why many pros choose less setback is they are in the business of being fast and creating power and not in the comfort business. They can sustain less setback because their natural tendency is to put more watts down compared to the average guy naturally unweighting their hands. Plus they generally have a lighter torso than your average beer drinker. So less than KOPS works well for a racer but for the average guy having the saddle back more will take more pressure off the hands for the simple fact that he doesn't unweight his upper body as much with lower pedal pressures.

    Honestly, the best medicine is to experiment. Roadwarrior made an asute observation...he makes many because he is in the bike fitting busiess and he lets powertap watt output be the gauge of a proper fit. It stands to reason. A rider in the most efficient position will put out the most power. The rider in the best power position maybe also in the most comfortable position as well. My advice with any of this stuff is there is no absolutes and most won't know what is the best position until they try it.
    Last edited by Campag4life; 03-30-11 at 01:06 PM.

  7. #57
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    Interesting! I have no problem achieving KOPS because my lower legs are so much longer than my upper legs. I'm 6 feet, 35.5" cycling inseam - and have an extra 3 inches between my calf and ankle. So my upper leg / knee falls behind the pedal spindle easier than if my upper leg was longer (if that makes sense).
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  8. #58
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyK View Post
    Interesting! I have no problem achieving KOPS because my lower legs are so much longer than my upper legs. I'm 6 feet, 35.5" cycling inseam - and have an extra 3 inches between my calf and ankle. So my upper leg / knee falls behind the pedal spindle easier than if my upper leg was longer (if that makes sense).
    It makes sense and a subtle sidenote is what you wrote is the reason KOPS takes so much criticism. If you think about why KOPS exists as an arbitrary reference point...most statistically fall on the bell curve of femur to tibia length near the middle. You fall to the outside of the curve. Why KOPS? Because a riders legs are a major contributor to fore/aft center of gravity on the bike. So the longer the legs, the more naturally you want to move them rearward of the BB because they represent a major percentage of a rider's mass. When you have an unusual femur to tibia length ratio, this throws off the KOPS convention because your mass ends up either a bit forward or a bit back depending on the ratio of your femur to tibia length.
    Based upon what you wrote, if you have short femurs relative to your overall long leg length, I suggest you experiment well behind KOPS to get your body mass more rearward.


    Peter White says it best:

    Fore-Aft Saddle Position

    Now we get to what I think is the most important part of fitting a bicycle, the fore-aft position of the saddle. Once you get this right, everything else is easy. This position is determined more by how you intend to use your bike than by anything else. If you look at a typical bike, the saddle is behind the crank center, or bottom bracket. There’s a frame tube (the seat tube) running from the cranks to the saddle, and it’s at an angle. That angle partly determines the fore-aft position of the saddle relative to the cranks and pedals. That fore-aft position determines how your body is balanced on the bicycle. Your balance determines how comfortable you are, and how efficiently you can pedal the bike.
    Stand up straight in front of a mirror and turn to the side. Look at yourself in the mirror. When standing straight your head, hands, seat and feet are all fairly close to being in line with each other. Now bend over at the waist. Notice that not only has your head moved to a position ahead of your feet, but your rear end has moved behind your feet. If this were not the case, you would fall forward. Your seat moves back when you bend at the waist to keep you in balance.
    Your torso needs to be leaning forward for two reasons; power output and aerodynamics. With an upright torso, you can’t use the gluteus muscles to good effect. Also, you can’t effectively pull up on the handlebar from an upright position. An upright torso is also very poor aerodynamically. When cycling on level ground, the majority of your effort goes against wind resistance. The easier it is for your body to move through the air, the less work you’ll have to do. With your torso closer to horizontal, you present less frontal surface to the air and don’t have to work as hard to maintain a given speed.
    Obviously, the most aerodynamically efficient position may not be the most pleasant position to be in for several hours on a cross country tour. So there’s a tradeoff. As you move to a more horizontal position, the saddle needs to be positioned further to the rear to maintain your body’s balance, just as your rear end moves to the rear as you bend over while standing. It so happens that racers are more inclined to use a horizontal torso position than tourers, and racers are more concerned with having the handlebars further forward to make climbing and sprinting out of the saddle more effective.
    If a bicycle had the saddle directly over the cranks, you wouldn’t be able to lean your body forward without supporting the weight of your torso with your arms. Because the saddle on a typical bicycle is behind the cranks, your seat is positioned behind your feet and your body can be in balance. Try this test. You’ll need a friend to hold the bike up, or set it on a wind trainer. Sit on your bike with your hands on the handlebars and the crank arms horizontal. If you have a drop bar, hold the bar out on the brake hoods. Try taking your hands off the bar without moving your torso. If it’s a strain to hold your torso in that same position, that’s an indication of the work your arms are doing to hold you up.
    For starters, I like to put the saddle in the forward most position that allows the rider to lift his hands off of the handlebar and maintain the torso position without strain. You should not feel like you're about to fall forward when you lift off the handlebar. If it makes no difference to your back muscles whether you have your hands on the bars or not, you know that you aren’t using your arms to support your upper body. If you are, your arms and shoulders will surely get tired on a long ride. But this is a starting position. Remember that bicycle fit is a series of compromises.
    So what’s being compromised? Power. There’s a limit to how far you can comfortably reach to the handlebar while seated. If the saddle is well back for balance, the handlebars will need to be back as well. But to get power to the pedals while out of the saddle, it helps to have the handlebars well forward of the cranks. Particularly when climbing out of the saddle, the best position tends to be had with a long forward reach to the bars. You can tell this is so by climbing a hill out of the saddle with your hands as far forward on the brake lever tops as you can hold them, then climbing the same hill with your hands as far to the rear as you can on the bars. Chances are you can climb faster with your hands further forward. So you need to find the best compromise between a comfortable seated position and reach to the handlebar, and a forward handlebar position for those times when you need to stand. Only an inch or two in handlebar placement fore-aft can make a big difference while climbing. That same inch or two in saddle position can mean the difference between a comfortable 50 mile ride and a stiff neck and sore shoulders!
    As you move the saddle forward from that balanced position, you’ll have more and more weight supported by your arms, but you’ll be able to position the handlebars further forward for more power. The track sprinter has the frame built with a rather steep seat tube angle, which positions the saddle further forward from where the tourer would want it. But again, the track sprinter spends very little time in the saddle.
    If you can’t move your saddle forward enough or backward enough for the fit you want, don’t despair. Different saddles position the rails further ahead than others, giving more or less saddle offset. Seatposts are available with the clamps in different positions relative to the centerline of the post.
    So, how do YOU want to balance on YOUR bike? Do you want to emphasize speed and acceleration? Do you care mostly about comfort and enjoying the scenery? The answers to these questions determine how you position the saddle, not some computer program or someone’s system of charts and graphs. How your best friend fits his bike should have no bearing on what you do even if he has exactly the same body proportions as you. YOU know why you ride a bike. Only YOU know what compromises you are willing to make in order to achieve your purposes on a bicycle.
    You may have a bicycle for short fast rides, and another for long tours. Just as the two bikes will have different components so as to be well suited for their purposes, so might the fit be different. The rider hasn't changed. You are still you. But your purpose has changed. The light, fast bike for short rides will likely have a more forward and lower handlebar position than the tourer. And so the saddle may well be further forward too.


    What about knee over the pedal axle?

    Most fitting "systems" specify that some part of your knee be directly over the pedal axle at some alignment of the crank, usually with the pedal forward and the crank horizontal. This is pure nonsense. Imagine two riders, almost identical, but one rider's knees are 1 inch lower than the other's. In other words, the thigh bones of one rider are 1 inch longer than the other, and his lower legs are 1 inch shorter. Everthing else about these two riders is identical, including overall height, torso length, arm length and weight. If you position the saddle such that the knee is directly over the pedal axle, the rider with the shorter thighs must have his saddle a little under 1 inch further forward of the other rider. It would be exactly 1 inch if his thigh was horizontal at that pedal position, which it isn't likely to be.
    But with the saddle positioned forward, the rider with shorter thighs now has more weight that must be supported by his arms, all because of this arbitrary rule about having your knee over the pedal axle. This makes no sense. What matters is your weight distribution fore and aft, and that's determined by the fore-aft position of the saddle relative to the cranks.
    Last edited by Campag4life; 03-30-11 at 02:45 PM.

  9. #59
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    That Peter White article is a great reference, I've seen it before. Makes a lot of sense.

    When you say I may want to be "well behind KOPS", how far is "well"? 1-2cm? 5cm?
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  10. #60
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Not sure Andy. It is largely preference and what Peter wrote...depends on whether you race or ride leisurely...or maybe in between. Experiment would be my suggestion. You are only limited by your sta and amount of setback on your post and how long the particular rails are on your saddle. The good news for long legged riders is...a big BB to top of saddle dimension naturally creates setback...as the saddle moves up the saddle moves more behind the BB.
    Last edited by Campag4life; 03-30-11 at 04:42 PM.

  11. #61
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    So behind KOPS is OK, and I should try Peter White's "cranks at parallel, try lifting hands off hoods" to see if I feel like I'm falling forward. Then move saddle back until I'm comfy? THEN post photos to get a consensus?
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  12. #62
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Sounds good.

  13. #63
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    kept this thread in mind on my ride today. it seemed to help especially on certain sections
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  14. #64
    Senior Member Hulley's Avatar
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    Well I just got back from a quick ride (45min) and I made a concerted effort to change how I sit on my sit bones. I noticed that when I would get into the drops that position took alot of stress off my sit bones and my butt was much more comfortable. I do have 2 stacks under my stem so I think I'm gonna remove one a go for another ride and see how that feels. As of right now I dont have much of a drop from my saddle, maybe a half inch at the most. BTW my ride is a 2011 Scott CR1.
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  15. #65
    Sloth Hunter Trouble's Avatar
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    Lowered bars

    Took to the road the last 3 days with allen wrenchs and an open mind. I am now with a stem flipped down and lowered to a 6.75 cm bar drop (never thought this would be comfortable), saddle back 8.5 cm and tilted up 11 mm from level.

    What was apparent on the ride is much more comfort.
    Having the bars down forces my shoulders to round out and flexed/relaxed elbows, rather than like TromboneAl (no offense) with the turtle look and locked elbows. There is no jolting up the arms and into the shoulder/neck from bumps. Very happy about this.
    Much better feel when standing, especially when climbing.

    Having the saddle fore-aft back more balances me out, much less weight on the bars. It facilitates getting into this lowered position and getting my back flatter.
    At one point cruising at about 85 rpm, I was able to stay bent over and put my hands behind my back with little trouble.
    It also allowed me to take front end hits with no (loss of) control issues.

    Another great benefit of this position is the bike now handles like I have always wanted it to...it carves corners, very planted. Very happy about this.

    What was apparent post ride (3hrs20min) was getting off the bike and no comfort issues, my body felt tired, but not pained.

    What I struggled with the most was saddle height. I ended up with a height that allows me to spin up to about 100 rpm. Any higher and I start bouncing and too much pressure on the crotch. Any lower and I lose power climbing and my knees hurt post ride.

    Lastly, pivoting forward and sitting on the ramus of ischium and adductor magnus, instead of the tuberosity ischium (sitz bones) as Cobb describes is way more comfortable. Very happy about this too. Click the below image for an enlargement.

    Great thread and I hope this helps others.
    Incidently, this is far off of both of my "pro fits" that I paid over $100 for. One of them was a Serotta fitter.

    My advise is to teach yourself how YOU should fit YOUR bike based on your riding style and flexibility/fitness. Plumb bobs, KOPS and goniometers are irrelevant to your fit and those that blurt out "get a pro fit" have no idea how to fit themselves and those that charge for this using the same should be ashamed.

    I wanted to end on a more positive note, but felt compelled to express myself because I can't take going into another LBS and seeing duffus plumb bobbing another new cyclist.

    Gray235.jpgIMG_0830 copy.jpg
    Last edited by Trouble; 04-02-11 at 05:09 PM.
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  16. #66
    Riding twobadfish's Avatar
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    After many miles I think I finally nailed down my fit. Initially I struggled with wrist pain - as A LOT of weight was on my hands. But I didn't understand how weight couldn't be on my hands because if I removed the weight by lifting my arms up from the bars I would fall forward to the point of crashing if I didn't catch myself.

    So initially my bars were tilted WAY too far down. So far down that it was impossible to ride on the hoods. So I rotated the bars up to a level position and dropped my seat post by about 1cm. This helped a lot but I still had quite a bit of weight on my hands and my junk kept going numb. Then today I stumbled across this thread and with what I learned from personal accounts and Cobb's videos I made two more adjustments.

    I tilted the saddle up three positions and flipped my stem. Took it for a test ride and I was really pleased. I could almost completely remove my hands from the bars and still pedal efficiently AND I didn't feel like there was any pressure on my junk. I'm going to resist the temptation to make more adjustments and go on a long ride and potentially make small adjustments as needed. But I feel pretty good about this.

    Wrist pain = defeated. $150 = saved.

  17. #67
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble View Post

    My advise is to teach yourself how YOU should fit YOUR bike based on your riding style and flexibility/fitness. Plumb bobs, KOPS and goniometers are irrelevant to your fit and those that blurt out "get a pro fit" have no idea how to fit themselves and those that charge for this using the same should be ashamed.

    I wanted to end on a more positive note, but felt compelled to express myself because I can't take going into another LBS and seeing duffus plumb bobbing another new cyclist.

    Gray235.jpgIMG_0830 copy.jpg
    As an employee of a company that uses two paid doffuses to hang plumb bobs from kneecaps, I tend to agree with your advice. I've been doing it since the '70s.

    The prime consideration is balance, and the rider is the best judge of that.

  18. #68
    Riding twobadfish's Avatar
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    I would tend to think that getting a fit would be an educational experience. I spent A LOT of time reading and watching videos before I finally figured out how to adjust my bike properly and what each adjustment actually did, how adjustments affected each other, etc. It's the strangest thing that there doesn't seem to be a definitive and comprehensive guide on the matter (at least from what I could find).

    Having said that I can see the value in paying to have a fit done. I was really close to paying for it myself. I was frustrated and just couldn't figure it out completely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    The prime consideration is balance, and the rider is the best judge of that.
    True. When you think the saddle needs to go back because there's too much weight on the hands, it just might be that the saddle needs to go forward and up and the bars need to be lowered? This is something that seems to plague many a rider. What's your professional opinion on that? Does this also create balance?
    Last edited by Trouble; 04-03-11 at 12:17 PM.
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  20. #70
    Spinning @ 33 RPM Glynis27's Avatar
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    Hmm, I've read about pelvic tilt on the bike before, but for some reason I thought you wanted to tilt it back instead of forward. On all of my rides I make an effort to tilt it back (almost sitting on my tailbone) but have never found it comfortable. I've also brought my bars higher and higher each year. If what the OP says is true, it would explain why my most comfortable position is with my forearms resting on the tops of the bars like I'm using aero bars. It gives the effect of having lower bars and forces my pelvis to role forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    Besides a happier spine, another benefit you should enjoy will be increased use of the gluteus maximus (butt) muscles and decreased reliance on the quads.
    With my current position I use none of my glutes. More than 90% of my power comes from my quads, but I would love to use more of my available muscles, especially large ones like the glutes.

    I've never been able to ride long enough to wear my legs out. Every single one of my rides has been ended at the 30-45 mile mark due to sore neck, shoulders and back. If I make the position/posture changes suggested here and they fix that problem I will be incredibly happy. Hope it works. Thanks.
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  21. #71
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble View Post
    True. When you think the saddle needs to go back because there's too much weight on the hands, it just might be that the saddle needs to go forward and up and the bars need to be lowered? This is something that seems to plague many a rider. What's your professional opinion on that? Does this also create balance?
    The trend (not rule) to maintain balance is, the lower the handlebar, the farther back the saddle needs to go. The higher the handlebar, the farther forward the saddle can come. Your center of gravity must be over the feet to keep from falling on your face or putting too much pressure on the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders.

    That's why you see Trek 7000 comfort bikes with very steep seat tubes, very short top tubes, and a very high handlebar. You're riding practically standing up.

    And triathlon/time trial bikes are a different animal.

    To see a video of a guy who his this thing wired in a moderate position that can be a model for any reasonably fit road cyclist, follow this link: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...y-fit-position
    Last edited by oldbobcat; 04-05-11 at 09:44 AM. Reason: More info

  22. #72
    Iconoclast rat fink's Avatar
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    I missed the follow-up to this thread. I'm glad to see that so many people are finding positions that work for their needs!

    I have a recommendation for anyone who is struggling to find the sweet spot in their saddle positioning. If you don't already have one, GET A FULL MICRO-ADJUSTING SEAT POST. Most bikes come with a stupid notch locking type clamp, (the kind that have multiple teeth that nest together when you tighten the clamp bolt). The problem with that is they only have about 9-15 positions. The space between notch settings can translate to as much as 10 degrees! Think about it, that 10 degrees of pitch adjustment that you do not have between each setting. It may not seem like much, but I guarantee that for most people that will absolutely preclude them from their best position. Full micro adjust posts can be kind of expensive, so shop around. They usually cost between $20-70 (more for the lighter, blingier designs), but can be had inexpensively used. There are lot's of brands that make them, but they usually don't come as standard equipment on bikes that sell for say, < $2000 new. Feel free to contact me if you are unsure of what to buy, I've tried dozens of different designs.
    "Winning is the best deodorant. Someone can look at your bike and say it stinks, but if you win with it, suddenly it's okay." - Jim Busby

  23. #73
    Iconoclast rat fink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    The trend (not rule) to maintain balance is, the lower the handlebar, the farther back the saddle needs to go.
    I'd say this is true. One example of an exception might be riders to who ride more aggressively, have good upper body strength or a lot of power, people who do a lot of high speed descending, etc. In cases like this, the rider positions their weight further forward on the bike so that there is more weight on the front wheel. Having a good bit of weight on the front wheel makes the bike feel more 'planted'. Having enough weight on the front wheel make it so that the bike grips better and turns more intuitively especially on 'squirrely' bikes (bikes that have responsive steering). On such a bike, it becomes more important that you make steering input more smoothly and that you steer with your hips more than your arms.
    "Winning is the best deodorant. Someone can look at your bike and say it stinks, but if you win with it, suddenly it's okay." - Jim Busby

  24. #74
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    The trend (not rule) to maintain balance is, the lower the handlebar, the farther back the saddle needs to go. The higher the handlebar, the farther forward the saddle can come. Your center of gravity must be over the feet to keep from falling on your face or putting too much pressure on the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders.

    That's why you see Trek 7000 comfort bikes with very steep seat tubes, very short top tubes, and a very high handlebar. You're riding practically standing up.

    And triathlon/time trial bikes are a different animal.

    To see a video of a guy who his this thing wired in a moderate position that can be a model for any reasonably fit road cyclist, follow this link: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...y-fit-position
    Really well said. As the bar drops, the torso tilts which elongates the body and the body has to move back relative to the BB centerline. This is why it is hard to convert an old English 3 speed to a drop bar bike...the top tube is too short. Also this is why for example the Look 566 comfort geometry has a more upright seat tube angle like you say.

  25. #75
    Senior Member Hulley's Avatar
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    I've made a few adjustments over the weekend and needless to say I'm getting much more comfortable on the bike and my bars are at their lowest. Now I need to play with seat adjustment to help find my balance. Thanks so much OP!
    2011 Scott Addict. Lynskey R230 on the "List".
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