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  1. #151
    Senior Member KoYak's Avatar
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    I've been gradually lowering my handlebars. Overall, definitely more comfortable as I lower the handlebars. My back is a bit tight for the first 3-5 rides or so after i drop the bar, and then my back gets used to the new position. switched saddle from Brooks B17 to Fizik Arione and the arione definitely allows me to get into a racier position.

  2. #152
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMMJ View Post
    Does the shape of the saddle effect your ability to rotate your hips forward? For example, is it easier on a flat profile saddle like a Specialized Toupe, or one of the curved profile saddles like Selle SMP?
    Doesn't matter for me. I ride an Arione, a Concor, and an Aliante almost interchangeably. The Arione is dead level while the other two are set so a level pretty much bisects the difference between the lowest part and the top of the cantle.

  3. #153
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    Just when you thought you were out...they pull you back in.

    Thought I had my bike fit dialled, till I fell victim to fashion and chopped the fork right down on my crit bike. Thought it would murder my back on longer rides but dammit I actually feel more supple on the bike. With my previous fit I thought I was at full extension, but with the lower bar and rocking my pelvis forward to sit on my gooch rather than the sit bones, I've found that different muscles are used in my arse and groin adductors, and that my reach feels like I have an extra centimeter of play now, as well as being much lower. I haven't gone as severe as the Cobb videos, since I get the hunch the third video in that series is how to fit aerobars to a road bike (hint: the body position from his first 2 videos won't change) but I concentrated on hip angle and the change is noticable. Also the position from the Cobb videos would correspond to riding in the drops. Since my saddles 'hammock' a bit once they're broken in they're still nominally level, I haven't felt the need to tilt them back yet. Dammit. Thanks all for your input, and for behaving respectfully to other posters.
    Last edited by Minion1; 08-07-11 at 09:50 PM. Reason: I can't spell to save myself.

  4. #154
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    My saddle to bar drop was about 2.5 inches before I lowered my bars about an inch, maybe a little less after reading this thread. On top of the bars and hoods I felt more comfortable for about an hour and it was almost impossible to get in my drops because I was not sitting on a very comfy area. That wasn't good and before that I was sitting on my sit bones. I felt awkward and very tired after a while for some reason. Maybe my 2 1/2 inch drop was good enough to begin with as nothing really bothered me. Don't know. I really feel most comfy sitting on my sit bones and anything beyond that is unacceptable. I returned my setup as it used to be.

    As mentioned before, I have a "bull style" back and I'm not very flexible by nature. More drop could be better for some, and as we all have different body types, it's not gonna work for everyone.
    Last edited by spock; 08-04-11 at 11:38 AM.

  5. #155
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    This is absolutely one of the best threads that I have read on this road bike forum. It's very interesting and informative. I had only been riding again for less than a year when I purchased my first ever road bike. I thought it felt really comfortable when I road it at the bike shop until I started riding it on longer rides. The free fit they gave me was pretty much a saddle height adjustment. My back was sore, my shoulders hurt and my hands got numb faster than they did on my hybrid. I started looking into professional bike fitting because I did know what to do at the time. I went online and checked out several different methods and actually went to the shops and watched them do fittings whenever I got the chance. Several of the bike shops in my area offer the Retul fitting, which I eventually had done, and I called the one closest to my work to get more information on the fitting than what was on the Retul web site. I don't race, do TT or triathlons, but I do a lot of long distance rides and didn't want to have my body in pain every time I got off the bike. It's a little more expensive than the fits using the plumb bobs and angle measuring tools but I can attest that as a first time road bike rider, this was the best money I have spent on cycling. I'm not trying to tell everyone to run out and get a Retul fit, just telling my story.

    When I called the shop, the fitter (certified by Retul) asked me to come in to the shop and talk to him before a fitting was done. I was not charged for this and it included measuring my body and testing my flexibility. I spent about 40 minutes with him as he explained the fitting process and I explained to him what type of riding I wanted to do. I don't know if this is the way all Retul fitters do it or not, this shop did. I made an appointment to get the fitting and the first sitting was approximately one hour as it was the base fit. There were a few adjustments that he made on the saddle and he dropped the stem to it's lowest position. I was told to go and ride the bike for two weeks and come back for another sitting. The second sitting also lasted around an hour and here is where I think the difference comes in between Retul and other fittings. Along with readjusting my saddle, they adjusted my cleats, shimmed my shoes, angled the handlebars to fit my hand position and they removed the tape, adjusted the angle and position of the shifter to fit my riding position and re-taped my bars with new tape. After the fitting, he went over some exercises that I can do while riding or on a trainer to help improve my riding. He also gave me tips on how to relax my shoulders and not stiffen my arms when I ride. This alone, stopped me from riding with an arched back and since then there has not been anymore shoulder or back pain.

    It was off to ride again but this time for three weeks before the next sitting. The third (and last) sitting took less time and only some minor adjustments were made. According to the computer, I was as close to having the best fit that I was ever going to get. About a month after I was done with the fitting, I dumped the bike and noticed that the handlebar had moved some. I took the bike back to the shop and they looked at the computer to find the angle they set it at and reset it at no charge.

    I know that this is a lot of ranting and raving about a bike fitting, but I can tell you that since then, I don't get any pain in my shoulders, my back and unless I get stupid and stiffen my arms when I ride, hand numbness is very rare. I have only been riding my road bike since November of last year and have 2,000 miles on it. Again, I'm not a professional rider, I don't do races, I'm not into high speeds (although I can hold my own) and I don't move my saddle up, down or otherwise. In fact, I have yet to adjust anything on this bike because it fits so good. Now I'm getting off my box.
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  6. #156
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    That's what's called riding with a flat back.
    I've done enough of it that an x-ray of my spine from the side shows it's pretty flat; most of the S is straightened out.

  7. #157
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    Careful you don't ride with your back curved towards the ground - according to Sheldon that can cause back injury as road vibrations will cause more curvature of the back. So either keep the back flat or have a slight upwards curve.

    Excellent thread - time to start tinkering with my position again!

  8. #158
    Vandalized since 2002 vandalarchitect's Avatar
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    Was reading Gérard Vroomen's blog recently and thought of this thread. He has four recent posts that might help out some of us here (links below). Now before anyone goes and reads them and starts saying this is even more counter-intuitive as he suggests that lowering bar height isn't always the best, hear me out. I think that this thread and Vroomen are getting at the same thing, that much of your positioning on the bike comes from the core. Lowering bars just to slam your stem isn't going to help if you aren't focused on your body positioning (flat back, rotated pelvis, more aggressive posture, etc.) and your core (keeping elbows bent, weight off hands, etc.)

    I recently lowered my bars about an inch but didn't focus on my core positioning because I thought it would all just come. Needless to say I was pretty much the same as before, my butt hurt, my hands got sore, and I wasn't using the proper muscle groups in my legs. Not to mention my elbows were locked and my handling suffered because rather than compensating for the lower bars with my body I just extended my arms. The last couple of days I've been focused on rotating forward and keeping my elbows bent and I feel much better on the bike.

    Great thread all!

    arm positioning pt. 1
    arm postioning pt. 2
    Body positioning vs bar height pt. 1
    Body positioning vs bar height pt. 2

    Edit: I'll throw this link in as well for core exercises
    Last edited by vandalarchitect; 08-05-11 at 01:05 PM.

  9. #159
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    I saw those as well, and though he's right, that bent arms and a stronger core help immensely, I couldn't help but think two things,
    1) he's an engineer and the concept of fixed angles that your body is optomised to perform at is appealing to an engineer, for some reason I can't get right behind it from a biological point of view. Things change over time, and even though he's going to have a ton of data from his team's powertaps, and has way more experience and evidence than I do, bike fit needs to change for the majority of people as their situation changes.
    2) He is talking about pro riders who have spent years optimising their position. Punters like you and me are working on improving their position, and if there are fixed optimal angles then we may as well all just stop trying to improve and buy an S5. The timing of these posts is curious, in relation to the bike his company has just released.

  10. #160
    Vandalized since 2002 vandalarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minion1 View Post
    I saw those as well, and though he's right, that bent arms and a stronger core help immensely, I couldn't help but think two things,
    1) he's an engineer and the concept of fixed angles that your body is optomised to perform at is appealing to an engineer, for some reason I can't get right behind it from a biological point of view. Things change over time, and even though he's going to have a ton of data from his team's powertaps, and has way more experience and evidence than I do, bike fit needs to change for the majority of people as their situation changes.
    2) He is talking about pro riders who have spent years optimising their position. Punters like you and me are working on improving their position, and if there are fixed optimal angles then we may as well all just stop trying to improve and buy an S5. The timing of these posts is curious, in relation to the bike his company has just released.
    Agreed. I see it with people like you and me as a something that can be continually improved upon as we get more fit, more flexible, stronger, etc. Maybe right now, where my bars are at is good enough. After getting used to it, I could lower them further, and then further still, and then get a stem with a steeper angle, etc. all the while improving my speed and aerodynamics. I do think that there comes a point of diminished returns however. But at that point I'll probably be winning the TdF anyway so what would be the point, right?

  11. #161
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    ^^^ Yup. Pro riders are at the limit in terms of their fit - continuing to go lower/longer would lead to diminishing returns past a certain point. Punters like me and others with varying levels of fitness are miles away from the pro position and efficiency and so need to keep on plugging away at it.

  12. #162
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
    Really a good post and well said. I too own a 29er mtb and ride more off road than on because of access more than preference.
    I have tested my mtb set up from aggressive drop to well above and my bars with sag are around saddle height. This is vastly due to the pounding on the hands if setting the mtb up with drop. I could set it up like a beach cruiser of course but then I lose speed and handling. So it is a compromise. On the open tarmac I hunch down in a roadie position with hands right on the bar near the stem and hammer because the road is smooth and I can take that position.
    Mtb's and especially 29ers make great commuters and touring bikes...best of all worlds.
    Cheers.
    Amen. MTBs are fantastic commuters, particularly given the current state of the roads ... e.g. potholes and debris. With some nano knobbies or slick tires, they'll roll fast, carry any weight and will take a beating. Vintage hardtails can be had for a song, and dress up nicely. And, i guess to keep it on topic, a more upright position is very appropriate for a urban commute, easy to achieve on an MTB with a stem riser or riser bars. Shop for a frame one size down, (shorter tt).
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 08-11-11 at 09:45 AM.

  13. #163
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    May as well bump this to prevent an archive of it since it's a relatively useful thread.

  14. #164
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I heard that if you try to arch your back sticking your butt out more you will be more comfortable. at first it felt funny but due to my posture even though it felt funny I was a long way from actually looking like I was sticking my butt out.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  15. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
    Do not attempt on a Brooks.
    What about a B17 Imperial with the cutout? I know the B17 is not intended for much saddle to bar drop, just thinking the cutout should enable the B17 to accomplish the great advice on this thread.

    I wish this thread had more comments on perineum pressure, something I think most amateurs like me will have immediately following any increase in lowering the bars. This is more important to me than anything, as someone early in the thread pointed out, you trade sore sit bones for an even bigger problem, keeping in mind that half of your penis resides inside the body.

  16. #166
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    I went on a 71 mile ride yesterday, consciously rotating my pelvis forward (not the same bike as in the photo above).

    I had significantly less sit bone and neck pain during the ride. Many thanks to Bike Eagle for that.

    But, last night, after the ride, I had more prostate-related pain and nut pain. This is despite having a Specialized Alias saddle, with a complete cutout and tilted down a bit in the front.

    So, some more experimentation is going to be necessary.
    I think it's Cobb that also recommends rotating the saddle 5 degrees or so to the right to relieve pain, take the 'nose' off the saddle. That's how I set up my bikes, I was pleasantly surprised to fitter recomended it as a fit technique. Tilted down in the front - I don't know about that, I'd be sliding forward with anything more than the slightest tilt.

  17. #167
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    The B17 profile is too wide for a rotated position, generally speaking. The sitz bones are triangular, once you rotate the area gets pretty narrow. That's why so many ol skool enthusiast saddles have a dramactic curve in the top, they are tranistioning from a flat top that's only something like 75cm and taping down quickly to something like 130mm. Brooks are like 160mm flat top, gi-normuse in comparison, and that's because you are sitting on the back of your sitz bones upright. If you rotate on the Brooks, you are probably riding on your tendons/muscles or the nose of the saddle.
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 05-25-12 at 09:05 AM.

  18. #168
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    I'm shocked to see this thread turn up today as I just discovered this fact on my morning ride. Last night I swapped out my 100mm, 7deg stem for a 110mm, 0deg stem and popped out one of the spacers. About 5 miles into my ride, I realized that my pelvis was oriented vertically on my seat and my back was arching toward the bars, creating as 'S' shape going from the top of my head to the bottom of my pelvis.

    Once I realized this, I rotated my pelvis forward so the pointy part of my sit bones was now in direct contact with the saddle. This was instantly more comfortable. The right side neck pain I've been getting is completely gone.

    It did point out the fact that my seat is still slightly too low and too far forward. I'll be making the adjustment tonight, looking forward to riding tomorrow.

  19. #169
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    I'm so glad I stumbled upon this thread. Thanks to the OP for describing it in a way that I understood. I tried this out on a 40 mile ride and it dramatically reduced the pain in the back of my neck. Riding with my back more straight made my reach to the handlebars longer so that my arms were more bent...more so than felt comfortable. So this led me to either get a longer stem or lower the stem (I chose the latter, free option). Now I understand why this posture leads to lowering the stem. Anyway, my neck thanks those who contributed to this thread.

    I found this pic on the web that I think illustrates the posture.
    bike-posture.jpg
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  20. #170
    djb
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    thanks too for this interesting thread, I changed the angle of my stem today and while it wasnt lowered a great amount, the shim change on the spec. stem meant the angle came down and it was a nice change for my back to be more stretched out.

  21. #171
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    This thread is literally the best thing to happen to me (bike related)! I'm 5'7", and when I asked my taller teammate for a 120mm stem, he looked at me funny and said he'd be surprised if I needed it. I told him I was just experimenting. A few minutes later, I went on a quick test ride. The difference was amazing! I was in the drops the whole time but I could see the road in front of me clearly. I feel like I've been riding my bike(s) incorrectly my entire life... can't wait to rack up the miles on this new position!

    120mm 6 degree slammed on a 52cm madone btw.

  22. #172
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    Has anyone had success with running the Arione significantly nose up?

    After trying seemingly every saddle in existence, I had settled on the Arione CX a couple years ago as the best for me.

    It was never absolutely perfect, but close enough in most regards. I loved the long/flat surface (and miss it). It's nearly too narrow for me, though, and the major issue I had was risking going numb on rides over 40 miles unless I consciously worked at spending considerable time out of the saddle.

    Fast forward: Seeing the newly revamped 2013 Flite a couple months ago, with a profile looking almost like the marriage of an Arione CX and classic Flite 1990, I pulled some strings and got one (with the cutout) early and can report quite positive feedback on the whole - but the overall fit is closer to an improved Antares IMO as the quicker downward sweep on the skirt is preferable to me.

    Anyway, what brought me to this great thread was discovering that nose up by about 1.2 degrees helped the new Flite give me more effective flat seating area, more similar to the Arione. I started researching the who/what/why of running saddles nose up and landed here... After delving into this thread, I tossed the bike on the trainer, pulled off the single remaining spacer to slam the stem and tweaked height and set back. In all, I wound up pulling the saddle back another 1.5cm (from an already Eddy'ish stretch), raising it another 1cm and tilting the Flite nose up 1.2 degrees... amazingly, it felt absolutely great on the trainer. Indeed, as the thread title suggests, a revelation!

    My first real test ride on the road confirmed it beyond question. In a word, outstanding! Much improved comfort, plus improved power transfer!

    As others have attested to, it was shocking to me because it goes against so much conventional wisdom that's been pounded into us all about fit and saddle set up "rules".

    Here's my problem, even with this outstanding "new" saddle fit, I'm now tempted to retest the Arione set up in this way!

    Why, why, why?!

    I'm probably not going to tempt fate just yet having found new nirvana, but a thousand miles down the road I just know one day I will - unless someone tells me how foolish it would be. That, if the Arione ran slightly nose down caused numb nuts, that only an idiot would attempt running it nose up and expect a better outcome...

    Help, save me from myself!
    Last edited by askmass; 01-28-13 at 04:59 AM. Reason: nose up % typo correction

  23. #173
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    My comments:-
    [1] You don't necessarily have a flat back to do this, just not as bent as before.
    [2] As core muscles get stronger and toned, you will automatically have a flatter back.

  24. #174
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    bumping this is not a good idea i think, but i had to thank that man, he came from past(2011) and found a solution to my problem.

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