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  1. #1
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    How does this bike fit look?

    Been struggling trying to find a touring bike for my wife for some short overnight or weekend rides. We tried a Novara Randonee but found the geometry a bit whacky (super upright). Surly Long Haul Trucker felt "ok" to her and we almost bought one of those. Then she test drove a 1984 Trek 620 we found on Craigslist and thought it felt "great" compared to the other two, so I picked it up. I replaced brake levers with some Tektro ladies reach (as well as replacing chain/tires/etc).

    Attached is a pic of her riding position. For some reason she wants the seat all the way back, but then complains about being stretched out slightly too much. Before I try to locate a shorter quill stem, can anyone comment on this riding position and bike fit? I know her elbows should be bent, but I think this is just a posture issue rather than a fit issue.

    Bike fit looks ok to my eye, but I'm no expert.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    looks ok but the seat may be low. is her leg %95 straight in the down position?
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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    You might want to take a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAl_5e7bIHk

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    These will get you pretty close. The first two are intended for road bike fitting; for a tourist fit I'd go a little shorter and taller (not bent over so much). Rivendell's fitting is closer to one suited for touring.

    http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO

    https://www.wrenchscience.com/Login....%2fHeight.aspx

    http://www.rivbike.com/Articles.asp?ID=247

    https://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=41

    http://www.thetandemlink.com/LearningCenter.html

  5. #5
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    I’m no expert but I think the fitting looks pretty good. She is wise to feel she wants the weight shift (Saddle back) and that tells me she has the core strength needed to stay comfortable without taking all the upper body weight in the arms. Hard to tell if the saddle height is right in the photo but it looks about right to me.

    Before going to a new stem you can give her the feel of that position change by rolling the bars up a few degrees and ether move the hood or have her try them where they are. If she isn’t going to be riding in the drops much she may like the tilt even. Not sure how much more you can pull that stem out but I have pulled them pretty far just to try the feel of a higher position before buying new. On my touring bike I bought an adjustable stem (quill type) thinking I would just use it to figure it out. I fell in love with being able to tweak it depending on how I feel and haven’t seen a reason to get rid of it. Very strong and secure feel.

    Is she ok with the down tube shifters?

    I wouldn’t discourage her from the saddle back position and if she needs additional adjustment do it with the bars and stem. Looks like a nice bike is it a triple? That’s a nice small granny should climb good.

    Here is a photo from a shoe ad I found and I added a few lines. I liked the rider position on the bike is why I saved it.

    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

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    ppg677, I would like to see just a little less straight arm to the hoods. A shorter stem and/or a handle bar with less hook should fix that.

    Brad

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    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    If she were to bend her elbows to achieve "good form", I'm afraid her back and posture will be too aggressive (too horizontal) for touring purposes. She should definitely have elbows more bent while keeping her back at the same angle shown on this pic (about 45 deg.) The bike frame seems to me like it should work for her with a few adjustments to the saddle (moved forward and consequently higher) and/or possibly using a shorter stem. The latter might not be necessary. Make small adjustments... less than one centimeter at a time. If she reaches a level of comfort that's decent, resend pics on and off the bike. I think she will also be more comfortable on a handlebar with horizontal ramps (i.e., Nitto Noodle)
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 08-24-12 at 07:31 AM.

  8. #8
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    The desire to have the seat back interests me, because it seems that the knee position is slightly behind the pedal spindle. Is her pedal cadence somewhat on the slower side -- that is, does she prefer the mashing style or riding? It may account for her desire to have the seat back further than you think it should be.

    I also would prefer to see a picture with her foot position in the 12/6 o'clock position to determine a ball park for the seat height (which in turn would influence the fore-aft adjustment of the seat rails).

    I might also be inclined to suggest a shorter stem, although tracking them down for threaded 1" headsets is becoming a little more difficult that it used to be.

    I suppose the key element here is that she likes the fit better than on the other bikes she has tried, and at a first glance it doesn't look significantly bad at all.

    At the very least, provided the price is right on the old Trek, she can get a feel for touring.

    I consider fit to be a dynamic thing that can change periodically as one's core strength increases, and certain issues -- perhaps sore butt or tingly fingers or hot foot -- can emerge that can provide clues to where the fit can be tweaked.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    Here is a photo from a shoe ad I found and I added a few lines. I liked the rider position on the bike is why I saved it.

    I am not sure why you persist in posting this photograph. The fits are specifically for racing road bikes that have seat and headtube angles that are majorly more aggressive than for a touring bike, and especially the sort of touring frame dealt with in this thread.

    Armstrong's fit might be closest to what many people think is a good one for touring, but his also was a compromise to overcome some inbuilt physiological issues that likely do not apply to normal people. The process of fitting Armstrong spanned as many years as he participated in the TdF, and was entirely in the pursuit of power, and I am not sure that his team of fitters ever would claim it was perfect.

    The knee and elbow bends on Armstrong are highly desirable, of course, but I always got the impression that he was somewhat cramped on the bike, which was probably more to do with his desire for high cadence in climbing.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I am not sure why you persist in posting this photograph. The fits are specifically for racing road bikes that have seat and headtube angles that are majorly more aggressive than for a touring bike, and especially the sort of touring frame dealt with in this thread.

    Armstrong's fit might be closest to what many people think is a good one for touring, but his also was a compromise to overcome some inbuilt physiological issues that likely do not apply to normal people. The process of fitting Armstrong spanned as many years as he participated in the TdF, and was entirely in the pursuit of power, and I am not sure that his team of fitters ever would claim it was perfect.

    The knee and elbow bends on Armstrong are highly desirable, of course, but I always got the impression that he was somewhat cramped on the bike, which was probably more to do with his desire for high cadence in climbing.
    I liked the photo in general because it showed two riders in profile and clearly compared the two center of gravities of an athletic posture relative to the crank position, that could be good for most to strive for or at least think about. Compared to his racing form I felt this photo was quite upright. The back of his shoulder is roughly in line with the CL of the crank compared to mid torso of the other rider. That extra weight is counteracting leg force rather than adding weight to the arms. The knee and elbow bend as you mentioned clearly show good overall riding posture.

    We all have “inbuilt physiological issues” of course we also all have different ones that require individual fittings. I wasn’t trying to suggest anyone attempt to look like Lance’s posture while touring. Spinning is desirable in touring just as it is in racing just done with much lower gearing. So the suggestions above of bringing the bars back a bit to get the elbow bend will promote that more cramped posture you mention. Moving the saddle forward will move more weight to the arms by changing the CG. Unless a lot of leg force is constantly being produced like a sprinter coming out of the blocks the body will have to come more upright or the arms will have to support the weight making the bent elbows less likely. The OP’s photo shows a back angle of maybe 45 deg and if you look at Lance’s back angle although its curved it’s not a lot less I haven’t tried to measure it but maybe 40 degrees. The difference is in the reach. And what I was hoping to suggest to correct thru a stem and possibly bar change and a few methods to experiment to get there as a shorter top tube isn’t an option. The other easy method to try is as Chris Pringle suggested is moving the saddle forward and up something she wasn’t liking. I just wanted to point out when you make that adjustment the crank stays behind.

    I liked the photo because to me it showed a relaxed upper body absorbing road shock well and in the position to produce a lot of power. Not the straight arm position I see most people riding around town with. I take your point it’s not 100% apropos to touring and I will refrain from using it again on the forum. Do you have any photos you could recommend showing rider weight balance while touring? Most I find are very upright with alternate type bars or straight arm with drops.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

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    OP,

    Knee position makes it appear the seat needs to move forward which will take some weight off the hands and may alleviate the need for a shorter stem. Try that first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    Do you have any photos you could recommend showing rider weight balance while touring? Most I find are very upright with alternate type bars or straight arm with drops.
    Not any that I can lay my hands on right now, because I am away from home.

    But if you were to have seen what we have seen in northern Europe recently as the standard touring style, all this hypothesis about body angles for a start would go out the window. The positions and bikes are hugely different for touring cyclists over here.

    The reason why I ask about the riding style of the OP's wife with this style of drop-bar bike is that the fore-aft position of the saddle can be very much influenced by the cadence of the rider.

    A slow, mashing kind of cadence almost requires that the seat be back on the seatpost, while a faster cadence means moving the seat forward, otherwise there is a natural inclination to move forward on the saddle.

    A neutral position, with the knee over the pedal spindle is probably best because it allows spinning on the flats and in low gears with the rider moving slightly forward on the saddle, while the rider also can mash uphill at low speed by pressing back in the saddle.

    Core strength also has a lot to do with the rider's position on this type of bike. A weak core means the rider is more likely to slump on the saddle, rather than perch on the sitbones; a corollary of this is resting hard on the hands, and no amount of moving the bars up down or sideways will really help with this sort of riding position. A moderately strong core enables the rider to adopt a strong position on the saddle and to ease pressure on the hands.

    Ultimately, any advice offered here is "ball park" stuff, and once the rider has some experience with the bike, she will be able to make micro-adjustments to improve her comfort and to reflect any strengthening of her core muscles.

    For most European tourers we have seen, the body angle is almost vertical. Weight is more or less back on the seat, and often the handlebars are well above the seat (by inches, not increments).

    So... everyone's miles may vary.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    I liked the photo because to me it showed a relaxed upper body absorbing road shock well and in the position to produce a lot of power. Not the straight arm position I see most people riding around town with. I take your point it’s not 100% apropos to touring and I will refrain from using it again on the forum. Do you have any photos you could recommend showing rider weight balance while touring? Most I find are very upright with alternate type bars or straight arm with drops.
    So, it's a picture of "some dude" on a bike. There's nothing that indicates that it happened to have been taken at a time that "dude" thought he was maintaining an "optimal" posture.

    The bent elbows is reasonable (easier to absorb shocks) but the curved (hunched) back might not be.

    The guy in the back is on the tops with his elbows straight. It's not a normal riding position. The red-line drawn through him is exactly as expected.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-24-12 at 11:35 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    For most European tourers we have seen, the body angle is almost vertical. Weight is more or less back on the seat, and often the handlebars are well above the seat (by inches, not increments).

    So... everyone's miles may vary.
    It would be interesting to know the speed and daily mileages of these "upright" riders.

    There isn't anything that indicates that tourers "must" rid this way. A fair number of long-distance riders (not talking about racers/professionals) don't choose to use an upright posture. A less upright posture requires some getting-used-to (which may explain why some people use an upright posture).

    (Of course, people do have different preferences.)

  15. #15
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    ppg677, I would like to see just a little less straight arm to the hoods. A shorter stem and/or a handle bar with less hook should fix that.

    Brad
    I agree with the need for less straight arms, but think it would be better to just bend at the waist more to allow more bend at the elbows. That is what I would want in any case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    It would be interesting to know the speed and daily mileages of these "upright" riders.

    There isn't anything that indicates that tourers "must" rid this way. A fair number of long-distance riders (not talking about racers/professionals) don't choose to use an upright posture. A less upright posture requires some getting-used-to (which may explain why some people use an upright posture).

    (Of course, people do have different preferences.)
    I think in the European case, it's cultural as much as anything else -- that is, the types of bikes they ride every day are the types of bikes they ride on weekends... and on tour.

    Plus the types of bikes that have been on offer at the shops have been somewhat limited. I do admit to seeing a few more MTB and hybrid-style bikes than on previous trips, but generally the riding style is very upright. The stem height on a lot has been astonishing to say the least, and bar-ends have been elevated to anywhere up to vertical.

    And I gather some of the touring riders are putting in quite long days, albeit probably not in terribly steep country. We are very unusual on the touring scene so far with our drop-bar tourers.

    Which brings us back to the OP -- because that is the style of bike that his wife has chosen, it's always appropriate to maximise comfort.

    Now... let's talk Brooks saddles
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  17. #17
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Not any that I can lay my hands on right now, because I am away from home.

    But if you were to have seen what we have seen in northern Europe recently as the standard touring style, all this hypothesis about body angles for a start would go out the window. The positions and bikes are hugely different for touring cyclists over here.

    The reason why I ask about the riding style of the OP's wife with this style of drop-bar bike is that the fore-aft position of the saddle can be very much influenced by the cadence of the rider.

    A slow, mashing kind of cadence almost requires that the seat be back on the seatpost, while a faster cadence means moving the seat forward, otherwise there is a natural inclination to move forward on the saddle.

    A neutral position, with the knee over the pedal spindle is probably best because it allows spinning on the flats and in low gears with the rider moving slightly forward on the saddle, while the rider also can mash uphill at low speed by pressing back in the saddle.

    Core strength also has a lot to do with the rider's position on this type of bike. A weak core means the rider is more likely to slump on the saddle, rather than perch on the sitbones; a corollary of this is resting hard on the hands, and no amount of moving the bars up down or sideways will really help with this sort of riding position. A moderately strong core enables the rider to adopt a strong position on the saddle and to ease pressure on the hands.

    Ultimately, any advice offered here is "ball park" stuff, and once the rider has some experience with the bike, she will be able to make micro-adjustments to improve her comfort and to reflect any strengthening of her core muscles.

    For most European tourers we have seen, the body angle is almost vertical. Weight is more or less back on the seat, and often the handlebars are well above the seat (by inches, not increments).

    So... everyone's miles may vary.

    I have always found these Rivendell pages are useful as well as the rest of the pages of fitting tips they have.
    https://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=40
    https://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=73
    I’m not sure I agree that a more recumbent position supports mashing vs. spinning. In terms of running you can lean forward and mash and hold yourself from falling forward with inertia (sprinting) where distance runners at a smaller energy per stride run more upright. A saddle back position does keep you moved back in the proper location as opposed to sliding forward. Rivendell talks a lot about seat tube angle and frame size and doing things like putting a taller rider on a smaller frame and the opposite. Recumbent riders spin and their crank is way out front.

    I don’t see any problem with the European upright model for touring. If there is a drawback it would be riding into the wind and maybe not as efficient use of the legs. Do you see the European’s mostly mashing with their setups.

    It is counterintuitive to think moving back away from the bars increasing reach can take weight off the hands and arms. I totally agree on what you said about core strength and I mentioned that to the OP in that she must have this core strength, as most I see that complain the saddle is too far back feel the core right off and move up till they feel comfortable for a short ride, then with distance the complaint moves to wrists and hands. Bikes like a cruiser setup solve this by seat back and then bring the bars way back; loss is not being aero and limiting the length of the power stroke. I think fitting is always going to be a compromise between abilities and equipment and the type of riding to be done.

    Good luck on your tour it sounds amazing.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    I don’t see any problem with the European upright model for touring. If there is a drawback it would be riding into the wind and maybe not as efficient use of the legs. Do you see the European’s mostly mashing with their setups.

    ---------

    Bikes like a cruiser setup solve this by seat back and then bring the bars way back; loss is not being aero and limiting the length of the power stroke. I think fitting is always going to be a compromise between abilities and equipment and the type of riding to be done.

    Good luck on your tour it sounds amazing.
    Yes, many Europeans do pedal with what we would call a mashing style mainly because they have grown up on three-speeds (although 7 and 8sp IGHs are now becoming a lot more common).

    But the pedal stroke is as smooth as anything and many of the riders (and I mean around 80% of those we have seen) have well-sculpted muscle development in their calves.

    Related to your second quoted comment and very much related to the rearward seat positioning, they have a detectable pedal-forward position. Some of that pedal forward is likely due to the very slack seat and headtube angles (the seat tube therefore putting the seat further behind the pedals than we would traditionally have it).

    Thanks for your best wishes. It's been pretty good so far if only to see the different types of bikes and riding styles in Asia and northern Europe.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  19. #19
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    ppg677, Just to stir the pot more, ask your wife if she'd prefer the handle bars a little taller. If she would you can pick up a long quill Nitto stem with the same length neck as the current stem. The handle bars will also move a little rearward with the extra height.

    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I think in the European case, it's cultural as much as anything else -- that is, the types of bikes they ride every day are the types of bikes they ride on weekends... and on tour.

    Plus the types of bikes that have been on offer at the shops have been somewhat limited. I do admit to seeing a few more MTB and hybrid-style bikes than on previous trips, but generally the riding style is very upright. The stem height on a lot has been astonishing to say the least, and bar-ends have been elevated to anywhere up to vertical.
    This too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ppg677 View Post
    Bike fit looks ok to my eye, but I'm no expert.
    You should not rely upon how it looks to determine the best fit. You should measure and compare to reference information.

    I'll add my equally irrelevant "look" guess: the cyclist pictured in #1 appears to have saddle set too low. You should measure PBH and use this to set saddle height: SH=.883xPBH(bare feet). If you do this, most likely the saddle will need to be higher. Next you will discover you don't have enough stem to raise the bar to a comfortable height. You can use a Nitto Technomic stem to fix this problem to a point, although the root problem is likely a frame that is too small. Proper frame size (FS) can be accurately predicted from PBH. FS by seat tube length (BB-top of TT) = 0.67xPBH. So you need to start by measuring PBH, which is the basis for most all fit calculators. Forget about how it looks, measure! See the links in post #4.

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    I totally agree with the seeker333 that the seat is probably too low. It's hard to tell that from the picture, but the fact that she wants the saddle shifted all the way backwards is a clear indicator that it's too low. She needs space to stretch her legs but there is no room now.

    Try raising the saddle by a couple of cm's and then raise the stem. Actually raising the saddle will also shift it backwards so move it forwards if necessary. I wouldn't worry about the KOPS (knee over pedal spindle) at all at this point, in many situations it doesn't apply anyways.

    Try fit calculator (French road fit) if you need precise numbers. (oops, seeker has posted this link already as well).

    And yes, my wife had exactly same issues, and fiddling with the saddle and handlebar height as well as the distance between the two has fixed it. She is able to spend many hours in saddle now, which would be a impossible with her old bike fit.
    Last edited by mikhalit; 08-24-12 at 07:13 PM.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I'd agree that the saddle is probably to low, but did not comment on that because it is hard to be sure from the picture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I'd agree that the saddle is probably to low, but did not comment on that because it is hard to be sure from the picture.
    That's why we need a picture with the pedals in the 6/12 o'clock position. The leg extension can't be determined from the OP's shot, only the KOPS position.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    She's got the bars/hoods set up like a race bike - sort of flat across the top and sacrificing the drops to achieve it - but on those old-school bars I like to have 3 very distinct and comfortable positions instead so I would rotate the bars forward until the drops are not quite but nearly parallel to the ground at the bottom. Then the drops would be about 20 or 30mm higher but unfortunately the hoods would be the same measure lower. To compensate for that she might get away with using one of those inexpensive kalloy stems, perhaps even the dirt drop style ones to raise the bars another 20 or 30mm.

    She looks thin, young, and athletic though so she might prefer to ride with some good bar drop. It would be inexpensive to try a few different kalloy stems if her clamp size is 25.4mm

    Stem calculator: http://yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/stem.php
    Last edited by Clem von Jones; 08-25-12 at 12:17 PM.

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