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Old 12-16-20, 08:06 AM
Road Fan
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

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@Moisture, I also think that what you wrote is not a comprehensive point of view. But your title set the expectation that it is applicable to all riders on all machines. For example, riders of Raleigh 3-speeds in original config. Something like "Comprehensive summary of my experience self-fitting and assisting friends and family."

I often try to help people by telling them what I think they should do. BF'ers have been kind enough not to call me out on that, but I'm lately trying harder to say "this is what I do" or "this is what I have done in your situation, if I understand it correctly."

As far as specifics:

You don't need evidence, you need a less directive tone. To describe your own experience is enough. To generalize broadly from that, is too much. If you are and experience

To be balanced on the saddle, I move the saddle forward or backward. This can end up limiting the choice or saddle, seat post, and even frame design in terms of stack. Then I go on to set the saddle-bar drop, and reach to the brifters (or Ergopowers). Again this can constrain choice of TTlenght or reach, stem angle and extension, and handlebar design. Even on the randonneur I like to pedal in the drops without my knees hitting my elbows. This all negates COPS.

This is for my road bikes and for my randonneur. I set my wife's this way as well, and she is not shy about expressing her concerns.

It's important that the bicycle+rider is a system, or a set of systems. For example the stem length or extension is not something that is perfect for the rider, its something that helps to set how high and how far forward the hand contact points will be. That position needs to be perfect for the rider. Different combinations of extension, bar reach, and brifter length (for a road, cross, or rando bike) may be used to achieve this position, as the primary goal. You may also have goals in terms of handling and handlebar response, but these get into frame reach, head angle, tire choice and pressure, and fork design. You could say the cockpit subsystem is a subsystem of the vehicle control subsystem.

As far as touching the ground with your toes, there is another theory for that. The saddle height must be set only based on quality of pedaling, and my experience here is limited to road, urban, and distance riding. For me this includes 60 mile days on pavement and as yet a few rides on our local unpaved. At least in this realm you need to pedal with good leg extension. Failure to do this can result in knee injury (yes, really). There are a lot of methods to set this up - heel on pedal, measurements based on pubic bone height, fitter measurements based on knee angle, and fitter measurements based on video and analysis of the recorded leg motion. A rider needs to learn to mount and dismount the bike when stopping, not to depend on their feet reaching the ground. You can have both with a bike with high setback, such as an Electra, but usually not much ground contact can be achieved on a 700c or 650b road bike with a flat top tube.

For the same reason it's not safe to have inadequate standover clearance, which depends on stack, head tube design, BB drop, rim diameter and tire size. It's safest to stand straddling the frame when stopped, but there is a possibility of contact with the top tube. Whether this is tolerable is a matter of opinion, but that contact could be painful or even harmful. But it's not safe to set saddle height strictly for the purpose of foot contact. You should dismount the saddle when stopping, have adequate stopped frame clearance, and have efficient, sustainable pedaling when riding, based on leg extension.

There's so much here, I could go on. But in my view there are established concepts for bike fitting for performance riding (speed, distance, power, or competition), and they are based on goals of efficiency, rider health, pedaling effectiveness, safe handling and braking and considering rider preferences. Within this framework a frame first needs to be built with components that enable a bicycle to be ridden with safe and effective equipment, perform initial adjustment to suit the body of a specific rider for effectiveness and safety, and finally to optimize stem length versus handlebar reach, handlebar height versus total rider reach to the bars, and other fine points.

I find I have to revise my bike setup at the beginning of each season, and then refine it as my distances increase. What works for 10 mile rides does not always work for 25!

Last edited by Road Fan; 12-16-20 at 10:00 AM.
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