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Riding Position Help

Old 06-03-14, 07:26 AM
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Riding Position Help

I would appreciate any help with the fit of my bike. I have an early 70s Cinelli that I thought would fit me, but doesn't seem quite right. It was handed down to me from my Grandpa and I was really hoping I could tweak it to where it's just right.

I think the frame is the right size for me, but it feels like I am reaching too far for the handlebars. When I stand over the top tube, there are only a couple of inches between me and the bike. I have the seat post adjusted to where there is only a slight bend in my knee when the pedal is in the down position. I have the seat moved forward so that my knee is just behind my toe (I read about that somewhere, but still unsure if that's a good reference point).

Even after all of that, I feel like I'm bending way over to get to the bars and my arms are extended all the way, with little to no bend in my elbow. I also feel like I'm putting a lot of weight on my hands, which fatigues my hands fairly quickly after starting on my ride.

The bars aren't "slammed", but they are at a pretty aggressive angle compared to the seat. Do I need to bring the bars up? Do I need to post a picture of the bike? I've seen that seat and handlebar position can be the source of some heated battles on here, but surely there's a good rule of thumb.

So, feel free to advise, chastise, or theorize. I'm all ears.
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Old 06-03-14, 07:38 AM
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Do you have another road bike that fits well and you can take measurements from? A pic of you riding the bike (taken by someone else or with a timer) would help. Are you used to the road riding position from other bikes or is this relatively new to you?
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Old 06-03-14, 07:39 AM
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I felt like the road position was a bit of a reach for me at first but I've gotten used to it and it's comfortable, especially down in the drops. I agree with Sir_Name - are you used to the position?
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Old 06-03-14, 07:39 AM
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I have zero to negative stand over on several of my bikes. Standover height is the most overused and least useful piece of information on bike sizing. Google top tube length sizing, and give us details on stem length (not height). Stem is usually marked with minimum insert line, don't raise above it. Many set their stems at this line.

+1 If you have another road bike you like the fit on, take some measurements and compare. I try to match them bike to bike, lots of adjustment methods out there.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:02 AM
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[I love these forums. You guys are so fast to respond!]

This is a fairly new thing for me. I started a couple of years ago with a 1980 Raleigh Grand Prix that felt pretty good. It was less agressive, and seemed to fit me well. I still have it in the garage, so I'll have to measure the frame and see what's different. My commuter bike is the controversial GMC Denali that was given to me, but I don't think it's a great measure of fit for me. My father-in-law gave it to me with a super tall handlebar stem. It has a short top tube, and feels much more like an upright hybrid.

Maybe I'm just not used to the road riding position.

Here is the bike before I got hold of it:



The seat has been raised a bit, but the stem is more or less where I found it.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:13 AM
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Hopeless. It will never be right for you. The best you can do is to box it up (very carefully, please), and send it to me...
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Old 06-03-14, 08:23 AM
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While you work on the fit, you might also benefit from working on your flexibility. Stretch. Touch your toes. Don't expect immediate results, but in time it may make a difference.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed.
Hopeless. It will never be right for you. The best you can do is to box it up (very carefully, please), and send it to me...
It was the picture wasn't it? I know. It was love at first sight for me too.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:27 AM
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When you mentioned 2 inches of stand-over, I assumed the reach would be too short, and not too long. You must have fairly long legs.

As others have mentioned, if there is a road bike you feel good on, grab the tape to determine how much you need to change.

A couple of possibilities I see to make some tweaks... which one to try depends on what you have available or are willing to change.

The stem doesn't look excessively long, but if it is long for you, you could try changing to a stem with a shorter horizontal length.

For myself, those bars look like they are deeper than I like, so you could also consider switching bars to something with a shallower drop and/or shorter reach which could help as well.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm
While you work on the fit, you might also benefit from working on your flexibility. Stretch. Touch your toes. Don't expect immediate results, but in time it may make a difference.
Very good advice. I should have thought of it myself. It might also help to get this fat tire between my legs and my chest out of the way.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:45 AM
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Good advice here. I would add that the measurements be about the points you touch, not neccessarily the frame. Suggested measurements might be center of crank spindle to saddle where your sit bones touch. Then from that point to the center of the handle bar. Your other reference points are a good place to start but adjustments for compfort are allowable. When all is said and done for me, I like to have the handle bars hide the front hub when I ride with my hands on the top of the bars.
I like to start with the saddle position first, referenced to the bottom bracket, then find the right place for the handle bars.

Your bars are the deep ones Cinelli sold. I have them on my Colnago for period correct pictures, but use shallower bars for riding along with a longer stem.

Deep bars:

Shallow bars:
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Old 06-03-14, 09:05 AM
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Thanks Little Darwin and SJX426. I'll definitely consider some shallow bars and perhaps a different stem. I have a few options to choose from in my parts bin, so hopefully it'll be a free experiment.

I have already replaced a few things that make it less period perfect. My goal is to make this a fair weather rider. I have already done a 38-mile ride. I would just like it to be a little more comfortable for longer rides.
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Old 06-03-14, 09:07 AM
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Beautiful bike BTW! I am a sucker for chrome lugs!
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Old 06-03-14, 09:08 AM
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Maybe move the brake levers higher up on the bar? An inch or two can make a world of difference in comfort.
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Old 06-03-14, 09:21 AM
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Yes, beautiful bike and quite the hand-me-down. It looks to be in great condition. Do you know when it was last serviced?

Enjoy!
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Old 06-03-14, 09:27 AM
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Agreed that it is a beauty! Hopefully you can dial it in and enjoy the ride. Can you post more detailed photos?

Thanks.

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Old 06-03-14, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by dinzdale
I would appreciate any help with the fit of my bike. I have an early 70s Cinelli that I thought would fit me, but doesn't seem quite right. It was handed down to me from my Grandpa and I was really hoping I could tweak it to where it's just right.

I think the frame is the right size for me, but it feels like I am reaching too far for the handlebars. When I stand over the top tube, there are only a couple of inches between me and the bike. I have the seat post adjusted to where there is only a slight bend in my knee when the pedal is in the down position. I have the seat moved forward so that my knee is just behind my toe (I read about that somewhere, but still unsure if that's a good reference point).

Even after all of that, I feel like I'm bending way over to get to the bars and my arms are extended all the way, with little to no bend in my elbow. I also feel like I'm putting a lot of weight on my hands, which fatigues my hands fairly quickly after starting on my ride.

The bars aren't "slammed", but they are at a pretty aggressive angle compared to the seat. Do I need to bring the bars up? Do I need to post a picture of the bike? I've seen that seat and handlebar position can be the source of some heated battles on here, but surely there's a good rule of thumb.

So, feel free to advise, chastise, or theorize. I'm all ears.
A good thing would be to post a photo of you in riding position on the bike.
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Old 06-03-14, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by CV-6
A good thing would be to post a photo of you in riding position on the bike.
What he said.
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Old 06-03-14, 11:09 AM
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Interesting (and perhaps obvious) point about stem length. Be aware however that moving the bar closer also positions your arms to be more vertical. That can put more weight on them, not less. Still, if they are too far away then they are too far away.
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Old 06-03-14, 12:14 PM
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Coming from bmx and then mountain biking, roadbikes always felt too long in reach until I developed the strength and flexibility to sit on the bike properly.

From my experience, a racing bike requires an athletic position to be comfortable-
Butt back, hips tipped forward, back close to horizontal with top tube, upper arm 90 degrees or more to the torso. Once I could ride in this position for a period of time I had to install longer stems on all my bikes because the reach felt too short.

I've found if your butt is back, and you're working on the bike, you can have a really long reach and still be very comfortable (other than the pain in your legs ).

Nice bike, hope you can make it work for you.
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Old 06-03-14, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by headset
From my experience, a racing bike requires an athletic position to be comfortable-
"Required" is a strong word. Not sure I'd agree with it as stated.

Originally Posted by headset
Butt back, hips tipped forward, back close to horizontal with top tube, upper arm 90 degrees or more to the torso.
I definitely don't agree with this. "Racers" don't ride that way to be comfortable, they ride that way to reduce wind drag and generate more power.

Of course, I don't race, but there is no way I could ever assume that position for more than 15 seconds and still breathe. My prostate wouldn't like it either. My hips, buttocks, and lower back simply will not and never would bend like that. Since I'm not racing anyone there is no reason for me to do so except for short stretches into a stiff wind.

I don't mean to be disagreeable, but we shouldn't suggest to the OP that an uncomfortable position is the only way to be comfortable.
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Old 06-03-14, 12:47 PM
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How tall are you dinzdale? Your bike appears to be around 54CM and is set up with everything pretty much where it should be for a rider around 5' 7" to 5' 9". The knee over toe thing you mentioned is actually knee over centre of pedal spindle when the pedals are in the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock position. I wouldn't raise your stem any more than it is for safety's sake but you could look online for a slightly shorter one if you feel too stretched out
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Old 06-03-14, 02:19 PM
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The stem appears to be 110-115mm long, get a shorter one. The bars appear to be Mod 66(deep drop), get Mod 64 (shallow drop). Put the seat level to the top tube.
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Old 06-03-14, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by CV-6
A good thing would be to post a photo of you in riding position on the bike.
Request of the day. Actually a link to a video of you riding the bike in a straight line would help too, with your hands in the drops and on the hoods, and on the tops of the bars.

My guess is your saddle set back is all wrong too. But I will refrain from any comment w/o some useful images.

Unless from 80's, Cinelli was very conservative in design.

OF course, as you have a Cinelli you could always reference the C.O.N.I. book, dated but reasonable suggestions for position, good enough unless you want a $200-300 profession fitting now and / or want to race...
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Old 06-03-14, 04:10 PM
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Try moving the saddle all the way back, it seems counter-intuitive but it will relieve some pressure from your hands. If the reach is truly too long a shorter stem would help, the one pictured does seem on the long side for the size of frame.
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