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rules of thumb for adjusting a saddle?

Old 08-28-11, 10:06 PM
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Wreader
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rules of thumb for adjusting a saddle?

I have a problem getting my saddle adjusted. First it was too high, then too low, then tilted too far nose-up. I finally have it where I am sitting on my sit bones, my legs are not over or under extended, but now my coccyx hurts after riding. I don't feel like I am sitting on my coccyx while riding, but afterwards, it is very sore and stays that way for a couple of days. I think that adjusting the seat a little bit 'nose up' OR moving the seat forward just a smidge might help, but every tiny adjustment I have made has taken a ride or two to figure out if I got it right, and some have left me sore for days, so if there is a rule of thumb regarding this, I would love to hear it.
Thanks much. :-)
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Old 08-29-11, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Wreader View Post
if there is a rule of thumb regarding this, I would love to hear it.
Don't you mean "rule of bum"?
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Old 08-29-11, 08:47 AM
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I can't say I've experienced the kind of discomfort you describe, nor have I heard of others who've had it, and found a remedy in saddle position.
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Old 08-29-11, 09:05 AM
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First, let me say that for many of us getting saddle position tuned in does take time.

With any new setup I always start with the following as guides recognizing that all saddles are different.

I start with the seat level.
Long ago I measured my best fitting bike in terms of reach and now use that measurement as a starting place for fore and aft positioning.
I determine seat height by having the bike in a trainer, place my heels on the pedals and pedal backward. If my hips rock, it's too high. I always take it to just a hair below the point where the rocking starts.
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Old 08-29-11, 10:42 AM
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My rule of thumb with saddle position is to carry the allen wrench with me on a ride. I will ride a bit and if I don't like it just where it is, I adjust it a hair and then go again. Usually, it takes a number of adjustments to get it right.

In your case with an coccyx ache, that is a bit uncommon. It would be a good idea to consult with someone who really knows about bike fit and see if they know what to do.
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Old 08-29-11, 11:00 AM
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My rule of thumb is to have a professional bike fit done and write down all the numbers. Then every time I get a new bike (or new bike shoes) I set it up with those numbers.
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Old 08-29-11, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
My rule of thumb is to have a professional bike fit done and write down all the numbers. Then every time I get a new bike (or new bike shoes) I set it up with those numbers.
Yeah, I gotta say, the most valuable reward I got from having a professional fitting -- perhaps even more valuable that the perceived improvement in performance -- was the peace of mind I got from having an objective baseline in terms of contact point locations. I now no longer worry about whether moving my saddle or bars or stem etc. will "horribly screw me up" or whatever, because all I have to do is consult the documentation from my fitting in order to reset everything back to the way it was before I screwed it up.
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Old 08-29-11, 12:14 PM
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Work on your core strength. Abdominal muscles need to be engaged to take pressure off the coccyx. Stay on the drops more.
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Old 08-29-11, 02:36 PM
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I found this at Selle An-Atomica's website. If nothing it gives you a procedure to follow. Seems like solid advice to me as well.
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Old 08-29-11, 06:52 PM
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Sounds like you got it close, make any further adjustment in small increments, such as 1 or 2 mm, or 1 degree. It takes time to get it perfect.
My rules of thumb when setting a saddle; Set the tilt level. Have the rider sit on the saddle, place their heel on the pedal, set the saddle height so the leg is straight. For the fore/aft position, with rider on the bike put the feet with the balls of the feet over the pedal spindles,put the pedals horizontal(3 and 9 o'clock), there should be a straight line from just below the knee cap that goes through the pedal spindle. Use a plumb bob to check. It's an old school method, but it should get you to with in 80+ % of the final position. Make small adjustments tell you get it right.
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Old 08-29-11, 09:38 PM
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Wonder if your bars need to be lower, rotating your hips forward and raising your tail bone off the seat more.
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Old 08-30-11, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 1slowride View Post
Wonder if your bars need to be lower, rotating your hips forward and raising your tail bone off the seat more.
Good point.... or, even slightly forward. Getting more stretched out does take some of the pressure off the tail bone. Keeping in mind that there may be other things going on, it might be worth the OP taking a quick read here: https://www.medicinenet.com/coccydynia/article.htm
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Old 08-30-11, 05:55 PM
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Thanks guys. What are the numbers you write down? what does "the documentation from the fitting" mean? I moved the seat forward a bit, and will give that a try. I can adjust the seat, but there are no markings anywhere that tell me what specific adjustment I am making. I just used a level and an allen wrench. Should the local bike shop be able to help me with an adjustment? what should this cost?
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Old 08-30-11, 07:10 PM
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I did the same thing as loeb1 did on the pedal measurement. I then measured the distance from the tip of the nose of the saddle to the closest part of the stem of the riser. These were the measurements I wrote down but I am still fine tuning things.I do the same as PatW and carry an allen wrench with me to adjust things while I'm riding. Some of the bike shops around here charge upwards of $100 to do a professional fitting. It will probably vary from shop to shop.
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Old 08-31-11, 04:55 AM
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Lots of luck on saddle adjustment; it's definitely needed for those of us with issues. I've been reviewing the subject in books and on-line as I'm trying to keep my right knee pain-free and not over-stress my hamstrings. My knee responds well to a saddle farther back and higher. But that combination has put too much stress on the hamstrings.

There are six, yes six rules for just setting saddle height that I'm aware of from reputable sources. And there's a variation normally used for trail riding. They all can and do give different results. They are all valid depending how you ride (like cadence for example) and your leg/knee structure and discrepancies. There's also a factor tied to one's flexibility. I've had to work on flexibility and it's made a noticeable difference.

Fore-aft depends again on how you ride and the knee can be a cm or more ahead of the pedal spindle to several behind or more. Saddle tilt is mostly recommended as level, but some like a degree or more up or down. I prefer about a degree and a half up for the relatively flat terrain of N Florida and level for the mountains. I leave it at about a degree up.

On measuring saddle tilt if you are sensitive to it, you need to measure the slope of the garage/slab between the two wheel contact patches or you'll be off. Since it's mostly a relative measurement, just making sure the wheels contact the exact same places for the measurement works if the slab is not too far off. I found some places where the bike sits level.

And then, there's the saddle design vs one's anatomy which is a whole other bucket of worms. Luckily, I solved that problem years ago for both my road and mountain bike.

I appear to be closing-in on an adequate solution in my case, but I need at least a half-dozen more mountain rides to be sure. The saddle has been moved about a half inch forward and little more than that upwards relative to what I've been using for the last couple of years. Climbing has even improved. I seem to do much better at nearer 20 degree knee angles than the more typically recommended 30-35 degrees.

Al
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Old 08-31-11, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by PatW View Post
My rule of thumb with saddle position is to carry the allen wrench with me on a ride. I will ride a bit and if I don't like it just where it is, I adjust it a hair and then go again. Usually, it takes a number of adjustments to get it right.

In your case with an coccyx ache, that is a bit uncommon. It would be a good idea to consult with someone who really knows about bike fit and see if they know what to do.
Eddy Merckx apparently did the same through out his career including races. His son Axel was diagnosed with unequal leg lengths which it turned out was Eddy's problem. Eddy didn't know until his son was measured. That's why he could never get the tweaking just right.

Al
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Old 08-31-11, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by alcanoe View Post
Eddy Merckx apparently did the same through out his career including races. His son Axel was diagnosed with unequal leg lengths which it turned out was Eddy's problem. Eddy didn't know until his son was measured. That's why he could never get the tweaking just right.

Al
This is one of the things discovered in my Retul fitting two years ago. I now ride with shims under the cleat on my right shoe. It does make a difference in comfort, especially on longer rides.
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