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UCI Saddle tilt restriction

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UCI Saddle tilt restriction

Old 08-13-20, 07:03 PM
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cubewheels
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UCI Saddle tilt restriction

I'm just wondering why they restrict saddle nose down tilt to only -9 degrees?

Because on my bike, the loaded tilt is -11 degrees). I ride in aero position most of the time for training and if the nose is tilted upwards higher than -11 degrees, I get lower back pain and I also produce less power (less speed) too. I'm currently using ISM PN1.1 saddle, sitted mostly in the aft half so the effective nose tilt could be as low as -14 degrees.

I've come across scientific studies in the past that -15 degrees nose down tilt would be ideal to avoid any long term or future back problems.
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Old 08-13-20, 07:13 PM
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Is there an applicable UCI regulation ? , can you cut and paste that here?

Are you competing in a race they regulate?
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Old 08-13-20, 07:58 PM
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ARTICLE 1.3.014
“The plane passing through the highest points at the front and rear of the saddle can have a maximum angle of nine degrees from horizontal. The length of the saddle shall be 24 cm minimum and 30 cm maximum. A tolerance of 5mm is allowed.”
It is important to grant the rider sufficient freedom to allow a comfortable position to be adopted, reducing the pressure on the perineum, while avoiding any deviation through an excessively sloping saddle that could improve sporting performance
to an unacceptable degree by the addition of a lumbar support.
Furthermore, if the saddle is inclined too severely, this reduces the quality of the rider’s position on the saddle, thus reducing its intrinsic function of providing a basic support for the
rider on the bicycle. Checks on the horizontality of saddles are conducted in the road, track and cyclo-cross events by measuring the angle of incline of the saddle, considering the plane passing through the highest points at the front and rear of the
saddle. This angle must be less than 9 degrees (positive or negative incline).


That's UCI's reasoning, apparently.
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Old 08-13-20, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Is there an applicable UCI regulation ? , can you cut and paste that here?

Are you competing in a race they regulate?
I'm only two months into cycling so I'm not. But in case I might in the future, I'd like to get trained early in racing position.

I haven't had any issues so far except for the lower back pain in aero position which was promptly solved by nosing the saddle down by 11 degrees.

I'll probably need a different saddle in the future for racing where I can keep above -9 degrees tilt and also avoiding lower back pain too, something with a similar frontal profile as the ISM saddle but with higher aft tilt. It's a littlte bit disappointing because I really love the ISM saddle, very comfortable for me but won't be able to use it if I ever join in a UCI race.

Is it possible to keep using the ISM saddle at -9 degrees and somehow make up for it by doing some exercises to improve flexibility and solve lower back pain?
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Old 08-13-20, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
ARTICLE 1.3.014 reducing the pressure on the perineum, while avoiding any deviation through an excessively sloping saddle that could improve sporting performance
to an unacceptable degree by the addition of a lumbar support.
Furthermore, if the saddle is inclined too severely, this reduces the quality of the rider’s position on the saddle, thus reducing its intrinsic function of providing a basic support for the
Thanks a million!

I've tried different tilt angles already from slightly nose up all the way to -20 degrees. I am most comfortable with -11 degrees. -20 is obviously too much and I kept sliding to the front of the saddle.

-11 degrees is just perfect for me, just enough to avoid lower back pain while keeping my butt planted firmly without sliding forward nor backward.

It did improve my performance a bit as I felt having less pressure on the hip area and can continue uphills in the aero position, quite useful if facing strong headwinds while going uphill.

Hope UCI extend it further down to -15 That is what scientific studies on the matter arrived at in order to avoid all kinds of back issues related to cycling.
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Old 08-14-20, 01:56 PM
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They decided they didn't want bikes that look like this one. Steve Bauer used to ride them.
It seems highly unlikely that you will ever ride in a race that is sanctioned by the UCI. So you can safely ignore.

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Old 08-14-20, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Is it possible to keep using the ISM saddle at -9 degrees and somehow make up for it by doing some exercises to improve flexibility and solve lower back pain?
Sure, just work on core strengthening exercises that focus on strengthening your lumbar area and abdominal muscles. Maybe try some good mornings in the weight room and then do some hanging leg raises or something. I'm sure your coaches will know what to recommend.
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Old 08-14-20, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
They decided they didn't want bikes that look like this one.
That bike clearly has a positive nose angle, not a negative one.
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Old 08-14-20, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BoraxKid View Post
Sure, just work on core strengthening exercises that focus on strengthening your lumbar area and abdominal muscles. Maybe try some good mornings in the weight room and then do some hanging leg raises or something. I'm sure your coaches will know what to recommend.
Sounds good! I'm not sure if my lower back pain is joint or muscle related. I've been continuously working out my core muscles for a few weeks now.

I've noticed my stock saddle has more negative tilt at the back than the ISM saddle (the ISM is nearly flat top) and I didn't have issues with lower back pain with the stock saddle. I have a different problem with the stock saddle (hamstring hitting the wide part and difficulty moving back and forth the saddle to alter CoG).

The ISM is perfect for now with the -11 nose down tilt.
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Old 08-14-20, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
They decided they didn't want bikes that look like this one. Steve Bauer used to ride them.
The strangest thing about that bike is the huge amount of seat tube setback angle.

Might be difficult to pedal in that position unless you have great amount of flexibility. Ironically, the bike would have superior aerodynamics having lower profile and also have superior braking performance.

I also have the maximum setback (possible) with my bike. I'm aware it's not optimal for maximum pedaling performance but since I train within city bounds with unpredictable traffic, the superior stopping power is well appreciated and it also allows you to set the saddle height closer to the ground - just enough to put your foot down to quickly maneuver around stopped vehicles in traffic.
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Old 08-14-20, 08:25 PM
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it worked really well, google Steve Bauer Roubaix. It's very close to a recumbent, but not quite. There are companies selling "pedal forward" bikes like it still.

As far as the saddle angle comment above, the UCI would measure from the top of the back stop to the nose. People tried tilting their saddles down to simulate that saddle, but the UCI didn't want that either.
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Old 08-14-20, 10:03 PM
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On, a lark, I checked the saddle angle on my bikes. Measured from the rails, the PN3.0 on my Cervelo is -1º, the Selle Italia Boost Gravel is 0º, and my Selle Anatomica H2 is a hair above +1º. The Boost Gravel's top is about -4º with the rails level. The PN3.0 is just flat.

I cannot imagine any saddle providing any support at all when set to -11º. Especially with the ISM saddles, where you're supposed to be sitting at the very front of the saddle, and it needs to be mostly flat for that to happen. I've seen some bikes setup with ISM saddles slightly nose up.
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Old 08-14-20, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
it worked really well, google Steve Bauer Roubaix. It's very close to a recumbent, but not quite. There are companies selling "pedal forward" bikes like it still.

As far as the saddle angle comment above, the UCI would measure from the top of the back stop to the nose. People tried tilting their saddles down to simulate that saddle, but the UCI didn't want that either.
I really like the bike's geometry. An inherent design flaw of most upright bikes is braking performance - inability to brake close to the traction limit without throwing the rider off the bar. A "semi-recumbent" would get you closer to the traction limit and reduce braking distance. The low saddle height will also help reduce fall-overs when slowly weaving across obstacles.

It's a safer design.
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Old 08-14-20, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I cannot imagine any saddle providing any support at all when set to -11º.
the people that did this put the saddles back as far as they could and basically used it as a backstop. At least that's my understanding. I feel like the UCI is on to something for their style of racing. It's interesting that Steve Bauer's style of bike never got anywhere after being banned. I suppose if it's attractive to someone, they switch to recumbents.

I saw a picture of a RAAM rider that had his saddle at at least nose-up 10 degrees. It was a fizik aliante, which some people think fits like a B17. I don't see that, but they also work nose-up.
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Old 08-14-20, 11:45 PM
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i too ride with a saddle tilt forward , it feels flat to me , unless i get new slippery bibs then i have to add some silicone tape to help grip , for me it relieves pressure when im in an aero tuck , this year not many races but for racing i cant tolerate a flat saddle !
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Old 08-15-20, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
the people that did this put the saddles back as far as they could and basically used it as a backstop. At least that's my understanding. I feel like the UCI is on to something for their style of racing. It's interesting that Steve Bauer's style of bike never got anywhere after being banned. I suppose if it's attractive to someone, they switch to recumbents..
I'm guilty as charged. Although not quite obvious, my saddle is set as far back as possible. It's 2 inches behind the optimal saddle setback (the optimal setback according to bike fit experts).

We really don't have to switch to recumbent. But a compromise somewhere in between improves safety of the bike.

I did it so I can shorten the braking distance of the bike and also reduce saddle height to the ground since I train in city streets. Better braking performance means safer peloton races. What is wrong with that?
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Old 08-15-20, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
On, a lark, I checked the saddle angle on my bikes. Measured from the rails, the PN3.0 on my Cervelo is -1º, the Selle Italia Boost Gravel is 0º, and my Selle Anatomica H2 is a hair above +1º. The Boost Gravel's top is about -4º with the rails level. The PN3.0 is just flat.

I cannot imagine any saddle providing any support at all when set to -11º. Especially with the ISM saddles, where you're supposed to be sitting at the very front of the saddle, and it needs to be mostly flat for that to happen. I've seen some bikes setup with ISM saddles slightly nose up.
My stock saddle was set to -9 degrees. I have relatively unconventional bike fit with the saddle 1 cm below optimal height (based on heel method) and 2 inches behind optimal setback. It's a slightly compromised geometry to improve braking performance and a little of aerodynamics. helps keep me planted firmly on the seat. Anything less than -9 degrees and I'm actually sliding backward!
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Old 08-15-20, 11:18 AM
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I mean, whatever's comfortable. Anything regarding saddle setup are just guidelines until you're in a UCI race, then they're rules. ISM sure isn't recommending anywhere near nine degrees, though.

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Old 08-15-20, 01:47 PM
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Cool

Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
The strangest thing about that bike is the huge amount of seat tube setback angle.

Might be difficult to pedal in that position unless you have great amount of flexibility. Ironically, the bike would have superior aerodynamics having lower profile and also have superior braking performance.

I also have the maximum setback (possible) with my bike. I'm aware it's not optimal for maximum pedaling performance but since I train within city bounds with unpredictable traffic, the superior stopping power is well appreciated and it also allows you to set the saddle height closer to the ground - just enough to put your foot down to quickly maneuver around stopped vehicles in traffic.
Made now in a fat tired casual cruiser bike configuration, the crank forward frame design

Obviously not by Merckx.
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Old 08-15-20, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I mean, whatever's comfortable. Anything regarding saddle setup are just guidelines until you're in a UCI race, then they're rules. ISM sure isn't recommending anywhere near nine degrees, though.

Yup, the top of the saddle is where I'm measuring.

I started out flat (0 degrees) and I keep sliding backwards and I'm pulling on the bars plus the usual lower back pain. Went -5 degrees, that stopped the sliding backward problem but the lower back pain remained. Finally, -11 degrees solved all problems but it's againt UCI ruling

The scientific study I came across found out that -10 to -15 degrees nose down is best to avoid most back problems (if sliding forward isn't a problem). They did the study with 80 volunteer recreational cyclists (none were pros).
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Old 08-15-20, 07:31 PM
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Speaking only of negative tilt on a saddle (the front being lower than the rear) I have never in my entire life seen a bike in the real world with it's saddle set more than about -5º.

If a bike has a saddle at -11º, there's a fit/geometry issue happening that someone is trying to remedy incorrectly-- especially with an ISM saddle involved, where all of the rider's weight is on the front third.
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Old 08-15-20, 07:50 PM
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Well yes, that's all working as expected. Because your saddle is so far back that you're pushing forward on the pedals it has to either have a backstop like the bike in the photo or lots of tilt so that you can stay on the thing. Most pedal forward designs don't expect the rider to be exerting any great effort on them.

A downside of this is that you can't pedal smoothly. You are forced to hammer the downstroke just to stay on the saddle. The weird thing is that by pushing your saddle back, you are making yourself less aero, not more. Look at TT and tri-bike fits. What you want to do for aero is move the saddle as far forward as possible, then sit on the nose. This opens your hip angle, which allows a flatter torso along with better breathing. You are closing off your hip angle by pushing the saddle back, plus screwing up your pedal stroke.

That Merckx bike is way too big by today's standards. Most folks trying to go fast want all the saddle to bar drop they can get, so the shortest head tube possible and a slammed -17° or greater stem. That's how you get lower. There was a short guy used to post here who had about a -30° stem. Had his drops level with his front tire. It's a problem with all short riders on 700c. 6' tall, and it's easy to get 6" of drop and comfy breathing with a horizontal back - and a level saddle.

It is true that you want your swept area to be as small as possible, but your swept area is from your shoulders on down, so it's your shoulders which have to be as low as possible, preferably no higher than your butt in full tuck. Of course most of us can't do that, but training can fix that issue. It's not really a bike fit issue other than that the bike has to allow one to assume the position while allowing full breathing. Otherwise it's just developing the strength and endurance to hold the position.
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Old 08-15-20, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I'm only two months into cycling so I'm not. But in case I might in the future, I'd like to get trained early in racing position.

I haven't had any issues so far except for the lower back pain in aero position which was promptly solved by nosing the saddle down by 11 degrees.

I'll probably need a different saddle in the future for racing where I can keep above -9 degrees tilt and also avoiding lower back pain too, something with a similar frontal profile as the ISM saddle but with higher aft tilt. It's a littlte bit disappointing because I really love the ISM saddle, very comfortable for me but won't be able to use it if I ever join in a UCI race.

Is it possible to keep using the ISM saddle at -9 degrees and somehow make up for it by doing some exercises to improve flexibility and solve lower back pain?
A gentle nudge in the direction of perspective. You are two months into cycling. You'll be spending 1500 hours on the bike between when you decide to race and when you enter a UCI governed event. (If you are a gifted athlete. Most of us take a lot longer.) That's a lot of time. You will change. What works for you on a bike will change. You have no idea how this UCI requirement is going to affect you 3 or more years and 3 or more bikes from now.

The other side of your argument - UCI is the governing agency of a professional sport, The whole reason for its existence is to make money; for the race organizers, the sponsors, the teams ... Publicity and image is huge. Your issues with saddle tilt (in their minds) isn't. Presenting bikes that look to their eyes like "proper" bikes is. (Also bikes that can be sold in stores to the general public AND that the manufacturers are going to want to make.)

For now - do what you have to do to set the bike up to ride - for you. Want to race? Train, enter a beginner's race and go from there. When a UCI governed race is within a year, then you can start sweating the seat issue. (By then you may already have happened on a solution while addressing other issues.)

You can go on a noble crusade to get UCI to change, but that energy spent will be energy that isn't furthering your racing goals. Or you can train hard and not worry about the distant future and things you have no control over. (Oh, and that aero position - you are going to ride most of those 1500 hours in a far less areo position simply to get the many miles into your legs to get to the UCI level. You may well come to curse the seat and tilt you love now.)

I raced decades ago. Made it to Cat 2 (US). Knew my calling was as a mountain climber in 3 week stage races. I also knew I would never be more than a Cat 2 without those 3-week races for the occasional mountain top finish BUT 3 week amateur races were NEVER going to happen and putting this body in a Grand Tour would be like entering a Formula One race with a Volkswagen. So, I could waste my days dreaming or I could just accept the racing world was never going to give me a place where I could shine.

Ben
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Old 08-16-20, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
A gentle nudge in the direction of perspective. You are two months into cycling. You'll be spending 1500 hours on the bike between when you decide to race and when you enter a UCI governed event. (If you are a gifted athlete. Most of us take a lot longer.) That's a lot of time. You will change. What works for you on a bike will change. You have no idea how this UCI requirement is going to affect you 3 or more years and 3 or more bikes from now.

The other side of your argument - UCI is the governing agency of a professional sport, The whole reason for its existence is to make money; for the race organizers, the sponsors, the teams ... Publicity and image is huge. Your issues with saddle tilt (in their minds) isn't. Presenting bikes that look to their eyes like "proper" bikes is. (Also bikes that can be sold in stores to the general public AND that the manufacturers are going to want to make.)

For now - do what you have to do to set the bike up to ride - for you. Want to race? Train, enter a beginner's race and go from there. When a UCI governed race is within a year, then you can start sweating the seat issue. (By then you may already have happened on a solution while addressing other issues.)

You can go on a noble crusade to get UCI to change, but that energy spent will be energy that isn't furthering your racing goals. Or you can train hard and not worry about the distant future and things you have no control over. (Oh, and that aero position - you are going to ride most of those 1500 hours in a far less areo position simply to get the many miles into your legs to get to the UCI level. You may well come to curse the seat and tilt you love now.)

I raced decades ago. Made it to Cat 2 (US). Knew my calling was as a mountain climber in 3 week stage races. I also knew I would never be more than a Cat 2 without those 3-week races for the occasional mountain top finish BUT 3 week amateur races were NEVER going to happen and putting this body in a Grand Tour would be like entering a Formula One race with a Volkswagen. So, I could waste my days dreaming or I could just accept the racing world was never going to give me a place where I could shine.

Ben
I might be joining races next year (hopefully after the covid issue). I've been training 21 hrs a week now (14 hrs hard indoors and 7 hrs interval training outdoors as Hermes and Carbonfiber here and others have recommended me).

Yes, I agree my flexibility still have lots to improve. Suddenly switching into a highly aero riding position is the main culprit. Fortunately, the lower back pain is the only problem I faced and promptly solved by saddle angle setting. Maybe in a couple weeks, I'll see if I can reduce tilt to -9 degrees and still feel comfortable with it.

I think I might be gifted physically in terms of running and cycling. I've been using TdF numbers as goals and my optimism is for a reason especially in just two months time.
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Old 08-16-20, 03:41 AM
  #25  
cubewheels
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
A downside of this is that you can't pedal smoothly. You are forced to hammer the downstroke just to stay on the saddle.
It's not that bad actually. If you're already using your core muscles to support your upperbody weight, the same action and effort will get you firmly planted on the seat with large nosedown tilt without sliding down - if you have higher setback setting.

In fact, I would actually be sliding backwards and pulling on the handle if I raise the nose tilt from -11 to -5 degrees.

A downside of this is that you can't pedal smoothly. You are forced to hammer the downstroke just to stay on the saddle
Your main powerstroke (driven by the quadriceps) will only be starting and ending sooner and same for the return stroke. While the quads are slightly less utilized this way, this is offset a bit by more efficient utility of the hamstring muscles during the return stroke. I still pedal smoothly in this setup.

Look at TT and tri-bike fits. What you want to do for aero is move the saddle as far forward as possible, then sit on the nose. This opens your hip angle, which allows a flatter torso along with better breathing. You are closing off your hip angle by pushing the saddle back, plus screwing up your pedal stroke.
My understanding of TT setup, is that rider is sitted far forward so he or she can get even lower on the bar (reduce frontal area, reduce drag) without closing the hip angle, thus improving aero without sacrificing power output.

I solved the hip angle problem in my setup by using the shortest crank I could get (150 mm). I've made comparisons with another roadie of same height as me

There was a short guy used to post here who had about a -30° stem. Had his drops level with his front tire. It's a problem with all short riders on 700c. 6' tall, and it's easy to get 6" of drop and comfy breathing with a horizontal back - and a level saddle.
I used to ride a 700c cyclocross bike when I was 12 years old (entirely recreational riding). I was a lot shorter then, just a little over 5' . I remember I could not get my back horizontal because my saddle height which is obviously low is even lower than the stem.

I rode with bent elbows most the time on the drops to get my back close to horizontal. Never had any discomfort with that bike even if I rode for many hours on long trips during summer vacation. I'm probably less than 90 lbs at that time and never had any complaints with long uphills (even if I'm crouched down due to reach - bike too big for me). I quit cycling at 13 years old and came back at 38 years old at present. Now at 126 lbs and 5'8". I'm basically starting from scratch.

Anyway, I don't recommend my setup. Under safer riding conditions, I'll be adjusting my seat forward. The conditions I ride is relatively unsafe and braking performance needs to be put in high priority in the bike's setup.
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