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Saddle fore aft ? help !

Old 03-28-22, 02:12 PM
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Adjusting that saddle is real important. There is not a real formula. I have noticed that moving the saddle forward or back just a few millimeters has made tremendous changes in my ride now that I am a geezer. Same for degree of angle on the nose of the saddle. Same goes for the bike set up. I have two bikes set up exactly the same using measurements between seat, crank, and bars, and the saddle position is different even thought they use the same saddle. Of course one is more of a gravel bike then the other so there is a big difference per say.

My suggestion is don't think too much about it and just continually adjust your saddle till ya find your sweet spot... then ride, ride, ride... Happy Happy, Joy Joy...
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Old 03-29-22, 04:28 AM
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Someone mentioned he doesn’t like to use the balance method because he doesn’t ride no-handed. I sometimes like no-handed but I don’t need a specific saddle position to be able to do that. For me the balance position is not for no-handed riding.

What a good balance setup really allows me to do is shield my body from feeling hard shocks. If on the saddle I have good fore/aft balance, I can easily lift my hands off the bars just a centimeter or so and let the front wheel judder around if I’m on some dodgy roadway. I also can lift my butt off the saddle the same little bit and get some bounce clearance under that as well.
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Old 03-29-22, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
The bolded part is fun because that's the thing that the balance method relies on. The idea of starting with KOPS has nothing to do with pedaling mechanics, only with balance. It's just an easy way to get the rider close to being in balance, no more, no less. There's really nothing to argue about. Simple inspection should be enough to convince anyone that there's no scientific method for determining this balance point. It depends on the rider's proportions, weight distribution, pedaling style, and surely other variables which are also impossible to measure by any means other than riding one's bike.
The point is not that both balance and KOPS are related to gravity, though balance is intimately dependent on gravity and KOPS is not. KOPS points out the geometry and physics that the leg creates its maximum torque (driving) with the crank when the foot is farthest from the BB axis, and this happens when the crank arm and the knee to pedal path are perpendicular. At that point the maximum fraction of the force from the leg is converted into torque. Some is still lost to angular crank and BB flexing, but the jury may be out on whether that energy storage is loss or still available for propulsion, but thatís another topic. The fallacy of KOPS is that this happens once per revolution regardless of whether the bike is vertical or recumbent. So what I see from KOPS is that at all bicycle angles from upright to Ďbent there is a point of perpendicular drive, and that it can be close to a balance position in an upright bike. My balance position is usually with my knee a few cm behind KOPS, so it is not perfectly satisfied by KOPS. But my balance position is important not because of drive efficiency but to enable a position which supports my body in several positions which I like: riding on hoods, drops, and hooks, and with my hands or butt only lightly connected to the bicycle. This happens when my body CG is somewhere behind the BB plumb line. If I ever lose weight again, my riding position will probably move forward by a few cm.

An additional complication is the angle between the femur and the knee-to-pedal path near the maximum torque point (I say it this way because we donít know what point on the knee is the actual pivot, and how to consider the offset of the foot). The optimum femur angle at the point of maximum chainset torque is a good question, and I think itís significant for knee health.
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Old 03-29-22, 05:27 AM
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Fore/aft position depends on age, weight, condition of the rider, the bike, and the type of event.

TT bikes have the rider's CoG quite forward for aerodynamic purposes but the rider typically loses aerobic power.

If a normal road bike position has the rider having difficulty holding a stable, comfortable position, it is a good bet that their breathing capacity is reduced by excessive recruitment of muscle to stabilize the torso.

Bring a 5mm and mess around on a training ride until you are comfortable. I cannot hold the positions of my youth and do not even try.
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Old 03-29-22, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
No, one of these:-



Makes bike setup experiments very simple. I can change saddle setback on the fly in a couple of seconds.
WOW! Great! and really super light!, must be a joy to ride!
LOL!
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Old 03-29-22, 10:01 AM
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...so, KOPS, was (and can still be) used for a 'ROAD bike' start point. Back when there was little/no science related to 'position'.
It is directly, immutably tied to saddle height ON A ROAD BIKE with geometry close to traditional road and rider use.
Rider/Coach would set up saddle height, flatten/level the saddle and then set the setback; discuss and deal with reach/stem length. Then 'tune' from there, over a period of minutes thru weeks; maybe even longer.
Ischial Tuberosity became part of all this because, the 'knee' is quite wide/long. It's just a 'std spot', not any scientific thing. A standard spot. Without that (as OP noted) it could be most anywhere on the knee.
A 'start point' for what has, and still mostly is, a common 'road' position.
I would NOT suggest that it works for any other setup (it might - don;t know... don't care)
The OP never noted WHAT they were trying to use KOPS for... and is gleefully enjoying the result of their OP.
I would not think it's used for current mtb, and certainly not DH or Enduro, maybe XC? Certainly not for TT or TRI with a TT setup.
... do we think KOPS or balance works for a cruiser ? maybe a 'Bent' ? CX or gravel? aaahhhh, something we can argue about! LOL!
the whole for/against KOPS/BALANCE is sadly, very lilliPUTIN/Big-Endian...
start somewhere, ride, figure it out.
Ride On
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Old 07-20-22, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
There's usually a relationship between torso and femur length. Most of us are quite scalable, i.e. the posited relationship exists.
My view is, it's different for different body proportions. When I was in my late teens I had a pretty flat upper body and weighed 135#. At that time KOPS might have worked for me, but I'll never know because now, 50 years later I'll probably never weigh 135# again. I did set my saddle to prevent "bad" saddle pressure and to keep from sliding forward. It was a Brooks Professional so I could not slide it back much, but I could raise the nose, at least coarsely. Now just shy of 70, I have BMI less than 30% (yayyy!) but I weigh about 195. My upper body has a lot more muscle and also a lot more torso fat. I now try to put my CG above the BB so that when I lift my body to ease over a bump it does not slide forward. I think this fore-aft condition also results in me being able to pedal well with my sitbones usually in contact with the saddle, hands near the hoods, with easy reach of the shift and brake controls, and most of my body pretty relaxed.In all my modern settings the knee position does not matter, but it's usually a few cm behind the KOPS position. Adjusting setback also affects effective saddle height, since if the saddle is level and moves back, the long edge of the triangle gets longer, so the saddle needs to be lowered a small amount.

I also reduce saddle height to prevent my hips from rocking side to side due to excessively reaching down to follow the descending pedal. It's kind of finicky to find where my leg needs to stretch to, without hip-rocking and without pressing too hard on the pedal at BDC - that extra pressure causes knee pain. The sweet spot is hard to find.

KOPS, as a rule, is far too simple, for my use. It means nothing for me.

My current dream weight is 155, kind of an arbitraty number, but if I reach that without losing muscle mass (i.e. strength) my power to weight will be pretty darn good and I should be able to actually do some mountain road rides, or maybe RAGBRAI. Lately I've dropped it from 209 to 194, and I think that was due to better eating and more usage of polarized three-zone training - it's easy to manage, adds tone to my whole body, increases my strength (better balancing in Yoga practices!) and my muscle mass shown on Ironman scale should be increasing the rate of fat consumption. 20 miles 2 weeks ago, 20 miles one week ago, and 25 miles last weekend. Training is a good thing. I need to look into more accurate setting of the three Seidel zone limits.

I can report back on the KOP thing when I reach 155#.

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Old 07-20-22, 07:49 PM
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Since losing some weight and increasing muscle mass on my glutes, my balance position is even slightly in front of KOPS.

So I adjusted my saddle all the way forward.

KOPS is nice, optimal balance of power and comfort on a road geometry bike. But to be actually comfortable in it, you definitely need to have more mass on the legs away from the upper body.
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Old 07-20-22, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Fore/aft position depends on age, weight, condition of the rider, the bike, and the type of event.

TT bikes have the rider's CoG quite forward for aerodynamic purposes but the rider typically loses aerobic power.

If a normal road bike position has the rider having difficulty holding a stable, comfortable position, it is a good bet that their breathing capacity is reduced by excessive recruitment of muscle to stabilize the torso.

Bring a 5mm and mess around on a training ride until you are comfortable. I cannot hold the positions of my youth and do not even try.
Yeahhhh ... there can be a lot of crap to carry for a "general riding kit! Much of this can be satisfied with a typical cycling multitool, but not all. I carry a 6 mm Allen for the angle of my Nitto seatposts and the tension of my Selle Anatomicas, a 5 mm for saddle height, a 4 mm for Rivet saddle tension, a Brooks wrench or the Park saddle adjustment wrench to set (rarely is this needed) Brooks leather tension, and a 4 mm for my Rivet saddle tension. For the older bikes with Campy Record microadust poosts, I need a 10 mm combination with a small or vvery offset head. For modern Campy drivetrains the 5 mm and 6 mm Allens are all one usually needs (a small pliers for cable tensioning). For French-equipped bikes (love my vintage Huret wide-range rear derailleurs like Duopars) I need 8 mm and 9 mm combination wrenches as well. And always a small electrician's pliers for pulling cable so tension as you secure them! Luckily I had all this metric stuff left over from when I worked on air-cooled VWs! It's a bit of a pain to think about what tools I need for a fitting ride for each bike!

Another complication is Brooksies - some are quite stiff! I have a Brooks Select Professional which is kind of supple and easy to get a wrench up and under it to set angle on a Campy seatpost, and another Select which is hard as a rock- and the same situation with a pair of Ideales, one a 92 and one an 80. For that one I need to carry a Park offset 10 mm combination wrench which can reach up and under the Brooks Pro saddle to set the tilt adjusting bolts.

So if I carry all of this I feel like a dork and have a guaranteed 8# penalty, not that I care so much. If I on't carry all this, I need to choose my kit for every ride. Which one is really tolerable?
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Old 07-21-22, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Yeahhhh ... there can be a lot of crap to carry for a "general riding kit! Much of this can be satisfied with a typical cycling multitool, but not all. I carry a 6 mm Allen for the angle of my Nitto seatposts and the tension of my Selle Anatomicas, a 5 mm for saddle height, a 4 mm for Rivet saddle tension, a Brooks wrench or the Park saddle adjustment wrench to set (rarely is this needed) Brooks leather tension, and a 4 mm for my Rivet saddle tension. For the older bikes with Campy Record microadust poosts, I need a 10 mm combination with a small or vvery offset head. For modern Campy drivetrains the 5 mm and 6 mm Allens are all one usually needs (a small pliers for cable tensioning). For French-equipped bikes (love my vintage Huret wide-range rear derailleurs like Duopars) I need 8 mm and 9 mm combination wrenches as well. And always a small electrician's pliers for pulling cable so tension as you secure them! Luckily I had all this metric stuff left over from when I worked on air-cooled VWs! It's a bit of a pain to think about what tools I need for a fitting ride for each bike!

Another complication is Brooksies - some are quite stiff! I have a Brooks Select Professional which is kind of supple and easy to get a wrench up and under it to set angle on a Campy seatpost, and another Select which is hard as a rock- and the same situation with a pair of Ideales, one a 92 and one an 80. For that one I need to carry a Park offset 10 mm combination wrench which can reach up and under the Brooks Pro saddle to set the tilt adjusting bolts.

So if I carry all of this I feel like a dork and have a guaranteed 8# penalty, not that I care so much. If I on't carry all this, I need to choose my kit for every ride. Which one is really tolerable?
My hex keys are titanium. It is usually just two keys in back pocket. I also have a Ti crescent wrench. My Brooks B17 Special Pro is a 4 mm to adjust the tension IIRC and the angle is 5 mm on the seatpost. I stop for a seat post adjustment but do the tension on the fly. A lot easier and cheaper than a $4-500 professional fit.
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Old 07-21-22, 05:36 AM
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I had a Retul fit recently.

Mind blown.

I went from an aft slammed saddle to one all the way forward on the rails and the need for 150-160 mm stem, but really a new frame. The basic process was video capture and automated analysis of various angles, which have ranges of acceptance. My pedaling was good, only 1 degree of movements.

I was told to expect a lot more power.

Color me skeptical but hopeful.

When rested properly I am going to repeat my 3 minute local interval hill. A few days before the fit, I did a PB in time and blew away my previous best on power for that duration. I have done this 10-14% hill probably 200 times and know that 2-3 seconds improvement would make the fit worth it but the real test is whether I can ride with such a forward bias of my torso and it addresses some pains that I have recently been having. I have always preferred the Greg Lemond type position. I'll see within a few weeks. If it works, then, need to find an appropriate much larger frame or bike in stock.
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Old 07-21-22, 06:55 AM
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I don't understand this thing about "balance" when discussing fore-aft position. Are we talking about being able to hold yourself upright, without your hands on the bars, maybe even riding no-hands? I'm 100% sure I could do that on any bike, regardless of the fore-aft position of the saddle.

The thing that would make that hard is if the saddle were TILTED too far forward, thus tilting your weight forward and forcing weight onto your hands. The balance test might be a good tool for getting saddle tilt just right, but I don't see what it has to do with fore-aft position.
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Old 07-21-22, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
I had a Retul fit recently.

Mind blown.

I went from an aft slammed saddle to one all the way forward on the rails and the need for 150-160 mm stem, but really a new frame. The basic process was video capture and automated analysis of various angles, which have ranges of acceptance. My pedaling was good, only 1 degree of movements.

I was told to expect a lot more power.

Color me skeptical but hopeful.

When rested properly I am going to repeat my 3 minute local interval hill. A few days before the fit, I did a PB in time and blew away my previous best on power for that duration. I have done this 10-14% hill probably 200 times and know that 2-3 seconds improvement would make the fit worth it but the real test is whether I can ride with such a forward bias of my torso and it addresses some pains that I have recently been having. I have always preferred the Greg Lemond type position. I'll see within a few weeks. If it works, then, need to find an appropriate much larger frame or bike in stock.
Kool, interesting thing! Let us know...
I know you've posted some of your personal specs in other posts, but it would be good to know them here. As well as things like prior saddle setback and the new... saddle extension before /after.
Not for 'emulation' purposes, but just for a 'framework' understanding of this very key position setup factor.
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Old 07-21-22, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
I don't understand this thing about "balance" when discussing fore-aft position. Are we talking about being able to hold yourself upright, without your hands on the bars, maybe even riding no-hands? I'm 100% sure I could do that on any bike, regardless of the fore-aft position of the saddle.

The thing that would make that hard is if the saddle were TILTED too far forward, thus tilting your weight forward and forcing weight onto your hands. The balance test might be a good tool for getting saddle tilt just right, but I don't see what it has to do with fore-aft position.
The idea as I first read it in one of Zinn's books, is to find a position like that of a downhill ski racer in a tuck. The body CG needs to be centered over the feet, otherwise the body will tend to fall forward or backward. The correlation to cycling is for the body center of gravity to be above the BB axis, or close enough you can keep yourself in place without excessive hand pressure or without feeling like you are flling back off the saddle. That's the idea of "balance" as I see it for my own fitting.
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Old 07-21-22, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
When rested properly I am going to repeat my 3 minute local interval hill. A few days before the fit, I did a PB in time and blew away my previous best on power for that duration. I have done this 10-14% hill probably 200 times and know that 2-3 seconds improvement would make the fit worth it but the real test is whether I can ride with such a forward bias of my torso and it addresses some pains that I have recently been having. I have always preferred the Greg Lemond type position. I'll see within a few weeks. If it works, then, need to find an appropriate much larger frame or bike in stock.
Forward adjusted saddle actually favors steep climbs.

A better test is to compare the times on your longest rides (preferrably >4 hrs) with a balanced mix of climbing and flats.

Many riders will have arm and shoulder issues with forward slammed saddle doing long rides on the flats. But the same forward slammed saddle will have superior comfort and power in climbs. Many hill climb Pros have forward slammed tilted down saddles which is best for steep climb races. It's comfortable and delivers superior power on steep climbs but can be quite uncomfortable to ride on the flats.

If you ride mostly in the mountains or barely a flat section, then a forward slammed saddle might actually be the best option for you.
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Old 07-22-22, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by koala logs
Forward adjusted saddle actually favors steep climbs.

A better test is to compare the times on your longest rides (preferrably >4 hrs) with a balanced mix of climbing and flats.

Many riders will have arm and shoulder issues with forward slammed saddle doing long rides on the flats. But the same forward slammed saddle will have superior comfort and power in climbs. Many hill climb Pros have forward slammed tilted down saddles which is best for steep climb races. It's comfortable and delivers superior power on steep climbs but can be quite uncomfortable to ride on the flats.

If you ride mostly in the mountains or barely a flat section, then a forward slammed saddle might actually be the best option for you.
Here is the thing, I doubt there is any way in the world for me to gain 5 % even with the best coach and hardest work. A fit might get me 2% and I would be giddy with that. I cannot see how some random 4 hour ride could discern such a small improvement. OTOH, I know my PD curve very, very well and hills do not lie. Thus, there is less energy expending going slowly up a hill in the heat.
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Old 07-22-22, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
The idea as I first read it in one of Zinn's books, is to find a position like that of a downhill ski racer in a tuck. The body CG needs to be centered over the feet, otherwise the body will tend to fall forward or backward. The correlation to cycling is for the body center of gravity to be above the BB axis, or close enough you can keep yourself in place without excessive hand pressure or without feeling like you are flling back off the saddle. That's the idea of "balance" as I see it for my own fitting.
Descending, I like to put most of my weight into the pedals, light on the saddle, light on the bars, take the bumps in my knees. I used to train for Downhill but didn't race much. Huge fun.
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Old 07-22-22, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Here is the thing, I doubt there is any way in the world for me to gain 5 % even with the best coach and hardest work. A fit might get me 2% and I would be giddy with that. I cannot see how some random 4 hour ride could discern such a small improvement. OTOH, I know my PD curve very, very well and hills do not lie. Thus, there is less energy expending going slowly up a hill in the heat.
I can understand your situation. You can always pay attention to comfort instead. Forward slammed will be great on climbs but may not be very comfortable in the flats.
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Old 07-22-22, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Descending, I like to put most of my weight into the pedals, light on the saddle, light on the bars, take the bumps in my knees. I used to train for Downhill but didn't race much. Huge fun.
Same for me but additionally, I lift my butt approx 1 cm off the saddle for some butt relief. Putting all my weight on one leg that is extended all the way down, alternate legs, to stretch each leg or to avoid ground strike when turning while still gripping the top tube with the knee and thigh. It's not the most aero position to descend but quite comfortable, relieves the butt and stretches the legs (mostly for butt relief). Your butt is still in a position over the saddle like when you're sat down so it doesn't compromise braking and stability.

You might think it might have issues with bumps with one leg extended straight and all weight on it. I didn't have such problem, perhaps, the calf muscle is soaking the bumps like a spring or the 35 tires inflated to only 45 psi.
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Old 07-22-22, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by koala logs
Same for me but additionally, I lift my butt approx 1 cm off the saddle for some butt relief. Putting all my weight on one leg that is extended all the way down, alternate legs, to stretch each leg or to avoid ground strike when turning while still gripping the top tube with the knee and thigh. It's not the most aero position to descend but quite comfortable, relieves the butt and stretches the legs (mostly for butt relief). Your butt is still in a position over the saddle like when you're sat down so it doesn't compromise braking and stability.

You might think it might have issues with bumps with one leg extended straight and all weight on it. I didn't have such problem, perhaps, the calf muscle is soaking the bumps like a spring or the 35 tires inflated to only 45 psi.
Yep, this is pretty much what I do as well. Straight single leg or not, it's just a matter of where my body is when a bump hits.
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