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Bike Fit for mtbvfr

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Bike Fit for mtbvfr

Old 07-14-22, 12:08 AM
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Question Bike Fit for mtbvfr

Hi Folks,

I have some questions for the Bike Fit gurus.

The bike in the photo has a 130mm/5° Rise stem. The frame is a 19" 1990 Diamond Back Ascent. I have marked the dimensions of the bike's actual Top Tube length as well as the length from the centre of the rails to the centre of where the steerer tube would be if it extended that far.

I have uneven leg lengths and to help counter that the Right crank (180) is 5mm longer than the Left. My Right
Femur is 5mm longer than the Left and the Lower Right Leg is 3mm longer than the Left.

I'm always having to push my butt backwards and the only thing I can think of as to the cause of that is that my knees/legs want to be further forward to be better positioned over the cranks.

However, moving the saddle forward means my back is more curved and constricts my breathing.

This current configuration is more comfortable than previous iterations where I tried shorter and taller stems with which I found I was having to push my butt backwards more often.

The current bar has a 35° back sweep which doesn't make for a good position for the bar-ends when standing out of the saddle. However, Ergotec has a 23° bar which shouldn't be too much different to a 25° bar which I found to be ok when standing out of the saddle.

This current bar has a 31.5mm mounting diameter and 0mm rise which affords a pretty comfortable aero position when placing my hands on the bar next to the stem.

I would prefer the stem to be no more than 120mm long.

Vital Statistics
Inseam: 84.5cm
Thigh: 41.0cm
Arm Length: 61.0cm
Torso Length: 60.5cm
Foot Length: 26.1cm
Height: 5" 10" = 177.8cm or thereabouts.

So, what Effective Top Tube length do you think would be more suitable for me?

Apart from having a custom frame made, were any frames made in the 90s with longer Top Tubes than what I am commonly seeing?

I wouldn't want a bike with a taller Seat Tube and I would prefer a lower Bottom Bracket too.

Thanks!, MTB.


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Old 07-14-22, 07:49 AM
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Seems like you should go by the manufacturer's sizing recommendation. Though they aren't always correct. But you'll know if you try the bike first.

Might help to know what type riding you do or are wanting to do with the new bike. I don't really hear you complaining about your current fit, though the bike seems small for you. But that might just be that it's not my style of bike or cycling.

For your leg length difference, is this self diagnosed? Have you gone to find out why? Sometimes it's just that people started holding their hips funny and it can be corrected with physical therapy.
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Old 07-14-22, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mtbvfr
Hi Folks,
I have some questions for the Bike Fit gurus.
The bike in the photo has a 130mm/5° Rise stem. The frame is a 19" 1990 Diamond Back Ascent. I have marked the dimensions of the bike's actual Top Tube length as well as the length from the centre of the rails to the centre of where the steerer tube would be if it extended that far.
I have uneven leg lengths and to help counter that the Right crank (180) is 5mm longer than the Left. My Right
Femur is 5mm longer than the Left and the Lower Right Leg is 3mm longer than the Left.
I'm always having to push my butt backwards and the only thing I can think of as to the cause of that is that my knees/legs want to be further forward to be better positioned over the cranks.
However, moving the saddle forward means my back is more curved and constricts my breathing.
This current configuration is more comfortable than previous iterations where I tried shorter and taller stems with which I found I was having to push my butt backwards more often.
The current bar has a 35° back sweep which doesn't make for a good position for the bar-ends when standing out of the saddle. However, Ergotec has a 23° bar which shouldn't be too much different to a 25° bar which I found to be ok when standing out of the saddle.
This current bar has a 31.5mm mounting diameter and 0mm rise which affords a pretty comfortable aero position when placing my hands on the bar next to the stem.
I would prefer the stem to be no more than 120mm long.
Vital Statistics
Inseam: 84.5cm
Thigh: 41.0cm
Arm Length: 61.0cm
Torso Length: 60.5cm
Foot Length: 26.1cm
Height: 5" 10" = 177.8cm or thereabouts.
So, what Effective Top Tube length do you think would be more suitable for me?
Apart from having a custom frame made, were any frames made in the 90s with longer Top Tubes than what I am commonly seeing?
I wouldn't want a bike with a taller Seat Tube and I would prefer a lower Bottom Bracket too.
Thanks!, MTB.
don;t think I'm guru material, but I do have my thoughts on 'fit'. I'm not really well versed on current, modern MTB fit as well as for 'road', but it seems your current fit and 'desires' tend more towards a 'road' fit, rather than 'enduro'/all mtn type riding - which is much more upright and 'lower' center of mass, using droppers to adjust according to pedaling vs COG requirements.
You talk about being 'Aero', so I'm assuming a more 'road/old-school XC race' position; not the modern ALL TRAIL position. Low/No lug tires also seem to indicate that...
I won;t question your measurements - and also assume the differences between legs is accurate. And, yes as Iride01 mentioned, a pelvic tilt can also cause incongruencies - can happen from 'below' (your leg length differences) or 'above' (my scoliosis and compressed spine disks).
Anyway, saddle position and 'sliding forward'. 'Sliding forward' is usually a natural attempt to 'get over the gear', meaning you're feeling that you're not able to get 'full power' for the entire pedal stroke - IN THAT GEAR... if you're not sure... try this experiment... get into a gear, riding at an effort which causes you to clearly 'push forward'. NOW drop into the next lower gear (assuming these gears are relatively close... not always possible in mtb gearing)... IF, in lower gear, you're now not having the urge to push forward, it's because you can power that gear at whatever cadence you can reach same speed, is 'easier'... Example - road TT, most good TT riders will use the max gear they can power right to the max of their 'power'/cadence balance - ideally to produce the highest speed. It's RIGHT at the tipover point where next larger gear slows you down ... small changes in road profile, apparent wind, even 'effort' will cause 'slowing'', hence at that border, the constant want/desire to 'slide forward' to 'Get Over the Gear' better... which is what you're doing.
...so - leg length differences bring issues, and at best some compensation - one leg wants further back, one wants further forward, often what happens is favoring one leg over the other - very natural.
the key adjustment position is the saddle, setback and extension. since you've already 'compensated' with different crank lengths, best to pick a 'standard' measure point, like center of BB for both measurements (extension and setback) - your 62cm measurement doesn;t really measure anyhting useful. The Key is your sitzbones placement relative to the pedals/cranks.
My own reference for setback is horizontal setback of sitzbones relative to BB (using 172.5 cranks) - which for me is 300mm +- 2mm. so depending where I 'sit' on the saddle, I set the saddle so my sitzbones are 300mm behind the BB... saddle height fron center BB - I have determined, for me, to use as a 'start' std point - 88% of my 'cycling inseam' measurement - my cycling inseam is 88cm (34.6 inches), so my saddle height is 78 cm start (yeah, really weird, those numbers...). If I'm gonna be riding 'Big' gears a lot, like 'track' or 'crit race', I'm gonna move the saddle up 3-4mm and reduce setback 3-4 mm...
FYI, I'm now 5' 9.5" (176-77 cm), cycling inseam of 88 cm (34.6 in), my femur length is 440mm +_2mm, wingspan of 182 cm. At 25 yrs old I was 6'0", most all of the 'loss' is due to serious spine/disk compression and quite a bit of scoliosis (apparently genetic, runs through my mom's side of family).
Yeah Really LOONNG legs and arms with a torso length of an average person 5'3" LOL!
so, after all that, I would suggest : find/measure where you're sitzbones find themselves on the saddle, maybe use the BB to get that start/standard setback (for future use) .
commonly 'setback' is used from saddle nose horizontal to BB... so for my saddles, I measure where the sitzbones might be and then add the need additional as 'saddlenose to BB
example - my Spesh Phenom saddle puts my sitzbones 225mm from nose, I add additional 75mm distance from nose to center BB to get my 'setback' set.
FInally - try moving your saddle UP 3-4mm, don;t change setback yet. see if that gives a better balance of power for leg extension and reduces the need to 'push' forward on hard efforts.
it is a 'compromise' - there is no one position cures all

... as for the adjustment of your torso and hand position - that's up to what you want and how it works... again, there is no ONE fit which cures all.
I like a hand position which allows me to tuck my elbows in more, less outward bracing, so more back sweep works for me - but then I don;t really bomb knarly DH, Enduro type riding.
I'm old and break easily - tired of being in constant 'injury recovery mode' - so cautious when it gets really hairy. LOL!
Ride On Yuri
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Old 07-14-22, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
You talk about being 'Aero', so I'm assuming a more 'road/old-school XC race' position; not the modern ALL TRAIL position. Low/No lug tires also seem to indicate that...
I won;t question your measurements - and also assume the differences between legs is accurate.

FInally - try moving your saddle UP 3-4mm, don;t change setback yet. see if that gives a better balance of power for leg extension and reduces the need to 'push' forward on hard efforts.
it is a 'compromise' - there is no one position cures all

... as for the adjustment of your torso and hand position - that's up to what you want and how it works... again, there is no ONE fit which cures all.
I like a hand position which allows me to tuck my elbows in more, less outward bracing, so more back sweep works for me - but then I don;t really bomb knarly DH, Enduro type riding.
I'm old and break easily - tired of being in constant 'injury recovery mode' - so cautious when it gets really hairy. LOL!
Ride On Yuri
Hi Yuri,

Thanks for the detailed response.

I will pay attention to your thoughts about cadence at different gear ratios and see whether my butt is moving forward under higher cadences or lower cadences. Current cassette is using 8 cogs (12-32) from a 9-speed cassette on a 7-speed hub. Chainrings are 20-34-46. Next step will be to use 9 cogs from a 10-speed casssette. There's a change of about 10 rpm between cogs which may be better managed when I can get around to swapping the 34t chainring for a 36t and then shift between the 2 outer chainrings in the opposite direction to shifts on the cassette to maintain optimum cadence. I like it between 90 - 95 mostly.

I use the tyres, you see, on both asphalt and gravel with allowances for lack of grip in the corners on the gravel.

Measurements were taken by Andrew Pruitt in Denver in 1994 but the solution he offered never worked for me. Changing to unequal and longer cranks back in 2009 helped rather significantly.

I just recently dropped the saddle about 2.5-3 mm and that actually improved things. I noticed I was spinning more easily and I was moving my butt back less often. I'm going to try dropping it another 2mm.

Understand about the injuries; wearing a shoulder brace for the right shoulder and elbow guards.

Will report back another day.

Keep the rubber side down, MTB.

Last edited by mtbvfr; 07-14-22 at 05:57 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 07-14-22, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mtbvfr
Hi Yuri,

Thanks for the detailed response.

I will pay attention to your thoughts about cadence at different gear ratios and see whether I'm my butt is moving forward under higher cadences or lower cadences. Current cassette is using 8 cogs (12-32) from a 9-speed cassette on a 7-speed hub. Chainrings are 20-34-46. Next step will be to use 9 cogs from a 10-speed casssette. There's a change of about 10 rpm between cogs which may be better managed when I can get around to swapping the 34t chainring for a 36t and then shift between the 2 outer chainrings in the opposite direction to shifts on the cassette to maintain optimum cadence. I like it between 90 - 95 mostly.
I use the tyres, you see, on both asphalt and gravel with allowances for lack of grip in the corners on the gravel.
Measurements were taken by Andrew Pruitt in Denver in 1994 but the solution he offered never worked for me. Changing to unequal and longer cranks back in 2009 helped rather significantly.
I just recently dropped the saddle about 2.5-3 mm and that actually improved things. I noticed I was spinning more easily and I was moving my butt back less often. I'm going to try dropping it another 2mm.
Understand about the injuries; wearing a shoulder brace for the right shoulder and elbow guards.
Will report back another day.
Keep the rubber side down, MTB.
yeah 10 rpm diff on gear changes is quite sizeable (if it were for 'road'), but still workable. I always had a problem on mtbs with wide cog ranges, where the rpm diff. was greater... in one gear you're 'pushing' too much, but dropping down one cog has one spinning out... and a front/back combo shift to get the right gear is a pain...
do you still slide forward as much, after dropping your seat? I'd be surprised if 'that' didn't improve (less forward sliding...) after lowering the seat.
Most riders I see on mtb are quite 'low', because of wanting lower COG for stability - hence my initial rec for raising a few mm. Given your optimum cadences you like, you're obviously not too 'low', otherwise spinning at those rpm would be more difficult...
It might be that the 'sliding' is just 'You', not wanting to drop to the next gear down, because you know your speed will suffer... LOL!

...also wearing a shoulder brace at the moment... dislocated my right shoulder again, 6 wks back - but I can still ride, if I keep the elbows tucked properly... LOL!
having a difficult time wrapping my head around what might be advisable at the current age...
lemme know what you come up with - it's an interesting situation, and worth learning a bit more about...
.... I think the varying crankarm lengths is a great solution for your leg diff. !
Did it take long to become accustomed to the different 'feel' from side to side, different foot/leg pedal stroke in any way?
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 07-16-22, 04:34 PM
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Great camera work!

You don't say much about your measurements. You could try running through my fit primer, noting your results and changes, and report back on findings. How can I fitting my bike
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Old 07-16-22, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Great camera work!

You don't say much about your measurements. You could try running through my fit primer, noting your results and changes, and report back on findings. How can I fitting my bike
What measurements are you referring to?

I included my Vital Statistics in my original post.
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Old 07-16-22, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
do you still slide forward as much, after dropping your seat? I'd be surprised if 'that' didn't improve (less forward sliding...) after lowering the seat.
Most riders I see on mtb are quite 'low', because of wanting lower COG for stability - hence my initial rec for raising a few mm. Given your optimum cadences you like, you're obviously not too 'low', otherwise spinning at those rpm would be more difficult...
It might be that the 'sliding' is just 'You', not wanting to drop to the next gear down, because you know your speed will suffer... LOL!

...also wearing a shoulder brace at the moment... dislocated my right shoulder again, 6 wks back - but I can still ride, if I keep the elbows tucked properly... LOL!
having a difficult time wrapping my head around what might be advisable at the current age...
lemme know what you come up with - it's an interesting situation, and worth learning a bit more about...
.... I think the varying crankarm lengths is a great solution for your leg diff. !
Did it take long to become accustomed to the different 'feel' from side to side, different foot/leg pedal stroke in any way?
Ride On
Yuri
Hi Yuri,

I've dropped the seatpost another 2mm in preparation for the next ride and will see if that further reduces the sliding problem.

The reason my legs are different in length is because of an injury to the miniscus ligament of the Left knee when I was 18 which probably should have been attended to surgically immediately instead of 7 years later. Hence for about 2 to 3 years the left leg was being favoured and as I was still in a growing phase the right leg grew longer than the left and the right foot developed extra pronation. At 21 going on 22 yrs old I started playing competition level squash but I always had this problem of "driving" off the Left foot.


I had a heavy fall on the asphalt just before Xmas 2017 which caused my Right Shoulder to be dislocated. The pain was undescribable. Many times I thought I was going to black out. One of the contributing factors may have been that my right elbow is lacking in flexion and extension due to a compound fracture in 1999. There is still one plate and screws that weren't removed because the surgeon thought it would cause too much trauma. Hence, my right elbow is kind of reinforced you could say. That was the first thing that hit and I guess all of the impact was transferred to the shoulder. At the time I thought that the humereus had been broken.

So, what shoulder brace are you using? Is it worth recommending? The one I have uses Velcro for closure and it separates too easily.

The article that prompted me to adopt the crank lengths I am using is the following.

Bicycle Crank Length

After some communication with Kirby I settled on 180 for the Right and 177.5 for the Left. The muscles took a little while to adjust and spin seemed a bit slower but the knees were appreciative. At the time the immediate solution I could find were TA Specialities Carmina Cranks from France. I was using them on my AMP B4. I ditched them about 2 to 3 years later, because I was tired of my heels rubbing on them as they didn't have a flat surface but an outward facing triangular ridge, and replaced with Sugino Mighty 900 cranks and I also managed to source Ritchey Logic cranks for the Diamond Back. I gave up on Clipless pedals the same time and use some Well-go MTB/Touring pedals with PowerGrips straps.

About 4 years later I managed to get some 175mm versions of the above cranks because I thought that as the difference between femurs was 5mm it would make sense to use cranks with the same difference and my spin seem smoother after that. I am thinking of going back to 177.5 for the Left because of some observations with regards to movement of my left foot. Will be studying it further on next ride. Maybe 175 on the Left with a purposely made innersole of extra thickness would be a better solution.

Stay safe, MTB.
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Old 07-18-22, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by mtbvfr
Hi Yuri,
I've dropped the seatpost another 2mm in preparation for the next ride and will see if that further reduces the sliding problem.
The reason my legs are different in length is because of an injury to the miniscus ligament of the Left knee when I was 18 which probably should have been attended to surgically immediately instead of 7 years later. Hence for about 2 to 3 years the left leg was being favoured and as I was still in a growing phase the right leg grew longer than the left and the right foot developed extra pronation. At 21 going on 22 yrs old I started playing competition level squash but I always had this problem of "driving" off the Left foot.

I had a heavy fall on the asphalt just before Xmas 2017 which caused my Right Shoulder to be dislocated. The pain was undescribable. Many times I thought I was going to black out. One of the contributing factors may have been that my right elbow is lacking in flexion and extension due to a compound fracture in 1999. There is still one plate and screws that weren't removed because the surgeon thought it would cause too much trauma. Hence, my right elbow is kind of reinforced you could say. That was the first thing that hit and I guess all of the impact was transferred to the shoulder. At the time I thought that the humereus had been broken.

So, what shoulder brace are you using? Is it worth recommending? The one I have uses Velcro for closure and it separates too easily.

The article that prompted me to adopt the crank lengths I am using is the following.
Bicycle Crank Length
After some communication with Kirby I settled on 180 for the Right and 177.5 for the Left. The muscles took a little while to adjust and spin seemed a bit slower but the knees were appreciative. At the time the immediate solution I could find were TA Specialities Carmina Cranks from France. I was using them on my AMP B4. I ditched them about 2 to 3 years later, because I was tired of my heels rubbing on them as they didn't have a flat surface but an outward facing triangular ridge, and replaced with Sugino Mighty 900 cranks and I also managed to source Ritchey Logic cranks for the Diamond Back. I gave up on Clipless pedals the same time and use some Well-go MTB/Touring pedals with PowerGrips straps.
...
Stay safe, MTB.
Great info on your crank / leg issues and adaptation, thanks!
Hope the seat adjustment works for you.
As for shoulder braces, here what I use...

McDavid & EVS Shoulder Braces
The McDavid Brace - I've used this type for a number of years (this is my 3rd one). Have had multiple shoulder dislocations, most not too severe, and the McDavid was the most workable I've found.
Uses the stretch Velcro strap (works for either shoulder...) . The common issue with any of this type is it slides up under the armpit after some time, so I always wear a 'base' layer to keep irritation/abrasion to a minimum...
I've tried others similar, which have a broad strap and adjust via a loop thru a plastic buckle with velcro ends. The plastic loop becomes very uncomfortable after 15 mins of wear and any activity... especially in activities where you have active arm movement, skiing, hockey, etc... So a total non-starter.
This winter, early Jan, I crashed fairly heavily up at Mammoth, conditions were 'firm' and side country frequently 'changeable'. DIdn't have my McDavid on the trip (stoopid me) so I shopped in Town and found the EVS Brace, really awesome when you need really firm support ! Kept me skiing for rest of week, and especially helpful for the XC days...
Came in handy on my recent dislocation on May 10... Use for 2 weeks then moved to the McDavid.
I have been riding ... but I also got a serious case of Food Poisoning on May 16... ER category... LOL! Hardly any bike time thru May and June. Lost 10 more lbs - 152 down to 142 LOL! Back regular on bike on July 2... But only roadie, MTB and 'gravel' (same terrain...) is too jarring at the moment. Still quite weak, but short climbs have improved greatly... LOL!
I can highly recommend both/either of these braces, depending on how much support needed.
Keep us updated on your progress for 'position', good stuff to learn...
Ride On
Yuri
hoping for a better winter upcoming...
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Old 07-19-22, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
The McDavid Brace - I've used this type for a number of years (this is my 3rd one). Have had multiple shoulder dislocations, most not too severe, and the McDavid was the most workable I've found.
Uses the stretch Velcro strap (works for either shoulder...) . The common issue with any of this type is it slides up under the armpit after some time, so I always wear a 'base' layer to keep irritation/abrasion to a minimum...
I've tried others similar, which have a broad strap and adjust via a loop thru a plastic buckle with velcro ends. The plastic loop becomes very uncomfortable after 15 mins of wear and any activity... especially in activities where you have active arm movement, skiing, hockey, etc... So a total non-starter.
This winter, early Jan, I crashed fairly heavily up at Mammoth, conditions were 'firm' and side country frequently 'changeable'. DIdn't have my McDavid on the trip (stoopid me) so I shopped in Town and found the EVS Brace, really awesome when you need really firm support ! Kept me skiing for rest of week, and especially helpful for the XC days...
Came in handy on my recent dislocation on May 10... Use for 2 weeks then moved to the McDavid.
I have been riding ... but I also got a serious case of Food Poisoning on May 16... ER category... LOL! Hardly any bike time thru May and June. Lost 10 more lbs - 152 down to 142 LOL! Back regular on bike on July 2... But only roadie, MTB and 'gravel' (same terrain...) is too jarring at the moment. Still quite weak, but short climbs have improved greatly... LOL!
I can highly recommend both/either of these braces, depending on how much support needed.
Keep us updated on your progress for 'position', good stuff to learn...
Ride On
Yuri
hoping for a better winter upcoming...
Afternoon/Evening Yuri,

One thing I forgot to mention earlier was that my leg motion was video recorded from the front by Andrew Pruitt and then digitised which showed that both knees were Rising to the Right and Dropping to the Left. I think that is still happening but to a lesser degree.

I got out for a ride on Sunday. The extra 2mm drop of the saddle didn't seem to make a lot of difference. On the way back I also move the seat back 2mm. There may have been a further slight improvement in maintaining a higher cadence (95 - 100) when in an easy gear with both of those changes. Needs more time for longer observation.

It seems that I am more prone to sliding when at a higher cadence and there seems to be less pressure on the feet. If the cadence is lower and I'm exerting more force against the pedals I seemed to be sliding less.

If I rotated my pelvis forward and concentrated on holding it in that position, then, that also helped with less sliding. However, that caused more weight on my hands and the feeling of the need to stretch out the torso in order to feel more relaxed and better distribute the weight between the hands and sit bones.


Foot/Pedal Relationships
Regarding the movement and placement of my feet, when the left pedal is at the most rearward position I tend to drag my foot back a little so that it's ready for the down-stroke which makes me wonder if a slightly shorter crank or a raised foot would solve that. With the Sugino Might 900 cranks, I could try 180 on the Right and 172.5 on the Left. I also like to have my left foot closer to the crank arm.

With the right foot, the outside of the shoe is firmly against the outside of the Power Grips and feels restricted and wanting to be further outboard (probably a result of the compensatory pronation that developed after the injury to my left knee).


Braces
You've been in the wars some too, OUCH!!!

The dislocation was the most painful experience I've ever been through even more so than the relatively much higher speed crash on one of my VFRs that caused the compound fracture of the right-elbow and Bennet's Break and dislocation to the left thumb.

I have the same EVS one as you.

It has only one attachment point at the lower front which rests against your ribs and hence there's uneven pressure and as the ribs aren't flat that means a smaller point of contact as the rubber backing isn't sufficiently flexible to conform to the body's contours and can be flexed enough to release the velcro which I don't think is the strongest available neither.

It would be better to use straps that you can adjust like on back-packs. Maybe the problem occurs because the velcro is only connecting with neoprene and is not a complete vecro solution with 2 complimentary surfaces (hook-and-loop).

I am thinking they should have used the following instead without the semi-stiff rubber mounting. They could have used a strap system like on the lower part of the upper arm also.

https://www.industrialwebbing.com/specialty-hook-loop/


I found the McDavid website (https://www.mcdavidusa.com/) which led to me the following.

https://www.shockdoctor.com/collecti...14354273828917

The above might be more reliable because it has multiple attachments to spread the stress of movement.

I've sent them an email.

Keep the Rubber Side down, MTB.
mtbvfr is offline  

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