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Heel method - numb feet and hands when going further

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Heel method - numb feet and hands when going further

Old 08-26-22, 01:39 AM
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Heel method - numb feet and hands when raising saddle higher

Hey!

I was struggling with numb hands and feet, and lowered my saddle using the heel method (without shoes). All numbness went away!
However, with a height of 193cm, and a inseam of 94cm, its 2-4cm lower then any saddle height calculator will give me. If I raise the saddle, just by 5mm, I get numbness again... Reason I want to increase saddle height is that my heel is below parallel at the bottom of the stroke, and im not a heel dipper. Suggestions? Dont have a bike fitter in my town, so I usually use friends to spot me.
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Old 08-26-22, 08:43 AM
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So what height is your saddle?

I prefer to measure from the top of the saddle about where you sit to the top of the pedal when furthest away. Others will measure from top of the saddle to the BB center.

Also helps to know what bike you have. Most of the proper saddle height guidelines are for the typical road bike geometry and other bikes that have a similar seat tube angle.

If the position works for you then it works. You might have some other issues later. Perhaps you are a heel dipper and didn't know it! <grin>

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Old 08-26-22, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Perhaps you are a heel dipper and didn't know it! <grin>
I agree. Many riders become a heel dipper in the latter parts of a long ride including pros. There's no shame in it!

It's also possible the OP's reach or stack is excessive since lowering the saddle would in most cases, reduce reach and make the handlebar higher against the saddle, fixing the numb hands as well.
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Old 08-26-22, 10:36 AM
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Bike: CAAD10 size 60. 175 cranks. Pro LT 40cm bars and Selle Italia SLR which are the only upgrades. I wasent too happy with the saddle, so I lowered the saddle height to 80cm by using the heel method. Then I did a 110km trip without any issues what so ever. However, I feel like that when the pedals are at 12 o clock, my leg is very parallel...
My first run with the saddle I was at 82cm, which ive been using before on my ex Giant TCR 2019 size L. Got a little numb down there, and also numb hands.

For fun I took some pics and used a software to measure angles. Should be taken with a grain of salt ofc...
Saddle height:
80 - 40 degrees of knee angle
82 - 30,5 degrees of knee angle.
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Old 08-26-22, 11:53 AM
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You're supposed to do the heel on pedal thing wearing your cycling shoes. As you probably know, your 82cm saddle height has your knee right in the middle of the recommended angles. Numb feet is either too high a saddle or a saddle which doesn't fit your anatomy correctly. I'd try a more T shaped saddle. Numb "down there" is usually too small a slot in the saddle. Which SLR? There are many of them. For numb hands, see the Numb Hands post.
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Old 08-26-22, 12:12 PM
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Yes, 82cm shoulden't be too high. Atleast not in theory.

It's the SLR Boost TM Superflow. I was planning to buy the Pro Stealth, but its close to 50mm wide at the nose. Worried about chafing on the inner thighs.
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Old 08-26-22, 12:15 PM
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Here's a pic with saddle height at 82, and knee angle of 30,5

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Old 08-26-22, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
You're supposed to do the heel on pedal thing wearing your cycling shoes. As you probably know, your 82cm saddle height has your knee right in the middle of the recommended angles. Numb feet is either too high a saddle or a saddle which doesn't fit your anatomy correctly. I'd try a more T shaped saddle. Numb "down there" is usually too small a slot in the saddle. Which SLR? There are many of them. For numb hands, see the Numb Hands post.
That varies, rider to rider. I do it barefoot. I know others who use cycling shoes, some who use low heeled street shoes. (Cycling shoe heel thickness hardly qualifies as a high standard. My shoes differ a bunch.) Once you find the heel that works for you, hang onto that pair. (When I lose my bare feet, I've got bigger issues.) Look at at the pros. You cannot tell me they all stick to one standard.

For me, hand issues are usually about how my hands land on the brake hoods and handlebars. Wrist angles. How the bones in my hands sit. (The magic "no weight on my hands? That's fine if I want to sit up and ride slower or do more work.)
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Old 08-26-22, 01:25 PM
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^ I dont like putting my saddle further back to reduce weight on my hands. Then I just feel like I cant get over the pedal @ 3 a clock.
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Old 08-26-22, 01:29 PM
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I'm a firm believer in listening to my body, not numbers from elsewhere. If I were you, and that lower seat position allowed you to ride issue free, I'd do it. I'm pretty sure most calculators would put my seat higher. (Haven't looked at one of many years so that's a guess.) I am very picky about seat height but I don't measure except to get a starting point. I fine tune on rides and often have a piece of tape on my seatpost. Final changes will be 1mm or so.

Effective seat height depends on both the shape of the seat and the shoe/cleat/pedal system. I have the same seat on three of my six bikes and the cheaper steel railed version on the 4th. 5th and 6th are quite different. Three different pedal systems. Only two bikes share the same both seats and pedals.
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Old 08-26-22, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Freddyonabike
Yes, 82cm shoulden't be too high. Atleast not in theory.

It's the SLR Boost TM Superflow. I was planning to buy the Pro Stealth, but its close to 50mm wide at the nose. Worried about chafing on the inner thighs.
Well, the numbness down there certainly isn't due to lack of saddle cutout. I have one of those. Something about the padding or underlying shape didn't quite suit my butt. Saddles can be tricky for some, me for instance. I'm riding a Selle Italia MAN saddle. Works for me, not terribly expensive, got mine on ebay. Worth a try.
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Old 08-26-22, 03:39 PM
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WRT seat height, I, too, go with what works. My seat is a little low, but once I warm up my knees simply don't hurt even with arthritis and a torn meniscus. With your experience (numbness at 82 cm; non numbness at 80), the choice seems easy. Pain prevents gain.

The title of this thread refers to numb feet and hands. Is 'feet' a euphemism? Does 'down there' mean groin/crotch/pubic nerve?

I've been riding further this year than previous years this century, and my feet are getting numb, so I'm looking for answers in shoes and pedals, not saddles. Are your shoes too narrow, too wide, too long, or too short? Sole not stiff enough? Clips in the wrong place?
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Old 08-27-22, 01:05 AM
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I'll try to be clear!
Numbness in feet. It went away when I lowered the saddle to 80cm, oddly enough. Shimano RC5, with cleat all the way back. I do also get slight numbness in the groin, but much less then other saddles ive tried, so far.
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Old 08-27-22, 02:34 AM
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Another potential issue is that even with the saddle furthest forward, my knee is barely over the pedal spindle.
I do wish I could be more over the stroke. Starting to sound like a complete wrong bike?
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Old 08-27-22, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Freddyonabike
Another potential issue is that even with the saddle furthest forward, my knee is barely over the pedal spindle.
I do wish I could be more over the stroke. Starting to sound like a complete wrong bike?
If that's the case, than 80cm may be too low, and the real issue may be the saddle is too far aft. (Meaning you'd need to raise the saddle -- but, probably not to 82cm -- AND move it fore.) If you can't get it that far fore, you may need a post with less setback and/or a saddle with different rail position/length.) That said, I'd try using the hands-off/balance test for setback before KOPS.
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Old 08-27-22, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Freddyonabike
Another potential issue is that even with the saddle furthest forward, my knee is barely over the pedal spindle.
I do wish I could be more over the stroke. Starting to sound like a complete wrong bike?
I've got 34.5" (87.6 cm) inseam and I like to feel more over the BB too. So my saddle is further forward than most other seem to indicate. Seat posts with very little offset and 165 mm cranks help me get where I want to be.

Numb hand relief from the saddle height change may have been more about changing the angles of your arms and hands on the hoods or drops. So if you do move your saddle back up, then rotate the bars in the stem to give you a better hand angle or raise the stem if you didn't saw the steerer tube off to be flush with the stem.
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Old 08-27-22, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Freddyonabike
Another potential issue is that even with the saddle furthest forward, my knee is barely over the pedal spindle.
I do wish I could be more over the stroke. Starting to sound like a complete wrong bike?
Sounds like you want a TT bike or a road bike close to TT geometry like an aero road bike.

Keep in mind your thoughts about "more over the stroke" is all a matter of perspective. Since we determine knee position over the pedals with a plumb bob, we then realize it's dependent on the direction of gravity.

This means your knee position over the pedals would change all the time during a ride depending on the road gradient. It does affect riding comfort and feel. This is why the effort of climbing can feel quite different against riding over flat roads even if your power output and cadence is the same. But how "badly" it affects your pedal technique?

What I'm trying to say is the "plumb bob rule" or KOPS can be irrelevant. In fact, there are no hard rules in bike fitting. What seems like rules or methods like heel on pedal or KOPS, inseam to crank length, etc are just starting points, not the final setting. At the end of the day, it's all about how you feel, how the ride feels.

The best bike fitters will quickly set you up to the starting point but most of the work will be trial and error on their equipment and on actual rides on your bike and may end up quite different than the starting fit.
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