Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fitting Your Bike
Reload this Page >

Thoughts on saddle set back

Notices
Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

Thoughts on saddle set back

Old 01-28-23, 11:27 AM
  #26  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7,334
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4574 Post(s)
Liked 1,719 Times in 1,128 Posts
Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Interesting comments, unfortunately most of them are made to statements that I did not make. For instance, I did not say, "Fitters who don't measure angles are still measuring angles" ....I said, "They did not measure a single thing on me...." meaning they did not care about static measurements like distance from tailbone to floor or length or arms, etc. Not a single static measurement.

WRT foot length, toe angle, and cleat mounting position, it most certainly matters at the top of the stroke although not as much at the bottom of the stroke. Like most fitters, you are wrong.

I'm glad you have a decade of experience.

You are 5'4''. When you get to be more like 6'4'', you might appreciate why 73 degree can be and is often a bad starting point. Pinarello and Trek for instance do understand that, they have more like 72 degrees on big bikes. That was my point. Obviously, some prefer to be more over the pedals and might have a shorter torso.

You are telling me the back half is different from size to size? Interesting. The STA is identical as are the chainstays on all three of these very popular bikes. Are you not aware how costly molds are or that using the same mold for the back half saves a lot of money? Or that manufacturers don't like to save money.

https://www.canyon.com/en-us/product...etry/?pid=2893

https://www.cervelo.com/en-US/bikes/s5

https://www.bmc-switzerland.com/intl...c-grey-23.html
Okay, try this again:
Fitters generally don't take static measurements. I don't. However, I have had occasion to compare inseams to the final product and found that the .883 or 109 formulas tend to come out within 1cm of where the fit process using knee angle observations tend to put most riders. To me, that validates a home fit using those formulas - not fitters.

No one seems to be overly concerned with the top of the stroke, otherwise they wouldn't ignore it by lowering the saddle to match longer cranks. Anything can effect the pedal stroke, but your insinuation that foot length has an obvious and predictable effect on saddle height in particular doesn't match the reality. Someone moving their cleats far forward or aft is going to move their saddle set back accordingly, just as someone with a short leg is going to fix their saddle to pedal height on the one side with a cleat spacer. This part fit is elementary arithmetic. There is no "My feet are size 12, therefore my seat needs to move X." Foot size and the like might be factors in fine tuning, but not gross metrics.

I don't have a decade of experience. Please read again.

Trek has 72 STA on big bikes and 76 STA on small bikes. The small bike numbers are especially insensible. I've fit plenty of tall riders and there doesn't seem to be a trend of needing more proportional set back than anyone else. Small riders certainly don't need less, and are often screwed by companies like Trek faking short top tubes with steep STAs. Seat tube angle is better fixed because a triangle with the same angles is proportional. Tall riders don't have different proportions, and when you are tall more of your butt is going to be behind the crank automatically, just like you have more in front. You are making it sound like tall people don't scale up from shorter people. They do.

I already said that a few companies do or did use 73 STAs as a matter of choice, not cheapness. Cannondale did so in the '80s on their aluminum frames that were hand made and didn't benefit sharing parts, and Cervelo was the other company I was thinking of. Since Cervelo's have had seat stays that are whatever angle required to match the height of the seat cluster, clearly the whole back end is not identical because sizes change that angle. So you're barking up the wrong tree - especially if you saw the sub-frames that bikes are typically assembled from - the size specific angles are built into parts - like a BB that has the chainstay, seat tube and down tube ends sticking out 8" in each direction. So you have observed a trend in geometry I happen to like, and drawn the wrong conclusion about it.

As I said, tall people and short have relatively the same proportions, and therefore require similar postures on the bike. Taller people need more reach, but they automatically get more set back, so proportionality takes care of both.


Keep in mind that the difference in formulas and fits isn't that of broad trends - they both produce fairly similar overall riding postures when applied to symmetrical people with normal flexibility, For those folks, the fitting process both arrives at the same basic posture and adds refinements for even greater comfort and efficiency. This is similar to how a custom suit fits better than one off the rack, but both are still roughly size 44.

For people with asymmetry, atypical proportions and/or injuries, the fit process is hugely beneficial because it safely adapts the cycling posture to what their bodies can do. And sometimes that means a custom frame, because just moving seats and stems will never address the issue alone.


For people with alternative theories about cycling postures (like having your cleats full forward or aft), fitting isn't going to automatically validate your theory by automatically putting you where the hot new trend says you should be. Fitting just provides a framework to take what you want to do and make that as physiologically sound as possible. Fitting isn't really part of the ridiculous wheel-reinventing that has people buying 180mm cranks and then a decade later 160s, or using zero set back posts, or slamming their cleats all the way back, or using oval rings. Those are just fads that come and go. Meanwhile the way people sit on road bikes remains about the same as Major Taylor's fit 120 years ago. That's why road bike geometry hasn't really changed in at least 50 years, except that there is now a much greater range of head tube lengths.

Last edited by Kontact; 01-28-23 at 11:34 AM.
Kontact is offline  
Old 01-28-23, 12:19 PM
  #27  
Senior Member
 
elcruxio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Turku, Finland, Europe
Posts: 2,509

Bikes: 2011 Specialized crux comp, 2013 Specialized Rockhopper Pro

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 346 Times in 230 Posts
I'm curious. What's the reasoning behind the idea that cleats need to have a fixed position? (below the ball of the foot presumably?) Other than it's always been done like that?

The way I see it pushing cleats forward serves no purpose whatsoever. Pushing them back however means you need less calf muscle which is an unnecessary muscle for cycling in any case. Less energy use, more foot stability which translates to better knee stability and onwards goes the chain.
elcruxio is offline  
Old 01-28-23, 12:59 PM
  #28  
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 4,434

Bikes: '80 Masi Gran Criterium, '12 Trek Madone, early '60s Frejus track

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 523 Post(s)
Liked 462 Times in 348 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
My back angle is 46 deg. Bar drop a modest 50 mm to the tops. Basically an endurance-minded fit. .
You just have more latitude than some of us. I can't explain it. My range is more like 6 millimeters. Beyond the front of that, my hands start to hurt. That also is the point where my spin falls apart and my knees start to hurt. Behind that, I can't control the bike as well, my spin loses torque, and it's too much of a grunt to get out of the saddle.

You know, even a certified fitter will allow some latitude for comfort and control.
oldbobcat is offline  
Old 01-28-23, 01:02 PM
  #29  
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 4,434

Bikes: '80 Masi Gran Criterium, '12 Trek Madone, early '60s Frejus track

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 523 Post(s)
Liked 462 Times in 348 Posts
Originally Posted by elcruxio
I'm curious. What's the reasoning behind the idea that cleats need to have a fixed position? (below the ball of the foot presumably?) Other than it's always been done like that?

.
Probably an old wives' tale. Or it may be a guide to finding your minimum toeclip size from back in the day when we all used them.
oldbobcat is offline  
Old 01-28-23, 01:46 PM
  #30  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4570 Post(s)
Liked 5,108 Times in 3,153 Posts
Originally Posted by oldbobcat
You just have more latitude than some of us. I can't explain it. My range is more like 6 millimeters. Beyond the front of that, my hands start to hurt. That also is the point where my spin falls apart and my knees start to hurt. Behind that, I can't control the bike as well, my spin loses torque, and it's too much of a grunt to get out of the saddle.

You know, even a certified fitter will allow some latitude for comfort and control.
I've never been positioned far enough forward to suffer hand pain, but if I go too far back my pedalling does start to feel more laboured. For me it's simply a much wider window. I wouldn't even notice a 6 mm change.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 01-28-23, 01:50 PM
  #31  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4570 Post(s)
Liked 5,108 Times in 3,153 Posts
Originally Posted by elcruxio
I'm curious. What's the reasoning behind the idea that cleats need to have a fixed position? (below the ball of the foot presumably?) Other than it's always been done like that?

The way I see it pushing cleats forward serves no purpose whatsoever. Pushing them back however means you need less calf muscle which is an unnecessary muscle for cycling in any case. Less energy use, more foot stability which translates to better knee stability and onwards goes the chain.
My take on cleat fore-aft is to just slam them all the way back for endurance riding. Maybe for crit racing there is some merit in moving them further forward for maximum sprint torque, but that's not of any benefit to me. I prefer the reduced foot leverage for all the reasons you mentioned.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 01-28-23, 04:10 PM
  #32  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7,334
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4574 Post(s)
Liked 1,719 Times in 1,128 Posts
Originally Posted by elcruxio
I'm curious. What's the reasoning behind the idea that cleats need to have a fixed position? (below the ball of the foot presumably?) Other than it's always been done like that?

The way I see it pushing cleats forward serves no purpose whatsoever. Pushing them back however means you need less calf muscle which is an unnecessary muscle for cycling in any case. Less energy use, more foot stability which translates to better knee stability and onwards goes the chain.
Why would disabling the way your leg is designed to produce power at the foot be better, especially lacking any real data of a performance advantage?

Cyclists compete in very short and extremely long forms of racing. If there was a clear advantage to an alternative cleat location, wouldnt it be a proven necessity for RAAM or the like?

Why do so many people think everyone else is foolishly holding on to outdated techniques rather than noting that these kind of modifications have been tried and discarded many times before?
Kontact is offline  
Old 01-28-23, 06:12 PM
  #33  
Senior Member
 
Trakhak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 5,560
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2589 Post(s)
Liked 3,110 Times in 1,769 Posts
Novice cyclists almost always position the foot so that the pedal is midway between the heel and the ball of the foot. Why do experienced cyclists, including those who use flat pedals, position the foot so that the ball of the foot is centered above the pedal axle? Or are cyclists with cleated shoes the only ones who profit from a more forward foot position?

[Edit] Come to think of it, I'm not sure that all riders who use flat pedals do position the ball of the foot over the pedal axle. Maybe some who ride flat pedals can weigh in here.

Last edited by Trakhak; 01-28-23 at 06:17 PM.
Trakhak is offline  
Old 01-29-23, 01:08 AM
  #34  
Senior Member
 
elcruxio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Turku, Finland, Europe
Posts: 2,509

Bikes: 2011 Specialized crux comp, 2013 Specialized Rockhopper Pro

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 346 Times in 230 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact
Why would disabling the way your leg is designed to produce power at the foot be better, especially lacking any real data of a performance advantage?
Because that's not how a leg is designed to produce power? People evolved to walk, run, jump, climb trees etc (bit an eddie izzard reference there). Spinning pedals around doesn't equate to any of those activities. The calf has a minimal effect in power production even in running compared to the upper leg muscles. Some would argue that its job is mainly to function as a shock absorber/return spring. Its only job in cycling is to stabilize the foot.

The whole idea of demanding natural movement in cycling is idiotic. Cycling isn't a natural movement. It goes in the same category of claiming tall riders need longer cranks. They don't btw if it wasn't clear.

Cyclists compete in very short and extremely long forms of racing. If there was a clear advantage to an alternative cleat location, wouldnt it be a proven necessity for RAAM or the like?
I think it has been proven in RAAM. Certainly many RAAM winners and otherwise succesful RAAM riders have used a midfoot cleat position. And we weren't even discussing midfoot position yet. Just pushing cleats back on their original mounting range.

​​​​​​​Why do so many people think everyone else is foolishly holding on to outdated techniques rather than noting that these kind of modifications have been tried and discarded many times before?
Because the old stuff hasn't been studied in the past. This is the era of cycling science. I have come to realize a lot of the old ways of doing cycling stuff aren't based on anything valid. Many things are just "we've always done it this way". Others are being done, because one legendary cyclist did that thing. There's usually never any logical reasoning. Just rambling about how "that's how a leg should work naturally" or "it hasn't caught on so it can't be valid"...

Originally Posted by Trakhak
Novice cyclists almost always position the foot so that the pedal is midway between the heel and the ball of the foot. Why do experienced cyclists, including those who use flat pedals, position the foot so that the ball of the foot is centered above the pedal axle? Or are cyclists with cleated shoes the only ones who profit from a more forward foot position?

[Edit] Come to think of it, I'm not sure that all riders who use flat pedals do position the ball of the foot over the pedal axle. Maybe some who ride flat pedals can weigh in here.
Your typical road racing, which isn't really relevant for your average rider, may have situations where a more forward cleat position can have some advantage. Namely sprinting comes to mind. I was going to mention climbing out of saddle but that isn't really affected. But lots of tradition in pro cycling.

A few reasons why midfoot cleats aren't more common

1) midfoot cleat shoes are incredibly rare. You won't find them even in most well stocked cycling stores. Once you ride a few years with traditional cycling shoes, reaching out and paying immense amounts for midfoot ones is a bit of a leap of faith. Or you could drill your shoes. That's always fun. There are modification kits but really the above still applies

2) fitters don't recommend it. Why? I don't know. Perhaps it has something to do with natural movement...

3) midfoot is still pretty extreme. I haven't tried it and I like to try all the new things especially in fitting. The thought of it is weird even though it would likely be very beneficial especially in the type of riding I do.

4) walking in road shoes with midfoot cleats would likely be far more difficult than it is with the traditional cleat position. Not as bad in SPD's but who uses those? (I do. I ride only SPD's. The narrow Q-factor road pedals force you into is stupid)

5) toe overlap. Midfoot cleat is going to cause big issues there so if you're crit racing or group racing in general, you'd need a bike with a different front geometry. Honestly I think this might be the big one why it isn't commong in pro racing.

In long distance riding toe overlap isn't an issue though.
elcruxio is offline  
Likes For elcruxio:
Old 01-29-23, 11:09 AM
  #35  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4570 Post(s)
Liked 5,108 Times in 3,153 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact
Why would disabling the way your leg is designed to produce power at the foot be better, especially lacking any real data of a performance advantage?

Cyclists compete in very short and extremely long forms of racing. If there was a clear advantage to an alternative cleat location, wouldnt it be a proven necessity for RAAM or the like?

Why do so many people think everyone else is foolishly holding on to outdated techniques rather than noting that these kind of modifications have been tried and discarded many times before?
Most of the major shoe manufacturers are now providing further rearward adjustment for cleat position. Nowhere near mid-foot, but a good few mm further back than what was considered "normal" in the past. Personally I've found a significant benefit to moving my cleats further back i.e. less foot fatigue on longer rides. Maybe I'm sacrificing some top end sprint power, but that's unimportant for my endurance events. I've never tried a mid-foot position for the reasons elcruxio stated. Maybe pro racers can tolerate a more forward cleat position to maximise their sprint power, without affecting their endurance. But I just get sore feet!
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:
Old 01-29-23, 01:08 PM
  #36  
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,600

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3917 Post(s)
Liked 1,972 Times in 1,408 Posts
Not to be a frigging elitist or anything . . . but this rearward cleat stuff rather reminds me of Brooks saddles. I dunno . . .Cleat placement is all about performance choice. Moving the cleats back is rather crippling one's legs, by choice. I've always pedaled with the ball of my big toe over the pedal spindle. Never had an issue with it, and as you probably know, I concentrate on long rides. The purpose behind that placement is to activate one's calf and tibialis muscles. And yes, I do squats, great for the big movers in the legs, and I also do calf and toe raises because uh, squats don't do anything for them. Yeah, it's only about performance, but I care about that. I also use a position and pedaling style which activates my hams and glutes. The more muscles I can spread the load to, the better I go. See:
and starting at about 9:00
Watch the changes in ankle angle. This is not "ankling." Changing the angle of the ankle reduces the changes of angle at the knee and hip, focusing on the most powerful range of motion for those joints.

On another subject, I notice how much more reach these folks used than is now common. I used to do that until my fitter moved my hands back. I rather liked it better the other way. I think more reach puts less load on the hands - they just bounce up and down, no load on them. I don't know why riders changed that.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 01-29-23, 01:16 PM
  #37  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,224

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6330 Post(s)
Liked 4,927 Times in 3,390 Posts
Originally Posted by Trakhak
Novice cyclists almost always position the foot so that the pedal is midway between the heel and the ball of the foot. Why do experienced cyclists, including those who use flat pedals, position the foot so that the ball of the foot is centered above the pedal axle? Or are cyclists with cleated shoes the only ones who profit from a more forward foot position?

[Edit] Come to think of it, I'm not sure that all riders who use flat pedals do position the ball of the foot over the pedal axle. Maybe some who ride flat pedals can weigh in here.
Are you certain of that? I thought it was the other way around. Most novices I've paid any attention too, including me, pedaled with the spindle between the ball of the foot and the toes.

As we got more experience, the spindle moved behind the metatarsals.
Iride01 is offline  
Likes For Iride01:
Old 01-29-23, 01:51 PM
  #38  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7,334
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4574 Post(s)
Liked 1,719 Times in 1,128 Posts
Originally Posted by elcruxio
Because that's not how a leg is designed to produce power? People evolved to walk, run, jump, climb trees etc (bit an eddie izzard reference there). Spinning pedals around doesn't equate to any of those activities. The calf has a minimal effect in power production even in running compared to the upper leg muscles. Some would argue that its job is mainly to function as a shock absorber/return spring. Its only job in cycling is to stabilize the foot.

The whole idea of demanding natural movement in cycling is idiotic. Cycling isn't a natural movement. It goes in the same category of claiming tall riders need longer cranks. They don't btw if it wasn't clear.



I think it has been proven in RAAM. Certainly many RAAM winners and otherwise succesful RAAM riders have used a midfoot cleat position. And we weren't even discussing midfoot position yet. Just pushing cleats back on their original mounting range.



Because the old stuff hasn't been studied in the past. This is the era of cycling science. I have come to realize a lot of the old ways of doing cycling stuff aren't based on anything valid. Many things are just "we've always done it this way". Others are being done, because one legendary cyclist did that thing. There's usually never any logical reasoning. Just rambling about how "that's how a leg should work naturally" or "it hasn't caught on so it can't be valid"...



Your typical road racing, which isn't really relevant for your average rider, may have situations where a more forward cleat position can have some advantage. Namely sprinting comes to mind. I was going to mention climbing out of saddle but that isn't really affected. But lots of tradition in pro cycling.

A few reasons why midfoot cleats aren't more common

1) midfoot cleat shoes are incredibly rare. You won't find them even in most well stocked cycling stores. Once you ride a few years with traditional cycling shoes, reaching out and paying immense amounts for midfoot ones is a bit of a leap of faith. Or you could drill your shoes. That's always fun. There are modification kits but really the above still applies

2) fitters don't recommend it. Why? I don't know. Perhaps it has something to do with natural movement...

3) midfoot is still pretty extreme. I haven't tried it and I like to try all the new things especially in fitting. The thought of it is weird even though it would likely be very beneficial especially in the type of riding I do.

4) walking in road shoes with midfoot cleats would likely be far more difficult than it is with the traditional cleat position. Not as bad in SPD's but who uses those? (I do. I ride only SPD's. The narrow Q-factor road pedals force you into is stupid)

5) toe overlap. Midfoot cleat is going to cause big issues there so if you're crit racing or group racing in general, you'd need a bike with a different front geometry. Honestly I think this might be the big one why it isn't commong in pro racing.

In long distance riding toe overlap isn't an issue though.
The thing is, where is the science? I'm not saying that old stuff is always right, but it has been shown to work very well. However, moving the cleats back is submitted as a biomechanical advantage - according to non-scientists. And here you are insisting that the foot and leg and cycling mechanics MUST work a certain way. But you don't study this stuff in a lab. I knew people at UW Madison that did study things like the pedaling dynamics of oval chainrings and similar topics, but I haven't been able to find any scholarly articles about cleat position except for one about transition to running for triathletes.

People do write articles about cleat position, and I think folks like Steve Hogg are very thoughtful.
https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...leat-position/
https://neillsbikefit.com.au/?page_id=348
The problem is that they are drawing conclusion about the cause of things like heel dropping that might not be true. My personal experience is that my heels drop - not because my calves are tired - but because my quads are and my legs start to use the ankle and calf to compensate. Which is pretty much the opposite of what Hogg is saying. He might be right - but there isn't any actual data and he seems to be leaning more on the attractively contrarian argument being made.

But I don't think we put our feet on the pedals because of a biomechanical theory someone had a century ago. We put our feet there because it appears to be the most generally useful spot, is what we learn as children because of flexible shoes and because we seem to do just fine with it.

Simply authoritatively insisting that something is wrong isn't convincing.
Kontact is offline  
Likes For Kontact:
Old 01-29-23, 02:37 PM
  #39  
Senior Member
 
elcruxio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Turku, Finland, Europe
Posts: 2,509

Bikes: 2011 Specialized crux comp, 2013 Specialized Rockhopper Pro

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 346 Times in 230 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact
The thing is, where is the science? I'm not saying that old stuff is always right, but it has been shown to work very well. However, moving the cleats back is submitted as a biomechanical advantage - according to non-scientists. And here you are insisting that the foot and leg and cycling mechanics MUST work a certain way. But you don't study this stuff in a lab. I knew people at UW Madison that did study things like the pedaling dynamics of oval chainrings and similar topics, but I haven't been able to find any scholarly articles about cleat position except for one about transition to running for triathletes.

People do write articles about cleat position, and I think folks like Steve Hogg are very thoughtful.
https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...leat-position/
https://neillsbikefit.com.au/?page_id=348
The problem is that they are drawing conclusion about the cause of things like heel dropping that might not be true. My personal experience is that my heels drop - not because my calves are tired - but because my quads are and my legs start to use the ankle and calf to compensate. Which is pretty much the opposite of what Hogg is saying. He might be right - but there isn't any actual data and he seems to be leaning more on the attractively contrarian argument being made.

But I don't think we put our feet on the pedals because of a biomechanical theory someone had a century ago. We put our feet there because it appears to be the most generally useful spot, is what we learn as children because of flexible shoes and because we seem to do just fine with it.

Simply authoritatively insisting that something is wrong isn't convincing.
This is indeed a dilemma. There are precious few studies done about cleat positioning. However that essentially means that if there's no data to support or refute the rearward cleat position, then there's also no data to support or refute the traditional cleat position.

You'd need to compare those two to decide the better solution.

Also the most generally useful spot people learn as children when using flat pedals is behind the ball of the foot. It's only when clipping in people start generally putting the axle below the ball of the foot. And why not? It's a convenient and easy place to locate on the shoe. But if you look at mountain bikers who use flat pedals you'll first notice that their foot placements are all over the place. But secondly you'll notice that most have the pedal axle behind the ball of the foot. Some are going full mid foot.

It makes sense in a way. Clipping in gives some stability so you can have your foot further back from the pedal axle. Why you'd want that I no longer understand but fine. But riding flats with the axle below the ball of the foot feels rickety as f.... I don't ride flats with the mtb anymore but I have them on the citybike. My foot position is pretty midfoot depending on which shoes I have on.
elcruxio is offline  
Old 01-29-23, 02:51 PM
  #40  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4570 Post(s)
Liked 5,108 Times in 3,153 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact

But I don't think we put our feet on the pedals because of a biomechanical theory someone had a century ago. We put our feet there because it appears to be the most generally useful spot, is what we learn as children because of flexible shoes and because we seem to do just fine with it.
I think it's all relative. I don't think anyone is talking about using a mid-foot position here. My shoes have a total fore-aft cleat adjustment range of maybe an inch. It doesn't need a science project to find what position actually works best for yourself.
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:
Old 01-29-23, 02:55 PM
  #41  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4570 Post(s)
Liked 5,108 Times in 3,153 Posts
Originally Posted by elcruxio

It makes sense in a way. Clipping in gives some stability so you can have your foot further back from the pedal axle. Why you'd want that I no longer understand but fine. But riding flats with the axle below the ball of the foot feels rickety as f.... I don't ride flats with the mtb anymore but I have them on the citybike. My foot position is pretty midfoot depending on which shoes I have on.
I ride flats on my mountain bike and choose a more rearward foot position than I do on my road bike. Not mid-foot, but definitely closer. Road shoes just get the cleats slammed rearward and that's the end of it for me.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 01-29-23, 02:59 PM
  #42  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7,334
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4574 Post(s)
Liked 1,719 Times in 1,128 Posts
Originally Posted by elcruxio
This is indeed a dilemma. There are precious few studies done about cleat positioning. However that essentially means that if there's no data to support or refute the rearward cleat position, then there's also no data to support or refute the traditional cleat position.
But you stated it as fact, earlier.

What is a fact is that humans are very adaptable, and the traditional cleat position doesn't seem to have any real negatives with even the highest performance athletes. I think it is perfectly acceptable to try and enjoy alternatives.

I don't think it is acceptable to state that those alternatives are better as if it were a fact.
Kontact is offline  
Old 01-29-23, 03:34 PM
  #43  
Senior Member
 
elcruxio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Turku, Finland, Europe
Posts: 2,509

Bikes: 2011 Specialized crux comp, 2013 Specialized Rockhopper Pro

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 346 Times in 230 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact
But you stated it as fact, earlier.
You have a very, very strange way on interpreting text...

What is a fact is that humans are very adaptable, and the traditional cleat position doesn't seem to have any real negatives with even the highest performance athletes. I think it is perfectly acceptable to try and enjoy alternatives.
the highest level athletes are essentially evolutionary one offs who can perform extraordinary feats and adapt to amazing feats. If a pro cyclist won the tour with the cleat hanging down the tip of their big toe, I would not take that as validation for a new amazing cleat position. Just as I don't take (almost) anything the pro's do as validation for my type of riding.

We don't know if the traditional cleat position has negatives. It did for me. I was looking up recumbents before I went from the traditional stuff to the stuff that worked. So mainly seat down, cleats back, reach back and real good insoles. But I'm starting to think that for anything below 100km the insoles are a bit of a faff.

If you need your calf then use a forward cleat. I don't sprint or do hard off the saddle finish line climbs so I don't want to deal with the increased instability a more forward cleat causes.

​​​​​​​I don't think it is acceptable to state that those alternatives are better as if it were a fact.
Again, where are you getting that from? You're the only one stating your way as the absolute correct method. But you never give any other reasoning other than "it's always been done that way so it must be good".
elcruxio is offline  
Old 01-29-23, 03:43 PM
  #44  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7,334
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4574 Post(s)
Liked 1,719 Times in 1,128 Posts
Originally Posted by elcruxio
You have a very, very strange way on interpreting text...



the highest level athletes are essentially evolutionary one offs who can perform extraordinary feats and adapt to amazing feats. If a pro cyclist won the tour with the cleat hanging down the tip of their big toe, I would not take that as validation for a new amazing cleat position. Just as I don't take (almost) anything the pro's do as validation for my type of riding.

We don't know if the traditional cleat position has negatives. It did for me. I was looking up recumbents before I went from the traditional stuff to the stuff that worked. So mainly seat down, cleats back, reach back and real good insoles. But I'm starting to think that for anything below 100km the insoles are a bit of a faff.

If you need your calf then use a forward cleat. I don't sprint or do hard off the saddle finish line climbs so I don't want to deal with the increased instability a more forward cleat causes.



Again, where are you getting that from? You're the only one stating your way as the absolute correct method. But you never give any other reasoning other than "it's always been done that way so it must be good".
This is what you said. It sounds an awful lot like you are stating this as fact:

"Because that's not how a leg is designed to produce power? People evolved to walk, run, jump, climb trees etc (bit an eddie izzard reference there). Spinning pedals around doesn't equate to any of those activities. The calf has a minimal effect in power production even in running compared to the upper leg muscles. Some would argue that its job is mainly to function as a shock absorber/return spring. Its only job in cycling is to stabilize the foot."

So is the calf's only job in cycling to stabilize the foot or not? I don't think so, but I'm not telling everyone that I know that for certain.


And the idea that if some forward cleat is good, more would be better is daft. You know it doesn't work that way, so don't make such an "idiotic" argument.
Kontact is offline  
Old 01-29-23, 04:30 PM
  #45  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7,334
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4574 Post(s)
Liked 1,719 Times in 1,128 Posts
This has been a frustrating thread. Instead of discussing the OP, we have graduated to rejecting cleat position metrics. Maybe I should start a thread about the OP and see if anyone wants to discuss an alternative method of finding a common set back start point?
Kontact is offline  
Likes For Kontact:
Old 01-30-23, 04:32 AM
  #46  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4570 Post(s)
Liked 5,108 Times in 3,153 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact
This has been a frustrating thread. Instead of discussing the OP, we have graduated to rejecting cleat position metrics. Maybe I should start a thread about the OP and see if anyone wants to discuss an alternative method of finding a common set back start point?
Do you not find it a bit ironic that you are on the one hand defending "traditional" bike fit methods while attempting to re-invent how saddle set-back is defined? I don't think the way bike fitting has been evolving over the last few years is based on fads and fashion. It's more that the traditional methods were a bit dubious. KOPS being a great example as you rightly brought up yourself - although I'm not sure all 1970's European racers had the same body proportions. I'm pretty sure they were as diverse as in any other group.

Back on topic, I know of one fitter who is using a sddle setback method similar to what I think you are proposing. He found from client observation that in most cases setback correlated well with hip-marker alignment on a 73 deg line projected from the BB. If their hip marker was ahead of this line they would likely feel too far forward and vice-versa. This fitter was actually using KOPS as an arbitrary starting point and then the balance method to adjust. The resultant hip alignment with the 73 deg projection was an observation - which he now actually uses in his fits. He says it is largely independent of saddle height, although very tall riders tend to move forward of this virtual line.
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:
Old 01-30-23, 06:49 AM
  #47  
Senior Member
 
elcruxio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Turku, Finland, Europe
Posts: 2,509

Bikes: 2011 Specialized crux comp, 2013 Specialized Rockhopper Pro

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Liked 346 Times in 230 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Not to be a frigging elitist or anything . . . but this rearward cleat stuff rather reminds me of Brooks saddles. I dunno . . .Cleat placement is all about performance choice. Moving the cleats back is rather crippling one's legs, by choice. I've always pedaled with the ball of my big toe over the pedal spindle. Never had an issue with it, and as you probably know, I concentrate on long rides. The purpose behind that placement is to activate one's calf and tibialis muscles. And yes, I do squats, great for the big movers in the legs, and I also do calf and toe raises because uh, squats don't do anything for them. Yeah, it's only about performance, but I care about that. I also use a position and pedaling style which activates my hams and glutes. The more muscles I can spread the load to, the better I go. See:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2FQqHF8x5I
and starting at about 9:00
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bMBTRqctF0&t=484s
Watch the changes in ankle angle. This is not "ankling." Changing the angle of the ankle reduces the changes of angle at the knee and hip, focusing on the most powerful range of motion for those joints.
It all depends on what you need. By moving the cleats back you gain foot stability but lose peak power. I don't personally need peak power and I can still crank out high enough power if I need to. For me long term stability is more important. For a trained individual (such as Pantani) the stability issue is much less of a concern. Not many typical riders are trained to nearly the same level. I also do not like the idea that I'd need to train certain muscle groups so that I can graduate to ride in the fashion I prefer. If there's a shortcut with caveats that don't concern me, I'm taking it.

On another subject, I notice how much more reach these folks used than is now common. I used to do that until my fitter moved my hands back. I rather liked it better the other way. I think more reach puts less load on the hands - they just bounce up and down, no load on them. I don't know why riders changed that.
In my experience the issues caused by too much reach begin manifesting when you start having your saddle in a position that allows for balanced recruitment of the quads and hamstrings. If get to that point and start adding excessive reach, there comes a point when you start tipping forward, placing more weight on the hands and all that fun stuff. Affecting factors are arm length, pelvic stability, and as a big factor upper body mass, among other things. Bigger hunks can tolerate less reach and vice versa.

Typically adding reach doesn't just mean you move your hands forward into a more vertical position. More often it means leaning the whole torso forward and that's really why adding reach for most people doesn't remove weight from the hands but does the opposite.

I believe in the pro peloton they have shorter reach these days because it's easier for the rider to achieve lots of drop instead of lots of reach. Added drop doesn't move the CoG forward as quicly as added reach does. There's also no inherent advantage in adding reach beyond the required amount.

What I do find interesting is the relationship of weight on hands, balance and back angle. It seems to me that to a point more forward lean increases balance and lessens weight on hands. I have no idea why, but I imagine it's different muscles taking over the balancing of the torso. Or it could just be me.
elcruxio is offline  
Old 01-30-23, 08:07 AM
  #48  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7,334
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4574 Post(s)
Liked 1,719 Times in 1,128 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
Do you not find it a bit ironic that you are on the one hand defending "traditional" bike fit methods while attempting to re-invent how saddle set-back is defined? I don't think the way bike fitting has been evolving over the last few years is based on fads and fashion. It's more that the traditional methods were a bit dubious. KOPS being a great example as you rightly brought up yourself - although I'm not sure all 1970's European racers had the same body proportions. I'm pretty sure they were as diverse as in any other group.

Back on topic, I know of one fitter who is using a sddle setback method similar to what I think you are proposing. He found from client observation that in most cases setback correlated well with hip-marker alignment on a 73 deg line projected from the BB. If their hip marker was ahead of this line they would likely feel too far forward and vice-versa. This fitter was actually using KOPS as an arbitrary starting point and then the balance method to adjust. The resultant hip alignment with the 73 deg projection was an observation - which he now actually uses in his fits. He says it is largely independent of saddle height, although very tall riders tend to move forward of this virtual line.
I'm not trying to reinvent how set back is defined as much as find a more reliable method to place a rider in that traditional location using more reliable metrics.

And I think KOPS is less reliable because the white male population is less likely to be as diverse as the world population of both sexes. That hardly seems like a radical position to take. KOPS was never universal, but it probably works more often on the population it was extracted from.


Thank you for validating my hypothesis with an example of someone doing almost exactly what I described using the same angle number. Clearly I'm thinking along the right lines.
Kontact is offline  
Old 01-30-23, 08:22 AM
  #49  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7,334
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4574 Post(s)
Liked 1,719 Times in 1,128 Posts
Originally Posted by elcruxio
It all depends on what you need. By moving the cleats back you gain foot stability but lose peak power. I don't personally need peak power and I can still crank out high enough power if I need to. For me long term stability is more important. For a trained individual (such as Pantani) the stability issue is much less of a concern. Not many typical riders are trained to nearly the same level. I also do not like the idea that I'd need to train certain muscle groups so that I can graduate to ride in the fashion I prefer. If there's a shortcut with caveats that don't concern me, I'm taking it.



In my experience the issues caused by too much reach begin manifesting when you start having your saddle in a position that allows for balanced recruitment of the quads and hamstrings. If get to that point and start adding excessive reach, there comes a point when you start tipping forward, placing more weight on the hands and all that fun stuff. Affecting factors are arm length, pelvic stability, and as a big factor upper body mass, among other things. Bigger hunks can tolerate less reach and vice versa.

Typically adding reach doesn't just mean you move your hands forward into a more vertical position. More often it means leaning the whole torso forward and that's really why adding reach for most people doesn't remove weight from the hands but does the opposite.

I believe in the pro peloton they have shorter reach these days because it's easier for the rider to achieve lots of drop instead of lots of reach. Added drop doesn't move the CoG forward as quicly as added reach does. There's also no inherent advantage in adding reach beyond the required amount.

What I do find interesting is the relationship of weight on hands, balance and back angle. It seems to me that to a point more forward lean increases balance and lessens weight on hands. I have no idea why, but I imagine it's different muscles taking over the balancing of the torso. Or it could just be me.
If you increase your hip bend, the hamstrings become even more involved in suspending the upper body. But hip bend has limits - the least of which being your quads hitting your stomach as you pedal.

At the same time, your shoulder joints also have a useful limit of about 90 degrees from the upper torso. So you really can't lean over very far and then reach forward to the bars like Superman.

The combination of those two factors means that, if you want to have a flat back you have to move the saddle forward to keep your hip angle reasonable. And then you have to move the bars back and down because your upper torso angle means a traditional bar location is out of reach due to shoulder restriction. The net result are riders whose legs and arms are approaching vertical - just like triathletes.

If you're pedaling hard enough, are very fit and weigh very little, such a position might not bother you for awhile - but it is definitely putting weight on your hands, just like triathletes have weight on their elbows.

Which brings us back to set back and KOPS - which was a method to find the forward limit to set back that provides riders with the minimum hamstring support of the upper body before they tip forward onto their hands. You can also adopt more set back, but the limits to hip bend mean you'll have to sit up in a less aero position. Tourists don't care about that, which is why we have things like French fit for a more set back and upright posture. A recumbent is the ultimate expression of set back and bar position.
Kontact is offline  
Old 01-30-23, 09:09 AM
  #50  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4570 Post(s)
Liked 5,108 Times in 3,153 Posts
Originally Posted by Kontact
I'm not trying to reinvent how set back is defined as much as find a more reliable method to place a rider in that traditional location using more reliable metrics.

And I think KOPS is less reliable because the white male population is less likely to be as diverse as the world population of both sexes. That hardly seems like a radical position to take. KOPS was never universal, but it probably works more often on the population it was extracted from.


Thank you for validating my hypothesis with an example of someone doing almost exactly what I described using the same angle number. Clearly I'm thinking along the right lines.
Yeah I think your approach is sensible as it should work for pretty much any height of rider. Regarding population diversity, the same fitter didn't find women to be significantly different to men in terms of their leg proportionality. What he did find was that women generally preferred their saddle 3-5 mm lower than men for the same leg length. He put that mainly down to women having smaller feet for the same leg length.
PeteHski is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.