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Taller stem? (seat at lowest point and still hand pressure)

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Taller stem? (seat at lowest point and still hand pressure)

Old 10-05-14, 11:30 AM
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Velo Mellow
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Shorter stem? (seat at lowest point and still hand pressure)

G'day all,

Just bought a new bike in the last week and going through the trials of fitting - the saddle is too narrow for me and has to go - will replace with a Brooks B17 standard and see how we go. The bike is a Linus Gaston 3 with quill stem and North Road bars. I'm on the large frame, 6ft tall and have found that while I have the right saddle height and set back for my legs to get me the best geometry for peddling at the bottom of the stroke and placement of the knee alignment with crank horizontal to the frame, I still have a problem.

The problem is that even with the seat post lowered almost to an inch of the base of the seat tube, sitting on the bike places way too much forward pressure on my hands going forward. I have the saddle level and I still feel as though I am falling forward with all my upper body weight going into my hands on the grips. Even without a saddle replacement I am assuming this means I need a taller tube and shorter stem to bring my upper body back into a more natural position, or do I just need a shorter stem with 30 degree rise?

What I have now is an alloy road quill, 100mm x 150mm, 18d rise. I can switch out to a 60mm or 80mm with 30 degree rise, not sure which would be better but I would prefer a more upright riding position so assume the 60mm with 30 deg is the way to go? I used this video as a guide and it confirmed my stem is too long ... the hub is well behind my handlebars which confirms what I am feeling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx4UxRKhgl8

Another question on saddle ... when I took the bike for a 30 ride the other day, once I got up speed and started pumping the peddles I noticed quite a bit of side to side rocking of my hips. Now my saddle height and leg position felt fine, as well as set back, so because the saddle is too narrow for me I am assuming that the rocking I was experiencing was not caused by the usual culprit of saddle height but rather that my saddle was too narrow for my hips and behind - essentially there was so little support on my sit bones and hips that my legs pumping was causing the exaggerated hip rocking I was experiencing?

Cheers!

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Old 10-05-14, 10:38 PM
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The bike in the video is a drop bar road racer and the fit guidelines have that kind of bike in mind. With your setup you cannot use tricks like sighting of the front hub to determine whether your stem is too long or not. I am not sure what you mean about the seat post lowered to within an inch of the base of the seat tube. But... FWIW. Most of my bikes have the bars far enough away that when I place my elbow at the nose of the saddle my longest finger just about reaches to the bars. Except my new folding bike. Its manufacturers have chosen to use a zero offset stem (zero length!) and when I put my elbow at the nose of the saddle I can almost get my palm on the bar. Do you think there would be any excessive weight on the bars with that kind of extreme upright stance? A LOT more than I would have thought. The upper body work I do in the gym takes care of any issues I might otherwise have with bikes, even the road racer. I also don't think a too narrow saddle would contribute to the rocking you perceive.

H

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Old 10-06-14, 05:18 AM
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As was pointed out, your bike is different from a road bike, so some of the fitting principles may need adjusting.

That said, when one thinks of weight on the handlebars, one might look at how one's weight is balanced overall as a result of saddle setback. Can you measure your saddle setback? You may also want to try an experiment (just to try to determine what affects weight on the handlebars). If you have room to set your saddle back further, try moving it back 3 or 4 cm. Does this change the weight on the handlebars? This might tell you something about your handlebar issue.

Keep in mind that the KOPS rule about saddle setback is really just a starting point and not a good definitive rule on saddle setback. There is more information here: SEAT SET BACK: for road bikes » Bike Fit » Steve Hogg's Bike Fitting Website

I'd also wonder if: 1) an uncomfortable saddle is causing you to take weight off your butt (which will end up on your legs and arms), and 2) if your saddle height is appropriate (you say it is, so presumably when you have your crank arm down and parallel to the seat tube your heel can rest on the pedal).
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Old 10-06-14, 08:24 AM
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That's a cool tip. I went out and looked and realized my handlebar bag was in the way.
I tried again and found the stem is where is should be according to the video. Still have to figure out why I get some much hand pain.
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Old 10-06-14, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
The bike in the video is a drop bar road racer and the fit guidelines have that kind of bike in mind. With your setup you cannot use tricks like sighting of the front hub to determine whether your stem is too long or not.

I have seen this method quoted in general articles about riding position, not just for road bikes with drop bars. The thing of it is, is that moving your grip from the hoods to the drops will change your perspective of where the front hub aligns on a modern road bike anyway but the youtube clip shows the position for making this assessment from the hoods which is essentially the most upright position or the upper most horizontal position of the bar and stem themselves.

This is no different from the assessment I am making from the position on my North Road bars since where the grips end (ie where I hold them) is swept up and back and basically on the same plane as the horizontal plane of the bar at the stem. What this means is that judging rider comfort and position with my North Road bars is the same as judging position of the stem in relation to the hub from the hoods on a road bike. Both represent the uppermost relaxed position on the bike from the saddle with saddle height and set back already dialed in.

Furthermore, I know already that by shortening my stem it will bring the bars closer to me, when this happens it causes my torso to assume a more upright posture rather than a stretched out one, this is no different to the geometry of working from the hoods on a road bike also - depending on how you like it personally. The longer my stem, the more stretched out and forward my position, the shorter the more upright.

Just by sitting on the bike and bringing my hands back towards me by 50mm - without even touching the bars - I observe my riding position shift to a more upright posture. In doing this I am no longer locking my arms out and putting all my weight on the grips so the method equally applies to a Path Racer styled bike with North Road bars as it does a road bike from the hoods ... given that saddle height and set back are already dialed in.

What I have observed is that a more upright riding position reduces forward/downward weight/pressure on the hands and bars ... at least in my case. I'm 6ft tall and built like a brick out house ... a rugby players physique to be frank, upper body strength isn't an issue for me but rider comfort is, so feeling that one is falling forward onto the bars even in spite of having the saddle absolutely level and the seat tube lowered to almost its lowest point, tells me that my riding position is stretched too far forward and that I need to bring the stem back towards me to bring my torso to a more upright position. What I am trying to do is dial my body shape into the bikes geometry to make the bike fit me ... I've dialed in the saddle height and set back to suit my peddling efficiencies, I now need to dial in my upper body and torso in relation to the bars and stem to get best riding position and comfort.

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Old 10-06-14, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Igualmente View Post
As was pointed out, your bike is different from a road bike, so some of the fitting principles may need adjusting.

That said, when one thinks of weight on the handlebars, one might look at how one's weight is balanced overall as a result of saddle setback. Can you measure your saddle setback? You may also want to try an experiment (just to try to determine what affects weight on the handlebars). If you have room to set your saddle back further, try moving it back 3 or 4 cm. Does this change the weight on the handlebars? This might tell you something about your handlebar issue.

My saddle height and set back are dialed in just right for my best alignment at pedal downstroke so my riding position from the saddle is what it should be for what feels to me like best efficiency at the pedals. My position at the handle bars is now what I want to tune and fix, this is why I am convinced I need to bring the stem back towards me ... it is way too long right now and as I have mentioned in the above reply, I don't feel balanced ... more like leaning heavily on the grips and arms are locked out ... they should have some bend in them and I can't really get that relaxed bend at the elbow at 100mm Stem length. If I move the seat back further again it messes with the pedal geometry ...

Keep in mind that the KOPS rule about saddle setback is really just a starting point and not a good definitive rule on saddle setback. There is more information here: SEAT SET BACK: for road bikes » Bike Fit » Steve Hogg's Bike Fitting Website
Great read, thank you!

I'd also wonder if: 1) an uncomfortable saddle is causing you to take weight off your butt (which will end up on your legs and arms), and 2) if your saddle height is appropriate (you say it is, so presumably when you have your crank arm down and parallel to the seat tube your heel can rest on the pedal).
The saddle is definitely an issue ... you may be right about me getting off the saddle to get away from the discomfort but even still I know that the stem is too far forward for me. What I will do however is buy and fit the saddle first and take it for a ride and see how things feel with the new saddle in place, even before I change out the stem. What I'm still curious about is whether to leave the current Stem at 18d rise and just bring the length back to 80mm or 60mm ... or whether to up for 30d rise instead to bring the bars more upright? I could always flip the bars ... they are North Road in the flip downward position right now - see the shape in my avatar ... that's the way they are now.

Last edited by Velo Mellow; 10-06-14 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 10-06-14, 09:55 AM
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VM... you didn't think the fact that you have flipped your North Road bars upside down important enough to mention before we got to six posts? That said, if you feel so strongly that your stem is way too long... change it already. Used quill stems are $5 USD at a bike co-op. $20 USD new. And of course you can flip your North Road's the right way around if you don't care about your street cred. I am just about your height and my 23" frame is only possible for me to stand-over in bike shoes (27" wheels, not 700C). Nevertheless, I have about 5" of seatpost showing! Just saying. FWIW

H
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Old 10-06-14, 10:04 AM
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No ... I didn't flip them, that is how they come ... The Pashley Guv'nor is exactly the same. What I am saying is that the North Road bars CAN be flipped over the other way to have a higher line than what they currently are on the Guv'nor and Gaston models as another method of getting a taller posture. You misunderstood my point there ...

This is how the North Road bars are set on the Gaston and Pashley Guv'nor from factory ... they are what Pashley call "North Road dropped handlebars"




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Old 10-06-14, 11:08 AM
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Your butt further back takes weight off your hands too .. the C of G of you moves.

Flip them Bars over , buy a taller stem too if you wish , cables will be short but they can be replaced too .,.

tip saddle nose Up so you dont slide forward off of it .. commence your personal search for perfect saddle.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-06-14 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 10-06-14, 11:14 AM
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As I mentioned above ...

"My saddle height and set back are dialed in just right for my best alignment at pedal downstroke so my riding position from the saddle is what it should be for what feels to me like best efficiency at the pedals If I move the seat back further again it messes with the pedal geometry ..."

What needs tuning now is torso position and reach to the bars ... people can be the same height but have different length arms and torso - that's where this all comes down to a personal fit - what I am trying to do by working our my optimal stem length.
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Old 10-06-14, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mellow View Post
No ... I didn't flip them, that is how they come ... The Pashley Guv'nor is exactly the same. What I am saying is that the North Road bars CAN be flipped over the other way to have a higher line than what they currently are on the Guv'nor and Gaston models as another method of getting a taller posture. You misunderstood my point there ...
Not really. Regardless of who flipped them, they are flipped and that isn't how most of us would assume unless told otherwise. On my bike that has North Roads (right side up) they are Velo Orange North Roads. There is something like 3" of rise on those bars. That is 6" of change were I to flip them (and I might after seeing your photos). Also like my bike with NR's, I notice your Linus has a lot of fork rake. The long stem gets you leverage that you need to deal with the wheel flop. Consider that, too when deciding to go shorter. You say your saddle is dead level. That's nice but how about a bit of nose up? Maybe even a fair amount of nose up. Especially if you are going to be sitting taller, there won't be that much pressure on things. I would go right past Go and get a wider saddle than a B17 in that case. I think B66's or B67's are what people considering what you are considering use for saddles. And they pitch the nose up a fair amount. And yes, moving the saddle rearward will alter your CoG and maybe unweight your hands but to move far enough to actually feel the difference would require a lot different kind of seatpost design. I prefer to use the saddle adjustments to adjust how my feet and legs interact with the bicycle and use the stem/handlebar adjustments to adjust how my upper body interacts with the bicycle. YMMV.

H
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Old 10-06-14, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Not really. Regardless of who flipped them, they are flipped and that isn't how most of us would assume unless told otherwise.
That is why I mentioned the model of bike in my original post, so there was no mistake about what the set up was. I grew up in the U.K during the 70's where nearly everyone including myself had town bikes with North Roads and it was accepted that North Roads could be flipped or upright but as far back as the early 20th Century, English Path Racers have come with flipped North Roads - maybe outside the U.K it is assumed all North Roads are upright however - not where I grew up at any rate.

See this image below from the 1920's, man at the far right has dropped North Roads on his road bike, same as on my Gaston 3 and the same as the Pashley Guv'nor has, which Pashley based on the classic Brit Path Racers of the 1930's.



Far right again, dropped North Roads ... 1900's ...



Interestingly enough BSA sold bikes in the 1900's with the North Roads already in the flipped position, just like the Gaston 3 and Pashley Guv'nor so I think there is a long enough established history there of North Roads being upside down as standard.

This ad for a 1932 Humber Light Roadster (ie Path Racer) shows the North Roads dropped handlebars as an option to buy in the inset photo and references it in the copy as "North Road dropped handlebar"



So North Roads in the dropped position have been household known for 100 years or more ... it was standard when I was a kid on town bikes ridden by the younger set and people looking for a more aggressive riding position.






You say your saddle is dead level. That's nice but how about a bit of nose up? Maybe even a fair amount of nose up. Especially if you are going to be sitting taller, there won't be that much pressure on things.
I'll play with saddle attitude when I get the new Brooks on there ... I've already played with the horror that is on there now and it's just too narrow and everything is on the soft tissue regardless of position, nose up is painful in the extreme for the cods. Keeping it flat is my base position for getting my saddle height and set back sorted.

I would go right past Go and get a wider saddle than a B17 in that case. I think B66's or B67's are what people considering what you are considering use for saddles.

This I have also considered since most of the town riders in the 70's had the wide Brooks type coilers and they were comfy as all get out, even on the Sport or Path Racer types - so definitely an option if I don't like the B17.

I prefer to use the saddle adjustments to adjust how my feet and legs interact with the bicycle and use the stem/handlebar adjustments to adjust how my upper body interacts with the bicycle. YMMV.

H
That's exactly what I've said I am doing in all my posts above ...
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Old 10-06-14, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mellow View Post
"My saddle height and set back are dialed in just right for my best alignment at pedal downstroke so my riding position from the saddle is what it should be for what feels to me like best efficiency at the pedals If I move the seat back further again it messes with the pedal geometry ..."
I've already explained why I question this. As I mentioned my 23" World Tourist (measured center of BB to Top of Seat Tube) has quite a bit of seat post showing. I just went and measured things so I would know what I was talking about. My Raleigh Road Racer with the 31.5" stand-over is actually 24" (C to T). I set nearly all my saddles so there is 29.5" to 30" between the Center BB to Top of saddle with the tape running along the angle of the Seat-Tube. Most saddles are only 2" or 3" deep. You need several inches of seat-post showing on any frame that is your size or even a tad big. Having a too low saddle is much more common than the opposite but you claim to experience some hip rocking and this is a condition that most experience only when their saddles are too high. Just saying.

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Old 10-06-14, 12:45 PM
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OK, if we focus on the stem, I thought I'd mention that stem angles (like the 18 degrees you mention) are measured not relative to absolute vertical/horizontal, but relative to the steering axis/head tube, which typically leans back at 72 or 73 degrees. What is shown in the above photos, assuming the steering axis leans back at 72 degrees) looks to be a negative 18 degree stem (or what is also called a 72 degree quill stem?). You can learn more about problems with naming quill stem rise here, under the headings Dimensions and Comfort - Rise: Hands Up (Or Down)! Adjusting Handlebar Stem Height on Your Bicycle.

If you start with what is in the above photos and if they are 100mm reach stems, and have your stem switched to an 80mm, 30 degree positive rise stem, all other things being equal (like stem insertion) you will effectively tilt the "horizontal" portion of the stem upwards at 48 degrees and might end up with the handlebars roughly 46mm closer to the saddle (measured horizontally) and maybe 60mm higher up. These numbers are approximate, but give you an idea of what can happen with a stem change. Just watch that the handlebars are not then hitting your knees. And the steering may feel different.

The above link also has a general description of quill stems, if needed.
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Old 10-06-14, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I've already explained why I question this. As I mentioned ...
Sure, but these things are guidelines rather than absolutes ... what works for you and applies to you may not work or apply to me. The article by Steve Hogg that Igualmente shared the link to above is an excellent discussion on these things and I've also seen quite a few Bike Fitters talking about having to work outside the box with different riders because they are looking at the body as a systematic whole rather than bits broken into parts.

I've got a basic ball park but I need to get the replacement saddle on there, move it about and see what's what before looking at the stem again. When I do look at the stem I'll get the 60mm and the 80mm in both 18d and 30d rise and see what feels right. The new saddle may be enough that I leave things as they are ... this is the next step.

From the Sheldon Brown article on Saddles he states also ...

It is generally considered a Bad Idea to tinker with saddle position to adjust the reach to the handlebars; it is better to adjust this by replacing the handlebar stem with one with a different reach ...
This is pretty much where I have been at ...

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Old 10-06-14, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Igualmente View Post
OK, if we focus on the stem, I thought I'd mention that stem angles (like the 18 degrees you mention) are measured not relative to absolute vertical/horizontal, but relative to the steering axis/head tube, which typically leans back at 72 or 73 degrees. What is shown in the above photos, assuming the steering axis leans back at 72 degrees) looks to be a negative 18 degree stem (or what is also called a 72 degree quill stem?). You can learn more about problems with naming quill stem rise here, under the headings Dimensions and Comfort - Rise: Hands Up (Or Down)! Adjusting Handlebar Stem Height on Your Bicycle.

If you start with what is in the above photos and if they are 100mm reach stems, and have your stem switched to an 80mm, 30 degree positive rise stem, all other things being equal (like stem insertion) you will effectively tilt the "horizontal" portion of the stem upwards at 48 degrees and might end up with the handlebars roughly 46mm closer to the saddle (measured horizontally) and maybe 60mm higher up. These numbers are approximate, but give you an idea of what can happen with a stem change. Just watch that the handlebars are not then hitting your knees. And the steering may feel different.

The above link also has a general description of quill stems, if needed.

Thanks mate, yup definitely aware of all that and have been reading those articles lately ... I took the bike for another spin this morning, raised the saddle height a little and moved the seat forward and my position actually felt better over the pedals than when I had the bike set up by means of the usual fitting standards. So clearly I need to experiment a little more outside the usual frame work to fit the bike to my body better ... on the first trip out I had things where I thought they were right going by Fitting standards ... then I noticed what felt right in a static position was not as good on the road moving ... shifted things as per the above post and it's much better ... even the horrible saddle felt better as I was able to sit back into the widest section and arch my back over which took forward pressure off my hands at the grips.

Should be interesting once I get the new Brooks saddle on there!

This from Sheldon Brown on North Road bars is very enlightening indeed and speaks to the issue rather well I think ...

The North Road handlebar is most commonly seen on English three-speed bicycles -- and usually in combination with a very short stem extension. The result is "tiller" steering -- that is, the grips are even with the steering axis or behind it. With tiller steering, controlling the bicycle with one hand off the handlebar is difficult. The cyclist's weight, and deceleration due to light braking or road bumps, make the cyclist's hand push the end of the handlebar forward. It is necessary to tense the muscles of the back to prevent turning the handlebars and losing control -- and with the entire weight of the cyclists' upper body in play, this is awkward. With a hand position farther ahead of the steering axis, the cyclist's weight, pushing forward and outward -- away from the steering axis -- tends to stabilize the bicycle. A handlebar stem with a longer extension can help solve this problem, and so can placing North Road handlebars in the drop position. If the handlebars are then too low, the stem needs to be taller as well; if too far away, a frame with shorter top tube is in order. [This paragraph added by John Allen, April 20, 2010.]

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Old 10-07-14, 04:43 AM
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Sounds like you've got some ideas and knowledge to work with. When you are done, you can be a fit "expert" on older racing bikes! Good luck.
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Old 10-07-14, 07:20 AM
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My general thoughts on excess hand pressure.

You are supported at three points: saddle (butt), pedals (feet), bar (hands). Draw it as an inverted triangle, place the bar on the right, saddle on the left, pedals at the bottom.

Imagine the triangle is symmetrical around the vertical line drawn through the pedals. The triangular "rider" is balanced and some weight on pedals with the rest equally split between butt and hands.

How much weight is on butt and hands? If the triangle/rider is standing on the pedals, it can be "none" or nearly none. If the rider is exerting a lot of force downward on the pedals (pedaling hard in a bigger gear), it can also be nearly none.

Now imagine the triangle is skewed with the bars to the right (closer to centerline) and the saddle also moved to the right (away from centerline). The triangle is unbalanced and now tends to tip to the right, putting more weight on the bars than on the saddle. Think of a time trial bike with a steep seat tube.

The reverse applies too. Move the saddle and bars to the left, and the triangle tends to tip to the left, putting more weight on the saddle than on the bars. Think of a beach cruiser.

Now make that triangle an actual rider. Our center of gravity is around our hips, closer to the saddle than the bars. As he leans his torso forward, either by bending his elbows or lowering the bar, his CG moves forward. Also, when pedaling he applies downward force to the pedal that is to the right of the centerline, not the one to the left. Also, the saddle is about 8" long and he might sit toward the rear of the saddle, or slide forward toward the nose. So for an actual rider, his balance may not be the same as the hypothetical triangle, but the general effect of changing the bar and saddle position is the same.

So, how to reduce pressure on the hands?
- Pedal harder (or use a bigger gear).
- Tilt saddle nose up (slightly) to keep rider's butt toward the rear of the saddle.
- Move saddle and bars rearward ("bar" means where the hands are, not where the stem clamp is, so this includes switching bars)
- Move bars upward (again, this means where the hands are, so this includes switching to a bar with more upsweep)

And, to better tolerate hand pressure without reducing it
- Gloves, bar padding
- Vary hand position (if using drop bars)
- Use elbow pads (like time trial riders)

Sometimes people protest that their saddle position must be in one exact position to maintain "KOPS." I think it is not critical to do so. Recumbent riders are far from KOPS, after all. For a rider on a conventional bike, his flexibility, body type and torso position matters: you don't want your knees to hammer your chest when pedaling. But that only happens in a very low (flattish back) position.

Last edited by jyl; 10-07-14 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 10-07-14, 09:58 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
So, how to reduce pressure on the hands?
- Pedal harder (or use a bigger gear).
- Tilt saddle nose up (slightly) to keep rider's butt toward the rear of the saddle.
- Move saddle and bars rearward ("bar" means where the hands are, not where the stem clamp is, so this includes switching bars)
- Move bars upward (again, this means where the hands are, so this includes switching to a bar with more upsweep)

To throw another spanner in the works that proves how different we all are - I had the saddle of the bike set to KOPS and the saddle height where I thought it was right with crank in line with seat tube to get 30d angle on the leg at downstroke. This was all fitted in a static position like many fitters do it but when I got onto the road it still wasn't right.

What felt right sitting static, was not quite right moving, so I took my Allen Keys with me on the ride and played around with the seat height first by raising it up with the set back where it was and it was clear my feet were swimming at the bottom of the downstroke. Then I left the seat height the same and moved the saddle forward and there it was ... much better contact on peddling even though I was now forward of where KOPS would have me and this also brought me closer to the handlebars which reduced the hand pressure!

So moving the saddle forward and raising the height actually solved the hand pressure issue in my case as it brought my position higher (ie up and over) and forward which placed my COG (downward pressure) over the handlebars vertically rather than pushing towards them on a forward horizontal plane. By doing this my upper body weight was now being carried by the superior mechanical structure of my shoulders at an angle of degrees that felt more powerful and supported than before.

Your mileage will most certainly vary ... because arm length, leg length, torso length and peoples individual flexibility all plays its role in finding what works.

Last edited by Velo Mellow; 10-07-14 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 10-07-14, 11:10 AM
  #20  
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That's interesting. Yes, I ignored the biomechanical details of the upper body/arms/hands in my post. Glad you brought it up.

So I think you increased the weight on your hands, but placed yourself in a position where your arms are more vertical and it is easier on the muscles to supports that weight - that's my interpretation. Does that sound right?

I know that for long rides, I'm actually more comfortable in the drops. Maybe for the same reason.
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Old 10-07-14, 01:05 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
That's interesting. Yes, I ignored the biomechanical details of the upper body/arms/hands in my post. Glad you brought it up.

So I think you increased the weight on your hands, but placed yourself in a position where your arms are more vertical and it is easier on the muscles to supports that weight - that's my interpretation. Does that sound right?

I know that for long rides, I'm actually more comfortable in the drops. Maybe for the same reason.

Yes, you got it exactly right, that's what I meant precisely ... I think finding a riding position that allows the bodies natural mechanical structure to take up load bearing pressure, rather than recruiting large muscle groups or muscling the bike in order to get comfortable, is a huge aspect of fitting that may be underestimated by many people. It is the difference between performing a push up in the regular 90 degree position and then performing the same push up with the arms angled at 45 degrees. The 90 degree position with the arms locked out is the optimal angle for the supporting skeletal structure to be able to take the bodies weight without relying on muscle recruitment - it is pure mechanical advantage. The moment you change the angle by even small degrees the skeletal structure and mechanical advantage is no longer at its strongest alignment, and the muscles have to be recruited which causes strain and discomfort.

So one of the major keys in fitting is finding a position on the bike that allows the most relaxed posture whilst tuning the skeletal structure to allow for the optimal mechanical advantage. When you finally get that right you won't have sore hands or neck and back issues because the relationship of your physical structure in relation to the bikes geometry is harmonious with itself. Recruiting the natural bio-mechanical advantage of the skeletal structure allows the load bearing joints and tendons to take up the pressure rather than loading everything onto the muscles in absence of any structural support. At the wrong angle, this can become the heels of the hands whilst riding ...

This is what I was able to do by raising the saddle height and moving the saddle forward ... so that problem seems solved in my case. A better saddle is my next step.

Last edited by Velo Mellow; 10-07-14 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 10-07-14, 01:44 PM
  #22  
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Glad it is working.

On my bikes I can usually get a balanced position - often means moving the saddle rearward - to have less pressure on the hands. I do longish rides (100 miles) and I can't hold a pushup for 6-7 hours, no matter how optimal the arm angle!
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Old 10-07-14, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
and I can't hold a pushup for 6-7 hours, no matter how optimal the arm angle!
Well that was an analogy of mechanical advantage rather than how you want to remain whilst riding a bike for any length of time. In the circumstance of riding, the position should be relaxed as the skeletal alignment takes the load rather than muscle groups needing to be recruited -in other words the upper body should remain relaxed and be able to rely on mechanical structure for support - you shouldn't need to be muscling the bike or your position to get comfortable, that means your position is sub optimal. That is the essence of my meaning there.

I am working up to training for longer rides again myself ... but been a while off the bike so will need more training for all that. I'm more into gravel and touring than road racing - my Gaston is more a town and country touring bike ... I plan on buying a Gravel Grinder next.

Cheers!
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Old 10-08-14, 05:30 AM
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By the way, here's a lovely pic of a 1937 Raleigh Sport 'Path Racer' with "Lauterwasser" style handlebars with the shorter Raleigh type stem. Seems they were doing tall bars and very short stem on the dropped North Road type bars back then also - kind of what I had in mind at the start of this post funnily enough ...


Last edited by Velo Mellow; 10-08-14 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 10-08-14, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mellow View Post
By the way, here's a lovely pic of a 1937 Raleigh Sport 'Path Racer' with "Lauterwasser" style handlebars with the shorter Raleigh type stem. Seems they were doing tall bars and very short stem on the dropped North Road type bars back then also - kind of what I had in mind at the start of this post funnily enough ...

Seems like a terrible set up if you actually want to ride farther than the end of the block.
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