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CG issues...Can't find a happy medium between speed/power and comfort?

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CG issues...Can't find a happy medium between speed/power and comfort?

Old 03-19-16, 04:48 PM
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CG issues...Can't find a happy medium between speed/power and comfort?

The bike is a new, old stock 2014 Specialized Roubaix Elite purchased new from LBS mid-February, 2016.

I have a 20 mile time trial loop and have been doing some speed testing with saddle position.

Saddle back is most comfortable center-of-gravity wise, but cannot generate power or speed, and hamstrings are cramping early and screaming later in this position.

Saddle forward is uncomfortable due to extreme weight on arms & hands but I can generate maximum power and speed.

I prefer the saddle maximum forward for max power and speed, and typically just grin and bear it on a 20 mile TT.

The issue is on longer group rides...my hands and arms start going numb at >20 miles.

I've moved cleat position maximum forward also but this hasn't helped.

Is there anything else I can do in this situation to get the best of both worlds in speed AND comfort?

Thank You,

Rod
Oriental, NC
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Old 03-19-16, 05:11 PM
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Yes, work your hammies and glutes more. You have strong and/or conditioned quads but the backs of your legs aren't so good. Saddle forward emphasizes quads, moving it back you get more hams. In the saddle forward position you're supposed to be down on your aero bars, which you don't have, so forget that.

Specific work other than just ride more?
Stretch. I do these: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...l#post15372967
If you have a trainer or rollers, in your new road position do one-legged pedaling, 2 minute intervals.
Similarly, do very high cadence drills at 115-120 or just below your bouncing point, holding that cadence for up to 1/2 hour while maintaining a cushion of air between your foot bottom and the insole.
In the gym, do straight legged deadlifts: Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift Even though it says straight leg, don't lock your knees.
or Romanian deadlifts: Romanian Deadlift
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Old 03-19-16, 05:28 PM
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Don't expect to get a bike fit over the internet, and don't hesitate to go back to the shop and ask them to help you get a proper fit - it may have even come with the purchase price if you didn't haggle too hard. They should have at least gotten close with the right frame size, but it may take a new stem, and probably some adjustments to the seat height, to get you comfortable. It's good that you've gotten some miles in and have attempted some adjustments already - you can tell them your findings so far.
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Old 03-19-16, 05:34 PM
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Hence the phrase " on the river". Old leather saddles had a river on the front and when you're hammering you tend to slide forward on the saddle.

So use the whole saddle, sliding forward when you're hammering
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Old 03-19-16, 06:15 PM
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Your spell check is at work. I think you mean "on the rivet"
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Old 03-19-16, 06:44 PM
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Yes, thanks
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Old 03-19-16, 07:44 PM
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I don't, of course, know what your setup looks like, but I wonder if a little more saddle-to-bar drop may not be helpful so that you can tip your pelvis more while staying on top of the pedals as you like. The tipped pelvis will let you sit forward on the saddle, but push your butt out and flatten your back, stretching out your mass across the bike a little more. You may want to shorten your stem by a centimeter, too, if you find you're reaching too far forward with the lower bar position.
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Old 03-20-16, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
I don't, of course, know what your setup looks like, but I wonder if a little more saddle-to-bar drop may not be helpful so that you can tip your pelvis more while staying on top of the pedals as you like. The tipped pelvis will let you sit forward on the saddle, but push your butt out and flatten your back, stretching out your mass across the bike a little more. You may want to shorten your stem by a centimeter, too, if you find you're reaching too far forward with the lower bar position.
This is a good place to start, not only will this get you in a better position, it also allows your mid section to act as a spring. Basically, as you get lower on the bike by increasing saddle to bar drop your mid section can only stretch so far to the point where you'll start to feel resistance in your back and/or stomach plus reduced pressure on your sit bones. This is where the spring effect comes in, at this point your mid section is absorbing the load of your weight shifting forward and as a result reducing the load on your hands. Also concentrate on keeping at least a slight bend in your elbows at all times.

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Old 03-20-16, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Hence the phrase " on the river". Old leather saddles had a river on the front and when you're hammering you tend to slide forward on the saddle.

So use the whole saddle, sliding forward when you're hammering
Maybe the OP could benefit from a different saddle. The saddle I had when I started riding was flat and featureless, and for lack of a better way of describing it, I often felt lost on it - unsure of whether I should scoot up or back. Getting up on the rivet to sprint was natural enough, but sitting back down never seemed right. Now I ride with SMP saddles, which have a distinct concavity. With the fit dialed in, every transition from upright toodling around to fast cruising to dancing on the pedals to sitting back down is natural and seamless, and I never have to give my position on the saddle a single thought.
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Old 03-20-16, 10:22 AM
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Upper body pain or numbness, especially on short rides (like just 20 or 30 miles) is often caused by core strength problems. Also possible that your saddle height is too high. If your core strength is poor, working on that will certainly improve both your speed and comfort.
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Old 03-20-16, 11:48 AM
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A great question OP. If it makes you feel any better, I have been trying to answer this riddle myself for 4 decades. Bottom line is...there is no holly grail on setback and even varies a fair amount among pros as it turns out if you study such a thing...even among similar body types. Some guys run big set back and some very little. Big setback posts and 0 setback. One of the my riding pals who rode for Trek many moons ago rides with a straight post for example...he never liked setback he told me. I have always ridden with a setback post by contrast.

Perhaps you could share you spec's...not that it will help a lot. For the simple reason that rider flexibility is key...also how hard you push on the pedals to offset your body weight aka how strong a cyclist you are. Torso and arm length matters along with much over emphasized femur length. Someone mentioned core strength as well. All the above. Nobody knows this indeterminate equation without trial and error. I believe each of us has to the find the answer individually.

But will share my nos. First a convention used by some which I have tried and like as follows:

Here is a chart for setback from B. Hinault's book and was used by all of Guimard's riders(Hinault, LeMond and Fignon). I have always used this with good results. I would use a post that gets you in these ranges. The measurement is from the tip of the saddle nose to centre of BB measured horizontally.

Inseam Saddle vs. Setback


75 to 78cm. 4 to 6cm.
79 to 82cm. 5 to 7cm.
83 to 86cm. 6 to 8cm.
87 to 90cm. 7 to 9cm.


My cycling inseam is 35.25” saddle height = 89.5 cm

Therefore, my theoretical ideal setback is close to 90 mm.

With Toupe 155mm pushed all the way forward on 25mm setback FSA K-force light…I am running 87mm saddle tip to BB center setback…very close to the suggested setback.

A last note, if you observe top riders, many if not most ride the rivet when deep in the drops and hammering...their bum is slide well forward to get their weight more over the crank spindle. For many when less pedal force is required, they prefer weight back to take more pressure off the hands. Pedal force matters a lot for hand pressure. When sprinting, we pretty much all pull up on the handlebar...even slow sprinters like me.

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Old 03-20-16, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarch
Maybe the OP could benefit from a different saddle. The saddle I had when I started riding was flat and featureless, and for lack of a better way of describing it, I often felt lost on it - unsure of whether I should scoot up or back. Getting up on the rivet to sprint was natural enough, but sitting back down never seemed right. Now I ride with SMP saddles, which have a distinct concavity. With the fit dialed in, every transition from upright toodling around to fast cruising to dancing on the pedals to sitting back down is natural and seamless, and I never have to give my position on the saddle a single thought.
Also a good point, and I recently went through the exact same scenario.

I bought an Oval saddle which was flat and pretty shapeless, and riding felt like there was no natural place to be, so I felt "lost", as you said. I normally ride SMP Dynamic on main bike, but the new Fizik Aliante R3s caught my eye and shared a swoopiness with the SMP which gave me hope. Sure enough, it's a much more comfy and natural feel than the Oval, though riding "on the rivet" isn't as comfortable as the Dynamic. It works, though, and the color matches great, so I'll sacrifice for it!
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Old 03-20-16, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99
Upper body pain or numbness, especially on short rides (like just 20 or 30 miles) is often caused by core strength problems. Also possible that your saddle height is too high. If your core strength is poor, working on that will certainly improve both your speed and comfort.
Yeah, riding the bike has become MUCH more comfortable since I started taking Pilates, and hired someone for a few one-on-one sessions. Honestly, it was rather painful and awkward to go through - but after I started using core muscles, now my actual rides are FAR more comfortable. I no longer have that perennium (between the legs) numbeness/pain after riding. While I'm riding I don't feel like I'm struggling to find a comfortable position any more.

The first thing I did was Limber 11:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSSDLDhbacc

That helped - but it was the pilates and one-on-one with a physical therapist that really did it for me. It was - expensive though.

Just one option.

I know someone wrote a book on increasing core strength specifically for biking as well:
https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Danielsons...+strength+bike

Just my experience. Even though it was expensive, I had no idea a physical therapist could make such an improvement before.
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Old 03-20-16, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by PamlicoRod
...
I prefer the saddle maximum forward for max power and speed, and typically just grin and bear it on a 20 mile TT.
...
Yes.
Later, you need a fit and still suck it up. TTs done right hurt, which is why I don't do them.
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