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One part of fit is comfort. And another part of fit is efficiency and power.

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One part of fit is comfort. And another part of fit is efficiency and power.

Old 11-15-17, 03:20 AM
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One part of fit is comfort. And another part of fit is efficiency and power.

From the Speedvagen website:

"One part of fit is comfort. And another part of fit is efficiency and power. "

Points:

1) I don't disagree, but I find the two to be typically incompatible. A comfortable fit means I'm upright whilst a fit to maximize efficiency/power is probably the opposite.

2) I've seen lots of articles on fit for comfort, but not too many for power/efficiency. Can someone point me to one.
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Old 11-15-17, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by raria
2) I've seen lots of articles on fit for comfort, but not too many for power/efficiency. Can someone point me to one.
I don't actually have a reference but was told by a pro that fitting on a TT bike is almost all about aerodynamics. In particular, the sweet spot for max power is quite large, and power drops rapidly outside of it.
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Old 11-15-17, 06:15 AM
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They should not be mutually exclusive but at a certain point you may have to find a compromise between comfort and speed.

Example where they are in sync: saddle height and to some extent, saddle position relative to pedals.

Example where they are out of sync: saddle to bar drop.

PS there is an entire subforum on fitting your bike. You may wish to explore it.
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Old 11-15-17, 06:20 AM
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Road bikes are not designed for upright comfort riding.
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Old 11-15-17, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 02Giant
Road bikes are not designed for upright comfort riding.
Right.

That said, in my experience I think comfort is most important for hobby riders, as an uncomfortable position can turn one off from the sport. Comfort doesn't have to mean a very upright position; it is possible to get comfy on a road bike with some drop as long as the contact points are sorted out.

If you race your bike for a living (or just race your bike even), then that is another story. Riding a bike for long hours every week allows one to do things that are otherwise unattainable to the average cyclist.

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Old 11-15-17, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 02Giant
Road bikes are not designed for upright comfort riding.
Except the ones that are.

Pretty much as others have said, there is a compromise when you go tot the extreme of either "comfort" and "power" .... Depending on what you mean by "comfort."

If comfort is sitting bolt upright on a foot-wide sofa-saddle with swept-back bars ..... like an old person on a utility tricycle .... but if comfort is being able to sit on the bike for several hours without a lot of Discomfort, you shouldn't have to sacrifice much.

That is where fine-tuning your fit matters. I have bikes whixch stretch me longer and lower than others ... and my most comfortable ride has probably the largest bar-saddle drop and reach. I just have everything adjusted perfectly---the right saddle in the right place with the right tilt, the right stem angle and length and spacer stack ... a lot of micro-adjusting and just dumb luck.

And even so, some days because I don't have the legs, or I feel bloated, or my lungs aren't working ... the bike just doesn't fit.

I think the "power/comfort" balance is mostly discussed by people who are trying for more power ... and are willing to endure some discomfort (like TT riders, at one extreme.) The marginal gains you might get by getting the perfect pelvic tilt for max power versus a tiny bit less for a lot more comfort .... most riders automatically choose the more comfortable position.

Even for racers, I suspect that there is a limit beyond which they cannot endure and ease back toward comfort---you can't put out max power for a four-hour race if you are in extreme pain and cramping after three hours , so that extras 0.021321 percent power is lost because of the pain--you can't focus, you can;t make yourself push to your limit because you body is screaming.

Sit up a degree, lose that 0.021321 percent power gained under optimal test conditions, and gain back more because with less pain from posture you can focus on pushing yourself harder.
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Old 11-15-17, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas
They should not be mutually exclusive but at a certain point you may have to find a compromise between comfort and speed.
Why does it need to be any more difficult than this?
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Old 11-15-17, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Except the ones that are.

Pretty much as others have said, there is a compromise when you go tot the extreme of either "comfort" and "power" .... Depending on what you mean by "comfort."

If comfort is sitting bolt upright on a foot-wide sofa-saddle with swept-back bars ..... like an old person on a utility tricycle .... but if comfort is being able to sit on the bike for several hours without a lot of Discomfort, you shouldn't have to sacrifice much.

That is where fine-tuning your fit matters. I have bikes whixch stretch me longer and lower than others ... and my most comfortable ride has probably the largest bar-saddle drop and reach. I just have everything adjusted perfectly---the right saddle in the right place with the right tilt, the right stem angle and length and spacer stack ... a lot of micro-adjusting and just dumb luck.

And even so, some days because I don't have the legs, or I feel bloated, or my lungs aren't working ... the bike just doesn't fit.

I think the "power/comfort" balance is mostly discussed by people who are trying for more power ... and are willing to endure some discomfort (like TT riders, at one extreme.) The marginal gains you might get by getting the perfect pelvic tilt for max power versus a tiny bit less for a lot more comfort .... most riders automatically choose the more comfortable position.

Even for racers, I suspect that there is a limit beyond which they cannot endure and ease back toward comfort---you can't put out max power for a four-hour race if you are in extreme pain and cramping after three hours , so that extras 0.021321 percent power is lost because of the pain--you can't focus, you can;t make yourself push to your limit because you body is screaming.

Sit up a degree, lose that 0.021321 percent power gained under optimal test conditions, and gain back more because with less pain from posture you can focus on pushing yourself harder.
I agree with this 100%, also keep in mind that comfort will change with riding time. My first fit was great for about a year, I was comfortable on the bike for rides of all duration and according to the power meter being used during the fit, I was getting pretty much everything I comfortably could before making adjustments that would diminish my flexibility and not enjoy the ride. But as with everyone, the more you ride and stretch the more your “comfort” fit can perhaps be taken to the next level to also increase power.

I have a fit at Speedvagen on November 28th so we’ll see how that goes!
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Old 11-15-17, 09:19 AM
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My comfortable position tends to resolve to what I train at, or spend the most hours riding in. Not the other way around. So a bike fit "for more comfort" wouldn't work in that case, and conversely if I did have a "comfort fit" and stubbornly ride for many hours that way I'd probably feel great with it in the end.
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Old 11-15-17, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by raria
From the Speedvagen website:

"One part of fit is comfort. And another part of fit is efficiency and power. "

Points:

1) I don't disagree, but I find the two to be typically incompatible. A comfortable fit means I'm upright whilst a fit to maximize efficiency/power is probably the opposite.

2) I've seen lots of articles on fit for comfort, but not too many for power/efficiency. Can someone point me to one.
The bolded is just plain wrong. The standard road bike position with with torso at ~45° is that way because it is the most comfortable position for riding long distances, say anything over 10-15 miles. Bumps and jarring act like a pile driver on the upright spine and only flex the angled spine. The standard position also places a little weight on the hands which also increases rather than decreases comfort. Thus butt comfort is also greater in the road position because of lower weight and shock loadings.

If one doesn't find the standard road position more comfortable than the upright, then one is very seriously out of shape and needs to work on conditioning and maybe also have one's position adjusted by a fitter.

Try the Fitting Your Bike forum.
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Old 11-15-17, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Except the ones that are.
Except the manufactures site the OP pulled the quote from does not build a comfort road bike.
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Old 11-15-17, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
The bolded is just plain wrong. The standard road bike position with with torso at ~45° is that way because it is ...
Of course when I said upright I didn't mean sitting up 90 degrees. I meant relatively more upright to a bike designed to be ridden fast.
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Old 11-15-17, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by raria
Of course when I said upright I didn't mean sitting up 90 degrees. I meant relatively more upright to a bike designed to be ridden fast.
All road bikes are designed to be ridden fast. That's kind of the point. I'm most comfortable on long rides, say 4-18 hours is a long ride, with a -17° stem, slammed, and well stretched out on the bike. For me, that's superbly comfortable. I suppose part of being comfortable on long rides is having a position which allows one to cover the distance with minimal effort, hence more aero is going to be better.

The limit of how aero one can get and be comfortable will depend on the size on one's belly and one's flexibility. So set up a position which gives you this angle of forward lean: with hands in the drops, forearms almost level, your thighs should barely touch your belly - or maybe not touch at all if you're thin enough and have long enough legs. IOW you have to be able to pedal hard upwind in the drops while still being able to breathe.

If that doesn't feel comfortable what's probably missing is time in the saddle. Of course there are many parameters for getting a successful fit on a road bike besides forward lean.

Here's a video:
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Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 11-15-17 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 11-15-17, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
I suppose part of being comfortable on long rides is having a position which allows one to cover the distance with minimal effort, hence more aero is going to be better.
More aero withing a person's comfortable range of motion. That's why TT riders only go for 30 minutes or at most an hour----it is too hard to sit like that. The pain would sap the speed.

You are unusually strong and flexible for your age or any age. You are a fitness nut (the best kind of nut after lightly salted roasted cashews.) You find a long, low posture to be comfortable, and make peak steady power longer down there. if I go full aero, my body is fighting itself ... i can go faster for longer in a more upright posture.

"Comfort" does not equal "sitting upright on a sofa-saddle." Comfort equates to the position in which you can balance aero and power output with flexibility and strength with the least pain over the longest time ... IMO.

Fit has been fought over plenty ... and most people will eventually admit that over the course of a season and over the course of a life, "Best fit" changes.

Anyway .... I have had people tell me I was doing it wrong----whatever it was---pretty much all my life. My response is like jefnkv's---it seems to be working for me.
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Old 11-15-17, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
More aero withing a person's comfortable range of motion. That's why TT riders only go for 30 minutes or at most an hour----it is too hard to sit like that. The pain would sap the speed.

You are unusually strong and flexible for your age or any age. You are a fitness nut (the best kind of nut after lightly salted roasted cashews.) You find a long, low posture to be comfortable, and make peak steady power longer down there. if I go full aero, my body is fighting itself ... i can go faster for longer in a more upright posture.

"Comfort" does not equal "sitting upright on a sofa-saddle." Comfort equates to the position in which you can balance aero and power output with flexibility and strength with the least pain over the longest time ... IMO.

Fit has been fought over plenty ... and most people will eventually admit that over the course of a season and over the course of a life, "Best fit" changes.

Anyway .... I have had people tell me I was doing it wrong----whatever it was---pretty much all my life. My response is like jefnkv's---it seems to be working for me.
You are 100% correct.
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Old 11-15-17, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
Why does it need to be any more difficult than this?
Shh. There are flame wars to be had. There's no room for reason.
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Old 11-16-17, 04:08 AM
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I see two major approaches to achieving comfort on a bike. One is to look at it from a static, passive perspective: find a way to sit on the bike that's the most comfortable. Typically this would mean sitting more upright which mostly has a negative effect on efficiency. The other way is to look at it from a dynamic, active perspective: find a way to pedal the bike that's the most comfortable. Typically this means finding the position that activates big muscles effectively, especially the glutes - and this has a positive effect on power and efficiency. Going too far can sometimes increase power and aerodynamics while decreasing comfort, which is why it's still a balancing act, but in general it is possible to optimise your riding position in a way that improves both comfort and power/efficiency.
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Old 11-16-17, 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by raria
From the Speedvagen website:

"One part of fit is comfort. And another part of fit is efficiency and power. "

Points:

1) I don't disagree, but I find the two to be typically incompatible. A comfortable fit means I'm upright whilst a fit to maximize efficiency/power is probably the opposite.
On this ...

When I gained weight, I found that a comfortable fit did indeed mean that I had to sit more upright so that I could breathe. So Rowan raised my handlebars.

Then I lost weight, and all of a sudden I started having a lot of sitbone and lower back pain. For a while, I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Then one day, we went for a ride on our tandem. Rowan had gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that my handlebars were raised so I could sit upright ... and I was in agony for the entire, short 20 km ride. While on that ride, I figure out that I would be more comfortable if the handlebars were lower.

We lowered all my handlebars, and sure enough ... much more comfortable. Saddles are more comfortable if the rider leans forward ... that position is easier on the sitbones and lower back. It is also more efficient than the upright position.

But, having said all that, whatever fit is most comfortable for you will be efficient for you as well. When you're comfortable, you can ride longer distances than if you are not comfortable.
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Old 11-16-17, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
More aero withing a person's comfortable range of motion. That's why TT riders only go for 30 minutes or at most an hour----it is too hard to sit like that. The pain would sap the speed.
This is why we can't have nice things.

The modern TT position, as we know it, was an outgrowth of the invention of the aerobar, which was first used in RAAM. RAAM is a bit longer than 30 minutes or an hour.
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Old 11-16-17, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
This is why we can't have nice things.

The modern TT position, as we know it, was an outgrowth of the invention of the aerobar, which was first used in RAAM. RAAM is a bit longer than 30 minutes or an hour.
Pete!
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Old 11-16-17, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
This is why we can't have nice things.

The modern TT position, as we know it, was an outgrowth of the invention of the aerobar, which was first used in RAAM. RAAM is a bit longer than 30 minutes or an hour.
Not to mention the one or two folks who use them in Ironman for slightly more than 30 minutes or an hour as well.

It's funny; I had thought aerobars were invented for triathlon. Learned something today.
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Old 11-16-17, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Bah Humbug
...

It's funny; I had thought aerobars were invented for triathlon. Learned something today.
That is THE bike for THE guy above.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Penseyres

Pete still rides big miles at about age 70.
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Old 11-16-17, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
This is why we can't have nice things.

The modern TT position, as we know it, was an outgrowth of the invention of the aerobar, which was first used in RAAM. RAAM is a bit longer than 30 minutes or an hour.
Whew, I am so relieved to hear this because I have a 90 min climbing ride on the TT bike on my schedule for tomorrow morning.
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Old 11-16-17, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
On this ...

When I gained weight, I found that a comfortable fit did indeed mean that I had to sit more upright so that I could breathe. So Rowan raised my handlebars.

Then I lost weight, and all of a sudden I started having a lot of sitbone and lower back pain. For a while, I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Then one day, we went for a ride on our tandem. Rowan had gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that my handlebars were raised so I could sit upright ... and I was in agony for the entire, short 20 km ride. While on that ride, I figure out that I would be more comfortable if the handlebars were lower.

We lowered all my handlebars, and sure enough ... much more comfortable. Saddles are more comfortable if the rider leans forward ... that position is easier on the sitbones and lower back. It is also more efficient than the upright position.

But, having said all that, whatever fit is most comfortable for you will be efficient for you as well. When you're comfortable, you can ride longer distances than if you are not comfortable.
Absolutely. I've fixed the back pain of a couple rider friends by simply lowering their bars. One hears or reads many people opining that if one's back hurts, raise the bars. That sounds reasonable, but the opposite is the case IME.
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Old 11-16-17, 09:04 PM
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I might point out that "aerobars" as used in TT and triathlon are quite different from what's used on RAAM and other long distance events. Those are usually clip-ons, which provide a comfortable aero position on a road bike, along with the usual road bike positions. On aerobars, one is supported entirely by one's bones, no muscle involved. Simply sit there and wiggle your legs, which wiggling can of course be as strenuous as you like. That said, I seldom ride my aerobars for more than 1/2 hour at a time, partly because it's not very flat here so I haven't trained to do that. TT riders will often take advantage of a upward tilt in the road or a tight corner to get off the saddle and pedal with a flat back.
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