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Bike fit question

Old 03-27-18, 03:21 AM
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akirapuff
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Bike fit question

I recently got a bikefit from a reputable fitter ( Nate Loyal ), and I have a question about saddle height. I am 5'8 with 76cm inseam. My bike is a 49cm 2015 roubaix. Before I had the bike fit, I used the inseam method, and found that the length from crank to top of saddle should be 66cm. When I brought in my bike in to get fit, he first said I couldn't be fit on the bike since the bike was too small. Then he said he could make it fit, but it would be ugly. I said to go ahead and fit me anyway. He raised the saddle to 69cm. I was shocked at how much he had raised the saddle, and questioned him what he thinks about the inseam method, but he didn't seem to be familiar with that method. He also put the saddle forward so my sit bones would sit toward the back of the saddle. When I tried pedaling with the heels on the pedal, now I am not able to reach them at the bottom of the stroke.

I have left knee pain, which was the reason for the bikefit, and I am very cautious when it comes to saddle height. Because the difference between the two methods is so great, now Im starting to doubt the bikefit I was given. Can there be that big of a difference between bike fitting methods? Was I supposed to measure my inseam with my cycling shoes on? Any advice would be appreciated.

Last edited by akirapuff; 03-27-18 at 03:25 AM.
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Old 03-27-18, 04:41 AM
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ptempel
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That sounds a little too high. I use about 88% of my inseam. For you that would be 76cm x .883 = 67.1cm. That should get you in the ballpark. Then you can tweak it up or down a little after riding a bit. Also that measure is from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle. This was what Lemond and Hinault got from Cyril Guimard (their coach) on the Renault-Elf team back in late 1970’s I think.

Edit: Misquoted the percent as 83% when it should have been 88.3%. Fixed (thanks to @Kontact below ).

Last edited by ptempel; 03-28-18 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 03-27-18, 05:19 AM
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It really isnt easy giving concrete advice based on what you wrote. Pedaling with your heels may be an indicator, but it doesn't take in to account the stack height of pedal, clamps, inserts, ect. Obviously if your knee hurt, something is up that should be corrected. It may or may not be the saddle height. If you put you measurements into the various calculators you get very different results, indicating there is some degree of black magic or leeway left for the fitter to decide.
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Old 03-27-18, 09:58 AM
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Just to be clear, did you tell the bike fitter about the knee pain? If this guy is a specialist in his field he should have made it his priority to ensure that the fit would help the knee pain.
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Old 03-27-18, 11:02 AM
  #5  
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If your heels don't reach the pedals,

it's hard to imaging there wouldn't be hips rocking

or at least extreme toes down,

& moving saddle forward doesn't suggest too small of frame.

You're right to be cautious IMO.
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Old 03-27-18, 11:04 AM
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I measure inseam with the "book and wall" method.

Get in your cycling shorts, bare feet, and then stick a book about 1.5" wide between your legs, pull up firmly (the book) and get right up against a wall. Have someone mark where the book meets the wall with a pencil. I don't know if I explained it well enough, but that gets my ballpark.

I did this so many years ago, I have forgot my inseam, but this method got my first baseline that was tweaked from there.

Basically my height is 5'9" and my saddle top to BB is 76/76.5
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Old 03-27-18, 11:30 AM
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Yeah. much better to use a rule of thumb rather than to rely on the expert guidance from a guy who's been doing it for loads of riders.

I haven't personally used Nate but plenty of people on this forum have and I've never heard a negative report (which doesn't mean they're not out there, of course). I highly recommend calling him and discussing it with him. I assume he put you on a trainer and watched you pedal? The results don't sound right, that's for sure.
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Old 03-27-18, 11:48 AM
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I just measured 3 of my bikes here at the office, they are all 76cm from low point on saddle the center of the BB. Add 17cm for the cranks and you get 93cm from saddle to pedal axle basically.

My inseam (with just a quickie measure) is around 82cm. So, we are looking at a longer measurement than the inseam when we add in crank length from the inseam to BB number.

That puts things into perspective a bit. Just from your numbers, the seat height sounds too "low".
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Old 03-27-18, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by akirapuff View Post
I was shocked at how much he had raised the saddle, and questioned him what he thinks about the inseam method, but he didn't seem to be familiar with that method. He also put the saddle forward so my sit bones would sit toward the back of the saddle. When I tried pedaling with the heels on the pedal, now I am not able to reach them at the bottom of the stroke.
The heel thing is not a deal breaker. My heel won't touch in socks, and 2 of my family members are/were pros, and they just texted that their heels don't touch either. Granted, we ride "heels up" but nothing radical. If I went off most of the inseam fits, I would be squatting on the bike. I think your fitter is right.
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Old 03-27-18, 12:30 PM
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What's wrong with old rule of thumb that states that at the bottom of the stroke, your leg should be just slightly bent. Is that too simple?
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Old 03-27-18, 12:50 PM
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Nate Loyal isn't exactly an unknown entity in socal, is there anything wrong with the new fit, like pain/discomfort? If I were you I'd give it a few weeks/some miles and trust the fit. I certainly place more faith on a real life fit from NL, than suggestions from online forums.
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Old 03-27-18, 12:57 PM
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The fitter is correct in that that bike is too small.
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Old 03-27-18, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ptempel View Post
That sounds a little too high. I use about 83% of my inseam. For you that would be 76cm x .83 = 63cm. That should get you in the ballpark. Then you can tweak it up or down a little after riding a bit. Also that measure is from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle. This was what Lemond and Hinault got from Cyril Guimard (their coach) on the Renault-Elf team back in late 1970’s I think.
The Guimard number is .883, not .83. Your saddle is 5% lower than it should be.

To the OP:
"Heals on the pedals" is generally too low. If you have a correctly measured "cycling inseam", your saddle should be at 67cm, but many people fail to measure their inseams correctly - 76cm is low for someone your height. The fitter probably knows better.

A 49cm is too small, for the simple reason that you are just under average height, yet you are riding the smallest size in that model. If someone 5'8" should be on a 49, what would someone 5'5" ride?


Sell the bike and get a new one - in something like a 53 or 54. Generally the fitter can take your numbers and apply them to the new bike easily enough - and can even recommend a size for a particular model using a geo chart. Use that resource.

Not only is the bike less than ideal, you probably look ridiculous riding it.
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Old 03-27-18, 03:40 PM
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ptempel
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
The Guimard number is .883, not .83. Your saddle is 5% lower than it should be.
Thanks for catching that. I also assumed that the OP was using the “book method “ to get the inseam length. If not, then measure again in your cycling shorts and socks.
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Old 03-27-18, 03:46 PM
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Are you sure you measured your inseam correctly? https://www.competitivecyclist.com/S...ulatorBike.jsp
Also, I did the heel to pedal thing on my bike and had knee pain, raised it up this weekend to get more straight on the bottom of a stroke, which is enough where I can't touch the pedals with my heels but is more comfortable. I plan to raise my seat even higher because my knees are still a tad too bent.
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Old 03-27-18, 04:23 PM
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Rules and formulas are not absolute. They only get you in the ballpark and give you a place to start from. However they are based on averages and assumptions that may not apply to YOU!

You got a fit. Stick with it and see what the result is. If you didn't discuss the knee pain or any other pains, that was a big mistake IMO. If your pains don't get better, then you'll need to discuss that with the fitter again. It might be you need another bike.

For me, knee pains were usually because I was pedaling in too high a gear at too low a cadence. A more recent incident with knee pain was when I had to buy 170mm cranks as the 165mm were out of stock. Not much difference but enough to annoy my left knee. Tried the 170's for several thousand miles but the little annoying pain never went away. Finally found some 165mm and no more irritation and my cadence is improved on that bike. Not saying 165 mm is a magic number, it's just what all my previous bikes had and I was use to that length.
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Old 03-27-18, 04:27 PM
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That small bike may also come with a shorter crank, meaning saddle height should be slightly higher as well to compensate.
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Old 03-27-18, 04:41 PM
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I'm 5'5" and I have two road bikes and a TT bike, they all fit me well and I work with an excellent fitter.

My road bikes are 51 and 52 cm and my TT bike (which should be smaller) is a 48 cm. Given that you are 3 inches taller than me, I think there's a good chance the bike is too small.

If I had any questions about my fit, I'd go back to my fitter with my bike and express my concerns until I felt confident in my fit. My fitter has two free follow up sessions as part of the initial service and there is the option for paid follow up sessions as well. Maybe your guy doesn't have that, but I'm sure there's some mechanism for addressing issues like yours.

But he may just say to you: "I can't make this bike work for you, its too small" and if that's what he says, you either have to listen to him or find a different fitter.

As far as not knowing the term "inseam method," I am an 'expert' in my field and clients of mine will come in using jargon from their own reading. I may or may not be familiar with the jargon they using but my not knowing the jargon of people outside my field doesn't mean much.
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Old 03-27-18, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by San Pedro View Post
That small bike may also come with a shorter crank, meaning saddle height should be slightly higher as well to compensate.
Most of the saddle formulas were created before it was fashionable to use cranks longer than 170. Usually people use the formula, then correct for how much longer or shorter their cranks are than 170.
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Old 03-27-18, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
The fitter is correct in that that bike is too small.
+1 It does seem like it's a couple of sizes too small for a normally proportioned person of your height. I expect he did the best he could but you shouldn't expect a proper fit under those circumstances. I wouldn't hesitate to experiment if you are stuck with that bike.
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Old 03-27-18, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by akirapuff View Post
I recently got a bikefit from a reputable fitter
Go back to your fitter for a follow-up and discuss your concerns w/ him.
A good match of cyclist and fitter can lead to a long and beneficial relationship, like Guimard/LeMond.
"Fit" is an evolving iterative process over time/miles/disciplines, having a fitter who knows you and your unique physical makeup can help your progress on the bike.

Or go with the random input of strangers on an inter-web forum.
One or the other.

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Old 03-27-18, 05:50 PM
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Based on height alone, you should probably be in the 54 cm frame. But height is not the only determining factor.

If the suggested frame size seems to big, then maybe a Rouaix is not the style bike you should be on. If you are trying to make your road bike give you the same sitting position that a cruiser gives you or any other style bike for that matter, then there lay trouble ahead.
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Old 03-27-18, 06:20 PM
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But did the fitter get the fit he wanted on your frame even though it does seem a bit on the small side?
76cm is not a very long inseam so the frame may not be as far off as it seems.
How long was the handlebar stem required?
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Old 03-27-18, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
The Guimard number is .883, not .83. ...
this method is the best one for me when finding the correct saddle height.
to OP, I think you need to re-measure your inseam length the right way, I'm also 5'8 but have an inseam of 83cm (73cm saddle height)

Last edited by bleui; 03-28-18 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 03-28-18, 02:35 AM
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Thank you all for your replies, I really appreciate the responses.

I have re-measured my inseam, took off all my clothes, went as far as I could with the book, and then got 78 cm. Im thinking now I might have measured my inseam wrong. 78x.883 I got 68.8. So center of BB to top of saddle currently measures 69 on the bike, so I think I will trust the fit and ride for awhile to see how it goes. Thank you kontact, I never thought that I have measured my inseam incorrectly.

I probably do look ridiculous with the 120mm stem he fitted me with, I will try to look into a bigger bike.

Thanks again everyone.
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