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Princess and the pea

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Princess and the pea

Old 06-08-21, 02:24 PM
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rousseau
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Princess and the pea

If you're an fat, aging MAMIL instead of a young, athletic mammal, isn't it amazing how the tiniest of adjustments can mean the world to your experience on the bike?

I picked up some Record Pro-Fit pedals the other day, and in my lack of precision ended up putting the accompanying cleats somewhat closer to the middle of my shoe than I normally would have. The result? Two rides where I literally squirmed with discomfort on the bike. My muscles didn't work right, my neck got sore, and it seemed like I was pushing down on the pedals with my heels.

It was only after those two rides that a light bulb went off in my head. I promptly moved the cleats 2 mm...two freakin' mm...and on my next ride it was like the heavens had opened up with the Hallelujah Chorus. The bike felt absolutely perfect, like sitting down on a comfy couch. I was smiling the whole time.

Two things I've learned from this. 1. Record Pro-Fit pedals are awesome. 2. You should change your bike fit for a ride or two, suffer the consequences, and then correct the fit in order to experience the utter joy of having everything feel right. No pain no gain, as they say.
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Old 06-08-21, 04:00 PM
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You don't have to be fat, or young (68 here). I lost 20 + lbs. this winter and my new skinny rear end wants to slide further back without all that natural padding. Adjusted seat forward, played with seat height, new longer and higher stem so I could get to same position relative to cranks, total mayhem. Fun though, really gives me a better understanding of bike fit. I've concluded that if your fit stays the same over time, then so have you. Could be good or bad.
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Old 06-08-21, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Champlaincycler View Post
I've concluded that if your fit stays the same over time, then so have you. Could be good or bad.
Yeesh, I hadn't thought of that. Not sure I want to. If I put two and two together, this might suggest something less than salutary about my daily donut intake.

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Old 06-09-21, 11:32 AM
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Iím at the opposite end of the sensitivity spectrum. I can put my saddle anywhere within a 20 mm sphere and hardly notice any difference. Maybe thatís a good thing, I donít really know. I do like my cleats set back on the shoe though. Gives my calves an easier time.
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Old 06-09-21, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I’m at the opposite end of the sensitivity spectrum. I can put my saddle anywhere within a 20 mm sphere and hardly notice any difference. Maybe that’s a good thing, I don’t really know. I do like my cleats set back on the shoe though. Gives my calves an easier time.
I'm the same way when it comes to minor adjustments it seems. Same with saddles, I did try a Brooks for a while but was too impatient with it but most other saddles I used I could get along with fine. I do tend to "tweak" my fit quite often, cleat movement fore and aft or even moved them in a bit for a wider q-factor. I've dropped spacers from under my stem and moved back and forth with different handlebars and nothing really happens to my body as far as I can tell. No pain or discomfort from these tweaks. It's kind of nice I feel like there's a lot more available to me and more options for dialing things in with a variety of specifications.

Never heard of those pedals though. I have my cleats slammed all the way back as far as they will go and I still get ripped calves. I would have thought my calves would not bear as much of the work if the cleats were pushed that far back.

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Old 06-09-21, 12:49 PM
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I recently acquired 2 vintage bikes with 170mm cranks, whereas all my other bikes have 175s. I set the saddle heights just a bit higher on those two, but I still felt like I was pedalling 'flatfooted'. I raised each to almost a full cm higher than the other bikes, and FINALLY they felt right. Then, I was riding one of the bikes with 175s, one I'd only and felt that same 'flatfooted' feeling. Raised the saddle 4mm and it was MUCH better.
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Old 06-09-21, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
If you're an fat, aging MAMIL instead of a young, athletic mammal, isn't it amazing how the tiniest of adjustments can mean the world to your experience on the bike?

I picked up some Record Pro-Fit pedals the other day, and in my lack of precision ended up putting the accompanying cleats somewhat closer to the middle of my shoe than I normally would have. The result? Two rides where I literally squirmed with discomfort on the bike. My muscles didn't work right, my neck got sore, and it seemed like I was pushing down on the pedals with my heels.

It was only after those two rides that a light bulb went off in my head. I promptly moved the cleats 2 mm...two freakin' mm...and on my next ride it was like the heavens had opened up with the Hallelujah Chorus. The bike felt absolutely perfect, like sitting down on a comfy couch. I was smiling the whole time.

Two things I've learned from this. 1. Record Pro-Fit pedals are awesome. 2. You should change your bike fit for a ride or two, suffer the consequences, and then correct the fit in order to experience the utter joy of having everything feel right. No pain no gain, as they say.
I first got look deltas when I was 15, and I would notice if my cleats were 2m out of place.

Subsequently, after years on SPDs I switched back to Keos, but my first ride was a disastrous experience. I wanted to throw the pedals and new 3-bolt Giro shoes in the bin, but instead I got a set of cleat wedges, raised the inside bolt 1mm, and everything was beautiful. I've never looked back.

I can be very tolerant of adjustments in handlebar height, seat angle, reach, etc. But cleat position, even with maximum float, makes a huge difference, always has, always will.
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Old 06-09-21, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by aplcr0331 View Post
I'm the same way when it comes to minor adjustments it seems. Same with saddles, I did try a Brooks for a while but was too impatient with it but most other saddles I used I could get along with fine. I do tend to "tweak" my fit quite often, cleat movement fore and aft or even moved them in a bit for a wider q-factor. I've dropped spacers from under my stem and moved back and forth with different handlebars and nothing really happens to my body as far as I can tell. No pain or discomfort from these tweaks. It's kind of nice I feel like there's a lot more available to me and more options for dialing things in with a variety of specifications.

Never heard of those pedals though. I have my cleats slammed all the way back as far as they will go and I still get ripped calves. I would have thought my calves would not bear as much of the work if the cleats were pushed that far back.
I'm the same with tweaking my fit. In the last year I've had my saddle as low as 754 mm and as high as 775 mm. Currently at 769 mm on my road bike and 754 mm on my trail bike. Power output, comfort, fatigue etc all seems unaffected by these changes and it's not as if I only do short rides - I train mainly for 100+ mile sportive events so often in the saddle for 5+ hours non-stop. I play around with it just to see if I can find some sort of marginal gain, but it all seems much the same. The only time I notice a problem is if I go too high on the saddle and start rocking my hips. For me that's somewhere around 780 mm. I also changed my saddle at the end of last season and the rail moved it back a good 20 mm compared to my old saddle. Again it had no obvious affect on my pedal stroke or perceived reach. I did slam the new saddle forward on the rail just to confirm and then just put it back in the middle and haven't touched it since.

I do have a preference for cleats mounted as far back as possible and I deliberately choose shoes with a slightly more rearward fixing. I've noticed a trend toward shoe manufacturers moving their cleat mounting points further rearward or providing more adjustment - which has been good for me. I just use standard Shimano SPD-SL cleats/pedals. If I have my cleats mounted too far forward I get hotspots on the balls of my feet and/or calf fatigue. I'm not sensitive to Q-factor, but I do have my cleats angled so my feet are slightly toe-out. This means they need to be reasonably wide to avoid my heels scraping the cranks.

I don't tend to play with stack height adjustment. As an endurance rider I prefer a relatively high stack and just bend my elbows when I want to get more aero.

Thinking about it, maybe it's all my years of mountain biking that has made me insensitive to bike fit - which seems to be more of a roadie thing. Not many mountain bikers get a pro bike fit or mess around much with stem spacers/stack height. Especially with infinite adjustment dropper posts becoming the norm.
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Old 06-10-21, 01:00 AM
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I recently flipped my 100 mm stem from +6 degrees to -6 degrees, and noticed that a washer under a bolt has gouged the face plate, so bought a -8 degree stem, which turns out to have a taller stack, so I had to remove a 5 mm spacer to install it. Each change took only one ride to get used to. I guess my gut is more compressible than I had anticipated.
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Old 06-10-21, 11:59 AM
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Funny. I'm in the midst of setting up my cleats. Am young, somewhat athletic (though I bet I'm slower than most guys here) but I swear to god I can feel differences as small as 0.5mm. To be fair, I'm using red 0 float cleats rather than the yellow 6deg cleats. But it's funny to see someone say 2mm is enough to warrant a princess and the pea comparison.

For what it's worth, I have also found that there is a wide range of saddle positions that "work". However there is only a narrow range of saddle positions that feel optimal for a specific kind of ride. For example, a hard 3 hour group ride.
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Old 06-11-21, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
I swear to god I can feel differences as small as 0.5mm. To be fair, I'm using red 0 float cleats rather than the yellow 6deg cleats.
If you really are THAT sensitive to cleat position, maybe the red cleats are not such a great idea.
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Old 06-11-21, 12:55 PM
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I'm kinda the opposite in that I can get accustomed to anything, within reason. I guess its why I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to bike gear as I just make do and adapt. I'm 46 so perhaps I have that to come.

The one area I am fairly picky is the saddle type: when I was training for the PRL 100 I went through about 6 saddles before I settled on the Spesh Toupe 155w.
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