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I had two professional bike fits and the results diverge by a lot.

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I had two professional bike fits and the results diverge by a lot.

Old 01-23-23, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Surpin View Post
Hi, I am a beginner without a road bike looking to get the first one.
Well, THERE'S your PROBLEM!

Seriously, though - if you're JUST starting out, you haven't established a cycling style yet. Both fitters suggest the same size bike, right? So I'd get that. Use the standard stem that comes with it. Practice riding on the hoods most of the time, but also work on riding in the drops while pedaling. Note any pains and tightness, also any issues with numbness, whether it's your hands, your feet, or your junk. Once you've done that and worked yourself up to rides of maybe 2 hours, and gotten a really good understanding of the problems, THEN go to a fitter.

Years ago, I bought a new bike at a good shop. They did the 10 minute "bike shop fit", and I rode that way for months. That fit worked fine for rides of 2 hours or less. After 3 hours, I had some knee discomfort, and the bike was a little unstable at about 40 mph on downhills. I had a fitting where he raised my saddle 1 cm, moved it forward 1 cm, and dropped my bars 1 cm. Also noticed a leg length discrepancy, as well as a tendency to turn my right knee out, and adjusted my cleats to compensate and turn my right heel out just a bit, bringing my knee back in line.

Bye bye knee pain, and the bike was now stable up to any speed I could manage, and spinning was easier too.
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Old 01-23-23, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Well, THERE'S your PROBLEM!

Seriously, though - if you're JUST starting out, you haven't established a cycling style yet. Both fitters suggest the same size bike, right? .
Well no.. that's the OP's initial problem really. The 2 fitters differ on the size frame he should get.
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Old 01-23-23, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Well no.. that's the OP's initial problem really. The 2 fitters differ on the size frame he should get.
I confess I found that passage confusing.
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Old 01-23-23, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
There you go, this is my point. There is no real consensus among fitters about saddle height - presuming you are a bike fitter right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJDeVD5YTo0

My personal n=1 experience is that I have far more margin for error on the low side of saddle height. I can drop my saddle a good 20 mm below my preferred height with no significant issues. But if I go 20 mm too high I'm in a world of pain. But that's just me.
I think you misunderstood my statement. Most fitters put people at pretty similar saddle heights, because most of us are using goniometers to set a knee angle between 25 and 35 degrees. Which is also the same as using 88.3% of cycling inseam from the BB, or 109% of inseam to the bottom pedal. I haven't run into a professional fit that departed greatly from this.

What I was saying is that I've encountered a lot of cyclists riding around with their saddles too low. They have likely not been fit. If another fitter has seen the opposite, that doesn't mean anything about how either of us determine saddle height, since I don't know why his observations occured.


The OP's second fitter delivered more extension by knee angle yet at a lower saddle height. Those numbers don't compute, suggesting poor measuring technique or just measuring to an unexpected part of the saddle.

In terms of too high or low, low does hurt knees. Too high can cause all sorts of problems, but is less predictable because some people will adapt to it by pointing their toes down, which they can tolerate without injury. That isn't to suggest that a high saddle is beneficial, just that it can be non-harmful for some people.
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Old 01-24-23, 04:02 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
I think you misunderstood my statement. Most fitters put people at pretty similar saddle heights, because most of us are using goniometers to set a knee angle between 25 and 35 degrees. Which is also the same as using 88.3% of cycling inseam from the BB, or 109% of inseam to the bottom pedal. I haven't run into a professional fit that departed greatly from this.
MyVeloFit suggests a knee angle of 40-44 deg
Another very experienced local fitter suggests between 34-45 deg
Yet another very experienced local fitter put me around 40 deg

So I guess your idea of "most fitters" is a bit different to my experience.

For reference, my saddle height is actually pretty close to the 109% rule and slightly higher than the 0.883 method. One of my local fitters takes into account greater trochanter height (pelvic depth) along with inseam and foot length to give a better prediction of saddle height. But still it depends what knee angle they think is appropriate for the individual.

I've experimented with both lower and higher saddle positions and found that I can go much lower without any knee pain or significant loss of power. My preferred saddle height is 785 mm, but I've run it as low as 755 mm without any knee issues. I prefer the higher position mainly for seated climbing, but otherwise, I would probably run about 10 mm lower and often have done for flatter events. In contrast, if I try going higher than 785 mm I quickly run into issues with pain in the back of my knees and hamstrings. My pedalling also becomes choppy and I start rocking my hips etc. So if I was a beginner I would certainly prefer to tune into saddle height starting from the lower side (as the fitter in the video link recommends).

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Old 01-24-23, 05:36 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post

What I was saying is that I've encountered a lot of cyclists riding around with their saddles too low. They have likely not been fit. If another fitter has seen the opposite, that doesn't mean anything about how either of us determine saddle height, since I don't know why his observations occured.
It could be a local cultural thing. Over here in the UK, club cyclists (especially racers) have a tendency to run their saddles very high, usually with their bars slammed for the full "pro" look. I see it all the time at events. Interestingly in the video (I realise you probably didn't bother to watch it) he says that those people who arrive with saddles set too high are nearly all men. It's basically a "macho" thing. This particular fitter is based in London and has a great reputation. I don't know him personally, but what he says makes sense in light of my own personal experience. We have some great local fitters out here too, an hour or so north of London.
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Old 01-24-23, 08:16 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
MyVeloFit suggests a knee angle of 40-44 deg
Another very experienced local fitter suggests between 34-45 deg
Yet another very experienced local fitter put me around 40 deg

So I guess your idea of "most fitters" is a bit different to my experience.

For reference, my saddle height is actually pretty close to the 109% rule and slightly higher than the 0.883 method. One of my local fitters takes into account greater trochanter height (pelvic depth) along with inseam and foot length to give a better prediction of saddle height. But still it depends what knee angle they think is appropriate for the individual.

I've experimented with both lower and higher saddle positions and found that I can go much lower without any knee pain or significant loss of power. My preferred saddle height is 785 mm, but I've run it as low as 755 mm without any knee issues. I prefer the higher position mainly for seated climbing, but otherwise, I would probably run about 10 mm lower and often have done for flatter events. In contrast, if I try going higher than 785 mm I quickly run into issues with pain in the back of my knees and hamstrings. My pedaling also becomes choppy and I start rocking my hips etc. So if I was a beginner I would certainly prefer to tune into saddle height starting from the lower side (as the fitter in the video link recommends).
I honestly don't know how you can have a knee angle of 40 degrees with your saddle at either .883 or 109% of your cycling inseam. The proportions of that particular triangle equals something much closer to 30 degrees than 40. You would have to have a fair amount of toe down to reach 109% while having that much knee bend. Or, people are measuring knee bend differently, like to the front of the knee cap rather than at the pivot point, making the angle look greater. But if you are at 109% then you have your saddle high enough, even if the knee angle measurement suggests something else.

So this doesn't sound like a difference in fit, but angle measuring technique.


In terms of your personal comfort with a lower seat - that is your personal comfort. My experience is that when folks have pain on the front of the knee it turns out their saddle is low. That is not an unusual finding if you ask a bunch of fitters or just a bunch of cyclists. Too high causes other problems. The right answer is right in the middle of too high and too low. As the guy in the video says, either too high or too low will cause dysfunction, and you should be able to go up or down from ideal at least a centimeter without issue.

In terms of all the high saddles he's seen, maybe that's just cultural. The UK has embraced cycling for longer than the US and more people here are afraid of not reaching the pavement. Dunno. It is kind of besides the point.
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Old 01-24-23, 12:57 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
I honestly don't know how you can have a knee angle of 40 degrees with your saddle at either .883 or 109% of your cycling inseam. The proportions of that particular triangle equals something much closer to 30 degrees than 40. You would have to have a fair amount of toe down to reach 109% while having that much knee bend. Or, people are measuring knee bend differently, like to the front of the knee cap rather than at the pivot point, making the angle look greater. But if you are at 109% then you have your saddle high enough, even if the knee angle measurement suggests something else.

So this doesn't sound like a difference in fit, but angle measuring technique.


In terms of your personal comfort with a lower seat - that is your personal comfort. My experience is that when folks have pain on the front of the knee it turns out their saddle is low. That is not an unusual finding if you ask a bunch of fitters or just a bunch of cyclists. Too high causes other problems. The right answer is right in the middle of too high and too low. As the guy in the video says, either too high or too low will cause dysfunction, and you should be able to go up or down from ideal at least a centimeter without issue.

In terms of all the high saddles he's seen, maybe that's just cultural. The UK has embraced cycling for longer than the US and more people here are afraid of not reaching the pavement. Dunno. It is kind of besides the point.
"Aye, there's the rub", as Hamlet said.

When you get into the zone of neither too high nor too low, it gets more subtle. One of my bikes had a saddle height that was just enough higher than the rest that I could feel it for the first mile of any ride on it after riding any of the others, but of course I adjusted to it quickly. You might think that meant it was too high, except that bike is always the fastest on any course, AND on the smart trainer, compared to the others, I could always put out more power for longer on it.

The difference? 3mm. So I moved the other saddles up to the same height, and it made a significant difference for the better. BTW, it helps that all 5 bikes have the same model of saddle. Simplifies matching measurements.
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Old 01-24-23, 06:42 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Well, insanity IS doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
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Old 01-26-23, 05:50 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
I honestly don't know how you can have a knee angle of 40 degrees with your saddle at either .883 or 109% of your cycling inseam. The proportions of that particular triangle equals something much closer to 30 degrees than 40. You would have to have a fair amount of toe down to reach 109% while having that much knee bend. Or, people are measuring knee bend differently, like to the front of the knee cap rather than at the pivot point, making the angle look greater. But if you are at 109% then you have your saddle high enough, even if the knee angle measurement suggests something else.

So this doesn't sound like a difference in fit, but angle measuring technique.


In terms of your personal comfort with a lower seat - that is your personal comfort. My experience is that when folks have pain on the front of the knee it turns out their saddle is low. That is not an unusual finding if you ask a bunch of fitters or just a bunch of cyclists. Too high causes other problems. The right answer is right in the middle of too high and too low. As the guy in the video says, either too high or too low will cause dysfunction, and you should be able to go up or down from ideal at least a centimeter without issue.

In terms of all the high saddles he's seen, maybe that's just cultural. The UK has embraced cycling for longer than the US and more people here are afraid of not reaching the pavement. Dunno. It is kind of besides the point.
Just had a look at my last fit and the angle is 39 deg. It is not measured to the front of my kneecap and I am not very toe down. But it doesn't really matter. It is what it is and 3 different fitters came up with the same angle within a degree.

To put my saddle "right in the middle of too high and too low" I would have to lower it about 15 mm from where it is now. To be honest that position actually works really well for me riding on flat terrain and is more aero, but I prefer the higher position for seated climbing.

Yes I think it's cultural and the fact that most of his clientele are keen racers. Out of interest I asked my local fitter and he said the same thing. Ironically, he thought I was sitting a bit too low. But I had been experimenting with lower saddle heights at the time, so I wasn't surprised.
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Old 02-11-23, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
There you go, this is my point. There is no real consensus among fitters about saddle height - presuming you are a bike fitter right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJDeVD5YTo0

My personal n=1 experience is that I have far more margin for error on the low side of saddle height. I can drop my saddle a good 20 mm below my preferred height with no significant issues. But if I go 20 mm too high I'm in a world of pain. But that's just me.
Just to clarify, what kind of pain do you get when your saddle is too high?
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Old 02-12-23, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
Just to clarify, what kind of pain do you get when your saddle is too high?
I feel it in the back of my knees/hamstrings and I lose control through the bottom of the pedal stroke, especially at higher cadence. Another side effect is that I feel a lot more pressure from the saddle.

In contrast nothing really bad happens if I drop my saddle too low. Im sure at some point I would feel it on the front of my knees, but for me it has to be way too low for that to happen.

For these reasons Ive started favouring the lower end of my acceptable saddle height range. If I know Im going to be doing a lot of seated climbing I may raise it a few mm.
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Old 02-13-23, 08:44 AM
  #38  
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The human body is adaptable and there is a range of acceptability. We are not robots.

And no where, unless I missed it, was age factored in. My 26 year old self rode a much more aggressive position than my 66 year old self. I just can bend that low anymore. Nor do I want to.

Was there a discussion of riding style? Endurance/recreational rider or time trialist? Criterium specialist or climber? Loaded touring?
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Old 02-13-23, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I feel it in the back of my knees/hamstrings and I lose control through the bottom of the pedal stroke, especially at higher cadence. Another side effect is that I feel a lot more pressure from the saddle.
If that is the case, your saddle is WAY too high.
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Old 02-13-23, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
If that is the case, your saddle is WAY too high.
Define way too high for me? This is what happens if I go 20 mm higher than my preferred position.
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Old 02-13-23, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Define way too high for me? This is what happens if I go 20 mm higher than my preferred position.
Way too high is as you said, you lose control through the bottom of the pedal stroke.

20mm is almost an inch. That's a football field in the world of bike fit adjustments. When I make adjustments, I usually go in about 3mm increments.
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Old 02-13-23, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post

My personal n=1 experience is that I have far more margin for error on the low side of saddle height. I can drop my saddle a good 20 mm below my preferred height with no significant issues. But if I go 20 mm too high I'm in a world of pain. But that's just me.
Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
Way too high is as you said, you lose control through the bottom of the pedal stroke.

20mm is almost an inch. That's a football field in the world of bike fit adjustments. When I make adjustments, I usually go in about 3mm increments.
See my point above that you quoted in your question. My point was that I can go WAY too low and not suffer any significant problems, but if I go WAY too high it hurts.

So you ask me what type of pain I get if my saddle is too high. I tell you and then you say my saddle must be WAY too high. What is going on today with BF clowning?
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Old 02-13-23, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
See my point above that you quoted in your question. My point was that I can go WAY too low and not suffer any significant problems, but if I go WAY too high it hurts.

So you ask me what type of pain I get if my saddle is too high. I tell you and then you say my saddle must be WAY too high. What is going on today with BF clowning?
So you can go 20mm too low and not have any problems? Interesting.
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Old 02-14-23, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
So you can go 20mm too low and not have any problems? Interesting.
Maybe you should watch the video I posted earlier. You might find it "interesting".
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