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Riding position on a road bike.

DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
edited March 2009 in Commuting chat
The right seat height and riding position is important on any bike, but none more so (in my humble opinion) than on a road bike. This is due to the distances, speed attainable on the bike and the stresses caused on the body.

Does anyone have any advice, images of what a good riding position looks like on a road bike (and other types of bikes as well) for reference.
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Posts

  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    Get thee to a good bike shop and get a professional fitting. Worth it!

    I'm presuming this is for a new bike... :)
  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    Stickyour bum out and wiggle it?
  • UnderscoreUnderscore Posts: 730
    Get thee to a good bike shop and get a professional fitting. Worth it!

    Agreed. The shop that I just bought my new bike from did this and I am more than happy with the result.

    However, I can go through the steps that the shop did on me and a mate:
    • With the pedal at the furthest point from the saddle (i.e. the crank should be in line with the seat tube), the foot should be horizontal if the knee is locked out
    • With the seat at the right height, adjust the front to back position until the back of the knee cap is directly above the ball of the foot when the crank is at the 3 o'clock postion
    • Adjust the handle-bar position (by moving spacers and swapping stems) until the angle between back and upper leg is ~90 degrees at the highest point. The back should also be straight. It was fascinating watching my mate pull his hands back by no more than a centimetre and his back went from curved to straight.

    HTH,

    _
  • 1. Measure your inside leg in that special way we talked about.

    2. Get someone to put up bail for you and return home.

    3. Multiply inside leg by 0.883*. That, to within +/-5mm is the distance from the BB axle to the surface of your saddle measured along the seat tube.

    4. Set handlebars. There's a three-way trade off here between aerodynamics, comfort and power. The trick is the right compromise. Don't rotate the bars too far forward (puts pressure on wrist).

    4 is trickiest. Stem length and spacers under the stem are key to getting the hand contact point sorted. If you're having to use 30mm+ of spacers on top of the height of the dustcap, chances are the top tube is too short.** Look at the next size up. If you need a stem of <90mm, chances are the top tube is too long. Look at the next size down.

    *This is the Greg Lemond method. It's easier to explain than the Greg66 method, and gets to within 2mm of the figure for me using the Greg66 method. So use the Lemond one for the time being.

    **or maybe you don't really want an aggressive roadie position
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • laughingboylaughingboy Posts: 248
    Rivendell cycles' webpage has an interesting take on bike fit, putting comfort uppermost.

    Also, there is an interesting article at Peter White Cycles, challenging some of the 'myths' as he sees them.

    I think 'fit' depends on how long you are in the saddle. If you are riding all day, your weight distribution becomes more important - to avoid sore back, neck, wrists, hands and knees; if you are only on your bike to race for an hour, then power and aerodynamics are more important.

    Choose your compromise! :D
  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    Any of the recommendations above will work to get you close to the right position. It's always good to be open to different fitting suggestions. Riding time is the only way to get it just right for yourself. The longer your rides the more your body will speak to you. Try not to be overly conscious of every movement you make and just enjoy the ride and you may start noticing that maybe your back is sore, maybe you feel like you have to keep pushing yourself back or forward on your saddle, your knees might feel as though they are being twisted, you want to raise your torso more, etc, etc. Anything that feels uncomfortable is worth trying to make an adjustment for. Of course the more you ride your postition can change as you're conditioning improves but it becomes just minor tweaking after that. And yes, it can be a real pain to get it sorted.
  • jamescojamesco Posts: 687
    This site has a neat calculator, but it is do-it-yourself and I wouldn't trust myself to get it right ;)

    Anyone know of a bike shop in London that can do a thorough & scientific fit and then find bikes to match?
  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    I went and had a look at my (admittedly pretty old) bike encyclopedia to check this - do you actually get those adjustable frames to sit on, in bike shops? Where the handlebars and saddle move till your posture is correct?

    NB I mean a thing like a mutant exercise bike, not a straaange actual bike.
  • laughingboylaughingboy Posts: 248
    tardie wrote:
    ...do you actually get those adjustable frames to sit on, in bike shops? Where the handlebars and saddle move till your posture is correct?

    NB I mean a thing like a mutant exercise bike, not a straaange actual bike.

    Most of the custom frame builders, such as Mercian, Roberts, et al. have an adjustable jig to measure you before they set to work. But most bike shops? Nah...
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,049
    Having a large selection of bikes to choose from i've not yet found a measurable bike fit formula, I've suffered with pain in various parts of my body leading me to adjust seat height, fore & aft position and handlebar height until the pain stops. Although for me the same set up doesn't work for all riding styles & distances. I guess with more experience it will become easier.
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • markybhoy67markybhoy67 Posts: 346
    Go to the LBS, I was going to go for a Felt F bike but ended up going for a Z series relaxed geometry because it just felt (no pun intended) better.
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    while i don't have as many bikes as ITboffin i have few differnet types one newish MTB one big hybrid and a old road bike (80's)

    each have fairly different setup , though all are on the more upright side of things.

    i have used a onlline calulator out of intrest, (okay boredom!) and i'm a long limbed bloke, to see how far or close it thinks the old roadie is away form comfort.

    the old bike has had newer brake levers which has altered my position now, so that i think i may need to swap the saddle out, (ie i'm on the hoods a fair bit now) but as the saddle is just a older MTB one i had that i fitted as the saddle the bike came with was wrecked.

    like a lot of things it's a case of try moving one thing at a time, assuming the frame isn't so out?
  • jamesco wrote:
    This site has a neat calculator, but it is do-it-yourself and I wouldn't trust myself to get it right ;)

    Anyone know of a bike shop in London that can do a thorough & scientific fit and then find bikes to match?

    Sigma have a piece of software that they dial your measurements into. Condor have an adjustable frame (every tube can be lengthened or shortened).

    Bear in mind that fit is as much an art as a science. There is no single "right fit". A good example is on Competitve Cyclist's website. They take 8 measurements and come up with a fit - well, three fits, actually, depending on what riding/position style you prefer.

    If you're working with a fitter, it is worth asking him/her what his default style of fit is: eg relaxed, suitable for everyone, slammed Euro-roadie, tons of setback, aggressive forward position etc.
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    My only experience with fitting was Epic, who, being aware that I didn't really know a great deal about all this malarkey, just asked me what type of riding I wanted to do and what my priorities were when on the bike (ie comfort for all day riding or super-fast-aero-speed-machine etc), and based the fitting on that.

    I would imagine that a fitter worth his salt would be able to adjust the fit according to those criteria...

    I have to say I was very impressed with them. I went out on a bike that they said was close to what I needed, but were muttering something about the saddle position not being right but they didn't have the right post. When I returned an hour later :oops: he said 'were you pushing yourself back on the saddle?That post is wrong for you.' And I was. Impressed much? :shock:
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,049
    If it's not a rude question how much is the viner?
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • itboffin wrote:
    If it's not a rude question how much is the viner?

    Much.

    Much much.
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    It is a rude question :)
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,152
    itboffin wrote:
    If it's not a rude question how much is the viner?

    I can actually hear your will power ebbing away...
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,152
    Greg66 wrote:
    jamesco wrote:
    This site has a neat calculator, but it is do-it-yourself and I wouldn't trust myself to get it right ;)

    Anyone know of a bike shop in London that can do a thorough & scientific fit and then find bikes to match?

    Sigma have a piece of software that they dial your measurements into. Condor have an adjustable frame (every tube can be lengthened or shortened).

    Bear in mind that fit is as much an art as a science. There is no single "right fit". A good example is on Competitve Cyclist's website. They take 8 measurements and come up with a fit - well, three fits, actually, depending on what riding/position style you prefer.

    If you're working with a fitter, it is worth asking him/her what his default style of fit is: eg relaxed, suitable for everyone, slammed Euro-roadie, tons of setback, aggressive forward position etc.

    Sigma's is pretty decent actually, I had a good play around during the Prince fitting and am pretty happy with the position it's come up with. I do get a stiff back sometimes but that's down to my neglecting to stretch regularly since the end of last year!
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    How do you stretch a back (serious question - sore back is my least favourite thing about cycling)?
  • biondino wrote:
    How do you stretch a back (serious question - sore back is my least favourite thing about cycling)?

    Which bit of your back is sore?
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,152
    biondino wrote:
    How do you stretch a back (serious question - sore back is my least favourite thing about cycling)?

    Well the chances are you are getting a sore lower back for one or both of the following reasons:

    1: Tight hamstrings and/or hip flexors
    2: Lack of core strength.

    I narrowed mine down to both. Last year a regime of Pilates and Stretching helped enormously. Tight leg muscles can often present as lower back pain.

    Some good stuff here:

    http://www.roadcycling.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/3/40

    Best to get into the habit of stretching after every ride.
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
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