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Bike Fit Confusion

kfinlaykfinlay Posts: 763
edited November 2009 in Road beginners
Hey all,

Been back cycling for the last 3 months or so but can't find a comfortable position on my bike. Looking on You Tube helps but there is just so much conflicting advice so thought I'd clarify a few things with you guys if its ok.

So here goes.
Firstly I've got a saddle that doesn't give me sore bum bones.
Next I've got my cleats setup fine and know my foot angle when cycling.
When standing over my frame I have 1-2inch gap - the frame has a slightly sloping TT. I've also got a couple of stems and seat posts to try.

First setup saddle height. Sit on saddle, some say crank arm at the bottom of the stroke and some say inline with seat tube? When cleated into the pedal what angle should my leg be? Some say 30-35 degrees some say a slight bend?

Saddle postion. Seat saddle level then when sitting on the saddle with cranks at horizontal position, your knee should be vertically alined with the pedal axle. But which part of the knee, some say the knee cap and others say the lump just below the knee cap?

Handlebars. You should not be able to see the axle of your front wheel when holding the bars but some say when on the hoods and some say the tops? Another measurement is put your elbow on you saddle tip and your longest finger should a) just touch the handlebars, b)should reach the centre of the handlebar or c) it should measure your elbow to longest finger plus 2inches!

I know that this should just be a starting position but with so much conflicting info how am I supposed to get it right other than try all the combinations :?
I had a 35 mile ride today and had no sore bum bones but was very sore in the soft tissue just outside my bum bones. Seems very like a muscular pain and not saddle sore as there is no rash or redness. Trying to walk or climb stairs has been pretty painful . When out on the ride I felt that my position was a bit too upright and it helped when I was on the drops so I stopped and dropped my handlebar height (they were virtually level with my saddle) and it helped but I had already ridden for some time in pain so the damage had been done. Didn't stop me doing my biggest hill to date though, Falkland Hill in Fife, 4.5Km and 250m climb a lot of which is steep :D

Sorry for the MEGA-POST but really hope you can help

TIA
Kev

Summer Bike: Colnago C60
Winter Bike: Vitus Alios
MTB: 1997 GT Karakorum

Posts

  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    Hi Kev,

    Reading through your post, I would say that you sitting too high, or too low, to get pains in your 'glutes'. Your reach may be incorrect, too.
    Ideally, I would suggest taking your bike back to the shop and get it checked/adjusted on site. If you bought it online, just take it to your LBS... This may incur a charge, though!
    However, if you can't use a LBS etc...
    I have added my twopenneth below, but must stress that all these advisories are indications only, and must remain flexible to give the best personal set up.
    Saddle height. Sit on saddle, some say crank arm at the bottom of the stroke and some say inline with seat tube? When cleated into the pedal what angle should my leg be? Some say 30-35 degrees some say a slight bend?

    Cranks inline with seat post.
    Some say 30-35 degrees some say a slight bend = Same thing! It's measured from a vertical line, not horizontal. When adjusting seat height, raise or lower by a maximum of 5mm at a time.
    Saddle postion. Seat saddle level then when sitting on the saddle with cranks at horizontal position, your knee should be vertically aligned with the pedal axle. But which part of the knee, some say the knee cap and others say the lump just below the knee cap?

    Personally, I drop a plumb line from the outside of my kneecap down through my pedal axle.
    Handlebars. You should not be able to see the axle of your front wheel when holding the bars but some say when on the hoods and some say the tops? Another measurement is put your elbow on you saddle tip and your longest finger should a) just touch the handlebars, b)should reach the centre of the handlebar or c) it should measure your elbow to longest finger plus 2inches!

    I can't see my front hub when I'm on the 'tops'.
    Using your 'elbow to tip of longest finger' to judge reach is very inaccurate nowadays. If I did that on my bikes, it would indicate that I need to shorten my stems by about 5cms :shock:

    Hopefully, this helps a bit...
    :wink:
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • othelloothello Posts: 577
    I would *strongly* recommend going to a local bike shop that has a Bike Fit system. This system measures your body and recommends the ideal seat post height, stem length, bar width etc.

    I used it when buying my first road bike as all my bike size experience was with MTBs. When I first sat on my road bike I thought they position was all wrong (too stretched etc). Actually it is spot on.

    Always best to get some advice based on your individual measurements/body
    Blogging about junior road bikes http://junior-road-bikes.tumblr.com
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    othello wrote:
    I would *strongly* recommend going to a local bike shop that has a Bike Fit system. This system measures your body and recommends the ideal seat post height, stem length, bar width etc.

    I used it when buying my first road bike as all my bike size experience was with MTBs. When I first sat on my road bike I thought they position was all wrong (too stretched etc). Actually it is spot on.

    Always best to get some advice based on your individual measurements/body

    + 1 - get yourself to a good LBS who knows what they're doing. Someone such as Paul Hewitt will measure you properly and get the EXACT position to allow you to ride pain free. For 50 quid you should look upon this as an investment which is what it is. don't bother with online size guides, that's a virtual thing. You want a result in the real world.
  • kfinlaykfinlay Posts: 763
    Take on board that a bike fit session is the best way to go but just want to at least get a good starting position which I can't given the conflicting info online. I'm going to give it another go and if still not comfy then will fork out for the bike fit as I agree it's an investment but just don't have the money :evil:
    Kev

    Summer Bike: Colnago C60
    Winter Bike: Vitus Alios
    MTB: 1997 GT Karakorum
  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    kfinlay wrote:
    Take on board that a bike fit session is the best way to go but just want to at least get a good starting position which I can't given the conflicting info online. I'm going to give it another go and if still not comfy then will fork out for the bike fit as I agree it's an investment but just don't have the money :evil:

    Did you buy your bike from LBS, or not Kev.
    As a minimum, I would take it to them, who should help for free...
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • Slow DowncpSlow Downcp Posts: 3,041
    There's too many vaiables to use an online guide. I had a fitting session, saddle was dropped quite a way, moved forward over an inch, cleats moved backwards also. Made a huge difference, despite me having spent 20 years "tweaking" my position as I went along. Two hours and £50 - best upgrade I've ever made.
    Carlsberg don't make cycle clothing, but if they did it would probably still not be as good as Assos
  • kfinlaykfinlay Posts: 763
    Bought the bike online so can't use my LBS for free. They are pretty good but I don't think they do a comprehensive bike fit service. I work in Edinburgh and know of a couple of places with a good rep so would probably go to them but will literally have to save up to get the money to go - don't have a good paid job so times are pretty hard in the current climes. I've had to borrow stems and bits to help - getting a new charge spoon saddle was quite a major purchase! Hope to be a bit better financially in the new year though so keep looking on the bright side :)
    Kev

    Summer Bike: Colnago C60
    Winter Bike: Vitus Alios
    MTB: 1997 GT Karakorum
  • skyd0gskyd0g Posts: 2,540
    Given that you've only returned to cycling in earnest for the last three months... ...and that you've been 'giving it some legs' I would say that you would naturally be feeling some aches, even if your bike fit was "perfect". From what you've said, and the guides that you've looked at, I'd guess that your bike is probably set-up at about 90-95% of 'optimum'.

    As your gain core fitness & your muscles get used to working as hard as you're pushing them, it is natural to find some discomfort. Take a note of the current positions of the bike - saddle height, fore/aft, stem height/length etc., so if you make any further 'tweaks' you know where to return to if they don't work. :D
    Cycling weakly
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