short torso makes inefficient cyclist?

ricky1980 Posts: 891
edited December 2012 in Road general
I have 54cm frame equivalent legs but it appears to be that I have very short torso. I have to ride in-line seatoosts with short reach and shallow drop bars and short stems flipped upwards.

The question is most road bikes have setbacks on the seatposts and thus give the rider better efficiency and comfort. Does that mean when I have to have in-line posts I am not efficient in riding? Also I understand that setback give you power when sprinting and thus I often find myself locking up elbows and pdel hard and fast in that position. So again foes the in-line position gives less?
Road - Cannondale CAAD 8 - 7.8kg
Road - Chinese Carbon Diablo - 6.4kg


  • giropaul
    giropaul Posts: 414
    There will be one right position for your saddle - height and set-back. The first thing you need to do is to get this correct. In terms of set-back this will be somewhere around the point where your patella is vertically above the dedal spindle when your foot if forward of the bottom bracket, and the crank is parrallel with the ground.

    Only when you've got this right start on reach etc.

    It sounds as if you've compromised your fore-aft saddle position to get your reach, if so, this will result in an inappropriate saddle postion and therefore poor efficiency. If the top-tube is too long to get the reach you need once the saddle is right then, I'm afraid, you may need a smaller frame.

    Set-back gives some power when climbing, but sprinters will typically have their saddles further forward for sprinting performance (often as far as UCI regulations permit).
  • turnerjohn
    turnerjohn Posts: 1,069
    I'm in the same boat !
    Need a long seat tube but short top tube or I get back ache :-( )
    Different bikes / geometries make a big difference...worth trying a few and a lot of tinkering.
    I've finally got comfortable on for me :-)
  • well i had a bike fit and that's when i was told my body shape issue. I obviously measured my inside leg when i got my current one. which has resulted in long top I am running a short stem and short reach configuration on my bars. but the saddle has also moved about 10mm forward from where i used to have it. so the saddle is bang on in the middle with an in-line post.

    i am getting a planet x 80mm stem (the one they sent me was useless) and got a PX compact bar...which gives me comfort and correct posture.

    but i guess that has compromised on efficiency and power delivery?

    I am getting a smaller frame for my chinese carbon
    Road - Cannondale CAAD 8 - 7.8kg
    Road - Chinese Carbon Diablo - 6.4kg
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    As noted the order of fit is pedal-to-saddle then saddle-to-bars. See this fit guide.
    You don't adjust the saddle for your reach; get a shorter stem.
    If you are still too short, you need a shorter top tube. You can also get short-reach bars (see 3TTT)
    You may be able to find a short top tube by looking around at different brands or sizes or going for a differently-gendered bike.

    Inline seatposts are useful if your ratio of upper leg/lower leg is unusual, ie a short femur and long shank.
  • crankycrank
    crankycrank Posts: 1,830
    Agree with the others. Your saddle position is the center of your bike fitting universe. Height and setback, get it set correctly and then find a frame that will fit the rest of your position based on where your saddle is. With so many styles of frames out there these days you should be able to find something to fit your position and style of riding.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Your seat position should also reflect your optimum pedalling position - if you're a spinner, a saddle forward of the norm may help produce optimum power whereas a grinder or someone with strong quads can push the seat back to more effectively engage the quads and the glutes. Therefore, if you want to make the most of your bike position, then concentrating on developing a fluid, high cadence pedal style will help. The important thing is to develop a pedalling style that is most effecient for you. Fausto Coppi had long legs and a short torso - it didn't hold him back!
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • when I am going up the hill or trying to go fast I tend to sit further back on the seat. But I am happen to.maintain speed in a more forward sat position.

    I find sitting further back I can crank out.more power. Which is why I am.asking this. I think the answers it. Atm I got some scope to.move the seat further back and not compromising the reach as I have opted for very short reach setup so I can play around with it a bit.

    Shall I go back my bike fitter and get him to.sort me out again?
    Road - Cannondale CAAD 8 - 7.8kg
    Road - Chinese Carbon Diablo - 6.4kg
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Accept that you don't have much frame choice - you need sportive frames with more than averagely short frames and tall head tubes (even for Sportive bikes). At the cheaper end, the Ribble Gran Fondo worked for me. Another decent fit was the Scott CR1. There are more about but don't always expect your favourite brands to provide anything for you.

    The only real compromise you are likely to be stuck with is that eventually you get to a point where your bars end up less than ideally close to the bottom bracket - which can make an ideal fit impossible as bringing the bars ideally close can mean that your knees clash with the bars when pedalling out of the saddle.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • mike6
    mike6 Posts: 1,199
    I wouldn't worry too much about it. Fausto Coppi was all legs and hardly any torso, didn't do him any harm. His bikes would have been made to measure though, you could try that route.
    Having said that, I am small, so I buy frames slightly too small and use very short stems so I can get the layback on my saddle.
  • styxd
    styxd Posts: 3,234
    Get some short reach bars like Pro PLT's (70mm I think) and SRAM hoods are much "shorter" than Shimano ones, so could be worth opting for sram over shimano.

    Also, sliding your saddle back doesnt necessarily mean your reach will be longer. It sometimes means you can bend your back more which means you can get lower down. Give it a go. One thing to remember though, if you slide your saddle right back, you'll probably have to drop your saddle slightly as well.