Stem flipping and fit advice needed.

OwenB Posts: 606
edited September 2013 in Road beginners
Hi I’m looking for a little advice on my bike setup. Basically I got a new Defy 1 in June and it felt great, I was riding an older Defy in XL (58.5) but always felt a bit stretched out on it so when I was able to buy new I went for a L (55.5) after a test ride as it felt a lot better to me.
Anyway since then I’ve developed a problem with my spinal (facet) joints which causes them to jam together and though it doesn’t affect my mobility too much it causes me some discomfort in my ribs and in turn I struggle to take deep breaths, particularly when I’m on my bike both in the drops and on the hoods.
To try and counter this yesterday I flipped the stem which did make a difference to my comfort in the rib area and I didn’t feel as much discomfort on the drops or hoods, however I then started suffering pain in my knees and that is my question, would flipping the stem show up other deficiencies in my set up? Before the stem was flipped I was happy with my saddle height and position on the rails, my legs haven’t grown any so I’m a little confused.
Am happy to play around with the set up and would love to pay out for a proper fit but there doesn’t seem to be anyone particularly local to me that provides this service and I’ve only got the bike as transport unfortunately.


  • diamonddog
    diamonddog Posts: 3,426
    Maybe move the saddle back a bit?
  • diamonddog
    diamonddog Posts: 3,426
    Sorry just to clarify, flipping the stem may have pushed your knees forward a little but no guarantees moving the saddle will work, worth a try though.
  • OwenB
    OwenB Posts: 606
    Thanks, I'll have a fiddle with the position tonight and see how I go, just didn't want to start moving everything left right and centre and then end up worse off if you know what I mean?
  • diamonddog
    diamonddog Posts: 3,426
    Make a mark on your saddle rails with masking tape so you can put it back to the same place if it doesn't work. I would try moving it back and forward but only by very small amounts. Good luck with it.
  • As well as looking at stem length so you aren't stretched out too much, try looking at the width of the bars.

    It's often an area thats overlooked, but if you get a wider bar fitted, it opens up the ribcage helping you breath easier (assuming you're not riding with your arms wide open) but just going up an inch wider on the bars makes a difference in comfort/breathing.
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    Flipping the stem increases bar height but reduces the reach a bit this will affect your riding position but how much varies from person to person.

    As a starting point for getting the saddle forward / backwards position correct look up KOPS. It's only a guide but a helpful one. After using it I moved my saddle forward a bit which made my riding position more comfortable and my speed improved. This could take the strain off your knees.

    Other things to check are the saddle is level and to make sure your saddle is high enough. A very low saddle puts extra strain on your knees. But it is best to be a bit too low than a bit too high.