An unconventional solution to saddle discomfort.

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Randyforriding, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Randyforriding

    Randyforriding New Member

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    If you've read my other posts, you know that I've been riding for a very long time. I am now relatively free of saddle discomfort. It wasn't always so. For a number of years I had a real problem with saddle discomfort. It was so bad, I considered getting out of cycling. I tried different angles of saddle tilt. I have a whole room full of saddles that didn't help. Then a friend, one obviously smarter than me, suggested I try to remember when the discomfort first started and what had changed.
    Two things had changed. I got a new custom bike (not my Davidson) and I got a copy of Greg LeMond's Complete Book of Bicycling. Greg advocates a very stretched out riding position and a pushed back seat position. This was very different from my previous riding position.
    The first part of the solution most of you will agree with. Raise the bars a bit. I'm goinjg to get some resistance with the second part because it goes against what we've all been taught. Shorten the distance between the seat and the bars.
    Here is my theory on what is happening. Actually it is more than a theory because I know it is what was happening with me. Because I was having to stretch to reach the bars, I was sliding forward onto the nose of the saddle. Instead of sitting on the wide part of the saddle, I was sitting on the nose.
    So, I shortened the stem a couple centimeters and moved the seat forward a couple centimeters and the difference was dramatic. The saddle certainly does matter.The saddles I prefer don't have a dip in them (looking from the side) and are fairly flat on top (looking from the front or back). I now use a carpenters level to make sure the saddle is level. A also think your weight can play a role.
    I hope this helps someone out there.
    Randy
     
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  2. Eichers

    Eichers New Member

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    Hi Randyforriding, I shorten the distance between the seat and the bars, by reducing setback (to almost zero) and using an 80 mm stem. I do not need to raise the bar by reversing the stem. Doing this should stop you moving yourself forward on your seat to take the pressure of arms, elbows, shoulders, and neck. I actually like my seat slightly nose down ... just a little :)

    What you have done is all good and will hopefully allow you to choose the correct seat(s) for you ... and you have roomful to retry :)

    Another way you can achieve this is by using a smaller frame, which will have a shorter top tube ie shorter distance between the seat and handlebar :)

    Remember, comfort and fit is everything :)
     
  3. Randyforriding

    Randyforriding New Member

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    Whenever I look at frames, I now check to see that the top tube isn't too long. I have to be careful, though. With my big feet, toe overlap with the front wheel can be an issue. A little bit is hard for me to avoid, but a lot can be pretty anoying if not dangerous. The other day I had to make a left turn after unclipping. I got my foot jammed against my front tire. I was pretty much stuck for several seconds while I tried to get free. You might think this is impossible, but I swear it happened and I'm no novice.
    Randy
     
  4. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    You mean the correct way.

    Adjusting reach using the saddle fore/aft is a compromise. Of course we have to deal with the tools available to us but the saddle position should ideally be determined by the relationship between legs, hips, and pedals. Shortening the stem and/or top tube is the appropriate solution. I find the further back I am on the saddle I can actually get lower and be more stretched out more comfortably - the angle of my hips performs somewhat like a counterbalance in relation to the weight on my hand and wrists.

    Btw Randy. I've had toe overlap on almost every single bike I've owned over the last three decades. Toe overlap can be an issue but the only problems I've had were at parking lot speeds, but unlike fixed-gears at least we get to back pedal.
     
  5. Randyforriding

    Randyforriding New Member

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    The problem with this is you can run into problems with just shortening the stem and top tube. As I stated before, too short a top tube can create problems and too short a stem can create other problems, such as the bar being in your lap when standing. Sometimes moving the seat forward is the best solution. Despite all the literature to the contrary, I haven't seen much difference in performance. Remember, most time trial and triathlon bikes have the seat way forward and it doesn't seem to slow them down any. Moving your seat forward a couple centimeters will have little effect on performance. Being uncomfortable will.
     
  6. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Time trial bikes are ridden differently than road bikes. Ever try a 10 mile climb in a bike with a TT position? Even pros opt to use road bikes w/clip ons for these TT stages. The seat's position should ideally be determined as a relationship to ones pedals. After establishing appropriate seat height and fore/aft, every other aspect of fit should flow from that initial position. Some tweaking may of course be necessary.
     
  7. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. You can't compare saddle position on a road bike with saddle position on a TT bike. The rider positions are entirely different. With a saddle pushed forward from where it should be, you're not only going to rob yourself of power, you're also going to increase the weight on your shoulders/arms/hands and increase the strain on your neck and back. You might not notice the difference over a few miles, but on long rides and/or over weeks and months you likely see problems start to arise.
     
  8. Eichers

    Eichers New Member

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    Hi Randy, yes sometimes it's a compromise. For some a larger frame is necessary, due to back issues or other reasons, so fit/comfort need to be done via setback and stem length. Glad you found out how to improve your fit/comfort. Now you can choose a seat, from one of the many that you have, for fit/comfort :)
     
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