Saddle position question

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by nssane, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. nssane

    nssane New Member

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    I have read on the forum several times that posterior knee pain can be attributted to a high saddle position and anterior knee pain to a low saddle position. The question is: Is there a gerneral rule of thumb that applies to fore and aft positioning of the saddle with regards to knee pain?
     
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  2. Mansmind

    Mansmind New Member

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    When the pedals are in the 3 o'clock position. You should be able to drop a line from the front of your knee that intersects the axis of the pedal under the ball of your foot. In general, this is the "optimal" fore/aft position of the seat.

    You didn't ask about seat height, but a good rule of thumb is that when the pedal is in the 6 o'clock position, you should be able to put the HEEL of your foot on the pedal when the leg is straight. This in turn puts you in the position of your knee being slightly bent at the 6 o'clock position when you're on the pedals as you would normally ride (ball of foot on the pedal). If you're using clipless, obviously you need to do this clipped in as opposed to normal shoes/shoes off as there is some height associated with the clips themselves.

    John
     
  3. nssane

    nssane New Member

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    I appreciate the advise on how to set things up. However, I was looking for wether or not being too far forward or backward has a negative effect on the knees or not, such as seat height does.

    Thanks again




     
  4. Gad86

    Gad86 New Member

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  5. old&slow

    old&slow New Member

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    Yes, it could do so but probably only at extremes. Be very careful of rigidly sticking to the set-up 'standards' many will talk about. Proper bike fit, and particularly seat set-back, is about tuning the bike to your body's functional capability. The extreme majority of people (I'm talking road racing here) will be better off with the front of knee behind the pedal spindle. Often this may be as much as 20mm. Similarly, the cleat position you use, because it affects the functional 'lever length' applied by your foot, is just as critical. Study some photos of Pros and, ignoring the large seat/bar height discrepancy they can get away with, you'll see that none of them are anywhere near the mythical knee over spindle standard. All other things being equal, the higher and further back you can sit, the more power you will generate. The catch is finding the extreme which your physiology can live with in not stressing any one muscle group and which your age/flexibility can allow you to pedal comfortably. No easy task to get it right but play with it - in small increments - and you'll see benefits. I guess the easy route is to get a pro fit by someone who examines your functional capability and not just some standard formula. Remember, even then, that as you age or get injuries etc your functional abilities change and you should try to be alert to what your body tells you (pain, reducing strength etc) and adjust accordingly.
     
  6. franco1

    franco1 New Member

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    I've recently hurt my right knee to the state that from the middle of the quad to the middle of my shin including my knee is bruised.

    I trained hard last week doing lots of intervals and hill work. Then on Thursday night I changed my seat and on Friday night my knee was hurting. Now I dont know if it was the change of position or the over training.

    I think it could be chondromalacia?

    Any suggestions and how long can I start training once the swelling has gone down?
     
  7. chadbutts

    chadbutts New Member

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    I think you have a few to many variables in the equation to determine what the problem is. Why not move the saddle back to its origional position until you heal from the injury and then try and make some changes to position?
    Chondromalacia generally takes a while to develop, how long have you been cycling?
     
  8. packmagician

    packmagician New Member

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    I do not think that fore/aft saddle positioning (within reason) would contribute significantly to knee pain. Saddle height issues will cause knee pain if the saddle is extremely high or extremely low, particularly if you are mashing very large gears at low cadence with a very low saddle position. Fore/aft positioning is more likely to contribute to hand and shoulder pain, and to a lesser extent, back and crotch issues if positioning is really out of whack. All of these positioning issues will be different depending on whether you are talking about a time trial bike to be used for relatively short races or a regular road bike to be used for much longer races. Other variables that will affect all of this are foot length, tibia vs. femur length, and crank arm length. If it's a longstanding problem, it would be advisible to visit a bike shop with someone who is experienced with setting up bike position for bike racers. It may cost a little bit but will save you a lot of useless experimentation (and perhaps pain).
     
  9. Gad86

    Gad86 New Member

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    packmagician is right but one fact on the saddle position is sure : never lock your knee , the saddle have to be low enough that your leg wont be straight.

    i recommend you to advice a sport doctor to avoid future tragedies.

    take care
     
  10. franco1

    franco1 New Member

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    Hi Chad

    Thanks for the reply, I've been cycling competatively since 1987. I've got two Giant bicycles and the one that I train with was set up defferently where as the seat heights are the same but the seat was 15mm more forward. So now when I put the new seat on my race bike I moved it 10mm forward.

    But also what could also be the problem is the fact that I've been doing 2 x 1.5hrs of training per day on my wind trainer. Of which I would do 6x5min intervals in the am then do the same at night but with added resistance and cadence of about 65-70rpm. Basically hill rep's.

    So it could also be the extra training, and the pressure on the knees.

    I've been taking anti-inflamatories now for 3days and putting anti-inflamatory gels on it and ice it at night. The swelling has almost gone and the the brusing too. I think I might ride tommorrow morning for 30min with NO resistance at 70-80rpm. I need to race and do some serious milage this weekend.

    Do you think it will be fine by then?
     
  11. chadbutts

    chadbutts New Member

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    I think it may take some time and is hard to tell. I would not do any more of that training until it subsides though and continue to ice, elevate, and NSAIDS. I would try 2 days of 30min easy pedaling followed by 15 min of ice right after and later at night. If it seems to be getting better do that until the race. If not, stop everything, continue the therapy and question the racing. As long as the swelling is not too bad don't put the cream on it, chances are it does not do any good anyway.
     
  12. franco1

    franco1 New Member

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    Thanks I'll start doing that tonight or tom morning. This weekends race isn't important but the milage is important as there is an important race which I want to do well at on the 21/11.
     
  13. franco1

    franco1 New Member

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    I have to agree with you. My distance between the knee and the axle was about 20mm behind the axle and I moved it forward as to the "set up rules" and not only could'nt I climb (seated) or spin the gears, but I started getting knee problems as you can see on the one post I posted.

    And thanks to Chad I started ride on the wind trainer as he said and hopefully I will be racing again this weekend. Also I've taken all the sizes required as the programm requires on the "wrenchsize" website and see how it ties up with the "standards" and to my settings.
     
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