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Saddle too low and forward to the BB?
Last Post 06/12/2021 10:25 AM by Franck A.. 6 Replies.
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huckleberry

Posts:824

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06/11/2021 02:08 PM
After a big birthday ride - the biggest for me in several years - 7K of gravel/dirt climbing and 5+ hours in the saddle, I noticed that everything felt pretty good except that my only fatigue was specific to the mid quad area, and sore the following days. The gravel bike saddle is 1cm closer to the BB than my other bikes and 5mm lower than the others. Feeling as if I had not fatigued the glutes or hamstrings, should I reassess the position and move the saddle back and raise it in an attempt to help my quad issue - or is it even an issue in your opinion, as this was merely a first real long ride in a while? Do you guys have all your bikes set up to the same exact setbacks, reaches, stacks, etc? Thanks!
Orange Crush

Posts:4499

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06/11/2021 03:11 PM
All of my bikes have different geometries, setback and stack will be different for sure. When I set up my bikes I basically just use two metrics: height of saddle above BB as measured along seat tube (affects pedal efficiency, knees etc.) and reach from tip of seat to handlebars (affects sitting on bike relaxed; not too stretched, not too compact). It's also the only two measures I ever give someone when I rent a bike. The rest is secondary if you're sufficiently limber (stretch!).

For me at least, when I have backpain (unrelated to cycling) it sometimes seems to extend to the quads. Given that gravel riding tends to be pretty hard on the back that is maybe something to look into. I think my position on gravel bike is a bit more relaxed (handlebars a bit higher than road bike) to relax back.

That is long way of saying I don't know and happy birthday.
huckleberry

Posts:824

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06/11/2021 03:37 PM
Thanks OC. I'm adopting your riding philosophy - just one long ride, but instead of per week, it will be per month.

I always do setback from BB, and height, but things got away from me as I have forgotten some bikes and tweaked others over the past year.

Orange Crush

Posts:4499

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06/11/2021 04:35 PM
Per month won't work and will likely create muscle or other issues. I am finding this every year. In August my ride frequency drops to less than once a week due to family vacations; every year I get muscle issues and it takes until sometime in fall when frequency goes up again to once a week to resolve them.
79pmooney

Posts:3180

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06/11/2021 06:02 PM
huck, I set my bikes up to have the same height center of BB to mid seat. (Mid seat - I just take a ruler and put a piece of tape halfway between nose and tail - this is going to roughly approximate where my hips sit better than measuring to the nose which can vary a lot saddle to saddle. Also saddle tip affects this measurement very little.) I set my position to have the same triangle of BB, seat and shoulders. I have drawings of the triangle locating the seat and handlebars relative to the BB. I draw a sloped line through the handlebars. A line of "slope" 2 cm horizontal to 1 cm of steerer height. ("Slope" because these are not at right angles but with quill stems, it makes things really easy and that line "slope" is right on for this body.) Locating the bars on this line, my shoulders stay in the same place with the same comfortable arm bend. Low and close - like a race bike but knees hit the bars out of the saddle or high and far forward - very comfortable on long climbs and fast upwind. Breathing, arm bend, back comfort; none of that changes. Both work all day. Now I do open up that triangle a bit for cruising by raising the line. If I still raced, the line (basically the quill stem height) would vary with conditioning and race type.

Now, I can move the seat back and lower, raise the bars and/or shorten the reach; ie raise that sloped line or rotate everything forward in the other direction and not change the triangle other than sitting back cruiser style of forward for go-fast/fix gear into the wind. (I cheat and do all this on a CAD drawing. Worked a contract job years ago that paid very well. Took those weeks of pay and bought the full AutoCAD. I now have to maintain a (semi DOS) dinosaur to run it but having that CAD is a joy! Buying a new bike? I go with a tape measure, come home and that night, draw it up and see what stem I need to make it work - before I go back and pay for it. And I know exactly what stem and seatpost the bike needs. Also the weight balance between the wheels.)

Huck - I have trouble seeing what I've written in these boxes. I'm gonna post and maybe tomorrow proofread my gibberish. Corrections/further explanation may follow.
Orange Crush

Posts:4499

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06/11/2021 09:32 PM
I actually just remembered you just need the one measurement which is saddle height from
BB. While I have the reach measure just putting an elbow in front of tip of seat and gauging how far handlebars are from tip of fingers works just as well. Tried and tested since I was 16. Hahaha.
eurochien

Posts:163

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06/12/2021 10:25 AM
I have 2 bikes one road one mtb and keep more or less the same measurements on both. I do move around (fore and aft) a bit and that does seem to bring some relief to either quads or hamstrings on long/hard rides.
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