Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 23

Thread: Saddle Fit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90

    Saddle Fit

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    So, this is probably more of a newbie question, but it keeps bothering me and neither my LBS nor my more experienced cycling friends have been able to help me.

    It's about the fit of my saddle. Since I purchased my bike, I've been gripping the handlebars like my life depended on it and for the first few rides, I accepted that as part of the transition from a hybrid to a road bike position. But even after a few rides under my belt, I still struggled to get my water bottle of the cage while riding and I could barely stretch up to straighten my back up because any of that movement would cause me to lean forward and feel like I was going head first.

    I took it to the LBS and told them about this and that I wanted my saddle nose titled up a bit. On my hybrid, I had to do that too and I figured that when the LBS fitted me, they didn't know how my hip/pelvic area was and I didn't know any better to remember that I had done that to my hybrid.

    So, they tilted it a little higher. It got a lot better. I could now let go of the handlebars and drink out of my bottle, but I still felt like I needed to tilt it higher. I was still gripping the handlebars too hard and it really was no longer because of fear or being uncomfortable on this type of bike.

    I brought my bike to get maintained and I asked them to tilt up the saddle.

    The LBS fitter asked "Where do you sit?"

    I didn't know how to answer that question. I said, "Uh... on my sitz bones? What do you mean?"

    He then pulled out a level and placed on my saddle. It's a Riva saddle that came with my Dolce Comp Sport. It curves up in the back and has a canal in the middle with a hole in the center and the nose is closed off. (It kind of looks like this one, but in white: http://roysbikes.com/images/library/...k_155_12_m.jpg)

    Anyway, he placed the level on the higher end of the saddle and then rested the other side on the nose. Obviously, at that angle, the seat wasn't level. He then took the level and placed it in the canal in the middle of the seat, mumbled some things and wrote down that I wanted my seat titled and told me to come back to pick up the bike in a few days after they did general maintenance on it.

    I picked it up, the seat looked like it hadn't moved and I didn't ride it in the parking lot because I had to head home. I've ridden it now a few more times with the saddle, but I still feel like I'm slipping forward on the saddle and the longer I ride, the more annoying this becomes. I just did over 50 miles on Sunday and my hands were getting numb after mile 20 because I had to keep pushing myself off the handlebars.

    The question now is...

    Is it the saddle in general?

    Is it my pelvic region/sitz bones?

    Is it my fit?

    Is it the bike, rather than the saddle?

    I also do Pilates on days I don't spin/ride and I know about the c-curve and using that on the bike to hold myself up, but I can't hold a c-curve on this saddle without slipping forward. I don't know if this is weak abs (which I doubt, since I've been doing pilates for YEARS) or it's the saddle.

    I just adjusted the nose up (using a similar level to the one the bike shop used) and this time, I kept the level in the canal and tilted the nose up until it was level. If I had used the saddle back where the sitzbones should rest, the nose would have been even higher and I didn't want to go that high.

    I'll ride the bike around the block to test it, but I also wanted to ask here because I just don't know if this is MY issue (i.e. weak abs or something) or if this is a question of the nose being higher and my LBS was just scared to tilt it up too high (and if so, why wouldn't they tilt it higher?).

    Any advice/help is appreciated and sorry for the book!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    I'm thinking the fitter is not very good, if he didn't actually see you on the bike before or after you requested the adjustment.

    The only reason not to tilt the nose too high is that it would cause discomfort.

    Did you have a fitting when you bought the bike?

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,565
    There are a couple of reasons you may be struggling with this and what ny biker said about it not sounding like a good fit since he didn't actually watch you on the bike is true.

    1) It may just be the saddle and the back portion of the saddle may be angled too much downward for you, so you feel the need to compensate by tipping the nose up. If the nose goes up too much, you will start having issues around your pubic bone so it's not the best solution. What you might like to do is try a flatter profile saddle. Or, you could even take the saddle off of your hybrid and put it on your road bike just to see what kind of difference it makes. It is really unusual for people to be happy (especially women) with the stock saddle that comes with the bike.

    2) There may be a problem with your reach to the handle bars. You might be reaching too far. So you may want to try to move the saddle forward slightly. Having said that, if reach is the problem, you need a proper fit because the right answer for you may be to move the handlebars closer to you as opposed to moving the saddle.

    When your saddle position and fit is right, you should be able to ride while "piano playing" on your handlebars, what I mean by this is that your finger tips are on the handle bars and your taping them like your playing a piano. If you can't do that, something is wrong.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    I'm with Wahine on the second point, because I had similar issues with a death grip. Are you getting back, shoulder or neck pain? Get a proper fitting. You might need a shorter stem. I will say that some of my death grip issues were solved with a new saddle--the one I got to replace the stock saddle was bad and I ended up doing some very strange things to compensate. But I still need a shorter stem.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I'm thinking the fitter is not very good, if he didn't actually see you on the bike before or after you requested the adjustment.

    The only reason not to tilt the nose too high is that it would cause discomfort.

    Did you have a fitting when you bought the bike?
    Well, the person who fit me (someone else) walked by and the person that was helping me gave him A Look and said in code, "She is asking for her nose to be tilted."

    But he never saw me on the bike after making that comment.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    1) It may just be the saddle and the back portion of the saddle may be angled too much downward for you, so you feel the need to compensate by tipping the nose up. If the nose goes up too much, you will start having issues around your pubic bone so it's not the best solution. What you might like to do is try a flatter profile saddle. Or, you could even take the saddle off of your hybrid and put it on your road bike just to see what kind of difference it makes. It is really unusual for people to be happy (especially women) with the stock saddle that comes with the bike.
    Ah, good to know. I don't like my hybrid saddle either, but if it's normal not to like the stock saddle, then I may invest in a new one, because I really don't like how I'm sitting on the bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    2) There may be a problem with your reach to the handle bars. You might be reaching too far. So you may want to try to move the saddle forward slightly. Having said that, if reach is the problem, you need a proper fit because the right answer for you may be to move the handlebars closer to you as opposed to moving the saddle.

    When your saddle position and fit is right, you should be able to ride while "piano playing" on your handlebars, what I mean by this is that your finger tips are on the handle bars and your taping them like your playing a piano. If you can't do that, something is wrong.
    I can't play the piano on those handlebars. I had heard about being able to do that in a spinning bike (where I ride) and I can do that on the bikes there. I can't do that on my own bike.

    *sigh* I'm going to have to take the bike back and ask to be fitted better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Short stem and a real bike fitting at a different shop. The fitting should take some time...

    Did they get all your body measurements?

    Someone on TE might know a good fitter in your area.
    Yes, the story behind this is that I went to a bike shop that's close to my house because I liked their people better than some of the other shops that I know around here. I figured I would go to the STORE/People rather than the brand of bike they are selling. This store only sells Specialized and Cannondales.

    I was measured, using this contraption that theoretically measured my inseam, and they took measurements of my arms and outside legs. When I got my size, I tried a couple of bikes and settled on this one because it was so much better than the hybrid I have (lighter and smaller and I felt "safer" like I could actually handle the bike -- I do think my hybrid is too big).

    When the bike came in, they put it on a trainer, I sat on it in my riding shorts, and the original fitter watched me and lifted the seat, taught me how to change the gears, and then once that was done and I was comfortable on the bike, I went to the parking lot and rode it there.

    Like I said, at first, I thought my death grip was just because I was new on a road bike.

    But, YES, my shoulders are killing me today after the ride yesterday and they usually hurt after these rides. But I didn't know if that was "normal" or if it's the fit of the bike.

    Now that you are all saying it might be the fit --- whether it's the bad saddle, too far handlebars or just general poor fit -- I'm going to have to go back.... I bought this brand new rather than on Craiglists or similar because I wanted the fit part to be right!

    I really hope that it's not intentional that I didn't get a good fit, but rather that it's normal that I have to go back, right? I would hate to think the person that helped me wasn't doing his job... grrrrrr....
    Last edited by Gypsy; 01-23-2012 at 02:15 PM. Reason: Lots of typos, it's the end of a monday....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    I really hope that it's not intentional that I didn't get a good fit, but rather that it's normal that I have to go back, right? I would hate to think the person that helped me wasn't doing his job... grrrrrr....
    Well, some fitters are certainly better than others. But it's probably pretty common for people to have to go back for fit adjustments, especially for your first road bike. I think it's hard for you to give them all the necessary feedback about how you feel when you're not entirely sure how you're supposed to feel on a different type of bicycle. Also people are different in terms of their flexibility and how aggressive they want their position to be, which can have an effect.

    When I got my first road bike, I went back numerous times over several years for fit adjustments, including a couple of stem changes and changes to the handlebar tilt. I reached the point where I was able to ride without much discomfort, except for very long rides and rides where I was really tense and gripping the bars tightly (usually when riding in heavy traffic).

    One day I needed a check on my saddle position (I think I was buying a new one). By this time, I was working with a different fitter due to personnel changes at the LBS. He told me I'd be more comfortable on a bike with a shorter top tube, because I was hunching my shoulders and we were already using the shortest stem available. It turned out that he was right. But when I bought the current bike, he checked to make sure stock stem was a good length at the same time he made sure the saddle was positioned right.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    212
    My first thoughts when reading your original post. Not necessarily these and likely not all of them may be issues

    1. Saddle too far forward on its rails.
    2. Specialized states to level their BG saddles via the center not from end to end. As an example, we use an 8cm spirit level on BG saddles and set it in the center.
    3. Bars too low. A rough estimate for a new to moderately new road rider would be about 3 to 4 cm drop from saddle top to bar top.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Great website Muirenn. I met Paul Swift of BikeFit the other day. Sincerely a good guy although a bit "rough around the edges." He knows his stuff.
    Last edited by Seajay; 01-23-2012 at 05:02 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Thank you again. I'm going to go back to the LBS and let them know what I'm feeling when I do my rides and see what adjustments they make.

    The article was great, lots of insight on where the "fit" really lays and I'm looking forward to getting this bike to fit well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    243
    I had the same problem on my road bike. It was not the bike or the fitting, it was just the way I held my body. When you get tired you naturally lean on the bars. When you stand on hills how do you feel? The saddle should be right below you butt. I also found that where you sit on the saddle makes a big difference. Good luck fitting the bike.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    UPDATE:

    I went to the store today to see what they could do.

    So, this is where I get mad at myself for not knowing any better () and I know this is an issue with newbies in general, so I'm posting it so that others can maybe learn from my mistakes.

    I arrive at the shop to get the bike fitted again and the original person that helped me (let's call him H) was there and had been pre-warned about what I wanted (I called earlier and told them that I wanted to come in because I wanted to make sure they were not swamped).

    I explained to him my situation and he looked at the saddle I had adjusted on my own and he told me that there was little that he could do really, because in order to do a fit, I needed to go to their other shop (they have 2 locations in my city).

    I was like, "huh?"

    He went on to explain that they sized me, but they didn't fit me. The sizing was making sure I had the right bike (like he explained, he has short legs, so he needs a smaller bike than his height would indicate) and that the seat and handlebars are "right" based on the that. He then said that people have one longer leg than the other, stronger backs or shorter arms and all of that was handled by a professional fitter.

    In the back of my head, I was wondering why I didn't ask if THAT came with the bike, before I purchased it?! I didn't think of asking, because I had just assumed.... I'm too new at this.

    He then reassured me the seat wasn't too high from the handlebars because he explained again that on his bike, there is quite a difference, but mine is pretty level to each other.

    Then, he went on to explain the whole core muscle and how you have to hold yourself up with your abs and your back and that's when I started to feel patronized, but I held back and just mentioned to him that I've been doing Pilates for years, so yes, I know about core strength and I explained how this was not about holding myself up, but rather I could not let go without feeling I was going to slip forward and out of my saddle.

    Another discussion about what meant -- he insisted on asking me if I had slipped and I told him I wouldn't let myself slip out because I didn't want to plant my face.

    *sigh*

    Anyway, he told me to change into my shorts and I did and he set up the bike on a trainer and after watching me, he switched the stem out and angled the handlebars in a different way which does feel better and closer to my body than before.

    He didn't touch my saddle, even though I had played with it, because he said it's about the pressure on the saddle and only I can feel that, he can't do anything about it.

    Then he had the mechanic tighten everything up again while I changed out of my shorts.

    So, I'm riding on Saturday (if the weather holds) and I'll find out of these changes really make a difference or not. I'm riding again another 50 miles on Sunday (regardless of weather!) and I'll find out then if really does make a difference.

    If not, then I guess I'm off to find out how much a fitting costs.

    I might not care as much (my friends don't seem to have the same problems I do with their bikes) except that as soon as I touched my bike to take it in, my body remembered the pain from Sunday and instantly reacted -- I felt it in my shoulders again! How amazing the human body/muscle memory/etc., can be.

    So, I do have to do something about it if this doesn't resolve it.

    Moral of the Story: Sizing and Fitting are not the same

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Quote Originally Posted by ladyicon View Post
    I had the same problem on my road bike. It was not the bike or the fitting, it was just the way I held my body. When you get tired you naturally lean on the bars. When you stand on hills how do you feel? The saddle should be right below you butt. I also found that where you sit on the saddle makes a big difference. Good luck fitting the bike.
    I live in pretty flat country, so not many hills and in the ones that we do have, I simply sit -- I don't stand. I have a friend who has been riding for ages who really believes you should sit and spin and not stand unless you absolutely have to, so we just gear down until we can go up spinning.

    When you said it was about how you held your body... can you explain more? I might be holding my body incorrectly too and just not know it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,565
    I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with this.

    I would call the other shop and tell them the *WHOLE* story, how many times you've been in etc, etc. Tell them you want a fitting but you don't really feel like you should have to pay for one since you just bought the bike from this other store. I don't know if they will give you a fitting without additional cost. But they might reduce the rate.

    I do bike fitting and I am repeatedly surprised by stories like this. It's ridiculous. There is definitely more that can be done with your fit. A good fitter will find the best position for your body and won't just to a fit by the numbers (which is really sizing as you've mentioned). And, a good fitter will be able to tell if your problem is related to the bike fit or more related to your own muscular limitations (which doesn't sound like a problem for you).
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    243

    Angry

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    I live in pretty flat country, so not many hills and in the ones that we do have, I simply sit -- I don't stand. I have a friend who has been riding for ages who really believes you should sit and spin and not stand unless you absolutely have to, so we just gear down until we can go up spinning.

    When you said it was about how you held your body... can you explain more? I might be holding my body incorrectly too and just not know it.
    Most of your weight should be on the saddle and pedals, you should be able to stay in riding position when you let go and not slip forward. I also am sorry you are having problems with this. It sound more like the fit is not correct for you and you need to get this fixed before a 50 mile ride.
    Did the person in the shop put a shorter stem on? Wish we could help.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with this.

    I would call the other shop and tell them the *WHOLE* story, how many times you've been in etc, etc. Tell them you want a fitting but you don't really feel like you should have to pay for one since you just bought the bike from this other store. I don't know if they will give you a fitting without additional cost. But they might reduce the rate.

    I do bike fitting and I am repeatedly surprised by stories like this. It's ridiculous. There is definitely more that can be done with your fit. A good fitter will find the best position for your body and won't just to a fit by the numbers (which is really sizing as you've mentioned). And, a good fitter will be able to tell if your problem is related to the bike fit or more related to your own muscular limitations (which doesn't sound like a problem for you).
    Thanks, I will do it. I'll ride this weekend and see what happens. I don't think I have time to get it set up between work tomorrow. I actually have meetings and work to do!

    I'll tell them the whole story. I have to be honest, I feel like I'm tattletaling on H, but I guess I have to focus on getting a better fit for myself, rather than protecting his feelings. Ayyyyy, I'm such a freaking girl sometimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyicon View Post
    Most of your weight should be on the saddle and pedals, you should be able to stay in riding position when you let go and not slip forward. I also am sorry you are having problems with this. It sound more like the fit is not correct for you and you need to get this fixed before a 50 mile ride.
    Did the person in the shop put a shorter stem on? Wish we could help.
    I can't let go of the handlebars, even in a quiet road with no cars, I slip forward.

    He took the stem and flipped it, which angled up the handlebars and then he tilted them a bit.

    I wish I could get help online too, I thought I had picked a good shop for this... Eh.

    I'll be calling to get fitted anyway, I'm planning on doing this sport for a long time so I can't let this stay uncomfortable, will never do the MS ride at this rate!!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    perpetual traveler
    Posts
    1,267
    When I bought my Trek Madone a fitting was including plus any necessary follow up adjustments. I ended up going in twice.

    When I bought my hybrid bike no fitting was included and no "sizing." That particular bike shop only did fitting for bikes costing a certain amount of money. I can't remember what the number was other than it was over $1000. At best, they did a quick seat adjustment. I had to pay to have that bike fitted (at a different shop). I paid $85. It took a couple of hours and included chopping my handlebars off by an inch.
    Trek Madone 4.7 WSD
    Cannondale Quick4
    1969 Schwinn Collegiate, original owner
    Terry Classic


    Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •