Bike fit - forward, back, consequences?

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by smiorgan, 2 Aug 2007.

  1. smiorgan

    smiorgan New Member

    Question for y'all:

    I'm in the market for new stem + bars + seatpost on my road bike. My Planet X team saddle has lovely long rails, but currently as far forward as I'd want with the 140mm stem, and that's still a bit of a stretch. I'm considering my options as either
    (a) go for a conservative change (say 120mm) and keep the saddle far forward in the (current or new) setback seatpost
    (;) go for something more radical (100mm?) and move the saddle back a bit
    (c) splash out on a non-setback seatpost and keep the current stem and bars, to move it even further forward.

    What I'm after are the consequences of each option - your thoughts, opinions, experience? Cheers

    (incidentally I plugged my body dimensions into the road bike fit calculator - and according to the results my effective TT + stem length is a bit too long in all 3 of their fit styles. Of course I'm taking the results with a pinch of salt as the bike's still more or less fine to ride!)
  2. Pirahna

    Pirahna New Member

    Using saddle position to get a comfy fit with the bars and stem is a big no.

    Do a bit of Googling and there is lots of stuff on bike fit and how to get correct saddle position. Once you've got that sorted then choose a stem length.

    If you're buying bars have a look on the various manufacturers websites. Different bars have different dimensions and the reach to the lever hoods can be very varied.
  3. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Bury, Lancashire
    Yes, I would get saddle position set up in terms of where you prefer to sit in relation to the bottom bracket first, then adjust stem etc from there. Don't change the saddle fore/aft position at all, unless it isn't correct in the first place as your knees and back could suffer if it's not right. If you want short reach bars (so hoods are closer to you) and/or shallow drop bars, have a look at some Bontrager ones. They do various shapes and sizes. lf reach to brake levers is a problem you can get small plastic shims that fit between the lever and the hood on Shimano STIs. I use them and find them great. They bring the levers a few mm closer to your finger tips.
  4. 140mm sounds extremely long to me.
    Isn't the right way to do it to get the saddle position correct first and then choose a stem length. No wonder you're stretched with that much stem.
    The way I do it is to drop a plumb line off the front of the saddle. If the line goes through the middle of the bottom bracket, then the saddle is in the correct position. Then work on the reach that is right for you. Basically if you get any kind of lower back pain you're either too stretched or to hunched.
  5. OP

    smiorgan New Member

    Thanks all. Couldn't post due to filter at work. Have worked out my saddle position and waiting for new bars, stem and seatpost to arrive.

    Measured my ITM bars and compared to specs of other manufacturers - the reach and drop is huge, big for even my hands. Will see how the new bars fare.
  6. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    Without being able to check, I am pretty sure that the front of my saddle is well behind the bottom bracket. In any case this method would surely depend on the geometry of your frame?

    I use the knee over pedal spindle method for determining saddle fore / aft. Interestingly I read that the main problme Paul Hewitt finds when he does bike fitting is that people have their saddle too far forward (in his opinion).
  7. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    you could have your stem the other way round so it's pointing towards you.
  8. Mortiroloboy

    Mortiroloboy New Member

    Visit for your nearest participaing LBS for £35 they will measure your body dimensions which are then programmed into a computer linked to a university database in Holland (I think) they will then be able to fit you to your bike, by moving seat post up down adjusting length of stem, and rise /fall etc using a jig and computer software.

    The system allows for different riding style, i.e. sport racing, audaxing, commuting. I went with a bike which I thought was the right size, which I had tinkered with, only to be told I was on a bike one size too small for me. Adjustments were made, but the seed had been sowed and I was looking to change bikes anyway.

    I did buy a new bike, the beauty of the system is that once your stats are sorted, a good LBS like AW Cycles Caversham Reading from where i purchased my Wilier Mortirolo, will be able to direct you to a manufacturere whose geometry ( all manufactureres have slightly different variations in the geometry set ups) best suits your size/shape/style of riding. End result, you get a bike that is Millimetre perfect fit, well as near as, unless you go down the bespoke route.
  9. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    it sounds brill but I don't see any change from £150 on the site
  10. Mortiroloboy

    Mortiroloboy New Member

    Eh! Trust me it's £35 , and trust me again, it'll be the best £35 you ever spend on your bike, and what's more, if you do subsequently purchase a bike from the shop who measure you, they knock the £35 off the new bikes price, so you can't really go wrong, you will either have your old bike made to fit, or a new one, that is mm perfect.
  11. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Eh! Trust me it's £35 , and trust me again, it'll be the best £35 you ever spend on your bike, and what's more, if you do subsequently purchase a bike from the shop who measure you, they knock the £35 off the new bikes price, so you can't really go wrong, you will either have your old bike made to fit, or a new one, that is mm perfect.[/QUOTE]

    Totally agree.
    Had the same fitting (funnily enough in the same shop) for my TCR and it's absolutely cock-on.

    I would also agree with the quote from Paul Hewitt, seems to be a trend to have a more forward riding position/set-up on many bikes, fine for TT's or short races but hopelessly uncomfortable for any distance where sitting slightly further back is more conducive to all round use. No joy in aching hands, arms and shoulders. Furthermore, work done by the arms holding-up the torso is energy spent that is better used elsewhere.
  12. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    After putting my dimentions into competitivecyclist or whatever it comes up with something totally shorter than I've ever rode and would never even dream of riding !
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