Does this mean I need a shorter stem??

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 27 Jun 2008.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    I have been watching this video:

    In it he says that a guide to if the saddle is to far forward or back is when my lower leg is vertical above the pedal when the ball of my foot is on the pedal. I hav emy saddle moved as far forward as possible. When the middle of my foot is on the peddal my lower leg is straight, but with the ball of the foot on the pedal my lower leg is at an angle to the vertical line above the pedal. The height & angle of the saddle are fine.

    In order to get my lower leg in the vertical position like he says in the video, with the ball of my foot on the pedal, I have to slide right back on the saddle (almost off it).....then I am totally stretched and this leads me to think that I need a shorter stem perhaps....and adds to my belief that the LBS sold me a frame size to far.

    I looked at my stem ...erm...the one on the bike...and the only indication stamped on it said: is this a size code or something?
    ..any thoughts?
  2. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    I didn't quite gather what you were on about (!) but the knee above pedal spindle guideline, which is what I presume you were describing, works okay for me and seems a generally accepted roule of thumb.

    Stem length seems less agreed as it can be influenced by saddle height, flexibility, riding style etc. But I have always gone off setting the saddle correctly and then, when on the hoods (or drops, it doesn't seem to matter) seeing if my front hub is obscured by the bars.

    To a degree though it all comes down to what you think is comfortable. I seem to recall from another thread that you have done 5000 miles on this bike so if you still feel stretched out then you probably want a shorter stem.

    If it is of any help, I have a B17N on my bike and my nose of saddle to bars measurement is the distance from the end of my elbow to the tip of my fingers plus the width of about four fingers.

    From the
  3. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    I have just checked out the link. He doesn't say anything about getting your lower leg vertical (this would be impossible unless you put your heel on the pedal!!).

    He goes with the knee (the top of your shin bone just below your patella is what is normally used) being directly above the pedal spindle when the pedal is in the 3 o clock position. You can check this with a plumb line.

    Are you sure you have understood the website correctly? Or perhaps I haven't understood you correctly?
  4. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Mine is exactly from the tip of my elbow to the tip of my middle finger (i.e n extra width of 4 fingers)...

    ...I did understand the website correctly, I probably just did my usual bad job of describing things though...sorry.
  5. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    Is that actually to the handlebars or to the top of the headset?

    Funnily enough I have seen others on here suggest one foerarm length as being the optimum setting (way too short for me personally)!

    Is the arms length measurement before or after you slid the saddle back? If before then I recommend you move the saddle back in line with the tutorial to get an optimum pedalling technique.

    If it is after sliding the saddle back then I personally don't think you need a shorter stem.
  6. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Sounds like your frame is slightly too large for you, what size is it?
  7. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    Out of interest, on what do you base that?

    If I understand his original post correctly, he has the saddle right forward on the rails. This results in his saddle nose being quite close to his bars (probably at the lower limit fo what is generally accepted as normal).

    To position his knee correctly above the pedal results in him sitting so far back on his saddle that he alsmost goes off ther back. Of course this means that he should move his saddle back as it is in the wrong position.

    If he moves the saddle back (as he should by the way) then he feels stretched out. Well obviously he will feel stretched out as he will now be further from the bars than he is used to. That doesn't mean that his stem is too long, and it doesn't immediately suggest to me that his bike is too large either (although I know BTFB thinks it might be from a previous thread).

    If, by moving the saddle backwards to the correct position, his bars obstruct his view of his front hub then I would say that his setup is approximately correct regardless of whether he feels strecthed. Putting a few miles in on the new setup will probably see him getting used to it. On the other hand, after setting his saddle correctly, if he feels that his stem is too long then he can buy a shorter stem. Unless he feels he needs a ridiculously short stem then I don't see his bike frame is necessarily the wrong size.

    Setting the saddle in the correct postion relative to the cranks is (IMO) critical before even considering whether anything else is the correct size. It sounds like BTFBs saddle needs to go back. Interesting Paul Hewitt whose bike fitting skills seem to lead him to being viewed as a demi god on this forum was quoted a while ago saying that by far the most common setup problem that people had when they came to his bike fitting sessions was that they had their saddles too far forward.
  8. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Ok thanks...most helpful Ta.

    riding position clearer than words. The saddle feels comfy like this but I feel the bars a re a long way away.

    The 'reach' from the saddle tip to the front (far) edge of the bars is the tip of my elbow to the tip of my middle finger plus four finger widths now.
  9. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
    As your arms are nearly straight then you clearly want to sit more upright. A shorter stem and if possible raising the bars a little bit more will help.

    However, consdering you're on the drops / hoods it doesn't look to bad.
  10. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    'The 'reach' from the saddle tip to the front (far) edge of the bars is the tip of my elbow to the tip of my middle finger plus four finger widths now.'

    Big, I thought its goes like this:

    Place the elbow in front of the saddle and the longest finger on your hand should touch the back of the stem !

    But obviously 'feel' is a factor.

    You look ok Big, but its up to you !
  11. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Which bit is the "back of the stem"?

    As for the "as long as the handlebars obscure the hub the size is right rule", it doesn't always work that way: I had a bike that was way too large for me, but because I was leaning over so much, the hubs were still obscured, it just happened to be very uncomfortable and felt like I had no control over the bike, especially going downhill....
  12. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    Just imagine if you where to 'slip off' the saddle and slam into the stem: well thats the back of the stem!
  13. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Thanks, don't need to imagine that - been there and done it! ;)
  14. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    I was thinking of how to describe 'the back of the stem' and that was pretty good graphical :thumbsdown:
  15. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    I know, it just happened to bring back painful memories!!! xx(
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