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Bike: saddle / ride position

PC67PC67 Posts: 101
Hi, I've just splashed out on a new racing bike for the Windsor & Dublin triathlons this year. I'm just over 6 feet 1, 185cm and bought a 58cm bike.

First thoughts are it's not as comfortable as my old bike. I feel I have to reach forward 2 or 3 more inches to reach the brake covers. I've altered the saddle so it's now in its forwardmost setting and this helps a bit.

Cyclingplus magazine recently reviewed the bike very favourably (Felt F75) and particularly singled it out as being good for tri, if I recall correctly they cited the handlebar position as being quite aggressive.

My instinct is to believe that having to reach a bit for the bars gets me further forward & down, into a more aero position. Therefore it's just a question of getting a bit more used to it.

However, I also have a problem with the seatpost. The bike comes with a carbon seatpost but if I'm to have the saddle at the height I prefer there is virtually none of the seatpost actually going into the downtube, maybe an inch (max) which I think must be dangerous. There's a "minimum" notch on the seatpost and I'm easily 3 inches below that.

Therefore as I think I need a new seatpost anyway, is there a tri-specific seatpost I can get that puts me a bit further forward into my "old" cycling position? Or does this defeat the purpose of the natural ride position of the bike?

I can't believe I got the wrong size bike (my old one was 57cm, this one 58cm and, as I said, I'm 185cm).

If Rob from wheelworx Dublin is looged on I would love to hear your thoughts as I know you do this professionally, but all comments & advice would be appreciated.


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    BarbsaramaBarbsarama Posts: 73
    [color=#cc3399]Hi - i've got a similar problem. Just bought a Giant TCR Once and i love it except i feel the seat is too low for me (handlebars feel great although could be a little short)... It looks like it is in the right place and I have tight thighs so had my old seat quite high (probably too high) but this really does feel like it needs to be a few centimeters higher... Can anyone describe how bent the knee should be when at the bottom of the cycle rotation?[/color]

    Thanks [:)]
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    JasonBJasonB Posts: 303
    I am the same. I was miss sold my bike about two years ago. I am 6ft with what is either a 58cm or 60cm bike.

    I felt lilke it was hard work reaching the bars. I eventually got a new seat stem which helped, and a shorter handlebar stem. So this helped also. Although I do feel my power ratio is reduced for some reason. Maybe this is my excuse for not being as fast as I used to be.

    I do want a new bike, but unfortunatley we are saving for a house which I have been told is vastly more important. She keeps this up, and she will be following my bike out the front door.

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    TTX PROTTX PRO Posts: 225
    ouch!Take it back.Thats bad.anyone who is 6ft tall i recommend around about a 56cm otherwise any higher woule get unstable a high speeds.
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    PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    Fair enough.

    Just to point out - it wasn't mis-sold, I actually looked up the sizing chart on wiggle which indicated to me that 58cm would be fine. I then bought it online for £200 cheaper elsewhere and the service was impeccable, my error.

    My previous bike was 57cm which was just fine so I felt 56cm may be on the small side.

    Damn it - was hoping to take it out to Windsor on Saturday to do the race bike route.
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    priceda1priceda1 Posts: 7
    Hi folks,

    Just to add more info on the subject (might not be of any use!!).

    I'm looking to buy my first bike and have been on the net and in shops looking for info on correct size, as i'm sure we all appriciate the stead is not cheap.

    I have been given two measurements (im 6'1'') and if I go for a compact frame i.e Giant SCR 2.0 then a 50cm is a perfect fit, however if I go for say a trek then 56cm is the way to go. As i'm new to all this my plan is to go for a bike fitting (more specific fittings do cost! but a rough guide is all good for me). then go on line and get the bike cheaper.

    Hope this helps or of interest
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    MikeyBMikeyB Posts: 135
    If you want a really well fitting bike then you need to go to a good bike shop and get properly measured, Then they will fit the bike to you, adjust the seat height, change the stem if needed and that sort of thing.

    Or you can do what I did and go to a shop where they stand you over the bike, say that looks about right, then send you on your way. I am still trying to get a really comfortable postion on the bike, and have had to change the stem etc at my own cost. Next time I am just going to pay the extra to a decent shop and get a properly fitted bike.


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    chrisygeechrisygee Posts: 4
    However, I also have a problem with the seatpost. The bike comes with a carbon seatpost but if I'm to have the saddle at the height I prefer there is virtually none of the seatpost actually going into the downtube, maybe an inch (max) which I think must be dangerous. There's a "minimum" notch on the seatpost and I'm easily 3 inches below that.

    Going back to your original post, and since nobody else has mentioned it - you mustn't ride this bike with only 1 inch of the seatpost in the downtube. The minimum mark is there for a reason, and if you ride this bike with only 1 inch in the downtube you run a significant risk of snapping it out.
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    PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    Thanks. I was worried about that so I bought a new seat post which is much longer.

    Also, I don't know the technical term, but the bit that attaches to the saddle is directly on top of the new post not set back behind. This has brought the saddle forward a bit & it all feels more comfortable.

    I reckon it's really just a question of getting used to a new bike. Just like getting new golf clubs, they feel a bit funny at first but after a while it's your old ones that'd feel odd.

    I didn't take it out this weekend, did 2 decent swims instead.

    Hampstead Heath Lido early on Saturday morning - good for the soul.
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    rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    If you're spending that much money on a bike, then please spend a little extra and get it fitted properly in a bike shop where they know how to fit you, especially if they will (a) listen to you and what feels comfortable to you and (b) be able to give you some triathlon-specific tips. It will take some time and cost a little, but it might make all the difference.

    There are a few things that are really biometrically important, like the position of your knee over your foot. I know that when your feet are in the "neutral" position (pedals are parallel to the ground and so your feet are completley flat, one in front and one in back), your front knee should be directly over the ball of your foot, to avoid straining your knees on each rotation. This really needs to be done with someone watching you and measuring the dimensions, because you can't really look down and see the correct position yourself. Of course, there are going to be variations (strength or weakness of your knees, pronation or supination of the knee joints, length of your thigh compared to length of your calves, leg weight, and even preference for more weight at the front or back of the stride, etc), which is why you need an experienced fitter who will listen to you and show you how to make slight adjustments when you leave the shop.

    Here is a good explanation, with some photos, of the standard positions:


    Here is a guy who goes on at great length (clearly a fellow American who I greatly admire and model my communications on) about all the variations to the "standard" measurements, if you really want exhaustive detail:


    All of which points to: go get yourself measured. A bike that you have already bought and doesn't fit you perfectly can still be adjusted to your measurements, within a margin of about 2-3 inches (some say more).
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    BarbsaramaBarbsarama Posts: 73
    [color=#cc3399]Very helpful post, thanks rpopper![/color]


    [color=#cc3399]I've just been out and bought myself a longer seat post as well. My thighs are thanking me for it but having reduced lactic acid build up and therefore less muscle soreness! What a treat [;)][/color]


    [color=#cc3399]I'm going to study those fitting instructions now to make sure my cleats are in the right place![/color]
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    wheelworxwheelworx Posts: 6
    Hi Pc67,

    I haven't been here for a while so apologies for not replying sooner.


    For tri you should usually be set up slightly shorter than for road, I ride a 56cm road bike and a 54 cm tri bike with a slightly longer stem.

    This has 2 effects:

    1 you aren't stretching so far to stay on the tribars, when you are overstretched you carry a lot of your weight on the triceps which are already fatigued from the swim so its uncomfortable and hard to stay there.

    2. It is also harder to steer/control the bike when you are overstretched.

    It is better to move the saddle forward rather than move the bars back

    1. When you are further forward (78-81 degree seat angle) you are using your running muscles too so when you get off to run you are warmed up and ready to go almost straight away, as opposed to 73 degrees which is the standard road bike position (Saddle back on the rails) you will only be using the quads and glutes, when you get off to run the blood is in the wrong muscles and the running muscles are cold one of the reasons for jelly legs on the run.

    2. When riding steeper triathletes will produce more power as they are using their (Usually) well developed running muscles aswell as their cycling muscles.

    3. If you have to shorten the stem you will affect the handling (this cant always be avoided) shorter stem = twitchier/more nervous handling, not good when you are trying to ride tri bars.

    A longer stem will slow down the steering making the bike more stable while on tri bars.

    4. If you are still too stretched try a Profile Design fast forward seatpost, not the prettiest piece of kit but it is very effective.

    The most common mistake I see in triathletes set up is saddle height, they usually have it too high.

    To get the correct height sit level on the saddle with your HEELS on the pedals and with the cranks in line with the seat tube the lower leg should be about 95-98% extended.

    You should not have to rock over to reach the lowest point of the pedal stroke. Overextension will lead to problems with hamstrings, itb, knees and you will produce LESS power.

    You will probably feel this is too low but stick with it you will go faster.

    Probably the best advice I can give you is get someone who knows and understands tri set up to do your position for you, this is easily as important as the fast new bike you just bought and will be a good investment. Contact a tri club in your area and get a recommendation for someone that knows what they are doing.

    Most importantly tri set up is very different to road bike set up, I often spend 1hr plus on a tri fitting as opposed to 10-15 minutes for road.

    I only came to appreciate the differences when I started riding tri bikes and racing myself. A regular bike shop wont know what they are looking for, go to a triathlon store.

    I hope this helps, see you in Dublin.

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    PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    Many thanks Rob.

    I changed the seatpost from one that places the saddle slightly back, to a straight up seat post, so my saddle is a bit further forward.

    That, plus just getting out on the bike to get used to it, makes me feel much more comfortable now.

    I did my first tri on the new bike 9 days ago and did the Windsor course (officially 42k, but really 41k) in 1:14 which is my best yet, so in all I'm much happer with the bike. I've even put the stem back in its origional flatter position and dropped the bars a little.

    As said above, I'm thinking of doing Dublin City in late August & may need a bike to save me the hassle of transporting my own over. Does Wheelworx do rentals? Our mutual friend Oran says he can get me a bike anyway so I should be OK.


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    wheelworxwheelworx Posts: 6
    Hey Peter,

    Glad to hear you are sorted, we have some rental bikes but they are only basic road models. Oran is going pretty well at the moment, I saw him racing recently. If he cant get you one give me a shout and I will make sure you are looked after, also if you decide to bring your own one I can have a look at your position when you are over.

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