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Saddle Setback Woes

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Saddle Setback Woes

Old 07-15-21, 02:44 PM
  #1  
Sojodave
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Saddle Setback Woes

I need help with saddle setback and I'm starting to chase my tail. For some background info, I'm 6'4", 200ish lbs with a 36" inseam and a long torso. I ride a 61 Specialized Roubaix Pro that I started riding in March. I had a bike fit on my old bike and the fitter told me I needed a 102mm setback on a Power Saddle. When I first got my bike, I had a CG-R seat post that has a 25mm setback and I couldn't get to 102mm setback on a Power saddle. I tried a 0 setback seat post and at 102mm, it felt uncomfortable with a lot of pressure on my hands. I tried changing stem length, it didn't work. I did a balance test, I felt the most comfortable with the saddle setback at 120mm. I set my saddle at that point and did 25-mile ride on three consecutive days and I thought I was golden. I had an event that was 103 miles ride and after 20 miles, my bum was KILLING ME and I suffered the rest of the ride. I'm not sure what to do now.

Here are my questions:
1. If I changed the saddle to a longer saddle than a Power (240mm), would that change saddle setback or would it be roughly the same? As an example, if I got a 270mm saddle, would that add or subtract from my setback?
2. I'm now confused about what setback I need on my seat post. At 0 setback, the 102mm would work, 120mm, an 18mm setback would work, 120+ the CG-R seat post would work.
3. Should I stick to my balance test or KOPS, or what my bike fitter told me I needed on my old bike or should I just eyeball it?
4. I got in three rides before the 103-mile ride with that saddle setback at 120mm, should I keep it at 120mm and see if I get used to it?
5. Should I burn my Power saddle in a volcano and get a longer-nose saddle?

Last edited by Sojodave; 07-15-21 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 07-17-21, 06:32 PM
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This might all depend on rail length and position. Measure where your butt goes on your current saddle when it's in the correct position for balance. See where your butt position is w/r to the rails and the stem. Then go look at conventional saddles in profile and see if it looks like that same butt position could be attained with the seatpost clamp in a decent spot on those rails. If it looks good, try that saddle on the bike, going by butt position from stem only. Ignore the nose to BB distance.

Could be lots of other things, specifically saddle height and angle, butt conditioning. shorts and pad, not standing enough, etc.
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Old 07-18-21, 11:43 AM
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Is the fitter someone you can go back and talk to about stuff? If the fitter knows their stuff, then they'll have the best set of knowledge on the if's and's and but's you haven't disclosed to us or described in ways we fully understand. So I'd be asking them as well as considering anything here and elsewhere.

I don't know where the measurements you are giving are from and to. Nose of the saddle?(how long is the nose?) Where you think you sit? I'd just move it a little and try a few rides. Might change it while riding on a long ride. Forward or back? Well I'd go in one direction till it either was perfect or way too far. If I didn't find perfection, I'd try the other direction.

What's hurting in your hands that you say have too much weight on them?

My previous bike and my new bike both had 42 cm wide bars on them that is the generally accepted width for my shoulder width. My Raleigh and bikes before it had narrower bars, 38 cm or so. I was getting a lot of wrist numbness with the 42's as on longer rides, my wrist bent inwards and I didn't hold them straight. So I put 38 cm bars on that bike and now my wrist stay straight and no more wrist numbness on long rides.

If you have a pain in the center of your palm, then for one thing you need to be switching up hand positions. Drops are by far the most comfortable hand position for me, but I tend to ride on the hoods a lot. So I'm still adjusting. I've got a 70 cm stem coming to try instead of the 100 cm stem.

Maybe your bike shop or fitter has a used stem you can try out before purchasing a new stem.
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Old 10-16-21, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Sojodave View Post
I need help with saddle setback and I'm starting to chase my tail. For some background info, I'm 6'4", 200ish lbs with a 36" inseam and a long torso. I ride a 61 Specialized Roubaix Pro that I started riding in March. I had a bike fit on my old bike and the fitter told me I needed a 102mm setback on a Power Saddle. When I first got my bike, I had a CG-R seat post that has a 25mm setback and I couldn't get to 102mm setback on a Power saddle. I tried a 0 setback seat post and at 102mm, it felt uncomfortable with a lot of pressure on my hands. I tried changing stem length, it didn't work. I did a balance test, I felt the most comfortable with the saddle setback at 120mm. I set my saddle at that point and did 25-mile ride on three consecutive days and I thought I was golden. I had an event that was 103 miles ride and after 20 miles, my bum was KILLING ME and I suffered the rest of the ride. I'm not sure what to do now.

Here are my questions:
1. If I changed the saddle to a longer saddle than a Power (240mm), would that change saddle setback or would it be roughly the same? As an example, if I got a 270mm saddle, would that add or subtract from my setback?
2. I'm now confused about what setback I need on my seat post. At 0 setback, the 102mm would work, 120mm, an 18mm setback would work, 120+ the CG-R seat post would work.
3. Should I stick to my balance test or KOPS, or what my bike fitter told me I needed on my old bike or should I just eyeball it?
4. I got in three rides before the 103-mile ride with that saddle setback at 120mm, should I keep it at 120mm and see if I get used to it?
5. Should I burn my Power saddle in a volcano and get a longer-nose saddle?
Just to make sure I understand, you had a fitting on a different bike from your new Roubaix Pro, and after that fitting you were comfortable on the old bike, correct? If so, what saddle did you have on the old bike? Do you still have that saddle and bike? Hopefully you do, and if so, I would simply copy the touch point measurements from the old bike to the new one and then swap the saddle from the old bike to the new one.

In other words, measure the distance back from the center of the seat post to the point on the saddle where your sit bones typically rest, and also from the center of the seat post to the bars and replicate that on the new bike. Also, measure the distance from the pedal spindle (at full extension) to the top of the saddle on the old bike and match that on the new bike. Also, match the drop distance from your saddle to the bars between the bikes. Make sure you match the saddle tilt.

If you do all of that, then you have replicated all of the touch point dimensions that you were comfortable with. Of course you may have to change the stem and/or spacers on the new bike to get the dimensions matched, but that's simple and cheap. Oh, and take all of the measurements on the old bike before swapping the saddle to the new bike (or buy an identical saddle for the new bike in case you want to occasionally ride the old one).

Last edited by bike eagle; 10-16-21 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 10-19-21, 03:47 AM
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I find that your butt is supposed to be in a different place over the saddle in or out of the saddle. Without going into the specific details, Sounds to me like you are experimenting with your butt too far backwards over the bottom bracket.

With your dimensions, it sounds like your torso is actually shorter than average. Im 6ft3 with 34.4inch inseam and I am already 1% more on the leggy side than average.
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Old 10-19-21, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
I find that your butt is supposed to be in a different place over the saddle in or out of the saddle. Without going into the specific details, Sounds to me like you are experimenting with your butt too far backwards over the bottom bracket.

With your dimensions, it sounds like your torso is actually shorter than average. Im 6ft3 with 34.4inch inseam and I am already 1% more on the leggy side than average.
I have to ask... how/where do you say "1% more on the leggy side than average" ? That sort of implies some 'scale' developed from some population study.
Not trying to be pedantic, but I've never found/seen such info ??? and 1%, a number which easily fits into an error range....

OP - and yeah, like moisture stated - your DIMS don't speak 'Long Torso' (that being my statistical unsubstantiated impression)
as stated in other posts above - why not start from setback (BB to sitzbones) on your 'old bike/setup'?
Unless your fitter used an adjustable fit bike setup which gave power readings, I'm always amazed when riders with some significant riding time, without issues, are willing to completely change their 'position', based on the say-so of someone who calls themselves a 'fitter'.
If 'Fitter' doesn't use one of these 'Fit Bikes' , then they are no more than any one, like us, here on BF.... LOL !!!!!!!!!!!
For some 'new' riders, it's often better to just do basic settings as manufacturer recommends, than listen to some of these 'fitters' ....
If you were having problems/issues with your old setup, or want to tune setup for best power optimization. If physical issues, then make small changes in a way which is discussed as helping resolve the issue. If for position optimization - do it with some proper proper indicator of what the change is bringing to you - so some measure of power improvement, or reduction...
There are some avg saddle dimensions, but that varies widely... as you note the 'power' saddle is 240 length, way shorter than most road saddles - you really can't expect to use saddle nose setback and expect that to provide a similar feel as the older saddle - since actually sitzbone location will be wildly different.
Find your sitzbone location on the OLD saddle - add the 'saddle setback' from your Old bike (assuming that is distance to BB center...) = actual full setback
determine where your sitzbones will be on the 'power saddle' and locate that spot at the 'actual full setback' you get from old bike - at same/similar saddle height extension, it's then same as old bike.
That doesn't mean it will feel or 'ride' the same - that up to the human perception.
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Old 10-20-21, 01:49 PM
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@cyclezen actually yes.. the average inseam to torso length is 45% (45% of your height being your inseam as the average...)

me, being about 189cm tall with 87.4cm inseam, is 46%.
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Old 10-25-21, 07:20 PM
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Update. I switched my seat post to a zero setback and moved my saddle as fast forward as it will go. This seems to be more comfortable.
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Old 10-26-21, 01:36 PM
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I've had similar findings when I've played around with it. Although I'd caution riding with the saddle at the extreme range of their rails whether forward or aft. On my saddles when I've tried that a decent bump has sometimes felt like the rails may have flexed enough for the saddle to bottom out on the post of something. So I worry that that might increase my chance of the rails breaking.

Also, I carry more weight on my arms when doing this. On short rides, not an issue. On long rides I'm finding that if I only have a slight bend in my elbow that I'll eventually get some minor annoying numbness in my hands. If I work hard to keep a large bend in my elbows, then I don't have that numbness despite not having changed anything else but the angle in my elbow and I suppose any angle that might make to my overall body position.

My natural tendency in the past was to ride on way oversized bikes that kept my arms stretched out. I've shortened my stem and narrowed my bars on a bike that is arguably the smaller of the two suggested frame sizes for my 5' 11" height. And since keeping a large bend in my elbows still isn't quite comfortable or natural in itself for me, I'm wondering if I just need to keep at it or would the next smaller frame size bike have been a better bet for me.

One question I have for you is whether you consider yourself to ride near your max sustained output for your rides or do you keep quite a bit of reserve and ride at lower power output. I tend to also ride at higher sustained output levels and suspect that many that do will favor being more forward in relation to the BB than others that ride at lower power output than they are capable of.
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