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Saddle Raise/Lower Versus Saddle Fore/Aft

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Saddle Raise/Lower Versus Saddle Fore/Aft

Old 09-13-22, 09:28 AM
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GAtkins
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Saddle Raise/Lower Versus Saddle Fore/Aft

I started the thread below which leads me to my question in this thread.

https://www.bikeforums.net/fitting-y...l#post22645697

Within that thread I mentioned, for a variety of reasons, that I moved my saddle forward by 15mm, or ~ 6/10th of an inch.

My question is, approximately how far upward should I raise my seat post, if any?

Thanks.

Glenn
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Old 09-13-22, 10:04 AM
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By the amount of change that makes from where you sit on the saddle to the pedal when furthest away from that point.

However the ideal saddle distance probably has more margin of tolerance than the few millimeters you changed. If you can do drafting or cad, it's pretty easy to model.

If you notice a decrease in power or something sore going on then you'll know there is more to do.
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Old 09-13-22, 11:08 AM
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I'm confused, which is not unusual. I'm not sure if I'm thinking about this correctly.

If I move the saddle forward, does that, by itself and all else equal, increase or decrease effective saddle height?

If I understand correctly, it reduces effective saddle height.

Thanks.

Glenn
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Old 09-13-22, 12:12 PM
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What is important is the position of your hips relative to the cranks and it is different for everyone. I want to have my weight on the saddle so that when pedaling and in the saddle as much leg power as possible goes into the forward motion of the bike. I need to adjust the fore and aft position and the height of the saddle to get into the sweet spot for me and it is different for every bike I have owned. I know the distance from the front of the saddle to the rear of the handlebar stem and that is a starting point. Particularly when pedaling up a hill it is obvious to me if the saddle position is not optimal and I will take hex wrenches so I can make small adjustments as I go with a new bike or a new saddle.
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Old 09-13-22, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun View Post
What is important is the position of your hips relative to the cranks and it is different for everyone. I want to have my weight on the saddle so that when pedaling and in the saddle as much leg power as possible goes into the forward motion of the bike. I need to adjust the fore and aft position and the height of the saddle to get into the sweet spot for me and it is different for every bike I have owned. I know the distance from the front of the saddle to the rear of the handlebar stem and that is a starting point. Particularly when pedaling up a hill it is obvious to me if the saddle position is not optimal and I will take hex wrenches so I can make small adjustments as I go with a new bike or a new saddle.
Yes, thank you.

So, if I move the saddle forward, does that, by itself and all else equal, increase or decrease effective saddle height?

If I understand correctly, it reduces effective saddle height.

Thanks.

Glenn
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Old 09-13-22, 01:21 PM
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Yes it typically will reduce the effective saddle height. So you might have to raise your saddle. But if we are only talking about silly little milimeters, then your new position with respect to the BB might have your body feeling that it needs a different saddle height altogether that is disproportional to the mathematical difference in distance.

So why not just try something and see if it works for you.
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Old 09-13-22, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Yes it typically will reduce the effective saddle height. So you might have to raise your saddle. But if we are only talking about silly little milimeters, then your new position with respect to the BB might have your body feeling that it needs a different saddle height altogether that is disproportional to the mathematical difference in distance.

So why not just try something and see if it works for you.
I completely agree and no doubt you are correct. As you know, what got me started down this rabbit hole was the constant numbness and hot foot on the left. Tried everything I could think of to fix it over the years since the fit. The fitter was aware of the hot foot and he made better. Downside is I haven't been to Boulder since COVID.

Got to thinking I should try a new saddle and got a couple of loaners from the local Trek shop. When I put the 165mm on it was perfect on my sit bones, unlike anything before, but I had to slide back in the saddle to get exactly spot-on.

Tried the 155mm - no go. Back to the 165mm saddle and then forward 15mm. Ah, good. But then it felt like my weight on the saddle was lower than it should have been given the weight distribution on my pedals. Not equal support between the two when just cruising along flats with a few rolling hills thrown in for good measure.

That led me to the question of effective saddle height given the move forward and the feeling the saddle needed to be higher in relation to everything else.

I think it is disproportional to the actual mathematical difference. It has to be because the actual distances are so small. As you said, millimeters don't matter - until they do

My body definitely feels it. I think I'll raise it 5mm at first and see what I think (feel) and go from there.

I really appreciate your help with me thinking through all this.

Thanks again.

Glenn
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Old 09-13-22, 06:14 PM
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If you're wondering of there's some mathematical formula/relationship between height and fore/aft - there might be for some 'Fit' systems. But really there are too many variables, even before considering the possible ranges in human physio for the elements involved. Saddle design (as relates to where one sits) will have a great effect. Then there's 'Why' ... Maybe because rider wants a light touch on the bars - or - rider is competing in events which call for constant, hard, quick, accels & decels - or - rider is setting for max power at a constant tempo of riding - lots of 'riding' variables.
Riders competing in 'crit' type riding, or track, or TT might find themselves better positioned 'forward', whereas a rider having to do a steady hard tempo over longer distance may find a bit more rearward position works best - a range. How does one decide? I find that if my riding style for the type of riding I do most, when power needs are required, finds me constantly moving forward on the saddle when I need to lay power down - I'll move the saddle forward in smaller increments, until I find a good balance between my fore and aft movements, during efforts.
Over the many years, I've come to my 'start' points, which find me going there when I first get on a new bike. Then I ride, and adjust over a number of rides, in small increments (3-4mm).
My 'std' measure point is different from some common measures used, like 'saddle nose setback'. But saddles have always varied, especially now with the large increase in variants - like the new 'power' type saddle which are quite a bit shorter overall. I use BB to sitzbones placement. I find where my sitzbones will be on the saddle, and that cross line on the saddle is (or was) 30.5 cm behind the BB (that MY number, most certainly diff. for others). 'Was', because recently, my increase in riding harder, more often and with fast groups, makes me come forward more often - the NEW fore/aft setting is 29.5 cm.
I believe many 'Fit' systems use hip/femur angle to pick a setback. But I think that can only be an approx. because accurately measuring the angle with precision is quite 'variable'. ANd who's to say that, at any angle measured, power production over a period of a few minutes is going to be the same as power production over a longer period, like an hour of drilling the ride?
If you've made a 15mm change - that quite signifcant - I would make height adjustments in smaller increments, ride for a few days/rides and evaluate. Nothing wrong with going a bit further ('up' in your case) to know when you've reach a discernible 'limit' point. The assumption being that your current 'height' has worked well for many prior rides and was the 'sweet spot'.
Your leg length differences are as affected by Height as setback - maybe even more. It sounds like you've found the saddle which works for you. SO your current saddle height might actually be the 'spot' also. Experimenting, in small changes of saddle height ALONE/ONLY will point that out over a number of rides. Any Change will always feel 'different' - often not so great, but given time a change might be effective.
Experiment.
Ride On
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Old 09-14-22, 10:06 AM
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Ah. Never adjust reach by moving the saddle. Change the stem length for that. You want the saddle where it should be to give you good balance on the bike, little weight on the hands, no feeling of falling forward. Then see what stem length you need to get reach correct. My bike fitting primer is here: https://www.bikeforums.net/21296948-post3.html

Go through the steps from top to bottom, in order.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Ah. Never adjust reach by moving the saddle. Change the stem length for that. You want the saddle where it should be to give you good balance on the bike, little weight on the hands, no feeling of falling forward. Then see what stem length you need to get reach correct. My bike fitting primer is here: https://www.bikeforums.net/21296948-post3.html

Go through the steps from top to bottom, in order.
All good stuff. Thank you. I had seen your great work before and will review again.

My biggest problems are that I'm old, tall, major clyde, top-heavy, and not that flexible. If I ever lose the clyde and gain the proper flexibility I will definitely need/use a longer stem. I gotta get there first. I was making major progress. You may have read in one of the two threads that I've been off the bike for a year and recently started riding again around August 1st. 7 months of off season and laziness and 5 months due to a serious, unrelated calf injury.

I really am grateful for your help.

Thank you.

Glenn
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Old 09-14-22, 12:33 PM
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You gotta do whatcha gotta do. Good for you!
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Old 09-15-22, 10:46 AM
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Ok, so I did another 18 miles last night and started with the saddle up 10mm. Immediately felt the saddle was too high, both riding and with a foot down at stops, and the bike was more twitchy - left toes had started the hot foot and numbness.

Stopped mid ride and lowered the saddle 5mm, so that it was up a net 5mm from the start of the ride. Sweet spot! Left toe numbness subsided. Bike still twitchy, but I'll get used to that now and solve it later with a longer stem as my fitness/posture improves. When I rode a couple of nights ago before raising the saddle (but after having moved it forward 150mm), the muscles right above and in front of both knees felt overworked after the ride and when I woke up the next morning.

This time, nothing abnormal hurt. Just felt like a slow, old guy had gone on a bike ride when I got up this morning. I'm going to leave it there for a while.

Glenn
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Old 09-15-22, 12:27 PM
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Most of the times I've felt something that I'd describe as the bike being more twitchy after a change is was simply just that it felt different. And after 3 or so good rides after the change it no longer felt different. So don't be so adverse to "twitchy" unless that is something that never goes away after many rides.
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Old 09-15-22, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Most of the times I've felt something that I'd describe as the bike being more twitchy after a change is was simply just that it felt different. And after 3 or so good rides after the change it no longer felt different. So don't be so adverse to "twitchy" unless that is something that never goes away after many rides.
I agree, not at all adverse to it, but like you said, just noticed it was different.

Glenn
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Old 09-19-22, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
I'm confused, which is not unusual. I'm not sure if I'm thinking about this correctly.

If I move the saddle forward, does that, by itself and all else equal, increase or decrease effective saddle height?

If I understand correctly, it reduces effective saddle height.

Thanks.

Glenn
I think that is correct, except that it reduces actual saddle height. It's just geometry. At the same time, some seatpost/saddle combinations have the rails tilt upward a little, so when you slide the saddle forward or back it the added rise (or fall) is reduced. I usually slide my saddle back, so after adjusting I re-measure the actual height and raise or lower the saddle as needed.

Adjusting the tilt of the saddle also affects the measurement, at least if you measure from the sit-bone position to the crank axis or pedal axis.

I'm not sure what you mean by effective saddle height. I use leather saddles which sag a little when I am on them, so if I fine-tune height for comfort there will be a little rise. But it I duplicate that height after the other adjustments I usually am done, unless a new problem arises (i.e. pain in another spot).
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Old 09-19-22, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
Ok, so I did another 18 miles last night and started with the saddle up 10mm. Immediately felt the saddle was too high, both riding and with a foot down at stops, and the bike was more twitchy - left toes had started the hot foot and numbness.

Stopped mid ride and lowered the saddle 5mm, so that it was up a net 5mm from the start of the ride. Sweet spot! Left toe numbness subsided. Bike still twitchy, but I'll get used to that now and solve it later with a longer stem as my fitness/posture improves. When I rode a couple of nights ago before raising the saddle (but after having moved it forward 150mm), the muscles right above and in front of both knees felt overworked after the ride and when I woke up the next morning.

This time, nothing abnormal hurt. Just felt like a slow, old guy had gone on a bike ride when I got up this morning. I'm going to leave it there for a while.

Glenn
I've done a lot of in-ride adjustments, but I try to keep them very small, 1 mm if I can - I want to sneak up on the good spot, not adjust back an forth circling around it. Usually these adjustments are driven by abrasion pain between the top of the thigh and what's in between them, balanced by perineal pain if I go too high and make my hips rock, or knee pain if I go too low and have too much pressure in my patella. And when I do find a sweet spot, it will need reconsideration after perhaps 10 or 15 miles. For me training up for distance is equal to fine tuning the saddle to a point which is tolerable over that distance. But this is why I said before that I am a little in doubt of your term "effective saddle height." What makes a given saddle height be in the range which is best, is the comfort of the bike in the riding you need or want to do, not any mathematical ideal, thought such calculations make a good starting point. One reason they make a good starting point is, that point is repeatable.

Not all of these "final" adjustments are saddle height. There are fore-aft as you know, tilt up and down (aka "pitch"), and rotation of the saddle around the seat tube axis ("yaw"). In general I try to get balance on the saddle first (fore/aft), then lack of sliding (pitch), lack of lateral pressure (yaw), and leg/hip comfort in extension (saddle height). Then go back and do it again when I find I screwed something up!
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Old 09-19-22, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
I've done a lot of in-ride adjustments, but I try to keep them very small, 1 mm if I can - I want to sneak up on the good spot, not adjust back an forth circling around it. Usually these adjustments are driven by abrasion pain between the top of the thigh and what's in between them, balanced by perineal pain if I go too high and make my hips rock, or knee pain if I go too low and have too much pressure in my patella. And when I do find a sweet spot, it will need reconsideration after perhaps 10 or 15 miles. For me training up for distance is equal to fine tuning the saddle to a point which is tolerable over that distance. But this is why I said before that I am a little in doubt of your term "effective saddle height." What makes a given saddle height be in the range which is best, is the comfort of the bike in the riding you need or want to do, not any mathematical ideal, thought such calculations make a good starting point. One reason they make a good starting point is, that point is repeatable.

Not all of these "final" adjustments are saddle height. There are fore-aft as you know, tilt up and down (aka "pitch"), and rotation of the saddle around the seat tube axis ("yaw"). In general I try to get balance on the saddle first (fore/aft), then lack of sliding (pitch), lack of lateral pressure (yaw), and leg/hip comfort in extension (saddle height). Then go back and do it again when I find I screwed something up!
I'm using "effective saddle height" in the sense that if actual fore/aft change does not mathematically (we know it does) change saddle height, then it does change the feel or "effective" saddle height.

Glenn
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Old 09-19-22, 07:39 AM
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Ok, so in your terms 98% of the tuning I do is about "effective" saddle height.
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Old 09-19-22, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Ok, so in your terms 98% of the tuning I do is about "effective" saddle height.
No, of course not.

"What makes a given saddle height be in the range which is best, is the comfort of the bike in the riding you need or want to do, not any mathematical ideal, thought such calculations make a good starting point."
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Old 09-19-22, 12:59 PM
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I'm confused by that reply.
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Old 09-19-22, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
I'm confused by that reply.
We may be talking about the same thing. My original question was to make sure I understood that if I move the saddle forward that the height of the seat post would go down. It wouldn't actually go down, but would effectively go down because I was closer to the handle bar. In other words, it would subjectively appear/feel to have gone down.

Therefore, to keep everything in relative proportion, I would actually have to raise the height of the seat post by some length. Once I had the relative positions and movements understood, I then raised my saddle by 10mm, which was too much. So I then lowered it by 5mm mid-ride (so that it was only up 5mm from the beginning of the ride). That amount was much better. Leg/calf muscles up and down felt well balanced. None more or less sore than the others. When only the saddle was forward by 15mm, my lower quads, right above my knees were abnormally stressed.

Your suggestion of making changes by a mm or 2 might actually be a better way to do it. I didn't know if I could feel the difference of a 1mm to 2mm change, but I could sure feel the difference in a 5mm change up to the seat post. Seems like we're both making initial adjustments somewhat related to actual, measured geometry and then fine tuning things by feel.

Thanks for your comments.

Glenn
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Old 09-29-22, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
All good stuff. Thank you. I had seen your great work before and will review again.

My biggest problems are that I'm old, tall, major clyde, top-heavy, and not that flexible. If I ever lose the clyde and gain the proper flexibility I will definitely need/use a longer stem.

Glenn
Being top-heavy is all the more reason not to move the saddle too far forward. Skinny pro racers can get away with it because of their chicken-wing arms. Triathletes can get away with it because they ride with their elbows on the table. But normal guys like us have to sit on a bike like we're sitting on a barstool, leaning forward over the bar to reach for a cold one.
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