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While riding a fast flat century this Sunday, another cyclist was alarmed at my high riding position. He noticed my hips were rocking and my toes were pointing down. This made me rethink what is admittedly a pretty extreme setup. By all standards I am a few inches too high.

Your heels are supposed to brush the spindle but mine float a good few inches above. Once again, I always ride toes down. Might be a chicken or egg deal. Maybe I ride toes down out of necessity due to my high seat.

With my inseam of 81.2 cm you are supposed to run a 71.5 cm seat height. My seat height runs 76 cm and did run 77cm until I decided that the guys criticism was a bit valid. At 76 cm I feel like I am riding an Electra Cruiser. I have always run a high cadence and spin in the high 90's unless the hills get nasty.

I am not sure what the consequences of running such a high seat are but it just feels right. Not sure what the advantages of running a crazy low 71.5 seat height would be.

Is there a height calculation that is fit police approved or can I just do my own thing?

Oh, it is a look 595 with integrated seat mast. Yah, I know. Supposed to have it dialed in at the shop. I had them cut it higher than their calcs suggested as well.
 

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Joe, you need to lower your seat. If you can spend a few hundred dollars, get a professional fit specialist to spend a few hours dialing in your position. If not, put your saddle down and experiment. I think the ideal knee angle for when your crank is at the bottom (parallel to the seat tube) is between 25-35 degrees. Mine's around 31. You'll get some posts with formulas relating saddle height and inseam in a minute. Those are good starting points.

You'll be more comfortable and generate more power if you get your saddle height correct.
 

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Sheldon Brown

ucancallmejoe said:
While riding a fast flat century this Sunday, another cyclist was alarmed at my high riding position. He noticed my hips were rocking and my toes were pointing down. This made me rethink what is admittedly a pretty extreme setup. By all standards I am a few inches too high.

Your heels are supposed to brush the spindle but mine float a good few inches above. Once again, I always ride toes down. Might be a chicken or egg deal. Maybe I ride toes down out of necessity due to my high seat.

With my inseam of 81.2 cm you are supposed to run a 71.5 cm seat height. My seat height runs 76 cm and did run 77cm until I decided that the guys criticism was a bit valid. At 76 cm I feel like I am riding an Electra Cruiser. I have always run a high cadence and spin in the high 90's unless the hills get nasty.

I am not sure what the consequences of running such a high seat are but it just feels right. Not sure what the advantages of running a crazy low 71.5 seat height would be.

Is there a height calculation that is fit police approved or can I just do my own thing?

Oh, it is a look 595 with integrated seat mast. Yah, I know. Supposed to have it dialed in at the shop. I had them cut it higher than their calcs suggested as well.
made the distinction between a seat and a saddle.

It seems to me that saddle implies an active "riding" of the bike, rather than just sitting on the seat and moving your legs in circles.

When you're riding, your legs are acting as a suspension system absorbing the road imperfections, leaning the bike into turns, avoiding obstacles etc.

I just don't see how that can be done as effectively from the position that such a high saddle would require. Plus, I'd think with the saddle that high you're getting the saddle jammed up your sensitve areas all the time, rather than being able to reflexively unweight it.

My inseam is 85 and I have my saddle just under 74cm from the bb. I seem to get more power from a slightly lower position also.
 

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From the Colorado Cyclist "sizing" page:
Saddle Height
With the right frame size, you'll be able to set your correct saddle height, which will be within a centimeter of .883 x inseam length, measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the low point of the top of your saddle. This allows full leg extension, with a slight bend in the leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

LeMond recommends that you then shorten this length by 3mm when using clipless pedals. Also, you might consider a slightly taller saddle height if you ride with your toes down and your heel raised. Most importantly, make any changes in saddle height gradually, and give your body time to adapt to the new position.
________________________________

So at 77cm, you are about two inches too high based on the formula. This is certainly why you have your toes pointed down.

Obviously you can ride the way you want too, and what you have become accustomed to may "feel" good. That doesn't mean that you are in the most efficient position.

If your hips are rocking, then you are too high.
 

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What kind of saddle do you have?

A Fizik Arione has the wing flex (try a saddle bag on one) but it's flat.

A Classic Flite (not the new one) is higher than a SLR and it's not flat - the nose keeps you in the correct riding position.

The SLR is low, flat, and short - of course, it's by far the most popular saddle in the peloton.

The Aspide (not the one with that cutout) is midway between length, it's not as high as you think, it's flat - and it's very durable, unlike the SLR.

I try to modify my seatpost every couple of months - and move my saddle just a tad to the front and the rear,
 

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"While riding a fast flat century this Sunday, another cyclist was alarmed at my high riding position"

Did he fall off his bike????

Hey!, ride like you want to. Don't let anybody tell you that you might be doing something wrong.....How much saddle to bar drop are you running?
 

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Funny

MR_GRUMPY said:
"While riding a fast flat century this Sunday, another cyclist was alarmed at my high riding position"
Yeah, "alarmed" is a strong emotion regarding saddle height.


MR_GRUMPY said:
Did he fall off his bike????
Something like that could disturb one's equilibrium.

MR_GRUMPY said:
Hey!, ride like you want to. Don't let anybody tell you that you might be doing something wrong.....How much saddle to bar drop are you running?
That's where the pics come in....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Here she is,

I think I have been toes down for so long, I can get close to the right leg angle that way. I have done several double centuries in this setup (with my old litespeed classic) but it appears to go against all conventional wisdom.

I am just wondering if my feet will "flatten out" when I lower the seat. I do see the advantage in using my quads vs. calves and I can do a 35mph switchback much easier even at 76 cm.

Sigh.... is it hacksaw time again?

Okay here is the picasa link -if you can post it on this forum please do -jeesh! I am a computer tard as well.

http://picasaweb.google.com/doublecentury/Look595/photo#5198058801136382418
 

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MerlinAma said:
From the Colorado Cyclist "sizing" page:

...your correct saddle height, which will be within a centimeter of .883 x inseam length...
I think this three decimal place thing is a joke. Saddle height can never be that exact, because of course it depends on more things than just your inseam. They are trying to give the illusion of a science, which bike fitting is not.
 

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+1 sleeveless, despite semi-nude avatar pic.

All those formulas are nothing more than a collection of averages, "what worked for me" and theoretical guesses.

The real questions to ask about seat height are:
- am I generating as much power as I could / should
- am I comfortable and not experiencing injuries

Usually, as you raise seat height, power increases in a curve that flattens at the top and drops steeply off the other side when you get "too high".

OTOH, everybody's different and some people are ok riding toes down and rocking the hips. When I do a century, my seat is lower than if I'm doing a 10 lap scratch on the track, simply because in the shorter event I need the top end power more than I need the comfort.

My take: if it's not bothering you, ride it. But you might experiment with bringing it down slightly and see if you are:
- more comfortable
- more powerful at cruise and at max
- less sore / less strained after a hard ride.

Creak.
.
 

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SleeveleSS said:
I think this three decimal place thing is a joke. Saddle height can never be that exact, because of course it depends on more things than just your inseam. They are trying to give the illusion of a science, which bike fitting is not.

Which is why it said "you'll be able to set your correct saddle height, which will be within a centimeter of .883 x inseam length".

I agree that three decimal places is beyond reason.

I'm sticking to my premise that if your hips are rocking then your saddle is too high. NTTAWWT
 

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Your hips shouldn't be rocking, everything should be in line, you're losing power.You are also losing power with your toes pointing down as you have less shoe surface pressing down. A little point isn't bad, major point is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
lawrence said:
Your hips shouldn't be rocking, everything should be in line, you're losing power.You are also losing power with your toes pointing down as you have less shoe surface pressing down. A little point isn't bad, major point is bad.
Yeah, I have major toe point going on. I always wondered what the disadvantage was in this and what you say makes perfect sense. The calves are taking the brunt of the wattage.

I am going to take it back in for a good fit before I start sawing again. I really do not trust the LBS I got it from. They are very good in the service department but this integrated post is rather new to them. Rather spend a few dollars to get it done right.

To start I will run my litespeed at 72cm to see how it feels (it is the same height).
 

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As someone else said, if it feels good, do it. For every strict model of how humans should interface with some process, there are always examples of people who function perfectly fine in ways that violate that model. It's entirely possible that you get your best performance with your current position.

On the other hand, experimenting a little with that position can't hurt.
 

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Regarding the toe-down pedaling - I too have a fairly aggressive toe-down pedal stroke. My saddle is about 1.5 cm higher than the formula would suggest. I've tried dropping the saddle for a time to see if my heels would drop naturally. They did not, and I always felt like my saddle was just too low. I do not rock my hips at that height however.
 

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There is a limit to the "it feels good" school of thought. In most cases, people will get used to the position they have and at that point it feels good. However, that does not mean things could not feel better.

Rocking hips can be an indication that your seat is too high. If so, I don't use the general heel/extended leg measurement method. I prefer the Holmes method, but it requires a pro fit. The technique's standard uses the knee angle of 25-35 degrees. See this:

http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/fitness/article/technique-how-to-get-your-seat-height-right-14608
 
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