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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always been of the thought the higher the seat the better as far as getting the most out of the pedal stroke. My lower back has been hurting so I lowered the seat and it seems to have helped. It's only been a hundred or so miles since lowering but I think it's the answer. It just feels like I'm not getting the most out of the stroke though. I'm guessing it's probably a mental thing. It's got me thinking am I really missing that much power? Isn't the most power transfered say at 1-5 o'clock on the stroke? I'm an old duff, was I taught that the seat needs to be real high? Is this a myth from yesteryear? Tell me I'm not nuts and I'm not loosing power by lowering my seat to a better fit/height.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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IME lower back pain is more apt to be linked to incorrect/ excessive reach, bar drop and/ or saddle setback for a given rider, but from what you describe I think it's possible that you may have stretched the IT band and felt the pain in your lower back.

More info:
http://www.cptips.com/knee.htm

Fit really is a set of compromises, so I'm of the opinion that there is a (fairly small) range of adjustments that work well for a rider, based on a variety of factors. If you fall outside of your range for saddle height, then yes, I think you lose efficiency. But without knowing more about you and your range (and seeing you on the bike), it's all theory.

You don't say how much of an adjustment was made to saddle height, but my suggestion would be to raise it in small increments (and slowly) until you feel that you've reached the best compromise in comfort and efficiency.
 

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classiquesklassieker
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Heck, the two best things I ever did was go to a high-end fitting session (I used the Cyfac method), and to play around with my saddle up/down angle. Turns out that tipping the nose down really helps, as it forces my hip to be rotated forward and thus my back is straight.

Just last week I realized that my saddle had been too far back by 1.5 cm since I didn't measure the horizontal displacement between it and the BB center properly when I bought a new saddle. Curiously, while I was using the wrong setting, I always felt like scooting backwards while riding. So if I had followed my intuition, I would have pushed the saddle farther back. In the end I followed the fit numbers and now my neck pain is gone.

So it may take a lot of tweaking multiple factors, but the best is to go get a good fit using a system / person who is experienced with your problems. Nothing beats good perspective, which is hard when you are riding and tweaking your own fit.
 

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Your back pain could be due to poor fore/aft saddle position rather than saddle height.

For decades I suffered from INTENSE back pain during hard efforts. I use to set my saddle full rearward so I looked "pro". Then I set my knee over the pedal spindle which required my saddle be positioned mid-span on the rails. My back pain has miraculously disappeared. And to think I suffered all those years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Some times I feel like such a dope. A cm lower and my back pain is disappearing. I've been riding since July like this...duh.
 

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saddle tramp said:
I've always been of the thought the higher the seat the better as far as getting the most out of the pedal stroke. My lower back has been hurting so I lowered the seat and it seems to have helped. It's only been a hundred or so miles since lowering but I think it's the answer. It just feels like I'm not getting the most out of the stroke though. I'm guessing it's probably a mental thing. It's got me thinking am I really missing that much power? Isn't the most power transfered say at 1-5 o'clock on the stroke? I'm an old duff, was I taught that the seat needs to be real high? Is this a myth from yesteryear? Tell me I'm not nuts and I'm not loosing power by lowering my seat to a better fit/height.
It's quite common the older we get ,the less tolerance we have for big saddle to bar drop. Bring your bars up a bit. This should help your lower back pain.
 

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saddle tramp said:
Some times I feel like such a dope. A cm lower and my back pain is disappearing. I've been riding since July like this...duh.
By lowering the seat, you effectively raised the handlebars and shortened the reach, i.e. you're more upright and less pressure on your back.

Over time, my body has become less flexible and I have reduced the difference between my saddle height and bar height to about 4.5cm from 7-8cm of a decade ago.
 

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High Gear said:
It's quite common the older we get ,the less tolerance we have for big saddle to bar drop. Bring your bars up a bit. This should help your lower back pain.
That's why I ride a chopper.
 

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It seems that lowering your saddle helped but have you considered your pre-ride stretching? I was feeling a fair bit of lower back pain for a while so I decided to spend an extra few minutes before every ride stretching it in as many areas as possible. I probably stretch my back in slighting more variations/positions than I do my legs and I’ve found the pain is gone. Obviously I don’t know your pre-ride routine but doing a web search to find some new back stretches and then spending an extra 3-5 minutes to make sure everything is stretched before you head out might be a big help. It’s really helped my riding comfort going from a 5-10 minute to a 15-ish minute stretch session so it might work for you as well. I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No doubt on the stretching. I was squatting yesterday and I don't have a lot of flexibility. I was telling my sister about the situation and she says, she's a runner/part time rider, that when she does the yoga it's amazing how she doesn't use Advil for a few days. I have the dicipline to ride all the time. A little to stretch would take me a long way I know...

The pain is diminshing a little everyday. My seat was high causing my hips to rock, I think. Maybe those IT muscles as mentioned.
 

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+1 on the stretching and the adjustment of the saddle nose. I also thought higher saddle equaled better pedal stroke, but my feet weren't feeling planted in my shoes.
 

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weird huh?
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Everybody is slightly different in what's going to be more comfortable, however.....

If you don't fit yourself to proper saddle height/fore aft position/stem length, you are wasting your time.
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