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Thread: On the importance of fit...

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    Greenbelt's Avatar
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    Default On the importance of fit...

    I'm feeling a little sheepish today.

    About three or four weeks ago, I started to notice some knee soreness. It felt like the mild tendonitis I used to get sometimes from jogging. But never had anything like it from cycling, even putting in a lot of miles last year.

    So I figured I'd just rest a little, take some days off, go a little slower etc., which always seemed to work when I had sore knees from running. On a ride two weeks ago, a friend told me he had had some knee soreness associated with his seat being a little too low, but that an improved fitting had solved the problem.

    I thought that couldn't be my problem, since I'd had my seat at the same mark all last year. So I just continued to take it easy. I broke my almost year-long no-Metro streak a couple nights and got a ride home another night, just to keep the miles low.

    Then, yesterday, on a group ride, I was riding my other bike for the first time in a while, at least for a long distance. After the ride, my knees weren't sore at all, and when I sprinted into the wind for a few moments at full power to catch up with some other riders, I didn't have to hold back at all. Also, the seat position seemed unusually high. Hmmm..

    This morning, I got one block on the commuter bike and I noticed my knee gave a little twinge. I stopped and checked my seatpost. It had slipped maybe 3/8 inch from my mark. Must have happened gradually since I really didn't notice.

    That 3/8" really made a difference. Full power and no knee soreness the rest of the way in today. On the one hand, I feel sort of like the princess and the pea that such a small adjustment could make such a big difference in how my legs feel after a ride. But I also feel dumb that I didn't take my friend's advice and check the seat position 2 weeks ago!
    Last edited by Greenbelt; 03-05-2012 at 01:03 PM.

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    Awesome post, sir. Thank you.

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    I know what you mean. I will adjust the seat up and down by like 1/8" while out on a ride trying to get it right when it gets out of whack. Eventually it clicks and you're like "ahhhh".

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    I think I may have this problem, too, but I recently raised my seat. It was definitely too low before (And in fact it was seeing myself in a photo that Dirt took in the PA Ave cycletracks that brought home how low the seat was). Today my knee hurts. The seat may still be too low, though it seems a little strange that I would have increased pain when I got closer to where I should be. Last week was a pretty typical week mileage-wise. I took an extra ride pulling the trailer on Saturday, but missed a trailer ride during the week.

    Anyway, are there any good guidelines for determining proper seat height? I'm going to stop at the LBS on my way home, but I was just wondering if there was anything in particular that I can watch out for.

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    I found this perspective helpful. I'm sure there are many others out there...

    http://www.rivbike.com/Articles.asp?ID=247
    https://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?cat=23

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    Their instructions on measuring for fit are a little horrifying.

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    line the crank arm up with the seat tube, put your heel on the pedal and raise or lower the seat until your leg is completely straight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Anyway, are there any good guidelines for determining proper seat height? I'm going to stop at the LBS on my way home, but I was just wondering if there was anything in particular that I can watch out for.
    Be sure to move the seat fore or aft when you change the seat height. If you move the seat upwards, you will have to move the seat slightly forward to keep your knees over the spindles (or where you feel most comfortable) and vice versa. The reason for this is that the seat post is on an angle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KLizotte View Post
    Be sure to move the seat fore or aft when you change the seat height. If you move the seat upwards, you will have to move the seat slightly forward to keep your knees over the spindles (or where you feel most comfortable) and vice versa. The reason for this is that the seat post is on an angle.
    Hmm, I wonder if this is my problem, then. Or part of it.

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    On the bright side, my knee doesn't hurt anymore, which suggests that as soon as I get the fit right, I should be fine. I was worried about jeopardizing my ride coming up.

    On the negative side, it means it's definitely the bike causing the pain, which is always worrisome.

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