Still trying to understand comfort.

Grarea
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Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby Grarea » 19 Dec 2018, 7:21pm

Well, I bit the bullet and went for a bike fit.
Unfortunately, I think the guy has taken December off.
But I am keen to progress my understanding.

Does what I say make sense please?

Last year I went with a 67 degree STA frame (sort of) to try and get my weight back off my hands.
I could eventually manage it, but it made my position completely wrong.
I think that because I went the wrong way, I can no longer get my saddle forward enough to get it right.

Anyway, the bike fit brought me much further forward and this reduced the weight on my hands.

I have short limbs.
I was amazed at how close my hands were to my body.
I have obviously been riding far too stretched out my whole life.
In hindsight I always rode a drop bar bike with just fingertips on the tops for a rest.

I am pondering picking up a cheap bike or two to try and work out what works as I don't think I can get this one comfy.
I could get a set forward seatpost, but I need it every day and messing up the position further is getting pretty boring.
Also, I can only find new posts. So, I might be better buying whole bikes to fiddle about with and sell for a similar price later in the year.

So, here is the thing.
He set me up with all the right angles to give me a starting point.
All makes sense so far.
The distance from the centre of my saddle rail to my (straight) bars (in a straight line) is 62cm.

So, using averagish figures, I am thinking that drops have a reach of, say 8cm, stems tend to be about 10cm.
Doesn't that leave me with an ETT of 44cm?
I guess I could lose 4cm without things getting too twitchy on the stem? plus 3cm pushing the saddle back.
So, that gives me an ETT of around 51cm.
Am I on the right lines?

Then my thinking is that I want my bars higher as my arms are shorter.
The smaller the frame, the higher my saddle will be compared to the bars?
So, am I looking for a kind of tall short frame?

Edit: I am 5'7 (ish)

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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby foxyrider » 19 Dec 2018, 9:34pm

All the numbers can get very confusing! With drops the 62cm should be mid way between the top of the bars and the centre of the brake hoods - essentially an imaginary measurement point. There are all sorts of ways of getting to that and really it's a case of playing with what you have to find the best solution to that.
Of course, that might not even be the right position so it's worth being cautious.

A small frame doesn't necessarily mean a bigger saddle/bar offset, you can get angled stems, steerer extenders etc that can put the bars where you want them.

TBH it's difficult to advise from a distance, I could set you up in a few minutes if we were face to face, which is where your bike fitting bod comes in (although mostly they use pseudo science rather than experience to position you which can introduce unwanted elements). The problem in buying some cheap steeds to play with is that the dimensions/angles won't be what the good bike is so it's pretty meaningless in getting you comfortable on that.

You'll be deluged by 'experts' before the nights out!
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

Grarea
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby Grarea » 19 Dec 2018, 10:23pm

Ah, I didn't know that.
Although, the 62cm is my measurement after being set up.
He set me up to the closest part of my sort of adjustable butterfly type bars.
I sort of assumed that would be the equivalent of where you would have your hands on the hoods.
These bars:
ImageIMGP8996 by chuffedas, on Flickr


Like I say, the problem is that the seat doesn't come far enough forward so, to get it right I either need a set forward seatpost or a different frame.
I don't particularly have a yearning to keep this frame.

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pjclinch
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby pjclinch » 20 Dec 2018, 10:12am

None of this addresses what you're actually using the bike for, and what the particular limits of "comfort" are.

While everyone knows what "comfortable" means you need to think about it in terms of the ride speed and duration you're looking at. For short and/or slowish rides you'd be very hard pushed to beat a Dutch city bike (which is why they're so popular in NL)

Image

You've got no weight on your arms/hands and with an upright posture no need to look up to see where you're going. On the other hand you'll catch any wind going and so high speed is harder and on a long ride that means you'll have all the weight on the saddle for a long time, so potentially a bit of a numb bum.

Road bikes, designed for speed (while conforming to UCI rules) get you out of the wind as much as possible in a crouch so you'll spend less time on the bike, but that time will be more compromised for comfort. Touring bikes are typically a compromise so not so fast as a road bike but more out of the wind than an opafiets.

And so on... so comfort is very much about the context of your riding. My distance riding is touring and I'm not following anyone's setup rules, so I use something like this:

Image

Around town I use one of two uprights according to speed, hills, luggage and parking and ride duration, but I'm not in a hurry so am reasonably upright on both.

So back to you: what sort of riding du you want to be comfortable doing? There isn't a one-answer-to-rule-them-all.

Pete.
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby Grarea » 20 Dec 2018, 12:19pm

Well, I basically have always had numb feet and legs.
Bad sit bone pain and really bad hand pain.
But it all happens within a couple of miles.
I am keen to get off after a couple of miles.
So, any comfort would be brilliant.
Then I can work from there.

In an ideal world, I want an all round utility bike for shops/commute/day trips that can cope with a bit of off road.
Plus a road bike for just scooting out for a ride.
I have an MTB which is somewhere near right, but who knows as I clamber all over it.
As soon as I do a couple of miles on the flat, same thing.

It is only last couple of years that I discovered not everyone is in discomfort when they cycle.
I just put up with it or didn't cycle.
I thought that people who did longer rides just suffered big time.

I have had hybrid, road and mtb, all have similar effects.

Mountain biking wasn't so bad, but I suspect that is because I would be constantly moving about.
Although, I also always got smaller frames for the lightness, so that probably meant the TT was shorter.

Also, the more upright I sit, I find the more pressure on my sit bones.
I think they are a bit pointy (my bones).

I discovered that it is either pear shaped or rounded top saddles that were causing my foot and leg numbness.
Flat and T shaped saddles have sorted that way out.

Also, the more upright I sit, I find the more pressure on my sit bones.
I think they are a bit pointy.

I thought that I would sort hand pressure and bike position first.
I read Colin's great guide and thought that it made all sorts of sense.
So, the first stage was to get the saddle back to reduce the weight on my hands. They really hurt.
However, I set the saddle back as far as i could. The setback seat post, still didn't work.
So I got a frame that has 67 sta. Plus set back seat post plus some wood blocks to make my feet further forward.
This actually removed the weight off my hands. "oh, so that is what it is meant to feel like".

Anyway, it was hard work cycling like that.
So, I picked up some bars like in the picture. They adjust back, forth, up, down, width, everything.
Have tried all sorts of positions.
I went with bringing it further forward because i still had saddle pain anyway and it was harder work uphill.

Then I discovered that my limbs are shorter than other people with the same torso length as mine.
Revelation.
So, then I raised my bars and brought them further back.
This helped the hand pressure.
My bars are higher than my saddle. Which makes a sense with short arms, right?

I think, in hindsight, that the pressure on the hands is me kind of wedging myself in between the bars and the saddle to hold myself back on the saddle. I always slip forward on the saddle.
But to get to the point where I don't, see comments about hand pressure above.
So, then I was stuck. So I went to a bike fit guy.

Him bringing me forward surprised me.
I still slip forward, but maybe that is because my sta is too shallow and I need to bring it further forward than it can go.
The hand pressure has relieved a lot.

But going on just feel of efficient pedalling, I still want to bring it further forward.
Which I can't unless I spend money.
So I need to buy either a set forward post or a different bike.
I have another hybrid frame out there which maybe I could play with, but I reckon it would be cheaper to buy a whole bike than a whole load of replacement parts as my only transport is my bike so need it every day.
So, my thinking is get a cheap bike in the winter that I shouldn't lose money on if i need to sell it later in the year.

I have asked the bike fit guy but I think he is off for the winter now maybe.
So, I am keen to not miss out on cheaper winter bikes if I can so am trying to work out what to get.
I will just get a random bike and work on that as a basis if it isn't possible to work out what size to get.

I thought that given that I almost have the right positon I must be somewhere near close to knowing what size to buy, I just am not sure how to actually work that out.

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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby Vorpal » 20 Dec 2018, 12:22pm

Do I understand correctly that you had a fitting, and are now messing with the position again?

personally, I wouldn't. Unless I was really uncomfortable, I'd ride that way; 100 miles? 200 Miles? Maybe more. And if it didn't work, I'd go back to the professional service that I paid for & explain what the problem was.
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby Grarea » 20 Dec 2018, 12:35pm

Well, I am not messing with the fitting.
I haven't changed it.

I have done a good 100 miles.
Mostly in 2 mile sections though. I do 4 miles almost every day.

When he was setting up, he brought it as far forward as he could go because of the sta.
Then as you say, see how I go.
Well, I reckon it needs to come further forward, as I think he was suggesting.
But I can't because of the frame.

I have gone back to him, but he hasn't replied for a few weeks. I think he might be away.
So, I am pretty keen to progress and as I think I am quite close, I thought, knowing the measurements he has set me up at, it might be an easy answer to find what sort of size frame I could pick up.
I thought I might be able to transfer those measurements, allow a bit for bringing it forward (making it a pretty standard 73 degree (ish) sta) to an idea as to what I am looking for.

So I thought I would ask here.
I kind of thought we might just be able to transfer the numbers across.

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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby Vorpal » 20 Dec 2018, 12:45pm

OK. That makes more sense. Can you borrow a bike?
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby mjr » 20 Dec 2018, 1:12pm

pjclinch wrote:You've got no weight on your arms/hands and with an upright posture no need to look up to see where you're going. On the other hand you'll catch any wind going and so high speed is harder and on a long ride that means you'll have all the weight on the saddle for a long time, so potentially a bit of a numb bum.

The weight should be shared by your feet, not all on the saddle, but we last disagreed about this a few months ago over in viewtopic.php?p=1241852#p1241852
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby Vorpal » 20 Dec 2018, 1:53pm

mjr wrote:
pjclinch wrote:You've got no weight on your arms/hands and with an upright posture no need to look up to see where you're going. On the other hand you'll catch any wind going and so high speed is harder and on a long ride that means you'll have all the weight on the saddle for a long time, so potentially a bit of a numb bum.

The weight should be shared by your feet, not all on the saddle, but we last disagreed about this a few months ago over in viewtopic.php?p=1241852#p1241852

The main point is that on an upright bike there is more weight on the saddle and the cyclist's bum, than on a road bike with a racing set-up. Something like a touring falls in between the two.

That is independent of how much is shared with your feet. TBH, I think a case could be made that less weight is shared with hands or feet on an upright bike like a Dutch style bike. That doesnæt mean no weight is shared, though. And certainly it is possible to shift more weight to hands and feet and give your bum a bit of a rest, just as the opposite is true, whatever style of upright bike you ride.
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby mjr » 20 Dec 2018, 2:37pm

Vorpal wrote:
mjr wrote:
pjclinch wrote:You've got no weight on your arms/hands and with an upright posture no need to look up to see where you're going. On the other hand you'll catch any wind going and so high speed is harder and on a long ride that means you'll have all the weight on the saddle for a long time, so potentially a bit of a numb bum.

The weight should be shared by your feet, not all on the saddle, but we last disagreed about this a few months ago over in viewtopic.php?p=1241852#p1241852

The main point is that on an upright bike there is more weight on the saddle and the cyclist's bum, than on a road bike with a racing set-up. Something like a touring falls in between the two.

That is independent of how much is shared with your feet. TBH, I think a case could be made that less weight is shared with hands or feet on an upright bike like a Dutch style bike. That doesnæt mean no weight is shared, though. And certainly it is possible to shift more weight to hands and feet and give your bum a bit of a rest, just as the opposite is true, whatever style of upright bike you ride.

And that main point remains as untrue now as it was in the earlier thread. Where is the weight from the saddle going to on a road bike if not the feet? It shouldn't be the arms unless you want to risk various hand, wrist and shoulder complications.

The main thing that varies is how much work your muscles have to do to support the posture properly, while that posture does make a big difference to aerodynamic drag.

I suspect we could easily make a case that one could share less weight to the feet on a more upright bike, but that doesn't mean it's necessary, correct or comfortable!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby Grarea » 20 Dec 2018, 3:09pm

Vorpal wrote:OK. That makes more sense. Can you borrow a bike?

I had wondered that.
I had decided no.

I know two people with road bikes. One is way taller than me. The other, although similar size, has three inch longer arms
(and legs I think) anyway, his bike is a carbon road bike and he has it all set up nice. I wouldn't be happy borrowing it for ages and messing about with it.

However, you having asked the question made me think again.
I just might be able to borrow one from someone else.

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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby pjclinch » 20 Dec 2018, 4:04pm

Weight going on to the feet...

Well, yes, there is some, but in terms of how much my bum feels different when I put my foot down (figuratively and literally) it isn't a huge amount. You can theorise all you want, but I'm far more interested in the empirical aches and pains I do or don't suffer. If I'm on a bike with a crouch position I tend to get aching wrists and neck after a while and if I'm on a bolt-upright bike I tend to get a numb bum after a while. Any muscular work I do (legs, arms, core, wherever) to try and relieve those stresses is work I don't have to on my 'bent, which is a lot of why I do longer trips on a 'bent.

Furthermore, any effort I put in to supporting myself independently of my seat is an efficiency own-goal.

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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby mjr » 20 Dec 2018, 4:50pm

pjclinch wrote:Weight going on to the feet...

Well, yes, there is some, but in terms of how much my bum feels different when I put my foot down (figuratively and literally) it isn't a huge amount. You can theorise all you want, but I'm far more interested in the empirical aches and pains I do or don't suffer. If I'm on a bike with a crouch position I tend to get aching wrists and neck after a while and if I'm on a bolt-upright bike I tend to get a numb bum after a while.

The use of neck muscles to look up and consequent tiredness/ache is rather unavoidable when crouched, but pain in the wrists when crouched and bum when upright sound like classic symptoms of imperfect setup, of too much weight going through those parts. As for anecdotal aches and pains, as some here may know, I've ridden tours and centuries on both road bike and more upright roadster with only muscular tiredness, not pressure pains.

pjclinch wrote:Any muscular work I do (legs, arms, core, wherever) to try and relieve those stresses is work I don't have to on my 'bent, which is a lot of why I do longer trips on a 'bent.

Furthermore, any effort I put in to supporting myself independently of my seat is an efficiency own-goal.

Not entirely, as pushing onto the pedals is necessary to provide forward motion anyway. 'Bents have several advantages, nevertheless.
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Re: Still trying to understand comfort.

Postby pjclinch » 20 Dec 2018, 6:22pm

mjr wrote:The use of neck muscles to look up and consequent tiredness/ache is rather unavoidable when crouched, but pain in the wrists when crouched and bum when upright sound like classic symptoms of imperfect setup, of too much weight going through those parts. As for anecdotal aches and pains, as some here may know, I've ridden tours and centuries on both road bike and more upright roadster with only muscular tiredness, not pressure pains.


And the news here is that not everyone is the same! I have issues sitting on the ground without a back support for any length of time, is that because the ground is "imperfectly set up?" I doubt it! As for incorrect setup on an opafiets... well there's not much to do, is there? Saddle up and down, saddle back and forwards a bit. I've always been happy to fettle these and do so until pedalling is as comfortable as possible, and still after a while I get a numb bum.

If you put a set of scales by a table and stand on them and lean some weight on your arms then the weight on the scales will, of course, go down. So there is more push on the arms than usual. If there is more push on the arms than usual they'll start to protest after a while, because they're used to supporting pretty much no weight. There is a popular misapprehension that somehow by wiggling the seat and bars around you'll not have any weight on your arms, but the only way to do that in a crouch is take it on your core muscles, and again they'd be doing work they're not used to. I have no interest in working out just so I can be comfortable on a bike, and my joints may well be a bit stiffer than yours.

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