Saddle height

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pwa
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Re: Saddle height

Postby pwa » 5 Nov 2018, 6:13am

Some years ago I got pain behind my knees, to the outside edge, and after riding a 300k Audax that way I had trouble even walking for several days. I thought I had got my saddle in the right position but the problem forced me to look at it again. I ended up lowering the saddle by quite a lot, maybe 10mm, and it cured the problem. I did think I might slide off the back of the saddle, having kept the fore-aft position the same relative to the bars, but instead I just got used to cycling with my legs a little more bent, not so extended.

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531colin
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Re: Saddle height

Postby 531colin » 5 Nov 2018, 4:08pm

yostumpy wrote:just as a slight update, and bearing in mind comments from SamuelD, and Colin531, I got to thinking about this. I had noticed knee pain, rear/side of right knee, then I realised that my saddle was actually too high.. :roll: , so I lowered it approx 5mm ( in 2 goes) , but anticipating altering the stem, I removed the spacers, and fitted a locking spacer, so as not to keep faffing about with the headset taughtness. The locking spacer is 2mm less in height than the std washer. Any way went for a spin , seat 5mm lower, bar 2mm lower, and bingo!! I'm spinning a slightly higher gear, because I feel I can now, and the bike feels faster. I've put away my allen key, and told myself not to touch!!. I Know most will say, ''you will not notice such a small difference' but I can, and its a blessing. I also now feel like I am sitting ON the saddle, as opposed to using the cantle plate at the rear, as a 'bum stop', also I found if I hold my stomach in a tad , it tends to rotate my pelvis , so I'm not laying down so much. well thats the feeling anyway.Thanks all or your input, especially the two mentioned above. happy days!


Don't stop now, you have just made a proper observation, not some woolly "if it feels right..." nonsense.
New saddle height is "minus 5mm" . and you are now more comfortable at high cadence....this means that your saddle was previously too high, because you weren't smooth at high cadence, reaching for the pedal at the bottom.....that's unequivocal, there is no other explanation.
Next observation is what are you doing when "forcing the gear". (Forcing the gear is one or two gears higher than comfortable up a rising road.) When forcing the gear, I find I'm doing several things; working the bars, working the cleats (push forward at the top, pull back at the bottom) and I'm dropping my heels and sitting back on the saddle....these last two give more knee extension....this is relatively low cadence.
Make a note to yourself what you are doing at "minus 5" and then try minus 10; see how minus 10 feels at high cadence and also when forcing the gear.

You were previously over-extending your knees (pain, and issues with high cadence)
I think (and so does Steve Hogg) that a slightly low saddle is less likely to hurt you than a slightly high saddle. So for me, as long as I'm not off the back of the saddle when I'm forcing the gear, then its high enough.

I can notice if my saddle height is say 3mm away from where I want it, but I can't reliably tell if handlebar reach or height are 10mm different, or even saddle setback (I think you just slide back or forward a bit)

MikeF
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Re: Saddle height

Postby MikeF » 5 Nov 2018, 9:44pm

Samuel D wrote:
I’ve come to suspect there’s a difference between leg length as measured in that way and functional or effective length when pedalling. Something doesn’t quite add up.
Size of foot maybe a factor. It's effectively an extension of the leg that is different for different people.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

yostumpy
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Re: Saddle height

Postby yostumpy » 6 Nov 2018, 9:57am

Ok, following on from this, I think another 5 mm would be too low, ( reluctant to move anything) BUT still had badish right knee pain on ride in this morning. So remembering Steve Hogg saying something like" knee follows ankle follows foot", I observed that my right foot was pointing slightly inward when peddling. I could ride with a straight foot, but felt some resistance from the release spring. So I stopped, worked out that the front of the cleat "kneeded " to go towards the inside of the shoe, scribed the c/c, released bolts and rotated a tad, prob 2mm at most , then nipped it all up again. "Oh, deep deep joy", INSTANT pain relief, amazing. I was obviously holding my foot against the spring, and straining my knee without knowing it. Thing is tho, to look at the cleat in the shoe, it now looks slightly off the c/c. But hey ho! My foot now visibly floats a little at the bottom of the stroke. Thanks all.

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John1054
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Re: Saddle height

Postby John1054 » 6 Nov 2018, 10:03am

Good news, always great to crack a problem :D

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531colin
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Re: Saddle height

Postby 531colin » 9 Nov 2018, 5:42pm

yostumpy wrote:Ok, following on from this, I think another 5 mm would be too low, ( reluctant to move anything) BUT still had badish right knee pain on ride in this morning. So remembering Steve Hogg saying something like" knee follows ankle follows foot", I observed that my right foot was pointing slightly inward when peddling. I could ride with a straight foot, but felt some resistance from the release spring. So I stopped, worked out that the front of the cleat "kneeded " to go towards the inside of the shoe, scribed the c/c, released bolts and rotated a tad, prob 2mm at most , then nipped it all up again. "Oh, deep deep joy", INSTANT pain relief, amazing. I was obviously holding my foot against the spring, and straining my knee without knowing it. Thing is tho, to look at the cleat in the shoe, it now looks slightly off the c/c. But hey ho! My foot now visibly floats a little at the bottom of the stroke. Thanks all.


I read somewhere that your knee is "the prisoner" of any discrepancy in foot position, or even hip and ankle joint function. Our knees go through a large proportion of their range every pedal revolution, unlike hip or ankle, and although knees can do marvellous things they do seem to work best on a bike as straight hinge joints. I am very careful to adjust my cleats so that my foot is never at either end of the float, but always somewhere in the middle, so that my foot is free to turn either way. I have also found it varies over the years.....I used to ride with my left heel out....then that stopped....then my right heel went out.....and now it too has stopped. I wonder what happens next?

I'm afraid I don't understand peoples reluctance to try variations in riding position. Put a bit of tape round the seatpost 20mm above the frame, take a photo and you can instantly get straight back to where you are now. Nothing to lose at all, and possibly something to gain....even if the only thing you gain is to be certain that your current position is right. Thats worth something, too.

yostumpy
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Re: Saddle height

Postby yostumpy » 9 Nov 2018, 6:07pm

BTW Colin, the saddle DID go gown another 3mm +/-, so now prob 8mm in total +/-. :roll: The bike feels faster after this 8mm, interestingly even tho I'm sitting lower, I'm out of the saddle more,when hills, and 'get aways' are needed. BUT I don't think it IS faster, judging by my avg speed, I suppose I'm 'busier' than I was, and more fluid, supple,less ploddy! Interestingly went out for a club run last night, (first time for prob 3 months) and first hill was a steep one, and I was at the back, but about 1/2 way up i gave it some beans, and went thro the field, and caught up the 2 at the top, and I was mildly surprised. I can only put it down to being more supple,and being comfortable spinning faster. Life is a learning curve, but only if you are prepared to learn., missus said to me once 'if nothing ever changes, it just always stays the same, how boring would that be?'......BUT I replied 'fine' as she was talking about decorating again!! :lol: :lol: