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  #1  
Old 10-31-2022, 08:41 AM
ah87 ah87 is offline
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Noob bike fit

As title says, I don't know a ton about bike fit, especially when it comes to road/gravel bikes. I built up a steel gravel/rando bike earlier this year and have been finding it pretty uncomfortable on my hands on any ride longer than an hour or so (so basically any ride). I have an 80mm stem but it's a quill stem that doesn't have a faceplate, so replacing it would be a pain. I'm thinking about installing a zero offset seatpost, but would that mess up the angles and, like, hurt my knees or something?
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2022, 11:04 AM
sheepdog84 sheepdog84 is offline
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Nice looking bike! and welcome to PL Is this your first & only bike? Do you have any other symptoms or pain besides hand pain or numbness?

No worries about being a noob - everyone needs to start somewhere.

If you're just getting into fitting, probably one of the most important things to note is that it's certainly a process, and not a singular event - and you are best off going on how you feel on the bike, rather than some exact parameters or scrutinizing over millimeters. Over time, your body will adapt to a given position, unless you are in pain - then you'll never ride, and never be able to solve the problem.

So, there are lots of unknowns and some complexity here. Without knowing your physiology, this can be difficult to solve for. I'll try to add some input best I can. This can most likely be solved without needing to swap out components.

My initial thought is some combination of the following two common causes of hand pain:
  • saddle too far forward, so your torso is being pushed by the saddle into the handlebars, and thus putting more pressure on your hands than necessary. As far as pressure goes.You should be relatively light on your hands, really only enough to steer the bike.
  • saddle is slightly too high, so your upper body weight is being tipped forward onto the bars and causing excessive pressure. A finer note here is that in your pedal stroke your hamstrings (back leg muscles) aren't engaging properly at the bottom of the stroke, and your quad muscles are doing all the work. Because of where the quads attach to your pelvis, if they are overworking, they will pull your pelvis down and therefore causing excess weight on your hands

I would start with those simple things first, such as moving the saddle back about 5mm at a time, to try and relieve the pressure on your hands. It looks somewhat in the middle of the rails, so you should have plenty of adjustment here to experiment with.

This Crust appears to be one of their bigger frames - so I assume you are a taller / bigger rider. Perhaps an oversimplification, but taller and larger riders can tend to need more setback (or your bum more rearward, in relation to the cranks) - so a saddle adjustment should be a relatively safe place to start.

The other two causes of the hand pain could be these:
  • the reach from the tip of the saddle to the handlebars is too short, so your arms are not going into extension as much as they need to.
  • not enough handlebar drop, so your upper body is basically cramped up between the bars and the saddle.

Typically speaking, people can tolerate more drop than they can tolerate excessive reach to the handlebars, so if the saddle and your pedal stroke feels fine, you could try lowering your stem to increase the reach, without replacing the stem. The Brooks B17 wasn't designed to be ridden with a ton of drop to the handlebars, but you appear to still be in the acceptable range.

Another thing to note is, since you're running a pretty short stem, and with the saddle near the lowest point in the seat tube - suggests the bike frame itself may be on the large side in terms of fitting for you. This is problematic in many ways, as I understand that Crust bikes tend to run on the large side. OR, it's just right, and needs some simple adjustments, without the need to swap out parts

I would not try swapping out the seatpost, as that will also change your saddle's position in relation to the cranks (as identified earlier). Additionally, it has the potential to move you even further forward into the front end of the bike, further exacerbating the problem.

Again, In your case, I'd start with the back end of the bike. Mark where the saddle is currently on the rails & on the seatpost, then push the saddle back a few mm. You will need to lower it a bit as well, due to the saddle being on an angle from the seattube.. Let us know how it turns out.

Last edited by sheepdog84; 11-01-2022 at 11:06 AM.
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  #3  
Old 11-01-2022, 11:17 AM
Turkle Turkle is offline
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I agree with sheepdog84. I used to scoot my saddle forward to try to get closer to the bars, but it made me unstable on the bike so it only made the problem worse as I had to hold up all my weight with my arms.

Paradoxically, moving my seat back gave me a more stable platform and eliminated the pressure on my arms, shoulders, and neck without messing with the handlebar position.

Also, I think those Brooks saddles tend to sit super far forward in general, which is why VO makes a "super-setback" post for them: https://velo-orange.com/collections/...t-long-setback

To sum up here, I have normal legs, a long torso, and short arms, so my bikes fit pretty specifically. But what I do is I have a short stem to accommodate my short arms, and I have my saddle relatively far back to give myself a stable platform, even with about 4cm of drop from saddle to bars. It gives me great comfort on even century rides. Good luck!
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  #4  
Old 11-02-2022, 08:27 AM
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Ti Designs Ti Designs is offline
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  #5  
Old 11-02-2022, 10:56 AM
zero85ZEN zero85ZEN is offline
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The angle of those hoods would be absolute agony on my hands. But everyone is built different, of course.

I'd say the previous posters have covered most of the bases well. Experiement with their suggestions and don't be surprised if lowering the bars might help. Play with the angle of the hoods as well. Experiment until you narrow in what feels better.

Good luck.
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  #6  
Old 11-03-2022, 01:02 PM
Smitty2k1 Smitty2k1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepdog84 View Post

saddle is slightly too high, so your upper body weight is being tipped forward onto the bars and causing excessive pressure. A finer note here is that in your pedal stroke your hamstrings (back leg muscles) aren't engaging properly at the bottom of the stroke, and your quad muscles are doing all the work. Because of where the quads attach to your pelvis, if they are overworking, they will pull your pelvis down and therefore causing excess weight on your hands
I am not the OP but I'd like to follow up on your point about quads. Ive been biking pretty seriously for about 5 years and have had multiple bike fits from multiple highly regarded fitters and have NEVER been able to get comfortable. I'm always putting a ton of pressure on my arms/hands/shoulders no matter how far back I move the saddle or how high I raise the bars. Even on our super upright bike share bikes I always find myself trying to hold my body weight up with my arms. I also always have the sensation I'm sliding to the nose of the saddle and have to reset my sitting position constantly.

I've tried several Brooks, Fizik, and other saddles and have flat bar and drop bar bikes. I've tried cleats in the front of the foot and cleats more rearward and nothing seems to help. I do have very large legs with big quads and I rarely feel hamstring/glute engagement. When I used to weight lift I always struggled with lifts that engaged the hamstrings and glutes too. I also have extremely long legs for my height.

Any suggestions on things to try to counteract your point about quads dominating? Things to try to narrow down if that's a cause?
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Old 11-04-2022, 01:59 PM
sheepdog84 sheepdog84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty2k1 View Post
I am not the OP but I'd like to follow up on your point about quads. Ive been biking pretty seriously for about 5 years and have had multiple bike fits from multiple highly regarded fitters and have NEVER been able to get comfortable. I'm always putting a ton of pressure on my arms/hands/shoulders no matter how far back I move the saddle or how high I raise the bars. Even on our super upright bike share bikes I always find myself trying to hold my body weight up with my arms. I also always have the sensation I'm sliding to the nose of the saddle and have to reset my sitting position constantly.

I've tried several Brooks, Fizik, and other saddles and have flat bar and drop bar bikes. I've tried cleats in the front of the foot and cleats more rearward and nothing seems to help. I do have very large legs with big quads and I rarely feel hamstring/glute engagement. When I used to weight lift I always struggled with lifts that engaged the hamstrings and glutes too. I also have extremely long legs for my height.

Any suggestions on things to try to counteract your point about quads dominating? Things to try to narrow down if that's a cause?
Hi there! Happy to chime in. Again, this will be difficult to sort out over forum messaging without looking at your unique physique and physiology - if you'd like to PM me in response, that works too. Bare with me - this might get extensive.

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This is multifaceted, and anyone can probably pick holes in my reasoning here, but my initial thought for your specific case is that if you are indeed larger individual with large and long powerful legs, you may benefit from having more setback in order to to get your weight further behind the bottom bracket, which should result in a potentially lower saddle height than you've probably grown accustomed to.

I will say, a saddle too low will feel strange at first, but you are much better off being slightly too low than too high. If your saddle is still too high overall, you're going to have a difficult time sensing or noticing any changes. How I set my saddle height was first doing the "heel to pedal" method, and then from there, lower it by 20mm. Then, I would go do some efforts on the trainer, creeping it up in height by 3mm until my pedal stroke started to feel choppy on those hard efforts, and back down a few mm from there.

Ideally, you should feel as if you are able to "pedal in circles", rather than choppy or stampy where of all of your power is coming from that terminal extension of the leg on the downstroke (via the quads).

You did mention a change of cleat fore/aft, toward the aft position, did you change your saddle height accordingly? If fully aft, your saddle height will need to change in a commensurate manner - drop it by 10 - 15 mm. Another thing to keep track of is if your saddle moves back, it needs to be lowered due to the angle of the seat tube. Likewise, moving the saddle foreward, it needs to be bumped up. ie. for every 3mm of saddle heigh adjustment, move the saddle fore/aft 1mm (I believe this is the correct ratio? but please feel free to double check elsewhere).

I would advise making these changes at home, on a trainer, and going from there. If it feels bad on the trainer, it'll feel just as bad on the road.

The other critical thing fore/aft changes is the reach. If you get your saddle far back enough, reaching out to bars will start to feel strange. You may need a shorter stem, or more stack added to the bars to accommodate this. Another thing to consider looking into a bike that accomidates that specific fit - such as an endurance bike, where the angles are a bit slacker, the front end is taller, the reach is shorter.

Changes you make will take some time to adapt to but IMO, they are well worth the effort in sorting it out for yourself. Let me know 1:1 if this helps.

_________________________


This is certainly not my thread, but here's a bit of background on how I've arrived at some of my conclusions if anyone is interested - I'm an open book.

I've done extensive self experimentation, based on feel, and have arrived at my conclusions because I've been what I refer to as "Retul'd".

My first true fitting experience was with a Retul fitter who set my saddle nearly 20-30mm *too high*. After the fit, I had a ton of weight on my hands, and was cramping and in pain all over trying to adapt to that saddle height. I could have stuck with it, or went back to the fitter, but honestly didn't want to give that fitter any further business. In short, it sucked. One doesn't need to go far to see other folks with Retul issues. Basically, the fitter got my fit to match up on his system, took my $700+, and never followed up.

As one can imagine, that whole experience sent me down a Bike fit research rabbit hole to figure out what would work best for me.

Two years later, I'm riding more consistently and harder than ever, after making my own changes & modifications. Lots of indoor trainer trainer time has taught me that I have a longer right leg due to surgery from a skiing accident, some tibial torsion (a twisted leg) as a result - hence rendering a comparatively shorter left leg. I run a 3mm shim under my left leg and that has helped my symmetry and resulting fit, tremendously.

For comparison's sake to refer to my saddle height above, my "retul fit" had my saddle height at 792mm - and my current saddle height hovers between 760-770mm.

So, which height is actually correct? The height where I am the most stable (no rocking side to side, reaching through the bottom of the pedal stroke), most powerful, and minimal weight on my hands. Personally, I do like to have *some* weight on my hands, as I find that helps with steering stability, handle, bike responsiveness, etc.. Absolutely no weight on your hands will make the bike feel floaty/unresponsive. Too much will make it handle like an icecream truck trying to tow a city bus.

Anecdotally, I've recently started to creep my saddle forward, as I have previously ran it pretty far back, to try and recruite my quads *more* than I was previously.

I can't tell how many times I see people on bikes that just look absolutely miserable, only sometimes are they really putting in any effort. Maybe some people really don't care that much, and that's fine. Even if you're just on the bike path though, putting out 10 watts, if you're not comfortable on your bike, then you're probably rarely going to ride.

I simply don't understand the gate keeping around bike fit - everyone deserves a good fit.

Anyways - that's enough ranting about my own experience.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2022, 04:20 PM
jimoots jimoots is offline
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I don't discount what other posters have said but it feels like we are all jumping to solution mode without getting right back to basics. The danger of this is you can change too many things and then not know what fixed the issue, or worse (and probably more likely) introduce other issues.

My first question is do you have another bike you are comfortable on?

From there you need to work out the distance from the saddle to bottom bracket. If you have the same saddle then you can use the front or back of the saddle to work it out. If you don't have the same saddle then you need to work out where your sit bones are hitting the saddle and then calculate from that position on the saddle. Using a plumb bob is the fastest way to work this out.

You can probably work out where I am going here - once you know where you sit on one bike, replicate it on the other. Again, this is much easier with the same saddle as where your sitbones land on two different saddles will be different.

From there you are basically just in a game of reproducing the reach (from saddle tip, if same saddle, or from sitbones if different saddle) and drop to your handlebars.

Ultimately you should never use your saddle position to try and attempt to make a bike fit, as this is the foundation for all other elements of your bike fit. It'll be a case of getting that saddle position right and then using a stem or shorter reach bar to make it fit... or the bike just doesn't fit.
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Old 11-07-2022, 05:26 PM
ah87 ah87 is offline
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Hey all, thanks for your thoughtful responses. I haven't had a chance to start sliding the saddle back, but I'll respond to some of the other points here.

The bike is a size large from Crust. I'm on the cusp between the medium (55cm) and large (58cm) and they don't make anything in between. I read somewhere that Crust recommends sizing up, so I did. I'm 6'1" with a 33" inseam. I have relatively short arms and legs and a long torso.

When riding I feel very stretched out, so I often ride with my hands resting on the ramps/shoulders rather than the hoods.

It's hard to tell I guess, but in the above photo the saddle is slammed all the way forward. The angle of the photo makes it look like there's more rail to go, but actually the rails bend outward right behind where the seat clamp is in that pic.

I hear you on the saddle position in relation to cranks, I'll hold off on swapping in a zero setback seatpost.

Another thing I've been researching is handlebar reach. I have the Nitto Noodle in the 48cm width. It seems these handlebars have about 20-25mm more reach and drop than more modern handlebars. They also have more drop and I find riding in the drops and hooks on this bike totally unbearable.
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Old 11-07-2022, 06:01 PM
Alistair Alistair is offline
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A quick test for saddle set-back…
Pedal on a flat section of road at a solid moderate effort. You should be able to remove your hands from bars without “falling forward” onto the bars. IE, your core and upper legs are engaged/can engage easily and support your torso/arms.

Effort needs to be moderate to slightly hard - too easy and your hamstrings aren’t engaged enough to support you throughout the pedal stroke.

If you are falling forward, try moving the saddle back a bit.
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Old 11-07-2022, 06:04 PM
Alistair Alistair is offline
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Another thought - do you feel like you’re sliding forward on the saddle? Whenever I’ve used a Brookes saddle, I needed it tilted up at the nose a bit to get me in the right spot. Don’t change it for no reason, but it’s very common to see saddles like this tilted up a bit. Same impact as moving the saddle back, just moving you back on the saddle instead of moving the saddle itself, if that makes sense.
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Old 11-07-2022, 06:22 PM
ah87 ah87 is offline
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Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
Another thought - do you feel like you’re sliding forward on the saddle? Whenever I’ve used a Brookes saddle, I needed it tilted up at the nose a bit to get me in the right spot. Don’t change it for no reason, but it’s very common to see saddles like this tilted up a bit. Same impact as moving the saddle back, just moving you back on the saddle instead of moving the saddle itself, if that makes sense.
I used to have this problem on a previous bike and different Brooks B17. Eventually tilted it up and all was well. Ever since I’ve kept it at least level!
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Old 11-07-2022, 06:23 PM
ah87 ah87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
A quick test for saddle set-back…
Pedal on a flat section of road at a solid moderate effort. You should be able to remove your hands from bars without “falling forward” onto the bars. IE, your core and upper legs are engaged/can engage easily and support your torso/arms.

Effort needs to be moderate to slightly hard - too easy and your hamstrings aren’t engaged enough to support you throughout the pedal stroke.

If you are falling forward, try moving the saddle back a bit.
I will try this, thank you.
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  #14  
Old 11-07-2022, 06:24 PM
ah87 ah87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy-moots View Post
I don't discount what other posters have said but it feels like we are all jumping to solution mode without getting right back to basics. The danger of this is you can change too many things and then not know what fixed the issue, or worse (and probably more likely) introduce other issues.

My first question is do you have another bike you are comfortable on?

From there you need to work out the distance from the saddle to bottom bracket. If you have the same saddle then you can use the front or back of the saddle to work it out. If you don't have the same saddle then you need to work out where your sit bones are hitting the saddle and then calculate from that position on the saddle. Using a plumb bob is the fastest way to work this out.

You can probably work out where I am going here - once you know where you sit on one bike, replicate it on the other. Again, this is much easier with the same saddle as where your sitbones land on two different saddles will be different.

From there you are basically just in a game of reproducing the reach (from saddle tip, if same saddle, or from sitbones if different saddle) and drop to your handlebars.

Ultimately you should never use your saddle position to try and attempt to make a bike fit, as this is the foundation for all other elements of your bike fit. It'll be a case of getting that saddle position right and then using a stem or shorter reach bar to make it fit... or the bike just doesn't fit.
I haven’t had a drop bar bike in many years, so don’t have a good comparison. I have an road bike converted into an upright townie and I have a hardtail MTB.
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Old 11-07-2022, 07:05 PM
ah87 ah87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zero85ZEN View Post
The angle of those hoods would be absolute agony on my hands. But everyone is built different, of course.

I'd say the previous posters have covered most of the bases well. Experiement with their suggestions and don't be surprised if lowering the bars might help. Play with the angle of the hoods as well. Experiment until you narrow in what feels better.

Good luck.
Thanks! How do you have your hoods set up?
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