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Two questions...Arm bend and Saddle seating(6 posts)

Two questions...Arm bend and Saddle seatingOnly300
Jul 5, 2001 11:48 PM
1. How much bend should there be when I'm riding my bike while my hands are on the bars? hoods? drops?

2. Sometimes I move forward on the saddle when riding because it is more comfortable. Will this affect the way I ride?

re: Two questions...Arm bend and Saddle seatingNeedySpeedy
Jul 6, 2001 7:38 AM
You should have a slight bend in your arms in every position when riding casually. The slight bend absorbs road shock and helps maintain control. Riding with your arms locked out is not only dangerous but very uncomfortable. When racing this bend can get very severe trying to get an aero position at times - its all personal preference and related to how flexable and fit you are.

Your seat fore & aft position should be set up correctly. First make sure your seat height is set correct and produces a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Then clip in and get in your most used riding position (I use the hoods). With the right pedal at 3 o'clock and the left at 9 you should be able to draw an imaginary line from the bone below your right kneecap straight down through the pedal spindle. This can actually be slightly behind if you like to mash big gears or slightly forward if you like to spin.

After you set-up your seat height and fore & aft position if you still find yourself sliding forward on the seat the reach may be too long and you may need a shorter stem. Sometimes rotating the bars slightly up or repositioning the levers helps.

Good luck!
One rule of thumb...MrCelloBoy
Jul 6, 2001 9:13 AM
when I was a teen, was to place your elbow on the front of the seats nose and extend tyour forearm and straightened fingers forward. The tips of your fingers should just meet the back edge of the bars on your road bike.
one might thumb that rule :-)ET
Jul 6, 2001 1:14 PM
That'd probably come out too short. Here is the rule as it appeared on page 84 of the June 2001 Cycling Plus magazine:

"Start by positioning the saddle so that it's roughly half way along the saddle rail. Rest your right elbow against the tip of the saddle with your left hand rested against the tips of your right fingers. Your left little finger should be in line with the middle of the handlebars where your hands normally rest on the tops."

It is meant as a ballpark rule to see if a frame is feasible, and the article then goes on with making the other adjustments (e.g. stem, saddle height). There is a picture there. In case the text is unclear, your actual elbow point lies a bit below the saddle tip. Your right hand has its fingers lying in the vertical plain (thumb on top, pinky on bottom), and left hand is lying horizontally, with its index finger joining up with the middle fingers of the right hand. The pinky of the left hand should end up right on the middle of the top of the bar.

A few co-workers tried this and it worked for them. My setup came out on the longish side (pinky almost at beginning of tops), but I've adjusted my saddle slightly forward (around .5 cm) since then and have not re-measured. I suspect those with great flexibilty will generally prefer it a bit longer. As a thumb rule, though, it seems remarkably accurate. Takes just a second too!
re: Two questions...Arm bend and Saddle seatingMart
Jul 6, 2001 9:16 AM
A lot depends on how comfortable you are. If you are over stretching you will often find that when you are getting to the end of a ride your neck will be sore. This can happen anyway because of the position of a road bike but stretching can make it worse. I had one bike which had a tope tube that was too long for me and I could never really get comfortable - I ended up bringing the seat forward more than I wanted so I could reach the bars easier. I was already using a 10cm stem. In hindsight I should have got a smaller stem.
When you are on the drops I personally find that it is quite natural to move forward on the seat. I find that it helps my legs spin better and I seem to go faster but bear in mind it is what you find most effective and comfortable.
Thanks everyone for the help..happy riding! (nm)Only300
Jul 6, 2001 6:35 PM