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Fit or Comfort What is More Important?(13 posts)

Fit or Comfort What is More Important?LLSmith
Sep 24, 2001 6:47 AM
I was thinking to myself while riding this weekend can you have one without the other? If I ever get dialed in to where I am comfortable on my saddle could I be less efficient because I might have my KOP position or something else out of whack? If you have a bike that fits correct by all normal standards will you be comfortable? For me I would gladly sacrifice a few strokes if I could go 50 miles without getting off my bike.
Ought to be the same thingmuncher
Sep 24, 2001 6:53 AM
Unless you are doing something pretty extreme (TT/TRI) they ought to be about the same - you'll not perform well if you are not comfortable. So long as you are not in a plain loopy postion (and perhaps even then), over any distance the position that you can pedal comfortably in will be the most efficiant too, as you can keep it up.

What are you having problems with at the moment?
Fit = Comfortmr_spin
Sep 24, 2001 6:57 AM
There is no difference. Unless you are doing time trials, which optimally requires positioning that is less comfortable.

A better question is can you ever get your fit truly dialed in? Your body changes over time. Some people grow. Some people shrink. People get heavier or lighter. It's possible that your perfect fit one day might not be perfect a week later.
The opposite of comfort is painRich Clark
Sep 24, 2001 7:10 AM
If you're having pain the bike doesn't fit (or you have something physically wrong with you).

There are no "normal standards" except that one.

If you can't ride 50 miles without pain, you need to fix the cause of that pain *first* and forget about the fine points.

RichC
But some discomfort requires a slow cooked solutionKristin
Sep 24, 2001 7:22 AM
for instance, at mile 50 my shoulders and neck become pretty tired. I'm not in pain perse, but definate discomfort. I can do about 25 miles more at that point, then I've got to get off the bike for at least 30 min.

I don't believe this is a fit issue as much as having weak torso and butt muscles combined with the inability to sit up on the bike. So, it's a matter of doing some targeted weight training this winter and learning to sit upright on the bike. It could be a little bit because of fit (the bike is a tad too short), but mostly its the rider.
But some discomfort requires a slow cooked solutionAlice
Sep 24, 2001 7:25 AM
K - if the bike is a tad too short, ought that not to make you sit up more and keep the strain off your back and shoulders?
A too short reach won't necessarily...Kristin
Sep 24, 2001 8:14 AM
make you more upright - that has to do with the seat/bar height differential - intead, it scrunches you up, forcing too much weight onto your hands. This can wear on your shoulders after a while. Doug has a really good point too. If I was doing longer distances more than once a week, it might get better.
or ride lotsDog
Sep 24, 2001 7:31 AM
Sometimes discomfort is simply a result of insufficient time on the bike, as you mention. Gotta get that seat time in. Rides that at one time destroyed me are merely a warm up, now. Pretty much the same for everyone.

But, the bike must fit pretty close. Go to a bike shop with your shorts, shoes, and bike, and have them take a look at you on a trainer. They might offer some suggestions.

Sometimes this is hard, though. What's comfortable, even "by the book" set-up, may not remain comfortable after long hours in the saddle. You may have to experiment and vary from the "normal" suggestions to find what works for you.

One suggestion that helps immensely. Vary your position and riding style on the bike frequently as you ride. Shift forward and aft on the saddle. Stand sometimes. Change grip from tops, hoods, and drops. Change gear and cadence. Strangely, I've found comfort on long rides in which I've been plugging along at a constant speed by going anaerobic and riding hard for a minute or so. Don't know why, you'd think the opposite. In sum, try lots of different things. Likely, no single thing will provide comfort - it may be combination of doing many things.

Doug
re: Fit or Comfort What is More Important?Elefantino
Sep 24, 2001 7:29 AM
Heresy alert: "Fit" is based on mathematics and biomechanics ... but not on you.
My bike is not set up according to the "fit kit" settings that were set when I first bought it. I doubt that many are. Like others, I'm sure, I have tweaked and tweaked over time and, yes, sometimes, I tweak weekly or even daily depending on what my body is telling me.
If you are uncomfortable on your saddle, carry hex wrenches and adjust mid-ride. If it still doesn't help, I suggest trying a new saddle.
My bike came with a San Marco Era that I heard raves about; I hated it. So I switched back to my tried-and-true, much-loved Flite from the old bike; for some reason it didn't feel good on the new one. Now I'm perched on a Selle XO that I found for $15 in the orphan bucket at the LBS. Conventions says it would be uncomfortable because it's so much wider than the Flite. But it's wonderful. Go figure.
Experiment. Listen to what your body tells you. And have fun.
Careful about adjustments though... .5 cm at most at a time (nm)Kristin
Sep 24, 2001 8:05 AM
Standard (pro racing) "fit" may not work for everybodycory
Sep 24, 2001 8:48 AM
I'll keep this short because nobody's going to pay attention anyway: The high-saddle, low-bars, tiny-bike version of "fit" that's become standard these days doesn't make much sense for most of the riding most of us do. I'm beginning to sound like a shill for Rivendell, but Grant Petersen has some alternative suggestions that really do work. Check 'em at www.rivendellbicycles.com. I set up one bike like that just to see how it felt, and it's the only one I ride these days.
Right on, brother. nmscottfree
Sep 24, 2001 10:57 AM
amen!bianchi boy
Sep 24, 2001 12:41 PM
'nuff said