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flexibility and stem height(19 posts)

flexibility and stem heightmetonymy3
Oct 23, 2001 7:48 PM
I'm right at 6' w/ a 35" inseam. I ride a 56cm Kestrel 200sci with a quill stem. My saddle is a Selle Italia Turbomatic 3 Gel (came on the bike). I like to ride with a flatter back, and as far as flexibility goes I'm set, but when I set the stem very low, my balls get tender after a while on the bike so that it kind of hurts to touch them. But this is only sometimes, and one nut always hurts more than the other. I've thought that maybe the problem is positioning inside the shorts, but I seem very centered, and I don't want to be having to obsess about shifting during a ride. My saddle is level. Is this not a problem with anyone else? Whenever I hear about stem height, it's always about flexibility and this issue never comes up.
I hope someone can help me with this, it's pretty frustrating. Thanks in advance.


PS. Sorry about the matter-of-fact way of stating the problem, but I couldn't really think of a better way.
On your left :!)breck
Oct 23, 2001 8:38 PM
Your saddle should never be "quote" centered. Just a tad to the left or right of top-tube-straight for the most comfort :) This should be a long and merry thread :)

On your left :!)mickey-mac
Oct 23, 2001 8:48 PM
But, Breck, does the same hold true for the women cyclist among us?

mike mcmahon
It's way past your bed time Mikey :)breck
Oct 23, 2001 8:51 PM
When i hit the sack i'll ask the missus :)

cheers to a fellow bgcc,
Yep, I'll go to bed nowmickey-mac
Oct 23, 2001 9:00 PM
On further reflection, my last message made no sense at all. Oh well, it's not the first time and won't be the last.
On your right!guido
Oct 24, 2001 12:24 PM
If you offset your saddle, one thigh is going to rub on the nose and the other isn't, unless you pedal like a duck. You want an even pedal stroke, don't you? Then why screw up your form by turning the saddle sideways?

If you tilt the nose down, your weight will shift off your sit bones and go onto the "soft tissue" resting on the narrow nose. You'll put weight on your arms and hands to push your butt back onto the wide part of the saddle where you can use your sit bones, but you'll be continually sliding forward onto your hands, and get sore shoulders, arms, and numb wrists. If the stem is way low from the saddle, you'll be falling onto the handlebars. You want to rest your sitbones on the back of the saddle so it has to be level. Raise dat stem! as the article says on the Rivendell site. If you have enough distance between the saddle and handlebars, you can actually make your back flatter than hunkered down over a low stem.
check your shorts...matt
Oct 23, 2001 11:51 PM
Does this problem always happen with the same pair of shorts? Even if they are the same brand, a slightly different seam placement could be causing it to happen. It is definatley caused by something rubbing wrong(insert jokes here). Fear not my good man, with old man winter ariving shrinkage in all areas will happen and there won't be as much loose skin to rub raw.
re: flexibility and stem heightJohn-d
Oct 24, 2001 2:51 AM
I had a similar problem with a Turbomatic 3 Gel.

I got rid of the Turbomatic and now ride an Endzone, the one with a slot down the middle and highish wings for sitting on.

I also lowered the saddle a bit, - big improvement.

And finally I offset it very slightly to the left.

Can now ride 100k no problem and can think about other things than the saddle.
Oct 24, 2001 4:32 AM
No thanks, you can keep it all. (nm)Rich Clark
Oct 24, 2001 5:26 AM
Try this -Rich Clark
Oct 24, 2001 5:25 AM
Rotate the saddle slightly to one side (nose pointing a bit to the right or the left), and then "dress" on the other side.

And don't discount the possibility that your shorts are too tight. Especially if it hurts when you try the above suggestion.

See comments by Rivendell Cycles'...MrCelloBoy
Oct 24, 2001 7:07 AM
Grant Peterson. He believes (and I agree) that most riders have their bars far too low in relation to the seat than necessary. YES, if your racing it makes sense, but for the other 98% of us it makes better sense to have the heights near level.
I have my ibis custom road and Calfee Tandem set up this way and it rocks.
The Look ErgoStem will allow you to play with stem height in a way no other stem can match.
FWIW, 100% endorsement of Rivendell's advicecory
Oct 24, 2001 7:45 AM
I'm with CelloBoy. I set up my Atlantis (and now all my other bikes, too) according to Grant's advice and it made a huge difference in comfort, which led to riding more miles, which led to greater fitness, which canceled whatever loss of speed there was from the higher bars (I don't think there WAS a loss, but nobody will believe that).
Also, 56cm sounds pretty small for a guy your size, but it's impossible to judge that by remote control.
FWIW, not me.dzrider
Oct 24, 2001 12:03 PM
I find one of the keys to saddle comfort is getting weight off my butt and onto my hands. The only way I've found to do this is having my bars about 2" lower than my seat and leaning forward. On long rides my thumbs and shoulders usually hurt before my butt does, especially since I stopped using down tube levers.
frame too small??C-40
Oct 24, 2001 8:27 AM
If your inseam is really 35 inches, you should be riding a 59 or 60cm frame. Your saddle to bar height difference must be pretty large, riding such a small frame. If the saddle to bar height difference is more than 10cm, you may be bent over so far that things get squished when riding in the drops. Tilting the saddle down by only a small amount may help, but correct frame sizing would be advisable.
Oct 24, 2001 10:32 AM
My immediate reaction was "gee that's kind of a small frame" and then I continued reading and my next reaction was "gee I'm glad I'm female" and my FINAL and most important reaction was "gee, I bet his saddle-to-bar differential has him riding on soft tissue rather than sit bones."

Get a stem with a modest rise (Profile and Salsa both make some quill stems reasonably priced and decent that have 5 or 10 degrees rise... not so much as to give the upright Fred look)

Get a saddle with a cutout (discuss saddle issues with the boys).

But really, really evaluate that saddle/bar height difference.
Oct 24, 2001 11:32 AM
If you have a 35" inseam and you are only 6' you are definitely not standard issue. I ride a 56 and stand 6' tall and would consider my legs and torso and arms to be balanced. My brother rides the same bike I do only in a 58 and it kills me (hands go numb, feet go numb). If you go to a 59 or 60 you are going to have other fit problems besides saddle height. You should consider a professional fit job by a qualified LBS.

What is the rule-of-thumb for saddle direction? In street cloths I "dress right", so which way should my saddle be tilted, left or right?
Oct 24, 2001 8:29 PM
You my friend are on a "pro sized" bike.

I bet your saddle/bar drop is >10cm easy! Get a riser stem or a new frame.

good luck.
re: flexibility and stem heightmetonymy3
Oct 25, 2001 6:18 PM
I posted a nice reply yesterday, but it didn't go through.

Guys, I think I've been misleading you all. I'm just sure I measured my inseam wrong, because I've always considered myself to be longer in the waist. I am 6' tall, but my inseam is shorter for sure. I've been holding the fabric tape measure snug in my crotch and letting it hit the floor. Is this the right way? My bike really doesn't look that small. The top of the seat is 19cm above the top of the top tube. Straight down, not with the angle of the seat post. The seat-bar drop IS 10cm. It doesn't look like a lot! And I remeasured my inseam with the above method and a different tape and it's still 35in.

When you say that I'm not standard issue, do you mean that 35in is long for 6' tall, or short. I swear, my legs are not that long. Help!?! Please!