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What adjustments should I make?(8 posts)

What adjustments should I make?94Nole
Aug 13, 2002 3:39 AM
At lot of us newbies get on here and ask questions with little or no background and I don't know if this will be the same.

I have been riding now for just about a month. The only problem I am having physically are the muscles on the tops of my thighs. Those muscles are screaming during and after a ride. Could it be that my saddle is too low?

Is this enough info to go on?
Those would be your quads...OffTheBack
Aug 13, 2002 4:34 AM
(quadriceps), and no, that isn't enough information to go on. Quads are the muscles that are the most highly stressed by cycling, so if you're new and riding hard, fatigue there is perfectly normal.

A couple of questions: what is your average cadence (ballpark)? If you are mashing a big gear at 80 rpm or less, I would suggest you shift down a gear or two and spin more. That will take some stress off your quads. Also, how did you set your saddle height? A slight bend in the knee when the pedal is at 6 o'clock is a good place to start.
Those would be your quads...94Nole
Aug 13, 2002 4:38 AM
I try to keep cadence in the 90rpm range +/- 5%. Knee is bent at the position you mention but that is what generated the question that the seat may be a bit low (a little more bend in the knee than probably necessary) which would seem to stress the quads a bit more?

thanks for your help
Go ahead and try raising your saddleOffTheBack
Aug 13, 2002 4:51 AM
by a small amount, like not more than 5 mm at a time, and see if that feels better. Just don't get it so high that your hips rock from side to side as you pedal, or that you pedal with your toes pointed down. 90 rpm is a reasonable cadence, although you might want to shift down a gear and shoot for 100 rpm - more cardio, less quads.

Finally, hang in there! It takes time to develop the muscles used in cycling, and to find your ideal position. Keep riding, and by next summer you'll be amazed at how much progress you've made.
more precise adjustmentsrob45
Aug 13, 2002 5:29 AM
you should go to a website like Colorado Cyclist and look at their setup info (they have all the standard numbers). Read how to take a measurement of your inseam, then multiply it by .883 for the distance from the center of your bottom bracket (center of the crank) to the top of your saddle. Use this as a reference point, but I would not suggest deviating from it too much. Also see how to set up fore/aft position on your saddle. The soreness you're feeling is normal, but a proper position is important not to develop chronic problems
re: What adjustments should I make?Dragon33
Aug 13, 2002 4:56 AM
You might want to also move the seat back a little at a time. Without knowing your current position it is hard to say. With the peadals at the 3 and 9 o'clock position you want the the little round bony piece on the side of your knee to be either in line with peadal center or slightly behind the forward peadal (use a plumb line). By having the seat back you use more glute muscal and less quad. Seat height will make a difference too of course.
re: What adjustments should I make?rufus
Aug 13, 2002 5:37 AM
sounds like you may be pushing up and down on the pedals, rather than pedalling circles. this would use the quads more than the rest of your leg muscles. concentrate on pulling your feet through the bottom of the pedal stroke, sorta like wiping your feet on a doormat, and pulling up through the upstroke more. work on smoothing this motion out, pedalling smooth circles with no dead spots in the rotation, and you will be working the calves and hamstrings as well as the quads

you possibly could be sitting a bit too far back, pushing your legs up and over the pedal stroke rather than sitting on top of the pedals and spinning. check your knee over the pedal spindle position(kops).
Aug 13, 2002 9:37 AM
Another post mentioned Colorado Cyclist for a fit guide. Check out They have a pretty cool fit guide there too with pictures which illustrate how to take specific measurements. If you didn't get a custom fit at your LBS (local bike shop), this should help get you started. From there, go with what feels natural for you. Even the fit guides are just averages of what professional racers use. Just don't cry too much if you end up spending some cash on a new stem, bar, or seatpost!