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leg length extension on bike(8 posts)

leg length extension on bikemaurizio
Oct 17, 2003 7:41 AM
I'm one to have my saddle about as high as it can be to get the most out of every pedal stroke. But lately, it seems like I'm much more sensitive to an aching ass because of this. In other words, my time in the saddle tolerance is diminished at the point where I feel I'm getting the most power out of a pedal stroke.
What gives? Do I need to try a new saddle?
When I look at other cyclists, I really feel like they are way too low and could raise their saddles sometimes an inch or more as their legs are barely 60% extended on the downstroke.
do the other cyclists arse's hurt?Steve_0
Oct 17, 2003 7:46 AM
gotta do what works for you.
What Steve_0 wrote and...PsyDoc
Oct 17, 2003 8:00 AM
...are you sure you are getting the most out of every pedal stroke by having your saddle as high as it can be? Perhaps having your saddle at that height is interfering with a smoother pedal stroke you could have by lowering your saddle a bit. I remember reading something about having your saddle too high is more harmful to your knees than having it too low; in other words, when setting your saddle height, you are better off being a little too low than a little too high. My saddle is set so that when I extend my leg down (not clipped in) the heel skid-pad on my Sidi shoes touches the platform of my Look 206's without leaning over to one side. As such, when I pedal at my normal riding, my leg does not appear to be getting full extension, but when I slow the pedal stroke down it appears that it's getting more extension than I thought.
Move the saddle around.bimini
Oct 17, 2003 9:19 AM
I like a high saddle also. Set just at the level where if it was any higher my hips would rock. I also pivot the ankles a bit, I know it's old school but that's what works for me and what I am comfortable with. (Grew up with rat trap pedals and straps.)

Try moving the saddle forward or aft. Play with the tilt. If that doesn't work maybe its time for a new saddle. If your pelvis is rocking or if you are having hip pain then I would say your seat is too high, otherwise, my guess is it's the seat position or the saddle it'self.
re: leg length extension on bikengl
Oct 17, 2003 9:48 AM
Maurizio, Iwas in the same situation as you a few years back. I started taking pain killers and greasing my shorts after the blisters started coming. One winter during a spinning class I had to position the bike seat too low or too high ( no infinite adjustment). When I put it in the too low position I could really spin! The next summer I lowered my road bike saddle. The results were dramatic. My cadence increased... I used lower gears... back problems went away during long rides... during climbs I learned to combine standing with seated spinning) instead of grinding big gears... most of all I CAN ENJOY MY NEW SLR SADDLE!!... NO MORE SORES!! I hope this helps.
the wisdom of C40TNSquared
Oct 17, 2003 11:11 AM
a couple of other responses have already alluded to it, but you may want to try lowering your saddle just a little bit.

awhile back i posted a pic of my bike for advice on the stem rise because the drop from saddle to bar was uncomfortable. based on that pic, C40 replied that my saddle appeared to be too high. his guess was 19mm above the top tube. he then suggested that 17-18mm is the ideal saddle to top tube distance, assuming of course that you start with the correct frame size.

when I got home, I measured and C40 was right on the money. so i lowered the saddle one centimeter. of course this made the drop to the bar more comfortable, but what I couldn't believe was how much better my pedal stroke felt. higher cadence without fatiguing, smoother spinning, more power - it made a huge difference.

even if your saddle height isn't causing the soreness, you might want to try lowering your saddle just a bit. if you don't find any benefit, you can always raise it back to it's current height.
not getting the most...C-40
Oct 17, 2003 2:49 PM
I fell for that baloney about raising your saddle until your hips rock many years ago. Worst advice ever given.

Raising the saddle to the point that your legs is fully extended at the bottom of the stroke does not "get the most out of every pedal stroke". It generally reduces cadence and power. Since I've changed to speedplay pedals to keep the foot as close to th pedal spindle as possible and kept my saddle height low enough to drop my heel several centimeters below horizontal with my leg locked at the bottom of the stroke, my cadence and smoothness has improved.

If you have an aching ass and lower back it't a sure sign of a saddle to high. I've been there and done that. It might take awhile to transition back down, but it's worth the effort. Watch the pros pedal on any of the major tours. Rarely will you see a leg fully extended or the heel up at the bottom of the stroke.

Keep in mind that power = torque x cadence. Anyting you lose in cadence must be made up with torque. High torque levels are hard on the knees and push the leg muscles into anaerobic effort, which isn't good for an endurance sport.
My Arse Hurts Too!! C-40, A Query for You...serbski
Oct 17, 2003 8:06 PM
I am in a very similar situation as I have played with saddle height quite a bit over the last few months and have only confused the issue in my mind! I used to run my saddle *way* too high and, after reading some posts here, I began to lower it bit by bit. I found the drop to the bars and my overall butt comfort to improve markedly with a saddle height that followed C-40's guidelines. However, after a month or so I began to experience pain in the front of both knees, something that I *never* felt with the higher saddle. I live in an area where climbing is impossible to avoid (plus I enjoy it) but, before you ask, I did not increase my mileage or intensity during this period. I'm frustrated because I find that the lower saddle makes for very a comfortable butt as well as helping with some foot hotspot issues yet I feel much more comfortable/efficient while climbing with a higher saddle as the stroke feels much more "circular" and smooth. I have *nowhere* near the experience of C-40 or many others on this board but how can I split the difference? i.e. is there a magic spot between my preferred high position and the lower/more comfortable/yet-it-bugs-my-knees position? It seems that just when the saddle is at that 2-3cm drop below horizontal position is about when my knees get a bit worrisome and I just simply feel too low. Any thoughts would be welcomed. Good luck in finding your position and sorry if I've horned in on your thead!