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Dead spot in pedal stroke related to seat height ?(4 posts)

Dead spot in pedal stroke related to seat height ?Michelle
May 29, 2001 1:40 PM
Doing ILT this morning, I actually unclipped each foot this time (duh) and was amazed at how bad my pedal stroke is. The worst dead spot was happening at the top of the stroke and wondered if that might have something to do with my seat being to low or if it's all technique?

Any ideas/suggestions?
Remember 30 degrees...Cima Coppi
May 30, 2001 7:26 AM
The optimum seat height on the bike is when the leg is at a 30 degree bend at the lowest point on the pedal stroke. My LBS has a cool angle measurement device that he rested on the side of my knee (at the top of my fibula bone) and took several measurements of the angle after watching me pedal. My seat height was adjusted accordingly to get the 30 degree angle.

I have verified this by reading in a few books that this is the optimum angle for the optimum pedal stroke.

Good luck
re: Dead spot in pedal stroke related to seat height ?nc
May 30, 2001 7:27 AM
The upper dead spot is caused by the straight downward pedal pressure

associated with the recommended circular pedaling style. Until your

shoe is in a position where it can apply direct downward pressure, it

is merely " marking time". Take a look at a thread about 80 threads

back called "science of going faster" and read the technique posts.
Technique more likelylonefrontranger
May 31, 2001 5:35 PM
The first few times you practice one-legged pedaling will feel really awful, and there will typically be a big pause as you dramatically and clumsily pull up and through the top of the stroke. Unless you "fall over" to the clipped in side (too high) or "fall away" from it (too low, then your seat height should be OK.

I can't recall - didn't you say somewhere that you rode horses as a teen? (I did H/J and 3-day events from ages 9 to 22).

If so, then this visualization technique may help because you'll know what the heck I'm talking about. If not, it will merely amuse you. Here goes: I visualize my pedal stroke as "action", as in high action, like a gaited horse or Hackney pony. Really helps get the knees to "snap" through the top of the stroke like they're supposed to. The old tip of "scraping mud" off the shoes merely caused me to "mash" more at the bottom of the stroke. Thinking about popping those knees up and over the top instead really "lightens" my legs, my pedal stroke becomes much rounder, and I lose the "pause" when one-legged pedaling.

If you're really serious about fixing your pedal stroke, get brave and build a fixed-gear out of an old frame with horizontal dropouts. Mine is the first bike I ever built up by myself, and it's a beaut - totally retro grouched vintage steel Trek. Getting "fixed" is also a good way to amuse yourself on slow days when you're not supposed to hammer. I used to commute on mine in Cincinnati (which is hilly and full of stop lights, challenging!).