Bike Fit

bike fit saddle position cyfac

I’ve been perfecting my position on the bike for over 25 years.  Sadly, I’m not quite there yet.

My position has changed substantially over time.  Some of it was due to fashion. When I started, upright positions were more common.  There was a phase of long, low stems.  Aerodynamic influences.  Power back saddle positions. The ‘spinaci‘ bars goofed up everything for a while until they were banned.  Everybody wants to look like the Euro racer with the stem slammed down and a flat, aggressive back.  Except that the old guys can handle that with their backs.

Some of it was due to equipment.  I had to work with whatever the sponsors provided, whether it was a “custom” bike from Richard Sachs (his geometry, my measurements) or a stock frame from Milano, Aegis or Colnago.  Some fit better than others.  I’m sure there is a made-to-order solution that would be ideal for me, but I just haven’t found it yet.  The transition from quill stems to threadless systems made adjusting stem height more complicated.

Then there was drift over time.  Saddles would slip backwards. Seatposts would creep down.  Cleats would drift.  Equipment would break and you could never quite get it adjusted the same way, even with all the markings and measurements.  I marked and measured everything, but could never effectively recover or transfer those measurements to a new ride.

Today, there are all sort of fit systems and calculation methods.  Some use power meters to identify the most efficient positions.  Some use aerodynamics.  Others body measurements and complex formulas born of European cobblestones and gypsy black magic.  I haven’t tried any of these because I believe, erroneously, I’m sure, that no formula or individual can do better than me for my own fit.

Recently, I’ve raised my saddle height — almost a full centimeter — and brought the seat further forward.  At some point I had cranked it all the way back.  I vaguely recollect some IT band issues.  I couldn’t adjust the height because my post had seized up in the frame.  The new position is a remarkable difference — it always is, even minor changes of millimeters — at first.  But that will pass with time and then no longer feel right.  Issues will start up.  A pain in the side of the knee.  Something in the wrists or back.  And then it will start all over again.

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