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a saddle that isn't too high
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(This post didn't seem to garner much attention in the thread in which it was originally posted, so I thought I'd repost it here since so many people seem to ride with their saddle too high.)



This is what a saddle set at 96% of greater trochanteric height looks like when one is not pedaling - note that the bottom of the sole of my shoe is almost, but not quite, parallel to the ground. If I raised my saddle to the maximum of the optimal range (i.e., 100% of greater trochanteric height), my foot would be angled down more, but still not nearly to the same degree as seen in most pics posted here.

BTW, also check out the Peaks Coaching Group kit that Hunter sent me (sans the gloves, which I forgot to put on). What you can't see is the really cool graphic that depicts a copy of the book "Training and Racing With a Power Meter" protuding from the center back pocket!
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Hey, where's the mustache? (not to mention the hump back you used to have).

; ^ )

Thanks for the pic. I've always been curious as to what a correct seat height would look like.

-----------------------------Baron Von Speedypants
-----------------------------RunTraining articles here:
http://forum.slowtwitch.com/...runtraining;#1612485
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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No but I can see a really cute hat.

You should just get it over with and wear this one:


https://www.miles4matt.run/
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Markus Mucus] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
No but I can see a really cute hat.

:-)

The neat thing about the hat is that it is synthetic, rather than the traditional cotton. It therefore doesn't end up feeling so much like a washcloth on your head when you wear it under your helmet in the rain.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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According to my trusty protractor, and ofcourse guessing at the anatomical landmarks, I get your knee angle at about 149 degrees, which is actually the same measurement I get on photos of myself.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Nice kit - though the CSC socks have to go :)

What trainer is that?
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Dr A,

I like your fit and saddle height. Problem is, that when you set people up like this, they invariably say it feels or is too low!

What are your feelings on the Specialized Boa shoes?


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [cerveloguy] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
According to my trusty protractor, and ofcourse guessing at the anatomical landmarks, I get your knee angle at about 149 degrees

I got 151 deg, but I'm probably better at guessing my own landmarks. :-)

EDIT: I should add that I'm not all that keen on the idea of setting/evaluating saddle height based on knee angle measurements, or at least based on knee angle measurements alone. First, unless the measurements are made when the person's actually pedaling (i.e., from a video), there is a tendency for the rider to "reach" for the downside pedal, thus potentially biasing the measurement. Second, and perhaps more importantly, changes in ankle angle tend to compensate to a larger degree for changes in saddle height than do changes in knee angle, i.e., your knee angle can be fine even if the saddle is too high. Experienced individuals of course know how to deal with such issues, but less experienced individuals may not. OTOH, trochanteric height is fairly easy to measure, and is done with legs extended, i.e., you can't really bias the measurement. What it does not take into account are differences in pedal/cleat/shoe stack height, foot length, flexibility, etc., but when you consider that optimal saddle height actually spans a fairly wide range (e.g., I could raise my saddle almost 4 cm), I don't think such limitations are critical. At the very least, calculating saddle height as a percentage (i.e., 96-100%) of greater trochanteric height provides a useful "working range", against which other approaches (e.g., use of a goniometer) can be compared.
Last edited by: Andrew Coggan: Jan 19, 07 14:07
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [rmur] [ In reply to ]
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What trainer is that?

awww ric you know - that's a velodyne...

g


greg
www.wattagetraining.com
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [rmur] [ In reply to ]
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Nice kit - though the CSC socks have to go :)

No way! They were a gift from Gerard and co., who were kind enough to invite me to hang out at the Cervelo tent at US Pro in Philly one year.

In Reply To:
What trainer is that?

You serious? That's a Velodyne, of course.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
Dr A,

I like your fit and saddle height. Problem is, that when you set people up like this, they invariably say it feels or is too low!

Understandable, since they are usually used to something higher.

In Reply To:
What are your feelings on the Specialized Boa shoes?

I've only had them about a month, but based on that I'd say that they are the best shoes that I've ever owned. I'd definitely recommend them to anyone with a narrow or low volume foot.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Great choice for a road bike. It is a shame that Specialized quit making that frame. It was an incredible bargain for a quality steel frame. I am riding the same frame. Love the ride. I find the frame to be plenty stiff, yet comfortable. Frankly, it is stiffer than I expected for a steel bike. Picked mine up on e-bay for 170 bucks (with a new Ultegra crank and bottom bracket installed!).

It's getting hard to find a good quality steel frame on a production bike these days.

Mike
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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How do you measure trochanteric height?
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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...many people seem to ride with their saddle too high.

I actually came across a cyclist with his* saddle too low the other day. First time that's happened in years and I realized how rare it is. Back when Lemond's book was popular, he was imploring people to raise their saddles because most people were too low in the late 80's. I think the message has gone a little too far.

*If you're reading, you know who you are. ;-)
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Superman] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
How do you measure trochanteric height?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gray243.png

You can feel it on the outside of your hip.


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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Looks like you need to hit the weights.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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half-serious :) I didn't realize the Velodyne 'interfaced' with the rear tire .... that being so it must suffer a little from the small drift I see with the CT (versus PT) in ergo mode. I originally thought it was 100% due to the electric generator heating up but can also see the decrease in rolling resistance as the tire heats up being an issue. I thought the Velodyne eliminated that interface.

Then again, I really have only noticed it lately as my L4 intervals are getting to a decent power level compared to last year ;)

What's with the non-aero tubed bike? Must be dedicated to indoors like my FAT tube C'dale CAAD3 circa '98.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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I'm sorry Andrew, but your seat's too high.

Somebody had to say it. It's obligatory when a position pic is posted. ;-)

.

Bob C.

The "science" on any matter can never be settled until every possible variable is taken into account.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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So, should I assume that, in a steep TT/Tri, position, and the whole set up is rotated 8-12 degrees, the feet would also be pointed down by a similar amount?

_________________
Dick

Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I know nothing.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [docfuel] [ In reply to ]
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Hi Andrew (and everyone else)

I feel a little stupid - but I do not get ANY of this "measurement of trochanteric height"...

I guess it is the little piece of "bone" you can feel on the outside of your hip - right?

my seat height is right now around 76 cm - but how do I compare that to "trochanteric height" - from the hips to my feet? - doesn't make sense to me...

Sincerely Lars Ejaas
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Andy,

Just tagging on to Lars' post--------

1. Are we measuring in bare feet?

2. To the bottom, middle or top of greater trochanter?

My Googling skills must be at low ebb as I haven't been able to find this method with a quick search. (Aha, the search goes mcu better when using trochater rather than trocanter;))

Thanks for the excellent picture.

Hugh

Genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.
Last edited by: sciguy: Jan 22, 07 4:48
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Andy,

First, I always appreciate and learn from your posts. I always learn something - thanks for your participation here.

Could you please comment on leg extension in the forward aero position. It seems to me that when my pelvis is rolled forward I not only need that compensatory seat height adjustment, but also another cm or so because of and extra "push" I feel. Any thoughts on this? Is there any science behind what I "think" my body wants to naturally do?

Many thanks,

David
* Ironman for Life! (Blog) * IM Everyday Hero Video * Daggett Shuler Law *
Disclaimer: I have personal and professional relationships with many athletes, vendors, and organizations in the triathlon world.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Ashburn] [ In reply to ]
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I can locate the greater trochanter. Are we measuring the distance from the ground to the trochanter while standing? Bottom of the foot while supine?

Thanks.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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I also get 151 (subject to POV effects on the geometry)


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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Do any bike fitters fit via video in combination with a trainer?

Seems the logical way to do it. Video tape the rider during a race when they do not know they are being video taped(a spouse or friend could do this).

Seems this would improve the fitting system.

On another note does anyone actually sit in the same postion on their saddle for an entire race? Personally I know I sure don't.

In addition sometimes I am ankling to keep the cadence up when a cross breeze gusts or a small rise in the road. Or will push back slightly on the saddle to work different muscles during a TT or come a little forward on the saddle toward the end when blowing up is not such a big consequence etc.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Dr C.,would I be right in thinking that you have calculated your efficiency at various trochanteric heights?
If so,what's the variation over the percentages?

If greater height is accomodated by change in ankle angle, mainly, and not the knee or hip,does it matter?

Would it be better to measure trochanteric height whilst wearing cycling shoes?
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
This is what a saddle set at 96% of greater trochanteric height looks like when one is not pedaling - note that the bottom of the sole of my shoe is almost, but not quite, parallel to the ground. If I raised my saddle to the maximum of the optimal range (i.e., 100% of greater trochanteric height), my foot would be angled down more, but still not nearly to the same degree as seen in most pics posted here.
What's your inseam (using the back-to-the-wall and bookspine-to-the-scrotum method), and what's your distance from BB axle to top of the saddle, measured along the seat tube/seat post?
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Andrew, thanks for the thread.

I had actually raised my seat 20mm the other day and took my normal 30 mile ride. It was strange but my back sure hurt. So, this thread was perfect timing.
Got the info from Ves on my bike and where he said I should be fitted with 180 cranks. I then did a rough angle and saw with the new bike seat I was way high compared to
both comments. So, lowered my seat back to where I had it, the angle now seems to be around 150, and will do give my ride a try again this afternoon.

Dave

Dave Campbell | Facebook | @DaveECampbell | h2ofun@h2ofun.net

Boom Nutrition code 19F4Y3 $5 off 24 pack box | Bionic Runner | PowerCranks | Velotron | Spruzzamist

Lions don't lose sleep worrying about the sheep
Last edited by: h2ofun: Jan 20, 07 12:25
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [h2ofun] [ In reply to ]
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[reply]I had actually raised my seat 20cm the other day and took my normal 30 mile ride. It was strange but my back sure hurt. [/reply]

The pain was probably the saddle hitting your liver.



Lewis
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [h2ofun] [ In reply to ]
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I'll assume you meant 20 mm.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Uncle Phil] [ In reply to ]
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Just got back from my ride with my seat lower. Back did not hurt at all. Amazing how just a little change can impact things.

Dave

Dave Campbell | Facebook | @DaveECampbell | h2ofun@h2ofun.net

Boom Nutrition code 19F4Y3 $5 off 24 pack box | Bionic Runner | PowerCranks | Velotron | Spruzzamist

Lions don't lose sleep worrying about the sheep
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [rmur] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
half-serious :) I didn't realize the Velodyne 'interfaced' with the rear tire .... that being so it must suffer a little from the small drift I see with the CT (versus PT) in ergo mode. I originally thought it was 100% due to the electric generator heating up but can also see the decrease in rolling resistance as the tire heats up being an issue. I thought the Velodyne eliminated that interface.

The Velodyne has a warm-up mode that applies full current to the brake for as long as you leave it on. That reduces the drift in power to ~5 W in the first hour, and essentially none thereafter. If you calibrate it "stone cold", though, the drift can be ten times as great.

Based on repeated coast-down calibrations, the tire-roller interface seems to heat up quite quickly, i.e., w/in a couple of minutes max.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [docfuel] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
So, should I assume that, in a steep TT/Tri, position, and the whole set up is rotated 8-12 degrees, the feet would also be pointed down by a similar amount?

First, I don't know where you get 8-12 deg. Compared to almost anyone else, I ride w/ more setback in my road position vs. my aero position (i.e., 8 cm vs. 0 cm at a saddle-to-b.b. distance of 72.5 cm), and even for me it's only a 6 deg difference.

In any case, Price and Donne measured minimal and maximal ankle angle as a function of seat tube angle (over the range of 68 to 80 deg) and found very little difference.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Superman] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
I can locate the greater trochanter. Are we measuring the distance from the ground to the trochanter while standing? Bottom of the foot while supine?

Thanks.
Again, the values I mentioned (i.e., 96-100% of greater trochanteric height) are based on how Price and Donne defined the measurement, which is from the greater trochanter to the ground when standing erect in cycling shoes.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [sciguy] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
1. Are we measuring in bare feet?

No, in cycling shoes.

In Reply To:
2. To the bottom, middle or top of greater trochanter?

They don't say.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [kevinkeegan] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
Dr C.,would I be right in thinking that you have calculated your efficiency at various trochanteric heights?

No, I just rely on the published literature.

In Reply To:
If so,what's the variation over the percentages?

Raising your saddle from 96% to 104% reduces efficiency by about 1% in absolute terms, i.e., for a given VO2 (and RER) your power would be ~5% lower.

Note that having a saddle that is too high is worse than having one that is too low, i.e., the relationship is not symmetrical around the minima.

In Reply To:
If greater height is accomodated by change in ankle angle, mainly, and not the knee or hip,does it matter?

See above.

In Reply To:
Would it be better to measure trochanteric height whilst wearing cycling shoes?

That is how Price and Donne did it.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Greg66] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
What's your inseam (using the back-to-the-wall and bookspine-to-the-scrotum method)[/quote]
I don't know.

In Reply To:
and what's your distance from BB axle to top of the saddle, measured along the seat tube/seat post?

72.5 cm
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [AlanShearer] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
Looks like you need to hit the weights.
Nah - I'm already married.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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You have nice legs and I don't see any fat on you. Is chocolate part of your diet? :-)

_________________
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
In Reply To:
half-serious :) I didn't realize the Velodyne 'interfaced' with the rear tire .... that being so it must suffer a little from the small drift I see with the CT (versus PT) in ergo mode. I originally thought it was 100% due to the electric generator heating up but can also see the decrease in rolling resistance as the tire heats up being an issue. I thought the Velodyne eliminated that interface.

The Velodyne has a warm-up mode that applies full current to the brake for as long as you leave it on. That reduces the drift in power to ~5 W in the first hour, and essentially none thereafter. If you calibrate it "stone cold", though, the drift can be ten times as great.

Based on repeated coast-down calibrations, the tire-roller interface seems to heat up quite quickly, i.e., w/in a couple of minutes max.
okay 5W/hr isn't worth sweating over. I'm getting about the same on my CT (with a small cooling fan) now with intervals of 30-50min at FTP. Don't see any drift worth reporting when I'm doing ~2-hr tempo work 320-330W.

I suspect w/o the fan that the drift would be double or triple at L4 power.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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"In any case, Price and Donne measured minimal and maximal ankle angle as a function of seat tube angle (over the range of 68 to 80 deg) and found very little difference. "

That was my question. Would the steeper TT/Tri position effect the foot position relative to the ground, as opposed the the body? So, by ankle angle you mean foot/shoe to tibia? And that is what stays the same?
_______________________________________

[I just threw a guess of 8-12 deg, when the position on the saddle is considered. It was a total spur of the moment guess. (I guess it varies from 0-15deg difference.)]

_________________
Dick

Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I know nothing.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [docfuel] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
"In any case, Price and Donne measured minimal and maximal ankle angle as a function of seat tube angle (over the range of 68 to 80 deg) and found very little difference. "

That was my question. Would the steeper TT/Tri position effect the foot position relative to the ground, as opposed the the body? So, by ankle angle you mean foot/shoe to tibia? And that is what stays the same?

To determine the angle of the ankle with respect to horizontal, Price and Donne placed reflective markers on the lateral malleolus and the lateral aspect of the fifth metatarsal-phalangeal joint. With the saddle set at 100% of trochanteric height, changing the seat tube angle from 74 deg to 80 deg only increased the ankle angle by 4.5 deg.
Last edited by: Andrew Coggan: Jan 22, 07 13:38
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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"with respect to the horizontal..."

Very interesting. I would not have guessed....(especially at 100% of trochanteric height.)

Another question. Are you using 96% on TT bikes, as well as road?

_________________
Dick

Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I know nothing.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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so if a rider shows up without a bike and asks you to calculate his seat height based on 96% of his greater trochanteric height, what would you measure (step-by-step) on this bare-footed individual?

how would you then generate the seat height no. based on the measurements?

and what instruction would you give to him for him to set up his seat height on his bike to the correct height with the numbers you have given him? (this is assuming you cannot watch him pedal on his bike)

thanks.





Where would you want to swim ?
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [docfuel] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
Are you using 96% on TT bikes, as well as road?
I do on mine (although I do measure to a slightly different point on the saddle to account for the fact that I sit further forward on it).
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [GregX] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
so if a rider shows up without a bike and asks you to calculate his seat height based on 96% of his greater trochanteric height

I'd tell 'em to get lost, as I don't offer my services as a bike fitter. ;-)

In Reply To:
, what would you measure (step-by-step) on this bare-footed individual?

how would you then generate the seat height no. based on the measurements?

and what instruction would you give to him for him to set up his seat height on his bike to the correct height with the numbers you have given him? (this is assuming you cannot watch him pedal on his bike)

Step 1: put on your cycling shoes.

Step 2: measure from the ground up to your greater trochanter.

Step 3: take the desired percentage of this number.

Step 4: subtract the length of the crank arm.

Step 5: set your saddle height as measured from the center of the b.b. to the lowest point on the saddle to this value.

Step 6: adjust as desired/necessary.

(If step 6 sounds too 'unscientific', consider this: for me, optimal saddle height based on, e.g., the approach of Price and Donne actually represents a range nearly 4 cm wide.)
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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mountain bike or road shoes or does it matter?
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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"greater trochanter to the ground when standing erect in cycling shoes. "

In realistic terms I'd think this method is easily open to inaccuracy due to the difficulty of palpating an accurate greater trochanter head on many people. The only way to be 100% accurate would be to take full limb lenght x-rays, which is quite impractical.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [rmur] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
okay 5W/hr isn't worth sweating over. I'm getting about the same on my CT <snip>

ric - have you tried the taxc or conti trainer tires?

On my CT, the tire/roller interface hits stabiliy in ~5minutes (as evidenced by a calbration number that is +/-0.01)


as an added bonus, these tires seem to last a long time - as I mentioned in my blog - I have 40+ hours on a set and I could concievably return them as new. Not so with old road tires....

The only real drawback that I see is my old "am I fit yet" gauge is gone now... I used to know the winter training was going when I had a flat on the trainer...

g


greg
www.wattagetraining.com
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [cerveloguy] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
"greater trochanter to the ground when standing erect in cycling shoes. "

In realistic terms I'd think this method is easily open to inaccuracy due to the difficulty of palpating an accurate greater trochanter head on many people.

Yeah, but I think the greater trochanter is easier to palpate and measure to than the other bony protuberances that have been used (i.e., the symphysis pubis and the ishcial tuberiosity). Besides, I don't think that tremendous accuracy is all that important, i.e., as I see it the point of performing such measurements is just to assure that your saddle height falls w/in a reasonable range (which many here do not). After that, it should be "set it and forget it*".

*Recognizing, of course, that you should keep a record of the measurement, and mark your saddle height on your bike using, e.g., a piece of tape.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [rmur] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
mountain bike or road shoes or does it matter?

If you're emulating Price and Donne, whatever you intend to ride in.

(BTW, the reason that saddle height has been on my mind is because of those new Specialized shoes, which caused me to revisit - but ultimately, not change - my saddle height).
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [gregclimbs] [ In reply to ]
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hi greg,
No I haven't but have read good things about the Conti. For the past two "CT seasons" I've been using the same Michelin Pro Race 23mm tire that happened to be on the wheel. I won't try to count the hours but it has to be in the hundreds.

Re the drift, I warm-up for 12-15min high 200's or 300W, then perform the RRC check 2-3 times. No repeatability issue there at all. I'm just referring to the slow drop in load-generator power when compared to my PT Pro over long and somewhat high power intervals. I found that I need to use an small 6-8" external cooling fan to alleviate that. I've been using it since 2004 so can't really remember exactly how much drift I saw without it. It was enough to bother me though.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
In Reply To:


In Reply To:

Raising your saddle from 96% to 104% reduces efficiency by about 1% in absolute terms, i.e., for a given VO2 (and RER) your power would be ~5% lower.

Note that having a saddle that is too high is worse than having one that is too low, i.e., the relationship is not symmetrical around the minima.

In Reply To:
More like 5% change in oxygen consumption here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...search&DB=pubmed
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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okay. Next topic: cadence. what ranges are ideal versus target power output? And is it absolute or relative power output? :)
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [duncan] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
In Reply To:
In Reply To:


In Reply To:

Raising your saddle from 96% to 104% reduces efficiency by about 1% in absolute terms, i.e., for a given VO2 (and RER) your power would be ~5% lower.

Note that having a saddle that is too high is worse than having one that is too low, i.e., the relationship is not symmetrical around the minima.

In Reply To:
More like 5% change in oxygen consumption here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...search&DB=pubmed
Lab testing is typically conducted with power as the independent variable and VO2 as the dependent variable. I was presenting the converse situation, i.e., with power as the dependent variable (which, in this case, it probably would be).
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Ah, right, confirmatory reports - I hadn't read your post closely enough, nor thought enough about how VO2 and efficiency relate.
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Re: a saddle that isn't too high [Andrew Coggan] [ In reply to ]
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Andy, jersey and hat do not a "kit" make..you need the shorts as well. Tell Hunter to get on it!

You're right about the "technical fabric" caps, I've got a Sugoi team Clif Bar hat that is way better than any of my old cotton caps.
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