You and I can’t come nearly as close to adjusting the seat position as we think we can. There is a lot more to this than the majority of people riding a bike have an idea about. I paid for and received a professional bicycle fitting. I really didn’t know about this practice until I moved to Colorado and only then, when talking to my friend rob about his recent bike purchases. There is well trained technique to this art. The result? An absolutely comfortable position on the bike. I was having problems with comfort on the seat as well as back strain after forty-five minutes or so of riding. So, after I finally acquired the parts I wanted to have on the bike, and the proper frame size as well, I went in and had it done.
The fitter is trained by the Specialized/BG-Body Geometry people to do fits based on your physical characteristics. I had my range of motion of legs, shoulders, neck, hips and ankles all checked and logged. This all includes the natural motion inclinations, all having to do with the knees and feet. For example, sitting on the edge of a table with your feet dangling down, bend forward and then sit up again. You might see your feet rotate inward or outward and then back to neutral through that motion. If your feet are clipped into the pedals and the cleats are in the wrong spot, you could easily damage your knees through those unnatural motions. just yesterday I was riding behind someone who had a knee that was way out to the left when he pedaled. that’s just his natural movement. some people can ride with their torso just flat or way down near level. For example Greg Lemond did this during his career but he had back strength and natural motion range to allow that. I do not. So whatever is a competitive and fast fit where I am comfortable is the solution.
For my fitting, the end result is the following: I have seriously flat feet (over pronation) where I had to get insoles for higher arch support and then a wedge under the ball of my foot. This corrected that pronation and made power delivery into the pedal much more direct, therefore efficient. The Seat height was then adjusted for the proper leg angle extensions. My knee was still not far forward enough in my range of motion while pedaling so the seat was moved much more forward. the posts I had were limited in how far the seat could move forward so that’s when I bought a basic straight seat post with a zero offset that let the seat move forward enough. (Usually an offset post has the seat mounting geometrically behind the line of the post) Once that was taken care of, the handlebars were just a touch out of comfortable reach. I could reach them yes, but I was previously resting a lot of weight on the bars and the tension was huge in my shoulders and then down my back. We flipped the neck upside down which raised the bars a bit and also brought them just a touch closer. At that point, I was comfortable and when I went down into the drops of the bars, I felt the power come on. If I had to cruise fast, I could just motor along with much better speed. Now I was ready for this bike and the summer. I can ride fine and pain free. The total cost was $200 for the fit, and plus anything I had to buy to make it comfortable where the stock parts did not work. Just insoles for the shoes and the seat post totaled everything out to about $310. Honestly that’s a whole lot of money to go spending on adjusting parts. That’s half of what I paid for the bike! Given the prices of the newer bikes out there and how high it can get, $300 is really nothing compared to that and for a perfectly comfortable ride, especially if your serious about putting on some miles on a nice bike, it’s worth it. Just as an example, if the weather is good and I have my usual 3 days off after I get home from work, I’ll probably put on nearly 100 miles in two rides this summer. I anticipate 2,000 miles or more for the year and this fit is worth the money if that is to be the case.