Member Question: Proper Saddle and Knee Position

author : FitWerx
comments : 0

Many things will influence your triathlon bike position, but if you are forced to set your position up on your own, there are several overall guidelines that should help.

Member Question from paula@bcn

I just finished watching your video for the second time and making notes, so I can do a proper bike fit my self (I can do one at the shop, but there is a waiting list). I bought my first bike six weeks ago (a Cannondale), and just bought the triathlon bars. Since I'm 1.80 m tall I mostly fall in the bigger frame sizes, but indeed I think that the distance between my seat and pedals is too much. I have two questions concerning that:

1) What is the best position for the saddle? (In the video I could see that the person had more or less the heel under the saddle.)
2) What is the distance between your knee (when it´s up) and your elbow?
 

Answer from Dean Phillips

Bike Fitter for Fitwerx


First and foremost I recommend getting on that waiting list at your shop, since setting up your bike in a triathlon position is best done with the assistance of a reputable bike fitter.

While body geometry, flexibility, cycling technique, and race goals will all influence the position that’s best for you, if you are forced to set your position up on your own there are several overall guidelines that should help.

You’ll need to move the saddle forward in order to maintain the open hip angle in your triathlon position that you have in your road position. While a typical road bike has a seat tube angle of 73 degrees, a typical triathlon bike setup will have a seat tube angle around 76-78 degrees. The steeper seat tube angle brings the saddle forward 3-5cm on average. This allows for the positioning of your torso in a lower aerodynamic position without sacrificing comfort or power.

The position of your knee in relation to your elbow will depend on a number of factors as well. Your elbow position should be the direct result of the position your upper arm needs to be in to properly support your torso. A good rule of thumb is a 90 degree angle between your torso and upper arm. This typically places the elbow anywhere from 2-10cm from the knee at the top of the pedal stroke. Riders with longer legs and particularly longer femurs will find themselves at the closer end of this range, while those riders with longer torsos are typically positioned at the farther end of this range. Other factors such as fore/aft saddle position and drop to the aerobar pads will also influence the distance from knee to elbow.

Once your forward saddle position is set, I recommend moving your elbow pads fore or aft until you feel like you’re getting the best support for your torso. When the front end of the bike is positioned properly, your hands, arms, neck, and shoulders should all be relaxed as your skeletal system should be supporting as much of your weight as possible. Again, my best advice is to seek out the help of a reputable bike fitter in your area to make sure you’re positioned properly.

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date: September 9, 2008

FitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

avatarFitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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