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Good afternoon, 

I am a decent runner who has revisited cycling after 30 years away, and thoroughly enjoying my progress.

I recently had a bike fit as I am one of those individuals who are short legged (30" leg), a long torso and long arms.

Anyway, I have had my seat adjusted and had all tests associated with a bike fit done.

I wondered if you lovely people could offer some advice as to whether my observations are related to being a beginner again, or more related to bike fit.

while cycling today I noticed that I had to keep pushing myself further to the back of the seat as I seemed to always be at front of seat. Is it normal to be towards front of seat?

Also, I felt my hands were pushing quite hard on the drop bars and occasionally, I got pins & needles in the left hand. My next is slightly tense also, but that may be because I am not used to drops. Again, this may be me being a newb, but I wondered if my stem might be too long? It is 120mm.

After the ride I am fine. No aches or pains.

I ride TCR Advanced 1 by the way.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Karl

19 comments

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StraelGuy [1074 posts] 4 months ago
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I hate the sensation of always having to slide back up the saddle so mine are all tilted upwards slightly. Might be worth a try?

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VeloUSA [204 posts] 4 months ago
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"while cycling today I noticed that I had to keep pushing myself further to the back of the seat as I seemed to always be at front of seat."

This can happen with an improper saddle fit, the tilt of your saddle. Check YouTube on 'bike saddle fit tilt'.  https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bike+saddle+fit+tilt

As far as your other concerns put a lot more KM's under arse then report back.

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Grahamd [723 posts] 4 months ago
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Go back to whoever did the bike fit. I would expect them to identify and fix free of charge.

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hawkinspeter [1031 posts] 4 months ago
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Sounds like you might be more stretched out and haven't quite got the flexibility for it (yet). Either persist for a couple of weeks to see if you adapt comfortably or shorten your reach (saddle position or stem length). Your saddle might be at a strange angle, but I'd have thought a bike fit would end up with your saddle within 5 degrees of horizontal.

Numbness in your hands can be a sign of too much weight on them, so shifting your saddle forwards on the rails might be a quick fix if there's room to move it.

Make sure you record the basic measurements if you weren't given them by the bike fitter, so you can compare your position before and afterwards and reset back to the bike fit settings if you get pains etc.

Grahamd wrote:

Go back to whoever did the bike fit. I would expect them to identify and fix free of charge.

It can often take a couple of weeks for your body to adapt to a new bike position, so it might be futile to go straight back to the fitter.

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StraelGuy [1074 posts] 4 months ago
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Agree with Peter. I got back into cycling four and a bit years ago and have done 10,000 miles since. As these years rolled by I have been setting my bikes up more and more stretched out  and stem lowered. Your core will develope but I do remember having numb, tingly hands etc. I am just about to chop my Giant in for a Fairlight Strael because I think I'm finally ready to ditch my 'endurance' bike in for a racier design. Stick with it, you will prgress.

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CXR94Di2 [1832 posts] 4 months ago
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There is a period of adjstment, but the bike should be comfortable from the start.  A bike fit isnt a perfect one stop solution, but to put you in a near position which works for the majority.  

Your saddle sounds like its a little far back, if you can bring it forward on the sliders 10-20mm.

Numb hands is particularly hard to resolve, because it can be weak core muscles to agressive lean forward position. My goto general postion is when riding on the hoods your arms shouldnt be locked out straight but slightly bent without having to lean too far forward.  To resolve your hands issue, if there are spacers above the stem, put these below the stem and retry.  This will also tilt your body frame more upright slightly. You can flip the stem upside down to give lift aswell.  If you're still suffering numb hands then shorten the stem- they are cheap enough unless you choose a blingy carbon version.

As times goes on you may find that you then can go a little more agressive with position( you have the original parts to try)

 

example, my son got a bike which fits his height and has roughly the same position to me, but he complained of pins and needles in his hands, so I first lifted the stem( didnt work sufficiently).  Ended up fitting a very short riser stem to give him a true tourer position.  

This is all because he is new to distance riding and hasnt yet got the core strength to hold his upper body off the handlebars.  Given time I will refit a slightly longer stem and see how he gets on.

For now he can ride 30 miles without complaint, which he was doing so after 10 miles before.

 

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Chris Hayes [166 posts] 4 months ago
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With similar body-geometry I found that when i went for a bike fit I felt that the riding angles they were looking to replicate didn't quite work for me.   In the end I tinkered with it and ended up back where I started (evidenced by keeping the measurements).  

You just have to play with what you have over time.  Numb hands can be caused by a tilting saddle (use a spirit-level to sort it out); an overly long stem (which you can test by flipping it or moving your seat forward on its rails); poorly positioned seat (see previous); uncomfortable bars (I have some aeros I don't get on with); or uncomfortable gloves..... You could keep a riding diary to monitor the changes....

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BarryBianchi [419 posts] 4 months ago
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Firstly, bike fit is fairly random. I did the Spesh course a while back; I'd say 1/4 - 1/3 of the people who did it didn't really understand it/apply it properly.  Plus, it only works properly with expertise and experience - you can't fit someone properly just from a flow-chart/spreadsheet other than purely by chance.

Second, give it time.  It takes a while to get the strength and flexibility into your body and legs, even if you are fit from other sports.  Even those of us who cycle all year round, can find the first couple of rides on the summer race bike different/uncomfortable after a winter on the off-season steeds, CXs and MTBs etc.  Plus a long ride bent low into a headwind if likely to be less confortable than a nice whizz out on a still day etc

Re the saddle, I'd say that if you are sliding forward, first make sure it's fairly central on the rails (i.e. not too far back), and tip the nose up a tad - a mm or two is enough to make an appreciable difference.

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BehindTheBikesheds [863 posts] 4 months ago
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You should be able to ride a bicycle a reasonable distance without experiencing the symptoms you have even if you've never ridden for a long while/ever.

Simply put the position is wrong and too agressive, possibly saddle position/saddle type too.

Ask for a refund and go elsewhere as given the range of symptoms that suggest multiple problems (including understanding your bio/personal requirements in terms of type of riding) they simply have no idea what they're doing.

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KarlB [4 posts] 4 months ago
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Many thanks for your insights. I think as some commenters have mentioned, I need to spend a few weeks with this set-up and see how I progress.

I did ride with a friend today and asked him if I appeared to be forward on the seat. He said I was in the correct position, so maybe it is a case of getting used to my set-up. I did feel as though I had discomfort coming from the front (narrower) section of the seat though.

I have ordered a 10mm shorter stem (they are very cheap) and will fit that in two weeks if symptoms still persist.

The bike fitter, European Masters Track 'monster' Mark Zaschke, has said that if I have any issues, for me to get back to him. I can't say fairer than that really.

Thank you again.

Karl

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SteveAustin [64 posts] 4 months ago
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try relaxing your hands, or resting them in a more comfortable position.

new  (road) cyclists often grip bars a lot harder than they need to

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BarryBianchi [419 posts] 4 months ago
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KarlB wrote:

Many thanks for your insights. I think as some commenters have mentioned, I need to spend a few weeks with this set-up and see how I progress.

I did ride with a friend today and asked him if I appeared to be forward on the seat. He said I was in the correct position, so maybe it is a case of getting used to my set-up. I did feel as though I had discomfort coming from the front (narrower) section of the seat though.

I have ordered a 10mm shorter stem (they are very cheap) and will fit that in two weeks if symptoms still persist.

The bike fitter, European Masters Track 'monster' Mark Zaschke, has said that if I have any issues, for me to get back to him. I can't say fairer than that really.

Thank you again.

Karl

 

There's not a lot you can do to fit someone on a saddle.  Sit bone with, that's about it - it really is trial and error.  But I must ephasise that mm adjustments make big differences.  Take your Allens out on a ride a move things around a bit.  But ultimatley, you might just not like that particular saddle.

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dottigirl [808 posts] 4 months ago
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Pins and needles or pain in the hands can be because your wrists are crooked or too bent, which puts pressure on the nerves. 

A guy I was cycling with the other day had too-wide bars for his shoulder breadth. However, he wasn't getting the standard pain-between-the-shoulder-blades as he'd brought his wrist inwards. Guess where he was then getting discomfort and pain? His overextended wrists.

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StraelGuy [1074 posts] 4 months ago
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A good tip for anyone wanting to chop and change stems is the Cinelli Vai stem. They're less than £20 a piece, very stylish and alot lighter than 'factory' stems.

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trohos [52 posts] 4 months ago
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Ask your fitter, he nows better than anyone.

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Martyn_K [223 posts] 4 months ago
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I would be interested to know what was involved in your bike fit session as i would not expect you to be experiencing issues post fit.

Late last year i had a bike fit, the session lasted 3 hours. We did not even go near my bike for the first 90 minutes. My bike fitter is qualified in more than bike fitting (physio, bio-mechanics and lots of other stuff). The first half of the session was spent completing strength, flexibilty tests and general body analysis. During this we identified an old sports injury that was causing mobility issues.

On to the bike, sensored up and a quick computerised 3D model of the current set up was captured. Remember that old injury, we could see exactly what it was doing with the 3D model running through.

The old injury was not bad enough to compromise the position i wanted on the bike but it meant that i needed to complete some self manipulation and flexibilty exercises. Within a couple of rides i could feel the new position was excellent and the few small niggles that had been building up vanished. I'm riding over 250 miles a week in the summer on a pure race geometry, unforgiving bike and have zero issues now.

 

My advice, go back to the fitter. If your fitting experience was simply hopping on the bike and someone visually adjusting then seek another fitter.

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madcarew [458 posts] 4 months ago
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Most of your symptoms can be explained by the following:

During running the glutes and hamstrings generally engage while the hip is only slightly bent, meaning that when on a bike, with very bent hips, the quads are the major activating and driving muscle. Quads engage better when the knee angle is less bent. You tend to move yourself to the back of the seat to reduce the knee bend and better engage the quads, This tends to be exacerbated by pedalling toe down (which also relieves the glutes from active service). I coach a number of runners turning triathletes, and this is common initally on the bike.

The pins and needles in the fingers can be  also explained by being too stretched (as a result of sliding back on the seat) which tightens the shoulder muscles (Levatoid scapulae and deltoids) which puts pressure on the ulnar nerve which terminates in the hand (it's the one responsible for the pins and needles of carpal tunnel).

In my experience, if your bike fit is reasonable (saddle not too far forward / at a odd angle) thenthese are very common issues for runners turning cyclists. There are several fixes, but mostly involving teaching the glutes to engage in a hip flexed state. One legged deadlifts work especially well, as do prone glute and hamstring strengthening exercises. Cycling is spectacularly poor at engaging the hamstrings. 

I recommend that most runners start off with a slightly higher than ideal saddle height (alleviates moving back on the saddle as the hips are open for longer in the stroke) and by moving the cleat backwards on the shoe as far as possible to remove some of the toeward pressure on the down stroke, as pushing through the toes tends to engage the quads, pushing through the heel tends to engage the glutes. Over the course of 6- 12 weeks I lower the saddle to a more optimal height. During the entire process I strongly recommend the cyclist consciously ride with their heels pushed down as far as possible. This also helps engage the glutes and makes it more difficult to move back on the saddle, eventually teaching the muscles to fire appropriately for an efficient and effective pedal stroke. In short it's called neuro-muscular programming. Your body is trying to 'run' on the the bike. You need to teach it to pedal.

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Jimmy Ray Will [791 posts] 4 months ago
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Reading the symptoms listed I'd argue that your saddle is likely too far forward and your reach potentially too stretched.

The pins and needles is simply that you are bearing too much weight through the bars.

This will be because you are either far too stretched, or you are not engaging your core musclesr as your balance is wrong.

The fact you don't look too far forward in the saddle, would further cement that you naturally want to go further back in the saddle. 

The pain in your hands suggest your core isn't being engaged, or is being efficient. 

Pushing your saddle back, and shortening your reach to at least match the rearward movement of your saddle would be my recommendation. 

Moving your saddle forward will only compound the situation. You can't effectively use your core if your centre of balance is too far forward of your hips. 

Pushing the saddle back will make it easier to support your weight through your core. 

As someone getting into the sport from running, I'd encourage starting from too far back and bringing the saddle forward as your core strengthens. 

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mrml [25 posts] 4 months ago
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dottigirl wrote:

Pins and needles or pain in the hands can be because your wrists are crooked or too bent, which puts pressure on the nerves. 

 

This is definitely worth trying.  I had similar issues until it was pointed out to me that my wrists were quite bent.  I now ride with the backs of my hands more in line with my wrists, and don't have any problems.