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January 30, 2011 0 Comments
In the past few years, we've seen a trend toward lower saddle heights for riders. The irony is that just two years ago, the opposite was true; a lot of riders were running their saddles slightly high. Our theory is that these trends stem from riders analyzing the pro's bikes in magazines, websites and during televised race coverage. Obviously if the pro's are doing it, it must be correct, right? Here's the thing: they're pro's. Most of us are not. They have superb pedaling form and technique, refined (often with the assistance of professional coaches and trainers) over years, possibly even decades, of riding. Most of us do not. When we discuss the merits of saddle height with our customers, we typically mention a few key points: First, correctly fitting a rider is not as simple as slightly raising or lowering their saddle height. Second, saddle height is typically (and often incorrectly) determined by the amount of "bend" in the rider's knee at the bottom (6 o'clock position) of the pedal stroke. Our SpinScan™ analysis often shows that the characteristics and efficiency of the rider's spin—mapping their particular "dead spots" in the pedal stroke—also factors in to saddle height calculations. Obviously, if the rider pedals with their heels low, the bend of the knee is different than if they pedal with their heels high. If the pedaling form is incorrect, the saddle height becomes irrelevant to a certain degree. When saddle height is lowered, it also affects the set-back measurement on the saddle, the angle of the knee relative to the pedal and the reach to the handlebars. These changes can dramatically affect power production and create additional dead spots in the rider's pedal stroke.
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