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  1. #1
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    Reputation: Kyoseki's Avatar
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    Getting behind the saddle with Clyde thighs

    Ok,

    So this might seem like a really stupid question, but I have a hell of a job getting my arse low over the rear wheel.

    It's not the reach of the bike that's the problem I don't think (I'm 6'2" and ride a Large Intense 5.5 with a 100mm stem), the main issue I have is that I can't seem to slide off the back of the saddle because my thigh adductors get in the way (like most Clydes, I have absolutely massive legs).

    The saddle is an old 143mm Specialized BG jobby (not sure which), shortly to be replaced with a Specialized Phenom of the same width - I don't think I can go down to a 130mm saddle comfortably.

    I run a Maverick Speedball seatpost and have problems even with the saddle in the lowered position, I don't think losing any weight is going to help much since there isn't much in the way of flab on my legs, it's all around my mid section.

    Anyone else have similar issues? How did you resolve them?

    Cheers.
    Due to a lack of interest, tomorrow has been canceled

  2. #2
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    Your saddle is probably still too high to get behind the seat properly, even with your Speedball fully depressed.

    I'm 5'11" riding a 19" frame. To get nearly complete leg extension I have to put my saddle up with nearly 9" of post showing (from seatpost clamp to saddle rails). To be able to get fully behind the saddle on steep descents or in technical terrain I need to put the saddle down with 3" of post showing. That's 6" of difference...I wish someone (reputable) made a post with this much drop. I also have around 3-4" of post showing on my DH bike (with an 18" seat tube), which does not get pedaled seated very much (at all).

    My compromise on the trail bike: set the post at 7.5" or so. This limits my technical ability somewhat - I hold back a little on certain obstacles such as logs or boulders so as to not endo (and many times do not make it over) or I actually DO endo, which is less than fun. If there is a known DH or technical section coming up I drop the seat to 3" of post and bomb away. I can sometimes get by on the techy stuff with about 5.5" of post showing, but that gives a very inefficient pedaling position and isn't realistic unless the terrain is very flat and there is no climbing involved which is practically never.

    It's frustrating to watch my skinny riding buddies (with their posts up) roll up on a big log, wheelie up, then go nose down while kicking the back end up underneath them and rollling neatly away. I try that and my saddle smacks my scrotum and/or I faceplant in the dirt (or rocks, if I'm really lucky that day ) beyond the log. Ah, the joys of thick thighs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoseki
    Ok,

    So this might seem like a really stupid question, but I have a hell of a job getting my arse low over the rear wheel.

    It's not the reach of the bike that's the problem I don't think (I'm 6'2" and ride a Large Intense 5.5 with a 100mm stem), the main issue I have is that I can't seem to slide off the back of the saddle because my thigh adductors get in the way (like most Clydes, I have absolutely massive legs).

    The saddle is an old 143mm Specialized BG jobby (not sure which), shortly to be replaced with a Specialized Phenom of the same width - I don't think I can go down to a 130mm saddle comfortably.

    I run a Maverick Speedball seatpost and have problems even with the saddle in the lowered position, I don't think losing any weight is going to help much since there isn't much in the way of flab on my legs, it's all around my mid section.

    Anyone else have similar issues? How did you resolve them?

    Cheers.

  3. #3
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    Grab the nose of the saddle between your knees, now sit down!!!

  4. #4
    29 some of the time...
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    I don't have wide thighs. But my hips are narrow. It is hard to find good saddles that are narrow and padded well enough for a clde. I typically run a 130-140mm wide saddle. Currently on a WTB Laser saddle. While wider saddles feel okay when sitting they catch on my thighs when trying to get behind the saddle. It kinda sucks, but you just gotta work with what you got. For me it is narrower saddles.
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  5. #5
    SS XC Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yogii
    Grab the nose of the saddle between your knees, now sit down!!!
    +1

    This is what I do to though I grip the saddle with my inner thighs more than my knees. I'm 6'3 and there are NO skinny jeans in my closet. My legs are big - 400lb squat big - and I can get a back-tire-enema if I need too.

    Perhaps you're not bending at the waist and at the knees? Maybe the seat post is too high? When I stand on the pedals I have about 6" of clearance between the seat and my crotch.

  6. #6
    local trails rider
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    In lots of "steepish" places, getting your chest low over the bike may be enough to keep your center of gravity behind the front wheel...

  7. #7
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    Unfortunately this is about all I can do right now (sit back whilst standing on the pedals).

    With the seat down as far as it'll go I can get my weight back, but I can't get it low, so steep descents are a problem.

    I'm going to try dropping the seatpost an inch or so and see if that works better, it might be that I'm running the post a little too high anyway, but I don't think so, my feet are horizontal at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

    I may also try a slightly shorter stem and move the saddle forward a smidge, maybe I'll get lucky
    Due to a lack of interest, tomorrow has been canceled

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    In lots of "steepish" places, getting your chest low over the bike may be enough to keep your center of gravity behind the front wheel...
    Agreed - try it, you might be surprised how much of an assist that can be.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    In lots of "steepish" places, getting your chest low over the bike may be enough to keep your center of gravity behind the front wheel...
    I don't disagree with this in theory, nor do I disagree that it works for some (most?) people. Except, in my experience, creating this position (standing in "athletic position", knees and elbows bent, chest low over the top tube/handlbars) also forces me to support myself more with my hands, putting more weight on the front end and causing additional fork sag and resulting steeper head tube angle, unless I'm simultaneously able to push my hips backward behind the saddle. For me it's not a either/or proposition, if my chest is to get lowered, my hips must go back (and my saddle must be low enough to allow for that to happen).

    These additional adverse effects created by weighting the front end negate any positives of the low positioning, except in terrain that is not that steep. The "weighted front end" comes in handy while cornering at high speed, but is less desirable when trying to bash through rough terrain. I prefer my weight to be slightly back (hips a little behind the saddle - even using the inside of my thighs on the saddle to help steer and control the bike) and chest a bit low, but still leaving room to allow the bike to come up underneath me to help absorb obstacles.

    I'm definitely in the learning stage of finding the positioning that works best for me in steep and/or rough terrain, but I've endo'd and crashed enough times to get a grip on what what does not work, and some of the things that do. I'm not saying my way is the only way, or the right way, or even right for anyone but me. But I think a continued exchange between Clydes of what works for them could be really helpful to everyone here. Feel free to disagree with my ideas, or add your own thoughts.

    Couple of pics:

    Terrain here is downhill (easy to carry speed) but pretty flat, just a few small jumps and berms on this trail and a little rock roller in the way. At the speed the trail provides the rock/jump would launch me out to flat (not my favorite way to land) so I absorb it as much as possible by getting my hips back and letting the bike come up underneath me. If this shot was taken a split second later I bet the saddle would be up almost at my belly as I reached the "peak of rock absorption".


    Here's a short roller, not too steep. You can see that I'm pretty far back on the bike, and it's likely that I don't need to be that far back because the rock face isn't actually all that steep. Since there is no turning involved on this roller or immediately after I would rather err on the side of "being back a little further than I need to" than being too centered and going over the bars after coming up on an unsuspected obstacle.


    If we located my center of gravity it's probably somewhere a little above my navel (my largish belly and 20lb pack keep it high), which in this picture is almost directly over the bottom bracket, centering me on the bike relative to the slope and gravity. Most importantly I feel comfortable, safe and in control in the position shown. Being positioned further forward would take me out of my comfort zone.


    Couple of shots of the pros...

    Steep terrain, hips back, chest low. Notice the nearly straight arms, due to the hips being extended way back.


    Not quite as steep, hips still back behind saddle and chest low, arms are bent because his body is not extended back as far.


    Those are all downhill pics, here's one of a typical terrain feature (small log pile) you might see on a trail ride. My (tall and thin - but almost a clyde in weight) riding buddy has his hips back letting the saddle come up underneath him a bit as his rear wheel reaches the apex of the pile. He did not lower his seat to roll this. I would have to lower mine a few inches to comfortably do the same move.

  10. #10
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    Here are a couple of obvious ones:
    1) I find it important to stand before trying to get behind the saddle. In fact, I stand for almost any technical trail feature (TTF).
    2) I used to set my saddle height for optimal pedalling. Now I set it about an inch lower than that. It took a while by I got used to it, and it really helps with TTFs.

    I like PCinNC's idea, hope the OP doesn't mind us taking his thread there.
    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC
    ... I would rather err on the side of "being back a little further than I need to" than being too centered and going over the bars after coming up on an unsuspected obstacle. ...
    This is too true for me. I've got a lot of momentum, so a little bump that stops the bike for a second can be trouble if I'm not back.

    BTW, I would role that last log pile pictured by standing, compressing the fork to help the front of the bike up as I approached, and bending my legs and letting the saddle come to me as I went over the top. It seems to that if you can get over the rock roller in the first pic, you should be able to get over the log in the last pic.

  11. #11
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    Great Post!

    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC
    I don't disagree with this in theory, nor do I disagree that it works for some (most?) people. Except, in my experience, creating this position (standing in "athletic position", knees and elbows bent, chest low over the top tube/handlbars) also forces me to support myself more with my hands, putting more weight on the front end and causing additional fork sag and resulting steeper head tube angle, unless I'm simultaneously able to push my hips backward behind the saddle. For me it's not a either/or proposition, if my chest is to get lowered, my hips must go back (and my saddle must be low enough to allow for that to happen).

    These additional adverse effects created by weighting the front end negate any positives of the low positioning, except in terrain that is not that steep. The "weighted front end" comes in handy while cornering at high speed, but is less desirable when trying to bash through rough terrain. I prefer my weight to be slightly back (hips a little behind the saddle - even using the inside of my thighs on the saddle to help steer and control the bike) and chest a bit low, but still leaving room to allow the bike to come up underneath me to help absorb obstacles.

    I'm definitely in the learning stage of finding the positioning that works best for me in steep and/or rough terrain, but I've endo'd and crashed enough times to get a grip on what what does not work, and some of the things that do. I'm not saying my way is the only way, or the right way, or even right for anyone but me. But I think a continued exchange between Clydes of what works for them could be really helpful to everyone here. Feel free to disagree with my ideas, or add your own thoughts.

    Couple of pics:

    Terrain here is downhill (easy to carry speed) but pretty flat, just a few small jumps and berms on this trail and a little rock roller in the way. At the speed the trail provides the rock/jump would launch me out to flat (not my favorite way to land) so I absorb it as much as possible by getting my hips back and letting the bike come up underneath me. If this shot was taken a split second later I bet the saddle would be up almost at my belly as I reached the "peak of rock absorption".

    Here's a short roller, not too steep. You can see that I'm pretty far back on the bike, and it's likely that I don't need to be that far back because the rock face isn't actually all that steep. Since there is no turning involved on this roller or immediately after I would rather err on the side of "being back a little further than I need to" than being too centered and going over the bars after coming up on an unsuspected obstacle.

    If we located my center of gravity it's probably somewhere a little above my navel (my largish belly and 20lb pack keep it high), which in this picture is almost directly over the bottom bracket, centering me on the bike relative to the slope and gravity. Most importantly I feel comfortable, safe and in control in the position shown. Being positioned further forward would take me out of my comfort zone.

    Couple of shots of the pros...

    Steep terrain, hips back, chest low. Notice the nearly straight arms, due to the hips being extended way back.

    Not quite as steep, hips still back behind saddle and chest low, arms are bent because his body is not extended back as far.

    Those are all downhill pics, here's one of a typical terrain feature (small log pile) you might see on a trail ride. My (tall and thin - but almost a clyde in weight) riding buddy has his hips back letting the saddle come up underneath him a bit as his rear wheel reaches the apex of the pile. He did not lower his seat to roll this. I would have to lower mine a few inches to comfortably do the same move.

    Great pics and fantastic information in your post; thanks for the taking the time and making the effort!

  12. #12
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC
    in my experience, creating this position (standing in "athletic position", knees and elbows bent, chest low over the top tube/handlbars) also forces me to support myself more with my hands, putting more weight on the front end and causing additional fork sag and resulting steeper head tube angle, unless I'm simultaneously able to push my hips backward behind the saddle.
    I find that my backside tends to move back when I lower myself, so the Center of Gravity does not move forward: most of the weight is still on pedals... but I can usually feel the seat touching my thigh. and yeah, being out of the saddle is the first thing, before you can adjust your CG back or down.

    Sometimes you see people behind the saddle but pushing their head and chest as far from the ground as possible. That is not the best either.

    I don't know how steep things get where you ride, but I rarely need to get so far back that the seat is at my chest.

  13. #13
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    +1 for dropping your seat on extended downhills.

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