Bike positioning

I got fit for my bike when I bought it back in 2015, but at the time I had a herniated disc in my lower back. That has since (finally!) healed 100%. I was also about 80kg at the time, whereas now I am 70kg and I am wondering if that may change the way the bike should be fit to me. I watch the pros race, and in breakaways I often notice that they draper their arms across their bar to get into a similar position as you would on aerobars, but I feel a little crunched up, and I can’t keep my arms from sliding forward off the bar. I had Wifey the Great take a picture of me while I was 90 minutes into a ride. As a lurker over on ST for years, I know the response is likely “Your seat is too damn high” but I thought I would post a pic here and get opinions here.

As a side note, when I started TR in October, I was at an FTP of 180 weighing 75kg, and in 14 weeks am at 202 & 70kg. This is my first crack at structured training and I am loving it. Even as the second smallest rider in my group, I was routinely getting smashed on climbs. Looking forward to getting outdoors in May and showing the boys (and the gals) my progress.


The changes you describe are great, congrats. They are also valid reasons to return for a new fit. Short of that, I will toss out a few things.

  1. It’s impossible to judge saddle height from a blurry pic. Even single pics at the precise right moment are lacking in context. A video is best and from multiple angles, as a fitter would do. Anyone suggesting changes from minimal info is making a mistake, IMHO.

  2. You mention feeling scrunched trying to do the fake aero bars, and that scrunched is exactly what you look like there. It seems to me that you are too close, saddle to bars. Not sure what stem length, or saddle position you have, but I wonder if you’d feel better with more gap? Your back has a lot of curve, where it might be better to be a bit more stretched and straight. Maybe that is what you needed for the old back issue, and you are able to try something else now?

All very rude guesses with minimal info, not the best recipe for fitting. But food for thought at least.


I’ll have Wifey take a video of me tonight on my Ramp Test. I’m not sure if I am too close because of prior back issue, or because of the bike fitter. She who must be obeyed believes that the guy that fit me didn’t really know what he was doing, but I figure if he owns a bike shop he probably knows a little more than I do.

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Fitters, their knowledge, how they apply it and what they do with respect to their customers runs the full range. As with any profession, some are good… others not so much.

I am likely average, but I do my best to look at any fit situation in the context of each rider and their specific needs. Take what I have learned and apply the best I can with their feedback. It is a very interactive process and relies on the customer as much as the fitter.

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It is 100% impossible to fit over the interwebs. As @mcneese.chad said, your current position could’ve been what was needed for your injured self but things look off.

It’s important to understand that your next fitting won’t be your last. If you happen to get older, fatter, skinnier, fitter, less fit, injured, fixed, whatever, you’ll need to be re-assessed. The good thing is that after a fit and a follow up or two (and a bunch of paying attention) you should be able to self-assess and make minor tweaks.

Due to your previous injury, be wary of anyone who makes significant adjustments all at once. Your body healed and learned firing patterns in your current position, moving quickly to a different position could cause some issues.

IMO, any fitter worth their salt will acknowledge these limitations and offer a follow-up adjustment (not a full fit) down the road. Don’t be afraid to ask for it.

I would love to do so, but have moved about 1200 miles away from there. I now live near Moab Utah, so all the bike shops around here are devoted to MTBs. AFAIK the closest bike fitter is 300 miles away in Park City.

I realize the difficulty in doing a fitting online. I hear @Chad and @Jonathan talk about constant tinkering with their positioning on the bike, but without input from people I think that me trying to tinker is akin to a monkey throwing darts.

As noted above, remote fitting is a challenge at best. But I have done what I can to help several riders here, and am willing to try for you as well. We can move into private messages or do it in this thread.

The basic fit process begins with discussion of the current state, any issues and such, and moves towards looking at the goals of a fitting. Then review of physical conditions, limits and such before looking at the specific state on the current bike setup, and finally on to suggested changes.

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You might try this place. Never been there myself, but it’s closer than 300 miles.

Are you familiar with Infared Bike Fitting? I had never heard of it before looking at their facebook page. (The webpage seems to be offline, which is concerning…)

GJ is somewhat closer, but still a 3+ hour drive from home. I am an hour south of Moab.

I have video, but I can’t upload a .mov file…

Post it to YouTube, and then share a link to it here.

Check out Welcome to Motionysis!

It’s free. You upload video of yourself cycling and can pause it at a given point and use the pen tool to draw lines from hips to knee, knee to ankle, ankle to toes, etc… (upper body as well) and it will automagically show you your angles.

Agree very strongly with what chad said above: there are good fitters and poor fitters, just as there are good docs and bad docs, good mechanics and bad ones, etc.

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