Hi, clueless man searching for help.
Second year of active racing and decided to dwell deeper into the rabbit hole, so i bought a TT bike.
Been tweaking the position and trying to make it comfortable by riding as much with it. Still it feels so weird and uncomfortable. Road bike position is as aero as possible, no issues there.
My bodys physique hits like a brick wall. I have to fit the UCI rules with my 89.5cm inseam and 87cm long arms (184cm tall).
At this current setup, i have extensions at they’re longest allowed length. Knees go between the elbow cups (natural rotation of legs go extremely close to top tube) but still slightly hit elbows and im holding the very tip of the shifters with barely any hand support.
My options? Am i just screwed and have to just make it fit?
some options off the top of my head
- lift the front end up, elbow to knee gap will be bigger
- move the cups wider (outside of knees)
- move cups forward more (a lot, ahead of elbows), will let you angle up more (UCI +/- 10cm from cups) and move you forward for the same total reach
- move saddle back
- some combination of some/all of the above
GL! UCI rules are tough for taller folk. Im only 176cm and i have my extensions at max reach + max rise and still hang my hands off the front of my extensions (grip with bottom 2 fingers only)
I’m not familiar enough with the UCI regs to speak definitively to how you can further adjust the front end, but you already have a pretty solid position…so kudos on that.
I think the easiest thing for you to do would be to slide the saddle back a bit and see if you can get some knee clearance that way. You’ll close your hip angle a bit, but you don’t need to run off the bike and you have sufficient hills rotation that it should not prove to be a problem maintaining your front dimensions.
Thanks for the info package!
Moving cups forward causes that the support is half way up my arm, does it matter? Some say support needs to be closer to elbow to get proper support.
Standing up on hills is another story, but maybe its a sacrifice that i have to live with. Its mostly impossible, since the cups will shatter my knees
What length cranks are you running? I had lots of trouble getting a good position on a borrowed bike with 175mm cranks. When I built my own i went down to 165mm, so much better for a TT position. I ride 172.5mm on my other bikes (road, cx)
TT world champ can do it, doesnt mean its going to be comfy though, lol
So we are talking https://www.uci.org/docs/default-source/equipment/clarificationguideoftheucitechnicalregulation-2018-05-02-eng_english.pdf and Article 1.3.023, yes?
Silly question 1) Why do you need to follow UCI rules?
Silly question 2) I assume you have applied the morphological extension increase to 80cm? (I am guessing a longer reach frame does not help with this UCI 75/80cm rule problem).
Silly question 3) Have you spoken to an experienced TT bike fitter used to dealing with the UCI rules and tall people?
I have my arm rests part way up my forearms and I have no issue with it. I suspect this is likely a personal preference / tolerance issue, though. Try it and see how it feels.
175mm. Road bike has 172.5. That atleast gives plenty more clearence, altho costly to change.
Some races here follow same guidelines and i might “have to” participate on national level, so might as well get the position correct now, than suffer greatly later.
So i think the next step is to move saddle slightly back and cups a bit forward. Also extension angle more up? Maybe that solves a bit the cramped feeling. Thanks for all the help so far!
175? Longer than your road bike? Yikes! My N=1 is that swapping from 172.5 to 165 cranks on my Speed Concept was the best thing I ever did for my position and comfort (and I’m 6’3" 180 lbs). If TTing is something you care a lot about and want to pursue, I would do whatever you can to swap those out. It will make a huge, huge difference.
Definitely give 165mm a try if you can. In my experience it gives you some additional clearance to play with at the top of your pedal stroke…where the knee comes close to the elbow. Also, for me it opens up my hip angle, makes it easier to breath while in TT pos’n, and has zero negative impact on power output.
On the other hand it can be hard to just go out and buy the exact bit of kit you are looking for these days! I understand a lot of times you have to work with the equipment that’s available.
No idea why they came so long on the bike. Same thing with the cassette. Huge pie plate of a cassette (11-32). That thing came right off.
A chainset of 165mm would cost around 150€. I guess i could sell the barely used for about the same price.
I am 193cm and run 165’s on my TT bike, they feel just fine and helped my position.
I’m not UCI compliant on my TT bike so for that…sorry I can’t help!
I’m 188cm and I’ve gone from 172.5 to 165 to now 155. With 175s your hip angle is probably really closed off. I’d at least try a 165 if you can get your hands on them.
shorter cranks will help with knee to elbow clearance quite a bit
the difference between bottom of stroke and top would be 20mm less than on 175s, so knees 20mm lower at the top of the pedal stroke
you have to move saddle up 10mm to keep leg extension the same on the shorter cranks, and probably move the front end up 10mm too, to match saddle raise
I will echo what other have said that Crank length has been the single most important change in me being able to get the power out and sustain it on my TT bike. At 6ft my ftp is around the 300 mark, when I tried to hold near 300 for a 20k tt prior to having a good fit, and on 175mm cranks I simply blew up, could not breath and it felt like 290 was a Vo2 effort, I ended up averaging 280 and the last 10K was probably more like 250 which never happens to me on a road bike.
I switched to 165mm and while I am yet to do a race, on my first ride with the new cranks I hit a all time 5 minute power high passing even what I had done on my road bike. I also feel that I am able to hold longer intervals around my FTP and I have held 20mins successfully around 300 and felt like I could have carried on for sure.
I still feel I have plenty of work to get into a faster position, but at least I feel I can get the power out.
Agreed. I found one 165mm crankset. Wasn’t that easy, thanks to this on going shortage. I will change that this week and lets see how it improves!
Started thinking that i did get after riding the tt bike everytime, a really sore right hip (never had that before, even when riding aero with wrists on the handlebar on road bike). Some muscle really deep in there. Thats happening because of a closed hip angle right?
Could be a result of the hip angle. I used to get hip pain riding my TT bike previously.
Finally got the 165mm crankset. Raised saddle + extensions by 10mm and adjusted tilt slighty more up. Knees dont hit the pads or elbows anymore and so far feels much better. Slight negative is, that the spin feels weird now, but that takes time to adjust anyway probably.
Probably good to go now. Any other possible pointers on the position?
@Mikko.rider usually when I move to a shorter crank I think about LOWERING the saddle, not raising it but you are the guy who is on the bike so I trust your intuition, here.
Other things that could possibly provide some benefit…try moving your saddle forward. Probably you’ve already fiddled with this but just throwing it out there. For me if I change the saddle height it seems like it always pays to fiddle around with saddle fore/aft position.
If you want a little extra hip angle & room between your knees/elbows you can also move your cleats to a more mid-foot position. Some people find a few extra watts by shortening the lever between their ankle and pedal…some people don’t. But you might be one of those riders that does AND you get a little extra room to open up your hip angle and keep space between your knees and elbows.
If it doesn’t work you can always just move the cleats back. No cost to you except the time. I don’t need to tell you that if you move your cleats back and shorten your cranks you should double check to make sure your leg angle is over-extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. (but I’ll say it anyhow just in case some anonymous reader happens on this post)
In theory, if cranks get shorter, saddle should go up to keep the same length at the bottom of the pedal stroke. In turn, this opens up the angle at the top of the stroke.