Saddle Contact Points vs. Riding Position

When you are riding in a more upright position and then you change to a more aero position does your contact points on the saddle change? (For the sake of this question lets assume you are not using aero bars)

I ask because when I have been changing to an aero position I have been lifting my butt out of the saddle a bit and rotating my hips forward so the contact points on the saddle change. I thought this was what everyone did but I saw a tip on the screen during a Trainerroad workout that I think suggested you shouldn’t do this, but am not sure if I am understanding the tip correctly

  • Rule number 1 of bike fitting, people do things differently, so generalizations need to be handled carefully. Most statements should begin with “It depends…” to be clear that there is no absolute answer to any fit related question.

To your basic question, pelvis angle & rotation will vary from rider to rider. Physical state (flexibility of the back, hips and legs in particular), injury history, bike setup and other issues will lead to some having rotation while others have little or none.

It is pretty common to get at least some pelvis rotation if you compare a more upright position with the rider on the bar tops vs the same rider down in the drops with a low elbow position. But there are some riders who keep the pelvis largely stationary and simple bend at the spine.

I suggest some experimentation with your own use relative to your mobility and bike setup, but it’s not practical to give out advice without more info. The notes in the TR workouts are decent guidelines in many cases, but they are not appropriate for all riders and situations.

Thanks @mcneese.chad. Helpful response.

Two follow up questions: (1) Is the goal for riders to increase their flexibility/strength so they can have the right amount of hip rotation leading to more power/speed and (2) Is it fair to say that the amount of pressure a rider feels on their pubic bones vs seat bones is a matter of preference and comfort?

  • I don’t want to wade into that or guess any further on what Coach Chad has set in the instructions. For clarity,just in case, I am not THAT Chad. I’m just a non-TrainerRoad person who helps moderate here. I also happen to be a Level 3 Specialized bike fitter, so have some experience in the fit side of this question.
  • Yep, depends on the rider preference, bike setup, saddle in use and the other items mentioned above.

Chad is obviously correct that everyone is unique and he makes some excellent points…in general, when you move to a more aero position, you’ll want to rotate your hips, vs. just bending over at the waist. Doing this helps keep your chest cavity relatively open for better breathing, allows you to get lower and makes you more aero.

By its nature, you will shift some of your weight from your sit bones to your perineum.

This is probably the biggest disagreement I have w/ TR instructions…the focus on your sit bones is misplaced, IMO, when discussion getting lower / aero.

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To jump on the OP’s questions, does a position change like this usually ask for a longer reach as well? I’m going through a similar process of trying to get more aero more often, and wonder if my pelvis would be more inclined to rotate and stretch out a flat back with an extra 10-20mm of reach?

Yes, I do this.

I’m definitely not an expert, but I’ve found that when I am in a more aero position my reach is a little bit farther out, which is why I bought a longer stem.

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That’s pretty much what I do; if I’m riding hard on flat ground I’ll be closer towards the nose of my saddle. It’s not a position I’d like if I was riding easily.

Only exception is if I’m in a faux aero position and riding fairly easily. Only really an issue for centuries and such where I’m more concerned with energy management than outright speed.