ASK COACH FRED

Is It Okay to Sit Farther Forward?

Question: 

In terms of power production and my overall position, I feel best when I move to the nose of the saddle. But, of course, that's not comfortable for long. Could I just slide the saddle forward so my knee is in the same position relative to the crank but the wide part of the saddle is under my sit bones? -- Mike G.

Coach Fred Matheny Replies: 

According to fit expert Andy Pruitt, your knee "wants" to be directly over the pedal axle on the downstroke, and your hips will slide forward or backward on the saddle in order to put your knee in this position.

So if you feel strongest when sitting forward, your body is telling you something important. It makes sense to slide the saddle forward so you're sitting on the wide part rather than the nose.

But first, be sure there aren't other factors at work. For instance, the saddle nose could be tilted down slightly, causing you to slide farther forward than would be natural. Or the reach to the handlebar may be excessive, forcing you to slide forward to lessen the reach and take pressure off your shoulders and hands.

If the saddle is level and the fore/aft location is correct according to the principles of correct fit *, and you're still sliding forward to find the sweet spot, move the saddle toward the handlebar.

Tip:  If you move the saddle forward, raise it about 1/3 of that amount to compensate for the seat tube's angle.

* The "principles of correct fit" are discussed in detail in 2 eBooks at RBR:  Bike Fit by Arnie Baker, M.D., and Andy Pruitt's Medical Guide for Cyclists.

Coach Fred Matheny has decades of experience as a competitive racer and cycling coach. He is the author of 13 RBR eBooks and eArticles.

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