Bike Positioning Problem, Problems of Slipping Forward in the Saddle?


bikefit - slipping forward saddle

Richard Padilla from Lafayette, IN has the problem of slipping forwards in the saddle and thinks it could be his position on the bike, as he says he has a long body and short legs. We run through how to check his position on the bike; from the saddle to the handle bars to his shoe plates and hope he has a cure! Above image credit Kolb bike fit

Question: Apparently I am short in the leg and long in the body for my height. I have managed to find some ITM bars and an downward angled longer stem so have a good drop now. I find no matter what bars I have that I keep moving forward on the seat. The tip of my seat is level with the bottom bracket and I still keep moving forward and having to hooch myself back….help…some advice please….I’m desperate now!

Hi Richard,

Now calm down, there is probably a good explanation for you having to push yourself back into the saddle. This is a job that should be done by a coach or someone who knows something about positioning you on the bike, but there are a few things you can do to hopefully correct your problem.

If you have a training partner who can help you and look at your position this would also help. When we are trying very hard I think most riders slip to the front of the saddle when our hands are on the drops and we are pulling on them.

When climbing we usually sit further back I the saddle with our hands on the top of the bars and the effort pushes us into the back of the saddle instead of forwards, which allows you to use different muscle groups in different ways to help give us power for climbing.

Do you find this Richard or does it happen all the time? If all the time then there is a positional problem.

So let’s start with the possible problems with your position. It could be that the stem is too long or that you are sitting to far forward because the saddle should be further back or it could be that now the handle bars are too low. Now you want to know how to check?

The most important things are your legs, you must have them in the correct place to push out the power.

To find the correct height you should have your cycling shoes on and clipped in to the pedals, with the foot at its lowest point you should have a little flex in the knee, not straight and not too bent.

Then you must get the saddle in the correct position over the bottom bracket for your knees. This you must do by sitting on the saddle with your shoes clipped in to the pedals with the cranks horizontal (9:15 on the clock), you should then run a straight line down from just behind the knee cap through the middle of the pedal spindle, move the saddle forward or back on the seat pin to achieve this.


Saddle tilt – I love bicycling

Once you have the saddle in the correct position its time to look at your bars. The basic guess is that if you put your elbow on the front of the saddle then your finger tips should be about 1 to 2 inches from the handle bars, and 1 to 2 inches below the height of the saddle, these are both approximate.

Or if you are riding with your hands on the brake hoods you shouldn’t be able to see the front hub as the handle bars will obscure them. You should be comfortable with your weight evenly spread between the saddle and the handle bars. Your handle bars maybe too low now and this is what is pulling you forwards on the saddle.

Also check your shoe plate positioning as this can make you pull forwards, the plate should be so that the knuckle of your foot is over the spindle of the pedal.

There are many people experimenting with moving the plates slightly further back which pushes your foot forwards and thus making you sit back and use different muscles and your feet more, this could be something you could try, but be careful as drastic changes can cause injury, especially to the knees.

With all adjustments they should be done by no more than a quarter of an inch at a time other wise you will cause damage to the knees, ankles, hips etc. do all changes slowly over time until you have the correct position.

If you can find a coach or a bike shop with a rider positioning system this would be the best thing you could do, but try what I’ve suggested first and see how you get on. Keep us posted with the results. Good luck Richard.

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  1. david

    Hi Samuel,I would suggest,to make sure that the saddleis in an horizontal position.If it is;raise the front of the saddle a bit.

  2. Clinton Slayton

    If you have tried different saddle heights and slopes, experiment with stems. You can buy inexpensive models to try for fit, and once you have it right, you can splurge. I vacillate between a 100mm and 110mm, and I am coming down “to the rivet” frequently with the 110, so I will probably go back to 100. These are among the least expensive and easiest-to-swap components for getting a good fit, considering the cost of a frame or crankset. I find them for ca $16 at LBS sales, and if you are looking for fit, weight and looks don’t really matter.

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