Can someone describe the "modern" road bike fit?

Back by popular demand, the general all-things Road forum!

Moderator: robbosmans

repoman
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:28 pm

by repoman

EugeneC wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2024 10:17 pm
The way I see it, this particular fit is a trend, like so many other trends before. The goal is to have a position as close to a TT bike as possible - to bee as aero as possible, but still be able to put out maximum watts.

Terpstras and Hansens positions are not the same as this current trend. They were aiming at having as low a front end as posible to be as low as possible, and doing so with small frames and long slammed stems. But there was a price to be paid, they didn't put out as many watts. My understanding is, that the current trend is not aiming towards that. It's seems to be the opposite, but aiming at the same goal, being as aero as possible and putting out a lot of watts.

I know two guys who have taking this current trend all the way. They are both riding at pro level, and they are racing all over Europe. I asked them what the filosify behind the fit is. They both ride frames bigger than their normal fit, with lots of spacers, long stems and very narrow handlebars. Their position mimicks the current pro riders TT position. Not as extreme as Van Ship, but not far from it either. The reason for the bigger frame is having fewer spacers under the stem and having a longer front end. Also they want to have there forarms point upwards like a TT bike position, rather than having the sphinx position with horizontal forarms. One of them is 195 cm. He rides a 62 frame with 170 mm stem. It looks crazy, but apparently it works. Personally I'm not a big fan of this, but if it works it works.
I do agree that they are not slamming stems anymore, but they aren't sizing up, they are sizing normal or down-

Vingegaard 5'9" on a 54cm (normal)
Pogacar 5'10" on a 54cm (normal to undersized)
Thomas 6'0" on a 54cm (undersized)
Evenepoel 5'8" on a 52cm (undersized)
Roglic 5'9.5" on a 51cm (heavily undersized)
MvdP 6'1" on a 56cm (normal)
WvA 6'3" on a 56cm (undersized)

These positions are very similar to what Hansen and Terpstra were doing, although they brought the bars up a bit (probably at least partially for comfort). The long stem has been ubiquitous since the late 00s. The main take away for 'modern fit' is getting the saddle much more forward than what was typically seen in the past. Of course it's not everyone (Mvdp sets his saddle rearward). Pog is very far forward, Vingegaard is slightly forward bias, Evenepoel is slightly forward bias, Roglic slightly forward, Thomas is forward (he uses a very long nose saddle too to get even farther forward), etc.
The slammed stems have been ditched since people realized that the 'aero hoods' position is more efficient than being in the drops.

toxin
Posts: 928
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2023 5:56 pm

by toxin

Of those, remco and rog have easily the best mobility and you can see it in their positions. Last I saw, thomas was on a 56 and I wouldn't really consider him, as his fit is all kinds of *f##k*.

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

www.starbike.com



warthog101
Posts: 975
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:05 am

by warthog101

Sizing down would be to get a lower position with the shorter head tube.
Running the longer stem lengthens the reach back to the larger frame.

apr46
Posts: 351
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

I think more pro riders are riding their size bike than before, but the big thing is that stacks are up and stems are longer. You rarely see bikes with as much drop as Hansen's or Terpstra's, and you will almost never see a severe enough negative stem angle to point the stem down.

Bars and levers have more reach too since hydrualics showed up. The other thing is visually we see riders with their shoulders rolling forward into the "turtle-ing" posture. Its definitely not the same. Visual comparisons alone are hard as some bikes have also moved to steeper STA as well and we have the newer shorter saddles in use, some of which have more rail to allow for more forward positions.

Matte86
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:23 pm

by Matte86

repoman wrote:
EugeneC wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2024 10:17 pm
The way I see it, this particular fit is a trend, like so many other trends before. The goal is to have a position as close to a TT bike as possible - to bee as aero as possible, but still be able to put out maximum watts.

Terpstras and Hansens positions are not the same as this current trend. They were aiming at having as low a front end as posible to be as low as possible, and doing so with small frames and long slammed stems. But there was a price to be paid, they didn't put out as many watts. My understanding is, that the current trend is not aiming towards that. It's seems to be the opposite, but aiming at the same goal, being as aero as possible and putting out a lot of watts.

I know two guys who have taking this current trend all the way. They are both riding at pro level, and they are racing all over Europe. I asked them what the filosify behind the fit is. They both ride frames bigger than their normal fit, with lots of spacers, long stems and very narrow handlebars. Their position mimicks the current pro riders TT position. Not as extreme as Van Ship, but not far from it either. The reason for the bigger frame is having fewer spacers under the stem and having a longer front end. Also they want to have there forarms point upwards like a TT bike position, rather than having the sphinx position with horizontal forarms. One of them is 195 cm. He rides a 62 frame with 170 mm stem. It looks crazy, but apparently it works. Personally I'm not a big fan of this, but if it works it works.
I do agree that they are not slamming stems anymore, but they aren't sizing up, they are sizing normal or down-

Vingegaard 5'9" on a 54cm (normal)
Pogacar 5'10" on a 54cm (normal to undersized)
Thomas 6'0" on a 54cm (undersized)
Evenepoel 5'8" on a 52cm (undersized)
Roglic 5'9.5" on a 51cm (heavily undersized)
MvdP 6'1" on a 56cm (normal)
WvA 6'3" on a 56cm (undersized)

These positions are very similar to what Hansen and Terpstra were doing, although they brought the bars up a bit (probably at least partially for comfort). The long stem has been ubiquitous since the late 00s. The main take away for 'modern fit' is getting the saddle much more forward than what was typically seen in the past. Of course it's not everyone (Mvdp sets his saddle rearward). Pog is very far forward, Vingegaard is slightly forward bias, Evenepoel is slightly forward bias, Roglic slightly forward, Thomas is forward (he uses a very long nose saddle too to get even farther forward), etc.
The slammed stems have been ditched since people realized that the 'aero hoods' position is more efficient than being in the drops.
Consider also that Remco uses a +5mm seatpost
I think he’s one with of the most interesting position among ‘GC’ contenders

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 13037
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

I don't think we should get too hung up on hands low or hands high. That is the very last part of the fit puzzle and the least important from a geometry standpoint. You can always raise your bar position with more spacers, a positive rise stem, riser bars (TooT Ashaa RR anyone?)

What's important is that saddle positions are moving forward and thus center of mass too. Invariably those who choose to slam their saddles forward and pitch their entire bodies around the BB will not be served by traditional race geometry.

Future race bikes should be long...very long, like 5cm longer FC. They should remain fairly low in order to accommodate people with short legs and long torsos who can get ludicrously low, while also being adaptable with different cockpit components.

Requiem84
Posts: 146
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:07 pm

by Requiem84

So, summarizing this for myself is:

- Many 'modern' pro's tend to go to a relatively smaller sized frame and use longer stems
- There is tendency to move more forward, closer to a TT position -> is the goal being more aero, or is the goal to peddle more efficiently?
- Some riders are starting to experiment with shorter cranks - goal likely is to make the aero position a bit easier in respect of hip flex (?)

One point I didn't see mentioned yet and I'm curious about the views of you all: sadle height. My latest fitter put me really low on the bike. According to him this was one of the recent findings in fitting, as this allowed much more activation of the glutes which are the strongest muscles in our body. It did not feel that natural to me, so I moved my saddle height slightly up halfway to my initial position and his position. Bit of a compromise. If I look at pro's, I see some riders sitting quite high with a lot of leg extension in the peddle stroke (Van der Poel), whilst others seem to sit quite low (Campenaerts?).

What are the thoughts on this?

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 13037
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

Requiem84 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2024 9:23 am
If I look at pro's, I see some riders sitting quite high with a lot of leg extension in the peddle stroke (Van der Poel), whilst others seem to sit quite low (Campenaerts?).

What are the thoughts on this?

Campenaerts has short stubby legs and a long straight torso. He has decent anterior pelvic rotation as well so he is “sitting on” his narrower pubic rami. This is why when you see him riding in a bunch he looks tall for his bike and his back angle doesn’t look that impressive. He can hinge at the hips though and get pretty much horizontal with no hump in his back.

Short cranks and a forward saddle position also help prevent thigh/chest interference at the top of the pedal stroke. If we want to get even more aero nerdy, a frame could be designed with 90mm BB drop for use with short cranks. This would lower the rider even more compared to the rest of the peloton, helping him stay sheltered even when riding behind diminutive riders.

RoadDonk82
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2023 2:43 pm

by RoadDonk82

I am in Andorra right now so I get a chance to see pro riders/teams daily. To me it seems most of them are very low even on the hoods
It definitely doesn't look like slammed stems are out of fashion. Maybe for some very tall riders, idk.

One question about bike reach on "modern fit": when you are in aero hoods position with your fore arms horizontal how much knee/elbow overlap do you get? Looking at some footage it seems a lot of pros get quite a bit.
Last edited by RoadDonk82 on Thu Jun 20, 2024 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BdaGhisallo
Posts: 3310
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:38 pm

by BdaGhisallo

RoadDonk82 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2024 11:27 am
I am in Andorra right now so I get a chance to see pro riders/teams daily. To me it seems most of them are very low even on the drops.
It definitely doesn't look like slammed stems are out of fashion. Maybe for some very tall riders, idk.

One question about bike reach on "modern fit": when you are in aero hoods position with your fore arms horizontal how much knee/elbow overlap do you get? Looking at some footage it seems a lot of pros get quite a bit.
WVA is one such rider. He has a lot of knee-elbow overlap when he's bent over and hammering, with a fairly rounded lower back.

User avatar
wheelsONfire
Posts: 6388
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:15 am
Location: NorthEU

by wheelsONfire

Requiem84 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2024 9:23 am
So, summarizing this for myself is:

- Many 'modern' pro's tend to go to a relatively smaller sized frame and use longer stems
- There is tendency to move more forward, closer to a TT position -> is the goal being more aero, or is the goal to peddle more efficiently?
- Some riders are starting to experiment with shorter cranks - goal likely is to make the aero position a bit easier in respect of hip flex (?)

One point I didn't see mentioned yet and I'm curious about the views of you all: sadle height. My latest fitter put me really low on the bike. According to him this was one of the recent findings in fitting, as this allowed much more activation of the glutes which are the strongest muscles in our body. It did not feel that natural to me, so I moved my saddle height slightly up halfway to my initial position and his position. Bit of a compromise. If I look at pro's, I see some riders sitting quite high with a lot of leg extension in the peddle stroke (Van der Poel), whilst others seem to sit quite low (Campenaerts?).

What are the thoughts on this?
I'm no pro, but when i sit low, i push myself over the saddle. I ordered Wove V8 (from EU), but it seems it takes time for it to arrive.
I don't fit well on curved / tail up saddles. I rode high and very forward 2014-2016 but i was told this was wrong and it put strain on hands, neck and lower back.

I have tried all sorts of positions but perhaps it's smarter to use a really good bike fitter. Question i ask myself is how short cranks i should use.
I don't really like a very high cadenece all the time.

I wonder, part from Tobin, how many handle forward positions while maintaining comfort?
Bikes:

Ax Lightness Vial EVO Race (2019.01.03)
Open *UP* (2016.04.14)
Paduano Racing Fidia (kind of shelved)


Ex bike; Vial EVO D, Vial EVO Ultra, Scott Foil, Paduano ti bike.

repoman
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:28 pm

by repoman

I wonder when we will see the first purpose built forward leaning seatpost with super short nose saddle?
Isn't there some stupid rule by the UCI that the saddle nose cannot be farther forward than the center of the BB?

The problem with setting a seat low and to the rear for me was it caused knee pain when putting down a good amount of power, which makes sense considering a closed knee angle under load is how you blow your knees out when squatting. There is an optimal position for the knee angle to produce power (think about where you're strongest in a squat) so I think it would make sense to match that angle to the optimal area of the pedal stroke.

It'd be interesting to see the power data from the cranks of riders now and from the past of more lower seats to see if people are 'mashing' more...mashing the pedals makes more sense to me than trying to spread the power out evenly on the pedal stroke.

warthog101
Posts: 975
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:05 am

by warthog101

repoman wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2024 12:44 pm
I wonder when we will see the first purpose built forward leaning seatpost with super short nose saddle?
Isn't there some stupid rule by the UCI that the saddle nose cannot be farther forward than the center of the BB?

The problem with setting a seat low and to the rear for me was it caused knee pain when putting down a good amount of power, which makes sense considering a closed knee angle under load is how you blow your knees out when squatting. There is an optimal position for the knee angle to produce power (think about where you're strongest in a squat) so I think it would make sense to match that angle to the optimal area of the pedal stroke.

It'd be interesting to see the power data from the cranks of riders now and from the past of more lower seats to see if people are 'mashing' more...mashing the pedals makes more sense to me than trying to spread the power out evenly on the pedal stroke.
The nose of the saddle is required to be at least 5cm behind the centre of the bb

cheapvega
Posts: 472
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:12 pm

by cheapvega

RoadDonk82 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2024 11:27 am
One question about bike reach on "modern fit": when you are in aero hoods position with your fore arms horizontal how much knee/elbow overlap do you get? Looking at some footage it seems a lot of pros get quite a bit.
This is my main bugaboo with narrow bars and a forward saddle. Even my pretty "normal" fit now has a lot of overlap with 38cm bars and slightly inward turned hoods. So to make the forward saddle work with narrow bars and no elbow flare it seems you'd need to move the bars away from the BB (up and or forward), and maybe go with shorter cranks too.

Power generation wise I think the forward saddle position helps engage the glutes/hamstrings more, but it also puts more weight on your hands which is a big issue for me at a top heavy ~90kg. Maybe I should just get a velomobile :D

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

www.starbike.com



apr46
Posts: 351
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

Modern bikes also have headset caps that arent easily replaced that add quite a bit of stack on many models. If I were to think about redesigning bikes around this fit, I would probably take something like the Tarmac geo and make the following modifications:
  • smaller sizes: drop the stack by 10mm or so on the smaller sizes while increasing reach by 10-15mm
  • middle sizes: gain 20-30mm of reach
  • larger sizes: gain 40-50mm + 10mm-20mm of stack
Reason being that the small sizes already fit with proportionately less saddle to bar drop and pull the rider forward to compensate for needing to use 700c wheels, while larger sizes use more drop to compensate for reduced bike length.

I would also:
  • drop the bb to 80mm. I think going further than that makes pedal strikes a potential issue with 165mm cranks
  • balance the handling ith a 75.5-73 degree head angle and a 50mm offset fork where I can, shooting for a sub 55mm trail
  • have a min 75 degree seat tube angle
The protoypical rider would be on 165mm cranks with a seat that is in the 0-10mm setback from the center with a seat height ~10-mm-15mm lower.

I think with carbon fiber, we wouldnt have to worry about stiffness of these frames due to the length of the tubes and this would hopefully restore some sanity to stem length while keeping weight balance. Hansen's 180mm cranks wouldnt work with these bikes and even 170mm cranks would probably be the upper limit for what would be feasible for most riders on the road who are willing to risk some pedal strikes.
Last edited by apr46 on Thu Jun 20, 2024 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply