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I recently got a second hand bike and on paper everything looks fine. It is a frame size S which says fits 160-175cm. I'm around the 169-170 range so I am right in the middle of the range so it should be no issue.

However, when trying to fit the bike, I have lowered the seat post as low as it gets, but for some reason I'm still finding it hard to pedal comfortably.

I have to mention I'm having butt sores although maybe that is normal if I haven't ridden a bike in a while. So I guess my question is are the butt sores due to the seat post height or might there be another factor? I have this feeling that I might have a smaller leg length than normal but they look normal to me.

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    Can you post some photos? At the very least of the bike, but also ideally with you sitting on it with crank in the 6 o'clock position
    – Andy P
    Oct 6 at 10:23
  • 2
    I will try to post some photos of me sitting as soon as I can
    – Snox
    Oct 6 at 11:21

2 Answers 2

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Having the saddle too low is likely to mean your thighs are working very hard. Too high and you'll rock your hips, likely leading to discomfort in your joints. Note that just using your height to work out a frame size works better on some bikes than others, leg length is more important and people vary in proportion, surprisingly much while still looking typical.

Saddle sores are more likely to be related to saddle shape than height. Saddle height is more likely to cause issues in your joints or muscles. Fore-and-aft positioning can have an effect of it causes you to sit in a position where there's extra friction, but even that's more likely to be felt in your knees.

It may be that you're not used to riding at the moment, meaning that any saddle will make you sore. It may be that the saddle you have isn't right (too wide, perhaps, or too hard) but padded shorts can help a lot. There are padded shorts that can be worn under normal clothing.

There are various method to set saddle height. One simple one is that if you put your heels on the pedal, the leg should be straight at the bottom of the stroke, without rocking your hips. This would be a good place to start. GCN have a video on bike fitting for beginners, and fitting a hybrid is discussed in more detail in an old question which might be useful even if you have another sort of bike.

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  • The saddle shape is the typical narrow shape for road bikes, Ive tried the GCN fitting guide for saddle height and on the lowest height I think Im barely able to put my heel on the paddle, ( i should mention clipless pedals are installed by previous owner if that makes a difference). I will give it more time, I got a seat pad for the saddle although I was too sore to feel a difference, I will try to retry the fitting and see I was doing it incorrectly, thank you for the advice!
    – Snox
    Oct 6 at 10:05
  • OK, so it's a road bike. Adding a thick pad to the saddle is unlikely to help much, and adds a few mm of effective seatpost length. Padding attached to you is much better. But it's possibly too big for you.
    – Chris H
    Oct 6 at 10:35
  • But the frame is small, and should supposedly be ideal for my height
    – Snox
    Oct 6 at 11:21
  • The point I made in the edit to my answer was that thinking in terms purely of height is a mistake.
    – Chris H
    Oct 6 at 11:55
  • I see, I will try to post some pictures to help give an overview
    – Snox
    Oct 6 at 12:56
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Are the "butt sores" being mentioned in the question, a tenderized sit bones area?

A general guidance I give every new rider (and subscribe to myself if I have been away from riding for an extended time) is to limit a first ride to 30 minutes maximum. Then take one or even two days off to allow the tenderness in the inexperienced sit bones area to abate before riding again.

Continue this "sit bones conditioning phase," slowly increasing the duration of the rides and reducing the time between rides until the conditioning is complete and the rider's sit bones area is conditioned to supporting the rider without the accompanying pain/discomfort afterward.

This advice is especially helpful with riders new to the activity, as their early enthusiasm can be crushed before realizing the joy of making cycling a life-long passion. If they don't realize there is a conditioning period, they may blame the pain on themselves or the bike itself, when in fact, it just takes time to get past this phase.

One can rush this conditioning phase, say riding on consecutive days from the start. However, there is usually some pain. Initially it is worse, but it usually abates a little after 5-10 minutes. If one can tolerate this, the conditioning can be accelerated a bit. It is purely the rider's choice: Accelerate the conditioning of the sit bones area with some pain, or condition at a slower rate. Both methods will get to the end result: conditioned sit bones.

A properly fitted bike is important, but even when properly fitted, it takes a few rides to condition/break in the sit bones area for extended riding.

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