The history of riding posture

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Riding posture is critical to cycling. A suitable riding posture can not only make us more comfortable but also make us safer. So how did our riding posture develop to what it is now? In this article, let’s learn the history of bicycle riding posture.


Every historical change will be led by a group of outstanding riders. From the 1940s to 1950s, Fausto Coppi’s bicycle had a high seat and low handlebars. When riding, the whole figure looked like he was curled up on the bicycle, as did other riders.

In the 1960s, Jacques Anquetil’s saddle was still high and his legs were not stretched out like modern riders, but the riding posture seemed longer. His body is stretched out on the bicycle, which looks aerodynamic, and other riders try to imitate his posture.

Jacques Anquetil

From the late 1960s to the 1970s, Eddy Merckx became a promoter of another posture. His saddle was higher than that of Jacques Anquetil and almost as high as that of a modern rider. The posture looks more relaxed, and Melkes is a “micro-adjuster” who often adjusts the height of the saddle and handlebars.

Eddy Merckx in the 1970

In 1972, the Italian Olympic Committee published the first ‘BIKE FIT’ based on a group of 20-year-old male professional riders with excellent results. ‘BIKE FIT’ is a program that carefully evaluates a rider’s physical performance capabilities and systematically adjusts the bike to meet the rider’s goals and needs. The final publication summarizing the research results is usually called ‘Itali Cycling Bible’ and was published in 1972. It has been an honour for a long time. It advocates a pedalling style with splayed feet, where the knees almost touch the top tube. Many riders are forced to accept it but cannot adapt to it.

In the 1980s, because of the propaganda of the legendary French team manager Cyril, a formula became widely popular which is the Guimard-Raymond formula (measure the span height in centimeters and multiply it by 0.883). Use it to get a suitable saddle height. this BIKE FIT was studied from a static view of the rider.

 
This formula assumes that each person’s leg length is in a specific ratio to the length of the back and arms. This formula only fits Gray LeMond’s body proportions, so he adopted this posture to make his overall body shape more aerodynamic and win the Tour de France, but this formula does not fit other people.

In the 1990s, another innovator, Andy Pruitt, was one of the first to write helpful medical guidelines for cyclists. One of the books explores the concept of B IKE FIT from a dynamic perspective which introduces a 3D perspective, considering the front view, observing the rider’s posture from the front, making the riding posture become the current comfortable and more universally applicable attitude.

Correct riding posture for road bikes
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