Looking for ideas to fix Kenneth’s “Chamois Shift”
Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
An interesting question came up recently at RoadBikeRider headquarters. It was from a roadie named Kenneth who has a problem that I haven’t encountered. Here is the thread we had which includes what I thought he should try.
I hope some of you have come across the problem that Kenneth is facing and can offer even more solutions for him. Be sure to read both emails from Kenneth.
Kenneth wrote (part 1):
“My chamois always moves to the right and my left seat bone is barely or not even on the pad. I thought it might be a leg length discrepancy and put a 2mm wedge under my left cleat. I have also tried many different shorts but the problem persists. I am at my wit’s end, can you offer a suggestion?”
That’s an interesting problem to solve, Kenneth. I immediately thought of RBR co-founder and my good friend Ed Pavelka who set a world record in a Race Across America 50+ team – which gives you an idea of the time spent in the saddle and chamois.
When Ed and I worked together at Bicycling Magazine, he wrote an article about his custom bike fit. I believe it was called Twisted Mister.
I can’t remember all the details, just that one of the main adjustments was to tilt his saddle to one side to accommodate his natural twist. In other words, the end of his saddle was not aligned with the top tube of his bike but slightly off center.
In your case, this might be a worthwhile experiment to try. You can tilt it a few degrees to one side and see if the chamois moves more (that would be a sign that the seat angle is affecting it) and that would suggest I think you should try tilting it a bit. ‘other side.
I don’t know if that would work, but it would be an easy thing to try as long as your seat post isn’t stuck in the frame (if it is, I can offer tips on how to free it).
The other thing is if you are using some type of buff lube. With lube, you don’t have to grip the chamois enough to move it because there’s a layer of lube between you and the chamois – at least with a good lube. Again, I appeal to Ed’s experience. He recommends and uses a product called Button Hole. Here is a link: https://www.enzoscyclingproducts.com/.
I don’t know if these ideas will work, but I think they are worth trying.
Kenneth wrote (part 2):
“Thanks for the quick response. You throw up some old names I remember back in the late 80’s when I first started cycling. You and Ed and Bicycling Magazine taught me all about good start in this sport that I love so much.
You even gave me the courage to start working on my own bikes. It has become the greatest thing in life for me. I even continued to cycle in the army for 8 years. I’m now a disabled demon-fighting vet, and the bike is my greatest weapon.
The seat angle I tried, I used to get a raw point of the saddle too right, I tilted it a few millimeters to the left and it gave great relief. Maybe I’ll look into that again. I can also get a pro bike fit. One of my injuries may have caused this, I had two sciatic discs removed and I had a really bad fall from a bike that screwed up the soft tissue in my left hip.
Your tower readers
I told Kenneth that I would post his question here in the hope that some of you had a “buff change” and had some ideas to help him. A professional bike fit may do the trick. But, if any of you readers have experienced it and solved it on your own, I’m sure your tips will help. Thanks for the help !
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Writer. He has been a professional mechanic and cycling writer for over 40 years. He is the author of Your Bike Workshop at Home in the RBR electronic library. Check out his “Cycling Enthusiast” website at http://www.jimangley.nethis Q&A Blog and updates on Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days without ever missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s Full Biography.