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Carbon, suspension or what?(3 posts)

Carbon, suspension or what?Steve-a-Reno
Sep 5, 2003 3:21 PM
I am 6' and 235 lbs. I've been riding mountain bikes and recumbents for over 12 years but never raced and don't plan to in the future. I want to supplement my habit with a nice entry level bike and am still in the deciding what to buy stage.

My question is about the seatpost. On the aluminum framed bikes I've ridden the are very responsive and seem to transfer power to the wheels without any noticeable flex to me. This stiffness is transfered from the road through the post and racing saddle(s) to me. I was thinking if I don't go with some other frame type (and maybe even if I do) what type of seatpost is best at silencing or lessening the vibrations?

Now here's another point to consider. I like the Cannondale R600 in 60cm that I re-rode today but it still seems to cramped for me. The seasoned (not punk kid) shop guy said that the next size up will have me too stretched out. I said well what about moving the seat back further or getting a setback type of seatpost and he said that I should be perched on top of the saddle and that my ideas would make the fit less than ideal. I was thinking of getting an adjustable stem to raise the bars a bit until I can lose some weight and my belly in order to help my diaphram do it's job. Yeah , yeah I know go to other shops and get some precise fitting done to help me get the right size bike. They've done that at all the local raodie shops and the bike they fit me on all seem way too small. The 60cm Cannondale frame feels like the right height but I just prefer a bit more of a longer toptube and more of an upright riding position for now. The 600 is priced just about right at $1200 but that seems steep when I can find an R800 online for about the same price and nicer components.

Any comments, suggestions or advice is welcomed.

Oh, I wasn't getting what I thought was good extension on my pedal stroke and asked if I should raise the seat a bit and was told again that this would put me in more of a head down position and start to put pressure on the family jewels. I said I could alwas drop the noce of the saddle and was told that then I would be trying to keep myself from fallin g forward off the saddle all the time.

The R600 is my first real test ride and I will be visiting the other shops in towen that have Jamis, Trek, Lemond, Specialized, IF, Raleigh, Litespeed, ... but I was hoping to saty around the $1200 range.

Thanks again.
re: Carbon, suspension or what?russw19
Sep 5, 2003 8:52 PM
Steve, a couple of comments, take them for what they're worth...

First, you are 6' and are on a 60 cm and still cramped? That's a tough one to swallow... do they have a 100 mm stem on there or what? I am dead on 6' and I ride a 56cm (c to c) frame, but I do like a longer stem. Either 130 or 140. But a 60 cm Cannondale frame has a top tube that is 3 cm longer than a 56cm. Seems like it may be big for you. The other thing that strikes me about your post is that you state that you like to be stretched out, yet upright. The two don't go hand in hand. Either you are stretched out, or you are upright, but I can't think both is going to make for a stable position. Anyways, don't go to the bigger frame, ask the shop to swap the stem. They should do it for you at no cost if they are worth a damn.

Also, if you feel your seat is too low, raise it. Yes, it will put more pressure on your groin, but you will get used to it. It's better than damaging your knees with a wrong saddle height. If you ride clipless pedals and your saddle is too low, you can put undue strain on your knee. I am not trying to scare you, as it's rare that you would do permanent damage, but it is possible and so it needs to be considered.

Last, regarding your question about seatposts... don't get suckered into believing the hype about carbon posts really making a damping difference to your bike. It won't. They look cool and are light. If you are looking for those features from a post, then buy a carbon one, but if you are looking for a comfy ride, it won't make a difference. Change out your seat, not your post. Your seat will make a difference, but the shop may try to sell you a new fancy carbon post. Why? Well, either they really believe the hype (and it's really just hype) or they are trying to make a sale of some big dollar seat post.

I think you really need to look at other bikes at other shops. Just to see if the advice you are getting is solid at the one you have already been to. If you get consistant advice about fit from people who see you on the bike, then it is most likely sound. Don't take my word as much because I haven't seen you on a bike. But if you go to 3 or 4 shops and the other 3 want to stick you on a 56 or 58cm frame, you should consider it. Different people have different thoughts on fit... so get 4 or 5 of them and start with the average. Tweak to your body from there.

Russ
re: Carbon, suspension or what?Steve-a-Reno
Sep 7, 2003 8:24 AM
russw19 thanks. I did go to the 2 other shops in town that are reputable and have a solid history with the cycling community. Anyway, I ended up really liking the Lemond Zurich in a 57cm. It fit well and was not as harsh as the Cannondale aluminum. Being a novice I don't think I'll miss the crispness and responsiveness of the aluminum at this point.

OK, I'll look into a nicer saddle before getting a new seatpost. The store is offering a $600 in store credit at the time of purchase (the shop where the Lemond bike is ) and I was thinking of getting a Shimano Flight Deck computer, road shoes and clipless pedals, 12-27 cassette, new saddle, Grand Prix GP 3000 tires and a few extra tubes, small seat bag, some good gel gloves, bottle cages ... ? Any thought for what else I might need as a beginning road bike rider?
I have tires levers and a small pump that goes to 130 psi and a small park tool kit (chain tool, glueless patches, spoke tool, small pocket knife).

Thanks again for the straight shooting advice; it's hard to come by these days.

Steve