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How much affect does ones first bike have on riding style...(10 posts)

How much affect does ones first bike have on riding style...Kristin
Jul 18, 2001 1:43 PM you think? Theres been much talk lately of mashers vs. spinners, the affects of geometry on pedaling style, and various ways to adjust things. I've begun to wonder how much of an effect a persons first ride has on their long term style. Do bikes have personalities that are as strong or stronger than their riders? Do some bikes like hills while others like flat terrain? Do some want to be mashed and others spun? If so, then will ones first bike make a lasting impression on the way they ride all bikes going forward? And even affect new bike selection?
It depends on how much the rider wants to learn......Len J
Jul 18, 2001 1:59 PM
wether or not thier first bike dictates thier riding style.

Certainly, one's first bike does define what the rider gets comfortable with, however any learned behavior can be modified. The first time I tried to spin I felt uncomfortable as hell, over time, with persistance, I learned (what for me is) a better way to ride.

I certainly have had bikes with personalities. I had one bike many years ago that always had a mechanical immediatly after I flirted with a women. I swear to god that bike was jealous. As long as she was the center of attention, I never had a mechanical. Oddest Bike I ever had. She finally ran off with another rider (She actually got stolen but this sounds better and somtimes I wonder if she didn't run off).

Interesting question, I hadn't though about her in a long time........
re: How much affect does ones first bike have on riding style...Lone Gunman
Jul 18, 2001 2:09 PM
I would venture to guess alot. I had to ride my backup bike this past week, a Schwinn Alu frame, first generation Alu. Over built, stiff and harsh a ride as can be, hit a small frost heave on the rode just about launches you over the bars. Could not ride the bike 2 days in a row from the pounding it hands out. Got my 853 steel frame back and rode it and I kept checking to see if my tires were flat the ride was that soft. I kinda feel like I want something in between harsh and soft, like Ti?
Most any modern road bike will alloy most everyonerailer
Jul 18, 2001 2:13 PM
to put their knee cap over the pedal spindle. Unless you have a real long or short femur, any bike should be able to put you in the correct range. Taller people have longer femurs and this is why you see seat tube angles get shallower on bigger frames. Forward saddle positions promote spinning and rearward positions promote mashing for the most part. Find out what you like and adjust accordingly.
Certainly true for me, but ...Humma Hah
Jul 18, 2001 2:25 PM
... that's obviously because I never really have given other styles a particularly good chance. My first bike was a dinky little cruiser, 43 years ago. My second bike was a Schwinn with a frame identical to the one I ride now. My third bike is the one I ride now. Per all the usual formulae, it's too small for me. Everyone else thinks cruisers have sluggish steering, but I find it "nimble, yet with awesome stability." While the bike certainly is draggy and heavy, I'll push it harder than any other bike I've ever ridden, with the possible exception of a trackie.

It's not that I've never owned or ridden anything else. I've had a couple of roadbikes, tried fixed-gear track, and own and ride a 3x7 MTB. However, all the other riding put together is not 5% of my riding. I've ridden cruisers, mostly the present one, 95% of the time. That kind of lop-sided experience will DEFINITELY affect your adaptability to change. I have a heckuva hard time getting comfortable on bikes everyone else says are great!
A couple of thoughts from a dinosaur...DINOSAUR
Jul 18, 2001 5:29 PM

I'm a retread. I did not cycle for about ten years, no real serious cycling for about 15. I'm kinda new at this stuff also as the technology has changed so much. Never thought I would be riding an al bike. I've been back riding for three years, 2 months off due to a crash, another four months off, as I quit (twice). I am just now learning what I like and don't like. I read everything I can get my hands on about bicycles. My house has stacks of copies of VeloNews and bicycling catalogs. My wife listens to my rants about Shimano vs Campy, KNOP, frame geometries etc. I'm retired, I have the time for it. My suggestion would be just go out and ride the living cra* out of your bike. It will take a couple of seasons for you to develope your cycling muscles, flexibility, and build up your endurance. You have age on your side. An old road dog once told me to forget about measurements. Everything is based on averages. Dial in your bike using guides and experiment from there. When you make a change try if for a couple of weeks or so before adjusting it, otherwise it can lead to injury. My bike is set up for climbing as I live in the foothills. I have a 7o rise stem, and my knee over pedal position is set back 2cm. I use a 12-25 53X39 (stock) and my seat has a slight tilt to the rear. I'm also stretched out with a longer stem. I could not ride in this position when I first got my bike. After awhile your body will tell you what feels right. It isn't really all that high tech. It can get real confusing. To top it off, my bike is to big for me. I have an 87cm inseam and I should be riding a 58 or 59 and I am riding a 61. Now I know I am sized wrong, I need an slacker seat tube angle and I want steel. I might as well through in the Campy also.

One thing that helps me is to watch tapes such as the TDF. I study the riders positions and watch the way they ride. Fluid effortless pedal strokes with little upper body movement. Armstrong is a classic rider, no one does it better.

Everything comes with time. I didn't start to ride until I was in my early 30's. I wish I knew then what I knew now. Just ride and try to make your cycling fun. You have age on your side. Give your bike a couple of years then ungrade. I promised myself a new bike when I hit 60, which will be next year. The next bike after that will be at age 65.

All this talk might be much to do about nothing. Eddy Merckx rode is first race riding a barrowed bike that was too big for him and he left the field behind him.

I'm still learning also, it never stops....
Totally agree. It's a process.9WorCP
Jul 19, 2001 8:10 AM
Part of being a cyclist is adapting to the bike and developing your own style and it takes time. Experimentation is key. Fiddle w/ your current setup until you get as close that magic efficient/comfortable ratio as you can and then ask yourself what you need to be more comfortable or faster. As you gain experience you'll know what direction you need to take. What you find works when you first start out will change as you develop as a rider. Really, it's a matter of how far you want to go w/ this thing. It can be a never ending quest or you might end up like Humma Hah content on a classic cruiser. But if you are on "the quest" definitely pay attention to what those who are better than you are doing. They are better for a reason.

Unless the bike you have is ridiculously mismatched to your person I don't think it will harm your development as a rider. Trying different bikes and setups are part in parcel to the process.
not muchDog
Jul 19, 2001 5:41 AM
My first bike, even first serious bike, was so long ago that I have nothing in common with the person that rode that bike. Can't cay it makes any difference at all.

I'd say riding style has more to do with training and fitness, or genetics, than the bike. Compare Ullrich with Armstrong. That's a huge difference in style, and has nothing to do with the bikes. Ullrich is a naturally powerful rider. Armstrong, with his enormous oxygen capacity, takes advantage of it by having learned and trained to spin fast.

Overall, I'd bet the mashing is somewhat innate, while spinning is learned and trained. Both can be valid. Ideally, train to do both.

So, I just really doubt it has much to do with the bike, much less the first bike. IMHO.

re: How much affect does ones first bike have on riding style...mike mcmahon
Jul 19, 2001 6:58 AM
My guess is that a first bike affects long-term riding style less than it affects a rider's desire to keep riding. Typically, most people who get serious about riding don't stay on their first bike long because first bikes are often entry-level. However, a really bad first bike or, more likely, a really badly-fit first bike might lead someone to quit riding after only a short time.
re: How much affect does ones first bike have on riding style...cycleguy
Jul 19, 2001 6:01 PM
I must agree that it does not have much to do with your style. Unless you buy some non fitting half ton clunker as your first bike. How many of those have left the unknowing buyer with a bad taste and no enjoyment of their first cycling experience? And left in the garage or basement for a future yard sale. :(