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Positioning, pollution, and bent rims(9 posts)

Positioning, pollution, and bent rimsBrian T
Nov 15, 2001 10:45 PM
I had a really cathartic ride tonight. 65 degrees is an aberration for Milwaukee, so I felt I was bound by the cyclist's code to get myself out and ride for as long as I could. Anyways, I took the time to analyze my positioning. My hands go numb very quick. I kind of hunch over on the brake hoods, putting alot of body weight on the gap between my thumb and index finger. Any tips?
Also, I noticed that when I looked down at the front wheel, I could not see the hub from my position on the saddle. I remember someone here stating that if you couldn't see the hub, you were positioned correctly? Am I remembering right?

Now, to complain. Now, I know the downfalls of riding in rush hour, but pollution has got to be the worst. I could almost feel the debris in the air---not pleasant or healthy. Someone tell me, what's it like to breathe fresh air?

I rode on a bent rim that probebly getting more bent as I keep riding over cracked pavement and potholes at high velocity. I felt like the wheels were going to slip out under me during every tight fast turn. Wondering how long I can ride with this hazardous wheel....
re: Positioning, pollution, and bent rimsFitterman
Nov 16, 2001 3:39 AM
1) Raise your bars.
2) Yes, but it only means that the distance from saddle to bars is about right - doesn't mean the bars or saddle are at the right height - just that you have the right reach in your normal riding position. Note: If this is normally the bars, look when your hand are there, if the hoods, ditto.
3) Get a Respro mask for bad days - it's also good training as you cycle on a little less air due to the interference of the filter (I think they say about -20%). has a deal on them at the moment.

3) You can't - get it sorted - it's unconfortable and it's dangerous.

Hope that helps. Hope the great weather keeps up.
Nov 16, 2001 8:05 AM
re: Positioning, pollution, and bent rimsbrider
Nov 16, 2001 8:33 AM
The handlebars hiding the front hub idea is correct ONLY if the rest of the fit is correct. You have to start with the saddle position and work from there. The condition you describe can come from a couple things:

1) The reach is too long on your bike (top tube and stem combined), so you move the saddle forward to compensate, and voila, too much weight on the hands.

2) The bars are too low. Start with no more than 1 inch difference between saddle and bars, then go from there.
One inch of drop?filtersweep
Nov 16, 2001 1:04 PM
You serious? What kind of steering extention exists for that sort of thing?
One inch of drop?brider
Nov 16, 2001 1:43 PM
It's called a STEM. The idea is that the hieght of the bars (relative to the ground) is no more than 1" lower than the saddle. Most european riders have no more than 2" difference. The American style of crit racing has driven the idea of large differences in height.

The old style quill stems allowed for the adjustment. This person may need to go to a LBS that has either an Ergo-stem or a Serotta fitbike to find the right fit, then buy a stem (especially for those with non-threaded forks) and/or spacers. Hopefully, if this is a non-threaded fork, it hasn't been chopped off too short to allow the adjustments.
that's my pointfiltersweep
Nov 16, 2001 2:40 PM
I can't imagine six or seven extra inches of stem to raise the bars.... it's either that or find a 72 cm frame and drop the seat as low as it goes ;)

a 2" diff? Does that mean the seat is really low, or the bars are really high? Seriously, I find this difficult to believe.
I'm with yaGregJ
Nov 17, 2001 5:37 PM
There is a fit article at the Rivendell website that goes on a long rant about how riders have their bars too low. There may be a bit of truth to it but I found the 1-2 inch drop advice to be kind of bogus. I ride a 3.75 inch drop and find it no problem, to change my bars to a 1" drop would require 7 cm of rise in addition to the 2 cm of spacers and the angled stem I already have. I could turn my stem over and get a few cm back and I could get a 65 cm bike which would be too long and too high. I already ride a 61 c-t and am 6 ft tall.
re: droptarwheel
Nov 17, 2001 8:26 PM
The extreme drops between saddles and bars that are common now didn't used to be so. Twenty years ago, most new bikes were set up with bars about 1-2" below the saddle, and that's what most older cycling books recommended (including some current ones). I've got an old Bianchi catalogue from the mid-80s and that's how all the bikes are pictured, even the racing models. Low bars became more popular as more racers began to emphasize aerodynamics and other cyclists emulated racers, but it's not necessarily comfortable or healthy for many people. Some people have serious problems with numbness in their hands or neck pain from bars that are set too low. It's harder now to raise bars with threadless stems, but it can be done if the steerer tubes aren't cut too short and you use a positive rise stem. With a quill stem, it's much easier to raise the bars. Anyway, the original poster was looking for a solution for numb hands, and the advice given was right on target. In many cases, numb hands are a sign that your bars are too low or your stem too long. Numb hands also can be relieved by taping the bars with cork tape (if something thinner is being used) and buying some good gloves (if you haven't got some already).