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Bike fit questions(13 posts)

Bike fit questionsshwndh
Sep 10, 2002 5:20 AM
I'm new to road biking and I'm having a hard time trying to find the right riding position. My current position doesn't really make me sore but it just doesn't feel comfortable. I feel like I'm just too streched out when I'm on the hoods. I'm used to the trail bike set up so it may take some time.

What I want to know is, should my bar be lined with the the front hub while my hands are on the hoods or hands on top of the bar? Currently the hub is lined with my bar with my hands on the hoods. This just seems so far to reach!

I ride a 60cm Iron Horse Victory and the TT seems to be longer than most other bikes. I'm 6'2" with a 35.6-36in inseam. Mathematically the bike is the right size for me because I could't imagine the TT and HT being any lower. But the bike just seems to be too long (in btwn sizes).

The seat is already pushed up as far as it can safely go and I've flipped my stem upside down(120mm). Should I just get a shorter stem? Also the seat post clamp is off set to the rear slightly. Should I go for a post with the clamp right on top or is it not wise to move the seat position too much?
Sorry - I know this is a lot, but thanx in advanced for your reviews.

re: Bike fit questionsGMS
Sep 10, 2002 5:27 AM
Seat fore/aft should really be dependent on the distance you want to your pedals. It should not really be used to correct for reach to handlebars, even though many people do that. You can read about "knee over pedal spindle" (for positioning of seat fore/aft) all over the internet if you want, or just try setting your seat well forward, and then well back, and compare for yourself.

Ideally, you should worry about your handlebars and your reach after you have your seat height and fore/aft all set and comfortable, but it doesn't always work out that way. The bike sounds like it's the right size.

You can also tilt your handlebars back slightly, which usually makes the hoods more comfortable. The bottom of the handlebars should be parallel with the ground at most. You can reasonably tilt them back 5 or 10 degrees from that position.
Stem swapjtolleson
Sep 10, 2002 6:00 AM
Ditto to all the advice given above, especially that seat fore-aft is not really designed to address reach to bars, but is about pedaling dynamics. Get an LBS to help you with your fit, and once you get that fore-aft right for pedaling, then you are likely looking at a new stem.

Do you know how long your current stem is? In my experience, you can go as short as a 9 (some would say 8) without adversely effecting handling, and then get one with a little rise (say, a +5 degrees). Finally the suggestion to modestly rotate the bars to bring the brake hoods up a bit can help more than you'd think.
ditto rotating the bars -- changes your reach, your drop,bill
Sep 10, 2002 6:05 AM
your position on the hoods -- just a little change can make a huge difference.
Even though the "seeing the hub test" is not a terriblebill
Sep 10, 2002 6:03 AM
rule of thumb, it provides only extremely rough justice, and I would consider it at best a starting position, if that. It can mislead you (think about it; it depends just as much on the length of your neck as anything). A better test, I think, although harder to administer, is to locate your knees in relation to your elbows when you're in the drops -- if you have an inch or two of clearance, you're in the neighborhood. The best test, I think, is simple trial and error. If you get sore in your triceps, you're too stretched out. If you get sore in your deltoids, between your shoulders, and in your wrists, you are (counterintuitively) too cramped (or your saddle is tipped down).
Getting dialed in for these little repetitive motion machines is tough.
KOPS is, in my opinion, a similar principle -- it's not awful or entirely misguided, either, but neither is it accurate, and adhering to it blindly and strictly is not terribly helpful.
KOPS and the hub test play off coincidences, when the real test is balance. These tests have currency because there is little way to find balance other than long trial and error.
I've had one of my bikes for a year, constantly fiddling with this and that, and only now do I think that I'm close. Compounding the problem is that your flexibility changes, your weight changes, your fitness changes, etc.
And then I should add that, yeah, it's going to take some getting used to the different position, period.
And, finally, if you feel too stretched out, you probably are.
Agree, except for one pointRay Sachs
Sep 10, 2002 6:20 AM
"If you feel too stretched out, you probably are" can be misleading. Usually, if you have too much weight on your hands, you feel too stretched out and want to do something to relieve this. Ironically, moving your saddle BACK can be the way to solve this, by shifting your weight further back behind your feet (the bb), your butt carries more weight and your hands less. So even though you may be more stretched out by doing this, you may be a whole lot more comfortable on the bike.

Only a lot of trial and error will get you there, but shoving the saddle back may help, despite being counter-intuitive.

I'll buy that. nmbill
Sep 10, 2002 6:22 AM
What Bill saidfiltersweep
Sep 10, 2002 7:27 AM
"Compounding the problem is that your flexibility changes, your weight changes, your fitness changes, etc.
And then I should add that, yeah, it's going to take some getting used to the different position, period. "

I know from experience that I didn't even really know what good fit even was when I started with a road bike. I'd disregard what any of the "fit nazis" might have to say about what "should and should not" be done regarding KOPS... and even adjusting the seat to affect reach, for that matter.

Your body will eventually adjust- you can drop $100 on a new stem today only to find out next season that you really needed the longer stem in the first place AND that you need to push the seat back. It is easy (and a comfortable transition from a mtn bike) to ride in a hunched over position for short rides now, but that comfort won't last long.

Feel free to flame away...
Bill's right.djg
Sep 10, 2002 9:21 AM
Tons of things can change the lookit-the-hub-through-the-bars results. Not just length of your neck (on some measure, roughly stable in the short run) but how, exactly, you are holding your head (which almost certainly varies quite a bit as you ride).

If you feel stretched out you: (a) probably are; and (b) might (or might not) adjust as you ride more (supposing you do), get more accustomed to your road setup (supposing you do), etc. Ideally, an LBS will swap stems for you so that you can see if a shorter stem (or different angle, etc) will feel more comfortable. If not, I'd look around for a good deal on an ok stem that you think might work. Try it out and see if you want to go shorter or longer. Some shops will let you exchange a stem, even after some time, if you don't beat it up. Performance will let you exchange it nearly whenever, and nearly no matter what, so far as I can tell.

Good luck.
Dear Shwndh, Read no more responses.dzrider
Sep 10, 2002 7:42 AM
You've already received more good advice than you can try at one time. Pick one of the many excellent suggestions above and try it. If it helps, great. If it doesn't, try another. It's a process of conditioning and trial and error. Persistance is the likliest cure.
Thanx for the suggestions, I found my fix...shwndh
Sep 10, 2002 8:44 PM
I really appreciate all the suggestions. I've learned there's nothing better than just riding the bike to find your best positioning.

My fix was just simply flipping the stem upsidedown and removing a 5mm spacer. I initially didn't like the way it looked but after riding about 10miles, it felt great. I seemed to have more power in my stroke and was alot more relaxed. And my hands don't get numb like they used to. I guess the flat 0 deg racey look isn't for everyone. Or maybe next year I'll be streched out over the front wheel like nothin.

It sounds as if you just plain had too much weight on the frontbill
Sep 11, 2002 6:18 AM
by turning the stem over, you probably shortened your reach to where you are more upright, putting more weight over the rear.
When and if you want to try something else, I'll bet you could lower yourself a little by getting a little shorter stem and pushing your saddle back. You then will have moved your center of gravity back, so that your butt is counterbalancing the weight on your arms. It's not always about total reach.
It sounds as if you just plain had too much weight on the frontshwndh
Sep 11, 2002 11:53 AM
Exactly. I felt like I was doing a streached out push-up or pushing the bars down. I may try the shorter stem later, what you said seems to make sence. But right now I really don't want to spend another dime if I don't have to. I've bought 2 bikes in the last 6 months with accessories. Thanx again.