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Help Please-1st Road Bike(3 posts)

Help Please-1st Road Bikepng201
Apr 26, 2003 6:54 AM
I'm trying to figure out hand placement on my new cyclocross bike. I've only ridden mountain bikes, and am totally confused about breaking and shifting. It seems like with the drop bar there is no comfortable position to put my hands and be able to reach the brakes and stear at the same time. But, maybe i'm just an idiot. Any suggestions would rock. Thanks
A couple of suggestions...DINOSAUR
Apr 26, 2003 8:30 AM
Position on a road bike is a lot different than riding a mountain bike. Most mb'ers who switch to road bikes complain about little aches and pains and not feeling comfortable. My first suggestion would be to make sure your bike is set up right. Your weight should be distributed about 60/40 and after dialing in your KOP (knee over pedal postion) or whatever you use to determine your saddle position. As a very ballpark figure when you hands on on your hoods or in the drops your front hub should be obscured my your handlebars when you look down. I'd check around and find a good LBS (local bike shop) and see if someone will help you dial in your bike.

For starters- make sure you are riding the right size frame. It takes awhile to get all of the kinks out. It sounds like your stem is too long, but that is just a pure guess on my part. You need hands on fitting from someone who knows what they are doing. You can click on sites about bike fit, but it might be easier and faster just to have someone help you set up your bike.
Maybe you are just an idiot.Matno
Apr 26, 2003 1:11 PM
But I doubt it! Sometimes I could swear that bike fit is one of the dark arts. Not easy to get it just right even for those of us who have been riding road bikes for a long time!

If you have small hands like I do, you won't be able to reach the brake levers from the drops. I have to shift my hands slightly to be able to get a couple of fingers all the way around the levers. Mostly i just ride with my hands on the brake hoods themselves. That way I can grab the brakes from the top, and I can still shift and steer.

One possible solution for small hands to reach the brakes from the drops is to "shim" them using a bolt or something else inside the lever housing (like the reach adjustment screws on MTB brake levers). There was a thread about that not too long ago on here that you could probably find.

Other suggestions include all kinds of adjustments to bar placement. You can:
1) raise/lower your stem (easy if it's a quill stem or if you have spacers, if not, you can get a new stem with a different rise angle)
2) change stem length
3) rotate your bars (this can make more of a difference than you think)
4) get new bars (bars come in all different sizes - not just width, but reach and drop as well. Also, not all "ergonomic" bars have the same shape, so shop around if this will help)
5) move the brake hoods on the bars (similar to rotating the bar, you can customize the position of the brakes. this is a real pain since you have to unwrap/rewrap your bar tape, but if it helps, it's worth it. What I do is leave the tape off, take my allen wrenches and go for a ride. Then you can make adjustments as you ride and put the tape back on when you get home after everything is perfect).
6) Finally, you can adjust your seat. Forward or backward shifts of just a few millimeters can make a big difference in how much of your weight is distributed to your hands. Same is true of saddle tilt. Start with it perfectly level and make small adjustments from there until it feels right.

I hope this helps.

Matt