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Help a newbie(10 posts)

Help a newbierubendc19
Jul 29, 2003 11:53 AM
Hello I have a question, I've recently bought a road bike, and I'm new to this. I want to know if I got it set up correct or (i hope this is not the case) it's to big for me? I 5'8, my standover is 33, don't know if this matters but my weight is 174. My bike is Raleigh, it measures 53. the reason I ask is becuase I feel a lot of discomfort in my hands when I ride. I played around with the saddle a bit, I will welcome "any" suggestions. I went riding today and I had to stop not cause I was tired but I just couldn't take it anymore.

In need of some help
re: Help a newbieNo_sprint
Jul 29, 2003 12:10 PM
Overall, without knowing anything else, you appear to have extremely long legs for your height.

Secondly, at 5'8", you're close enough so that there is little way in my opinion, that you cannot get a decent fit on that 53cm. There are lots of other factors to take into consideration though. If you cannot get a good position over the pedals and BB, you're likely going to have a bike with much too long a TT.

It is not rare to experience discomfort when riding while you're new. Keep at it. Next, as your riding and skills and strength improve, your fit will change.

FWIW, I'm 5'8" with a tad shorter legs than what I would consider average. I ride 52s and 51s.

The discomfort in the hands could be you simply don't have enough leg and core strength to keep weight off your hands.

Good luck.
re: Help a newbieeschelon
Jul 29, 2003 12:14 PM
Standover: I like a little of an inch of standover from my taint and top tube.

Discomfort on hands: Perhaps you are leaning too much on your one great cyclist once told me, your upper body should be so relaxed that you should be able to play a piano while riding your bike...hence, you have to rely alot on your lower back and abdomens to keep your upper torso from just plain leaning on the handlebars like you are doing pushups in the upright doing this, you will be able to push faster and harder on your pedaling and you will be able to go faster and longer without tiring out so fast.

To strengthen your abdomen and lower back, I recommend doing crunches or better yet, spend the $15 bucks and goto a sporting goods store and get this apparatus that has a bar where you can fit both hands on oppossite ends and it has a rolling wheel in the middle...this will definitely strengthen those areas for cycling...I believe the activity is called strengthening your "core strength"...very important for cycling.
One mo thing: great site for bike fit positions...eschelon
Jul 29, 2003 12:15 PM
re: Help a newbierubendc19
Jul 29, 2003 12:45 PM
It's me again, I'm think maybe I gave you some wrong info, again cuz I'm new to this, you said that you think I would have long legs, well I can tell you thats not the case at all. How should I measure my standover?
re: Help a newbieNo_sprint
Jul 29, 2003 1:15 PM
Get a helper, get a book, get a measuring tape, get your shoes off, stand on a hard floor, barefoot. Jam the book up your crotch and hitting the wall so you know that the spine is parallel to the ground. Measure from floor to spine. I'm 5'8" and have a standover of about 76cm. The last 53 I was on had that exact standover. Some 54s I know of have standovers of around 78cm+.
cycling inseam...C-40
Jul 29, 2003 3:04 PM
Cycling inseam should be measured in bare feet. If your bike has a horizontal top tube, block up the wheels (equally) until you get saddle like crotch contact when standing over the frame. Measure from the floor to the top of the top tube. That is your cycling inseam.

I don't believe you mentioned if your frame is measured center to center to center to top. Once you have measured your inseam, also measure the bike's standover height. It should be 3-5cm less than your inseam for the proper vertical fit.
Not enough information.djg
Jul 29, 2003 1:26 PM
It's plausible that a 5'8" person could fit a 53 cm bike or not--depending on various unrevealed factors about the person and the bike. One suggestion I'll make is that saddle tilt can make a big difference. Many folks prefer a saddle that is dead level; and a significant number prefer a saddle that is tilted slightly upwards (that is, the nose is just a bit higher than the tail). If the saddle is pointed nose downward, even slightly, your weight is pitched forward onto your hands/wrists/arms--for many, this is uncomfortable or worse. If adjusting the plane of the saddle doesn't cure your problems, you might want to seek out (in person) a fit expert.
Fit guidanceKerry Irons
Jul 29, 2003 4:37 PM

For adjusting the fit of the bike, there are roughly five starting points:

1. Seat height (top of saddle to center of pedal axle) at 108-110% of inseam.
2. Saddle parallel to ground.
3. Saddle fore/aft adjusted so that a plumb bob from the bony protrusion just below the kneecap passes through the pedal axle when the cranks are horizontal. This is known as KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle)
4. Front hub axle obscured by the handlebars when riding in your "regular" position (drops, hoods, or tops).
5. Top of handlebars 1 to 4.5+ inches below the top of the saddle depending on your flexibility and size.

These are all starting points for "average" proportioned people, and many folks like to move away from these starting points as they learn what makes them more comfortable, powerful, or efficient. You want to get the fit of the frame as close as you can, then do minor adjustments with the stem, seat post, saddle position, etc.

A lot of this is personal comfort, and we all tend to adapt to a given position over time. For example, a given stem length may be right for you, but it may feel long at first. I use the "handle bar obscures the front hub" rule for my fit, but others claim better position (for them) with the hub in front of or behind the bar. I'm 6' tall and ride with 11.5 cm drop from saddle to bar, probably more than most people would like but fine for me. Some are suggesting zero drop from saddle to bars - it's about comfort, efficiency, and aerodynamics. The ERGOBIKE calculator is pretty good, but it is not infallible. I would suggest riding some miles (over 100 total, and over 500 would be better) and see if you adapt to the position. There are no hard and fast rules, just general guidelines, when it comes to these things.

Just as important as your size is your flexibility. If you have a stiff lower back, you may not be able to lean over and stretch out as much. If you are very flexible, you may get away with a longer top tube, with the stem in a lower position. Over time on the bike, too, you may become more limber, or at least become accustomed to being lower and stretched out. So, your first 'real' bike may not be anything like what you will want 5 years from now.

Someone new to road riding is highly unlikely to find their ultimate position on the first go. As they become accustomed to the riding position and get some miles in, sometimes over several seasons, people often find their desired position changing. What was "stretched out" now feels OK, or what was "just right" now feels cramped. With time, if you are working on your position along with all your other riding stuff, seat position tends to rise, handlebars tend to be farther below the saddle, saddles tend to move rearward, and handlebars tend to be farther forward from the saddle. You simply cannot say "this is the right position for someone of your body dimensions" because there are too many variables and things that change with time. Get used to your position, and then occasionally make small changes: raise/lower your saddle, move your saddle forward/backward. Ride a while with the changes (a few 100 miles, anyway) and decide if it is better or worse. If it is better, keep moving in that direction. If it is worse, try moving the other direction. If you don't try, you won't find out, but it is a long term process, often taking years, to really dial in your position. And since your strength and flexibility are changing with time, it is reasonable that your position would need to change also.
re: Help a newbie03Vortex
Jul 30, 2003 5:41 AM
You have a post here from C-40. Listen to him. He is the best on fit/geometry, etc on this website. Pose questions to him as he is very accomodating and knows his stuff.