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  1. #1
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    Did I buy the right bike?

    Question for anyone who is familiar with the setup of a bike. I am a 47 year old guy. Pretty active, but I have lower back pain- pretty bad sometimes. However, I am not ready to give up my beloved road bikes. I went to a bike shop and made it clear that I need a road bike with a less aggressive riding position, ie. more upright because of my back. I really liked the Trek Madone 5.2. However, I did not spend enough time researching it. The salespeople were all over me. They sat me on it and told me that they could make it fit perfect if they just changed the handlebar stem. They did, and I took it for a ride, and it felt great. So the next day I bought it. (Note, they added a 100mm stem with 15 degree rise to get it into the right position).
    After bringing it home, not having taken it for a ride yet, I noticed that on the underside it was listed as a Madone 5.2 Sport, which means that it by default has a more aggressive rider position. The more I thought about it and researched, I found that the regular Madone 5.2 has a 30mm larger head tube specifically for a more upright ride. I am wondering, it had to take some jacking up to get the sport model handlebar position correct. How much will that affect the geometry of the bike? Would I be better off, before I start riding this thing, to take it back and say order me the regular Madone with 30mm more head tube so I won't need a special stem which might throw the geometry off a bit? Am I being too paranoid? The bike costs $3500. I want it to fit with as little deviation from the original geometry as possible. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Isn't the sport the one with the longer head tube? The Pro version has the racing geometry

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidcl1 View Post
    they added a 100mm stem with 15 degree rise to get it into the right position
    I have two comments:
    1. 100mm stem with 15 deg rise is not an unusual stem size and is probably a very small difference from what was specced on this bike... probably only pushes the handlebars up slightly, which is the main difference between yours and the other model you mentioned.

    2 People worry about this all the time... waaa-aaay too much, IMHO. Production bikes are designed to give an acceptable ride to the average person, based on the perception of how an average person wants the bike to ride - it is not an exact science by any definition. Further, the company does not take your personal dimensions and weight distribution and position into account, so you can never know with 100% certainty what the 'ideal' setup is for the 'ideal' rider on the 'ideal' frame size. Moving your weight 1 or 2 cm forward or aft by changing the stem will not turn a good handling bike into a bad handling one. And if the change turns an uncomfortable bike into a comfortable one then any of the very minor changes in handling (likely none perceptable) will be far far far outweighed by the comfort.

    My advice is... take the bike for a ride around your block and see if it feels allright. If it is not sliding out in corners or darting at the curb unexpectedly under normal riding conditiones than you havge nothing to worry about. Ride the bike and enjoy it.

  4. #4
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    If your primary concern is comfort and you have the bucks, you've made a mistake by not getting a professional fitting first then looking for a bike with the dictated geometry.

    Otoh, if the new bike fits (and is not merely better than the last one), then ride it!
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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  5. #5
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    Kind of missing the point aren't you? He's more worried about how his back is going to feel, rather than how the bike handles in corners.



    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    I have two comments:
    1. 100mm stem with 15 deg rise is not an unusual stem size and is probably a very small difference from what was specced on this bike... probably only pushes the handlebars up slightly, which is the main difference between yours and the other model you mentioned.

    2 People worry about this all the time... waaa-aaay too much, IMHO. Production bikes are designed to give an acceptable ride to the average person, based on the perception of how an average person wants the bike to ride - it is not an exact science by any definition. Further, the company does not take your personal dimensions and weight distribution and position into account, so you can never know with 100% certainty what the 'ideal' setup is for the 'ideal' rider on the 'ideal' frame size. Moving your weight 1 or 2 cm forward or aft by changing the stem will not turn a good handling bike into a bad handling one. And if the change turns an uncomfortable bike into a comfortable one then any of the very minor changes in handling (likely none perceptable) will be far far far outweighed by the comfort.

    My advice is... take the bike for a ride around your block and see if it feels allright. If it is not sliding out in corners or darting at the curb unexpectedly under normal riding conditiones than you havge nothing to worry about. Ride the bike and enjoy it.

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure what the Sport designation means. In the Madone line, there's the Pro and regular. You got the regular 5.2. It has 30 mm larger head tube than the Pro. So combine that with a 15 degree rise on the stem, the LBS set you up with a higher bar position. If it feels right, you're set.

    You have to have trust in your LBS. If you don't feel comfortable after a few miles, go back and have them make some more adjustments. You can get a much higher bar position with a different stem.

    By the way, a 100 mm stem with a 15 degree rise is right in the middle of the range. Don't worry about it affecting the handling.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  7. #7
    100% USDA certified the beef's Avatar
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    +1, if it feels good to you, then it's fine. Not everyone is built the same way.

    I'm 5'9", and I ride a 53 cm bike with a 90 mm stem and the seatpost jacked up. It looks funny, but it fits me very well. And I'm not gonna drop 5k on a custom.

  8. #8
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    Unfortunately, you have been completely railroaded into into an absolutely unworkable machine for your situation. Obviously, your only logical recourse is to pack up the Madone and send it to me .

    Seriously though, it's tough to say without knowing what you've been riding and having trouble with.
    Had you considered refitting one of your existing steeds with a new bar/stem combo? Or, to go in an altogether different direction, maybe research some of the outstanding touring frames out there. It's not difficult to outfit a touring frame with a race-inspired component group that you're comfortable with.

    It depends on much more than your mount, as that's only part of the equation. There are many possible causes of back pain, with different implications to your riding. Do you consider yourself to be an aggressive/driven rider? How often do you ride? What distances are we talking about? I think you can see where I'm going here. You might want to ask around (like at a local club ride) for a sports-medicine practice familiar with bicycling issues.

    But back to the Madone 5.2 issue. Ultimately, it all comes down to whether or not YOU are happy with the bike. If you think you're going to continue to second-guess you're purchase, then take it back and do some more research. Otherwise, even if it IS the right bike for you, you will always wonder if you made the right choice, or if you were somehow convinced by the LBS staff.

    Well, that's my take on it anyway. Good luck.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocoach View Post
    Kind of missing the point aren't you? He's more worried about how his back is going to feel, rather than how the bike handles in corners.
    (insult removed)

    Let's review some of the OP's comments:

    "They sat me on it and told me that they could make it fit perfect if they just changed the handlebar stem. They did, and I took it for a ride, and it felt great. "

    then further on...

    " How much will that affect the geometry of the bike?"

    Sounds to me like his concern is with the geometry, not the fit... like here where he says "it felt great," and then later on he says "how much will that affect the geometry."

    Now go ride your bike

  10. #10
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Changing the stem does not affect the geometry (handling and stability) of the bike. It only affects the fit.

  11. #11
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    ouchie

    take it back --- get your money--- go to a better shop-- get in touch with a pro-- secondly, doesn,t a more upright position dictate direct shock to your back?--- why not get a cannondale hybrid bad boy-- whith shocks--- its a nice comfortable, sleek ride-- fast too with the right tires?!

  12. #12
    Eternal NooB threeflys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom View Post
    Changing the stem does not affect the geometry (handling and stability) of the bike. It only affects the fit.
    I was always told a shorter stem will make a bike more "twitchy", isn't that essentially affecting the geometry and handling?
    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

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  13. #13
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G piny parnas View Post
    ....doesn,t a more upright position dictate direct shock to your back?---
    You can't generalize about back problems.
    I have to ride VERY upright, or I won't be able to stand straight the rest of the day. (or 2) 10 minutes on a drop bar bike and I'm REALLY screwed up! Did I mention I really hate head winds!
    Others may be the opposite, or something in between or????
    To thine own back, be true

  14. #14
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    sitting back

    get a recumbent????????!?!??!?????????!?!?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom View Post
    Changing the stem does not affect the geometry (handling and stability) of the bike. It only affects the fit.
    Not true. A very short stem will make the handling "twitcy" and a very long one makes the bike "sluggish" and slow to respond. A long stem also puts more of your weight forward, which also affects handling.

    But within reasonable limits, I agree.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    Not true. A very short stem will make the handling "twitcy" and a very long one makes the bike "sluggish" and slow to respond. A long stem also puts more of your weight forward, which also affects handling.

    But within reasonable limits, I agree.
    I disagree. The bike's handling with a shorter stem will not be 'twitchy,' although the rider may percieve this initially due to the smaller amount of bar movement required to turn the wheel a given amount. This perception will go away within a rid or two. Same with the 'sluggish' feeling.

    But, like you said, if the change is small, there is very little difference.

  17. #17
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    twitchynessly

    whats wrong with being twitchy

  18. #18
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    I've ridden bikes with 140mm stems and 110 stems. Yes switching back and forth you do notice some handling changes but you get used to it very quickly. Overall, the frame geometry affects handling.

    Have you actually measured the headtube and matched it up with the geometry sheets to see if you have the regular or pro model?

  19. #19
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    "normal" stem length is 110 or perhaps 120 if you're large. Small is 75-90. If you don't think that affects handling (at least until you get used to it), switch and ride that way. The same with a 140 stem. Switch and try it. However as others had said, the sensation is just temporary and you adjust as you get used to the change.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF View Post
    If your primary concern is comfort and you have the bucks, you've made a mistake by not getting a professional fitting first then looking for a bike with the dictated geometry.
    &/Or, use your health insurance & see a sports-oriented Physical Therapist - you may find the solution is as simple as, for instance, making a conscious effort to extend your lower spine (i.e., push it forward - like you're showing off your pot belly) while you ride, rather than vastly changing the geometry of your bike.

    In my case (lumbar spinal stenosis & L4 disc protrusion), losing the aero bars & shortening my stem makes long rides tolerable again.

  21. #21
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    It sounds like you really wanted a more comfortable road bike, and not a touring bike or hybrid or recumbent. If so, a well fitted Madone will probably suit you just fine. Now whether your back will still bother you is anybody's guess. Mine used to bother me when I was riding too small a frame, and I was cramped up. Now that I'm on the right size frame, I keep my back stretched out and flatter, and the long rides are a lot more comfortable. So if you got a good fit, then I think you'll be fine. It will probably take at least one long ride (for me that would be over 75 miles) to really tell.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member CrankyFranky's Avatar
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    [QUOTE= use your health insurance & see a sports-oriented Physical Therapist - you may find the solution is as simple as, for instance, making a conscious effort to extend your lower spine[/QUOTE]
    +1
    This worked for me - 58 and starting to have arghritis and had frequent back pain for ~6 months - the PT gave me some stretch exercises, the key one for me being the "cobra" stretch 5 min 2x a day. After a few weeks of stretching and strengthening as directed, back pain went away...and the stretch changed my posture. Hope yours goes too... but as another poster said, have your back checked out by a specialist, my solution may not work for you. For me, a more upright position is worse for my back.
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  23. #23
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    I know i'll get all trek madone guys all over me but for 3000 + bucks probably i would have gone to another brand. The fact that the LBS people went all over you probes treks philosphy... sorry (im not saying trek bikes are bad ok?)

    Well I dont see that you have problems with the bike, the only thing u say is that probably u have to do some adjusments to make the bike fit like another model. If you dont have problems with the bike so why bother fixing it? Looking at trek the 2008 madone 5.2 and the 5,2 pro are basically the same bike. Slight differences, probably to give something to buy to old grumpy guys with money 14 models, and probably the 5.2 and the 5.2 sport are the same bike but one has a bigger headtube, big deal.......... just do not cut the steering collumn and move the spacers to adjust the steam higher, done! The other angles are the same, and even if one have super racing configuration, at your level and probably even more with the setup you want to use i really doubt you will notice any difference in handling or riding quality.

    At least giant is honest and use the same frame for everything.

    Just ride the darn bike and find out if something needs to be done. Thats all you have to do.

    Cheers.

  24. #24
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    Just in case the bike handling is given buy the fork trail not by stem. Obviously if you are using a longer stem (in this case) the movements will be longer because u have to reach a longer angle to perform the same movements, the arc drawn by the stem is longer than if you use a shorter stem. Thats why you feel twitchy when using a short stem and slugish or sort of slow to reach if you use a stem too long. But the handling of the bike it self is given with the fork trail not the stem.

    Obviously u can play with those properties changing the stem lenght, thats why is sort of critical sometimes to chose the right stem lenght.

    Take care you all.

  25. #25
    Hills! speedlever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidcl1 View Post
    snip...
    After bringing it home, not having taken it for a ride yet, I noticed that on the underside it was listed as a Madone 5.2 Sport, which means that it by default has a more aggressive rider position. The more I thought about it and researched, I found that the regular Madone 5.2 has a 30mm larger head tube specifically for a more upright ride. I am wondering, it had to take some jacking up to get the sport model handlebar position correct. How much will that affect the geometry of the bike? Would I be better off, before I start riding this thing, to take it back and say order me the regular Madone with 30mm more head tube so I won't need a special stem which might throw the geometry off a bit? Am I being too paranoid? The bike costs $3500. I want it to fit with as little deviation from the original geometry as possible. What do you think?
    A couple of things: assuming you bought a 2008 Trek Madone 5.2, it comes in two flavors: Performance fit (regular) and Pro fit.

    1) If nothing else, the color of the bike tells you what you bought. If it's black and white, you have the Performance fit with the taller head tube. If it's black and blue, you have the Pro fit.

    2) Also, the Performance fit comes with either a compact double (50/34) or a triple. The Pro fit comes with a standard double (53/39)... unless your LBS changed your gearing from stock.

    Madone 5.2 performance:
    http://www.trekbikes.com/images/bike..._onyxwhite.jpg
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...done/madone52/

    Madone 5.2 pro:
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...e/madone52pro/

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