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  1. #1
    Senior Member Blaireau's Avatar
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    Handlebar radical change to help poor fit

    I purchased a bike that is too large and cannot afford to buy another and no exchanges are possible. (The problem with internet deals I guess)

    The bike is a 56 cm Motobecane CX fantom. (I ride a 54cm road bike...what was I thinking? )

    The handlebar is a standard road one but reaching forward to shift gears is unconfortable to say the least.

    --What kind of handlebar would you recommend I put on instead?
    --Looking for a very cheap alternative!
    -- I am using this rig to commute and would like the most upright position as possible...

    Thanks.

    PS: I have already switched stems (shorter higher angle) and changed seatposts (to a non-setback kind). and lowered the seatpost....
    Big tex is going to jail. Fingers crossed.

  2. #2
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    I've used Salsa bars for my wife's bikes because they have sizes out side of "normal". They offer a reasonably price Poco that is pretty short reach and a small drop.

  3. #3
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaireau View Post
    PS: I have already switched stems (shorter higher angle) and changed seatposts (to a non-setback kind). and lowered the seatpost....
    The shorter stem was a good idea, that would be my first suggestion. But you should ABSOLUTELY put the seatpost back to its proper position. The saddle must be positioned relative to your feet/legs on the pedals, it has nothing to do with reach. You are only straining your knees and making yourself less efficient with a lower saddle.

    I wouldn't expect the difference between a 54 and a 56 to be that bad, is the top tube on this bike much longer? The next step is probably some sort of stem extender if you want a more upright position.

    Also, if the bars on this bike are very wide going to a narrower handlebar can make the fit feel better.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  4. #4
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    ...you should ABSOLUTELY put the seatpost back to its proper position. The saddle must be positioned relative to your feet/legs on the pedals, it has nothing to do with reach. ....
    Correct. Saddle must first be positioned properly with respect to the crank, then you position the bars as desired with respect to the saddle.

  5. #5
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    I learned well about saddle position when I first joined up here. I always thought that you needed to be able to stand with your butt on the saddle and both feet touching the ground. Oh boy, that is wrong! When properly adjusted, you should not be able to have your butt on the seat while your feet are on the ground. You should be off the seat with one pedal up ready to push it down according to videos on how to properly take off from a dead stop on a bike.

    My buddy who I ride with who is one of the dumbest people around when it comes to mechanical logic just doesn't get it and insists that he has to be able to sit on the saddle while at a stop. You should see him riding his bike.

  6. #6
    Biking Viking. goatalope's Avatar
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    How short a stem do you now have? I got the salsa poco bar and it did shorten up the reach.
    Tuesdays I work on my hair helmet.

  7. #7
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
    When properly adjusted, you should not be able to have your butt on the seat while your feet are on the ground. You should be off the seat with one pedal up ready to push it down according to videos on how to properly take off from a dead stop on a bike.
    Distance to the ground is irrelevant, but in general yes if you can put both feet on the ground the saddle is almost certainly too low.

    Saddle height is only determined with respect to the crank/pedals. Keep raising it up until it's too high (can't pedal without bouncing or rocking hips) and then lower it back to a comfortable position.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  8. #8
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    I'm thinking you could convert to straight bars for under $100 retail all told. Is that an option for you? I must admit I haven't priced out flat bar shifters and brake levers in a few years. Is this a current model CX Fantom so we can peruse the BD site to see what components you have now?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Blaireau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    The shorter stem was a good idea, that would be my first suggestion. But you should ABSOLUTELY put the seatpost back to its proper position. The saddle must be positioned relative to your feet/legs on the pedals, it has nothing to do with reach. You are only straining your knees and making yourself less efficient with a lower saddle.

    I wouldn't expect the difference between a 54 and a 56 to be that bad, is the top tube on this bike much longer? The next step is probably some sort of stem extender if you want a more upright position.

    Also, if the bars on this bike are very wide going to a narrower handlebar can make the fit feel better.
    The difference between 54 & 56 is in this case massive. I was told this was because the 56 is a cross bike and the 54 a road bike....

    I think the narrower handlebars might help -- the ones I have a ridiculously wide. I am off to the salsa web site and hope that it is not too pricey there.

    Thanks for all the responses!
    Big tex is going to jail. Fingers crossed.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    could set it up as an upright riding townie..

    BD is a bike in a box you cannot test ride. this is what happens.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Blaireau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    I'm thinking you could convert to straight bars for under $100 retail all told. Is that an option for you? I must admit I haven't priced out flat bar shifters and brake levers in a few years. Is this a current model CX Fantom so we can peruse the BD site to see what components you have now?
    It is the current one Motobecane model.

    The first sentence of your post looked great! The second or third sentence not so much... ;-) Yes I imagine converting or re-routing the cable (because the bike has two sets of brakes) will bring the price over $100 alas...

    I am trying to sell the wheels it came with and the saddle and seat post to make these changes possible financially, but so far no takers even at low prices...
    Big tex is going to jail. Fingers crossed.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Blaireau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    could set it up as an upright riding townie..

    BD is a bike in a box you cannot test ride. this is what happens.
    Ideally that's what I'd like to do -- what kind of bars would that entail? Where could I find them? Cheers.
    Big tex is going to jail. Fingers crossed.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    There are a few ways you can go. I like a more upright ride also and have everything from beach cruiser bars to DIY bull horns. With the shifters you have you will be a little limited in what you can do without making large changes and $$$. I would suggest sticking with the drops and going higher still and maybe even back more. My drops on my Windsor are almost level with the saddle and the tops are quite a bit higher when you raise them the tube angle will bring them back. I like an adjustable stem because as my ride improves thru the season and each year I’m slowly lowering things. Short stem with a high rise is what I use on the touring bike. Below are a few ideas of things I have done.


    Another road bike I made DIY bull horns by chopping an old narrow drop bar added a shorter stem and I like the result and that’s all that counts.



    Older 10 speed with a large French fit frame I went with bars like this level with the saddle and very easy to ride.

    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaireau View Post
    Ideally that's what I'd like to do -- what kind of bars would that entail? Where could I find them? Cheers.
    Nitto Albatross, Soma Sparrow, North Road style of any type. Check Amazon, eBay, your LBS, etc. You won't have trouble finding one.
    Steve

  15. #15
    Knotty Guy Anthropy's Avatar
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    I put a set of 3 speed style handle bars on my Schwinn to raise up the handlebars enough to make it comfortable. I tried some sparrow style, but they did not suite me right as I needed the handle bars more straight back and up. Made a world of difference. Tops of the handle bars are still level with saddle, but I do not have to always stretch forward when I ride, although I can when I wish.

    Tom

  16. #16
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    I did a 10-minute check of bikeparts.com and I believe you could buy the parts you need for a flat-bar conversion for close to $100. You could go with Shimano Alivio shifter/brake combos for $60, and the bars and grips aren't all that expensive. (There are probably cheaper sources of these parts, that's just where I looked). The left side of the Alivios is for a triple crank. I'm guessing it would work with your double crank and Sora derailleur, but someone else can probably confirm or deny that. Some shifters come with the necessary cables/housing. You might want to check it out.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Blaireau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    There are a few ways you can go. I like a more upright ride also and have everything from beach cruiser bars to DIY bull horns. With the shifters you have you will be a little limited in what you can do without making large changes and $$$. I would suggest sticking with the drops and going higher still and maybe even back more. My drops on my Windsor are almost level with the saddle and the tops are quite a bit higher when you raise them the tube angle will bring them back. I like an adjustable stem because as my ride improves thru the season and each year Iím slowly lowering things. Short stem with a high rise is what I use on the touring bike. Below are a few ideas of things I have done.


    Another road bike I made DIY bull horns by chopping an old narrow drop bar added a shorter stem and I like the result and thatís all that counts.



    Older 10 speed with a large French fit frame I went with bars like this level with the saddle and very easy to ride.

    Wow, those are cool pics, cooler rides -- thanks for posting them
    Big tex is going to jail. Fingers crossed.

  18. #18
    blah blah blah milkbaby's Avatar
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    If you're gonna stick with standard road bars, there are probably some short reach, shallow drop compact bars that can really bring your front contact points closer in. The only problem is trying to figure it out from measurements online as everybody seems to measure from different points (center-to-center, outside-to-outside) which doesn't help...

  19. #19
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaireau View Post
    Wow, those are cool pics, cooler rides -- thanks for posting them
    Thanks

    By the way as mentioned above put your saddle back to the correct height but more important put it back front to back where it needs to be. I’m guessing that a lot of what you think is a reach problem is really a weight shifting forward problem because your butt is to forward over the crank and when sitting upright and reaching to shift you don’t have balance over your legs. It’s hard to explain but moving your butt back allows you to reach because it’s counterbalancing the upper body weight.

    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  20. #20
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    Riser bars for a mt bike? They also make threaded and threadless stem extensions.

  21. #21
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    Be careful not to end up with a still to large bike for you after you spend more money on it.

  22. #22
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    Sell the bike and get one that fits.

  23. #23
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    THe problem is not that the new bike is a CX bike and you are used to road bikes, but perhaps that the new bike is 'compact geometry' or sloping top-tube design. Most compact geo. bikes fit similar to a standard geometry bike with a number (roughly) two or three sizes bigger. So your new bike that is called a '56 cm' is probably closer to a 60cm... waa-aaay too big for someone that fits on a 54cm tradtional bike.
    I ride a 62 or 64 cm standard road bike and I fit on most 58 or 60 sloping top tube bikes.


    This confusion is common but some manufacturers are re-naming their road and CX bikes to reflect how they compare to the traditional, level top tube, style of frame.

    UNfortunately, it will be difficult to get the bike to fit you and you may never be fully satisfied with the results.

    OTOH, I just looked up the Motobecane Fantom CX and the geometry doesn't seem too different from a standard 56cm road bike, and the pictures don't make it look much like a compact geometry bike. Do you have a bike that you know to be a good fit? You should measure both to see what the difference is.
    Last edited by DCB0; 02-14-12 at 02:52 PM. Reason: Removed a superflous sentence.

  24. #24
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    Sell the bike and get one that fits.
    +1. This will end up cheaper in the long-run compared to spending money trying to make this bike fit then selling it later.
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
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    It is entirely possible to flip the stem backwards, for a drastic change of reach. It'll look a bit funny, but is entirely a non-issue when riding. A few minutes and you're adapted.

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