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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-16-08, 03:25 PM   #1
coasting 
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Terrible ride...what's the cause

I was so excited about my newly upgraded bike and I hadn't ridden for a week as last weekends ride was set aside for wrenching and fine-tuning my new components. I thought it would be a huge leap forward but as soon as I started the ride I knew all was not well.

The bike felt like a brick. The ride was terribly harsh; I felt every little bump and the rough sections felt like I was riding a pneumatic drill. Roads I thought was good from previous rides felt like rough trails. My backside hurt like hell after 20 miles and I hadn't had such bad bum pain since the first time I got on a bike. My hands and wrist hurt which it never did before. My lower back ached so badly I had to stop and lie on my back several times.

The changes I made was 7 speed to 10 speed cassette/chain. Downtube to STI. These wouldn't have caused the discomfort. Chain dropped 3 times and may be caused by the excessive bouncing.

I also changed both wheels, new tyres, new bar tape, increased tyre pressure from 115 to 120 psi. I suspect these ruined the ride quality. Which one will be the biggest cause?

To cap it all I forgot my food and ended up chasing an ice cream van for 5 miles without catching it. Then it rained. Sigh. Hope you enjoyed your weekend ride!
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Old 03-16-08, 03:48 PM   #2
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Why did it take 20 miles for you figure out the new changes were not working?
I have been changing my bike for 1200 miles now.
Only takes me about 1 block to says good or bad change.
If good I keep riding. If bad I return to adjust something.
Did you go to Larger Tires? Smaller would give you a harsher ride.
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Old 03-16-08, 04:15 PM   #3
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I'm guessing tires. On my bike, even going from 110psi to 100psi on gravel was a night/day difference. I dropped all the way down to 80 because it was downright smooth at that point. Trying to go distance with 110 was.. painful.

Now, totally different story on smooth pavement. Anyway, my guess is probably positioning + tire pressure.
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Old 03-16-08, 04:42 PM   #4
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Absolutely the tire pressure.
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Old 03-16-08, 05:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
I was so excited about my newly upgraded bike and I hadn't ridden for a week as last weekends ride was set aside for wrenching and fine-tuning my new components. I thought it would be a huge leap forward but as soon as I started the ride I knew all was not well.

The bike felt like a brick. The ride was terribly harsh; I felt every little bump and the rough sections felt like I was riding a pneumatic drill. Roads I thought was good from previous rides felt like rough trails. My backside hurt like hell after 20 miles and I hadn't had such bad bum pain since the first time I got on a bike. My hands and wrist hurt which it never did before. My lower back ached so badly I had to stop and lie on my back several times.

The changes I made was 7 speed to 10 speed cassette/chain. Downtube to STI. These wouldn't have caused the discomfort. Chain dropped 3 times and may be caused by the excessive bouncing.

I also changed both wheels, new tyres, new bar tape, increased tyre pressure from 115 to 120 psi. I suspect these ruined the ride quality. Which one will be the biggest cause?

To cap it all I forgot my food and ended up chasing an ice cream van for 5 miles without catching it. Then it rained. Sigh. Hope you enjoyed your weekend ride!
Tire pressure, combined with previous inactivity. The lower back pain is perhaps another matter. Have you had back pain previously when riding?
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Old 03-16-08, 05:22 PM   #6
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better quality and stiffer wheels
higher tyre pressure

Stick with the wheels as they should last a long time, assuming they're good quality. Try changing the tyres for a larger volume/diameter and reduce the tyre pressure to ~100-110psi.

Also, how comfortable was your saddle before the changes. A comfortable saddle can make a world of difference to your ride quality.
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Old 03-16-08, 06:02 PM   #7
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I have started riding with about 100 psi of pressure vs. 115 psi, and I think it makes a big difference in the ride quality.
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Old 03-16-08, 06:05 PM   #8
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What size tires did you go from and to? That can make a big difference also.
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Old 03-17-08, 07:45 AM   #9
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I would say the tire pressure could be the culprit.

Check your hood position, it may be at a slightly different angle since installing STI's, also is the new handlebar tape the same as what you used prior?

Stiffer wheels could affect ride quality also.
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Old 03-17-08, 08:38 AM   #10
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I have some of the stiffest wheels available (Velocity Deep-Vís) on my cyclocross bike I built up from a aluminum mountain bike frame but my ride is very smooth because I run 32 mm cross tires at about 75psi, so I believe that as others have said that your ride harshness is due to too high a tire pressure but I disagree that it related to wheel stiffness. I'm not saying you should go to the pressure I use; just lower your pressure some. If the new tires don't ride well at a lower pressure do as others have recommended and go to a bigger, higher volume tire.

As for your back you went from down tube shifters to STI's which probably means that you are more stretched out during more of the ride because all of your controls are at the levers now. As already mentioned you may have the STIís too far forward. I tend to rotate my handlebars up slightly with the levers in such a position that my bars and levers mimic a bull horn setup. I rarely ever ride the drops and I have found that this works for me and I have lower back issues.

Also a new 10 speed wheel probably changed the chain line enough so that you should adjust the limits on both derailleurs. This will solve most of the chain drop problem although I always seem to find some shifting combination to occasionally drop my chain

JT
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Old 03-17-08, 11:00 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

Sounds like the biggest cause of harshness is the tyre pressure so I'll drop it to 100 next time. Seems a bit odd though since the only reason I increased it was I read that heavier riders should get the pressure up to the max and since skinny guys are using 120 I thought I should do so too. The ride used to be silky smooth which is why I didn't want to get a new bike. This was my first and only road bike so I never understood what a harsh ride felt like until now.

The new tyres (michelin lithium) were same 23mm width as old ones (pro2 race) so shouldn't have caused the harshness. I changed them because the pro2 were getting cut up and worn so quickly. If the new wheels are stiffer isn't that the whole point of upgrading wheels? I'll give the tyre pressure a go first before deciding if the wheels need to be changed back to old ones.

The back problem was weird since the saddle was not moved and I'm pretty sure the levers look like similar position to the old ones. I never had serious back pain before and the set-up was pretty comfortable. I think Vibes has a good point about staying stretched out more with STI. I used to move to the tops while reaching down to shift gears so was varying my position a lot more without consciously changing hand positions. I'll try rotating the bars up a bit.

The tape unfortunately was far inferior to the previous gel tape. I went cheapo on these since I had spent so much on everything else. I hate wrapping tape so I'll leave these until I have adjusted everything else.

I guess the changes I made also changed my riding style. It's going to take longer making small changes until I get comfortable and I thought all I needed to do was screw on a few components.

Thanks all
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Old 03-17-08, 11:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coasting View Post
...The new tyres (michelin lithium) were same 23mm width as old ones (pro2 race) so shouldn't have caused the harshness. I changed them because the pro2 were getting cut up and worn so quickly. If the new wheels are stiffer isn't that the whole point of upgrading wheels? I'll give the tyre pressure a go first before deciding if the wheels need to be changed back to old ones.

The back problem was weird since the saddle was not moved and I'm pretty sure the levers look like similar position to the old ones. I never had serious back pain before and the set-up was pretty comfortable. I think Vibes has a good point about staying stretched out more with STI. I used to move to the tops while reaching down to shift gears so was varying my position a lot more without consciously changing hand positions. I'll try rotating the bars up a bit...
Tyre carcass can vary in stiffness too.

Just keep the tyre pressure high enough to avoid pinch flats. 150psi is for people that need every last fraction of a second as a competitive advantage.

Back problems when cycling are usually related to a weak core and, slightly less so, to being too stretched out. Do plank exercises 3 times a day and in a few weeks you sheould feel an improvement in core strength and a resulting decrease in back pain. If it continues and you've tried rotating the bars and doing the exercises definitely go and see either your doc or a physio/chiro.


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