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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 06-08-09, 11:52 AM   #1
Glenn1234
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Intro To Road Biking

I ended up with a road bike, as some may know if they follow other forums on this site. I did some web searching and really didn't find a good page to address this, so I'll ask: Are there any good road bike specific riding tips? I have a harder time getting started with the road bike and the handle bars as they are, so that's probably a first main concern.

The other one that I can't find in searching - is there a way to adjust the brake handles so they are moved inward so I can reach them without taking my hands off the handle bars?
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Old 06-08-09, 12:29 PM   #2
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Not a lot to go on. Assuming you have drop bars with brifters, some brifters are reach-adjustable, some aren't. Might also consider interrupter levers on the tops if you don't have them. They allow you to brake from the tops of the bars. Many, if not most, spend most of their time riding on the hoods. Adjusting the angle of the bars can help get the hoods in a more comfortable position. Post a pic from the side and you'll get some better responses on how everything is set up and what changes might be recommended.
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Old 06-08-09, 12:33 PM   #3
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Old 06-08-09, 01:07 PM   #4
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Those bars are positioned way to low. No wonder you're having problems. You need to tilt those bars until the brake levers are at least 90 degrees from the ground. Loosen the bolt that tightens the bars to the stem and tilt the bar a little further up. That should do you go.
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Old 06-08-09, 01:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by terbennett View Post
Those bars are positioned way to low. No wonder you're having problems. You need to tilt those bars until the brake levers are at least 90 degrees from the ground. Loosen the bolt that tightens the bars to the stem and tilt the bar a little further up. That should do you go.
Maybe I'm not understanding...

You're saying to tilt the handlebars until the brake levers are 90 degrees from the ground. Aren't they already?

I do agree that they could go counter-clockwise some, but I'm not seeing how that would solve my reach problem. The levers would still be the same distance away from the bar, wouldn't they? Would I need to maybe move the lever mounts on the handle bar?
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Old 06-08-09, 01:34 PM   #6
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You're saying to tilt the handlebars until the brake levers are 90 degrees from the ground. Aren't they already?
Actually, the rule of thumb is that the bottom portion of the handlebar should be parallel to the ground. On your bars, the "drops" are actually angled up!

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I do agree that they could go counter-clockwise some, but I'm not seeing how that would solve my reach problem. The levers would still be the same distance away from the bar, wouldn't they? Would I need to maybe move the lever mounts on the handle bar?
Correct: rotating the bars into the proper position won't solve your reach problem. It may allow you to brake more comfortably when your hands are on the tops of the brake hoods, however, which might be all you need.

The levers appear old enough that they probably aren't reach adjustable. I believe that some newer Shimano controls support the insertion of "shims" in the levers, so that they're closer to the bars. You might check with your favorite LBS to see if this is an option. The other possibility is to allow more slack in the cable, though this can be a dangerous game. The idea is that you'll have to pull the lever more before the brakes actually engage. If you do this, you should be able to have your hands on the drops with the brake lever in your fingers. The brake levers will be pulled in slightly by the pressure from your fingers, but because of slack in the cables the brakes won't actually engage until you pull the levers even closer to the bars. Because you're artificially limiting the amount of lever travel, you may also end up limiting the amount of available braking power. And that could be a huge problem if you need to stop in a hurry...
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Old 06-08-09, 02:02 PM   #7
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I'd start by removing the suicide levers, then swapping out the handle bar for one that is...well...less goofy. The short term fix is going to be rotating the bars counter clockwise but that won't correct the odd angles. It almost looks as if someone purposly bent the drops. I'm not sure why they would do that.

Anyways that's a nice looking bike you got there, I really like the blue color!
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Old 06-08-09, 02:38 PM   #8
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As already noted, your handlebars are rotated too far down. Bringing them up till the bottom is parallel to the ground or even slightly lower at the back end will help. The reach problem can be solved, or at least greatly improved, by loosening the brake levers and sliding them down the bars an inch or two. This will bring the suicide levers closer to the top of the bar and the levers closer to the curve of the bar.
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Old 06-08-09, 06:02 PM   #9
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that's what you want the handle bar and brakes to be like
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Old 06-08-09, 06:02 PM   #10
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Easiest way to check for brake-levers/handlebars parallel to the ground: put a straight-edge between the drops (very bottom of the handlebars) and the bottom of the brake lever. Rotate the handlebars until this straight-edge is parallel to the ground, or it points backward to your rear-brake.
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Old 06-09-09, 06:55 PM   #11
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Another question more related to the clyde thing (280#): I popped the back tire pretty promptly after I got everything adjusted, which included getting (more) proper air pressure in the tires. Granted the tires/tubes were old, but I'm wondering if there's any particular rule I need to follow when I replace the tires/tubes on this bike to handle my weight?
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Old 06-09-09, 08:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Glenn1234 View Post
Another question more related to the clyde thing (280#): I popped the back tire pretty promptly after I got everything adjusted, which included getting (more) proper air pressure in the tires. Granted the tires/tubes were old, but I'm wondering if there's any particular rule I need to follow when I replace the tires/tubes on this bike to handle my weight?
Really old tires can do that, even with light weight riders.... What you probably want is the widest tire that will fit your bike and that has the highest maximum pressure rating you can find. Take the bike to your LBS when tire shopping.
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