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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 01-18-10, 12:19 PM   #1
Glenn1234
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Bike Refitting Advice

I've been having some back problems as of late, usually connected with riding, and have been advised in no uncertain terms that the fit of my bike is in problem. I was counseled that the seat needs to come down and the handlebars need to come up (mainly this). Problem is, the stem for the handle bars doesn't have much play to be able to come up without going over the minimum insertion line.

I'm sure someone in here has run into this, so I'm asking. Would it be good to try to find a longer stem, or just tough it out with this bike and wait until I can afford something different that I can have fitted to me?

Picture of the bike adjusted to the way I ride it is below:

http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...2&d=1258350376
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Old 01-18-10, 02:05 PM   #2
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A longer stem might work for you. I can't tell from the picture what type of bike you have, if it's threaded or threadless. A while back I picked up a longer stem for my old bike for under $30.00 (from the LBS) but also had to redo the cables which were another $5.00 from wallyworld. Doing all the work myself I drastically changed the comfort level of the bike for about 35 bucks, but it was a bit of work. In the end I still decided to purchase a recumbent because of my back pain. Even with a crusier style setup and a more upright posture I was still having back pain, with my EZ-1 SuperCruiser there is zero back pain and I can ride for hours.

How much do you like the bike you currently have?

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Old 01-18-10, 02:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Glenn1234 View Post
I'm sure someone in here has run into this, so I'm asking. Would it be good to try to find a longer stem, or just tough it out with this bike and wait until I can afford something different that I can have fitted to me?
"Toughing it out" is rarely the best solution, especially when there's an easy fix available (e.g. a high rise quill stem). These are available for anywhere from $15-$50.

If you're comfortable with the seat where it is, I wouldn't mess with that, and would focus on getting the bars to the proper height.
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Old 01-18-10, 02:57 PM   #4
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A longer stem might work for you. I can't tell from the picture what type of bike you have, if it's threaded or threadless.
It's threaded. It's got the bolt in the center you loosen along with the wedge part.

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If you're comfortable with the seat where it is, I wouldn't mess with that, and would focus on getting the bars to the proper height.
I'm aware of the fix, part of why I'm asking is if it would be a good idea, would it change the handling tremendously, make the stem/headset/fork/whatever more fragile, likely to break? I do like the bike, for most part, except for this issue, which is why I was wondering what *would* change if I lengthened the stem.

I did take off a riser bracket I had on the seat (basically a bracket on the seat that kind of extends the length) I had and put the original back on. Helped my back tremendously, but didn't do too much for my knees - kept feeling like I was pushing through the pedals...

Last edited by Glenn1234; 01-18-10 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 01-18-10, 03:59 PM   #5
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It's threaded. It's got the bolt in the center you loosen along with the wedge part. I'm aware of the fix, part of why I'm asking is if it would be a good idea, would it change the handling tremendously, make the stem/headset/fork/whatever more fragile, likely to break? I do like the bike, for most part, except for this issue, which is why I was wondering what *would* change if I lengthened the stem.
Your handling will change minimally, if at all, and you'll feel better on the bike, that's what will happen. You may need to swap out cables/housing, depending on how much slack you have, but this is really a no-brainer.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/handsup.html - This is a good article on the subject.
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Old 01-19-10, 07:53 AM   #6
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I don't think a longer stem will make the bike significantly more fragile. You won't really know until you take a chance on it. I say go for it, if you don't like it, put the short one back on and sell me the tall replacement stem. I have a few bikes that I still want to convert to my size.

How is your leg extension while riding? When you have the seat up where you like it, do you still have some bend in your knees when you reach the bottom of your pedal stroke? I know when I have my seat too low I feel it in my thighs and knees after riding only a short distance. If this is the case, and you don't like the look of so much stem and seat post, you might consider going to a larger size frame in the future.

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Old 01-19-10, 04:24 PM   #7
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Stem extender? Ghetto style would be to rotate the handlebars into an upright position (Remember not wear fancy bicycling clothes when you do this).
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Old 01-19-10, 04:35 PM   #8
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If I remember correctly,you posted the fit issue a few months, nearly a year ago? Same answer you stated back then. Time for a new bike.

The frame you have is a straight traditional toptube. If it's the proper size, should have about a handful of seatpost between the sadlle and toptube. You have more which means "WRONG SIZE".

Back when you posted the fit issues, you said you would ride this bike til you could afford a new bike that fit, same answer today as yesterday!
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Old 01-21-10, 03:45 PM   #9
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Get the stem and try it. I bet you will be happier. It never fails to amaze me how much a small adjustment can mean on a bicycle. As for the brakes/cables if all you need is a few inches you may not have to do anything but slide them off and back on the bars; more and they may need replaced. I would do this myself. Around $20 or $30 bucks for everything and problem likely solved. I had a straight bar bike that just wasn't right. I have wrist issues. I put a riser bar in instead and it is one of my absolute favorites. I gained around a 1.5 maybe 2 inches in height made a world of difference. I had enough cable slack that nothing new was required except the actual handle bar. 15 minutes and I felt like I had a new bike.
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Old 01-22-10, 12:30 PM   #10
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If I remember correctly,you posted the fit issue a few months, nearly a year ago? Same answer you stated back then. Time for a new bike.

The frame you have is a straight traditional toptube. If it's the proper size, should have about a handful of seatpost between the sadlle and toptube. You have more which means "WRONG SIZE".
Different situation along with a different bike...when it's your primary mode of transport, gotta figure something out. I just wanted to know what to expect with the stem (more or less) and if I would regret doing it. I got my answer.

And you would recommend a bigger frame than one can straddle if the seat post happens to be bigger than "about a handful"?
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Old 01-22-10, 12:39 PM   #11
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Different situation along with a different bike...when it's your primary mode of transport, gotta figure something out. I just wanted to know what to expect with the stem (more or less) and if I would regret doing it. I got my answer.

And you would recommend a bigger frame than one can straddle if the seat post happens to be bigger than "about a handful"?
OH! Yes, frame isn't measured for proper fit solely on straddle factor. But if I were worried about it, I'd go with a sloping top tube.

Sort of strange that the frame seems small but you can't straddle it?
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Old 01-22-10, 09:38 PM   #12
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Sort of strange that the frame seems small but you can't straddle it?
I'm saying if the frame were any larger, I couldn't straddle it (about 1" play there). Which is fine in my understanding, but the problem seems that every bike I've encountered, including this one, seems to have been designed in the pedaling stage for someone that is about 5'4" or 5'5".

The oddity in these bikes, including the one I speak of is that it seems the seat post is way more adjustable than the handle bar stem.
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Old 01-22-10, 11:37 PM   #13
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I'm saying if the frame were any larger, I couldn't straddle it (about 1" play there). Which is fine in my understanding, but the problem seems that every bike I've encountered, including this one, seems to have been designed in the pedaling stage for someone that is about 5'4" or 5'5".

The oddity in these bikes, including the one I speak of is that it seems the seat post is way more adjustable than the handle bar stem.
This is standard, because most bikes are apparently designed for teenagers and roadies, who have the flexibility to bend a little more. If you want an upright position, get a longer stem and/or higher handlebars. It's an easy fix and works very well.
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