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  1. #1
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    What should I expect from a relaxed fit road bike?

    So I've bought an Allez 2 weeks ago and went trough a professional fit. Since then I've put 180 miles on it but I'm still having problems:
    - Lower back pain after the rides that is preventing me from sleeping well at night
    - Numb/pain in my hands during the rides
    - PITA

    My stem currently have all possible spacers and is set high, but I still can't enjoy my ride. I keep insisting and riding every day, but it's taking a toll on my back.
    Should I start thinking of exchanging it for a more relaxed geometry bike? At least now I've a better idea of how a bike should feel, since this was my very first roadie

  2. #2
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    I have the 2010 Roubaix that is a similar (identical) geometry. I too had back ache and hand numbness for the first few weeks but as I was new to riding I was kind of expecting that. I now have over 2000 miles on the bike and zero backache. I still get random hand numbness but I sub-conciously switch hand positions and so really dont notice it that much anymore. No more butt pain unless I do a 50+ mile ride - but at 288lbs, I blame myself rather than the bike

    P.S I ride every other day.

  3. #3
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    When I bought my bike, the LBS went through a basic fit routine. But after a couple of weeks I decided they set the bike up as if I was a gung-ho racer.
    I put on a new stem that was 50 mm shorter, and 30 degrees angle up instead of 6 degrees angle.

    This gave me a much more relaxed body position and I enjoyed riding more.
    It is cheap to do. Less than $20

    Other small changes I have made...
    - moved my seat forward and back,
    - adjusted the tilt of the seat.
    - moved the SPD cleats on my bike shoes back as far as they will go.

    Each change helped tune in a custom fit that meets my needs.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  4. #4
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    Try using gloves that have a padded cutout over the carpel tunnel area. Also the angle between your arm and hand at the wrist should be almost straight if it isn't you have a fit problem.

    If the seat is angled down in the front, you will continually slide forward and be pushing back with your arms. The seat should be level or ever so slightly raised at the front. Ideally the seat height and the bar flats should be at the same height or the bar should be higher.

    The saddle on the Allez is not what I would call comfortable. You might want to try going with the Specialized Avatar or Sonoma Gel.

    When I was bike shopping I was told by the Specialized dealer that the Allez was an entry level race bike and the Secteur or Roubaix were the relaxed fit bikes.

    This is what Specialized says about the bike:
    "For speed-hungry road riders and racers looking for high performance and pro-level looks without the heavy price tag, there’s no better tool than the race-inspired Allez. It's a fast, efficient, and lightweight bike that can take your riding to the next level."
    The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.

    When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

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  5. #5
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    My seat is pointing a little down, but that was what the fitter did, I already went to the fit complaining about lower back pain and hand pain/numbness so I thought the fit was correct.
    I know... I'm a clyde at 278# and I ride solo, so I don't foresee myself using that race geometry, that's what start me wondering about the relaxed geometry bikes like secteur and defy. I couldn't test ride one since the dealer had no secteur or roubaix on my size "56cm". And the closest giant dealer is 30 miles from here. I was just wondering what to expect of those bikes, would them help solve these problems and make me enjoy my ride more?

  6. #6
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    For me low back pain = too stretched out on a bike. Get a shorter stem or one with more rise. Jenson sells a 35 degree stem.

  7. #7
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    Already did, the bike came with a 100mm stem, during the fit they replaced it with a 85mm one and later on with 65 one with more rise. I'm now unsure if I'm too rusty, bad job with the fit or if the bike just isn't for me.
    I've tried the trek 1.5 and 2.1 at the store and felt the Allez a much better ride, but riding 2 miles around the store is not the same as riding 20 every day. Lesson learned.

  8. #8
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    How long have you been riding? I would question a bike fit where the saddle is pointed down. I would expect to be level or slightly up. The PITA could be from you being new to riding or from the saddle being a different size from what you are use to.

    The numb hands/arms could be from the weight they are carrying because your seat is angled down.

    Lower back pain could be from use, if you aren't use to riding or as mentioned above too much reach.

    A good test is to have someone hold your bike while you are sitting on it with your hands in the drop bars you should be able to remove your hands and not fall forward. If you do consider moving the seat back to help with your point of balance.

    If you have the Allez set up as high as it will go I'm not sure you will see a big difference with a relaxed geometry

  9. #9
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    I think the more time you have riding the quicker you can decide if you like a bike. One of my general recommendations to new riders is ride what you got or get a cheap bike. Because what you like today won't be the same in a few months once you get in shape. If you can get a 1,000 miles in then you will know what style of riding you will be doing and what feels good in a bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Back pain comes from being too stretched out but have found that the ideal power position that many fitters use puts you too far behind the cranks.. This is ideal for max power but can wreak havoc on your back.. See about moving your saddle foward in small increments and see if this helps the back pain..

    Use a level when adjusting your saddle, level is great, I prefer slightly up..
    Last edited by socalrider; 09-21-10 at 02:09 AM.

  11. #11
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    Back pain comes from being too stretched out but have found that the ideal power position that many fitters use puts you too far behind the cranks.. This is ideal for max power but can wreak havoc on your back.. See about moving you saddle foward in small increments and see if this helps the back pain..
    This - worth trying, certainly. And I too am surprised the saddle is pointing down. This can cause you to slide forward and put your weight on your perineum on the narrow part of the saddle. Bad. Try setting it level and lowering it just a millimeter or two.

    Fit is an intensely personal thing. Try making tiny adjustments and make a note of these measurements each time, so you'll know what is working and what isnt. And when it feels right, you'll have a set of measurements that you or a fitter can use as a basis for getting you comfortable on the next bike. You'll need someone to help you - checking some of them can be finicky on your own.

    A: distance from top of pedal (with crank in line with seat tube) to top of saddle

    B. distance from top of saddle to top of stem (using a level straight edge - you want the horizontal distance)

    C. using a plumb line, the distance the tip of the saddle is behind the centre of the bottom bracket

    D. distance from tip of saddle to top of drop bars or (for flat bars) to a centre line between the grips.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  12. #12
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    I've only seen the posts after my morning ride, I will adjust the saddle a little bit this afternoon and see how it goes.
    for the distances, I believe I've those values on my copy of the fitting results, I will post it when I get home

  13. #13
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    There are to many questions here to ask;

    How long have you been riding?
    How many miles a day?
    How strong is your core?
    How many miles have you ridden since your fitting?

    For new riders, any bike is not comfy. You need to ride a little bit before you get use to using different groups of muscles.
    Going from a MTB/ Hybrid to a road bike is a WORLD of difference. Both in the way you sit and how your hands are placed.

    Little changes are always best.

    With a little more info, there could be some tips that might help.
    With out, We at BF are at best guessing.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
    I would question a bike fit where the saddle is pointed down.
    Pointing the nose of the saddle up helps keep you from sliding forward, and can be good for shoulder pain or numb hands. But there's a trade-off: it forces your spine to bend more, especially in your lower back. That might be why the fitter pointed the nose down, since Haze is complaining about lower back pain.

    Try getting out a tape measure with a pen and paper, noting how things are set up now, then adjusting the saddle a little bit and if it doesn't help, you know how to set it back.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  15. #15
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    So here are the measurements that I've from the fitting:
    Saddle Height 155 "from the BB"
    Saddle Nose Behind BB Center 50
    Bar Angle 16.5°
    Nose to Brake Hood 65
    Saddle to Bar top drop 35
    Frame 56cm
    Handle bard width 42
    Crank Length 172.5

    I can post a scanned picture of the fitting with the measures if needed

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    This - worth trying, certainly. And I too am surprised the saddle is pointing down. This can cause you to slide forward and put your weight on your perineum on the narrow part of the saddle. Bad. Try setting it level and lowering it just a millimeter or two.

    Fit is an intensely personal thing. Try making tiny adjustments and make a note of these measurements each time, so you'll know what is working and what isnt. And when it feels right, you'll have a set of measurements that you or a fitter can use as a basis for getting you comfortable on the next bike. You'll need someone to help you - checking some of them can be finicky on your own.

    A: distance from top of pedal (with crank in line with seat tube) to top of saddle

    B. distance from top of saddle to top of stem (using a level straight edge - you want the horizontal distance)

    C. using a plumb line, the distance the tip of the saddle is behind the centre of the bottom bracket

    D. distance from tip of saddle to top of drop bars or (for flat bars) to a centre line between the grips.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Nycycle's Avatar
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    HazeT, I reply as I have an Allez with 1200 miles on it, It was my first road bike purchase, since learned the Allez is a go fast bike, not a relaxed fit bike.
    It is a great go fast bike but I too would rather have a relaxed fit, I take the blame as my dealer thought it's what I wanted. BUT, a study of frame geometries and a seat adjustment made mine much more relaxed to ride, actually its nice now. I moved the seat forward a bit and am now happy.
    I only hope you can get you back feeling better.

    Quote Originally Posted by HazeT View Post
    So I've bought an Allez 2 weeks ago and went trough a professional fit. Since then I've put 180 miles on it but I'm still having problems:
    - Lower back pain after the rides that is preventing me from sleeping well at night
    - Numb/pain in my hands during the rides
    - PITA

    My stem currently have all possible spacers and is set high, but I still can't enjoy my ride. I keep insisting and riding every day, but it's taking a toll on my back.
    Should I start thinking of exchanging it for a more relaxed geometry bike? At least now I've a better idea of how a bike should feel, since this was my very first roadie
    I hate cars,

  17. #17
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    +1 on the Allez being a more aggressive frame in terms of angles. The seat and head tube angles are in the 73-74 degree range which makes it a fast responsive bike but by no means relaxed..

    Relaxed would be my Sean Yates Merckx with a 70 degree seat tube angle..


  18. #18
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    That Merckx is a pretty bike and looky there the seat appears to be pointed slightly up.

  19. #19
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    When I started, I developed lower back pain and moving the seat forward and raising the stem was just the ticket. No pain. I was stretched out too far.
    - Solo Attack: When you attack, let the sprint group lead you out. You take no points. But when they sit up, you put your head down and hold threshold. Remember: When you see Jesus you are still about 2 minutes from blacking out. Hang on.

  20. #20
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    I've been through a few "professional" fits and they ended up being way off until the last one. The fitter decided to make the bike fit me, not make me fit the bike. At best a fitting is a good starting point, and what you do on a trainer in a store doesn't mean beans if it isn't comfortable on the road. Don't take the fit as gospel, try and experiment (change one thing at a time so you know what did or didn't work) in small increments.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    +1 on the Allez being a more aggressive frame in terms of angles. The seat and head tube angles are in the 73-74 degree range which makes it a fast responsive bike but by no means relaxed..
    I understand it, I was just wondering if exchanging my Allez by something like the Secteur,Defy or Synapse would be a good idea or if these bikes would just provide a little more comfort and same angles that can be met on the Allez with a higher angle stem and a few other adjusts.

    I just changed the seat angle up a little bit and will take it for a ride to see if it makes any difference

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by HazeT View Post
    ..... And the closest giant dealer is 30 miles from here. ...
    If you need to go to that dealer. GO.

    I have worked or tried to work with 5 LBS's within 45 miles. Only the one at 45 is right for me. Not saying all are not great, but the other 4 and I are out of synch.

    That 30 - 45 minute trip for you is NOTHING, compared to the hours you will put on the bike when you get it right or get the right one. NOTHING.

    I have made the trip, to my LBS, now, about 4 times...1 hour and 3 minutes each way, per the GPS. I am now dialed in and have more than doubled my casual ride distance, based on comfort alone!!!

    BEST use of time EVER.
    "It was a good life, if you did not know any better."

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  23. #23
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    HazeT = I was in the same boat as you. It gets better with time.

    I bought a Synapse coming from a Trek Comfort - I just thought it would be an easier transition - WRONG ASSUMPTION. I have all the same issues as you EXCEPT the back pain. I now realized after about 500 miles it's a matter of conditioning. However, I have been able to help some of the symptoms you are experiencing:

    1. Wear TWO pair of padded shorts to help the PITA - it nearly cured my A$$ numbness.
    2. Get the weight off your hands either by raising the height of the bars or trying Aero Bars (those did it for me).
    3. Move the clips forward & backward on your shoes. I found in the rear position my right foot went numb.
    4. If you lean on your hands, try leaning on your fingers or the 'V' between the thumb & index instead (CAREFUL not to be dangerous).

    As far as seat tilt I HAVE to have my seat tilted down due to anatomy that gets in the way. So I lean forward aggressively for the Synapse setup - that's prob why I like the Aero Bars.

    Most of all give it time & don't give up. I ride 6 days a week, minimum 20 miles. I average 16 to 18mph. DON'T GIVE UP & KEEP TRYING! It will get better.

  24. #24
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    Thanks all.. the saddle tilt did wonders... well almost
    so, I could ride my usual 15 miles today without numb hands or back pain, fingers got tingling a little bit in the end but that was it no numbness and no coasting with my hands off to recover.
    I just felt a little too much pressure in that area between the precious and the forbidden .But not enough to get numb or anything like that so I'm not sure yet if I will set the tilt down a little bit or leave as is for a while. I didn't move seat forward yet.
    Anyway, I still want to go to another dealer and try a 15-20 miles ride on a secteur, defy and others. As a clyde, a comfortable ride is more important them be able to be in an aggressive position, at least for me.
    Thanks again for the seat tilt tips... today was my most comfortable ride in two weeks

  25. #25
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HazeT View Post
    So I've bought an Allez 2 weeks ago and went trough a professional fit.
    Did you really get a "professional" fit? If you had it would have happened before you bought your bike. A professional fitter would put you on the right bike to begin with. If you got fitted after you bought your bike, go back there and make them do it right! You paid for it, you deserve to get what you paid for. You shouldn't have to go to a forum and ask for a fitting from people who've never seen you on a bike. Good luck with that. Can they get you close? Possibly, there are some very knowledgeable people here. Without actually being there to actually see you on the bike they can really only give general answers like with the seat.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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