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  1. #1
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    Opinions, help needed.....

    PICTURES ADDED a few posts down

    I bought my bike from REI..... and as it turns out, that might be a GOOD thing
    - because -
    they'll take it back if I'm not satisfied.

    In two months time, I've ridden it almost 700 miles; I've also managed to put money into serious puncture resistant innertubes & liners, REI changed out my handlebars to something wider, they installed a shorter stem for me, I put on improved cages, and have finally settled on my third after-market saddle.

    I've also learned a great deal about proper fit, riding style, etc. The problem?
    The Brooks B17 that works sooo well for me, will not slide far enough back on the seat post to put me the correct position in relationship to my pedals. I've raised the seat, I've pounded the nose of the saddle back in an attempt to force it, and I have tried to ignore it....

    If all that I do is put the Specialized saddle back in place, I can place myself in the correct position again. But I LIKE that Brooks.

    1) Is there a seatpost that I can buy allowing my B17 to mount farther back?

    2) Might I consider that this XS (extra small) bike may in fact be TOO small for me, even though I can't clear/stand over the top tube as it is now?

    3) Should I return it to REI and come up with additional money to buy either the Novara Safari, or the Raliegh Port Townsend..... or any other suggestions you might have to offer?

    4) What would Bicycle Buddha do?
    Last edited by RandoneeRider; 07-26-11 at 09:24 AM.

  2. #2
    pbd
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    How much setback does your current seatpost have?

    Buy a seatpost with more setback.

    What is it that is telling you to move your seat farther back? KOPS?

  3. #3
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Impossible to say whether the bike is the right size without pictures of you on it. Setback seat posts are certainly available.
    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.

  4. #4
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    I could (try to) balance myself on the bike with my camera on a tri-pod.... but 2:20 in the morning may not be a suitable hour to do that. If a picture can suggest that my bike might be too small, I may have to try that and see what y'all think.
    (Can't sleep; 16 hours ago I walked into a spider web where I saw a black widow a couple days before. A 4" area of my arm is filled with ITCHING little bumps/irratation that's driving me crazy!?!)

    "KOPS", what's that?
    While sitting on my B17 saddle, dangling a plumb line from the tip of my kneecap, pedal at 3:00, and the ball of my foot on the axis of the pedal..... the line falls about an inch in front of my foot. Seat post is high enough that I can place the heels of my feet (no shoes) on the pedals, legs fully extended.

    I can do the same with my Specialized saddle in place, but it WILL set back far enough for the plumb line to fall in alignment with the ball of my foot & axis of pedal. In addition, with my hands on the hoods, the axle of my front wheel is blocked from my view by the handlebars & stem.

    Setback seatposts are available? I would guestimate that my current setback may be little more than an inch.....

  5. #5
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Setback Seatpost


    Basically, seatposts that have more of a rearward angle instead of going straight from the seat tube. It puts your saddle further back. Since one saddle goes back far enough, but your B17 doesn't, such a seatpost should work for you.
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  6. #6
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    I checked out the Setback seatposts, and it appears that mine may already be 'setback' no less than those that I have see pictured. I'll look further into this. Pictures below, would anybody like to venture from the images below if the bike is simply too small for me or as good a fit as a 5' 2" guy with a 24" inseam might expect?





  7. #7
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    Does your current riding position feel uncomfortable or something? Hard to tell from the pictures, but the position certainly doesn't look terrible...

  8. #8
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    sstorkel,
    I think I've dialed it in as best I can with my current big-bellied-old-man flexibility. If I were to put the Specialized saddle back in place, the comfort level of my riding position would be improved, but not that of butt comfort. I can't believe how much time and work I've put into getting it dialed in. When I slipped outa my denial mode yesterday and finally actually measured for confirmation of what I suspected..... imagine my frustration when I realized that my B17 wasn't set back far enough.

    My only complaint is handlebar pressure on the palms. I hafta change my grip often, shake out the numbness, and just deal with it. What amazes me is how the simple fore, aft', and height of the seat position can effect pressure on the palms. I recently changed the position of the handlebars such that the flat part of my touring bars are closer to parallel to the ground.... all in an attempt to train my body to get down in position and someday use the drop-downs. I'll be honest though, I'm VERY stubborn about insisting that my decision to get drop downs was a good one...... but if somebody put me on a Hybrid that fit me PERFECTLY,
    I'd happily justify/rationalize the - ametuer'ishness - of flat bars. I tell ya what, I have soooo learned to LOVE those shifters on the brake levers though (what do I call those, Shimano 105 shifters or what?).

    Someday when I get sense enough in my head to quit motorcycles (after 40 years of riding), I'm looking into semi-serious bicycle riding to take me into old age (and the health that goes with it). That's why I insist on making this work for me.... seems I simply GOTTA have two wheels beneath me.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    1. Try a setback seatpost.
    OR
    2. Go back to the Specialize and HTFU

  10. #10
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    As good as brooks saddles are, they have a few draw backs. The short rails make fore and aft adjustments few.

    Setback is one of them. I normally use a Thompson set back post with mine, and it gets me where I want to go.

    Velo-Orange sells a post called the Gran Cruze or something like that.

    Also, you might not want to FORCE the saddle back so far, the rails will become stressed and may break.

    Good luck
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  11. #11
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    I need INSTANT gratification......
    gonna go back to REI, and all the LBS' TODAY and see if they can set me up with a seatpost with more setback. What concerns me though, is the seatpost I have on the bike is already set back via the seat mount. I fear that any more 'setback' may put undue stress on the post... BUT I haven't looked into these things yet, maybe it'll be an ea$y fix.

    I actually like my choice of bike: Steel frame, 36 spoke double wall wheels w/touring tires, Shimano 105's..... a $1,200 bike I got new for $539. My only objection is discomfort at the handlebars, and that Godawful matt green paint job..... it has YET to grow on me, despite my having waxed it several times.

    Hey, a little off subject but.....
    With 700 miles on the bike, shifting into & up some short hills, grabbing a handfull of brakes a few times to prevent from rolling out in front of a car,
    * would it be a good idea to take it in for my free tune-up yet, or wait until the shifting gets a little (more) funky???

  12. #12
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Get it tuned up

    I had two free years of tune ups when I bought my Trek ... I think I've used it four times

  13. #13
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    To be honest, your position looks OK to me. You could probably get away with a slightly bigger frame, but I wouldn't say this bike looked too small.

    One thing puzzles me, though. You say with the pedal at three o'clock a plumb line from the tip of your kneecap falls an inch in front of your foot. But that isn't what is happening in the pictures. In the pictures your knee seems to be directly above the pedal, where it should be.

    The shifters are STI shifters, (Shimano Total Integration), sometimes colloquially referred to as "brifters".
    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.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandoneeRider View Post
    sstorkel,
    My only complaint is handlebar pressure on the palms. I hafta change my grip often, shake out the numbness, and just deal with it.
    I suggest you raise your handelbars. You don't have much bend in your arms, aside from the discomfort. Higher handlebars are a huge comfort factor. As you get thinner and more pliable you can use the drops. From what I can see, it looks like you'd need to swap stems to do so.

  15. #15
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I wonder if moving the saddle farther back is going to do anything for you. It's a little hard to tell from the pics, but it looks like a plumb line dropped from your knee (when the crank is horizontal, as it is in your second pic) is already pretty close to where it needs to be. Right through the axle is where the KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle)rule-of-thumb says it should be. And increasing the distance between your butt and the handlebars is only going to make you lean even farther forward to reach the bars, meaning you're likely going to put even more weight on your hands.

    Or so it seems to me.
    Craig in Indy

  16. #16
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.... as it turns out seat posts with more setback than mine are available, gonna hafta order one and pay up.
    About the images showing my knee where it should be in relationship to the pedal.... yeah, I noticed that too.
    - You're gonna hafta believe me with the plumb line though. -
    I had 10 seconds from the time I pushed the shutter button on my camera to run over to the bike, lean it so I could swing a leg over, climb onto the saddle, put my foot on the pedal, lean against the wall with my other elbox, position the pedal to 3:00 or 6:00, and finally put my foot where I ride. To get those two images took me over a dozen attempts; if the neighbors were watching, they likely figured all my antics were on par with my strange neighborly ways.....
    Trust me, if I can scoot that seat back a skosh further, my position will be MUCH improved. I think those pictures are misleading with regard to knee, foot, and mid-pedal positioning.

  17. #17
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    With your hand pain I would probably move the handlebars ups just a little bit as suggested before. All that would require is a different stem.

    Looking at the pics it also looks like slightly larger bike would work well for you however you would need to test ride it to be sure. Otherwise a setback seat post also wouldn't be that expensive either.
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  18. #18
    pbd
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    KOPS is "knee over pedal spindle", and it's just a rule-of-thumb, a starting place, nothing more.

    It'll get you close, and as you dial in your fit you may stay at KOPS or you may move slightly away from KOPS. Many "experts" and professionals don't use KOPS. it's a generalization, nothign more. So if you're comfortable with your knee in front of the pedal, leave it there.

    So ride more. If you keep having problems and want more setback, get more setback. But if you're not having any comfort problems, there's no need to change anything just so you can achieve KOPS. You're looking for comfort, whatever that means, even if it means moving away from KOPS.

    And I try take my time in making fit-type purchases, like a seatpost. As you ride more, your flexibility WILL increase, and you may very well end up wanting to go in the exact opposite direction in just a month or 2. I went through it with stems. Yeah, the reach was a tad too much and the saddle-to-bar drop was a bit too much for a while. As my flexibility improves, I've gone from sadlle even with bars to now saddle several cm above bars, all in the span of 6 months.

    So no snap decisions. Keep riding, and tinker one thing at a time. You can't chase multiple problems at once, fix one problem at a time and then move onto the next thing. And how your bike fits now may not be how you want it to fit in several months if you find yourself twice as flexible and several pounds lighter like I did.

    Since some have mentioned handlebar height, I'll throw this in here too: counter-intuitively, dropping your handlebars more can actually make you MORE comfortable in many cases, here's a thread about it: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...tion-Discovery Inspired by this thread, I lowered my handlebars, and ended up with my hands feeling better, my butt feeling better, and my back/neck feeling better after some more tinkering.

  19. #19
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zowie View Post
    I suggest you raise your handelbars. You don't have much bend in your arms, aside from the discomfort. Higher handlebars are a huge comfort factor. As you get thinner and more pliable you can use the drops. From what I can see, it looks like you'd need to swap stems to do so.
    I believe that is the easy answer - get a new, longer stem with a slight or aggressive rise. That will give you more reach and take the pressure off your arms.

    But that doesn't seem to be the answer you want... eyeing new bikes already are we?
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    I agree about the hand pain. I like my handlebars slightly taller and farther out than many, for that reason.

    Since your arms are less up-and-down, it forces you to put more pressure on your back and into the pedals, than on your hands.
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  21. #21
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    +1 to PBD, take it slow. Change one thing at a time.

    It looks like you're having a pretty normal time setting up the bike. Every brooks saddle that I've ridden needs a long setback seatpost for me to be in the right position to pedal but my knees hurt if I'm not pretty far back. This may not be the case for you, I notice it the most on hills. I like the V/O Grand Cru setback post, but I'm a bit of a retrogrouch, there's a few others with some decent setback. The position of the saddle is likely to stay more stable regardless of your fitness, so that might be the place to start.

    It also sounds like you may need a new stem eventually. Having your handlebars about an inch to two above your seat level is a good place to start for comfort, you'll probably want to lower it after you ride more. I started about 2 inches above my seat and now slightly below is what works for me. It took me a while to realize that I like feeling stretched out on the bike. Flipping your stem or moving some spacers either below or above your bars can give you an idea of what direction feels better. I find that it works for me to find the reach that I want for a given bike then figure out the angle. http://www.habcycles.com/fitting.html has a good chart for getting the right length stem for the angle and reach you want.

    Another thing to look at is changing the position of your brakes (in both along the curve of the bar and the angle that they're positioned at and the angle of your bar), both can make a big difference for hand comfort as can a handlebar change. What position are your hands in when you ride mostly? On the flats? On the hoods? If on the hoods, try rotating the bar by small amounts or moving the levers up or down a little bit (small changes can make a big difference and often can be done with some allen keys and without messing up the tape.)

    There's quite a wide variety in road bars, I personally prefer bars with a bit of flare like randonneur bars or dirt drops depending on the bike, but that's due to an old wrist injury. Others prefer no flare but shallow reach to the drops. It just takes experimenting and there are a lot of variables that can affect hand comfort. A LBS might be willing to let you try a few different stems or bars to find something that works.

    But deal with one thing at a time and take it slowly.

    And yes, after 700 miles you should have a tuneup to deal with cable stretch.

  22. #22
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    GREAT ADVISE, THANKS ALL!

    I've recently changed the angle of my bars, lowering the hoods. Then I was gonna try raising and lowering them to see what happens. And I understand the notion that things will change over time..... patience with improved flexibility, and alterations to be made accordingly, CHECK!

    =- UPDATE -=

    Drove 35 minutes to a distant REI where they had a selection of road bikes to look at. Driving again 35 minutes to yet another REI..... only to buy a bike exactly like the one I've got. They had another 2009 model on clearance with all the Shimano 105's, but in a size larger than my XS. It's not a 'pretty' bike, but it's a good bike and I like it.

    Having taken it home and preparing to return my original REI purchase, I swapped the wheels between the bikes tonight (my older tires have $70 worth of puncture resistant tubes & liners). The computer hadda be swapped over, my after-market cages removed, make sure the returned bike has all the safety reflectors, etc. When it was time to mount the B17 and dial everything in, I set the seat post up a half inch from bottomed out, slid the saddle all the way back, then climbed onto a stool to ease myself onto the new bike.

    *BAM*

    - With heels (no shoes) on the pedals, legs short of hyper-extended, I could pedal backwards without my heels lifting.
    - Crank in the 3:00 position, foot appropriately placed, line of sight, knee/ball-of-foot/middle of pedal......all perfectly aligned!

    Stem on the new bike is waaaaay too long though, so I went to switch over my shorter stem from the old bike but.... ran into an impasse. I don't know what you call it, nor do I know how to do it, and I think I've read that ya kinda gotta know what you're doing.... But those steering head tubes need to be swapped between the two bikse if I wanna use my shorter stem (Novara stuff works only with Novara stuff, my shorter stem & steering head tube is 'other' stuff). If somebody wants to advise me to how I can do it myself, I'll give it a go.......

    I'm gonna hafta pay a THIRD time to have my handlebars wrapped. I had wider bars put on the other bike, so they're gonna hafta come off and go on the new bike. I'm pleased, and I think this is gonna work out for me.
    Last edited by RandoneeRider; 07-27-11 at 12:17 AM.

  23. #23
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Whoa. This is the same make of bike, just a different size, right? So if your stem fits one it must fit the other. In any event, steerers are pretty standard so I'd be very surprised if the stem you are using doesn't fit. Are you sure you're using the right vocabulary?

    The head tube is part of the frame, joining the top tube to the down tube. Through the head tube goes the steerer, which is the top part of the forks. The stem attaches to the steerer at one end, and the handlebars at the other. So all that has to be done to swap stems is unscrew the stem from one bike and attach it to the other.
    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.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Learn to wrap the bars!

    easy maintenance to do

  25. #25
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    chasm54,

    Base on what you're telling me, it's the "steerer" that needs to be swapped between the two bikes. Apparently REI had an after-market stem in the shop when I asked for something shorter, but Novra's steerer has a convex groove over which Novara's stem slide & fit. I remember reading about this when I was searching on the Internet to learn about how to determine correct stem size. REI simply swapped out the steerer so they could use the short stem they had in stock.

    If it's called a "steerer", I plug that into a search engine and see what I come up with then swap 'em out.

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