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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 08-17-12, 11:11 AM   #1
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Uncomfortable on a bike that fits

I'm just getting back into riding after a 18 year break that coincided with a compound fractured wrist on my last ride. Needless to say, I'm still a little uncomfortable in the saddle, but really miss riding. My wife and daughter have started riding and I want to ride with them. I have decided on a hybrid because I more comfortable with the wider tire and we'll ride for fun and stay together, if I really get back to riding long distances, I'll get a road bike later.
My problem is how big of a bike I need. I have never had a bike that fits me, and just rode a 25" Trek FX 7.3 from the LBS. This is the size I need, but I was very uncomfortable with that big of a bike. Is this something that takes getting used to, or is it just my problem in my head because of my accident?
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Old 08-17-12, 11:23 AM   #2
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Takes tim e to get fomfy. Heck, I put 30,000 miles on my Lemond roadies with no problem then switched over to a Madone and the thing was twitchy and made me uncomfy with the handling. Month later and 300 miles it's very natural once again.

Expect your butt to be uncomfy after a couple of miles as well. It takes saddle time to break in your butt. An upgraded saddle vs stock saddle and good shorts help though.
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Old 08-17-12, 11:28 AM   #3
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I think that is the most confusing question that I have ever read, if there's a question in there.

Look, the only bike that fits you is the one you can ride for hours and it feels great to you. Everything else is simply someone's opinion. Demand that your bike is comfortable, for you, and be a pain in the a$$ if they try to put on you something that isn't [pun intended].
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Old 08-17-12, 11:33 AM   #4
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How do you know that is the size of bike you need? Just because the frame is the right size, doesn't mean that the seat, handlebars etc. are positioned correctly. How much time did the LBS spend adjusting things on the bike for you before you rode it?
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Old 08-17-12, 01:24 PM   #5
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I ride a bike that is comically small for me. You know what though, I am comfy.
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Old 08-17-12, 03:23 PM   #6
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Sadly, many bike salespeople have you straddle the top tube, see that you have an inch or so of clearance, and call it a good fit.

You need a professional bike fitting. Be prepared to pay a hundred bucks or so.

To get a good fit, you need to properly position your saddle with respect to your pedals - that's where EVERYTHING starts, because pedal position is the one thing on the bike that can't (easily) be changed. Is you saddle high/low enough? Is it too far forward/backwards - not with relation to the handlebars, but to your feet. Saddle nose too far up/down? Sliding off or gripping on for dear life?

That step done... you start looking at your position with regards to the handlebars. Too far forward/back, too narrow/wide bars, etc...

As you go on, you may need special things to handle little irregularities of your particular body.... short leg? Maybe you need a shim under that shoe. Shorter arm? maybe you need to slightly twist your saddle from true center to subtly shorten the reach of one arm while extending the other. Maybe your legs bend oddly... and one or both pedals may need to be shimmed further out away from the center of the bike.

Once you've been riding regularly for a few years, you can probably dial in your own bike fit pretty well. But for a new rider, there's so much involved that it's just difficult to even understand what may be causing you discomfort.
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Old 08-17-12, 05:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
I think that is the most confusing question that I have ever read. . .
Of your entire life?

Bike fit is something that just needs time and experience. Heftydad, since you're looking at a 25 incher, that makes you about 6'3 or 6'4? It's not uncommon to be a little uncomfortable at the size of a larger bike at first. With experience and time, you should be able to micro-adjust and we're happy to help. For example, knees hurt? Seat higher (or spin faster). Back hurt? Seat lower. Your fx has flat bars, so if your wrists hurt or too much pressure on your hands? Move the seat back a little and/or point it up a bit. You see, microadjust and in a relatively short period of time you'll have it dialed. Keep us updated! Keep asking questions!
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Old 08-18-12, 01:57 AM   #8
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Allow yourself time to adjust to riding again, and try many different bikes (types and models) before rushing into a decision. Do you have any residual discomfort in that previously-fractured wrist? Drop handlebars would allow you more hand positions throughout the ride. And you don't have to go to a full-fledged racing bike with skinny tires to enjoy a road bike. Perhaps try out a cyclocross bike like the Surly Cross-Check or a touring bike like the Jamis Aurora. (Both models happen to be steel, but there are others.)
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Old 08-19-12, 01:24 PM   #9
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Thanks to all of you with helpful responses. I guess it will take time to get used to it since this is my first bike that fits, but I felt like I was on a horse instead of a bike.
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