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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 04-23-13, 07:51 PM   #1
Graupel731
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Clyde Bike Fit

Hello. I have been cycling more lately and trying to hone my cycling position and bike itself -- anyone care to help out?

Few notes: Lately, my big focus has been on bending my hips forward (giving myself a slight anterior tilt/roll my hips). I noticed this has alleviated a lot of saddle pain. However, lately, I feel that I am putting to much pressure on my shoulders/arms during my rides.

Anyway, thoughts or advice regarding bike position/fit or on the bike itself (e.g., seat too low)?



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Old 04-23-13, 10:07 PM   #2
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Frame looks too small for you. Flip the stem so it stretches out your arm some more.
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Old 04-23-13, 10:11 PM   #3
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Agreed about the frame being too small. How can you ride without bumping your knees into your elbows?

Also, invest in some proper pedals and shoes. You can't spin the crank otherwise, and you have to spin the crank in order to be able to do any kind of long ride.
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Old 04-23-13, 10:55 PM   #4
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I'm not a pro... but that looks painful.


I'll admit, I never think about hip position.

You can get pedals (like crank bros) for ~$30 and mtb shoes for ~$40-$80. Which would help you a ton. If being able to walk is not important, get spd-sl type shoes/pedals, they are far more comfortable to pedal.

Adjust seat height "low enough" so your hips don't bounce while pedeling... adjust upwards if lower than that.

Get a level, make your seat level front/back... anything else will(*may*) eventually hurt.

plumb bob from front pedal 9/3 o'clock knee to ball if foot/pedal peg... adjust seat front/rear and cleat on shoe until proper.

Oh.... your top tube is too short.... or you need a longer stem and "drop" bars so your arms can reach forward more.... or a larger frame bike.
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Old 04-23-13, 11:07 PM   #5
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Wow... I thought I wasn't in that bad of shape. Kinda feel my nearest lbs pulled one on me to just get a sale after their positive comments when I got it (~1 yr ago).

Anyway to salvage the situation? Honestly didn't feel that uncomfortable just a bit compact but no elbows hitting the legs or anything.

Thanks for the comments so far!
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Old 04-23-13, 11:46 PM   #6
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you probably got used to the fit because it's all you rode for a yr. But being compact like a ball w/ flat bars leaves you no where to lean forward and sitting up when on longer rides where your back hurts or shoulder hurts because they can't change position. Saddle might be a touch high, hard to tell in the pics and w/ your shoes.

I'd go flipped stem, wider bars so your elbows aren't near your knees and bar ends to change hands and up body position over the ride. The wider bars will slow the steering down a bit but give you more control and also open your lungs for better breathing. Space the controls 1inch or so from the inside of the grips now you have multiple widths of the grips for more hand position which will relax your shoulders. You'll still be able to cover the brakes quickly if neede. Start WIDE then cut later after a number of rides. My two MTBs have 750mm wide and 710mm wide bars.

Saddle sores comes from two things, cheap bibs w/o lube and most important the saddle doesn't match your sit bones. Really bad saddles will tell you in 15 mins, other will be an hour. If it hurts beyond 2hrs that the saddle is fine and just need to tune the angle of it to mach ur sit bones better. Use a leveling app on your phone to make 1/2* adjustments
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Old 04-24-13, 10:12 AM   #7
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Your body positioning is the same problem I had before going to a bike fitter... the LBS sold me a bike using the standover method to which I was not aware does not give you the correct size with current bike design. I had complained a few times at the store to which they put on a height extender for my stem to give me more room for my arms and I rode that way for a few months. I was always slightly out of breath, shoulders/neck hurt and never like I was getting full extension for power to keep up with friends.

Bike fitter... (specialized version) started a process by measuring angles in similar pics that you show and helping to correct my positioning. I ended up with a longer stem to stretch myself out, made sure my saddle height/forward to back position maximized my pedaling, along with cleat adjustment in my mtb shoes. But he did confirm that these were improvements to a bike that was one size too small for my body and I'd eventually be more comfortable with the next size frame.

I hope you can improve your fit so you can enjoy riding without possibly injuring yourself.
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Old 04-24-13, 10:34 AM   #8
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I don't have much to add but I have to say that I can't believe you were sold that bike. It generally isn't economical to convert to drop bars, too many other things need changing, so I would either sell the bike and get something else or do as jsigone suggests. You might consider working with a fitter to see if you can get this bike to work for you. A bike fit was one of the best purchases I ever made when I was getting into biking.

Nothwithstanding what others might say, you don't have to have special pedals. More than half the riding I do is on bikes with platform pedals.
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Old 04-24-13, 11:13 AM   #9
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Sell it and start over.
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Old 04-24-13, 11:19 AM   #10
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Sell it and start over.
I think this may be the best advice.
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Old 04-24-13, 11:56 AM   #11
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I think this may be the best advice.
+1. It looks way too small, and even a 140mm stem and a set back post wouldn't put you out far enough. The one positive thing is taht its a Trek and you should have no issues selling it for pretty much the same money you will replace it with (going used...). My .02
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Old 04-24-13, 12:04 PM   #12
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Your body positioning is the same problem I had before going to a bike fitter... the LBS sold me a bike using the standover method to which I was not aware does not give you the correct size with current bike design. I had complained a few times at the store to which they put on a height extender for my stem to give me more room for my arms and I rode that way for a few months. I was always slightly out of breath, shoulders/neck hurt and never like I was getting full extension for power to keep up with friends.

Bike fitter... (specialized version) started a process by measuring angles in similar pics that you show and helping to correct my positioning. I ended up with a longer stem to stretch myself out, made sure my saddle height/forward to back position maximized my pedaling, along with cleat adjustment in my mtb shoes. But he did confirm that these were improvements to a bike that was one size too small for my body and I'd eventually be more comfortable with the next size frame.

I hope you can improve your fit so you can enjoy riding without possibly injuring yourself.
Thanks justinw. The LBS pretty much did that. I inquired about a few other things (saddle height and clearance) but he listlessly said it was fine. Your 1st paragraph sounds very familiar to my own experience.

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I don't have much to add but I have to say that I can't believe you were sold that bike. It generally isn't economical to convert to drop bars, too many other things need changing, so I would either sell the bike and get something else or do as jsigone suggests. You might consider working with a fitter to see if you can get this bike to work for you. A bike fit was one of the best purchases I ever made when I was getting into biking.
I was. I specifically sought out a local LBS to get help in getting a bike and to support one locally with my patronage. Nothing more to be said besides that they wanted a sale and not long-term business or to build a customer relationship.

Again, thanks for your comments!

Last edited by Graupel731; 04-24-13 at 12:05 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-24-13, 12:21 PM   #13
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you probably got used to the fit because it's all you rode for a yr. But being compact like a ball w/ flat bars leaves you no where to lean forward and sitting up when on longer rides where your back hurts or shoulder hurts because they can't change position. Saddle might be a touch high, hard to tell in the pics and w/ your shoes.

I'd go flipped stem, wider bars so your elbows aren't near your knees and bar ends to change hands and up body position over the ride. The wider bars will slow the steering down a bit but give you more control and also open your lungs for better breathing. Space the controls 1inch or so from the inside of the grips now you have multiple widths of the grips for more hand position which will relax your shoulders. You'll still be able to cover the brakes quickly if neede. Start WIDE then cut later after a number of rides. My two MTBs have 750mm wide and 710mm wide bars.

Saddle sores comes from two things, cheap bibs w/o lube and most important the saddle doesn't match your sit bones. Really bad saddles will tell you in 15 mins, other will be an hour. If it hurts beyond 2hrs that the saddle is fine and just need to tune the angle of it to mach ur sit bones better. Use a leveling app on your phone to make 1/2* adjustments
Thanks for the reply jsigone! Much to consider - very helpful advice.
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Old 04-24-13, 04:13 PM   #14
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Another "old" rule of thumb, at least for a road bike, is when you are on the drops and look down at your handle bars. The straight part of the handle bar that goes through the stem should cover the front wheel axle. No way would that work that way for you on that bike.

Bill
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Old 04-24-13, 07:44 PM   #15
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Reading what the more experienced riders on this forum have written is very interesting for this newbie. When I looked at the pictures rider everything about it looked awkward. I learn a little bit more everyday.
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Old 04-24-13, 08:09 PM   #16
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here are some very general things to look for, and you will quickly see that you dont meet any of them.

when you have the pedal at 9 the front of your knee should be more or less over the pedal stem or the front of the pedal...somewhere in that range.

when you are on your bars, your elbows should at or in front of your knees.

Your seat height is the closest thing you have going, but it still looks a little low, but without seeing you riding its hard to say from a side shot. Easy thing to think about is learning to feel your hips rocking when you pedal, and raise your seat a 1/4" at a time till you feel that, then drop it 1/4"

Like I said, these are just very general guidelines, and not meant to be real fit advice, but its how you can get a good start point on your own.

But I am in the sell it and start over camp, that thing is way to small.
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Old 04-24-13, 08:49 PM   #17
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Very similar experience indeed... I think if you find a bike fitter with a good reputation and the bike store they work within... usually they can work out a good deal to include the proper fitting/advice as to what bike will best befit your needs rather then here's a cool bike and give me your money. Good luck and hope it all works out.
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Old 04-28-13, 11:38 AM   #18
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This is just wrong... I thought TREK dealers were pro's.

Sell the bike and get one at your size, mate (preferably from a Specialized Concept Store lol) :/
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Old 04-29-13, 11:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graupel731 View Post
Thanks justinw. The LBS pretty much did that. I inquired about a few other things (saddle height and clearance) but he listlessly said it was fine. Your 1st paragraph sounds very familiar to my own experience.



I was. I specifically sought out a local LBS to get help in getting a bike and to support one locally with my patronage. Nothing more to be said besides that they wanted a sale and not long-term business or to build a customer relationship.

Again, thanks for your comments!
What size and model is it?

The bike you have is set-up/sized for an upright riding position (that is, casual, short distance rides). For that, it (probably) isn't too small.

If you are interested in long distance riding, a less upright position will (typically) be preferrable. For that, the bike you have appears to be too short.

It can take some time to get used to a less upright position.

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Old 04-29-13, 12:54 PM   #20
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I'm going to have to disagree with the consensus so far. Of the three pictures the OP posted, the first two are just painful to look at. However, the third one doesn't look too far off for a flat-bar bike. He looks relaxed in that third photo. I don't know if he changed any positions of his seat/bar/stem/etc. between the pictures, but it doesn't look too far off. Certainly workable without having to purchase a new bike. Remember, this is a flat bar bike, and nkjayaker is right; for short trips to the store or weekend "strolls" in the park with the family, this bike is fine, as it is. Then again, I certainly wouldn't want to take this bike of a 30-40 mile or more afternoon workout/intense ride.
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