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Old 02-26-09, 05:17 PM   #1
Antiacus
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Hi there, couple questions...

Heya folks.

So i commuted all last year on my old 1987 Trek Antelope 830. She's a dandy ride and i'm keeping her in the stable but i told myself at the start of it all that if i managed to put 1,000 miles on the odometer i'd get myself something a little faster and easier on those hills.

So i made 1050. Not bad for Oregon. So i went down to the lbs and got a nice discount on an 08 model surly cross check. Had them throw on some fenders and some schwalbe marathon plus (700 x 28) in lieu of the cyclocross tires it came with.

Got my racks, bags, lights etc transferred over to the cross check.

Haven't ridden it to work yet because i've had jury duty and now i'm on my weekend but on a couple short rides i've taken it hasn't been too comfortable. I'm 6'5 so i got the 62cm and the height seems perfect but the top tube seems really long and the neck pokes out quite a ways to boot. Plus going from the flat bars on the Antelope to drop bars with no mtb style brakes is pretty uncomfortable.

I'm really hoping a brooks b17 and some time for my body to adjust corrects things. The bike is smooth and relatively light (compared to the old trek) and i love the stock shifters so i'm really hoping it works out.

Anyone else experience this when switching styles?

Also, question about tire pressure. It says inflate to 60 - 100psi. Is there an optimum wrt avoiding flats? I had quite a few on the Trek with 34cm bontragers. Added a liner and it helped a little but not much.

Thanks
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Old 02-26-09, 05:28 PM   #2
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The different geometry and style of bike is going to make a huge difference in comfort for you for awhile. Being bent over is going to take some work to strengthen up those muscles you aren't use to using. It'll come with time. You might want to look at doing some core strengthening exercises to help. Also, it will be worth it to have the LBS do a fitting to get the bike situated better for you. Any good LBS should do this free of charge.

As far as flats and pressure, I've had the best luck going with the maximum pressure. Prevents pinch flats, but does nothing for debris. For this, I recommend a tire like the Specialized Armadillo or my favorite the Continental Ultra Gatorskin. Should be able to get the Conti just at just about any LBS.
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Old 02-26-09, 05:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply knobster.

Another question i forgot to ask: Is it possible to add the levers up top without changing out the ones on the drops or do they come in a kit with all 4 levers?
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Old 02-26-09, 05:36 PM   #4
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You mean the cross brake levers? If so, yes you can add them pretty easily without changing anything. You have to take off the bar tape to put them on though.



Proper way of mounting them is more vertically though.
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Old 02-26-09, 05:41 PM   #5
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Exactly what i'm thinking of. Thanks
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Old 02-26-09, 05:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by knobster View Post
The different geometry and style of bike is going to make a huge difference in comfort for you for awhile. Being bent over is going to take some work to strengthen up those muscles you aren't use to using. It'll come with time. You might want to look at doing some core strengthening exercises to help. Also, it will be worth it to have the LBS do a fitting to get the bike situated better for you. Any good LBS should do this free of charge.

As far as flats and pressure, I've had the best luck going with the maximum pressure. Prevents pinch flats, but does nothing for debris. For this, I recommend a tire like the Specialized Armadillo or my favorite the Continental Ultra Gatorskin. Should be able to get the Conti just at just about any LBS.
+1 on what knobster said, except I have fewer flats from glass punctures with my tires at 100 psi than at 60 psi.

I recommend using 100 psi, but understand you will feel the road bumps more.

Consider using your old 830 saddle for a little while on the new bike. Then when everything else is dialed in and corfortable on the new bike, put the Brooks on.
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Old 02-26-09, 05:51 PM   #7
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Good suggestion. That Brooks could make you hate life until it's broken in. I have nothing but Brooks on all my bikes and I didn't have any issues with the new saddles, but no since in adding to your discomfort all at once.
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Old 02-26-09, 07:27 PM   #8
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I had to get a stubby stem to make my Cross Check more comfortable. I also put some wide drops on it and scooted the seat further on the rails to minimize the distance. It does a little time to get used to bending if you have been riding a mtb or hybrid.
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Old 02-26-09, 07:52 PM   #9
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Welcome Antiacus

Welcome Antiacus

I had a similar problem getting comfortable changing over from a Jamis Exile to a Surly LHT. It definetly takes some time to get used to the position. My suggestion would be not to change everything all at once though. You might not be comfortable with the Brakes just yet because of their placement. Riding on the tops is similar to a riding position on your old bike I assume, thus the convenience of placing the brakes their. I thought about that too but it didnt take to long to adjust to riding on the hoods. However, you know your riding position better than me so if you think it would help placing your brakes thier than go for it.

Be careful how much you change things though. You're going from one bike to another, and it will take time to get used to all that the new bike is capable of. You are talking about a change in riding position. A change in hand placement. Changing saddles and tires and other things. If you change to much all at once you risk not knowing what changes affect your overall comfort on a bike.

Hope you find what works for you. And the information you find on this forum can be invaluable in real life situations. It helped me a lot understand more about me and my riding, and I am still learning.
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Old 02-26-09, 08:47 PM   #10
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Thanks for your comments all, it's reassuring to hear. I went for a couple mile spin this afternoon (chest cold be damned) and did a little better. I found i could operate the brakes at at least 60% from over the hoods (feeling like i may be slow on the uptake there ). I'll give things a try as it sits. The owner of my lbs did put the seat forward an inch or two after my initial test ride.

The only thing is that stock seat. Not only is it a brick but it's a little too narrow for my sit-bones. I'm going to find a Brooks and slap it on there then i will leave things be and commute for a few days before making any further changes.

I'll do some stretching over the next couple days before my commute on Sunday as well.

Peace,
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Old 02-26-09, 08:59 PM   #11
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A shorter stem might be called for, but get an experienced bike fitter to get a look at you on the bike before you go that route. Also, you're probably going to spend a lot more time on the hoods than on the drops, so don't sweat that. It'll come.

But, y'know, next time you plunk down a grand for a bike, make sure the basic geometry works first...don't buy it and then try to make it work.
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Old 02-26-09, 09:36 PM   #12
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But, y'know, next time you plunk down a grand for a bike, make sure the basic geometry works first...don't buy it and then try to make it work.
I here you. He did say he would take it back if i couldn't make it work. I got over $100 bucks off this way.

Lousy lighting but there she is...
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Old 02-26-09, 11:55 PM   #13
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Measure the saddle-to-bar distance on the ol' Antelope, and then do the same on the Surly, making sure to measure to a line even with the base of the brake hoods. All of my bikes, as it turns out, measure within an inch or so of each other. If yours are radically different, you may need some help to figure out what to do, even if it's just swapping to a shorter stem (some shops will simply give you a stem, so yours might be similarly helpful).

Still, you've put a year's riding on one bike. Changing to another one with a different riding position will take some adjustment. Your shop will likely help more with adjustment, including maybe changing the saddle position again or whatever else you need. I'd think that a 62 cm is a good size for you at your height (maybe a 60, or a 61), but, as always, we're all proportioned a little differently and what works for one 6'5"-er might not work for another.
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Old 02-27-09, 05:13 AM   #14
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I'm thinking you need to get the bars up. Your Cross-Check is set up pretty aggressively----you have a substantial drop from saddle to bar. That will make you feel hunched over and put more weight on your hands than you're used to. Did your LBS fit you? Of course, since your steer tube is cut so short you'll end up with a riser stem. I usually suggest a wider bar than usually specced, but the Bell Lap is a pretty good bar. Do you feel like you're hunching your shoulders when you ride? If so, a swap to a wide Nitto Noodle might be in order.
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Old 02-27-09, 10:42 AM   #15
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I here you. He did say he would take it back if i couldn't make it work. I got over $100 bucks off this way.

Lousy lighting but there she is...
Beautiful ride. Good choice on the SMPs over the stock tires. I did the same thing w/my commuter. It's a Motobecane Fantom CX. It DID require a little 'getting used to' as the geometry was different from my other bikes, but once my dimentions were dialed in it's been a joy to ride. AFA as your psi on the SMPs I run mine @ 120 rr and 110 frt w/no ill effects. Those tires will take the extra pressure easily. And I'd recommend getting the Kool Stop tire lever(11.00US from several online sources) as it makes remounting(if you EVER have a flat...) the tires a breeze and helps a great deal in avoiding pinch flats.

BTW, I'll recommend Spenco Ironman gloves to combat 'hand numbness' as Schwinnrider is right in his statement of 'more weight on your hands than you're used to'. They're available @ www.bikeisland.com w/no shipping. There's a pair for 20.00 and 30.00US. I purchased the cheaper one's and they're fine. AFA your saddle issue would suggest investigating a Brooks B72 as well as the B17. It's wider and designed for touring.

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Old 02-27-09, 11:01 AM   #16
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Also, Surly's are known for longish top tubes, it's their advice to go a size smaller than your normal road bike size to compensate.
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Old 02-27-09, 06:56 PM   #17
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Yep, even though your bars are fairly upright, you have a pretty good drop from the saddle to the bars. You could try using an adjustable stem for a while. Start with the stem more upright and move it down a notch or two every week or so as your flexibility increases. A 62cm frame does sound a bit small for a guy that is 6'5". At 5'10" 56cm and 58cm frames seem to fit me the best. A bike fitting is always a good investment - a better one before you buy a bicycle - but still a good one anytime if you have never had one. A good bike fitter can do alot with what you have to help you feel more comfortable.
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Old 02-27-09, 08:22 PM   #18
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Heya folks.

...Got my racks, bags, lights etc transferred over to the cross check.

Haven't ridden it to work yet because i've had jury duty and now i'm on my weekend but on a couple short rides i've taken it hasn't been too comfortable. I'm 6'5 so i got the 62cm and the height seems perfect but the top tube seems really long and the neck pokes out quite a ways to boot. Plus going from the flat bars on the Antelope to drop bars with no mtb style brakes is pretty uncomfortable.

I'm really hoping a brooks b17 and some time for my body to adjust corrects things. The bike is smooth and relatively light (compared to the old trek) and i love the stock shifters so i'm really hoping it works out.

Anyone else experience this when switching styles?

Thanks
Consider both a zero-offset seat post and a shorter stem to reduce your reach.

At 6' even, I use a size 60 Soma DoubleCross. The seatpost improved my comfort and power by providing the best location over the crank. It also shortened the reach to the bars.

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Old 02-28-09, 12:00 AM   #19
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Thanks for the suggestions folks. I did measure and the reach on the antelope is 28 inches vs 34 for the cross check.

One thing... This is my first experience with what i have found out is a "presta valve". My floor pump i used on teh trek had a big opening and a little one. I took a look at the valve and at the pump & figured "it goes in the little hole". So i try it out. Nothing. I take a look at things and assume i'm supposed to unscrew the little cap thing. It goes on and takes air but it didn't seem to be a great fit and i ended up bending the valve just a little on the rear tire. Am i doing this wrong or does my pump need an adapter? Pics below.

And no (in case you're too shy to ask) i'm not quite feeling like a rhodes scholar.
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