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Old 07-04-05, 08:38 AM   #1
doghouse
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New guy needs some help.

Hi.

I am 51 and a half, stand 6'1' and weigh 205.

I have been riding a Trek 7500FX (22.5") off and on for three years. Mostly off, as I travel 3 to 4 days per week in my work, and my office was located 60 miles from my home. Recently I was allowed to move my office into my home so now I get to ride 10 to 20 miles, 2 or 3 days per week.

Resting on the bar, the FX is killing my hands at the fleshy part of the palms! (Even though its top tube is too long for me, my old '74 (XL) Schwinn road bike does not.) I feel like my entire weight is on my wrists.

Could the difference in the geometries be causing this? Could a "real" fitting correct it?

Also, I am an insulin dependent diabetic and would like to ride a "Tour de Cure" event next spring. I am not sure the FX, with its MTB gearing, is the right bike for a ride of this nature since I often out run the 48 tooth top ring on a moderate downhill grade.

Should I just get rid of the FX and buy a new triple road bike?

With 3 boys in school, I do not have unlimited funds.

Your thoughts would be most appreciated.
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Old 07-04-05, 10:09 AM   #2
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Your fit can be worked out by yourself. To get the weight off your hands, raise the bars to at or above the height of your seat. You may need a new stem to make this happen. As for bar distance, your bars should be no farther away from the seat than the distance between your elbow & fingers. In other words, with your elbow against the front of the seat, your fingers should touch the bar. Want a more upright position? Bring the bars further back toward the seat (again, you may need a new stem to make this happen).

If your old Schwinn road bike fits you, measure the distances and heights on it, and make your Trek match. As another tip, you might consider putting some foam rubber around the handlebars and then re-wrapping them with bar tape. Another trick is to use padded cycling gloves to provide an additional cushion. I like the "Spenco Ironman" gel gloves.

Gearing is a personal preference. If you have uphill and downhill, you need more flexibility than a geezer like me, who rides only on the flat terrain around my home.

Save your money - make the changes yourself - you'll enjoy it and have a more comfortable ride. Ask for any help you like here - there are a plethora of very knowledgable folks willing to help (I'm willing, but not knowledgable ). Good luck!
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Old 07-04-05, 10:28 AM   #3
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Good advice from FarHorizon.

Check to make sure your saddle is level, a nose down saddle will thrust you forward putting pressure on your hands and wrists.

Welcome to Bike Forums.
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Old 07-04-05, 11:10 AM   #4
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Running out of gears downhill is a common occurence, even on road bikes. Take it you have an 11t on the rear, and to be fair, how many downhills do you run out of legs on? Then again, with mountain bike gearing, how many times do you use the small ring on the front?

I ride mountain bikes offroad, and for road rides, the only change I make is to change to slicks. This gives me even lower gearing, but it is seldom that I run 44/11t gearing. It may be the type of event that I do, but I never walk up any hill and it is surprising how many times I resort to the lowest gear on the bike to get up that final bit.

If you can get comfortable on the bike, then perhaps a change of front sprockets is all you need. I have a friend that runs 50/38/26 on his mountain bike, with 11/28 rear 8 speed. He is the fastest up the hills in our group, even offroad up the steepest hills, but then his cadence is a lot slower than the rest of us. Mind you, his legs give out after about 40 miles, but we cannot advise him on what he should be doing.

If speed on the road is your main priority, then look at road bikes, but there is no way that I would change my bikes for anyone. If you want real speed, then join me and my co-rider on the Tandem. Once again an offroad machine, with off road gearing of 48/36/24 front sprockets, but top speed on this on the flat on the road, leaves club racers struggling after 10 miles. Mind you- one hill and they gain it all back.

Just thought of my cure for the hands. A change of bars to the riser bars. These will raise the bars and bring your hands back by up to 2" in both directions.
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Old 07-04-05, 03:08 PM   #5
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Farhorizon's advice to measure elbow on seat to fingertips on bars is traditional and useful. You might also consider your back's position. With your hands in your most often used position on the bars, many people (our age and otherwise) find a 45 degree angle in your back measured from the horizontal is a good and comfortable position. If your back goes flatter, you look like a racer boy and put lots of weight forward on your hands and also extend that lower back (but also get your butt muscles helping). Riding for extended time with a back more vertical than 45 puts a lot of weight on your butt and may not feel "right" for longer road rides.

Still, its all so dependent on body structure, torso length, arm length, etc. that its best to take an "experimental attitude" towards most bike position generalizations...but they're a good place to start.

P.S. Back angle when riding may also make narrower or wider saddles more appropriate.

**Personally, I use an aero bar (not for speed) but for the comfort of having one more position....one that totally unweights your hands. Stick with it, generally there's a solution to most cycling problems.
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Old 07-04-05, 06:57 PM   #6
doghouse
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Thank you all very much! I was hoping I could just make some adjustments to my FX without spending too much.

On the elbow thing I was really short of the bar so I moved the seat forward, but had to go higher to keep the stroke length. I am still a little short, but if I move the bars about 2 inches higher I think that will cover it. Looks like I will be adding an adjustable stem when I get back in town.

I thank you all again.
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Old 07-17-05, 12:03 AM   #7
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I recommend you take it in to a good well respected fitter. It's more complicated than just raising this or lowering that. It makes ALL the difference is how it fits and feels. It might not be the bike for your geometry but they will be able to tell you and make it all that it can be. I just bought a specialized Roubaix Elite Triple because I have problems with road vibration. It's got wonderful vibration dampening elements and is fast, sleek and oh so comfortable even over bumps and unseen holes which get everyone I ride with youling. There are new gloves out too, the Ironman gloves by Spenco which are expensive but so worth the price. Look on Google at the reviews. They fit all but smaller women's hands (mine) but I am told they are soon to come out with an XS for women's hands.
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Old 07-17-05, 10:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaquelinp
I recommend you take it in to a good well respected fitter.
I respectfully disagree. The "well respected fitter" at the local bike shop (LBS) is adept at fitting bikes to people who want to RACE bicycles - not just ride them. The racing fit that such a fitter will provide will not be appropriate to the majority of riders who need a more upright, more relaxed fit.

Before the majority of forum users jump on me, let me say that if you LIKE the racing rider fit, then power to you. I do contend that such a fit is NOT appropriate for the MAJORITY of riders on the road. Why pay money for a "fit" session that doesn't meet your own needs? Fitting a rider to a bike is not rocket science.

There are a variety of books and online calculators that provide fit advice. The majority of them will get you in the ballpark if the racing fit is what you want. Also note that the books and online calculators rarely agree with each other. Which of these "professional fits" is right? In fact - none of them. The ONLY fit that is right is the fit that fits YOU and the type of riding you do.

Since you are the final authority anyway, educate yourself and fit yourself. The mystique of the "professional fit" is expensive, rarely accurate, and always overrated.
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Old 07-17-05, 11:12 AM   #9
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Thanks to all.

Here is what we did at the LBS:
I took both the 7500FX and the Schwinn and he measured everything. He changed the bars to Bontrager flat drop bars and added Shimano Sora shifters for the 8 speed rear. Since the front deraileur on the FX is a top pull, and the Sora is a bottom pull, he kept the original shifter and deraileur to make use of all three rings and did not have to weld or drill new paths.

I got it back Friday and cruised the neighborhood. Combining a front ring mountain shifter with the road rear, was a little awkward at first. But really no worse than getting used to the new braking system.

Yesterday I rode my first 20 miler in years. Everything worked like clock work and with the new hand positions, I had no numbness or cramps in my hands at all!

Thanks again to everyone! bink
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Old 07-17-05, 06:58 PM   #10
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I don't think it's a good idea to move the seat forward to be closer to the bars. Research online and read as much as you can about seat position in relation to the pedals. Look for recommendations that a lot of touring cyclists use. Then adjust the bar stem to bring it higher and closer, to whatever feels good for you. You might look at getting an adjustable stem.

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?sku=20044
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