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  1. #1
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Aah, so this is what "dialed-in" feels like!

    I've been tinkering with my Trek 7600 hybrid that I picked up used last November. Initially it felt okay, but was somewhat uncomfortable.

    Since then I've done the following:

    Changed out the saddle, which was a rather generic hybrid saddle, to a Terry Cite Y Gel, which struck me as having some potential of being comfortable on an upright bike.

    Tightened the suspension seat post and suspension fork to their maximum positions.

    Adjusted the seat height a couple of times.

    Swapped out the 1" riser handlebar for a 3" riser, that also has a bit more sweep.

    First adjusted the adjustable stem to 60 degrees with the 1" riser bar, then down to 40 degrees with the 3" bar.

    Installed bar ends (picked up used with a few scrapes for $4).

    Made non-OCP move and put a yellow bottle cage on a red bike. The yellow cage had been on sale for $2.

    I took it out this morning for a spin around the neighborhood and it felt pretty darn good. But the "boys" were a bit cramped. Brought it back in and adjusted the saddle angle by one more notch forward and took it out again for a couple of mles.

    Wow!. It was wonderful. Less weight on my hands than last year. Comfortable shoulders. Saddle felt good (of course this could change dramatically at mile #10). It just fit. Riding was suddenly much more natural and comfortable. I have never felt so comfortable on a bike in my life.

    It was fascinating to me as to how much difference that last little click on the saddle position made.

    Now it will be back to the Sun recumbent and my old trusty Bridgestone CB-1 to continue tweaking them.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  2. #2
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Glad to hear it's working for you. I'm about to throw in the towel on The Diego, as much fun as the bike is, I can't get rid of hand pain despite numerous tweaks. I've learned I like road bikes, which comes as a surprise, so I think of my adventures with The Diego as a long test ride.

    So, glad yours is dialed in!
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  3. #3
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Hand pain is the reason why I will not ride a bike with drop bars. People talk about all of the different hand positions. True enough, but everyone of them is painful for me. With the 3" riser bar, my hand position is now well above my saddle position. That seems to be a key for me.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  4. #4
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Hand pain is the reason why I will not ride a bike with drop bars. People talk about all of the different hand positions. True enough, but everyone of them is painful for me. With the 3" riser bar, my hand position is now well above my saddle position. That seems to be a key for me.
    I don't think it's the drop bars per se, because I typically keep my hands on the tops which would be where they would be on a flat bar. I think this bike is just a wee bit too small for me. Damn!
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  5. #5
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I got the road bike last June and it was not until 8 months later that I got it sorted. The bars still gave me hand pain but I decided to leave the bike in standard form until I was convinced it was fit and not new type of bike that was the problem. When I got the bike- I changed the pedals and put a 20mm longer stem on. For the next 7 months I rode it basically as standard. Then I ordered the new wheels and got a higher stem but longer so that the reach would not alter. I also got a new saddle but that was supposed to be for the Tandem but it is a bit thin. Fitted it to the road bike instead. Standard saddle was allright but after 60 miles it was beginning to find a sore bit . Got the new wheels a couple of weeks later and went for my first real ride on a bike that fitted- was faster- and was comfortable.

    8 months after getting a road bike- I finally had a bike that worked. Up till then- I think I was beginning to wonder if this road biking was all it is cracked up to be.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I'm glad to hear you got it pretty close to the way you want it Tom, it's all down hill now.
    George

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    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    I'm glad to hear you got it pretty close to the way you want it Tom, it's all down hill now.
    With a tailwind!
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Hand pain is the reason why I will not ride a bike with drop bars. People talk about all of the different hand positions. True enough, but everyone of them is painful for me. With the 3" riser bar, my hand position is now well above my saddle position. That seems to be a key for me.
    Did you try a drop bar set up as high as your current riser bar?
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    No I haven't. It would take a serious stem extender to get the hand position of the drops up that high. And even if I did that, the position of the drops would still be in front of the stem, forcing me to lean much further forward.

    I have ridden a road bike that had an adjustable stem and had the shop put the bar at maximum height and angle, and it wasn't comfortable at all. It was still too low and forward for me.

    Which isn't surprising as even this upright sitting hybrid was too low at its maximum settings, until I replaced the handlebar with one that raised the hand position another 2". I went into my LBS to buy a 2" riser bar and switched to 3" right at the time of purchase. Glad I did now.

    Wouldn't it be pretty hard to get the hand positions on a drop bar as high as this bar, which is in turn mounted on a 40 degree angle stem?
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  10. #10
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    Hand Pain

    Ulnar Neuropathy- compression of the nerve in the hand when the hand is subjected to excessive pressure, generally over an extended period of time. Been there, done that. My latest and ultimately successful solution was the addition of a 2nd layer of cork bar wrap. Voila! No mas duelle in mi manos. That is "supposed" to mean "No more pain in my hands". I had also swapped out my stem and rotated my drop handlebars a bit as well. Try the double layer, you'll never go back to a single layer again.

  11. #11
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Was just looking at SaiKaiTai's new LeMond Reno. I rode one just like it at a Trek store, same color & everything. Loved it looks, but got off of it after about 3 minutes. Looking at his pics, I'd say my hands are about 2"-3" higher than his drop position, and at least 6" closer to me.

    If my 3" riser bar didn't do the trick, the next move was to switch to a North Road bar that I have in my parts box.

    It's nice when one has long cables and everything can be easily moved from one bar to another. Switching out my 1" riser for a 3" riser cost me a grand total of $12. The new saddle only cost me $15, as I picked it up from my LBS as a pull off of a new bike where the other buyer didn't want it.

  12. #12
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    One of the main benefits of having frames built for you is that the bike is usually "dialled in" from the word go.
    sitting on a jig in the shop is not, I know , the same as doing a century, but the builder should ask questions about your preferences about riding position, height of bars etc, and the build should provide for a comfortable ride.
    Plus its a real nice feeling having a small builders name on the frame, and knowing you're riding a unique bike always feels good.
    george
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  13. #13
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    Agree about the fit

    I just bought my first road bike, and because of disc problems decided to go for a custom build. The shop I went to uses the Serrotta Fit Cycle system. The process took about 3 hours, but it was amazing how I noticed the difference with every little change he made. For me I think it was well worth the money, just with what I learned about bikes through that fitting process. And the end result was much better than dealing with pain and many trips back to the LBS. My wife just went for the same fitting, but can't afford the custom bike. They still draw up a frame to her specific geometry and recommend a few bikes whose frames come close and can be tweaked even closer.

  14. #14
    Senior Member tonphil1960's Avatar
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    I have the old hand pain with my trek 7100 Hybrid too. I have an ajustable stem so I am still playing with it after a few years with this bike. The problem is when the bars are up higher I am nothing but a wind sail and not aero at all, riding into a head wind is very hard. I have not done over 20 mile trips with this bike so I can live with it. I do know that the stock saddle sucks. I will be replacing this soon. Getting a new road bike in a week, hope I don't have the same trouble with the hand pain.

    T

  15. #15
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    One adjustment that may affect hand pain doesn't seem to be mentioned much.

    The angle that your brake levers come out from the bar should be roughly parallel to your forarms when riding in the natural position. For most of us this equates to a downward angle on the levers. Are you rotating the levers up as the bars are raised to maintain a comfortable wrist position?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonphil1960
    I have the old hand pain with my trek 7100 Hybrid too. I have an ajustable stem so I am still playing with it after a few years with this bike. The problem is when the bars are up higher I am nothing but a wind sail and not aero at all, riding into a head wind is very hard. I have not done over 20 mile trips with this bike so I can live with it. I do know that the stock saddle sucks. I will be replacing this soon. T
    Yup. The higher your handlebar position the more important the saddle becomes. The venerable Brooks company, for example, recommends different (wider and springier) saddles for bikes with more upright riding positions.

  17. #17
    Senior Member tonphil1960's Avatar
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    Yes I am all for Brooks, looks like it would be great on my Hybrid !!!!!!!!!! Have to find one CHEAP

    T

  18. #18
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Yup. The higher your handlebar position the more important the saddle becomes. The venerable Brooks company, for example, recommends different (wider and springier) saddles for bikes with more upright riding positions.
    And so should everyone!

    If not springier then at least cushier.

    Nothing else makes sense.

    Take a look at the stock seats on bikes. The more upright the riding position, the wider and cushier the stock seat. On crank-forward cruisers the seats are very wide. Here's an example from an Electra Townie. The dark black looking "cut out" is not a cut out, just a piece of very black material.
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    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  19. #19
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dendawg
    I just bought my first road bike, and because of disc problems decided to go for a custom build. The shop I went to uses the Serrotta Fit Cycle system. The process took about 3 hours, but it was amazing how I noticed the difference with every little change he made.
    I attended a bike clinic this Spring where this system was demonstrated. The presentation was very effective. They had a guy riding an elevated bike and would make adjustments on the fly. When something was out of adjustment, it was very easy to see the effect. Watching it gave me some pointers about making my own config changes.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  20. #20
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonphil1960
    I have the old hand pain with my trek 7100 Hybrid too. I have an ajustable stem so I am still playing with it after a few years with this bike. The problem is when the bars are up higher I am nothing but a wind sail and not aero at all, riding into a head wind is very hard.
    Yep, that's my tradeoff. I can either be more aero with less comfort and more pain.

    Or a comfortable, pain-free windsail.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  21. #21
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    No I haven't. It would take a serious stem extender to get the hand position of the drops up that high. And even if I did that, the position of the drops would still be in front of the stem, forcing me to lean much further forward.
    Wouldn't it be pretty hard to get the hand positions on a drop bar as high as this bar, which is in turn mounted on a 40 degree angle stem?
    Not the drops , the top and brake hoods of the drop bar. That is where 90% of your riding would be. Of course, if you are riding a frame too small for you, it will be hard to get the tops of the bars up to level with the saddle.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  22. #22
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Oops, I wrote "drops" when I meant to say "hoods." All of my comments pertained to hoods, not drops. Including my comparisons to SKT's Lemond Reno. His hoods are much lower and much further forward than my grips.

    My bike's frame fits me well, and all of my recent comparisons (Giant OCR, Lemond Reno, Trek Pilot) were all bikes that fit me very well.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  23. #23
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    And so should everyone!

    If not springier then at least cushier.
    But not TOO soft and springy! I tried one of those. Let me say that the pain of riding a saddle that is too hard pales in comparison to the pain of riding one that is way too soft. And I only rode the too soft saddle for 15 minutes. I could hardly walk for the next two days.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  24. #24
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Just got back in from riding for about 75 minutes on a dry, hard packed rail trail. This had to be the most comfortable ride I've taken in 30 years. Only the slightest hand pain, which just a little shaking took care of. And almost no rear pain. A beautiful ride in the countryside on an 80 degree afternoon.

    This is what I hoped I would be able to enjoy when I started rekindling my interest in cycling last September.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  25. #25
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Oops, I wrote "drops" when I meant to say "hoods." All of my comments pertained to hoods, not drops. Including my comparisons to SKT's Lemond Reno. His hoods are much lower and much further forward than my grips.

    My bike's frame fits me well, and all of my recent comparisons (Giant OCR, Lemond Reno, Trek Pilot) were all bikes that fit me very well.
    Thanks for clearing that up. It seems that you have made every attempt to find a way to be comfortable on a drop bar road bike. For whatever reason, your hands are painful in positions and with setups which, after a period of adjustment, work for many people.
    The good thing is that you have found a way to set your bike up so that it is comfortable and you can enjoy riding it. When all is said and done, that is what really matters.

    Now you can turn off the computer and get out and ride
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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