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Old 09-04-07, 06:21 AM   #1
RockyTopBiker
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Opinions Needed

I'd like the hear from the forum on a couple of things.

(1) I've been riding a road bike for about a year now, a LeMond Reno. My favorite ride is along a beautiful mountain stream in Tennessee for five miles, then along the scenic French Broad River in North Carolina for another seven. We usually ride out and back for a total of about 25 miles, with a lunch or ice cream stop at Hot Springs, NC. All the ride is paved and very smooth except for a section of 3.5 miles along the river. Technically this section is gravel but now most is just hard packed dirt with some rock remaining. This part is pretty rough on a road bike but I can handle it and it I figure that it is a good way to break in my Brooks. I rode it for years on a mountain bike but just prefer riding the road bike when possible. My question: Is riding on rough surfaces like this potentially damaging to my bike? I've done this ride on the Reno about ten times this summer with no problem so far. I love this ride but would hate to crack my frame, etc.

(2) I have a lady friend that bought a nearly new Cyclocross Bike at half price, a Redline Conquest. The problem is the bike is a little too big for her and her legs are completely extended at the lowest saddle position. When she rides, sometimes she pedals with her toes and other times, she has to rotate her hips. She is an aerobics and yoga instructor and is in excellent shape. I have two questions here: Will riding like she is doing potentially cause knee, hip and/other problems? Her seat post bottoms out before reaching the bottom of the tube. Would it be OK to cut off a couple of inches of the bottom of the seatpost so a lower saddle position could be achieved, without being unsafe?

Ned
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Old 09-04-07, 06:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by RockyTopBiker View Post
I'd like the hear from the forum on a couple of things.

(1) I've been riding a road bike for about a year now, a LeMond Reno. My favorite ride is along a beautiful mountain stream in Tennessee for five miles, then along the scenic French Broad River in North Carolina for another seven. We usually ride out and back for a total of about 25 miles, with a lunch or ice cream stop at Hot Springs, NC. All the ride is paved and very smooth except for a section of 3.5 miles along the river. Technically this section is gravel but now most is just hard packed dirt with some rock remaining. This part is pretty rough on a road bike but I can handle it and it I figure that it is a good way to break in my Brooks. I rode it for years on a mountain bike but just prefer riding the road bike when possible. My question: Is riding on rough surfaces like this potentially damaging to my bike? I've done this ride on the Reno about ten times this summer with no problem so far. I love this ride but would hate to crack my frame, etc.

(2) I have a lady friend that bought a nearly new Cyclocross Bike at half price, a Redline Conquest. The problem is the bike is a little too big for her and her legs are completely extended at the lowest saddle position. When she rides, sometimes she pedals with her toes and other times, she has to rotate her hips. She is an aerobics and yoga instructor and is in excellent shape. I have two questions here: Will riding like she is doing potentially cause knee, hip and/other problems? Her seat post bottoms out before reaching the bottom of the tube. Would it be OK to cut off a couple of inches of the bottom of the seatpost so a lower saddle position could be achieved, without being unsafe?

Ned
A couple of inches off the seatpost (not carbon.....do not cut that) will be fine. Most cyclocross frames seem to ride bigger than the stated size. The most critical measurement is the top tube virtual length. That may be too long for her and there isn't much you can do except use a shorter stem.
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Old 09-04-07, 06:43 AM   #3
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Is riding on rough surfaces like this potentially damaging to my bike? I've done this ride on the Reno about ten times this summer with no problem so far. I love this ride but would hate to crack my frame, etc.
It's been my experience that most road bikes aren't the delicate flowers that many people make them out to be. Occasionally a full-race, paper-thin carbon tube bike on Paris-Roubaix will have issues, but even there, the vast majority get through just fine.

I've taken mine down a gravel road or two--I'm a sucker for historical plaques, and the more remote the better. I find gravel fireroads a bit uncomfortable, mainly due to my 25mm tires shifting left/right on the stones. And I suppose some would call the occasional stone chip in the paint "damage". But at the end of the road, short of some dust, neither the bike nor I are any worse for wear.

You're likely to get some comments here about the wheels on your bike. There are those with the opinion that low-spoke count wheels should never be taken outside a velodrome lest they taco, pretzel or burst into flame. You'll find that Trek/LeMond/Gary Fisher puts the same or similar wheels on commuter and cyclocross rigs, which almost certainly take more abuse than an old guy on a gravel path will give them. With regard to your gravel path, I doubt you'll achieve any hits worse than a paved-road pothole at speed.

In short, just keep the rubber side down and enjoy the ride.

Last edited by tsl; 09-04-07 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 09-04-07, 06:56 AM   #4
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You could buy her bike and let her buy a smaller one.
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Old 09-04-07, 07:54 AM   #5
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I think the biggest risk to your bike on the rough roads is to the wheels. If you have decently strong wheels and reasonably wide tires, it should be OK.

Cutting the seat post should be no problem. Just be sure the length of tube inserted is at least equal to the minimum insertion length marked on the tube before the cut.
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Old 09-04-07, 08:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RockyTopBiker View Post
I'd like the hear from the forum on a couple of things.

(1) I've been riding a road bike for about a year now, a LeMond Reno. My favorite ride is along a beautiful mountain stream in Tennessee for five miles, then along the scenic French Broad River in North Carolina for another seven. We usually ride out and back for a total of about 25 miles, with a lunch or ice cream stop at Hot Springs, NC. All the ride is paved and very smooth except for a section of 3.5 miles along the river. Technically this section is gravel but now most is just hard packed dirt with some rock remaining. This part is pretty rough on a road bike but I can handle it and it I figure that it is a good way to break in my Brooks. I rode it for years on a mountain bike but just prefer riding the road bike when possible. My question: Is riding on rough surfaces like this potentially damaging to my bike? I've done this ride on the Reno about ten times this summer with no problem so far. I love this ride but would hate to crack my frame, etc.

(2) I have a lady friend that bought a nearly new Cyclocross Bike at half price, a Redline Conquest. The problem is the bike is a little too big for her and her legs are completely extended at the lowest saddle position. When she rides, sometimes she pedals with her toes and other times, she has to rotate her hips. She is an aerobics and yoga instructor and is in excellent shape. I have two questions here: Will riding like she is doing potentially cause knee, hip and/other problems? Her seat post bottoms out before reaching the bottom of the tube. Would it be OK to cut off a couple of inches of the bottom of the seatpost so a lower saddle position could be achieved, without being unsafe?

Ned
I think you are proposing to cut the frame extension that accepts the the seat post - not the seat post that extends from the seat. On my road bikes, I would not cut the frame to lower the seat. First, there is very little extention and second, it would be obvious what you did and ruin the value of the bike from a looks and sizing prospective. Sell the bike on Ebay and buy one that fits to cut any financial losses.
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Old 09-04-07, 09:34 AM   #7
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+1 on being able to cut the seat post down a bit. As BD said, just don't cut it so much that you don't have much left to insert into the tube. If you need the seat lowered an inch, then cut off an inch.

That said, if one cannot easily reach the pedals at the minimum seat post height, then that bike is not a "little big," it is a "LOT big." You're description sounds like the bike may be two sizes off of optimal. If so then much of the geometry will be wrong for her.
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Old 09-04-07, 12:16 PM   #8
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You could buy her bike and let her buy a smaller one.
I have offered her $250 but she won't take it. She is a very friendly, sweet person but one of the most hard-headed women that I have ever known. She won't admit that she has made a mistake, since she got the bike for such a great price! I have seen her buy hiking boots a size too large because they were half price. Unfortunately she could still out-hike me in them.

I wouldn't even think of cutting the seat tube, just the post and then only a couple of inches.

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Old 09-04-07, 12:19 PM   #9
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I think the biggest risk to your bike on the rough roads is to the wheels. If you have decently strong wheels and reasonably wide tires, it should be OK.

Cutting the seat post should be no problem. Just be sure the length of tube inserted is at least equal to the minimum insertion length marked on the tube before the cut.
They are the stock Bontanger Wheels with 25's. I don't know if they are "decently strong" or not. I ride about as slowly as possible over the gravel section.

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Old 09-04-07, 01:41 PM   #10
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I doubt riding on a rough road will damage your frame, but then I have broken two frames (1971 Nishiki Competition at the BB shell and 1975 Peugeot UO-8 at the chainstay) just by riding up lots of nicely-paved hills.
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Old 09-04-07, 01:43 PM   #11
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A couple of inches off the seatpost (not carbon.....do not cut that) will be fine. Most cyclocross frames seem to ride bigger than the stated size. The most critical measurement is the top tube virtual length. That may be too long for her and there isn't much you can do except use a shorter stem.

You can cut a carbon steerer and not a carbon seatpost? Done it many times, no problem. A good deal on a frame that does not fit is money wasted. I would sell the bike and get one that is correctly sized.
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Old 09-04-07, 02:21 PM   #12
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It's been my experience that most road bikes aren't the delicate flowers that many people make them out to be. Occasionally a full-race, paper-thin carbon tube bike on Paris-Roubaix will have issues, but even there, the vast majority get through just fine.
I think Big George Hincappie could back you up on this statement.
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Old 09-04-07, 04:07 PM   #13
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You can cut a carbon steerer and not a carbon seatpost? Done it many times, no problem. A good deal on a frame that does not fit is money wasted. I would sell the bike and get one that is correctly sized.
I'm not sure that I would agree with most people cutting a carbon steerer either.
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Old 09-04-07, 05:59 PM   #14
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((2) I have a lady friend that bought a nearly new Cyclocross Bike at half price, she has to rotate her hips. She is an aerobics and yoga instructor and is in excellent shape.
WOW - why would you want to change that - just enjoy the view
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Old 09-04-07, 10:38 PM   #15
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Just keep enjoying the ride. If the wheels decide it's too much, get stronger wheels, better that than not enjoying a great ride. As for the frame, it'll have a lifetime warrantee on it ... but I doubt you'll ever have to test it.

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Old 09-05-07, 05:47 AM   #16
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WOW - why would you want to change that - just enjoy the view
You are absolutely right, of course. What was I thinking!"
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Old 09-05-07, 04:35 PM   #17
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I don't understand how cutting down the seatpost will help. The end that can be cut is already inserted in the frame, isn't it?

If she can not get the seat low enough, she will hurt in the back of the knees, and her butt will get sore fast because it is moving on the saddle a lot with every pedal stroke. The bigger frame will be harder to control, and she will probably have discomfort between the shoulder blades from reaching too far.

Women having fun are more pleasing to look at than women in pain, IMO.
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Old 09-06-07, 05:59 AM   #18
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I don't understand how cutting down the seatpost will help. The end that can be cut is already inserted in the frame, isn't it?

If she can not get the seat low enough, she will hurt in the back of the knees, and her butt will get sore fast because it is moving on the saddle a lot with every pedal stroke. The bigger frame will be harder to control, and she will probably have discomfort between the shoulder blades from reaching too far.

Women having fun are more pleasing to look at than women in pain, IMO.
The length of the seatpost causes it to hit the bottom of the tube, leaving the saddle a couple of inches above the top of the tube. Cutting the bottom of the tube should allow a lower saddle position. I know that this wont be a great fit, but it may be a slight improvement.
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Old 09-06-07, 08:29 AM   #19
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A quick note on the Redline Conquest:

My wife rides the Conquest D (i.e. with disc brakes) and LOVES it! She rides centuries and double centuries on it and it has performed well with only the normal wear issues (tires, brake pads, etc.).

However, the bike is the right size for her, which makes a major difference.

Re: Road bikes on dirt; just do it! As long as it's rideable for you, it's not going to hurt the bike.

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Old 09-06-07, 01:59 PM   #20
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A Lady friend who is a aerobics and yoga instructor and in excellent shape? Buy her the new bike.
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