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  1. #1
    Yen
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    First ride on the rent-a-Roubaix

    It's a little drizzly here this morning so I thought I'd share my first ride on the rent-a-Roubaix while we wait for the sun to come out.

    We brought home two Roubaix Comps on loan yesterday. Mine is a 56cm double [edit: compact double], his is a 58cm triple. The owner spent a lot of time making adjustments and changes to the saddle and stem both on and off the trainer. I think I'm going to need a triple after all, but this will tell me for sure. There's no way around the hilly neighborhoods where we live, and after a very long ride I might need a triple to help me back up the hill. [Edit: This was only a preliminary adjustment to see if the frame size is correct for us. A every thorough fitting will be done when we purchase the bike.]

    Anyway, about my first ride. First of all, compared with the Cypress, it is easier to swing my 50+ leg over the saddle at its proper height on this bike. Overall, the fit feels better. Since the shift levers are completely different, my first goal was to memorize which lever to use for what purpose and I needed to learn it fast since our area is hilly. After a few mile ride, I was able to remember without too much thinking.

    We climbed a tough hill that we tried early last year when we first got back into this; it's a toughie (like the big hill at the end of the memorial ride, but MUCH shorter). I would have appreciated an extra gear or two of a triple, but I made it up. Perhaps with time and more strength, I may not need a triple, but in the meantime it will help me tackle unfamiliar hills we might encounter on a typical group ride.

    The reach felt pretty good and I need to let myself relax a little. If I could bring the bars back about 1-1/4", I think it would feel just right. QUESTION #1: Is that difference small enough to fix with just stem adjustments alone? If the rest of the bike fit is just right, that's the only change I'd need to make. QUESTION #2: Does the carbon headset limit the number or type of adjustments that can be made to perfect the reach?

    If this is the right size bike for me, then I just need to decide on which Roubaix (or Ruby, if it turns out to be the better fit). If you can convince me that $900 is worth spending to upgrade from the Comp, I might go for it. Or I could put that money toward the fitting, new bike computer, and other stuff I'll need (er, want). I have to be convinced that it is money well-spent and why the upgrades are significant.

    I was surprised that the only significant discomfort I felt was in my thumb joint (severed tendon injury about a year ago). My neck felt a little tired after a while, and I could "feel" my wrist now and then, but I noticed my thumb the most. However, I'm happy to report that I feel NO discomfort today, as I expected to. I am not concerned about the thumb joint as I am about the wrist (the pain is probably just due to scar tissue build-up in the joint).

    It's still drizzling ......
    Last edited by Yen; 03-01-08 at 06:00 PM.
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  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    The reach felt pretty good and I need to let myself relax a little. If I could bring the bars back about 1-1/4", I think it would feel just right. QUESTION #1: Is that difference small enough to fix with just stem adjustments alone? If the rest of the bike fit is just right, that's the only change I'd need to make. QUESTION #2: Does the carbon headset limit the number or type of adjustments that can be made to perfect the reach?

    If this is the right size bike for me, then I just need to decide on which Roubaix (or Ruby, if it turns out to be the better fit). If you can convince me that $900 is worth spending to upgrade from the Comp, I might go for it. Or I could put that money toward the fitting, new bike computer, and other stuff I'll need (er, want). I have to be convinced that it is money well-spent and why the upgrades are significant.

    I was surprised that the only significant discomfort I felt was in my thumb joint (severed tendon injury about a year ago). My neck felt a little tired after a while, and I could "feel" my wrist now and then, but I noticed my thumb the most. However, I'm happy to report that I feel NO discomfort today, as I expected to. I am not concerned about the thumb joint as I am about the wrist (the pain is probably just due to scar tissue build-up in the joint).

    It's still drizzling ......
    So far you have reported back exactly as I thought you would- These bikes feel different- for most they feel faster and it is obvious that the LBS is getting near the right size for you. On the reach bit- This is where the Ruby- WSD frames- Work for the gentler gender.They will have a slightly shorter top tube and so the reach should be better. And on the Headset- Doubt it is carbon- but it will take time to get the fit right and that will require lots of little tweaks here and there- The headset will not be a problem.

    Now as to the extra expense of Going up a grade- That is down to you. The extra cost will buy you a better Groupset- Better wheels and a loss of a bit of weight- In my opinion-all worthy upgrades- but it is down to the Chancellor to decide if they are affordable.

    And if the only discomfort is in a Pre-existing problem- Just make certain you are not going to aggravate the problem. Your wrist is my main concern for you- the thumb is not used much- so next ride get out for at least an hour and see what hurts (Beside the Butt with the new saddle).

    Give this test bike a good try out- It will pay dividends for your future riding.
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  3. #3
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    So far you have reported back exactly as I thought you would- These bikes feel different- for most they feel faster and it is obvious that the LBS is getting near the right size for you. On the reach bit- This is where the Ruby- WSD frames- Work for the gentler gender.They will have a slightly shorter top tube and so the reach should be better.
    Unfortunately, the Ruby doesn't come in a 58cm which is very similar to the 56cm Roubaix. In other words, there doesn't seem to be a compatible WSD version of the 56 Roubaix in the Ruby line.

    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    And on the Headset- Doubt it is carbon- but it will take time to get the fit right and that will require lots of little tweaks here and there- The headset will not be a problem.
    The headset on the Expert is Specialized Mindset Plus Carbon; the Comp is Specialized Mindset Plus.

    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Now as to the extra expense of Going up a grade- That is down to you. The extra cost will buy you a better Groupset- Better wheels and a loss of a bit of weight- In my opinion-all worthy upgrades- but it is down to the Chancellor to decide if they are affordable.

    And if the only discomfort is in a Pre-existing problem- Just make certain you are not going to aggravate the problem. Your wrist is my main concern for you- the thumb is not used much- so next ride get out for at least an hour and see what hurts (Beside the Butt with the new saddle).

    Give this test bike a good try out- It will pay dividends for your future riding.
    We rode for at least an hour yesterday and today -- if it ever stops drizzling -- we'll go out for a longer ride. I'm most concerned about the wrist too. The saddle felt great -- the put on one that is similar to my own Specialized BG saddle which I like very much.
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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    If you feel like the bars should be brought back an inch and a quarter, thats almost 3 cm. If the bike was outfitted with a 120mm stem and everything else is sized perfectly then a change to a 90 stem would not be completely unreasonable. If however, the saddle position is so good that moving it a bit forward would be a bad change then the 56 mike may be too large for you. A 54 would be shorter by 2 of the centemeters that you are asking for. (The top tube length will end up being a more important fit parameter for you than the length of the seat tube).

    IMHO you may want to try a 54 after all. 56 is a pretty big bike for a 50+ rider who may want to be a little more vertical. Just for example, I am almost 6' tall (with short legs) and I have come to find that I am much more comfortable on a 54 or 55 than my old 57.

    I would recomend a frame that starts you out with a 110 stem so that you have a little wiggle room for later changes.

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    Yen
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    The stem they put on mine is 75mm, so it looks like I may need a shorter top tube length. I agree that a 54 Roubaix -- or its WSD equivalent, the 56 Ruby -- may be a better fit after all. Narrower bars would also raise my arms even a tad higher, and I can use every tad I can get.
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  6. #6
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    another issue while you poneder if you want a double or a triple-- try a compact crank-- that gives you a 50 x 34 up front. I have this on two bikes and it is wonderful. When I need a lower gear, it is there, but I still have the double, rather than triple.

    regardless-- enjoy!

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    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by buelito View Post
    another issue while you poneder if you want a double or a triple-- try a compact crank-- that gives you a 50 x 34 up front. I have this on two bikes and it is wonderful. When I need a lower gear, it is there, but I still have the double, rather than triple.

    regardless-- enjoy!

    train safe-
    I should have (and meant to) mention that it is a compact double. I still wished for an extra gear.... but I'll keep an open mind to this option. Our hills around here range from low rolling hills, to steep grades (like the one at the end of the memorial ride ).

    I just got off the phone with the fitter whom I called to inquire about a fitting. After talking for quite a while, discussing our inseams measurements, our height, how these particular bikes feel, and our desired type of geometry...... well........ his preliminary judgment is that I should stick with the 54cm Roubaix!

    He suggested meeting him at the shop on Tuesday when he is there so we can discuss this further based on actual measurements and arrange for the full fitting on the trainer. He said that Specialized has many different sizes and types of stems from which to choose and does not doubt we can get it just right.

    And, it's still drizzling today......... ........... so much for 3 full days of testing the bike....
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  8. #8
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    I

    And, it's still drizzling today......... ........... so much for 3 full days of testing the bike....
    What??? You can't ride in the rain???
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    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    What??? You can't ride in the rain???
    Sure I can.... but not a bike that belongs to the bike shop!

    "Uh, hi Mr. LBS Owner.... sorry about the scratched frame, but we just had to get in another test ride on Saturday, and, well, you know, it was raining and all, and I guess the bike slipped on some wet leaves or something as I was making the sharp turn on a steep descent......"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    The stem they put on mine is 75mm, so it looks like I may need a shorter top tube length. I agree that a 54 Roubaix -- or its WSD equivalent, the 56 Ruby -- may be a better fit after all. Narrower bars would also raise my arms even a tad higher, and I can use every tad I can get.
    Definitely sounds like a 54 cm would be better. I ride a Roubaix Expert Compact Double. While most of the time it is ok, there are definitely times when I wish for the Triple. There is no penalty for this...The same cost and no down side. Triples work great.

    I wish I could say something constructive about going to the Expert. Certainly, this is the most expensive bike I have ever had (although that is about to change) and the Ultegra level components (with DuraAce rear derailleur) seem above reproach. But in the past I have put many miles on 105-level or lower components and they have been fine. There are also some differences in the frame, headset and handle bars between Comp and Expert. I guess the Expert and above are in the category of "nice to have".

  11. #11
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Great report, Yen. I took my Ruby out for about 45 minutes today. Still feels butter-smooth. Like you, I'm practicing the whole brake, gear lever thing. I find it awkward to have to move my hands to the drops to change gears and use the brake. But it's getting less awkward the more I do it. When I rode the Bleriot a couple months back, they had an extra set of "cheater" brakes on the top that could be used when holding the flats. Those were kind of nice, but I suspect that they were kind of like training wheels.

    We're going on our 30-mile ride tomorrow. Hope the weather is kind to both of us tomorrow!
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    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    If I read this correctly, and I don't always do that, I'm reading that you are riding a men's 56 with a 75mm stem and you think the reach is approximately 30mm (1.25") too long.

    If this is true, then you are on too large of a bike. A 75mm stem is very short, just about the shortest anyone will normally recommend ... and not everyone will endorse one that short - as it starts affecting the handling if the center of your handlebar gets too close to the steerer tube.

    The normal stem for that bike is 100mm. So the shop has already made a 25mm adjustment.

    Dropping back to the Ruby 56 or Roubaix 54 (essentially the same bikes & geometry) will only shorten the top tube by 17mm. So if you really need a 30mm adjustment, even the next size down with a 75mm stem could still be too long. However I'd say it is worth a crack at seeing if that is enough of an adjustment. It is always hard to say/estimate without trying it.

    In any case, I would say that you don't want to go with a 56 Roubaix with a 45mm-50mm stem. Such a combination screams for downsizing the bike. It gives you an expensive bike with potentially compromised handling, and one that cannot be tweaked in any way to bring it closer if you need it. You would already be beyond it's minimum recommended configuration ... in terms of shortening the reach.

    Or perhaps you only meant a 1/4" adjustment, as in 6mm??? Even that little still suggests the next size bike down used with something like an 80mm stem (not sure if they make 85's, but they might).
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    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruF View Post
    Great report, Yen. I took my Ruby out for about 45 minutes today. Still feels butter-smooth. Like you, I'm practicing the whole brake, gear lever thing. I find it awkward to have to move my hands to the drops to change gears and use the brake. But it's getting less awkward the more I do it. When I rode the Bleriot a couple months back, they had an extra set of "cheater" brakes on the top that could be used when holding the flats. Those were kind of nice, but I suspect that they were kind of like training wheels.

    We're going on our 30-mile ride tomorrow. Hope the weather is kind to both of us tomorrow!
    Tru, you shouldn't have to move your hands to the drops to change gears. Just put them toward the front of the hoods, on top, and just lift a finger or two (or 3?) to shift and squeeze the brake levers. Others here will be able to explain that better than I can. I keep hearing that 99% of the time is NOT spent in the drops, so having to go there to change gears and use the brakes would raise that percentage considerably. Oh, I agree about those "training wheel" brakes.... I'm going to miss having the trigger shifter and the brakes right in front of me for a little while, but I bet we will adjust very quickly and the new position will become second-nature.

    Tom: I agree, and I believe we will get more answers at the shop on Tuesday. Yesterday's adjustments were just to let us ride the size of our choice to determine if they are right for us, or not. I believe the test has served its purpose.
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  14. #14
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    IMHO you may want to try a 54 after all. 56 is a pretty big bike for a 50+ rider who may want to be a little more vertical. Just for example, I am almost 6' tall (with short legs) and I have come to find that I am much more comfortable on a 54 or 55 than my old 57.

    I would recomend a frame that starts you out with a 110 stem so that you have a little wiggle room for later changes.
    Short legs indeed, I can hardly even see them in your picture!

    I'm a bit under 5'8" and Jen says she's 5'9". So our arm lengths are probably about the same, with mine potentially being a bit longer (as I have a long upper torso for my height). I find 56's to be too long and usually go with 54 or even 52, some 54's are okay, others feel a bit long.
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    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Sure I can.... but not a bike that belongs to the bike shop!

    "Uh, hi Mr. LBS Owner.... sorry about the scratched frame, but we just had to get in another test ride on Saturday, and, well, you know, it was raining and all, and I guess the bike slipped on some wet leaves or something as I was making the sharp turn on a steep descent......"
    I didn't say fall in the rain, I said ride in it!
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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Cyclocross bar top levers are not to be considered training wheels. If they put a brake lever where you are comfortable and your hands are then they serve a definate purpose. Why do you suppose that professional cyclocross riders use them. This is after all the 50+ forum and many here like a more upright riding style.

    If you liked having them on a previous ride, don't let others talk you out of them.

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    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    +1 on having the second set of brake levers. I've nearly crashed twice on test rides on bikes that didn't have them.
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    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
    Short legs indeed, I can hardly even see them in your picture!

    I'm a bit under 5'8" and Jen says she's 5'9". So our arm lengths are probably about the same, with mine potentially being a bit longer (as I have a long upper torso for my height). I find 56's to be too long and usually go with 54 or even 52, some 54's are okay, others feel a bit long.
    Hubby measured my height the other night (in bare feet, on a tile floor), and apparently I've shrunk almost 1" since high school. He said I'm exactly 5'8".
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    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
    Short legs indeed, I can hardly even see them in your picture!

    I'm a bit under 5'8" and Jen says she's 5'9". So our arm lengths are probably about the same, with mine potentially being a bit longer (as I have a long upper torso for my height). I find 56's to be too long and usually go with 54 or even 52, some 54's are okay, others feel a bit long.
    It's my understanding that arm length is related to the height in most people, regardless of torso proportions. Third fingertip to third fingertip length=height. Unless you have Marfan Syndrome. Think of that Leonardo drawing. I've got a very short torso and very long arms.

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    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Wow. So putting a second set of brakes on a road bike isn't akin to putting a kick stand on one? Hold the phone! I know what my first modification will be!!! Thanks, maddmaxx and Tom!!!!
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    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I'm sure a snooty road biker would frown on your 2nd set of levers. But who cares??? Why let someone else dictate your bike to you?
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    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruF View Post
    It's my understanding that arm length is related to the height in most people, regardless of torso proportions.
    Yes, but arm length is the #1 difference between fitting the average man vs the average women to a bike. The average 5'8" man will have longer arms than the average 5'8" woman. Note I'm saying average, not all, but it is not a slight 51% to 49%, the difference is significantly higher than this.
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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruF View Post
    Wow. So putting a second set of brakes on a road bike isn't akin to putting a kick stand on one? Hold the phone! I know what my first modification will be!!! Thanks, maddmaxx and Tom!!!!
    Have you been hanging around with the roadies again.....................

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
    Yes, but arm length is the #1 difference between fitting the average man vs the average women to a bike. The average 5'8" man will have longer arms than the average 5'8" woman. Note I'm saying average, not all, but it is not a slight 51% to 49%, the difference is significantly higher than this.
    Tom, is there a statistic that you do not know???
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  25. #25
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Tru, you shouldn't have to move your hands to the drops to change gears. Just put them toward the front of the hoods, on top, and just lift a finger or two (or 3?) to shift and squeeze the brake levers. Others here will be able to explain that better than I can. I keep hearing that 99% of the time is NOT spent in the drops, so having to go there to change gears and use the brakes would raise that percentage considerably.
    .

    I agree -- you should be able to shift with a finger or two from the hoods.

    I'm just now learning to shift from the drops on the Orca. No wonder I'm slower than molasses in January -- I've been coming out the drops to shift. My BFF tells me I need to rotate my bars so I can stay in my drops to shift. I'll try that next week.

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