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Old 03-02-08, 07:09 PM   #1
Yen
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Ride #2 on the rent-a-Roubaix

The sun finally came out today so we took off around 12:30 for what was supposed to be an "easy" ride just to give me more practice with the shifters and testing the reach. I wanted to stay on flats and avoid steep hills.... just practice reaching for the brakes and shift levers and getting my back and neck accustomed to the feel of a more lean-forward position. I told Hubby to lead the way since he's the one with a mirror.

We took one of our favorite streets about a mile away which is mostly flat and has wide lanes and plenty of room to ride without having to dodge cars. We ended up at the entrance to a nice bike path (bikes only!) about 10 miles away. Very soon after we left home I was proficient at shifting without having to think much, so I could concentrate on other details about the ride. I noticed I was rarely having to shift anyway because the bike took off so easily from a stop.

We followed a couple of roadies along the bike path until we took a left turn and headed north. We continued north for a long distance which was a long but low climb. Climbing is MUCH easier and enjoyable. The most obvious difference between the two bikes (this and the Cypress) is the lightness and the ease of acceleration.

Without a bike computer we don't know exactly how far we went, but we made a rough guestimate of 30 miles based being gone for 3+ hours with a few short stops to drink, eat a food bar, and make a quick phone call. (How fast do you typically go on a leisurely (not racing) ride on a CF road bike?)

The most pain I felt was in my thumb joint, not in my wrist. By the end of the ride, my left hand was tired overall and squeezing the left brake lever for more than a couple of seconds was difficult and a little painful (again mostly in the thumb joint). I need to work on the strength in that hand, and a shorter reach should help this.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and the bike and I felt comfortable on it today. It was much easier to climb and maintain our speed in the headwind which we always encounter when we head home from the east. I love the speed and acceleration of a MUCH lighter bike.

Though the reach was more comfortable for me today, it is still too far. My hands are not small but I need an easier/shorter reach to the brake levers like what comes on some WSD bikes.

I do love the ride of the Roubaix and I think I have found my bike -- if the 54cm is a good fit for me. After having put about 40 or more miles on it in two days, I feel satisfied with this bike and I have a lot to tell the fitter and the LBS owner when we meet on Tuesday.
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Old 03-02-08, 08:44 PM   #2
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Hurrah!! Yen, you are absolutely right about the quick acceleration. And the reach to the brakes is much easier on the Ruby. I'm going to get some cyclocross brakes for the top of the handlebars. The Bleriot I rode at Rivendell had those and they are absolutely wonderful.

Hope the 54 is the right fit! Thanks for the great report.
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Old 03-02-08, 09:04 PM   #3
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Thanks Tru. I compared the specs of the Ruby against the Roubaix and didn't see anything about a difference in the brake reach between the two. Are my eyes missing something on the chart, or did the LBS tell you that, or did you compare the Ruby with another bike with a longer reach? I'm fine for a brief moment, but on a long descent or any time when I need to squeeze and hold the brake longer, it just gets more sore and the reach seems to be the issue, not the fact that I have to squeeze it at all. My wrist isn't that weak, just weaker than a normal one.
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Old 03-02-08, 09:04 PM   #4
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Oh boy, thumb joint pain. I've had to stop several times because of that. I carry a small tube of a Ben Gay-type medication, along with a few Ibuprofen, to deal with the bad cases. I also like the balance of joy to pain in this report.

Sounds like you are having fun and are indeed zero'ing in on the right bike.

So what are your plans for the Cypress?
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Old 03-02-08, 09:06 PM   #5
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Thanks Tru. I compared the specs of the Ruby against the Roubaix and didn't see anything about a difference in the brake reach between the two. Are my eyes missing something on the chart, or did the LBS tell you that, or did you compare the Ruby with another bike with a longer reach?
Some WSD bikes come with narrower handlebars. As Specialized doesn't spec handlebar width on their web pages, I have no idea if they do this or not.
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Old 03-02-08, 09:21 PM   #6
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Tom, the thumb joint hurts because I severed the extensor tendon (the one that runs over the knuckle and extends the tip of the thumb) about a year ago, and also cut through the joint capsule, the tissue that surrounds the joint where the bones meet (the latter of which I did not learn about until my first post-op appt.). My thumb has healed well and the tendon is fully functional, but there's quite a bit of scar tissue down in the joint. The pain isn't too bad, sorta flu-like in nature, but there. I'm not afraid of injuring it, it's just noticable and sometimes annoying. But mainly, the thumb is a little weaker and renders my grip even weaker than before, though the doctors say that my grip is surprisingly strong given the implant and also that I'm a woman (whatever THAT means). Anyway......I'm not sure if any ointment would help that, but it wouldn't hurt to try. This poor left hand... I'm a little skittish around sharp objects now.

I had a blast on the bike today, more than on Friday. One thing I forgot to mention about Friday's ride report is that I chose to also test out my new Take-a-Look mirror ----- bad idea. It was so distracting that it drove me crazy while I was also trying to concentrate on the bike, so I left it at home today.

I think this type of bike brings out my taste for speed. I ride it differently than I ride the Cypress. On the Roubaix, I felt like I wanted to race. I have NO plans to race -- although this time last year, I said the same thing about being on a road bike. As I said about the first ride, it's a little like getting off a rollercoaster at the end compared with the Cypress.

Speaking of the Cypress..... I love that bike, it got be back on a bike and has served me very well. It's been a great bike with good components and no problems whatsoever. We plan to keep it; it's set up for night riding (headlights, taillights, reflective rims, reflectors on spokes) and we may use it as a commuter for errands and such. Since it is too big for me, it is probably just right for Hubby so we can share it by adjusting the seat. Or -- if you're asking because you're interested, make us a good offer.
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Old 03-02-08, 10:13 PM   #7
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Not sure what kind of gloves you're wearing, but I've found that ones with good padding at the "notch" between thumb and first finger can help a lot.

That "notch" takes some pressure riding with hands on the brifter hoods. Specialized makes some gel gloves that work well for me. I've also found that my hands have gotten stronger or gotten used to it the more I ride. So the solution may be -- just ride more!
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Old 03-02-08, 10:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Yen View Post
Thanks Tru. I compared the specs of the Ruby against the Roubaix and didn't see anything about a difference in the brake reach between the two. Are my eyes missing something on the chart, or did the LBS tell you that, or did you compare the Ruby with another bike with a longer reach? I'm fine for a brief moment, but on a long descent or any time when I need to squeeze and hold the brake longer, it just gets more sore and the reach seems to be the issue, not the fact that I have to squeeze it at all. My wrist isn't that weak, just weaker than a normal one.
I read this at a review about the Ruby: "The best bit of kit is the controls, though. Specialized use shims between the hoods and levers that bring them 20mm closer." I also understand that this modification is typical on bikes designed for women. Maybe I'm wrong? Certainly it sounds like it's a pretty easy modification to make with any bike you get...
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Old 03-02-08, 10:18 PM   #9
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Not sure what kind of gloves you're wearing, but I've found that ones with good padding at the "notch" between thumb and first finger can help a lot.

That "notch" takes some pressure riding with hands on the brifter hoods. Specialized makes some gel gloves that work well for me. I've also found that my hands have gotten stronger or gotten used to it the more I ride. So the solution may be -- just ride more!
Thanks! I will definitely look into those. I found myself resting too hard on the brifter hoods and kept reminding myself to let up a bit.

We have some strengthening grips for hands... I plan to use them every chance I get.
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Old 03-02-08, 10:25 PM   #10
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I read this at a review about the Ruby: "The best bit of kit is the controls, though. Specialized use shims between the hoods and levers that bring them 20mm closer." I also understand that this modification is typical on bikes designed for women. Maybe I'm wrong? Certainly it sounds like it's a pretty easy modification to make with any bike you get...
Thanks Tru, I'll ask about those at the shop when we're there this week.
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Old 03-02-08, 11:46 PM   #11
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Thanks! I will definitely look into those. I found myself resting too hard on the brifter hoods and kept reminding myself to let up a bit.

We have some strengthening grips for hands... I plan to use them every chance I get.
Is this the 56 cm? It is probably a symptom that you are having to reach too far out and the 54 cm might be better.
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Old 03-03-08, 06:23 AM   #12
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Not a lot of folks (even LBS) know about Shimano R600 (9 speed) or R700 (10 speed) brifters. These are Ultegra grade brifters (and every bit as expensive) with slightly smaller handles on which the angle between the hood and the shift/brake handles can be adjusted to bring the shifter handles closer to the bars. The front of the brifters simply say "Shimano Flight Deck" rather than "Ultegra" or "105" and so lack the appearance of quality to some extent. I believe they are standard on all Terry bikes.

http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...nd+Levers.aspx
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Old 03-03-08, 09:12 AM   #13
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Oh boy, thumb joint pain. I've had to stop several times because of that. I carry a small tube of a Ben Gay-type medication, along with a few Ibuprofen, to deal with the bad cases.
In all the posts I've read on BF, these are the only two I remember about thumb joint pain. Any one else get this? I'm having trouble even imagining it, since the thumbs aren't really being used particuarly much, and on road bikes you can access the brakes 2 different ways.

I mean, at least with me, the thumbs only close to make bars more secure in the crook of my hand... I don't really have to clench my thumbs. In fact, I could do a lot of braking with my thumbs extended.

I see Yen attributes it to resting on the brifter hoods, which I don't do a lot of, but Tom doesn't use road bars.
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Old 03-03-08, 09:20 AM   #14
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Solveg, as I explained above, the real reason for the pain is a previous injury to the joint. I may be adding additional strain/stress/pressure to it by the way I place my hands on the brifter hoods. A shorter reach should help me reduce the pressure I place on it. It's not that I use the thumb, it's the previous injury.
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Old 03-03-08, 10:49 AM   #15
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Yen, glad you're enjoying the Roubaix. It does sound like you're a heartbeat away from making the purchase. I'm on my second one and love it. I'm wondering about your thumb issue from a slightly different point of view. First, I suspect additional padding from different gloves would be well worth investigating. However, the shorter reach is what I'm really interested in. I say this because my experience has been that often people attempt to get a shorter reach when in fact they need a longer reach. This seems to happen becasue folks are feeling too much weight on the hands and/or arms. However, depending on how your seat and bars match each other in terms of height, shorter reach may not be the answer. If your seat is more than an inch or two above the level of the bars, consider doing a balancing act in your fitting efforts. What I mean by this is that you should be able to have your hands on the top of the brifter and then take them off the bar without having to shift your weight. If you feel like you'll fall forward when doing this, there is a good chance that your reach to too short. While it seem counter intuitive, it can be much less stressful on hands and arms when you can balance this way. One way to safely check this out is with the bike in a trainer. From my own experience, I know that sliding my seat back less than half and inch took a lot of pressure off my palms and made riding much more enjoyable. In any event, I hope you find a solution.
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Old 03-03-08, 11:25 AM   #16
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... my experience has been that often people attempt to get a shorter reach when in fact they need a longer reach. This seems to happen becasue folks are feeling too much weight on the hands and/or arms...While it seem counter intuitive...From my own experience, I know that sliding my seat back less than half and inch took a lot of pressure off my palms and made riding much more enjoyable...
It is very hard for many of us to grasp this idea, but in many cases it is the answer. I have seen people try for months to get a shorter and shorter cockpit in hopes of relieving hand and wrist pain only to finally realize that what was needed was a longer cockpit. Strange but true.
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Old 03-03-08, 11:28 AM   #17
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I can totally see this, besides the balancing thing. It has to do with the angle you're supporting your weight on. If the stem is out further, the angle is gentler.
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Old 03-03-08, 12:00 PM   #18
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On the gearing??????

These road bikes are easier to pedal- less effort Blah Blah Blah--- Not going to say it.


Glad you enjoyed the bike and 30 miles is a respectable work out. How does Hubby feel about his ride?
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Old 03-03-08, 01:56 PM   #19
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In all the posts I've read on BF, these are the only two I remember about thumb joint pain. Any one else get this? I'm having trouble even imagining it, since the thumbs aren't really being used particuarly much, and on road bikes you can access the brakes 2 different ways.

I mean, at least with me, the thumbs only close to make bars more secure in the crook of my hand... I don't really have to clench my thumbs. In fact, I could do a lot of braking with my thumbs extended.

I see Yen attributes it to resting on the brifter hoods, which I don't do a lot of, but Tom doesn't use road bars.
I have tendinitis / arthritis in both thumbs, particular my right thumb. It can give me pain after 5 minutes of an activity. By going to thick soft grips that have a "flare out" that enables me to rest my palm on it, a glove that has padding across my thumb's joints (most gloves don't), and by switching hand positions frequently, I can control it. Witness my long rides last year. But there were days where it was killing me.

On my recumbent, there is absolutely no pain in my thumb. That's wonderful.

Riding on the hoods of a drop bar is particularly nasty. The pressure is right where I don't want it, on the base of my thumb.
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Old 03-03-08, 01:57 PM   #20
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Not a lot of folks (even LBS) know about Shimano R600 (9 speed) or R700 (10 speed) brifters. These are Ultegra grade brifters (and every bit as expensive) with slightly smaller handles on which the angle between the hood and the shift/brake handles can be adjusted to bring the shifter handles closer to the bars. The front of the brifters simply say "Shimano Flight Deck" rather than "Ultegra" or "105" and so lack the appearance of quality to some extent. I believe they are standard on all Terry bikes.

http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...nd+Levers.aspx
I think "Flight Deck" is what mine say. But bike is at home. I'm at work. I'll confirm when I get home.
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Old 03-03-08, 02:04 PM   #21
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On those brake levers--Saw it last year in a Magazine- But a small insert to put on the brifters to bring the Levers closer to the bars. It was in a magazine that was doing a feature on WSD bikes and apparantly- it was a problem with the female hand being smaller. All it does is stop the lever going BACK to furthest extent from the bars--But it does the job.
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Old 03-03-08, 04:24 PM   #22
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Wow, what fun. Hope if this is the bike for you, then you get it!
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Old 03-03-08, 07:58 PM   #23
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I think "Flight Deck" is what mine say. But bike is at home. I'm at work. I'll confirm when I get home.
I'm home. Yep, they say Shimano Ultegra Flight Deck. I found them to be very "reachable."
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Old 03-03-08, 09:17 PM   #24
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I'll have more answers tomorrow when we return the rentals and talk to the fitter at the store. We'll ask if we can borrow Synapses to try next.

BSLeVan: You're right, that's totally counter-intuitive....I can't imagine it. It seems that the more upright one sits, the less the hands would need to support the upper body. Although maybe that depends on the angle.

Tru: I thought I remembered seeing "Flight Deck" in the Ruby specs -- I'll bring that up tomorrow too.

Is it just a coincidence that I was singing the lyrics "Ruby, Ruby, Ruby will you be mine..." this morning before work? Maybe it was playing on the radio before I woke up... I don't know.... but it appeared from out of nowhere and I thought that was pretty funny.
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Old 03-03-08, 09:29 PM   #25
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Is it just a coincidence that I was singing the lyrics "Ruby, Ruby, Ruby will you be mine..." this morning before work? Maybe it was playing on the radio before I woke up... I don't know.... but it appeared from out of nowhere and I thought that was pretty funny.
Maybe it's a sign!
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