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Old 08-02-08, 06:09 PM   #1
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Looking at bikes.

People talk about bike fit and all that stuff. However, when you go to a bike shop they only have a few bikes that fit the style, price, etc. that you are looking for. Then when you find a model that you like, you only have a choice between, say, a 52cm or a 54cm.
I'm looking for a road bike. Yesteday I rode a Felt Z90 and it was very comfortable. Today I rode a much more expensive Cannondale Synapse and it felt like I was riding stretched-out and face-down on the street, although both are supposed to have a relaxed geometry.
So, what do you do when you're buying a bike. Just buy the one that feels the best?
This bike buying thing can get very time consuming.
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Old 08-02-08, 06:12 PM   #2
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Keep looking and riding - the right ike will come along.
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Old 08-02-08, 06:31 PM   #3
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As much fun as bike shopping could be, at can also be a long and frustrating
experience. One day you and the right bike will be at the same place at the
same time and you must then pounce or forever regret the one that got
away, hee hee. Find some shops with a large variety and a large inventory
to help simplify the process.
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Old 08-02-08, 06:32 PM   #4
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Proper fit to the rider is the single most important attribute of a bicycle. It sounds as though the Cannondale had a longer top tube, a longer handlebar stem, or both. A good first approximation for proper horizontal fit is that the nose of the saddle should be about a cubit behind the top center portion of the drop handlebar.
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Old 08-02-08, 07:42 PM   #5
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Proper fit to the rider is the single most important attribute of a bicycle. It sounds as though the Cannondale had a longer top tube, a longer handlebar stem, or both. A good first approximation for proper horizontal fit is that the nose of the saddle should be about a cubit behind the top center portion of the drop handlebar.
Thanks. I will remember that. And a cubit is the distance from the tip of the elbow to the tip of the middle finger.
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Old 08-02-08, 08:05 PM   #6
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sknhgy,

Can you rent? I know that sounds odd but when you narrow it down to a couple of bikes renting for the weekend can tell you a lot more than a ride around the parking lot.

A lbs(local bike shop) here rents bikes for the weekend for $35 and will deduct any rental fees from the price of a new bike.

Just a thought.
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Old 08-02-08, 08:07 PM   #7
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You may not find a bike that fits you exactly "off the rack" at a bike shop. What a good bike shop should do is measure you and then have a good idea of a particular type of bike that will work best with your body type. Fit can be fine tuned with stem length and height, seat setback, etc... The Cannondale that had you too stretched out, for example, might feel fine with a stem that is a couple of cm shorter and a bit higher. The most important thing is to find an LBS where the folks know what they are doing (sometimes easier said than done).

Last edited by Solomander; 08-03-08 at 05:58 AM. Reason: spelling :)
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Old 08-02-08, 09:35 PM   #8
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A good first approximation for proper horizontal fit is that the nose of the saddle should be about a cubit behind the top center portion of the drop handlebar.
I never heard that one before. I just checked it on one of my bikes and it doesn't appear to be anywhere close to right. Elbow to middle finger tip from the seat tip was 3" shy of the distance to the middle of my bar top.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:40 AM   #9
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First decide on the approximate quality- weight and colour of the bike you want and start looking- Go to every shop you can find that stocks the type of bike you want and Look- sit on and hopefully test ride the ones that fit your criteria. And then keep looking.
Then it happens- You go to a shop and there is a bike that talks to you. The one that fits- Has the right components and has a suitable colour. Take it for a test ride- and it screams at you.

It sounds as though you are not finding the right bike at present- and you are doing right by not committing to it. But that right bike will appear- the only problem is that it will be well above your price- but you can always sell the kids to get it. Only thing is do get the colour right- There are certain colours to steer clear of with the main one being White.
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Old 08-03-08, 05:53 AM   #10
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I looked at alot of "comfort" road bikes and bought a Felt Z35.
It was the most comfortable to me, I still love it.
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Old 08-03-08, 06:29 AM   #11
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I looked at alot of "comfort" road bikes and bought a Felt Z35.
It was the most comfortable to me, I still love it.
Felt F-80 for me. It has the Perfect Fit. The Felt Z90 is close to what I ride.
The Long Stretched position is my Power Position. My most power with least effort.
It takes a while to get used to the Drops. But it is easy, fun, and fast after you get the hang of it.
Ride the Felt again. Imagine 30 mph on flat roads.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:14 AM   #12
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Have you done much riding?

How many miles do you anticipate riding?

What style of riding do you do? (Road, bike trails, paved, unpaved, etc?)
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Old 08-03-08, 07:14 AM   #13
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Keep looking and riding - the right ike will come along.
The right Ike.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:53 AM   #14
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When you have an experience like you did with the Cannondale, you have a great opportunity to see what kind of bike store with which your dealing. Give them feedback on your riding experience with the bike, and watch carefully how they respond. If they actively listen and work to help find the right fit, this is a good thing. If they ignore your comments or blow them off, you might want to consider a different shop. While fit can make all the difference in the world concerning your wanting to ride, how far and fast you can ride, and how comfortable you are, a good bike shop makes all the difference in terms of you cycling happily for years to come.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solomander View Post
You may not find a bike that fits you exactly "off the rack" at a bike shop. What a good bike shop should do is measure you and then have a good idea of a particular type of bike that will work best with your body type. Fit can be fine tuned with stem length and height, seat setback, etc... The Cannondale that had you too stretched out, for example, might feel fine with a stem that is a couple of cm shorter and a bit higher. The most important thing is to find an LBS where the folks know what they are doing (sometimes easier said than done).
IMHO 100% correct. Finding a bike that fits you perfectly, off the rack, in todays market is rare. In the old days, bike frames increased by two or three cms. Today, 4cms or more is the norm. A good shop spends time adjusting the bike.
Beware of the shop that says, "You'll get used to it" or tries to tell you the bike is correct, you have to change. Unfortunatley, there are lots of shops that don't spend time making the bike correct.
BTW if you are looking for relaxed geometry, try Giant OCR.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:20 AM   #16
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Sknhgy, call Wildtrak Bikes in Alton, and ask when/if the C'Dale trailer will be back- they'll have every size/model available for test rides, and will swap stems. It's a great opportunity if they're coming back this year. And they're right on the River Road, so test rides are easy. If C'Dale isn't what you want to end up with, at least you'll know dimensions that work for you. Also, I think Touring Cyclist rents bikes on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. might be able to try some different sizes there.
We went to a fitter and had a detailed set of numbers worked up. We then took the numbers to a local (Wildtrak again) and ordered LHTs.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:37 AM   #17
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The right Ike.
He certainly was a great man - you should read his biography.
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Old 08-03-08, 10:48 AM   #18
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. . . . Imagine 30 mph on flat roads.
Yes, it works! For me, though, there seems to be a 90 MPH tail wind.
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Old 08-03-08, 10:52 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
People talk about bike fit and all that stuff. However, when you go to a bike shop they only have a few bikes that fit the style, price, etc. that you are looking for. Then when you find a model that you like, you only have a choice between, say, a 52cm or a 54cm.
I'm looking for a road bike. Yesteday I rode a Felt Z90 and it was very comfortable. Today I rode a much more expensive Cannondale Synapse and it felt like I was riding stretched-out and face-down on the street, although both are supposed to have a relaxed geometry.
So, what do you do when you're buying a bike. Just buy the one that feels the best?
This bike buying thing can get very time consuming.
At this time of year, and especially this year, bikes are getting sold down. Two years ago Mrs Road Fan became interested in moving up from her town bike to a lightest-possible hybrid ("fitness bike"). We found only one in her size and it was not the component spec she wanted, so we added upgrades.

This summer I'm asking around for a Ruby for her, thinks she's ready to try a drop bar bike, and the local dealer says 2008s are about played out, but 2009s are on the way.

However, he thinks that with the Olympics in China and the forced idling of some Chinese parts plants, bike availability might be delayed this year. Who knows?

I guess the main point is that bikes are now a global industry, subject (like say, cars) to a global range of problems and issues.

Shop around.

Last edited by Road Fan; 08-03-08 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 08-03-08, 11:38 AM   #20
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I never heard that one before. I just checked it on one of my bikes and it doesn't appear to be anywhere close to right. Elbow to middle finger tip from the seat tip was 3" shy of the distance to the middle of my bar top.

It's one of the old wive's tales of cycling. It puts 'bars about 2 inches too far out for me. It also totally ignores variables like handlebar reach and brake lever length/position, and most important, ignores what your riding style and goals dictate.

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Old 08-03-08, 11:47 AM   #21
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There are a number of things other than bike size. The size of the bike pretty much fits your legs to the bike. Your feeling "stretched out" might be solveable by swapping out the stem for a shorter stem to bring the handlebars closer to you. I have yet to go to a bike shop to buy a bike where they don't do that without cost or at a minimal cost. A good bike shop should measure you, talk to you about your style of riding and pretty much tailor a production bike to you.
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Old 08-03-08, 03:57 PM   #22
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For me, the cubit puts me too far forward. I have long torso and "ape arms" with short inseam. Everybody is different. I would make sure your seat and legs are correct, then adjust stem and bars to tweak the fit. The bike geometry and top tube length has to already be within an acceptable range for your physique or it's pretty tough to tweak it. Plus you need to dismount without injury. Sure, you could probably ride most anything with enough compromises and great care. I wouldn't, though. I think you are wise to stand firm on frame size first, then make minor adjustments for fit. I would expect my LBS to make these adjustments to a frame size I like so I can ride it that way before deciding to buy it.

God bless!

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Old 08-03-08, 04:01 PM   #23
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The right Ike.

They don't make 'em like they used to.
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Old 08-03-08, 04:09 PM   #24
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Sknhgy, call Wildtrak Bikes in Alton, and ask when/if the C'Dale trailer will be back- they'll have every size/model available for test rides, and will swap stems. It's a great opportunity if they're coming back this year. And they're right on the River Road, so test rides are easy. If C'Dale isn't what you want to end up with, at least you'll know dimensions that work for you. Also, I think Touring Cyclist rents bikes on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. might be able to try some different sizes there.
We went to a fitter and had a detailed set of numbers worked up. We then took the numbers to a local (Wildtrak again) and ordered LHTs.
I have dealt with Wildtrak in the past. They said to come in when I had time and they could try different stems, seat height, etc. I also noticed that they have Felts in there, so I was wondering about the possibility of ordering one of those. What is the Cannondale trailer?
While I would like to have a new road bike, I am in no hurry. I could see the possibility of spending over my budget, but hey, bikes are good things. There are a number of other bike shops around here. I will shop around and try other bikes.
Oh, the cubit thing came up right over the vertical tube on my other two bikes. So it was about 3" short of the middle of the handlebar.
If Wildtrak can order any type of bike I would be happy to deal with them. They are the easiest for me to get to.
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Old 08-03-08, 04:55 PM   #25
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sknhgy, In your original post you comment favorably on the Felt. Why not go back and give it a more serious ride?
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