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Old 11-16-11, 02:32 PM   #1
mcmike4817
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Advice needed

I just decided to get into biking for exercise and challenging actives. A short time ago I bought a used Trex 7000 from a relative. It's in pretty good shape but I found the after I adjusted the seat I lean so far forward while riding that a lot of my weight is resting on my wrists and my hands go numb. I took it to my LBS to find out what I could do to relieve the situation. They recommended that I get a handlebar stem extension and new ergo grips. The problem with this is that 3 of the cables have to be replaced. I paid about $175.00 for the bike and the LBS wants about $200.00 for new cables, stem extension, adjustable handlebar stem, grips, seat, and labor. They also showed me a new 2011 giant roam 1 for $479.00. By the way I'm 62 yrs old. The question is should I put the money int fixing a k20 yr. old Trex 7000 or be better off getting a bike like the giant roam 1?
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Old 11-16-11, 02:54 PM   #2
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My opinion...

An older bike can ride just as well as a newer bike. The important issue is proper fit.

Whether you persue proper fit on your present machine or on a new machine is up to you based on you desires and the extent of your finances.

Which ever you choose, Enjoy!!

Last edited by cranky old dude; 11-16-11 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 11-16-11, 03:19 PM   #3
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Hey, Cranky old Dude, why didn't you suggest a recumbent?

I too have bicyclist palsy, the version of carpal tunnel syndrome that causes your hands to become numb when you put pressure on the palms. I got mine from too many thousands of miles riding a bicycle and from being a long-time motorcycle rider. I tried all of the things your bike shop owner suggested - using a shorter stem and adding a handlebar riser. It helped to postpone the numbness but it really doesn't completely eliminate it. I sure as heck didn't need a new seat and new cables. You can buy both the short stem and handlebar riser from Bike Nashbar for less than $50. It probably took me half an hour to install them. You simply slide the grip, brake handle and shifter housings off the handlebars on one side and slide the bar out of the current stem. Reverse the procedure with the new stem. It helped but certainly was no cure. The less pressure I put on my palms the better but every regular bike puts some pressure on your hands.

Before you buy a new bike, are you sure that it will cure your problem? I did the same thing with buying motorcycles because my hands would go numb on long rides. Even buying a $$$ BMW motorcycle didn't make a difference. I needed something that I didn't have to grip the handlebars for hours. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist for motorcycles but it does exist for bicycles. It's called a recumbent. I own several, all with underseat steering. I have no problems with numb hands even after riding them for hours on end.
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Old 11-16-11, 06:34 PM   #4
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Thanks for advice, I'll look into those before I decide what to do. I think I would still like to do some trail riding too if I get the chance. I don't think hat would be possible with a recumbent bike. I guess i could keep the Trex for that though. Just more things to consider.
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Old 11-16-11, 07:23 PM   #5
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What I don't get is that you are leaning too far and they want to make the stem longer??

Can you show us a pic of you on the bike from the side showing the pedal as far down as it will go?


Raise Dat Stem!

by Bob Gordon

A flat back is one of the hallmarks of an experienced cyclist, particularly a racer, and over the years I have seen the prevailing attitudes towards rider positioning devolve to the point where if you don't cycle with your back parallel to the ground, you're cast off as a beginner.

But like many other concepts recreational riders adopt, the low back originated in the professional ranks after extensive research in aerodynamics proved this would help the fast go faster. Competitive athletes routinely sacrifice both their short and long term health for the express purpose of winning, but you may have a different agenda.

Lower back disc problems peak the ages of 30 and 50. There are many causes, but if your back pain is exacerbated by riding, it's a good bet the cause is bouncing around on your bike while your lower spine is extensively flexed (loss of lower back arch). A low, forward torso causes the inner portion of the disc (the nucleus purposes) to press back against the outer restraining fibers (the annulus fibroses). This pressure eventually causes the disc to bulge or herniate. The nearby nerves get squeezed, and the next thing you know, someone like me is telling you you have sciatica.

Cycling mitigates some of the problems of a habitually flexed lumbar spine because of the "bridge effect" that's created by resting some of your weight on your hands. But the lumbar region and its soft tissues are still at risk just by being continuously hyper flexed, and if you sit all day at your job, the danger is compounded.

On the flip side, cycling entirely upright does not solve the problem either. True, the inter-vertebral discs and spinal ligaments are in a more neutral position and absorb shock better, but the load is now transmitted axially, which is fatiguing and jarring. Also, in a bolt-upright position you can't use your gluteus or hamstrings to great advantage, which means your thighs (quadriceps) get overworked, you lose a lot of power, the unused hamstrings and gluteal muscles go flabby, and you catch all that wind. It's hard to be happy about all that, racer or no.

There is, however, a position that allows good performance while minimizing risk of lower back injury. I like a stem height and length that puts your back about 50 degrees from horizontal, while your arms and legs bend slightly at the elbows, as shown in figure 2 up there. To achieve this, you'll probably have to raise your bars, and assuming you want to keep the same bar style (as opposed to riding with stingray bars or something), that usually means getting another stem, one with a taller quill or a steep rise to it. If you hit the sweet spot, a photo of you from the side will reveal a nice pyramid composed of top tube, torso and arms.'
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Old 11-16-11, 07:52 PM   #6
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Kudos - you asked for advice, instead of what most people ask for - advise. This gets you a step ahead already.

As to bikes, my thought would be to start with a bike that you know fits you from the start, instead of messing around with a stem, etc., on a bike that may never be properly adjusted to your body.

Anyway, which ever way you go, enjoy. And, the fact that you are 62 should influence your decision in no way at all - heck, some of us have 10 to 15 years on you!!
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Old 11-16-11, 08:50 PM   #7
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Kudos - you asked for advice, instead of what most people ask for - advise. This gets you a step ahead already.
"Please advise me of your advice." Have I got it right?
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Old 11-16-11, 09:16 PM   #8
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As was mentioned above, saddle tilt is extremely critical. You do not want to be sliding forward, although tilting the nose too far up causes obvious problems, as well.
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Old 11-16-11, 09:40 PM   #9
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Besides saddle tilt, the saddle should not be too far forwards. People sometimes move the saddle forwards to decrease the reach to the bars. Moving the saddle moves your center of gravity forwards which puts more weight on the hands.

If you moved the seat up to get the correct leg extension then the bars may be too low. You can put spacers under them, flip the stem, or get a stem that raises the bars.
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Old 11-17-11, 06:51 AM   #10
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A lot of good advice so far, so here is my 2 worth. I'm with DnvrFox on this one. Always start with a proper frame fit. You could spend the $200 at the LBS and do what they suggest or get the parts on-line for much less and do it yourself. However, if the frame isn't the right size for you, then you have just wasted your money and all the adjustments in the world isn't going to help. If the frame you have is one size under or over the frame size that you need, then you might luck out to where replacing some parts and making some adjustments will compensate for the improper frame size. However, it may not totally solve the problem, especially if you change your riding style.

I would try taking it to another LBS and see what they suggest on the frame size, since the one you already visited will be set on selling you the $200 worth of parts and services. If the frame size is the issue, a different bike is in your future if you plan on putting a lot of miles on it. If your goal is to "get into biking for exercise and challenging actives", then you don't want a bike that doesn't fit properly and hurts your body every time you ride it, even if it was a good monetary deal when you bought it.
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Old 11-17-11, 07:25 AM   #11
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A photo would help a lot if we are dealing with specific fit issues between you and your bike. Or at least knowing your height and the bike frame size etc. For example a smaller frame and a taller rider requires a long seat post to get the legs right and that leaves the bars quite low for a rider that wants a comfortable riding position. Comfortable and upright are two different things as mentioned above. On the other hand a frame that is too large will have a low seat post and the stem will be in a reasonable height but the larger frame will have a longer top tube and force the arms out to far and overreaching will also put a lot of stress on the hands. In both cases people doing self-fitting tend to inch the saddle forward in an attempt to help with the low bars or help with the reach. In doing so they don’t realize they are leaving the center line of the crank behind. In a properly fit bike a great amount of your weight is carried by the legs and supported at the peddles. Try standing with your butt and heals to the wall and then touch your toes you will fall forward and if you place a chair in front as you bend for support you will feel a lot of weight on the hands. Now move out from the wall so that your butt can counterbalance your weight as you bend and you will find the chair will steady you but not carry much of your weight. The same is true in bike fitting.

Changing bars is the common fix as are shorter and steeper stems that are longer and taller. You may need to raise the bars, bring them back to you and or change the stem. I like the adjustable stems for someone getting back into riding because within the first few months you will see rapid improvements in your riding and will most likely want to tweak your position more. More hand positions are a great help with numbness and also the slight change in back angle will help with pain. There are too many handlebar types to talk about and another option that requires little change to the bike are bar ends. They were invented to give a more forward hand position for climbing but many people also use them to give a raised hand hold. In the case of bar ends you can leave your brakes and shifters alone or with a slight bar change the cables will be long enough. With a large frame some type of swept back bar will work wonders.

In all cases keep “late’s” advice in mind. Your happy spot won’t be back flat to the ground or straight upright. You may feel the totally upright position feels right at first but as he points out you will be working some of the muscles too much and leaving some of the larger ones unused. Wind resistance will also get you, it’s surprising what that little bit of angle does for you. And at all cost don’t get that saddle too far forward, nose up or down won’t solve a problem when you are in the proper location on the bike you won’t have the tendency to move front to back on the saddle.

As to wrenching on your bike. It’s not that hard doing these things and many find it a fun activity to work on bikes. If it comes to you needing new cables even its not that big of a job to tackle on your own. There are forums here that will walk you thru any and all repairs. The advantage of doing your own fitting is you can make lots of attempts and slight changes on your own. And then ride a few days and try another slight change until it’s what you want. Many people get fitted once at a LBS and then are afraid to improve on that as to not feel like they are pestering the bike shop all the times.
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Old 11-17-11, 05:41 PM   #12
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Well you have a lot of what you ask for, "advice". Let us know what you decide. I too have a your problem and I have had several professional fits, so there is not guarantee that another bike will solve things. However if your bike is in need of repair and is not the right size for you... Good luck.
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Old 11-18-11, 03:14 AM   #13
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Alright! You've got a ton of great information here to absorb.

Armed with all this knowledge you could take your bike into a good bike shop and ask some specific questions. Is this frame the right size for me? Can this bike be adjusted to fit me? What bikes do you sell that will fit me? What advantages do those new bikes have over the bike I currently own? Will I really notice a difference with the newer, more refined components?

You can then confidently decide what will be best for you.
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Old 11-20-11, 09:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmike4817 View Post
I just decided to get into biking for exercise and challenging actives. A short time ago I bought a used Trex 7000 from a relative. It's in pretty good shape but I found the after I adjusted the seat I lean so far forward while riding that a lot of my weight is resting on my wrists and my hands go numb. I took it to my LBS to find out what I could do to relieve the situation. They recommended that I get a handlebar stem extension and new ergo grips. The problem with this is that 3 of the cables have to be replaced. I paid about $175.00 for the bike and the LBS wants about $200.00 for new cables, stem extension, adjustable handlebar stem, grips, seat, and labor. They also showed me a new 2011 giant roam 1 for $479.00. By the way I'm 62 yrs old. The question is should I put the money int fixing a k20 yr. old Trex 7000 or be better off getting a bike like the giant roam 1?
If your paying someone else to do all the work on your Trek , then yes get the new bike. It fits right, no maintenance for quite awhile and you have no more worrys
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