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Old 03-20-14, 03:37 AM   #1
gif4445
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When your comfort bike is no longer comfortable.

My Surly LHT has been my "comfort" bike for the last 2 years. Going from a Trek 1.2 (alum frame, short wheelbase, 23mm tires), I enjoyed the comfortable ride of the LHT (steel frame, longer base, 38mm tires). Purchased the Surly with a Brooks B17 that was great from the git-go. I've put over 7,000 miles on this baby on state rides and a couple 1000+ mile tours. Earlier this year I purchased a Specialized Roubaix Elite (CF). Love the bike! It is light, yet comfortable to ride. Makes the miles easier. The stock seat has been surprisingly comfortable. Took the Roubaix in yesterday morning for the 300 mile adjustment. So without it, I rode the LHT later in the day. Figured I had better put miles on it anyway, as I will still tour on it, and with fenders, it will be a wet road/rain choice for a ride. Only rode 20 miles, but it was far from the comfort ride I was used to. Of course I expected to exert more effort and with less than 400 miles in this year, I'm far from great cycling shape. But a lot of things seemed off. The Brooks saddle seemed to put some pressure on that "area". Hadn't really felt that much before. It also felt like my saddle was back too far, as my butt wanted to slide forward. When I made it a point to slide my arse back in the saddle and sit on my sit bones, it felt like I was reaching to be in the hoods. Stopped to look thinking maybe the saddle had tipped downward, but it actually looked like it was slightly tipped up. But honestly, I'm not sure if it has moved. Probably has always been that way. Maybe I need to get the bike fitted? Actually, I didn't get a fitting from the shop where I purchased it. I did the seat adjustments myself per youtube fitting videos and the bike rode comfortably from day 1. Or maybe I am experiencing a "growing" problem that is typical of advancing in age? The Roubaix has the split seat Romin Comp Gel, so I would think it would be better in that respect. Suggestions appreciated on my next step.
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Old 03-20-14, 04:07 AM   #2
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The morning shift says it may be a matter of last years fit and familiarity compared with the dragging it out for a ride and it just doesnt feel like used to. Tweak the seat level and maybe put more miles on it?
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Old 03-20-14, 04:46 AM   #3
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If you were fitted when you got the Roubaix, this'll be easy. Take the measurements from the Roubaix and transfer them to the LHT. Start with the seat height, measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat along the seat tube. Then use a plumb bob (I use a 3/8" socket tied to a length of thread) and measure from the tip of the seat, from where the plumb line crosses the chain stay to the center of the bottom bracket. Set the seat on the LHT to these measurements. On the Roubaix, measure from the tip of the seat to the shifters and use that measurement to set the bars on the LHT; you may need to get another stem for this to work. Take a straightedge (I use a visibly straight broom handle) and lay it across the seat from front to back and have it extend over the bars, then measure the height above the bars and transfer that to the LHT; you may need to add or subtract spacers. This has worked for me setting up the five bikes I have - they all feel the same in terms of fit.

A couple of notes...once the seat is placed, don't move it to refine the seat/bar distance. Also, a metric tape measure works better due to the finer gradations. You can get one by Park Tool from your LBS for ~$6.

Best of luck with it!
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Old 03-20-14, 04:54 AM   #4
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I think that a little discomfort in the early season is pretty typical so I wouldn't do anything too rash. I doubt, for example that your saddle has moved all by itself.

If it was my bike I think that I'd want to take it out another time or two just the way that it is. If it doesn't start to feel better by the time that you get your Roubaix back, line up the two bikes side-by-side and see how the handlebars, saddles and cranks line up. See if you can make your LHT match your Roubaix.
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Old 03-20-14, 04:57 AM   #5
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revchuck: There's a screen name that I haven't seen for awhile.
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Old 03-20-14, 05:13 AM   #6
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revchuck: There's a screen name that I haven't seen for awhile.
I started racing last year, mostly been hanging out in the 33 and the Master's racing forums.
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Old 03-20-14, 05:13 AM   #7
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The good Reverend goes to the Masters Racing Forum more, he needs to stay away from the craziness of the 50+ asylum, probably. Its nice to see him here and giving us the benefit of his wisdom, though.

Gif, those are two differently set up bicycles you are switching between, the Brooks and Romin Gel would be very different in the feeling they give you. I have a Brooks B17 on my old R500 and it is a different world when I get on it from the Prologo Kappa Evo I am riding on the CAAD 10. I need a bit of nose up (very slight) on the B17 but my Kappa Evo is dead on level, by a spirit level. I's offer to ride the LHT more and then see how much it seems to be off from the Roubaix. Maybe the different manner the road feel is dissipated by the frame materials is what is giving you the different feeling.

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Old 03-20-14, 05:23 AM   #8
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Actually, the "rev" part of my handle comes from my competitive shooting days, when I preferred revolvers over autoloaders. I'm in no way a man of the cloth.
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Old 03-20-14, 05:29 AM   #9
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Yeah, but its fun to throw that one around and see what falls out in those that aren't familiar...

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Old 03-20-14, 07:12 AM   #10
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I think revchuck is spot on. You should be able to recreate the same cockpit measurements on just about any bike. I've seven bikes that all get used and had similar experience to the one you described. However, it was the other way around. I was riding my Specialized S-Works Roubaix and it was find until I got my custom built Independent Fabrication Crown Jewel Titanium. Then the Specialized just didn't feel right. When I took specific measurements from the IF CJ and set up the Specialized the same way, it required a different stem. The positive difference was immediately noticeable. Learning from that I decided to setup all my bikes with those measurements as a starting point. In part, because I love tools, I looked for a way to make this easier. So, I purchased a drywall T-square from Home Depot (under $12), and a cheap cloth tape measure with metric measurements. I taped (using clear packing tape) the measuring tape to the T-square and use it for measurements. It makes it much quicker than using any other kind of straight-edge and tape measure. I have marked the saddle to shifters measurement on the T-square in black. So, now I just put the short section of the T-Square against the tip of the seat and lay the long section on the bars. I can see in an instant how far off I am. I also use it for the "center of bottom bracket to top of seat measurement". I place the short section of the T-square flat on the ground, see where the center of the bottom bracket is and count up the appropriate distance, and compare it with where the seat is. I've found this remarkably quick to do with this simple tool.
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Old 03-20-14, 07:55 AM   #11
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While the measurements on my bikes are similar, there is some difference in frame geometry and some a flat bar, some drop. Each of them is comfortable to ride, but if I ride a particular bike a lot, it can take a bit of getting used to when I switch to one of the other bikes.

In the spring, when I switch from my winter bike to the road bike, it takes a few rides before things feel natural again. I notice the same thing when switching from the road bike to my gravel grinder/touring bike. Another factor is my change in fitness. I often end up making minor tweeks to fit about mid-June as my strength, weight and flexibility change. In particular, I've noticed that over the years, my seats have moved a bit further forward and my bars lower.
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Old 03-20-14, 05:19 PM   #12
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I'm going with revchuck, too. You're not having a problem per se, you're just expecting it to fit like the Roubaix. If you get used to the Surly, the Roubaix will feel weird. Make 'em more like each other!
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Old 03-20-14, 09:16 PM   #13
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It sounds like you accidentally moved to a better fitting setup when you changed bikes and now the older bike doesn't feel as good as what you have become accustomed to. Make the old bike fit like the new one and you should be fine. Though subtle differences between the bikes may make slightly different setups better on each.
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Old 03-21-14, 01:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revchuck View Post
If you were fitted when you got the Roubaix, this'll be easy. Take the measurements from the Roubaix and transfer them to the LHT. Start with the seat height, measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat along the seat tube. Then use a plumb bob (I use a 3/8" socket tied to a length of thread) and measure from the tip of the seat, from where the plumb line crosses the chain stay to the center of the bottom bracket. Set the seat on the LHT to these measurements. On the Roubaix, measure from the tip of the seat to the shifters and use that measurement to set the bars on the LHT; you may need to get another stem for this to work. Take a straightedge (I use a visibly straight broom handle) and lay it across the seat from front to back and have it extend over the bars, then measure the height above the bars and transfer that to the LHT; you may need to add or subtract spacers. This has worked for me setting up the five bikes I have - they all feel the same in terms of fit.

A couple of notes...once the seat is placed, don't move it to refine the seat/bar distance. Also, a metric tape measure works better due to the finer gradations. You can get one by Park Tool from your LBS for ~$6.

Best of luck with it!
Thanks revchuck and all. I spoke with the LBS when I picked up the Roubaix and he said the same thing. Take the measurements and apply them to the LHT. I guess it kinda surprised me that things could turn the other way like that. It's all about the fit for sure. For now, I'm going to ride the Roubaix most/all of the time until it gets closer to my annual September tour. Then I will make the switch to the Surly. After the needed adjustments of course.
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