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  1. #1
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    Distance from handlebars

    Recently purchased a used Cannondale R600 CAAD 5 road bike which is great though, having ridden 70's and 80's road racing bikes previously, it seems to me the handlebars are a longer way away, perhaps 2 to 3 inches. No doubt great for a racing position, but a little tough on the neck and shoulders. Any ideas for obtaining a bit more comfort?

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    First, ensure that the stem is high enough. Height and length both contribute to a comfortable reach.
    Then swap the stem for a shorter model.
    M size bikes typically use a 100mm stem. You can go +-20mm with no serious change in handling. Switch to an 80mm stem.
    Make sure that the bars are not over-sized. Check the width and drop radius. M size bars are 42cm wide (C-C)

  3. #3
    Barbieri Telefonico huhenio's Avatar
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    Bike sizing .. almost an art.

    Be careful out there with the positions. My comfort bike is painful to ride and my road bike is comfortable.
    Giving Haircuts Over The Phone

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    Folks who have more than one bike often have gotten one of them set up so it fits them like a glove. Take careful measurements on THAT bike, and use those measurements to set up your new bike.

    The single adjustment that does the most for a rider's comfort on a bike is to put the bar height at its traditional (pre-Lance/pre-pretend racer) position: as high as the top of the saddle, or within an inch or so of the top of the saddle.

    Key measurements to know on your bike:

    - distance from the center of the bottom bracket bolt to the top of the saddle

    - the height from the top of the saddle to the floor

    - the height from the top of the bars the floor (the difference between the saddle and bar measurements are the "bar drop" measurement)

    - the distance from the back center edge of the saddle to the front edge of the stem

    - the distance from the back center edge of the saddle to the front center of the brake levers


    I use those measurements to set up a new bike to match the measurements on my "best fitting" bike. Even if two bikes are slightly different sizes, you can end up with identical fitting measurements after adjusting the saddle, and swapping out and adjusting the stem.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 03-27-06 at 06:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    I'm no bike sizing expert, by any means, but this is something that a wrench once told me.

    When you are riding on the hoods, look down at your front axle. It should line up exactly with your top bar. If you are sure your seat is adjusted correctly, then you may need a stem that will bring the bars closer to you.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

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    Thanks for all your help and advice

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston

    Key measurements to know on your bike:

    - distance from the center of the bottom bracket bolt to the top of the saddle

    - the height from the top of the saddle to the floor

    - the height from the top of the bars the floor (the difference between the saddle and bar measurements are the "bar drop" measurement)

    - the distance from the back center edge of the saddle to the front edge of the stem

    - the distance from the back center edge of the saddle to the front center of the brake levers
    It is really useful to record the position of your points of contact (POC: pedal/saddle/bars) but this is not the best methof. Measurements to the floor include bottom bracket height which plays no part in points of contact and can vary from bike to bike.
    I measue the POC in [xy] coordinates from an origin at the bottom bracket. It helps to mark with tape on the top tube where x=0 (using a plumb-line).

  8. #8
    Hellroaring Cycle and Ski
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridergi
    Recently purchased a used Cannondale R600 CAAD 5 road bike which is great though, having ridden 70's and 80's road racing bikes previously, it seems to me the handlebars are a longer way away, perhaps 2 to 3 inches. No doubt great for a racing position, but a little tough on the neck and shoulders. Any ideas for obtaining a bit more comfort?
    Wow, 2-3 inches is a lot! Buying the right bike in the right size is the best way of obtaining the comfort you seek. Have you measured the cockpit length on new and old bikes? (cockpit = center of saddle directly above center of seatpost clamp to center of bars). The most important measurement to know on your bike frame is effective top tube length. With that knowledge it's relatively easy to buy a bike that fits. At this point, if you're determined to make the C-dale work, I'd recommend a professional fit. Any decent shop should be able to perform a basic fit for you for between $30 - $50. It can save you a lot of neck pain, and a lot of trial and error type adjusting. good luck!

  9. #9
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    The products that do what you seek do exist. They do weigh something.

    Generally, whenever this happens, the bike frame is too small. This is not a problem.

    Dimension makes a severe angle UP stem that can correct a minor size error. The newer models are now securely welded for high durability.

    Tom Ritchey has an adjustable stem that performs a similar job.

    For a bigger problem,
    Delta makes a 3 inch riser that can correct one or two frame sizes depending if you put a stem on it facing up or down. Ideally, you will use this with a 90mm stem set facing down. This will restore the traditional "7" shape and balance to your bike. If the bike is really a mess, Tom Ritchey's adjustable stem can be used with this stem riser.

    Ideal steering does not come into play until the bike actually fits, but here it is.
    Put a yardstick onto the front axle. Make it paralell with the head tube. It should point to or touch a handlebar grip (well, from a side view, anyway).

    Basically, you should never be sitting with your back hunched or into a "C" shape, and you shouldn't be reaching as to slide off the saddle. Too far upright will make you slouch. At this point, you will catch wind severely, but anything slightly lower works just fine. Too far reached will make a hunching as you overextend. This will put your body's power into the front wheel instead of the rear wheel.
    Anywhere near the right measure will have your back straight.

    While North Road's and Trekking bars work great (look carefully, and you'll see a forwards grip position that can duck you out of the wind just as well as drop bars), these fare no better than drop bars if your bike is the wrong size. They do have the advantage of locating the shift-brake lever combos into a usable location. Nashbar's ahead for MTB adjustable stem can get these into the right place for you.

    With a very compact bike, the handlebars will usually go level with the seat.
    However, a longish bike will have the handlebars 1/16" above seat height.
    Drops with more drop provide a better combination of comfort and speed.
    These are maximum low figures, and you should know that you can sit higher than that without noticably increasing areo resistance.

    For performance, confirm your adjustments with a speedometer. You'll be in for a very nice surprise.

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