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Old 06-06-05, 07:38 PM   #1
yajeflow
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newb question

i USED to ride a dirt bike when i was a kid. unfortunately, that was a couple of decades ago. ahem.

i would like to get a new bike.

1. has to be comfortable to ride
2. i don't like having my knees get squished at the top
3. i have to have it do some off-road stuff
4. price is no concern

in my search thus far, i first looked at mountain bikes. i checked out some canondale things. every one of them has the seat above the bars. VERY uncomfortable. it doesn't feel balanced at all. i don't think i could ever get used to that. i want to be able to sit up, or at least be reasonably upright. the frame also seemed low profile, the the cranks weren't too far from the seat. this gave me the 'knee squish' feeling. it was the correct size there, since i had full extension at the bottom. that makes me think that the cranks were too long for my wants. are different length cranks an option??
i now have read about two alternatives to these mountain bikes - 'hybrids' and 'comfort'. those might be more of what i am looking for. to me, a bike is a bike is a bike, for the most part. i used to shred on a 10-speed decently enough, so something that is 100% made for a certain feat is really unimportant to me. from what i see, these two alternatives both have 'normal' tires instead of knobbies. i would hope that knobbies are something that i could put on one should i opt to go in this direction.
so, basically, i am looking for a 'mountain/off-road' bike that has a more relaxed/comfortable feel to me.
i'm sure that this is no uncommon desire. i didn't see any recent posts on the topic, so maybe it is time to revisit the subject. even in my early scouting, i noticed that mountain bikes are much more expensive than hybrids/comforts. this is slightly alarming, since i would like to be sure i get a top bike (if i go the comfort/hybrids way). if i get an actual 'mountain' bike, is there any way to have the bars sit at a more upright position? longer gooseneck, higher bars, etc.

thank you all for any help that you can provide. i'm trying to educate myself before making this purchase so i don't make a mistake.

j
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Old 06-06-05, 07:59 PM   #2
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If by off-road stuff you mean cycle paths in the woods then you may be better off with a comfort bike. If however you mean single track, cross country or even trails then you would be better off on a mountain bike. You must decide what sort of riding you are really likely to do. For sure though its easy to get the feel you want from a mountain bike. There are all sorts of adjustable headstems (goosenecks) available and myriad choices of handlebar profiles, the seat-bars-pedals relationship you want should be achievable. Re crank length I dont know what size the cranks on the bike you tried are but there are also a few different crank lengths available. The range is not great however and I think the problem you mentioned of "knee squish" is probably more about frame sizing. Find yourself a reputable bike shop, find two or three if you can, talk to them about sizing and dont buy anything until you are comfortable with the fit and the bike shop.

edit: If you tell the lbs that price is no concern their all going to show you the most expensive bikes they have regardless of wether or not thats what you need. The cannondales you mention sound like lightweight cross country (xc) weapons- not what you want or need just yet. Tell them your requirements before price comes into it.

Last edited by harov3; 06-06-05 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 06-07-05, 05:20 AM   #3
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Avoid the hybrid/comfort bikes, as they don't generally feature the standard 26'' MTB wheel. They will limit your tire selection. Look for a more relaxed trail bike, not the Cannondale XC race bikes. Do you have unusually short legs? If you're getting full extension with one leg, but feel the other one is too high, there is something not right. As far as the seat/stem situation, you need to be properly fitted to your bike, regardless of price. Stems come in different lengths for more or less reach, and offer varying amounts of rise as well. Keep in mind that this will change the handling of the bike, so it's important that you work that into the fit configuration at the start. A riser bar, rather than a flat bar, will also offer you a more upright position. Find a competent shop, try a few bikes, then come back and ask more questions.

*You state price is no concern, yet express alarm that MTB are so much more than comfort/hybrids. The Lexus RX300 and LX470 may both be 4WD, but consider that one is good for nothing more than snow and dirt roads, while the other can tackle most anything the Aussie outback can throw at it. Yes, they appear more expensive, but they're made with more durable parts, and a considerable amount of money has gone into engineering.
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Old 06-07-05, 06:48 AM   #4
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I'll ask this here rather than making a new thread - Regarding the riding position - my new MTB has me riding in a much more bent over position than my old (14 years) rigid frame MTB. The saddle is higher than the handlebars. While not exactly uncomfortable, it does feel strange. After about 2.5 hours yesterday my neck was getting sore. Is this normal and will I get used to it?

My bike feels great when riding on trails but not so great when riding on the road to get to the trails.
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Old 06-07-05, 07:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh M
I'll ask this here rather than making a new thread - Regarding the riding position - my new MTB has me riding in a much more bent over position than my old (14 years) rigid frame MTB. The saddle is higher than the handlebars. While not exactly uncomfortable, it does feel strange. After about 2.5 hours yesterday my neck was getting sore. Is this normal and will I get used to it?

My bike feels great when riding on trails but not so great when riding on the road to get to the trails.
You shouldve started a new thread.

Youll get used to it if you ride like that often. My neck has never been sore in the 2 years that I have been riding. Granted, I raise my seat maybe 1/2 an inch over the bars on extreme climbing conditions only. Otherwise its exactly level with the seat.

Yajeflow, you couldve adjusted the seat on the Cannondale you know. I dont know what size or type bike you test rode but it probably wasnt suited for you. If you know what type of riding youll be doing, itll be easier for us to help you find a bike.
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Old 06-07-05, 12:16 PM   #6
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harov-
it sounds like i would best be suited to a MTB...but one that i can make fit. thanks for the info on availability of different goosenecks and bars. the guy i had talked to at a shop seemed to think that there wasn't an option there. he was adamant about being 'forward' on the bike. also, i truly see the need for a reputable bikeshop.

expatriate-
the limited tire selection is what i was afraid of. darn it. as far as the extension thing goes, my legs are normal sized, i think. since i have full extension on the bottom, but tight at the top, that could happen with any length of leg, i believe. for example, full extension was perfect at the bottom. but i need something that doesn't travel as high on the top. frame wouldn't really matter, since the bottom extension shows a proper distance. this leads me to believe that a shorter crank would be the answer. i think/hope.
my concerns about price are that i don't want to get something second-rate if i get a hybrid. i want something with excellent parts that suits me best. if the most i can spend on a non-MTB is $800 - that concerns me. it makes me think that i am not getting top-notch parts.

troie-
if i adjusted the seat on the cannondale, then the extension on the bottom would've off, since it was fine. my problem was at the top. i honestly can't see that it could be anything other than crank length.

so, in the long-run, it looks like i will get a mountain bike. but only one that is fixed up to be exactly what i am looking for - shorter cranks (or cranks that fit me better), a seat that sits lower than the bars, riser bars, and a longer gooseneck. you can laugh at my big ol' cushiony seat if you see me out and about, too. my soothed backside will laugh right back!

i'll let you know what i come up with soon. i will certainly try out as many as i can.

a new question:
let's say that i need/want different cranks, a different gooseneck, a different seat, and different handlebars. who picks up the cost of this? i'm not sure what is correct in the bike market for negotiating, basically. i wouldn't want to buy a bike that doesn't suit me, so why should i have to pay to get it that way? i am the customer. sell me a bike that fits, right? or...is that just the way it goes?

thanks
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Old 06-07-05, 01:08 PM   #7
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The "squish up top" you are referring to...is that your upper thigh coming into contact with your belly? Ive got a big gut and my leg does that but the bike is fitted for me perfect...its my own dimensions that make it happen...not the bike.
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Old 06-07-05, 03:10 PM   #8
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Cannondale uses their proprietary front suspension with matching stem, so there's limited choice there, and they're not cheap. Cranks come in a few different sizes, but you need to come to terms with the fact that one leg goes up when the other is down. 5 or 10mm difference in crank length is not going to change that much. My guess is that you were hunched over some XC bike, with your knees coming up into your armpits. When you get into a more upright position, that issue will probably become moot. Sounds like you want a stem of 90mm or less, about 10 degree rise, with a 1.5-2" rise bar. That will keep you nice and upright, assuming the rest of the bike is sorted properly. Who pays? You. But your shop should be able to work out some deal on the various upgrades. Many times they'll keep your original parts, and sell them as "Take-offs". You may even find that they have some take-offs that would suit you. Find the bike that fits, then fine tune it to your liking.
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Old 06-07-05, 03:18 PM   #9
yajeflow
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"kritter The "squish up top" you are referring to...is that your upper thigh coming into contact with your belly? Ive got a big gut and my leg does that but the bike is fitted for me perfect...its my own dimensions that make it happen...not the bike."

nope. my knee joints hurt after an hour of riding. i have been riding a beach cruiser lately that does that. ideally, i wouldn't want them to get less than 45 degrees, but it seems like they get closer to 30 degrees.
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Old 06-07-05, 03:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatriate
Cannondale uses their proprietary front suspension with matching stem, so there's limited choice there, and they're not cheap. Cranks come in a few different sizes, but you need to come to terms with the fact that one leg goes up when the other is down. 5 or 10mm difference in crank length is not going to change that much. My guess is that you were hunched over some XC bike, with your knees coming up into your armpits. When you get into a more upright position, that issue will probably become moot. Sounds like you want a stem of 90mm or less, about 10 degree rise, with a 1.5-2" rise bar. That will keep you nice and upright, assuming the rest of the bike is sorted properly. Who pays? You. But your shop should be able to work out some deal on the various upgrades. Many times they'll keep your original parts, and sell them as "Take-offs". You may even find that they have some take-offs that would suit you. Find the bike that fits, then fine tune it to your liking.
thanks a bunch, expatriate. i sure was hunched over on that MTB, so the 'squish' was accentuated. and my cruiser is just plain too small, so i 'squish' on that one. maybe i should get one of those bicycles with the pedals. i understand that harley davidson makes some nice ones. ; )
it is nice to know that i at least will have the ability to modify a bike to fit me, no matter the hassle/cost. if you aren't comfortable, then you won't enjoy it.
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Old 06-08-05, 01:11 AM   #11
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If you have say, $1000 to spend, better to pay $100 for fitting and get a $900 bike than spend the whole wad on a bike that doesn't fit. I have a garage full of bikes, including 3 custom frames, and import gear all the time. I have no problem getting the right fit. But it's much harder to go it alone, especially if you don't know what you're doing.
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