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  1. #1
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    second road bike help

    Hi all, I bought my road bike about two years ago, a 2013 fuji sportif 1.7c with tourney components and an aluminum fork. I rode it around campus the first year and a half (~2500 miles), but within the last four months or so I've started to ride longer distances in the hills around campus (20-40 miles looking to increase the long rides to 60ish). I'm signed up for a century ride in late September, and thinking I might want a nicer bike for the century.

    There are three primary reasons I'm looking to upgrade. First the sportif is very bumpy and transmits all the road vibrations and bumps straight into my body. Riding on Skyline, I find my hands and feet start to go numb after a couple miles. The roads I'm frequenting don't look to me in particularly bad shape. At least not compared to some of the pothole ridden affairs around my undergrad campus! I just feel that over the course of a longer ride a more compliant ride would be much more comfortable.

    Second, the 7-speed gearing is a little coarse sometimes. I think it would be easier to keep an efficient cadence with less space between the cogs. That and the thumb shifters aren't conducive to shifting on the drops. (As a side note, how often do you shift from the drops? I find even the lever shifts are difficult to manage from the drops due to small hands)

    Third, the sportif at 23 pounds is no light weight.

    I would ideally spend enough to hit the point of diminishing returns on my next bike, and not plan to buy another bike for another 5-10 years. I think I'd prefer carbon for my next ride. My wife's spesh ruby 09 is much smoother than my bike or the fuji roubaix '12 that my brother owns. I've been scouring CL in my area and was hoping for your input on my options.

    2009 Trek Madone 5.5 1200 USD
    TREK MADONE 5.5 BIKE - IN A GREAT CONDITION!!!

    2004ish?? Interloc Scandium 550 USD (not full carbon but has carbon seat stays and cheap!)
    Interloc Scandium Elite Road Bike, 52cm

    2010 Trek Madone 5.2 1200 USD
    52" 2010 Trek Madone 5.2 ultegra

    2010 Spesh Roubaix Expert 1150 USD
    2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert

    There are also some close out 2014 caad10 5s for 1200 at a local bike store. I've heard great things about caad10s, but I'm not sure that the race geometry and less compliant frame are for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a bit competitive by nature and love riding fast more than riding long, but the purpose of cycling rather than running is to prevent injuries, and I'd much rather be comfortable and slower than faster and injured.

    I'm a little put off buying new, since when I bought my first bike despite much advertising about finding the right fit, the most any shop did was to have me straddle a bike and adjust the seat post. Some shops even tried to put me on a 56 cm frame (I'm 5' 7") where I had difficulty reaching the brake levers! The higher end shops might be better, but with my previous budget I wasn't touching any of their road bikes. I feel like I got much better value by buying used when I was looking for my wife's bike.

    Sorry about the wall of text and thanks for your insight.

  2. #2
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    The 3 carbon bikes all look like decent deals especially for the SF market
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  3. #3
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    While I won't take issue with your wanting another bike, I think the reasoning you have put forth is...

    Your hands and feet are going numb because of fitting and setup problems. If you can't figure out how to set your current bike up, then buying another bike is not going to solve your problems, unless you figure out what the problem/s really are first.

    It sounds to me like your handlebars are too low or your seat is too high, and as a result there is too much weight on your hands. Buying a carbon bike is not going to fix that, unless the bike you are riding is the wrong size to begin with, and it can't be adapted to fit you properly.

    What kind of shoes and pedals are you using? The wrong size or fit of your shoes could be causing your foot numbness.

    Are you wearing gloves? Padded gloves that fit your hands properly could help with pressure on your hands, but you need to get your body position and bike fit right first.

    Better fitness and being able to spin in a wider range of cadence is a better solution than more gears. Maybe changing your seating position (fore and aft) will help.

    And taking a little weight off the bike isn't going to help your fit or cadence problems.

    Top tube length and reach are probably the most important things to consider when trying to figure out what size bike you should be riding. Many people argue that standover clearance is not important, I'm not one of them. Compact frames are the solution for people who have a longer than average torso to leg ratio. at 5'7" you might fit a 52cm, 54cm, or 56cm bike, depending on your leg length and whether the bike has a conventional horizontal top tube (normal, short or long top tube design) or the slanting top top of a compact design.
    Last edited by RoadGuy; 07-11-15 at 09:22 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
    Your hands and feet are going numb because of fitting and setup problems. If you can't figure out how to set your current bike up, then buying another bike is not going to solve your problems, unless you figure out what the problem/s really are first.
    Thanks for the extensive response RoadGuy. I'd love to save some money, if that's the case . I doubt my fit is ideal, but I'm not really convinced that it's related to bumpiness problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
    It sounds to me like your handlebars are too low or your seat is too high, and as a result there is too much weight on your hands. Buying a carbon bike is not going to fix that, unless the bike you are riding is the wrong size to begin with, and it can't be adapted to fit you properly.

    What kind of shoes and pedals are you using? The wrong size or fit of your shoes could be causing your foot numbness.

    Are you wearing gloves? Padded gloves that fit your hands properly could help with pressure on your hands, but you need to get your body position and bike fit right first.
    My handlebars and seat are approximately level. My position is actually pretty upright at the moment. I do wear padded cycling gloves, and they help a bit. I'm using shimano mtn shoes with spd's at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
    Better fitness and being able to spin in a wider range of cadence is a better solution than more gears. Maybe changing your seating position (fore and aft) will help.
    I've been getting much better at spinning at a wider range of cadences. I just dislike that the switch between gears can be a bit abrupt.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
    And taking a little weight off the bike isn't going to help your fit or cadence problems.

    Top tube length and reach are probably the most important things to consider when trying to figure out what size bike you should be riding. Many people argue that standover clearance is not important, I'm not one of them. Compact frames are the solution for people who have a longer than average torso to leg ratio. at 5'7" you might fit a 52cm, 54cm, or 56cm bike, depending on your leg length and whether the bike has a conventional horizontal top tube (normal, short or long top tube design) or the slanting top top of a compact design.
    This is very true. I've been toying with the idea of getting a professional fit done, but I've been put off by two things. First, I'm not sure who I can trust to do a good job, and I can't afford to waste money on a fit that doesn't help. Second, I'm a little leery of spending almost a quarter of the value of my bike on a fit, especially if I'm going to upgrade in the near future.

    According to the bike calculator, I would gain 30 seconds over the course of a 3 mile climb if I lose 5 pounds at the same power.

  5. #5
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    You have a Sportif with an AL alloy fork and a Tourney group.

    A carbon fork would help with the roughness of the ride. Getting slightly different wheels, going from 700c x 25mm 700c x 28mm would help, as you could lower the air pressure in the tires. Also check that you're not putting too much pressure in your tires. This article on tire pressure talks about how much air you should put in your tires, and has links to calculators that will tell you how much you need for your bike. This article talks about the topic in general. Doing these two things should help with your rough riding. I'd try tinkering with the air pressure first, then getting new tires, then getting a new fork. That way you're trying the less expensive things first to see if they improve your ride.

    The Shimano Tourney set is the lowest Shimano groupset that you can get. I'd try getting a Tiagra groupset, as that should help with your shifting issues. Some would recommend 105 or Ultegra, but that would require a change to the rear wheel hub. Tiagra won't.

    If you want to do something less expensive. Go to a local Performance Bikes, and try a road test with a Fuji Sportif with a carbon fork and Tiagra equipment. That's what I'm riding now, and I don't have the issues that you have.

    As RoadGuy mentioned, a fitting and gloves would help, also.

    GH

  6. #6
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    If you lose 5 pounds and improve your fitness, you could probably shave some time. A lighter bike is not going to shave 30 seconds off you time.

    You say you're riding pretty upright, and your seat and handlebars are pretty level? Are you locking your elbows, or do you have them slightly bent? Locking your elbows to hold yourself upright is going to make your ride more rocky, and make your hands go numb. You need to ride with slightly bent elbows the same way your knees should still have a slight bend at full stroke on the pedals to soak up bumps AND to not hyper-extend the joints.

    You don't need to have a professional fit done, but it would help if you video yourself pedaling, you can see your body positioning, or have a buddy watch you riding or video you. You might be able to pick up on positioning problems that way.

  7. #7
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    @ColaJacket

    According to the graph in the link you sent, if I weight 135 + 25 pound bike and split the weight 45/55 front and back I'd be looking at tire pressures of 65/75 psi for my 700x25 tires. That's below the lower limit specified written on the tire? Currently I'm running about 100 psi front and back. I tried the tiagra level sportif at performance before I bought my bike. I remember it being somewhat smoother, but the road conditions are better around the store as well. I remember it was nowhere near the difference between my wife's specialized ruby and my sportif though, and this was with her bike running 23 tires at 120 psi.

    I'm a little leery of upgrading my bike piecemeal. It seems that if I got a nashbar carbon fork (130ish) and a tiagra groupset (300ish) I'd be looking at the cost of the equivalent or better complete used bike on CL.

    @RoadGuy My fitness could certainly improve, I'm nowhere near the shape I was in when I ran XC and track, but I don't think I'll be able to lose a whole lot of weight. I'm pretty rail thin already. I took my timing calculations off of Bike Calculator. 8% grade 2.9 mile climb with 240 watts gives a time of 21.35 minutes with a 23 pound bike and 20.64 minutes with a 17 pound bike. That's more than a 30 second difference. Of course the 30 seconds is pretty trivial compared to the 6 minute improvement since I started riding, but it's always those last few seconds that are hard to chase.

    I'm not locking my elbows. I have my elbows slightly bent. I'll have my wife take a look at me riding round the block and see if she can pick up anything obvious. Thanks for the suggestions.

    It seems that the consensus is that upgrading isn't the wisest choice at the moment. I'll probably hold off unless I find a spectacular deal on CL, and wait until end of year or winter sales.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kankushok View Post
    @ColaJacket

    According to the graph in the link you sent, if I weight 135 + 25 pound bike and split the weight 45/55 front and back I'd be looking at tire pressures of 65/75 psi for my 700x25 tires. That's below the lower limit specified written on the tire? Currently I'm running about 100 psi front and back. I tried the tiagra level sportif at performance before I bought my bike. I remember it being somewhat smoother, but the road conditions are better around the store as well. I remember it was nowhere near the difference between my wife's specialized ruby and my sportif though, and this was with her bike running 23 tires at 120 psi.

    I'm a little leery of upgrading my bike piecemeal. It seems that if I got a nashbar carbon fork (130ish) and a tiagra groupset (300ish) I'd be looking at the cost of the equivalent or better complete used bike on CL.
    I can understand not wanting to update your bike piecemeal.

    If the calculator is suggesting tire pressures under the minimum on the sidewall, then only inflate to the minimum (which is probably less than 100 psi). You'd be amazed what taking 15-20 psi out of your tires will do to your ride.

    I have a Fuji Sportif with Tiagra and 700cx28 tires and a carbon fork, so I was just letting you know that those 3 things help a lot in the smoothness of the ride.

    Of course if you can find a good used bike for $400-$500 that has these things in your size, then that would be a better deal. And you could probably sell your bike for ~$300, so the upgrade cost would be less. Or you could up your budget to ~$800 and try to get a bike with 105 components.

    GH

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