Late last fall, I received a new bike built up after careful measurements and discussion of my needs/desires by the LBS. I went from a traditional geometry, 53cm cannodale (it may have been slightly too large) to a smaller, stock, compact ti frame. The shop advised me to ride it for several months before making any adjustments to the fit. I'm finally getting in my miles after a cold winter and too much running. During this time, this is what I've noticed and it has me slightly concerned. Your thoughts are appreciated.
1. When in the drops, I feel more cramped than previously. Looking up in a tuck is more difficult and I find that I'm straining more to keep my head up and eyes on the road (and all the wind goes right into my glasses unlike before).
2. While in the drops in a fast descent, I have felt some wobble in the front end. I think I have felt this on some faster straight aways while on the hoods, but with one hand briefly removed. Certainly, I need both hands on for stability, but I've never felt this much shimmy (perhaps it was wind or my pedal stroke during those brief moments) or instability. The worst occurred with some strong wind from rear and side. (and everything seems to be tightly bolted)
3. While on turning at speed, I sometimes feel like i'm not entirely planted on the saddle. That is, I AM seated, but I feel like I'm hovering between the bars and saddle--not as connected to the rear end and not pressing overly hard on the bars. Perhaps I'm perfectly situated between both?
Anyway, it is time to contact the shop for some opinions, cable adjustments, etc. What, if anything do you suggest? A more stable fork? (LBS gave me three fork options: 1) race oriented; 2) stable; or 3) best of both. I chose #3--Ouzo pro). Thanks for your insight and suggestions!
PS--When in the hoods, I can see the front hub behind my bar. I was told that the "cover the hub" theory is not always correct.
As for #1 above, perhaps you need a stem with a bit less of a negative slope (i.e., change from a -6 to 0-degree stem)? Another thought which proved true for me was that a set of bars with a shallower drop made all the difference in the world. A different stem would have placed me in a less desireable location on the hoods, but the same stem with deeper dropping bars gave me the same problems you're describing. Shallower bars gave me the best of both worlds. Prior to the shallower bars I just couldn't understand how people could ride comfortably in the drops. WITH the new bars though, it felt custom-tailored to me.
#3: just a stab in the dark (probably somewhat uneducated of me), but maybe this is partially the difference in feel between an aluminum and Ti frame? I'm guessing there's probably more to it than just that, but I also imagine that's at least part of the difference you're feeling.
As for that "front hub" line of sight issue, I've heard that with today's more compact geometry, that measurement standard is kind of a thing of the past and not applicable anymore....or, so I'm told.
Frame shimmy happenes to the best and worst of frames but should be very rare in a high quality frame. Sometimes just the right speed and trailing cross wind set up a harmonic vibration , usually dampening the top tube with your knees for a few seconds will kill it. I have only expeinced this in 50MPH + descents. The neck issue is probably due to a new lower bar position and a winter of relative inactivity. Could be made more comforatble with a stem adjustment , then you can incrementally re-establish your current postion without so much discomfort involved.I wouldnt replace any thing at this point. Hovering off the saddle is once again due to a lower bar position than you are used to. Back it off to a more comfortable postion then work to re-establish the current set up in small steps.
Thanks for the input, Ryan and Curious. Much appreciated. I am not sure the frame is actually shimmying, but more the front wheel (bar to wheel).
I will reassess the "hovering" (for lack of a better word) issue. It feels like I should just have a slight bit more weight on my sit-bones or at least make an adjustment so that I feel more glued to it.