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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 09-16-10, 11:42 PM   #1
oneeyedhobbit
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Proper fit suggestions?

Recently upgraded from a U District to an 08 Madison. In love with it thus far. However, off the bat test riding it I knew the stem was way, way too long for me. I was able to get the shop to swap to a shorter stem with the promise that after a week or two if I still wasn't feeling it I'd be able to swap stems for minimal fee.

So its been a week or two and I still think I need to dial in my cockpit fit. I almost never ride the hoods even though I'd really like too because the reach seems a might bit long and my hands go numb riding them. Similarly I'm only really comfortable at the very very bottom end of the drops. Anytime I do long rides (I did 60 on Sun. to put things in perspective as far as "long" fixed rides go) I find myself constantly adjusting or riding the tops of the bars one handed so I can shake out the other/flex my fingers and get feeling back.

I took a look at Sheldon Brown, and he suggested either my bars my be a bit low, or my posture may be off. Since the U district was a pretty relaxed upright bike with risers and every other bike I've ever owned has been, I thought posture might be a good place to start, as I wasn't used to the geo on the Maddie. Having worked on that, I'm still experiencing the hand/finger numbness as well as pain in my palm. Sheldon also mentioned this may be a sign that your bars are too low.

So just looking for some suggestions to rectify this. My inclination is to go back to the shop and swap to a slightly shorter stem with a bit of rise. Would this be off mark?
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Old 09-16-10, 11:49 PM   #2
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My inclination is to go back to the shop and swap to a slightly shorter stem with a bit of rise. Would this be off mark?
That's a good idea. Sounds like your frame is too large for you (top tube is too long) but you might be able to rectify that by getting a shorter and higher stem. If that doesn't work I'm afraid your frame is too big for you which is a major drag.
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Old 09-16-10, 11:55 PM   #3
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What's the length of your stem right now? FastJake above said it the best.
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Old 09-17-10, 12:02 AM   #4
oneeyedhobbit
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If you guys are right about the frame simply being too big I'm going to about cry. The shop convinced me it fit well, and I just bought into the "sweet, I have an inch of standover" school of thought. I really hope that swapping to a shorter/higher stem helps then. The rest of the bike rides and feels like a dream to me, so here's hoping. The other thing they mentioned when I bought it was that the handlebars were obnoxiously long/large. Should this be something to consider?

Edit: By the by: The other day when I was cleaning/oiling my chain I noticed one of the teeth on the chain ring was definitely jacked up--looked like it had been folded over or something. Normally not something worth hassling the bike shop to me, but I've now dropped my chain twice in the past 5 days, and its kinda freaky riding up tempo on fixed. I'm pretty vigilant about my chain tension, as that and oiling the chain are about as far as my maintenance goes. Could this be due to the jacked up chain/should I be insistent on getting a new chainring on a ~2 week old bike or just roll with it?

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Old 09-17-10, 12:08 AM   #5
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You could fill out the fit calculator available at Competitive Cyclist and compare the end result with the frame's dimensions.

How wide are the bars?
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Old 09-17-10, 12:14 AM   #6
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The other day when I was cleaning/oiling my chain I noticed one of the teeth on the chain ring was definitely jacked up--looked like it had been folded over or something.
That doesn't sound good... Is it still in line with the other teeth? If not, you should either a) straighten said tooth, b) bend the tooth back and forth until it breaks off, or c) get a new chainring (I don't think they're terribly expensive.)
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Old 09-17-10, 12:27 AM   #7
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You might want to try moving your seat back. It requires more flexibility, but it may take some weight off of your hands. And depending on your setup it's something you can try for free.

And read this: http://peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
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Old 09-17-10, 07:08 AM   #8
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You might want to try moving your seat back. It requires more flexibility, but it may take some weight off of your hands. And depending on your setup it's something you can try for free.

And read this: http://peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
+1 to this... it sounds counter-intuitive, but you maybe pushed too far forward and off your center of balance causing you to LEAN on your hands
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