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Old 04-13-08, 09:49 AM   #1
stevage
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Fitting dilemmas

After hours of ultimately fruitless testing, I went with a 54cm rather than 52cm Specialized Tricross Sport. But somehow I don't seem perfectly comfortable - I seem to be leaning on the handlebars more than I'd like, and slipping off the front of the saddle. This is after having had a raised stem (26 degrees, 110mm I think) put on.

I'm 176cm, and all the measuring I did seemed to indicate a frame of 53 or 54 is ideal. So I wonder where the problem lies:
- Odd bodily proportions (I don't think so...)
- Not flexible enough (I have very tight hamstrings, can only reach mid-shin with straight legs)
- Still not used to drops (previous bike was mtb, probably undersized, with very upright position)
- Fitting advice I received and read about tailored to performance riders rather than comfort.

And the solution? Changing frames is not a viable option, there's a no exchange policy.
- Order a taller stem/raise the current one higher
- Order a stem with less reach
- Adjust saddle? I've tried moving it forward and backward a couple of centimetres, no bliss yet.
- ?

It's not super uncomfortable, and I haven't done a long ride yet, but I just don't feel "settled", and there feels like more tension in my shoulders than there should be, and I'm constantly changing hand positions like a cat on a hot tin roof.

If anyone would care to offer suggestions, here are the measurements I took for wrenchscience.com:
Height: 69.50 in
Sternum Notch: 143.00 cm
Inseam Length: 81.50 cm
Arm Length: 63.30 cm
Shoulder Width: 41.40 cm
Flexiblity: 3
Weight: 78.00 kilo
Foot Size: 42.00 EURO

I'm dubious about whether I got the arm length correct though.

I don't really want to be sitting really upright, for obvious aerodynamic considerations, but I don't want to be in pain after 50ks either.

Thanks for any advice/suggestions/other.

Steve
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Old 04-13-08, 02:41 PM   #2
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Try tilting the nose of the saddle up a bit. Buy an adjustable stem and tinker with that.

Work on flexibility, only reaching mid shin suggests serious need to work on stretching. Take that slow though, it takes time.
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Old 04-13-08, 03:06 PM   #3
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Ok, I know next to nothing about these things but I manage to have opinions anyway: You have just bought a fairly expensive bicycle and it doesn't feel right. Big problem. The way it seems to me, though, everything that matters is adjustable, probably at no cost. If you just relax as best you can and ride the bike, I think the specific issues will become apparent. Or you can guess again and again. There are, after all, a lot of variables. Anyway, there's all the various seat adjustments, all the various stem adjustments and, conceivably, crank and tire issues. At some point in time, you will sort it all out and be happy as a clam. My current bike is about 9 months old and I'm still changing little things to try to get it set up just right. So Id say, give the bike, and yourself, a year and just keep on tinkering. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 04-13-08, 03:18 PM   #4
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Resist the temptation to tinker endlessly. If it's a road bike as the term is commonly-used, then it's a road bike and it will ride best when set up as one. But since you're new at it, it might feel odd at first, even if it isn't. I would set it up as close to possible as the common rules of thumb suggest, have the handlebars as high as the stem you have allows for, and just ride it. As a previous poster suggested, make sure that you actually are not sliding forward on the saddle. For this, first make sure that you are sitting in the actual "cradle" of the saddle, not behind it. Then adjust it for "knee over pedal" (which is a good starting point even if you might change it later). If you find that you scooch forward on it, you can try lifting the nose up a bit. Good luck.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:24 PM   #5
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Thanks for the tips. I can't work out how to tip the nose up yet. Will ask at LBS.

Steve
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Old 04-13-08, 06:37 PM   #6
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I really agree with the suggestion not to tinker too much -and it could be that you are just not used to the particular bike. FWIW, I rode a mountain bike that was too big for me, and that experience has stuck with me -to this day I prefer a bike that is bigger (and just cannot get on with smaller frames that *should* theoretically be ok for me) than perhaps other people and other fitting methods suggest. But, I'm comfortable -and after all, isn't that what it's all about?

I think the best thing to do would be to go to your bike store where you bought your bike from, and seek their opinion as to whether your bike is in a reasonable fit range (note use of word "range" here because I firmly believe a bike can fit someone with slightly different configurations -I think the human body adjusts remarkably well to a certain extent and the style of riding you adopt). Once you get a fit that is agreed upon by somebody who should have a reasonable idea, ride the bike for at least a couple hundred miles, maybe more, then fine tune if you think it's necessary. This is of course assuming you trust the bike store you bought the bike from to have good fitting knowledge.

There are other things you can change on your bike, but on the internet its the blind leading the blind; go to someone you trust who can actually see you, your bike position, can talk with you about the riding you do and personal preferences,etc.
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Old 04-13-08, 09:02 PM   #7
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Thanks. Everything I can think of to test, measure, read etc says the frame is the right size. I even did the "forearm from saddle to handlebars" test and could touch it easily - indicating that if anything, the saddle to bar distance is shorter than most people need for comfort.

I'll get working on that flexibility, too.

Steve
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Old 04-13-08, 11:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevage View Post
Thanks. Everything I can think of to test, measure, read etc says the frame is the right size. I even did the "forearm from saddle to handlebars" test and could touch it easily - indicating that if anything, the saddle to bar distance is shorter than most people need for comfort.

I'll get working on that flexibility, too.

Steve
Knee Over Peddle is a starting point and only that - It is not set in concrete! Another thing to look at is the front axle should disappear behind the bars. If you have the seat height set so that you are not over extending your leg (very slight bend with your heel on the pedal) try and get the top of the bars level or higher than your seat. All of that will increase your comfort level considerably. IMHO
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Old 04-14-08, 07:09 AM   #9
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Took it back to the LBS, after much not very enlightening discussion, we ended up sliding the seat a long way back, and tilting it backwards. I think it had gotten tipped forwards, so now it's pretty much flat.

End result: fantastic! I gather that compared to most road bike riders, I have a very upright posture, but this works for me, feels comfortable, and I have rediscovered the joy of cycling

He did do the measurement, in the end, my knee is slightly forward of the pedal spindle. The axle is behind the bars last I checked. The top of the bars is just higher than the seat.

I find I do use the drops, for headwinds and just really powering along, which is great: all three positions offer me something really useful. Happy.

Steve
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Old 04-15-08, 05:24 AM   #10
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Excellent! Happy riding......
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Old 04-15-08, 07:42 AM   #11
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Heh, after today's commute, I'm actually thinking about reducing the stem height again. I'm comfortable, I'm loving the ride, now I just want to go faster

Steve
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