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Parts swapping on a Diverge to better fit its use?

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Parts swapping on a Diverge to better fit its use?

Old 04-09-20, 12:05 PM
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danmyersmn 
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Parts swapping on a Diverge to better fit its use?

My wife rides a Specialized Diverge. Over the last few years she has never really taken to the drops. We installed the inline brake levers on the top of the drops and that is where she rides almost 100% of the time. In addition to this she has carpel tunnel and has had surgery on both hands and after riding for 30 minutes she gets numbness in her hands. Lastly she doesn't use the big ring in the front ever. She never has gotten the nack of shifting the front derailleur. We have talked a number of times about trying something new. The frame she is on now is aluminum but it is size 44 and she is 4'11" 100lbs.

We have talked about moving to a carbon bike to lighten the ride some. I don't know if this is a true benefit to cost. At such a small frame I don't believe the weight difference would be much? Possibly the carbon could be a bit heavier at this small size?

She does want to move from Mech to Hydro brakes. Currently it has a set of 105 mechanical calipers on it. Because of all the mentioned reasons above I am thinking about converting to a carbon flat bar with a set of Deore hydro MTB brakes and a Deore XT M8100 1x12 drive train. Can anyone come up with anything that would indicate this wouldn't work? One area I am a bit foggy about is running the brake lines through the frame for the rear wheel. Would the set come with the brake hoses apart for routing? If so, do you need to cut to fit?

I think the carbon flat bar with ergon grips will help with the hand issues a bit although I don't know how much chatter is in the bar with the future shock doing what it is supposed to do?

We have also considered moving to a 650b wheelset, possibly carbon. Being able to move onto something like 650bx47 at around 35psi would probably do wonders for the wrists but I don't know how the rolling resistance would be compared to the current 700x33.

Any feedback is appreciated!
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Old 04-09-20, 01:03 PM
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Fit is very important when it comes to controls. The levers should be at the same angle as the arms so the pull keeps the wrists at a natural angle.
Too tube length ,stem lenght ,lever size , bar width and saddle height all contribute to it.
Any of your ideas can work but it will depend on the fit of the bike if they work for your wife.
​I forgot to add her fingers should be able to reach the levers easily. It should be a simple movement to grab the lever.

Last edited by blamester; 04-09-20 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 04-09-20, 01:04 PM
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First she might benefit from raising and shortening the stem which relieves some of the weight on her wrists and forearms. Flat bars may help some but riding position is probably more important. She could also use the widest tires that will fit in that frame to add some extra cush along with lower air pressures. I believe that frame is a little on the stiff side and her being small and light just adds to the stiffness factor. Yes you could try a less stiff bike but doesn't have to be carbon fiber. Steel, CF and Ti can all be made stiff to cushy. With all you're considering doing to her present bike IMO you might just be better off buying a whole new bike and selling the Specialized. Take some test rides......when the shops re-open that is.
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Old 04-09-20, 01:37 PM
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You are talking about a number of changes that are not cheap on what I assume is a bike that is not that old. I would go out and try other bikes, like a hybrid with a flat bar, etc.. Try women specific designs as they tend to have shorter top tubes as women's torsos are typically shorter, as well as narrower bars. I would not spend money on new bars, hydroponic brake systems, etc, until I was sure the bike is right.
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Old 04-09-20, 01:46 PM
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You will need to cut/bleed the hydro brakes to install if you run the line internally and possibly externally as the line is a standard length and may be too long on a smaller frame. It is not hard to bleed the brakes and once done will not require near the hand strength to use compared to mechanical, I have/had both and hydro is soooo much nicer to use. The carbon wheels being lighter will make the bike easier to start pedaling and the wider tires will make for a more comfortable ride.

Depending how much you want to spend you may want to consider Di2 electronic shifting just requires a push of a switch to shift. All the parts can later be transferred to a better frame if wanted.
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Old 04-09-20, 02:26 PM
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You're looking at spending an awful lot of money for changes that might not be for the better. We've had customers bring in their bikes before asking for suspension forks, adjustable stems, triples with mountain cassettes... on their road bikes. What do we tell them? Stop. Stop it, you have the wrong bike.

A road bike is not comfortable like a couch, it's going to be anatomically correct for athletic riding. Decide right now with her what she wants from a bike. Is she willing to put forth effort, potentially a fair bit, to ride faster and more efficiently? If yes, have her get a professional bike fit. Then train.

If that doesn't sound appealing, get a different bike. You can still move at a decent click on an active bike, it's just not as efficient. Call your LBS and ask if you can trade in the Diverge towards a Specialized Roll or Alibi. It'll save you a lot of money and work better for what you want.

The last option is a recumbent. If back pain is at all a concern, take a good look at a trike. Trikes tend to have better geometry and handling characteristics than upright recumbents.

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Old 04-09-20, 02:44 PM
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Have you considered a professional bike fit? Generally any bending of the wrist in your bike position will eventually cause numb hands, so if she can find a riding position where there is no bend in the wrists would be helpful. It’s OK to not ride the drops, very few riders use them consistently these days.

I think hydraulic brakes are a good idea and maybe Di2 or SRAM E-tap for easier shifting. As mentioned, these components can be used on a different frame if she ultimately goes that route.

Stay away from hydroponic brakes, who knows what could grow in there.
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Old 04-09-20, 03:06 PM
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Ok every one is different, but I would avoid flat bars for people with carpal tunnel. that position is not at all naturally ergonomic drop your hands to your side....and you see naturally palms face in. IMHO flat bars make sense for mountain biking, but not so much any place else

professional fit is good idea

drop in weight from moving to carbon frame will not make any significant difference

you may want to consider moving the position of the current levers further up on the bars, or even first just twisting the bars up to better positio

Assuming you have mechanical disk, but not 100% clear, if bike is not set up for disk now, probably not practical to move to disk

with all of these changes it may be simpler/cheaper to move to a new bike...maybe a 1 x X setup?

good luck
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Old 04-11-20, 06:04 AM
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Thanks for all the info. I was thinking flatbar vs drops because of the difference in hand positions between the flatbar and on the hoods. When I remembered she always rides on the top flat part of the drops I realized I would not solve any problems. I am thinking the only change to look at now is the 65b wheels. I donít know if I mentioned the terrain but this is for national forest fire roads, **** service roads and minimum maintenance bird sanctuary roads. Lots of loose and road deformities.
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Old 04-11-20, 07:34 AM
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I still think you should go with flat bars for her symptoms. Yes, she can ride the tops of drops but her arms are turned inward. With a flat bar, you have a wider bar. I would even think about something like the FSA Metropolis bar that angles the hands out. Another bar is the MAP/Ahearne bar. This helps keep the arms to the outside of the body and helps with better control of the bike. It also helps in keeping the chest open, for easier breathing. Put the Ergon grips on as you have said and she might like it. Full disclosure here, my custom bike has MAP/Ahearne's with Ergons and I have three pair of FSA Metropolis bars in my parts bin because I like them so much.

Wheelsets and supple tires can make a world of difference in how a bike feels on the road. My recommendation, Rene Herse Loup Loup extra lights if going 650b. For the rides you describe, 47 mm is overkill. Tires in the 38-41 mm would be better. Changing to 650 will lower the bottom bracket a few mm but for the riding she is doing it won't matter. You would have to make sure the bike could handle the wider width tires, especially the fork. Carbon wheels to look at are the Light Bicycle wheelset. They have are inexpensive as carbon rims go but have a great reputation.

Good luck on finding something that works for here. There was some helpful advice already posted and of course some dogs to (which my advice may be also).
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Old 04-11-20, 11:40 AM
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You probably wonít be able to fit 650Bx47 in that bike. I converted a GT Grade to 650B that I had been running 700x35 tires on (and that claimed to have clearance for 700x38) and 47s wouldnít fit. Iíve got Pari-moto 650Bx42 on there now, and itís a noticeable improvement. In theory the bottom bracket is 5mm lower than it was with the 700x28 tires it came with, but that hasnít caused any problems for me.
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Old 04-11-20, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by danmyersmn View Post
Being able to move onto something like 650bx47 at around 35psi would probably do wonders for the wrists
How stiff is she inflating her 33mm tires right now?

35PSI is a crazy high pressure for a 47mm tire under a 100lb rider, more than enough even for smooth pavement. On my gravel bike with 52mm tires and a ~200lb bike+rider weight, I don't inflate above 30PSI for gravel riding, and even that gets rough sometimes.

If you have a Diverge and are considering a wheel change to increase tire width, I'm a little confused as to why you're running 33s right now in the first place. I thought the Diverge has pretty much always been spec'd to fit at least 38s.

but I don't know how the rolling resistance would be compared to the current 700x33.

If she's being rattled, going squishier will probably improve her speed. It's more mechanically efficient to roll smoothly over chunk than bounce off it.

The exact differences will depend heavily on the particular tire. The 2.1" tires on my gravel bike are faster even on pavement than some slow tires in skinny road sizes, although the setup certainly won't beat a road racing tire on aero road wheels.
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Old 04-11-20, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
I still think you should go with flat bars for her symptoms. Yes, she can ride the tops of drops but her arms are turned inward. With a flat bar, you have a wider bar. I would even think about something like the FSA Metropolis bar that angles the hands out.

Wheelsets and supple tires can make a world of difference in how a bike feels on the road. My recommendation, Rene Herse Loup Loup extra lights if going 650b. For the rides you describe, 47 mm is overkill. Tires in the 38-41 mm would be better. Changing to 650 will lower the bottom bracket a few mm but for the riding she is doing it won't matter. You would have to make sure the bike could handle the wider width tires, especially the fork. Carbon wheels to look at are the Light Bicycle wheelset.).
thanks for the feedback. It looks like the bar you mention is very much like the soma sparrow. I have one So I may be able to talk her into it. Currently she is not agreeing to switch to the flat bar. I think the bike fit idea might work as it will let me know if we have room for improvement with the current setup.

the reason I was looking at 65x47 was I planned to use the same tire as I run. Specialized pathfinder pro setup tubeless. I swapped over the front wheel and the bike has enough clearance. Iíll try the rear tomorrow.

whatever rim I end up picking I will lace the wheel myself. I am on the fence right now on aluminum vs carbon.

pics of the soma sparrow and 650x47 pathfinder pro.



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Old 04-11-20, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
How stiff is she inflating her 33mm tires right now?

35PSI is a crazy high pressure for a 47mm tire under a 100lb rider, more than enough even for smooth pavement. On my gravel bike with 52mm tires and a ~200lb bike+rider weight, I don't inflate above 30PSI for gravel riding, and even that gets rough sometimes.

If you have a Diverge and are considering a wheel change to increase tire width, I'm a little confused as to why you're running 33s right now in the first place. I thought the Diverge has pretty much always been spec'd to fit at least 38s.
I have 700x33 challenge gravel grinders on it because I swapped them on some time ago and need to find new tires. If I go to 650x47 it would probably be around 35/30psi to start. I ride 640x47 at 45/40 and anything below that and I few too squishy. I weigh 208 though not 100.

the wheel size change isnít to allow more width but to increase the air volume allowing for lower pressure and a smoother ride.
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Old 04-11-20, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by danmyersmn View Post
the wheel size change isnít to allow more width but to increase the air volume allowing for lower pressure and a smoother ride.
Because bicycle tires inflate roughly round, "increase width" and "increase volume" mean basically the same thing when shopping for tires. I'm using them more or less interchangeably.

In terms of optimizing for compliance, an argument could be made that tire height is actually the most directly-informative figure, since it's the travel of the tire "suspension."

If I go to 650x47 it would probably be around 35/30psi to start. I ride 640x47 at 45/40 and anything below that and I few too squishy. I weigh 208 though not 100.
If you weigh 208 and she weighs 100, your bike+rider weight will likely be somewhere in the ballpark of 90% higher than hers is. But your 40-45PSI is only 30% higher than the 30-35PSI that you're proposing to pump her bicycle to.
Pumping her 47mm tires to 30-35PSI is a lot like pumping your 47mm tires to 60-65PSI.

What pressure is she pumping her 33s to?
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Old 04-11-20, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
What pressure is she pumping her 33s to?
I have been running them at 60/65 But letís do this. It will be a cheap trial to swap out a set of 700x38 specialized pathfinder. If I set them up tubeless what would be a good psi to start with? Iím not afraid to admit that part of the problem is I have been running her tires too stiff?
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Old 04-11-20, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by danmyersmn View Post
I have been running them at 60/65

That sounds extremely high. I wouldn't even feel bothered running 33s on pavement at those pressures, and I'm 165lbs.

It will be a cheap trial to swap out a set of 700x38 specialized pathfinder. If I set them up tubeless what would be a good psi to start with?
I'd probably start her somewhere in the mid 20s. Even for the rear tire, I wouldn't start above 30PSI.

Last edited by HTupolev; 04-11-20 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 04-12-20, 12:12 PM
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Look for a flat bar with some sweep (9-15 degrees) but not full on townie style. Everything else such as the cost effectiveness of swapping and playing with tire pressure has been said and should be considered.
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