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Question for Ex-Clydes or Soon-to-be-Ex-Clydes (or anyone who has lost weight!)

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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Question for Ex-Clydes or Soon-to-be-Ex-Clydes (or anyone who has lost weight!)

Old 01-26-15, 07:08 PM
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Question for Ex-Clydes or Soon-to-be-Ex-Clydes (or anyone who has lost weight!)

As you've lost weight, have you found that your "reach" has increased? (IE: the distance from saddle to handlebar).

I'm having one hell of a time finding bikes that fit me and it seems like even the bikes with the shortest reach are very difficult to get to the handlebars. I have this theory that my gigantic stomach is getting in the way of my flexibility and possibly even forcing my spine to bend at an awkward angle, and I'm kind of hoping that as I lose weight, this problem will mostly solve itself.

Any ideas?
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Old 01-26-15, 07:34 PM
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As your flexibility improves, your "reach" will naturally improve so your theory is probably correct. Raising the stem has the effect of shortening reach, and lowering it has the opposite effect in addition to the normal means of lengthening or shortening the stem. I actually bought short reach handlebars on my last bike and on my current bike, I kind of wish they were regular reach bars, even though I now have a longer stem.

Do you have unusual proportions? (legs vs torso vs arms?)
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Old 01-26-15, 09:12 PM
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I believe my legs are shorter than normal and my torso longer than normal. Standover height is by far the biggest limiting factor in frames for me.

I bought a fatbike with a lot more reach than I'm used to (even though it was the shortest reach fatbike on the market!), but it's killing my back, even with a very high-angled stem installed. Tonight I got a 30mm riser bar installed, so we'll see how it feels tomorrow.

If that doesn't work I'm not sure what I'll do.
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Old 01-26-15, 09:15 PM
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How long is the stem on the bike? From the picture in the other thread, it looks pretty long, but that might just be camera angle. Maybe a shorter length stem is the ticket?
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Old 01-27-15, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
I believe my legs are shorter than normal and my torso longer than normal. Standover height is by far the biggest limiting factor in frames for me.

I bought a fatbike with a lot more reach than I'm used to (even though it was the shortest reach fatbike on the market!), but it's killing my back, even with a very high-angled stem installed. Tonight I got a 30mm riser bar installed, so we'll see how it feels tomorrow.

If that doesn't work I'm not sure what I'll do.
Buy a shorter stem? This is what I did when I was having issues with the reach on my bike. You can pick up stems pretty cheaply (I got an FSA one for $28).

Alternatively you could move the saddle forward, although that will affect your pedalling position so may cause other issues like knee pain if you're not careful.
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Old 01-27-15, 06:53 AM
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I have a long torso and short legs. I have lost 180lbs. I'm 5'3" and was over 400 at my heaviest weight. This is my experience with bike fit: I have had to raise my seat several times as my butt has gotten smaller. I had trouble finding a bike at first because it was hard to breathe if I had to lean forward very much. I also had trouble with my hands going numb when I had to lean forward. I bought a Townie because it was easy to ride even when I was quite large. It is still comfortable, although lately I've been trying the other bikes in my garage to see what's comfortable, because I might like to go a little faster than the Townie will go. My husband's small-frame hybrid is comfortable except for the suspension seat post (can't stand those things). It used to be impossible for me to ride because I couldn't breathe. My daughter's small-frame hybrid feels like there's not enough distance between the seat and handlebars, not surprising because my daughter's legs are much longer than mine and her torso is shorter, even though we're the same height. I have another Trek hybrid in the garage that I bought because it's hard to pass up a good deal and impossible to have too many bikes, but it's a women's bike and I have the same problem with feeling like there's not enough distance between the handlebars and seat, even with the saddle adjusted back as far as it will go.
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Old 01-27-15, 10:26 AM
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I just got a bike fit after loosing about 20 lbs over the last 6 months. I'm now around 215-220 and I have only been riding a little over 3 months now. I also had the same problem as I have short legs and a long torso. The fitter spent about 2 hours getting everything perfect which included raising my seat and finding the perfect stem angle so I can bend over without putting strain on my shoulders like I used to.

One thing that my fitter said really helped is I do yoga from time to time which helped my back bend a little. I had a bad accident about 15 years ago in a convertible and that left my back weak and tight for years. It wasn't until I started doing yoga (even a few times a month) that the back spasms and the occasional throwing my back out stopped. The key is just getting enough to be able to bend over on the bike without pain. Once you get to that point you will naturally build up back strength the more you ride. I could spend 3 minutes in the drops when I first started, but now I can do a entire 10 min decent without a lot of pain. I still try and get out to the gym to get in a yoga class, but if I don't I can still sit at home and do a few good posses for 10-15 min which seems to really help.
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Old 01-27-15, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha
Buy a shorter stem? This is what I did when I was having issues with the reach on my bike. You can pick up stems pretty cheaply (I got an FSA one for $28).

Alternatively you could move the saddle forward, although that will affect your pedalling position so may cause other issues like knee pain if you're not careful.
Yes to the former, no to the later. Buy a shorter stem. Seat position needs to be set based on leg length and knee angle.

As I have lost weight my fit has changed. We have moved my saddle up and back. Have not changed my bar height much yet although I did drop it a little on my CX bike without bad effect. I don't think my reach has changed much if any at all but I am now able to not only use the drops but use them comfortably for long periods of time.
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Old 01-27-15, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Black wallnut
Yes to the former, no to the later. Buy a shorter stem. Seat position needs to be set based on leg length and knee angle.
Agreed, assuming that the seat is correctly set up in the first place of course.
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Old 01-27-15, 10:35 PM
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It's a 120mm stem... at a 17 degree angle. I hesitated at first going shorter, because that also means the bars will drop more. But I ordered a 70mm 17d stem so we'll see how that works out. Plus I'm getting a 40mm riser bar, which I hope will compensate for the lower bar.
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Old 01-28-15, 09:02 AM
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Yes. The more miles I log the lower I am able to put the bars. I also was surprised to find not too long ago I could touch my toes for the first time since I was a teenager.
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Old 01-28-15, 09:57 AM
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Get the bike properly fitted, not just raising the handlebars and seat.

We took the 110 degree stem that came stock and went to a 125 degree stem and that made a world of difference. I wasn't able to feel comfortable standing to pedal, and now I do it regularly (after the bike was properly fit).

Seat height, and seat position; if you are using cleats their position on the shoe; handlebar stem angle and height all come into play to get the best geometry for you.

We put my bike on a trainer/simulator and made adjustments to the bike; we had a laser level to mark me so that we could get my knees pulled in as I was pedaling bow legged. While we were doing the fitting we watched my power output triple.

I now can even get into the drops once in a while for short periods.

After the fitting I found my endurance and distance to have increased.

A proper fitting is key, and as you ride you will shrink which will mean going back and readjusting the fit (handlebar angle and stem angle).

I also have a big belly and when bent over get short of breath easy as all the organs and fat belly crunch the lungs not allowing them to take in as much air as I would like, but the belly is shrinking and I am increasing my flexibility.

Good luck to you, and keep them pedals turning.
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Old 01-28-15, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by dagray
Get the bike properly fitted, not just raising the handlebars and seat.

I normally do. However, this fatbike won't fit in any trainers or fitting stands, so no bike shops know how to fit it properly. Luckily I feel confident enough in knowing how my body reacts on a bike to fit myself, but this is a painstaking process, and this is the largest reach I've ever had on a bike so I'm not 100% sure in myself here.
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Old 01-28-15, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
I normally do. However, this fatbike won't fit in any trainers or fitting stands, so no bike shops know how to fit it properly.
Really?

https://www.facebook.com/Kinetic.by....type=3&theater
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Old 01-29-15, 11:47 AM
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To the original question -- yes. I'm 6.3'5, and went from 260 to a steady 210 or so (not going to lose anymore without shedding muscle). At my heaviest, I rode a 58 road bike with a 110 mm stem and a small drop.

I'm now on a true 59, with a 120 stem and an 11 cm drop.

As the belly goes and as the muscles build (notably core, shoulders and around the spine) you will stretch out a little. Enough? No idea, which is where a decent fit comes into play. Key measure is the saddle-tip-to-bars distance, and stack / reach. You should be able to get those easily enough on any fit system (and on any bike) and bring those numbers with you. I use mine all the time for things like rentals overseas.
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Old 01-29-15, 05:27 PM
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to the op

here is a duplicate of what I put in framebuilder's


you note stand over height as an issue. Can you explain a bit more on your problem?

Many people get frames too small because they think they should be able to touch the ground while in the saddle. Most proper fitting frames with the seat at a the proper height will require the rider to slip off the seat to put a foot down.

As noted a frame with with sloping top tube will help.

Andy's guy sounds worth talking to.

Another thought is to look at something like the soma san marcos frame and build it out Rivendell style with a more upright stem...you can go lower in the future

SOMA San Marcos
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Old 02-05-15, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
to the op

here is a duplicate of what I put in framebuilder's


you note stand over height as an issue. Can you explain a bit more on your problem?

Many people get frames too small because they think they should be able to touch the ground while in the saddle. Most proper fitting frames with the seat at a the proper height will require the rider to slip off the seat to put a foot down.

As noted a frame with with sloping top tube will help.

Andy's guy sounds worth talking to.

Another thought is to look at something like the soma san marcos frame and build it out Rivendell style with a more upright stem...you can go lower in the future

SOMA San Marcos
Some of the perceived standover issue is technique. You should come off the saddle completely to stand. And, you can and should lean the bike a little (10 degrees or so) to one side or the other. This will help with standover. It will also help big-time when you go clipless.
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