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Seems I don't really like the bike I bought

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Seems I don't really like the bike I bought

Old 05-19-17, 08:38 AM
  #1  
Noddy
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Seems I don't really like the bike I bought

So a few years ago I bought a new road bike after much research and thought. Forty years away from cycling.
Bought a Felt Z85, really like the look of it and it seemed like it was well specced and a good value.

Fast forward a couple of years - I almost never ride it, I can't seem to build any confidence, the front end is nervous and twitchy - more so than the old school bikes I am used to. My hands go numb so the most I ride is about 10 miles even with experiments in rolling the bars back a bit and constantly changing from top of bars to hoods, etc. Also worth noting that I wear 3 zone progressive lenses and they force an awkward position of head and neck.

Friend with a hybrid (who rides rail trails) says I made a mistake and should have bought a hybrid.

Shop where I bought it wants to put a shorter stem and maybe a riser on it at a cost including a fitting, parts and labor of perhaps as much as $150.

I thought about putting flat bars on it but that's so expensive it is out of the question.
I'm leaning towards putting the Z85 up on hooks and buying a hybrid to see if I'll be more comfortable and actually ride it.
Am I right in thinking that the Z85, despite being an "endurance" frame with a bit of comfort built-in, is never going to allow me the more upright position I think I need?
Should I hang on to it in the hopes of getting stronger on a hybrid and possibly returning to the road bike later? LBS says don't be attached to a bike that you are not riding - sell it and buy something you will ride. Of course, he wants to be the one to sell me that new hybrid. Unfortunately for him (and I'd love to support him if I'm buying a new bike) he doesn't have the models I want to look at in his inventory.
Finding that a LOT - been to 4 local shops and they don't have the models I want to see/ride even 'though they carry the brand.
Thanks for reading this far if you are still with me. LOL
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Old 05-19-17, 08:46 AM
  #2  
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The tops of a drop bar is not all that different from the hybrid bar position wise. Could you borrow your friend's hybrid for a longer ride to see if there is a difference?

Your Z85 may not be the right size for you, perhaps a tad big by the sound of it. Was this bike properly fitted for you when you first purchased it?
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Old 05-19-17, 08:48 AM
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You'd be surprised what a shorter stem, raising the quill UP, and different bars, even bullhorn / straight out bars will do. It could change the bike dramatically. That Felt is a nice bike. If it feels twitchy going wider, UP, and with bullhorns could help. Plus your hands won't go numb.
I'd do that before spending many hundreds on a "nasty" hybrid... ........[personal preference there; I detest hybrids but that is just me]
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Old 05-19-17, 08:59 AM
  #4  
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So you registered on BF 12 years ago but haven't ridden hardly at all since then?


Not everyone ends up liking drop bars, no matter how much they try or how much drop bar devotees tell them how magical they are. Try out some hybrids and see if they work for you.


EDIT: but unless you are strapped for cash, there's no reason to rush and sell the road bike.

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Old 05-19-17, 09:01 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
The tops of a drop bar is not all that different from the hybrid bar position wise. Could you borrow your friend's hybrid for a longer ride to see if there is a difference?

Except it is much narrower and offers no access to the shifters. And not even the brakes unless you have or add interrupter levers. So it is quite a bit different.


And really, if you never use the drops why have 'em?
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Old 05-19-17, 09:08 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
The tops of a drop bar is not all that different from the hybrid bar position wise. Could you borrow your friend's hybrid for a longer ride to see if there is a difference?
Unfortunately he passed on before we had the opportunity to ride together.

Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Your Z85 may not be the right size for you, perhaps a tad big by the sound of it. Was this bike properly fitted for you when you first purchased it?
The shop where it was purchased was the only Felt dealer within an hour of me at that time. Their approach to fitting was simply based on height. I'm 5'8" and tried a 52 and a 54 riding circles in their parking lot - it's a highway location. There was no measurement, no assessment of fore-and-aft or trainer or anything like that. They've now offered (at a cost) to put me and the bike on a trainer and see if they can improve things.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
So you registered on BF 12 years ago but haven't ridden hardly at all since then?
When I registered it was with a view to restoring / altering one of the steel frames that I owned from the 1970s so that I could resume riding. That didn't really work out very well and then major health issues sidelined any thoughts of cycling for most of 10 years.


Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Not everyone ends up liking drop bars, no matter how much they try or how much drop bar devotees tell them how magical they are. Try out some hybrids and see if they work for you.
It's very likely, in hindsight, that I was still attached to drop bars from cycling 40 years ago when all we knew was that style.


Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
EDIT: but unless you are strapped for cash, there's no reason to rush and sell the road bike.
I'm not flush with funds - but I am serious enough about regaining strength and stamina (and good health) that I'll make the investment if I think it will work. I'm looking at hybrids in the $700-900 range, might go $1000 for something that really speaks to me.

Side question: why are bikes these days so relatively dull looking? I don't want flash, I don't want a lot of graphics, etc but holy heck there seems to be an ocean of semi-flat black, anthracite, charcoal, etc, etc out there in bike shops at the moment!
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Old 05-19-17, 09:17 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Except it is much narrower and offers no access to the shifters. And not even the brakes unless you have or add interrupter levers. So it is quite a bit different.


And really, if you never use the drops why have 'em?
I ride mostly on the tops - and have no access to brakes or shifters just as you say. So in anything but the most relaxed state I end up on the hoods which isn't that comfortable or secure for me. Don't even know if I could comfortably operate the shifters from the drops - don't think I've ever tried.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:19 AM
  #9  
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As an older rider,60, I find that as the years go by I want to ride more upright. Not because of my back but because of my neck. I currently use inverted mustache bars. You could probably try them with ur brifters without too much modification. Its an idea anyway.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:26 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Except it is much narrower and offers no access to the shifters. And not even the brakes unless you have or add interrupter levers. So it is quite a bit different.


And really, if you never use the drops why have 'em?
I was only referring the position. The differences you cited are obvious.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:27 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Noddy View Post
I can't seem to build any confidence, the front end is nervous and twitchy - more so than the old school bikes I am used to.
I feel exactly the same when it comes to flat bars that happen to be narrow, but not at all on the very same bike with a wider bar that happens to have a bit of rise to it. I haven't tried a wider flat bar to see if it's more the width that makes all the difference, but I very much believe it is.

Maybe all you need is a wider bar?

The ones on my bike happen to be 660mm wide (with a 50mm rise), and can be seen pictured here:

http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cy...andlebars.html

You should be able to try out a basic alloy MTB bar for something like $25. If it works for you and then wanted to go all out on a bar in a more exotic material but with the same physical specs you still could, right? And, yes, OK so you'll need new brakes too. I get that. If you want to stay with drops it looks like the widest out there is this Nitto RM-3 at 580mm.

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Old 05-19-17, 09:36 AM
  #12  
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sell it, even at a loss.

buy something more comfortable with wider tires
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Old 05-19-17, 09:38 AM
  #13  
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I bought my road bike used mainly because I was unsure how well I'd do with drop bars and didn't want to take a big hit if I found it wasn't right for me.

If your Felt is better when you're on the tops, add the brake levers there so you can ride them all the time and see how that goes.

If you do end up with a hybrid, I'd buy a used one. I'm of the mind that its hard to tell if you're going to like something long term from a short test ride, especially doing a few loops in a parking lot. You can get more bike on the used market and won't take near as big a hit if you decide to sell.

You may find that you don't enjoy cycling at all and need to find some other activity to get in shape. Nothing wrong with that.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Noddy View Post
So a few years ago I bought a new road bike after much research and thought. Forty years away from cycling.
Bought a Felt Z85, really like the look of it and it seemed like it was well specced and a good value.

Fast forward a couple of years - I almost never ride it, I can't seem to build any confidence, the front end is nervous and twitchy - more so than the old school bikes I am used to. My hands go numb so the most I ride is about 10 miles even with experiments in rolling the bars back a bit and constantly changing from top of bars to hoods, etc. Also worth noting that I wear 3 zone progressive lenses and they force an awkward position of head and neck.

Friend with a hybrid (who rides rail trails) says I made a mistake and should have bought a hybrid.

Shop where I bought it wants to put a shorter stem and maybe a riser on it at a cost including a fitting, parts and labor of perhaps as much as $150.

I thought about putting flat bars on it but that's so expensive it is out of the question.
I'm leaning towards putting the Z85 up on hooks and buying a hybrid to see if I'll be more comfortable and actually ride it.
Am I right in thinking that the Z85, despite being an "endurance" frame with a bit of comfort built-in, is never going to allow me the more upright position I think I need?
Should I hang on to it in the hopes of getting stronger on a hybrid and possibly returning to the road bike later? LBS says don't be attached to a bike that you are not riding - sell it and buy something you will ride. Of course, he wants to be the one to sell me that new hybrid. Unfortunately for him (and I'd love to support him if I'm buying a new bike) he doesn't have the models I want to look at in his inventory.
Finding that a LOT - been to 4 local shops and they don't have the models I want to see/ride even 'though they carry the brand.
Thanks for reading this far if you are still with me. LOL
How about installing a riser drop bar? I know there is some expense for a new bar, and maybe some new bar tape, but still a lot cheaper than a new bike. I found this awhile ago, but don't know anyone who has actually used this bar.
Condor Handlebar | SOMA Fabrications
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Old 05-19-17, 09:43 AM
  #15  
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After riding with drop bars for the past 5 years... I wish I could find a cheap way to put drop bars on my hardtail 29er. Drop bars are like beer... an acquired taste, but once that taste is achieved... it's pure love. Once I got used to drop bars, flat bars on hybrids and mountain bikes seem lame, in my humble opinion.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Noddy View Post
My hands go numb
Typically a sign that something is wrong with the fit, as you want most of your weight on your legs and saddle. Saddle height, fore-aft, and angle may need adjustment.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
sell it, even at a loss.

buy something more comfortable with wider tires
That's what I think too.

When you bought it did you think that you were making a business decision or a recreational decision? As Mark Twain said: "Good judgement comes from of experience and experience is the result of bad judgement."

I've been guilty of making some bad bicycle choices myself. You have no way of knowing how many bikes I tried before I stumbled into buying myself the recumbent trike that I'm riding now. I sometimes kick myself when I think of all the money but that was just necessary tuition for the learning process. The ultimate result has been good because riding the trike brings me genuine joy and that was my objective.

If you own a bike that you don't ride, or one that you only ride out of feelings of guilt, it has less than zero value to you. It is not giving you joy and it takes up space in your garage or basement. Regardless of what you paid for it, you would be better off throwing it into the dumpster.

Find a bike (or a trike) that brings you joy. It'll be worth it in the end.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:24 AM
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As my friend says, "I can smell what you're stepping in." Meaning, I know where you're coming from. I ride both drops and flats and my hands always hurt on the drops. I can ride the flat bar all day. Also, the flats are much more stable and I have more confidence with them at speeds above 25 mph. Finally, mirrors work much better on a flat bar than a drop bar. I have a Specialized Sequoia Elite which has touring geometry. Didn't really like the bike so I swapped out the bars for flats. Like it much better. And the shifting and brake levers work better too. Bought a mountain bar on craigslist for $10 and shifter/brake lever combos online inexpensively. Added ergon grips. Probably cost just over $100.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:40 AM
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Give me your bike. I will fix it. And test it.

I should be done in about 2097.

I will pay shipping.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:44 AM
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When I want to try something new out, I often start by buying something used. That way if it doesn't work out, I can sell it and not be out too much money.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:50 AM
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Consignment sell @ LBS, then use that money towards a new bike that you will prefer, now.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:58 AM
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the magic cure for hand numbness is often (not always) core strength, and you can get it riding the bike you have. the key is to support your weight with your core and not by letting your weight rest on your hands.

If this is not possible due to being too stretched out, then a shorter stem, perhaps with a higher rise, may help. Eventually, as you develop core strength, you may want to work back lower step by step.

Hybrid bars have easier to reach controls. that is really the main difference. this comes at a price however, in that you have greatly reduced the number of hand (and arm and most importantly wrist) positions available to you. On almost any flat bar bike (ie MTB), I get wrist pain because my wrists are held at a fixed angle determined by the back sweep angle of the bars. On the drop bar I can go tops, outside tops, hoods, flat with hoods between fingers, back drops and full drops. Switching up helps when the hands get tingly.

Many of your issues are a result of a lack of fitness, flexibilty and core strength. They MAY (possibly) self resolve as you ride more, and gain strength and flexibility, and focus on not leaning on your hands.

For example, my road bike has a very low position / fit. Early season it absolutely kills my back and neck. But in a few weeks, I've regained the core strength and I'm fine.

I'd say give it a few more weeks of legitimate effort and see if things improve before going off in a different direction that may or may not be any better.

It's really hard to differentiate bicycles meaningfully without some base amount of fitness. The fitter you are, the more you will be able to tell about each bike when you try it.

Last edited by nycphotography; 05-19-17 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 05-19-17, 11:03 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
Many of your issues are a result of a lack of fitness, flexibilty and core strength. They MAY (possibly) self resolve as you ride more, and gain strength and flexibility, and focus on not leaning on your hands.

For example, my road bike has a very low position / fit. Early season it absolutely kills my back and neck. But in a few weeks, I've regained the sore strength and I'm fine.
I agree. You might simply not like the bike---it might be the wrong bike for you. Or .....

Every time I take a break from riding (Illness or injury) I hate my bikes for a while. I know I am supposed to support my weight with my legs and hold myself up with my stomach and back ... but simply cannot.

I start small, suffer a little, and gain strength. After some amount of time, the bikes feel really comfortable.

When my butt hurts or hands go numb, I know my legs are tired and I am getting lazy.
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Old 05-19-17, 11:24 AM
  #24  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noddy
My hands go numb

Originally Posted by athrowawaynic View Post
Typically a sign that something is wrong with the fit, as you want most of your weight on your legs and saddle. Saddle height, fore-aft, and angle may need adjustment.
I ride by choice with quite a lot of weight on my hands. When my handlebars and brake levers are right, not an issue. (I do change my hand grips regularly - one of the great features of dropped handlebars having so many to choose from).

I consider handlebar and lever fit as important as the rest of the fit on the bike. Yes, seat comes first. Then I conceptualize where my shoulders are with a normal lean forward (for me, quite a lot being skinny, tall and not much muscle). Then I place my handlebars so the drops are a reach with comfortable arm bend and my wrists at a fairly neutral angle. Then I locate my brake levers. Tape the brake cables in place and go for a ride or two without bar tape but bringing all the wrenches. Not until I feel everything is "right" so I tape the handlebars.

Noddy, I wonder if your stem length and height are not serving you well. Maybe try a shorter stem with more angle up? Then, when you can comfortably get to the drops, go through my routine and see what you can come up with. You should be able to find a used stem for not a whole lot of money. (Being a little paranoid perhaps, but also a survivor of a front end failure, I would go out and spend the bucks on one I trusted once I had the position dialed in.)

Ben
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Old 05-19-17, 12:53 PM
  #25  
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I see people every year at the Hilly100 in Indiana pushing bikes like that up the hills. More bike than ability. Not knocking cause I don't have 17+ mph in me either. But before I'd jump on the hybrid wagon I'd look at new old school type roadbikes like Trek 520 or Surly LHT. May be Touring bikes but comfortable.
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