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Trying to Get Comfortable on My New FX 3

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Trying to Get Comfortable on My New FX 3

Old 06-29-20, 07:25 AM
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sanger68
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Trying to Get Comfortable on My New FX 3

After spending multiple hours reading this forum and talking to a few different LBS's, just under a month ago I ended up getting a 2020 FX 3 over a Verve 3, 1) because I thought XXL frame would be a slightly better fit (51 yo, 6'3 240lbs, but all legs and arms) and 2) because I am hoping by the end of the summer to work up to being able to do a 70-mile hard-packed path ride (the D&R Canal Towpath in NJ), and 3) as I try to improve my physical fitness, I know I'm going to be competitive with myself and will get motivated by increasing speed/distance and pushing myself, which from everything I read seems to align more with the FX (I unfortunately couldn't test ride either because of COVID and lack of availability).


The problem is that I'm just having a hard time getting comfortable on the bike, and figuring out how much of that is the bike and how much is just my body telling me I'm not in good enough shape yet. I'm just afraid that if I don't focus on the bike element of it, I may end up giving up or making excuses not to ride before my body has fully acclimated physically.


I've put about 150 miles on the bike so far, with rides up to about 20 miles, and have already changed out the tires to Bontrager H5 700x38's, which was a significant improvement for me over the stock H2 32's. I haven't found a great saddle yet although I just ordered a Fizik Argo Tempo R3 (have tried ISM PR3.0 which wouldn't go back far enough for me without a setback seat post, and a Planet Bike 5020 ARS that I had sitting around, which is too soft and I was sliding all around on).


Should I be continuing to make mods on the FX or am I just kidding myself and I really should have gotten a more comfort-oriented bike to begin with (e.g. Verve)? Based on some recent posts, I'm now thinking that I should probably have a higher/wider handlebar as I really feel like my shoulders are constricted inwards too much on the longer rides and my neck is sore (although the latter is again, probably my body just yelling at me for trying to get more limber). So maybe the Spank Spike 800 Race Bar with 50mm rise? With Ergon Bar Ends (GP3? GP4? GP5?). Anything else?


The cost of the mods aren't going to kill me, but I also feel kind of foolish making all of these changes to a good bike when I'm so new at this -- am self-conscious that this may all be overkill and maybe I got the wrong bike, or maybe I should just accept that it takes time to get into condition and just deal with it?


Any insights or perspectives welcome...this forum has been extraordinarily valuable to me over the last two months; am truly appreciative.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by sanger68 View Post
After spending multiple hours reading this forum and talking to a few different LBS's, just under a month ago I ended up getting a 2020 FX 3 over a Verve 3, 1) because I thought XXL frame would be a slightly better fit (51 yo, 6'3 240lbs, but all legs and arms) and 2) because I am hoping by the end of the summer to work up to being able to do a 70-mile hard-packed path ride (the D&R Canal Towpath in NJ), and 3) as I try to improve my physical fitness, I know I'm going to be competitive with myself and will get motivated by increasing speed/distance and pushing myself, which from everything I read seems to align more with the FX (I unfortunately couldn't test ride either because of COVID and lack of availability).


The problem is that I'm just having a hard time getting comfortable on the bike, and figuring out how much of that is the bike and how much is just my body telling me I'm not in good enough shape yet. I'm just afraid that if I don't focus on the bike element of it, I may end up giving up or making excuses not to ride before my body has fully acclimated physically.


I've put about 150 miles on the bike so far, with rides up to about 20 miles, and have already changed out the tires to Bontrager H5 700x38's, which was a significant improvement for me over the stock H2 32's. I haven't found a great saddle yet although I just ordered a Fizik Argo Tempo R3 (have tried ISM PR3.0 which wouldn't go back far enough for me without a setback seat post, and a Planet Bike 5020 ARS that I had sitting around, which is too soft and I was sliding all around on).


Should I be continuing to make mods on the FX or am I just kidding myself and I really should have gotten a more comfort-oriented bike to begin with (e.g. Verve)? Based on some recent posts, I'm now thinking that I should probably have a higher/wider handlebar as I really feel like my shoulders are constricted inwards too much on the longer rides and my neck is sore (although the latter is again, probably my body just yelling at me for trying to get more limber). So maybe the Spank Spike 800 Race Bar with 50mm rise? With Ergon Bar Ends (GP3? GP4? GP5?). Anything else?


The cost of the mods aren't going to kill me, but I also feel kind of foolish making all of these changes to a good bike when I'm so new at this -- am self-conscious that this may all be overkill and maybe I got the wrong bike, or maybe I should just accept that it takes time to get into condition and just deal with it?


Any insights or perspectives welcome...this forum has been extraordinarily valuable to me over the last two months; am truly appreciative.
Sounds like you need to work on your bike fit, not necessarily a parts swap. Things like saddle height, saddle fore/aft, stem height and length, bar width, control angles are things that need to be dialed in.

And yes, if you've never ridden a bike before, your body needs to acclimate.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
Sounds like you need to work on your bike fit, not necessarily a parts swap. Things like saddle height, saddle fore/aft, stem height and length, bar width, control angles are things that need to be dialed in.

And yes, if you've never ridden a bike before, your body needs to acclimate.
Thanks...to be clear, I've ridden recreationally in the past, just not with a defined mileage/fitness goal (although I did Peloton pretty religiously a couple years ago). I hope I'm not being ignorant, but isn't things like stem height and length and bar width all parts replacement vs. fit adjustments on an FX? I don't think the grips can go any wider on the existing bar based on the initial (very basic) fitting I had when I bought the bike and didn't think height of the bar/stem was adjustable, at least according to the LBS, I thought.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by sanger68 View Post
Thanks...to be clear, I've ridden recreationally in the past, just not with a defined mileage/fitness goal (although I did Peloton pretty religiously a couple years ago). I hope I'm not being ignorant, but isn't things like stem height and length and bar width all parts replacement vs. fit adjustments on an FX? I don't think the grips can go any wider on the existing bar based on the initial (very basic) fitting I had when I bought the bike and didn't think height of the bar/stem was adjustable, at least according to the LBS, I thought.
It could be, but maybe not. So you have to get fitted to find out what you need to get to get where you need to be. Most bars are wider than need be and are chopped down. Obviously if you need to size up you need new bars. However, wider bars run shorter stems, higher bars shorten the reach; consideration must be given to the entire fit as well . If your stem is as high as it can go, you need a higher stem. Since we have no idea of what you have and what you need to get to, its hard to tell you exactly what parts need swapping.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sanger68 View Post
The cost of the mods aren't going to kill me, but I also feel kind of foolish making all of these changes to a good bike when I'm so new at this -- am self-conscious that this may all be overkill and maybe I got the wrong bike, or maybe I should just accept that it takes time to get into condition and just deal with it?
I would normally recommend asking yourself what your goals are. For some, it's speed. For others, it's distance. For still others, it's comfort around town.

But it sounds like you already have a goal in mind -- you want to do a 70 miler in this fall. The bike you have (FX) is probably the right bike for that, at least compared with the Verve. The Verve probably would be a better choice if your primary rides are 10-20 miles, but the upright position is not going to be as efficient for longer distances. It sounds from your original post that you feel too hunched over (neck pain from looking up, etc.). You can probably benefit from a taller stem or a bar with more rise. You may have to adjust your saddle at the same time (more weight on your rear end can change the optimal type of saddle). Saddles are so personal to begin with -- it's nearly impossible to recommend something that will fit someone else. Myself, my favorite is a SQlab 604 Active saddle. The step-down design works great for me, and is the only saddle type on which I've found long-term comfort (in terms of numbness). Your mileage, literally, will vary on that.
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Old 06-29-20, 01:21 PM
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BTW, Verve has been completely redesigned for 2021:

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...colorCode=grey

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...colorCode=grey
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Old 06-29-20, 01:38 PM
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When I got back to biking after decades of not riding, it took almost a full season before I was really comfortable again.

I have a fairly short biking season in my part of the world and every spring I go through a period where it takes a few weeks to get back to where I was.

One thing that helped for me was using ergonomic grips and gloves with small padding in the palm. That and losing some weight in the upper torso which put less of a load on my arms, wrist, back, etc.

I'm not sure you should make too many changes to the bike at this point. Maybe it's better to gradually increase the time and miles you do and then see if some of the discomfort disappears.
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Old 06-29-20, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Mtl01 View Post

I'm not sure you should make too many changes to the bike at this point. Maybe it's better to gradually increase the time and miles you do and then see if some of the discomfort disappears.
I'm sure you are right that physical conditioning is a big part of it; I just keep thinking how awesome being able to spread out my arms another inch or two might be, but maybe that's just me not having enough time on the bike. I had actually thought that maybe all I needed was maybe the Bontrager Race Lite Ergo Bar Ends to spread my grip out a bit, but then the LBS told me that they actually just overlap the ends of the existing handlebar and tend to make the regular grip even narrower.
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Old 06-29-20, 03:45 PM
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I'm not too far off from you (46 yo, 6'2, 233 lb), but I wonder if the XL would have felt better. XXL may just take some getting used to. Even for me, when I first got the XL size (22.5") for my prior 2015 FX 7.2, I felt like I was on some old time unicycle way up in the air. But within 10 min or so, I got used to the higher center of gravity.
I also slid my seat back as far as it could go and set the seat height so I can just barely touch the ground with both toes when on the seat.
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Old 06-29-20, 06:04 PM
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More miles will fix that for ya!
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Old 06-29-20, 07:31 PM
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I'm very very new to cycling so you may already know a lot of what I am going to say, but in case you, or someone else reading this may not know here are some tips I've learned.

A proper seat height will not only make you feel better but will make you much more efficient as well. A properly sized bike should be sized so that you can stand flat-footed over the top bar with a "comfortable" margin (but no more) between the bar and the stuff above the bar. (A bike used off-road will generally be a bit more compact, and, of course, the top bar is often not horizontal.) The seat should be positioned so that your leg is almost fully extended at the bottom of the stroke (the knee should not go perfectly straight). One way to fit the seat height is to have someone hold the bike while you pedal backwards with your heels on the pedals. With your heels on the pedals the knees should go perfectly straight at the bottom of the stroke, but with no need to rock side-to-side to maintain contact with the pedals. (Once you switch to using your toes on the pedals in a normal fashion the proper almost-straight leg extension is obtained.).

When I first started a few months ago I would use the middle of my foot on the pedals instead of using the ball of my foot and I would experience some knee pain every now and again but when I upgraded my bike earlier this month I could notice the knee pain right away and after changing my foot position I think I've gained more power and have much less pain. So like others have said I would avoid upgrading a lot of parts right now and make sure your bike is setup correctly for you and also just get used to the normal aches and pains of being a new rider using different muscles than you are used to.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:20 PM
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Appreciate all the input. I actually think the overall fit of the frame etc. is ok. My legs are so long that I don't have an issue standing flat footed over the top bar of the XXL frame. And I've always been focused on correct seat height and position because I know it's so important with legs this long (also, when I was doing Peloton a lot, they drill form into you, so I think that helped too).


I went out and rode 17 miles tonight and spent a decent bit of the ride testing different hand positions on my existing stock handlebars. Honestly the most comfortable positionwas when I had my hands wide, half-hanging off the side of the grip. Same thing in terms of my back when I would switch to just my fingertips on the bar, lifting my body position up an inch or so.


Anyway, I'm just excited I was able to do 17 miles on a Monday night! (And it definitely felt easier/faster than 10-mile rides I was doing just two weeks ago). So I'll give it another couple weeks as-is and see if my upper back and shoulders are feeling better after further conditioning and think about it some more then.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:32 PM
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Try to get as many daily rides as you can over the next few weeks and let us know if things are settling in nicely.

Were the grip extensions you were thinking of like the ones below?

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Old 06-29-20, 08:39 PM
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If you feel comfortable with you hands on the sides of the grips, you will probably love Ergon GP3 and above. I have the GP3 on my Giant Escape, and my hands are so much more comfortable now.

https://ergonbike.shop/collections/g...saAvQEEALw_wcB
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Old 06-29-20, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Mtl01 View Post
Were the grip extensions you were thinking of like the ones below?
Yes, exactly, The Bontrager Race Lite Ergo Bar Ends would be a lot easier as I wouldn't have to replace the whole grip like I would with these, but I think The Bontrager bar end just pushes the existing isozone grips inwards making the normal grip narrower. At least that's what the guy at the LBS told me.
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Old 06-29-20, 09:08 PM
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Ah, I see the difference (I just looked at a picture of the Bontrager Race Lite Ergo Bar Ends).

The ones in the picture I posted look like a better solution to my eye but you need to change the existing grips to use them.

Still would wait a bit before doing that tbh. Hey, at the end of the day, it's only money, lol.
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Old 06-30-20, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mtl01 View Post
The ones in the picture I posted look like a better solution to my eye but you need to change the existing grips to use them.
You gave me a good idea -- I think I may just bite the bullet and switch out the grips/bar ends entirely to the GP3/GP4 right now for the $50, but leave the existing handlebars in place while I continue to improve my conditioning. If my shoulders etc. are still sore/tight I can always then look at a handlebar with more rise, as I'd need to get grips for the new bar anyway and could re-use the Ergon grips on the new handles. Thanks!
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Old 06-30-20, 09:21 AM
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You also might want to have a look at the Jones H-Bar handlebars: https://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bars/
I
put the H-Bar 2.5 on my bike and really like them.
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