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My bike is trying to kill me

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My bike is trying to kill me

Old 07-23-12, 05:29 PM
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iheartbacon
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My bike is trying to kill me

I bought a Specialized Crux Elite as a fun bike and it's everything but fun. It's hard to control and very twitchy. A quick glance over my shoulder send the bike weaving all over the road. Low speed maneuvers are a nightmare, the bike just wants to topple over. The only time it's somewhat stable is when I'm flying down a hill. None of these problems happen when I ride my Giant Escape so it has to be the bike, not me. The Giant is a pleasure to ride and very easy to handle. Any ideas?

This is posted in this forum because I'm car free.
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Old 07-23-12, 05:34 PM
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Different handlebars (Specialized Crux has drops and Giant Escape has upright flatbars/riser bars), different riding position (I'm guessing the Specialized has a more aggressive riding position) play a part in the handling department. It's generally more stable and easier to handle a bike with a wider flat/riser bar than with a narrow drop bar (at least for me).
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Old 07-23-12, 05:37 PM
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Twitchy road bike? I think that's the way they are built. Ride it a while and see if you can get used to it. If not, sell it and get a bike with a slacker geometry. Sort of like the other one you have.
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Old 07-23-12, 05:41 PM
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The angles on that bike don't look radical, so I'd recommend checking the headset bearings. If the headset is tight, you would have to overcome that friction to start a turn, which means it would be easy to overdo it. If everything is smooth, then I'd say it's a matter of the bike being one you're not used to, and you'll soon learn how much management it wants.
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Old 07-24-12, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
I bought a Specialized Crux Elite as a fun bike and it's everything but fun. It's hard to control and very twitchy. A quick glance over my shoulder send the bike weaving all over the road. Low speed maneuvers are a nightmare, the bike just wants to topple over. The only time it's somewhat stable is when I'm flying down a hill. None of these problems happen when I ride my Giant Escape so it has to be the bike, not me. The Giant is a pleasure to ride and very easy to handle. Any ideas?

This is posted in this forum because I'm car free.
I think it may be a matter of your learning curve. I rode mountain bikes and hybrids, with flat bars, for years before I got a road bike with drops. At first, I was frustrated with what I thought was a lack of control, but it turned out that, once I got used to it, the drops actually give me more control; it's just a matter of feedback and fine tuning. Give yourself a couple of weeks with the new bike and see what happens.

A couple of months ago, I got rid of the drops and put albatross bars on my touring bike, and hated it. It was comfortable, to be sure, but drops put you right next to the front wheel, which does wonders for your ability to control the bike in rough terrain.
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Old 07-24-12, 05:52 AM
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As others have said, it may be what you are used to. Your Crux Elite is much more responsive. Not much trail in the front fork. Every small motion you make is transfered straight into steering. It may take you significant retraining to not twitch so much. That's what it took with my Bacchetta Giro 20. Since its steering is so sensitive to every minor twitch of my biceps, I had to learn to consciously relax my arms when riding.

You may find that easy to handle and great high speed handling are two different things. Nothing wrong there, the bikes were designed with very different uses in mind.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 07-24-12, 08:34 AM
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It could be a weight difference in the bike. Your Giant might have some heavier wheels (more gyroscopic at lower speeds) than the Specialized, and with it possibly having a heavier frame and wider handle bars.

My two current commuters are considerably different in the weight and handle bar width category, with the backup commuter being much lighter (not as durable) and narrower handle bars than my main ride. I tend to use more caution for the first mile or so when I happen to ride the back up bike since it is considerably more responsive than the main commuter.
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Old 07-24-12, 08:42 AM
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Thanks everyone. I'll keep working on it and try not to get discouraged.
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Old 07-24-12, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
Thanks everyone. I'll keep working on it and try not to get discouraged.
With my recumbent, they advised me to ride at least 150 miles to give myself time to get used to it. It took a bit more, but by the 150 mile point I was getting a little better.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 07-24-12, 04:44 PM
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I took it in and they flipped the stem so I ride more up right. It made a little bit of difference, enough that I can maneuver around a parking lot without having a foot down. They also put in 100 pounds of air instead of 80. Rides a little choppy but I'll give it some time and miles. Tomorrow night I'm going on my first group ride. With a little luck I won't eat it and take a bunch of people down with me. I think part of the problem might be the size. My Giant is a 56 and great to ride. The Specialized is a 59 or 58. They told a cyclocross bike is supposed to be a size larger than I normally ride. Now I'm having some doubts about that. Even if it is too big I can't return it, had it longer than 14 days.
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Old 07-24-12, 06:54 PM
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How did it feel when you test rode it before you bought it?
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 07-24-12, 09:08 PM
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The store doesn't allow test rides due to liability if a customer gets hurt.
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Old 07-24-12, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
The store doesn't allow test rides due to liability if a customer gets hurt.

Definitely not an LBS that's worth it's salt. Does this store have a return policy?
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Old 07-24-12, 09:43 PM
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14 days, store credit only.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
The store doesn't allow test rides due to liability if a customer gets hurt.
What a crock. I wouldn't do business with any LBS that had that attitude. It's like buying shoes without trying them on.

How tall are you? I ride a 58 cm touring bike, which fits me pretty well, and I'm 5' 11". The rule of thumb I've heard is that you should have at least 1 cm of clearance between your crotch and the top tube when you're straddling the bike flat on your feet. If you're doing cross or MTB, it might be better to have a bit more clearance than that, though. If you're shorter than that, and they still sold you a 58 without letting you test ride it first, maybe it would be helpful if you threatened to post their incompetence/dishonesty on Yelp.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
I took it in and they flipped the stem so I ride more up right. It made a little bit of difference, enough that I can maneuver around a parking lot without having a foot down. They also put in 100 pounds of air instead of 80. Rides a little choppy but I'll give it some time and miles. Tomorrow night I'm going on my first group ride. With a little luck I won't eat it and take a bunch of people down with me. I think part of the problem might be the size. My Giant is a 56 and great to ride. The Specialized is a 59 or 58. They told a cyclocross bike is supposed to be a size larger than I normally ride. Now I'm having some doubts about that. Even if it is too big I can't return it, had it longer than 14 days.
Twice I let an LBS figure out frame sizes for me, both times I was disappointed, and both bikes were complete failures as commuter bikes. I now know what size fits and works for me, plus my current LBS also encourages their customer to do test rides as well.
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Old 07-24-12, 11:57 PM
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I'm 6 foot but I don't have any clearance between the top tube and my crotch. I have to lean the bike a bit when I stop and need to put my feet down.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:34 AM
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Sorry to hear of the problems. If you can't stand flat and comfortable the bike is too tall, and I consider that dangerous. Other's here will have better opinions about fit issues because the bike sounds too large. If you can't do a full store credit and test ride other bikes I would quietly make some good notes and check on small claims court or something. You were sold a bill of goods. Failing that... sell it and start over.

As far as looking over you shoulder and having control issues - I've always had that. If I don't really focus on a straight line, off I go into the bushes.
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Old 07-25-12, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
I'm 6 foot but I don't have any clearance between the top tube and my crotch. I have to lean the bike a bit when I stop and need to put my feet down.

When I read this statement, I think of my younger days when my feet would sometimes slip off the pedals, and skateboarder videos where the skateboarder straddles the staircase handrail rather than the intended skateboard.
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Old 07-25-12, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
I'm 6 foot but I don't have any clearance between the top tube and my crotch. I have to lean the bike a bit when I stop and need to put my feet down.
That's dangerous as you may guess.

One thing you might try to lower that top tube is switch to 26" wheels from the 700C you have. That should make the frame a little lower. Of course you'll need to be able to shift your brake pads down a bit. That you'll have to check if it's possible.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 07-25-12, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
My Giant is a 56 and great to ride. The Specialized is a 59 or 58. They told a cyclocross bike is supposed to be a size larger than I normally ride. Now I'm having some doubts about that. Even if it is too big I can't return it, had it longer than 14 days.
I'm not sure how to compare to your Giant, but I was under the impression that cross bikes are typically smaller than road bikes. That is, 58 on a cross bike would be bigger than 58 on a road bike because of the greater clearance under a cross bike.

For example, try comparing the effective top tube length of the Crux vs the Ruby (or some other Specialized road bike). To get the same length, you have to go down 2-3 cm on the Crux.

That being said, I have no idea if 58 is too big for a 6' tall person. However, I'd be scared about the non-straddlability.
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Old 07-25-12, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
One thing you might try to lower that top tube is switch to 26" wheels from the 700C you have. That should make the frame a little lower. Of course you'll need to be able to shift your brake pads down a bit. That you'll have to check if it's possible.
While this is a possible solution, it's not one I'd want to consider. If it had been an older bike which was given to the original poster, then swaps might be in order, but this is a new bike, and it's not a cheap bike. It should fit as is and if it doesn't fit, the shop should replace it.

The policy of no test rides and the in-store credit only policy are both troubling. I am not familiar with such policies from any other bike shop. If the shop will not work with the original poster to replace the bike with one of the proper size, would it be possible to contact Specialized? I'm sure the company would be interested if one of its dealers is acting in this manner.
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Old 07-25-12, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
That's dangerous as you may guess.

One thing you might try to lower that top tube is switch to 26" wheels from the 700C you have. That should make the frame a little lower. Of course you'll need to be able to shift your brake pads down a bit. That you'll have to check if it's possible.
I've gone from 27 inch to 700c wheels but never thought it possible to move to 26 from 700c. That'd require some really long-reach brakes.

Edit: looked around and it seems some folks have tried it. Seems like it might work for some bikes. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...n-to-26-wheels

Last edited by gerv; 07-25-12 at 06:16 PM. Reason: edit
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Old 07-25-12, 11:18 PM
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The distance between crotch and top tube is NOT how you determine if a bike is the right size. However, the bike is definitely too big if you can't straddle the top tube.

Putting 26 inch wheels on a cyclocross bike designed for 700c is a horrible idea and would be very costly if you could get it to work.

If you can't convince the LBS to swap for the next smaller size, sell the bike and go to a different LBS.
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Old 07-26-12, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
The distance between crotch and top tube is NOT how you determine if a bike is the right size. However, the bike is definitely too big if you can't straddle the top tube.

Putting 26 inch wheels on a cyclocross bike designed for 700c is a horrible idea and would be very costly if you could get it to work.

If you can't convince the LBS to swap for the next smaller size, sell the bike and go to a different LBS.
+1
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