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Don't feel great on my bike, not sure why - recommendations?

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Don't feel great on my bike, not sure why - recommendations?

Old 07-11-15, 04:04 PM
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bigcicero
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Don't feel great on my bike, not sure why - recommendations?

Hi all! Long-time lurker, first time poster. Please go easy I'm looking to see if someone can provide a little advice. I'm having comfort problems on my bike.

I got my first and only road bike in 2013, a 2013 Caad 10. (Please hold off on the 'aggressive geometry' comment for a second!). Being new at the time, I tested several bikes at the LBS and purchased the Caad 10 based on great price for a beginner, great reputation, felt like it was a fast & fun ride, and it seemed like a decent fit on a 15 minute ride. However, I'm having some comfort problems and don't ride as often as I'd like, I think due to the fact that I don't feel great on it. I don't think it's because of the 'aggressive' position - in fact, I lowered the stem to get a better aero position and more speed and like it better, as the flatter back seems more comfortable; and I don't race, but I ride as hard as I can every time I ride and I love to see my speed go up. Also, it's *supposedly* not "fit" - I took the bike to a second LBS who measured me on the bike and confirmed that the size seemed fine for my body, though they put on a stem that was 10mm longer. It's a size 54, and I'm 5'11-3/4" with a 32in inseam (longer torso), 188 lbs, 35 y/o. But I somehow feel crammed and it feels very, very stiff.

I don't have experience with other bikes, so I can't put my finger on what I find uncomfortable. Is it a reflection of the stiffness of the bike or the fit? Is it me? Think I should try a different bike? Would love some suggestions on my next steps.

THANK YOU!
-Cicero
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Old 07-11-15, 04:09 PM
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Get a brooks B17 saddle, or beach cruiser bike with the biggest saddle possible.
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Old 07-11-15, 04:20 PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but a 54 for a guy who is 5'11 is too small.
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Old 07-11-15, 04:23 PM
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Well, it is a very stiff bike. What size stem do you have? I'm about 5'11 and 33" cycling inseam so longer legs/shorter torso and I had a 54 CAAD with 120mm stem that fit great. With your measurement I would think you need 130mm stem ...or a size 56
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Old 07-11-15, 04:29 PM
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When you say "crammed," do you mean that you feel that your arms aren't stretched out in front of you far enough? Or that your legs aren't extending as far as they should when you pedal? It isn't easy to diagnose without knowing a bit more, but it is possible that notwithstanding what your LBS says, the fit is off beyond what can be adjusted. 54 seems like it might be a little small for a person almost 6' tall. I would suggest doing a test ride of another CAAD 10 bikes one size up. Another option is to spring for a professional fit from a kinesiologist or a sports medicine clinic. LBS fittings are okay, but they often assume the person they're fitting are fairly average and they may not necessarily take into account any particular unusual flexibility or other issues. A good bicycle fitter will measure your flexibility and adjust their recommendations accordingly.

Another benefit of having a professional fitting is that they should take a look at your technique and may be able to suggest things like changing your posture, elbow angle, foot placement, the sideways movement of your knees, etc., all of which could have an effect on comfort.

Hope this helps a little. Don't get discouraged. It often takes a while to find the right fit.

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Old 07-11-15, 04:37 PM
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You might have a less than ideal fit, but so far I'm not convinced that your fit is bad. I ride a 58cm but my body is not like yours. I'm 5' 11" have a 34" inseam. I'm all legs with a short torso. Mine works for me, I'm very comfortable on it. Yours could work for you, it's hard for me to say.
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Old 07-11-15, 04:39 PM
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Another option is your body and core muscles are conditioned enough to be comfortable on an aggressive race bike and the only way to fix that is get out and ride
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Old 07-11-15, 04:47 PM
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"I got my first and only road bike in 2013"
"I'm having some comfort problems"

Is this a new problem or has it never felt great?

"I lowered the stem to get a better aero position and more speed and like it better, as the flatter back seems more comfortable"
"I ride as hard as I can every time I ride and I love to see my speed go up"


How long are your rides? How often do you ride? Are you able to ride longer or more regularly now than before you slammed the bars? "Pushing as hard as you can" takes a lot out of you, and I wouldn't recommend that every ride. The harder I ride, the more recovery time (through easier rides, cross training, or rest days) I need.

"I can't put my finger on what I find uncomfortable. Is it a reflection of the stiffness of the bike or the fit? Is it me? Think I should try a different bike? Would love some suggestions on my next steps"


Sounds like bike has been fit to you 2x (original purchase and second LBS). I would try mixing up my riding style by following harder rides with easier ones, spending more time on the hoods, and slowing pace for longer rides. If you aren't riding regularly then trying to "make up for it" when you do get on the bike, it's hard for your body to adjust. Consistency is key for improvement, multiple shorter rides during the week is better than one long weekend ride. Also, yoga or swimming are great cross training. I wouldn't try another ride yet, you're on a great bike. Good luck!

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Old 07-11-15, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bigcicero View Post
Hi all! Long-time lurker, first time poster. Please go easy I'm looking to see if someone can provide a little advice. I'm having comfort problems on my bike.

I got my first and only road bike in 2013, a 2013 Caad 10. (Please hold off on the 'aggressive geometry' comment for a second!). Being new at the time, I tested several bikes at the LBS and purchased the Caad 10 based on great price for a beginner, great reputation, felt like it was a fast & fun ride, and it seemed like a decent fit on a 15 minute ride. However, I'm having some comfort problems and don't ride as often as I'd like, I think due to the fact that I don't feel great on it. I don't think it's because of the 'aggressive' position - in fact, I lowered the stem to get a better aero position and more speed and like it better, as the flatter back seems more comfortable; and I don't race, but I ride as hard as I can every time I ride and I love to see my speed go up. Also, it's *supposedly* not "fit" - I took the bike to a second LBS who measured me on the bike and confirmed that the size seemed fine for my body, though they put on a stem that was 10mm longer. It's a size 54, and I'm 5'11-3/4" with a 32in inseam (longer torso), 188 lbs, 35 y/o. But I somehow feel crammed and it feels very, very stiff.

I don't have experience with other bikes, so I can't put my finger on what I find uncomfortable. Is it a reflection of the stiffness of the bike or the fit? Is it me? Think I should try a different bike? Would love some suggestions on my next steps.

THANK YOU!
-Cicero
How many times have you ridden it and what distance have you covered?

Does anything hurt?
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Old 07-11-15, 08:31 PM
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I'd say get a real fit from retul or specialized b.g. fitter. That will tell you if you can fix it with a new stem or adjusting something or if the frame is just too small. Pro fit is the best upgrade money you can spend. And check your tire pressure you don't need to run max pressure.
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Old 07-12-15, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by MaxxTraxx View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but a 54 for a guy who is 5'11 is too small.
32" inseam is pretty consistent with size 54. I am a 32" inseam and that's what works for me. Of course, I am now only 5'9" which accounts for not needing a long stem.
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Old 07-12-15, 10:17 AM
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I'm 5'10" and ride a 54- and I like a smallish fit and aggressive geometry, too- but at close to 6' I'd say a 54 is really pushing it.....'specially with a long torso. You'd probably be comfy on a 58; could make a 56 work....but 54 is really pushing it. Anything can feel comfortable on just a 15 minute test ride. If you could post pics of yourself on the bike, I'm sure you'd get a lot of helpful advice. Being cramped is probably putting your arms and torso in positions which are really stressing your core, arm, and shoulder muscles.
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Old 07-12-15, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
32" inseam is pretty consistent with size 54. I am a 32" inseam and that's what works for me. Of course, I am now only 5'9" which accounts for not needing a long stem.
Yeah, 54 is O-K for that inseam generally [pretty much right at the outer bounds though] but with the OP's overall height, and thus long torso, the 54 is ridiculously small. The lower half opf his body will fit fine...but that's not where he's having the problem. .
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Old 07-12-15, 11:02 AM
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You purchased your bike in 2013 and now 2 years later you state you have comfort issues.

Did you do much riding in 2013 and were you comfortable with it then?

How much riding do you do now?

You haven't provided much information to give you any suggestions. A few pictures of you on the bike while riding the trainer would help. Otherwise, see another fitter.
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Old 07-12-15, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MaxxTraxx View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but a 54 for a guy who is 5'11 is too small.
54 is way too Small...try a 58-60

I had a too small touring bike.

Never could get it to fit
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Old 07-12-15, 12:36 PM
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I'm just about the same size as you- 6'0", 32" inseam.

I ride a 56cm, and a 58cm (a bit big for me).

You can probably make it work with longer stem, but maybe try higher bars, & lower later as your conditioning improves.

Some time is needed for the body to adapt- going hard every time could be counter-productive, even ingraining bad posture and technique.

Edit: Also 25c tires w/ less than max pressure.
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Old 07-12-15, 12:50 PM
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Sounds to me like the bike is too small also.

Probably the top tube is too short to accommodate your longer than average torso. I'm 5'10" with a longer than average torso, and I fit better on some brands of bikes on a 54, and with others on a 56. You should probably be on a 56 or a 58.

Is the seat positioned forward, in the middle or at the rear of the adjustment?

Are you sure that the seat height is correctly positioned?

If the bike is the right size, and it's adjusted properly, you would not be having problems.
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Old 07-12-15, 01:12 PM
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Hey everyone, I didn't expect so many helpful replies... thank you so much. This should answer most of the questions:
- I've put about 2,500 miles on the bike. Usually I ride 25-30 miles at a time and not everyday. I'd prob ride more often if I felt more comortable on the bike.
- Seat is in middle of adjustment; I haven't altered it. Maybe it's that simple?
- Nothing 'hurts', per se... Occasionally I do get sore a bit sore in my upper back and neck after a 30 mile ride, but not every time, and I assume that's my own conditioning as opposed to the bike's fit. But I'm in decent athletic shape.
- Part of my issue is that I feel tight, and part is that I wish the ride felt just a little smoother. I think the two can be correlated but not sure: i.e., it's possible that a too-small bike can be causing both a cramped feeling and a harsh feeling due to being too short.

- I guess that leads to a big point: I have this suspicion that my 54 is too small and that a 56 would have felt better. But I'm not exactly sure how I'm supposed to feel on the Caad, if that makes sense. When I visited the 2nd LBS, he said that the size was "on the small edge"; the look on his face suggested that maybe he was trying to be nice and keep me from having to buy another bike. When I bought the Caad, I test rode a few other bikes at the same time, which were all carbon, all endurance bikes, all more expensive, and all seemingly a little bigger. In fact, I loved the plush feeling of the Roubaix, which felt larger, longer, and less cramped, but I didn't like how HIGH up I was on the hoods. When I tried the Caad and felt more aero, I liked it much better. The guy at LBS suggested that the 'aggressive geometry' would feel tighter overall, so being a newbie I didn't push back when I felt the 54 might be a bit tight. (To be fair, he tried to put me in the same size SuperSix because he thought that I would appreciate the carbon more since I liked the smoothness of the Roubaix, but I didn't want to spend the money.)

I guess it leads to two questions:
1) How am I supposed to feel on the Caad... is it by nature supposed to feel smallish and crammed?
2) Would a carbon make me feel better generally?
Maybe I'm just on the wrong bike for me... it's hard for me to know if it's a matter of incorrect size or of incorrect geometry.

Thank you,
Cicero

Last edited by bigcicero; 07-12-15 at 01:40 PM. Reason: correctness
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Old 07-12-15, 01:27 PM
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Btw, the 2nd LBS swapped out the stem from the stock 90mm to a 110mm. That gave me more space, but as my upper body rotated down due to the longer reach my line of sight when I look down is now in front of the hub. In other words, when I look down at the ground I see the front hub behind the handlebar by 1-2 inches. I have heard that the rule of thumb is that your line of sight should be through the handlebar and through the hub, such that you don't see the hub unless you're leaning forward. Should that hold true always and on a Caad?
Thanks,
Cicero
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Old 07-12-15, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
54 is way too Small...try a 58-60
Not with a 32 inch inseam. Besides with today's fitting on road bike, a 60 is about right for someone 6'1" - 6'2"
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Old 07-12-15, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bigcicero View Post
1) How am I supposed to feel on the Caad... is it by nature supposed to feel smallish and crammed?
No! It is too small for you. On any bike which fits properly, you should neither feel cramped, nor too stretched-out. I'm not oner of these OCD types who obsess over fit down to the millimeter. You can generally make bikes of several sizes work perfectly well for a given rider...but that bike is just too small for you- plain and simple.
Originally Posted by bigcicero View Post
2) Would a carbon make me feel better generally?
Maybe I'm just on the wrong bike for me... it's hard for me to know if it's a matter of incorrect size or of incorrect geometry.
No. What the bike is made of has nothing to do with how it fits. A carbon bike of the same size would feel just as cramped. In fact, on many of the modern CF bikes with sloping top tubes, You likely wouldn't even be able to get the seat high enough for your inseam on a 54. I have a 31" inseam, and the seat on my 54cm Venge is just about maxed-out. Top-tube length (or effective top tube length) is really what you need to look at. Find a comfy bike and not it's top tube measurement. Somewhere between a 56 and a 58cm bike will likely contain the correct length for you. (56 if you enjoy a smallish fit or 58 if you prefer to be more stretched out).
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Old 07-12-15, 02:33 PM
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I'm not sure if it's a fit issue or just that you don't like the harshness of aluminum frame. But the frame size is probably fine the way most people fit bikes these days - the suggestion of a 58 or 60 is ridiculous. Seat tube length is basically unimportant since you can raise or lower seat as you'd like and you also have like 8cm adjustability in top tube length by changing stems in the range of 60 to 140. (I.e. 59 top tube with 80 stem equals 54 top tube with a 130 stem). You are only on a 110 stem so you could try a longer stem or bars that have longer ramps.
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Old 07-12-15, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
Not with a 32 inch inseam. Besides with today's fitting on road bike, a 60 is about right for someone 6'1" - 6'2"
6FT here and put 57,000 miles on 60/61...Great Fit.
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Old 07-12-15, 02:44 PM
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The bike shop moved dead stock to you even though it didn't fit.

They're never gonna admit that, so they probably put a longer stem on to try and compensate.

You should be on a 56
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Old 07-12-15, 08:18 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Nagrom_ View Post
The bike shop moved dead stock to you even though it didn't fit.

They're never gonna admit that, so they probably put a longer stem on to try and compensate.

You should be on a 56
I'm starting to feel that this ^ is true and I'm a little annoyed. I've spent all day researching sizing and geometries (there's a ton of info on this forum), and I actually found some examples of guys with my exact same dimensions riding CAAD 10s from 56-58. I think I'm starting to understand the difference in geometries too: the 'aggressive' geometry is a long top tube with a short head tube, giving a stretched out ride and a lower handlebar. This results in an aero position.
When I 'stand' over my top tube, the 54 size seems to be okay at first blush (since the top tube is perfectly horizontal and is high relative to my inseam), but I don't feel stretched out enough so I'd probably prefer *riding* a 56+. The other bikes I test rode felt longer and better to me. (Why didn't I go with my gut?) Also, the longer stem on this bike somehow doesn't feel like the right solution b/c somehow the whole frame feels smallish to me.

I'm starting to wonder if I wouldn't be better off with a compact frame that is a little bigger so I can get over the top tube but enjoy the length. At this point, any ideas on what to do with my Caad? It's rideable, but I just don't LOVE it, and I want to LOVE it.
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