Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Smoother Ride ??

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Old 10-11-07, 04:45 PM
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gr84l
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Smoother Ride ??

I have an 04 Lemond Zurich. I purchased it 3 mo ago when I started riding for the 1st time. Its all steel. I want to know if getting a carbon seat post and handlebars would take out enough jarring out of my typical 30 mi ride to make a difference in my fatigue level ache level, endurance level (whatever)? I'm 56, wt 195 and do 70-90 mi per wk & average ~17 mi/hr. Longest ride to date 45 mi.
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Old 10-11-07, 05:26 PM
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celerystalksme
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maybe it's not fitted well? i read an article that actually steel is the best ride...is this wrong, someone?
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Old 10-11-07, 05:26 PM
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Easiest way to get a smoother ride is to switch to wider tires and a lower air pressure. Also work on a more flexible riding position (e.g., bend your elbows more).

Carbon bike parts may or may not make a noticeable difference, depending on how they are designed and manufactured, but in the moderate price ranges, you should expect no real difference.
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Old 10-11-07, 05:28 PM
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Do you have a carbon fork.

Do you wear gloves? Do you wear bike shorts?

Is your seat way to high?
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Old 10-12-07, 06:08 AM
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I ride a steel salsa La Raza. It has carbon seat post and carbon wrapped front fork. I absolutely love the ride of the bike. I would say check fit first. If not fit then start by adding carbon front fork. Just my .02.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
Easiest way to get a smoother ride is to switch to wider tires and a lower air pressure. Also work on a more flexible riding position (e.g., bend your elbows more).

Carbon bike parts may or may not make a noticeable difference, depending on how they are designed and manufactured, but in the moderate price ranges, you should expect no real difference.
+1
Wider tires, lower pressure. Carbon will take out some road buzz but not jaring. Lift up off the saddle and use your arms and legs to absorb the bumps you can't avoid. Remember your riding a saddle not sitting on a seat.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:50 AM
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OP - One way to smooth out the ride of your Zurich would be to spend a couple hours on an all-aluminum frame bike - that'll show you the difference. Meanwhile, wider tires w/slightly lower pressure are the simplest, surest way to a smoother ride. If you're on 23mm rubber, go up to 25mm. There are studies that show that 25mm actually offer lower rolling resistance, because they deform less on the road than the 23's.
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Old 10-12-07, 09:06 AM
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johnny99
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Originally Posted by crghill View Post
I ride a steel salsa La Raza. It has carbon seat post and carbon wrapped front fork. I absolutely love the ride of the bike. I would say check fit first. If not fit then start by adding carbon front fork. Just my .02.
A good carbon fork is not going to give you a significantly plusher ride than a good steel fork. The main differences will be weight and price.
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Old 10-12-07, 09:21 AM
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Better wheels will help.
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Old 10-12-07, 09:27 AM
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Proper bike fit is the key to riding comfort. I would put on some more miles before starting to switch out for carbon parts. You just started riding and your at 17mph! Very impressive. You are always welcome on the 50+ fourm.
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Old 10-12-07, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
Easiest way to get a smoother ride is to switch to wider tires and a lower air pressure.
Or, as I found out myself, air pressure that's too low can ride worse, too. You might actually bottom out the tires and rely on the rims to take the bumps. I think I was pushing my luck with pinch flats until I finally checked the pressures on my road bike's tires, which were about 40 psi too low. I pumped them back up to pressures recommended by this thread and it rode much, much better. Smoother and more responsive at the same time, if you can believe it.
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Old 10-12-07, 09:46 AM
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The problem is that you have to spend more money on your bike.

A set of deep section carbon tubulars ought to clear things right up.
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Old 10-12-07, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by recursive View Post
The problem is that you have to spend more money on your bike.

A set of deep section carbon tubulars ought to clear things right up.

+10
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Old 10-12-07, 09:48 AM
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Probably more a matter of the cyclist than the bike. It usually is. How long have you been riding?
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Old 10-12-07, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Portis View Post
Probably more a matter of the cyclist than the bike. It usually is. How long have you been riding?

"about 3 months"


How significant is the problem? You might just need to toughen up a bit. Or check the tire pressure. Wider tires will allow a slightly lower pressure before pinch flats become an issue. If that does not work, I would skip the carbon seatpost... get a suspension seatpost or a sprung saddle. I know, sounds dorky, but if you get a Brooks, it will be retro-cool. Or just get a softer seat.

For the hands, raise the handlebars by flipping the stem or getting a stem with a steeper angle.

If you really want a cushy ride, get one of those Cannondales with the road Headshok and pair that with a suspension seatpost. Or try the Klein SPA with the little shock abosorber.


Personally, I ride an aluminum bike, and I find that it rides just fine.
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Old 10-12-07, 02:10 PM
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Hey buddy, welcome aboard. I've been riding seriously for a couple of years now, have about the same bike, I'm a little younger and a little lighter, so we're pretty close.

I've gone to wider tires, presently 700x28, an ergonomic carbon handlebar and a new seat. I am pretty comfortable, a couple of hours don't fatigue me much. I would say keep riding and keep reading BikeForums for further tips. You're much closer to biking happiness than you might think. Wander in the hills away from traffic and that will distract you enough to keep you going back for more.
I'll be looking for your posts.
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Old 10-12-07, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by gr84l View Post
I want to know if getting a carbon seat post and handlebars would take out enough jarring out
Cycling and the Federal Govenment have at least one thing in common. If you have a problem, throw money at it.

Carbon components may take SOME of the roughness out of your ride, but may transfer that roughness to your pocketbook. Besides, it may not be the root of your problem.

You have not said anything about your bike fit and your experience on the bike. Do your arms tend to tire on longer rides? Do your hands numb or tingle? If you are relatively new, you may need to learn how to relax on the bike (assuming of course that the bike is properly fitted for your (knees over pedals, not too much reach forward, etc.). Once you are in a position where you can be comfortable and efficient on the bike, learn to relax all non-cycling muscle groups, especially the arms, shoulder and neck. Loosen your grip to the point where you are just barely griping the handlbars. Straighten the back, tighten your gut a cinch and feel "poised on the bike". Remember you steer with your hips, and fine-tune the turn with your hands, so you don't need that much pressure to steer. Also, when you pedal, are you pushing down on the pedals or making nice, big circles? I think of rounding the top and front of each pedals stroke, pulling back and up to the top again. Legs should feel loose and light (take the pressure out of your feet and allow your legs to move more effortlessly.

This "Zen" approach should take some of the roughness out of your ride. Try it for a week and see if it makes a difference.
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Old 10-12-07, 04:29 PM
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gr84l
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as a note , I was fitted by a certified cycling trainer and the bike has a carbon fork, I ride w 100 # psi in my tires.................................................and my only claim to fame is that at 56 my max heart rate is 196
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Old 10-12-07, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gr84l View Post
I have an 04 Lemond Zurich. I purchased it 3 mo ago when I started riding for the 1st time. Its all steel. I want to know if getting a carbon seat post and handlebars would take out enough jarring out of my typical 30 mi ride to make a difference in my fatigue level ache level, endurance level (whatever)? I'm 56, wt 195 and do 70-90 mi per wk & average ~17 mi/hr. Longest ride to date 45 mi.
Regarding fatigue, I have serious tendonitis issues in my elbows and knees. When I changed from a steel frame to a Giant CFR1 carbon frame (very flexy compared to new carbon frames), my knee problems (always brought on by long distance on rough roads) went away. Buzzy roads still hurt my elbows, and changing to an ITM carbon bar and stem didn't help noticeably. Gel inserts under the tape has helped. My carbon seatpost didn't change anything, but I found a seat that fits me well and is comfortable. Loworing pressure in my tires has helped a little, but I can't get myself to lower it much, because I "feel" slower. Same with wider tires. Different tires in the same size and pressure can also feel harsher or softer.

Along with all the previous advice, you have plenty to experiment with.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:44 PM
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I had a carbon seat post on an aluim, bike that cracked so I put in a cheap aluim. post as it's my extra bike and noticed NO! change in the ride at all.
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Old 10-13-07, 06:49 AM
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How about better tires? Some road tires are better than others. I ride the Michelin Pro Race 2
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Old 10-13-07, 07:01 AM
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As others have noted fit is important. You can find fitting methods/heuristics on the web (e.g., you should be able to place your shoe/cleat heel on your pedal and then pedal backwards without having to rock on your seat. If you can't do this your seat is too high.

Also, if you are just beginning riding make sure your bars are not too low. At worst they should probably be level with your seat but until your body adjusts to riding they should probably be a couple inches above seat height.

Another (very cheap) way to increase comfort is to double wrap your handlebars. Not only does it help your hands not go numb but the wider bar diameter is also more comfortable (at least to me).
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