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Wife having problems with her Trek road bike, I can't figure it out...

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Wife having problems with her Trek road bike, I can't figure it out...

Old 04-16-12, 08:13 AM
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Wife having problems with her Trek road bike, I can't figure it out...

So my wife has a 2011 Trek 3.1 WSD Madone and she has been complaining about it ever since she first got the bike. She says it feels "squishy" and feels like she has a hard time turning the bike in tight corners, even at low speeds.

She came from a 2010 Trek 1.2 (aluminum) and from what I've read about the 3.1s, since she got the bike, is that they are pretty "soft" feeling bikes (maybe going from aluminum to carbon makes this more exaggerated?). I've road the bike a couple times around the block and I can't tell a difference between it and my Giant TCR but obviously it's completely the wrong size and setup for me. As for the turning I really have no clue, we've taken it to the LBS to get it checked and they said everything looks fine. She was fully fitted on the bike when she first got it. I'm out of ideas for what to tell her and she's been really frustrated with it. If it's the bike I would be more than happy just buying her a new one and selling this one on craigslist... Any ideas? Suggestions?
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Old 04-16-12, 08:23 AM
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By soft/squishy do you mean bouncy? You are going to get a lot of 'did she test ride it enough' and 'if it was fitted and didn't feel right at the time, why did she buy it?'

What do the peeps at the LBS say about the squishy comment? Maybe the wheels? Can you swap wheels on a known non-squishy bike to see if it makes a difference, just for troubleshooting's sake?
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Old 04-16-12, 08:28 AM
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Check the headset. If it is loose, it might feel like this. Easiest way is to clamp the front brake and rock the bike back and forth. If you feel a "clanking" in the bearing, then the headset is loose and needs to be tightened. I am assuming you have checked the basics like making sure the tires are inflated and everything.
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Old 04-16-12, 08:30 AM
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Thats the thing... I really don't know exactly what she means by it. I ask her and she just keeps saying "squishy" compared to her old 1.2. She bought the bike on impulse without me late last year because she thought she wanted a carbon bike and it was "cute"... typical women. lol

The LBS is pretty baffled about it as well.
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Old 04-16-12, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
Check the headset. If it is loose, it might feel like this. Easiest way is to clamp the front brake and rock the bike back and forth. If you feel a "clanking" in the bearing, then the headset is loose and needs to be tightened. I am assuming you have checked the basics like making sure the tires are inflated and everything.
Yep, checked all that and everything is good.
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Old 04-16-12, 08:43 AM
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What's the tire pressure?
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Old 04-16-12, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
What's the tire pressure?
110 psi
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Old 04-16-12, 08:58 AM
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Can you compare the head tube angle and fork rake on the two bikes? The new bike could have a slacker head tube angle causing slower steering and requiring a slightly wider turn area.

You can also measure from axle to axle to see if the new bike has a longer wheel base. That can cause slower steering.
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Old 04-16-12, 08:59 AM
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The only thing I can suggest is for you to take a nother ride but longer and see what you can come up with. The headset, as mentioned, could be the problem. Another possibility is brake pads rubbing, maybe on just one side, or being so tight they rub of turns. Another pssibility is your wife being nervous on a new bide and rding the brakes when turning.
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Old 04-16-12, 09:00 AM
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edit: I see the OP's 110psi now.

that is plenty of air pressure for average womanly weight.

you could try a new tire... maybe it will actually handle more sharply than the bontrager r1, and maybe it will mostly be a placebo effect.
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Old 04-16-12, 09:03 AM
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It sounds silly, but what you need is a good auto mechanic.

Find one that routinely deals with women and how they describe their automotive problems. He may be your only hope to translate "squishy".

You may also try to contact Tony Eury Jr., who is Danica Patrick's crew chief. He may also be able to translate for you.
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Old 04-16-12, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
Another pssibility is your wife being nervous on a new bide and rding the brakes when turning.
This is what I think it is... and I've tried suggesting this to her but she says it not it.
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Old 04-16-12, 09:15 AM
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good luck buddy
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Old 04-16-12, 10:17 AM
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maybe she means what we call 'flexy'?
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Old 04-16-12, 10:20 AM
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Swap out the tires for something better. Bontrager tires blow.
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Old 04-16-12, 10:23 AM
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Loose spokes (not likely) ?
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Old 04-16-12, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by csphoto
This is what I think it is... and I've tried suggesting this to her but she says it not it.
Take off her brake pads and have her try again, lol!
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Old 04-16-12, 11:03 AM
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Oh, good luck with this.

My wife rides her bike so seldom that it's always out of order somehow. Everytime she does decide to ride, I put it on the repair stand and get it in perfect working order, just like I do with my own bikes.

And yet, it completely fails to function in every regard when she rides it. I ride it, and it works perfectly. I can't replicate her problems on the road, or on the repair stand. She rides it, and it is a mess.

You're pretty much eff-ed.

"Squishy" indeed! Tracking that down will likely be a Quixotic quest with no end.
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Old 04-16-12, 11:17 AM
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I've been on a rented Trek Madone 3.1 with stock components (2011?) for the past ~2 weeks. Compared with my bike (Simplon Pavo), it definitely feel a bit more "squishy" and "bouncy." Tire pressure holds steady around 7.5 bars, but there have been numerous occasions (mostly in pacelines on flat sections) that the bike felt rather sluggish, as if the rear tire was flat. Conversely, the bike has a tendency to transmit a lot of road noise and feels rather bouncy on long descents. As the bike is a rental, I just attributed it to less-than-perfect fit combined with a lower end wheelset and haven't worried about it. Does this sound like what she's describing (modulo the steering issues)?

My first suggestion would be to echo that of RTDub and put the wheels from her old 1.2 or your TCR on her new bike to see if that changes anything.
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Old 04-16-12, 11:37 AM
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Ride her bike, and tell us how it feels?
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Old 04-16-12, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by generalkdi
Ride her bike, and tell us how it feels?
He did and said it was fine.
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Old 04-16-12, 11:51 AM
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Tell her the squishy feeling is comming from the extra padding on her butt. She will get out and ride more or you will be sleeping in the garage with your bike.


Does she have the same saddle on both bikes?
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Old 04-16-12, 11:56 AM
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Try swapping the wheels from your bike onto hers and have her ride it.
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Old 04-16-12, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
Check the headset. If it is loose, it might feel like this. Easiest way is to clamp the front brake and rock the bike back and forth. If you feel a "clanking" in the bearing, then the headset is loose and needs to be tightened. I am assuming you have checked the basics like making sure the tires are inflated and everything.
My headset does this... Any chance you could help a NOOB out by telling me how to tighten it? IT has been bothering me for quite a while.
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Old 04-16-12, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by biggcstylez
My headset does this... Any chance you could help a NOOB out by telling me how to tighten it? IT has been bothering me for quite a while.
First, loosen the bolts holding the stem to the steering tube. Then tighten the bolt fastening the top cap until the bearing has no play. Don't tighten this bolt too much though; just enough to where the bearing has no play but the fork is still able to turn freely. Then re-tighten the bolts on the stem.
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