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

Riding position

Old 01-03-13, 05:46 AM
  #1  
drjay9051
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Riding position

First road bike since my Schwinn Continental in high school 40 yrs ago !

Previously asked about Trek 2.1 2012 vs 2013.

So I have ridden both the 2012 with Sram Apex and the 2013 with Shimano. Like them both.

Now after much learning have discovered Trek has H1, H2 and H3 geometries.

In short , correct me if I am wrong the H1 is most aggressive, than H2 and least aggressive for "endurance" riding is the H3, correct.

Also the Madone 2.1 I am looking at is H2 whereas the Domane series could be considered an H3 geometry.

So for a new rider who plans on riding for an hour or 2 2-3 times a week will i feel the difference between H2 and H3 ? By endurance are they referring to hours in the saddle as opposed to 1-2 hours?

Reason i ask is i can get a Domane rather than a Madone but in a 30 minute test ride cannot tell if the Madone is too "aggressive'? In the end for a fitness non-competitive rider does it really matter?



Also in the mix is the Specialized Roubaix if i go for the "H3" geometry.
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Old 01-03-13, 07:34 AM
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I believe the Roubaix which btw I ride is less aggressive than the tallest headtube Trek aka H3 geometry. For better clarity, post both geometries. Since you aren't predisposed to a size, let me tell you that riding position is transcendent. Your challenge will be knowing what geometry you will 'grow into' and this is difficult to predict for somebody getting into cycling. For one, we don't know what level you will achieve. Yes...your riding position will change over time as you improve. For some, this means a more aggressive position. If you end up riding with fast guys, you will learn for example that you will want more reach as you will natively want to bend more at the waist to propel the bike faster. But there are a legion of Roubaix lovers out there including me...a long time cyclist that still prefer a tall head tube relative to reach. The good news in the sea of options is there is adjustability with each bike. And, there is the aesthetic. If you are a traditionalist, you may for example prefer a flat stem...something I grew up with and still looks best to me. But for those that need more bar height, no foul in a riser stem either. Bar height, is easier to achieved with a taller head tube. Flexibility matters as well. But if you read the other riding position thread pending on this forum right now, you will learn that a limited few will still seek an aggressive position even if relatively inflexible. Road bike fit is the most perplexing element of buying a bike and critcal to riding a road bike in comfort for long distance. It is like golf in some ways...another activity some never get good at...counter intuitive in many ways. A lower position can be more comfortable.
To add further confusion, you will learn little in a 30 minute ride. If you get into cycling, you will want to do 3 hour rides...and perhaps hard rides this duration. This is where you really start to understand your fit.
The other thing is your body proportions. I write on occasion about the parallel universe of fit. Two riders..both 6 feet tall could fit identically on either a H1 head tube Trek versus H3. This comes down to torso to leg length proportion. If you are long legged for your height, a H3 bike will generally be more comfortable. In my case that is a Roubaix as I have long legs for my height. But if I could palm the ground lock kneed, then I may still seek a H1 fit even with long legs. So you see the variation...some is preference, some anatomy and some is how well you ride. Good riders tend to ride with a bit more pelvis rotation to enlist their glutes and can tolerate more reach, drop or both.
So its a complex subject and really only you can decide what is best. Hopefully reading some of the relationships above will send you in the right direction and help you decide. I believe you really have to own at least 3 bikes and try everything to know what works best but many don't put in this level of effort and as a result stop short of achieving the best fit for them.
Good luck.

Last edited by Campag4life; 01-03-13 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 01-03-13, 08:20 AM
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Usually, the only difference is a 20mm taller head tube on the H2. That limits how low you can position the bars, if you ever reach a point where you want a racing fit.

With the H1, you can either use 20mm of spacer or 10-11 degrees more stem angle to get the same bar height as an H2 frame.

Body proportioning can also play a part in the decision. If you've got short legs and a long torso, even the H1 would have a tall head tube, relative to your saddle height and the H2 might be entirely too tall.

I've got long legs and a short torso, but I'd still choose the H1 because I can tolerate a lot of saddle to bar drop (9-11cm).

Last edited by DaveSSS; 01-03-13 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 01-03-13, 09:52 AM
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Might be wrong, but last I checked, the H1 fit is only offered on the Madone 6.x series road bikes.
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Old 01-03-13, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Usually, the only difference is a 20mm taller head tube on the H2. That limits how low you can position the bars, if you ever reach apoint where you want a racing fit.

With the H1, you can either use 20mm of spacer or 10-11 degrees more stem angle to get the same bar height as an H2 frame.

Body proportioning can also play a part in the decision. If you've got short legs and a long torso, even the H1 would have a tall head tube, relative to your saddle height and the H2 might be entirely too tall.

I've got long legs and a short torso, but I's still choose the H1 because I can tolerate a lot of saddle to bar drop (9-11cm).
This, pretty much. Any of these frames can be made to fit the same by appropriate selection of frame size, components, and adjustment, especially if you have fairly normal proportions. If your proportions are a bit off normal, some combinations may seem a bit outlandish.
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Old 01-03-13, 11:35 AM
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I think it's more about finding a bike that is going to handle appropriately with the bars where you are going to have them. A good shop should be able to help figure this out.

I would not consider an hour a day "endurance" riding, but you may want to do longer rides in the future. The fit you start with is going to depend on the fitness and flexibility you currently have. If you get hooked and spend more time on the bike you may want the bars lower in the future so the bike you choose should allow for that.
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Old 01-03-13, 11:39 AM
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If I had to choose, and I was where you were last year this time, I would say get a H2 fit and call it a day (on whatever bike you like) while you are getting use to it, you may want to raise the bars, but in 6 months when you get on club rides, your going to want to lower them back down.
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Old 01-03-13, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
If I had to choose, and I was where you were last year this time, I would say get a H2 fit and call it a day (on whatever bike you like) while you are getting use to it, you may want to raise the bars, but in 6 months when you get on club rides, your going to want to lower them back down.
Not only do you disagree with Trek who creates H3 geometry for a reason...because there is demand for it...but also you rule out one of the most popular road bikes on the planet...a Roubaix which has a taller head tube than a H3 Trek bike.
Tell it to my Cat 1 buddy who rides a Roubaix...lol.
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Old 01-03-13, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
I think it's more about finding a bike that is going to handle appropriately with the bars where you are going to have them. A good shop should be able to help figure this out.

I would not consider an hour a day "endurance" riding, but you may want to do longer rides in the future. The fit you start with is going to depend on the fitness and flexibility you currently have. If you get hooked and spend more time on the bike you may want the bars lower in the future so the bike you choose should allow for that.
Handling is a consideration but the OP won't know whether he will prefer either a taller or shorter bike over time unless he spends time with both bikes. In fact many don't know this because they haven't spent enough time on different bikes.

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Old 01-03-13, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Handling is a consideration but the OP won't know whether he will prefer either a taller or shorter bike over time. In fact many don't this because they haven't spent enough time on different bikes.
The OP should ride a bunch of bikes. Anyone considering a major bike purchase should.

He hasn't really mentioned how much fitness or flexibility he's bringing into the situation, but I'm not going to just assume that he's been sitting on a couch eating Pringles for 40 years.
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Old 01-03-13, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Might be wrong, but last I checked, the H1 fit is only offered on the Madone 6.x series road bikes.
As far as I can see from Trek's website, it appears that the H1 is only available on the 6 and 7 series frames.
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Old 01-03-13, 06:11 PM
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As others noted, not all bikes are available in all geometries. When I bought my bike the lbs owner, whom I trust a lot (he is also my fitter), told me that the H3 geometry is really intended for people with serious back issues (disc issues, surgeries, etc ). The H2 is the bike for most people other than racers who want a really aero position. I went with the H2.
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Old 01-04-13, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Mpov View Post
As others noted, not all bikes are available in all geometries. When I bought my bike the lbs owner, whom I trust a lot (he is also my fitter), told me that the H3 geometry is really intended for people with serious back issues (disc issues, surgeries, etc ). The H2 is the bike for most people other than racers who want a really aero position. I went with the H2.
The blind leading the blind.
I will help. H3 geometry is for non pretenders who don't race who want to ride fast and yet in comfort. It is needless to ride in a slammed position if you aren't racing. H3 geometry being for those with serious back issues is a joke.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
The blind leading the blind.
I will help. H3 geometry is for non pretenders who don't race who want to ride fast and yet in comfort. It is needless to ride in a slammed position if you aren't racing. H3 geometry being for those with serious back issues is a joke.

*Gasp* how dare you not recommend 36 cm of saddle to bar drop for someone who is not a professional cyclists. Blasphemy! flip it and slam it!
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Old 01-04-13, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
The blind leading the blind.
I will help. H3 geometry is for non pretenders who don't race who want to ride fast and yet in comfort. It is needless to ride in a slammed position if you aren't racing. H3 geometry being for those with serious back issues is a joke.
That's a lot of value laden words to describe the preferences of a middle age club rider who prefers a high head tube. Why all the judgement?
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Old 01-04-13, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mprelaw View Post
As far as I can see from Trek's website, it appears that the H1 is only available on the 6 and 7 series frames.
Yea, sucks; I got a 2012 4.x series frame on a warranty replacement for a 2007 5.2 Madone and had to drop down a size and spend a lot of time redoing the fit to get myself into the right position because the H1 fit is not available to the budget lines anymore.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:51 AM
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OP, you're facing a typical 50+'er cycling start-up conundrum. You won't know what's truly comfortable until you've ridden for quite a few miles, so find an LBS that listens to you, asks a lot of good questions and preaches a middle ground. It's unlikely you'll want the most aggressive geometry flipped and slammed as they say hereabouts. Your geometry is extremely important and I don't see that being discussed much. The LBS will get you on a bike that can be further adjusted in the likely direction as you build miles. You might start with the handlebars at seat height without resorting to a 45 deg stem, but you certainly want the ability lower the bars should you gain flexibility. Similarly, you wouldn't want to start with a 120mm stem and find as you gain flexibility that you want to stretch out more.

Summary: lean toward an LBS that gives you good advice.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
That's a lot of value laden words to describe the preferences of a middle age club rider who prefers a high head tube. Why all the judgement?
Just my opinion. H3/Roubaix geometry isn't just for middle age guys. I have both CAT 1&2 riding buddies who ride a Roubaix and they are in their 30's.
The OP will have to determine what works best for him. The inside word on lunch rides at Specialized Inc. is...the Roubaix is the most popular bike. And for good reason. The average guy jumping on a Tarmac versus Roubaix will find the Roubaix more comfortable. I ride with all kinds of guys. Their bike is incidental to their speed. So it comes down to comfort unless you are an elite amateur or racer. Many will choose the wrong bike for the pure aesthetic of a short head tube. I have friends I ride with like that. They never get in the drops because they can't or...it is uncomfortable.
You maybe different Brian. As I explained...some is preference, some is leg length to torso length ratio...some is flexibility. I will give you another person experience based upon riding with all kinds of guys. Half the guys I see on the road are either on the wrong bike or have poor fit. Again, this is my opinion.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Just my opinion. H3/Roubaix geometry isn't just for middle age guys. I have both CAT 1&2 riding buddies who ride a Roubaix and they are in their 30's.
The OP will have to determine what works best for him. The inside word on lunch rides at Specialized Inc. is...the Roubaix is the most popular bike. And for good reason. The average guy jumping on a Tarmac versus Roubaix will find the Roubaix more comfortable. I ride with all kinds of guys. Their bike is incidental to their speed. So it comes down to comfort unless you are an elite amateur or racer. Many will choose the wrong bike for the pure aesthetic of a short head tube. I have friends I ride with like that. They never get in the drops because they can't or...it is uncomfortable.
You maybe different Brian. As I explained...some is preference, some is leg length to torso length ratio...some is flexibility. I will give you another person experience based upon riding with all kinds of guys. Half the guys I see on the road are either on the wrong bike or have poor fit. Again, this is my opinion.
I was not commenting on the validity of your comment; your perspective is fine and you'd probably do better to just state your perspective straight up. I was commenting on your tone. Your lack of respect for differing opinions and preferences is shocking at times; especially your habit of using blanket statements to respond to people engaged in more detailed discussion all the while criticizing the use of blanket statements.

The H3 is quite high for a race bike, and high for a road bike as well. Comfort is what you are used to, and as you so stated, it depends on a lot of things making it impossible to make a blanket statement. The comment suggesting that "elites" are not comfortable on their bike and are not concerned with comfort is just blatantly false. In fact, it's not stretching too much to say that "elite" riders are more than a bit obsessed about comfort. I've gone through half a dozen saddles and more bike positions than I can count in getting to my current position over the last five years of racing. These "elite" riders simply have more miles on the bike and are more comfortable in a lower position because of it. My general beginner advice is: choose frame geometries which get you low if your intent is to go fast. If your intent is to tour the countryside and take it casual, get a frame geometry not intended for racing (such as the H2, H3 or Roubaix).

Also note that Trek is not really in the race bike game anymore. The H2 geometry is too high for a race bike (I had to put mine through a lot of contortions to make it fit right) and their H1 geometry is only offered on their top end frames. They are not even putting standard size cranksets on most their bikes anymore; everything below the 6.x series is compact. They are clearly aiming at the middle age baby boomer market with money to burn rather than the poor college racer.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:15 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
OP, you're facing a typical 50+'er cycling start-up conundrum. You won't know what's truly comfortable until you've ridden for quite a few miles, so find an LBS that listens to you, asks a lot of good questions and preaches a middle ground. It's unlikely you'll want the most aggressive geometry flipped and slammed as they say hereabouts. Your geometry is extremely important and I don't see that being discussed much. The LBS will get you on a bike that can be further adjusted in the likely direction as you build miles. You might start with the handlebars at seat height without resorting to a 45 deg stem, but you certainly want the ability lower the bars should you gain flexibility. Similarly, you wouldn't want to start with a 120mm stem and find as you gain flexibility that you want to stretch out more.

Summary: lean toward an LBS that gives you good advice.
1+

OP, in your situation, a good bike shop with a good person helping you is what you need. Most beginners are obsessed with getting things exactly right. Don't be afraid to put your trust in a decent shop and just take the plunge. The way to break the "beginner's conundrum" is to take a stab at it and ride a lot, in that order. You surely did this when you were younger; don't be afraid to do this now that you're all grow-ed up.

I stand by what I said earlier too: if you are fit, healthy, and want to be fast, leave room to move the bars to a more aerodynamic position even if it's not comfortable to you presently. If you are looking for leisure and pleasure and stopping to take pictures of the countryside, tend to a more upright position. Another way of saying this is, if you are a competitive person, go lower; if you are a cycling tourist with a modest ego, go higher. With that general advice, go and find a shop that'll listen to your preferences and guide you to a good fit.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:57 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
Summary: lean toward an LBS that gives you good advice.
Absolutely. It really can't be said enough.

The internet is a pretty lousy place to go for fit advice.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:59 PM
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This thread is useless w/o pictures.
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Old 01-04-13, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
I was not commenting on the validity of your comment; your perspective is fine and you'd probably do better to just state your perspective straight up. I was commenting on your tone. Your lack of respect for differing opinions and preferences is shocking at times; especially your habit of using blanket statements to respond to people engaged in more detailed discussion all the while criticizing the use of blanket statements.

The H3 is quite high for a race bike, and high for a road bike as well. Comfort is what you are used to, and as you so stated, it depends on a lot of things making it impossible to make a blanket statement. The comment suggesting that "elites" are not comfortable on their bike and are not concerned with comfort is just blatantly false. In fact, it's not stretching too much to say that "elite" riders are more than a bit obsessed about comfort. I've gone through half a dozen saddles and more bike positions than I can count in getting to my current position over the last five years of racing. These "elite" riders simply have more miles on the bike and are more comfortable in a lower position because of it. My general beginner advice is: choose frame geometries which get you low if your intent is to go fast. If your intent is to tour the countryside and take it casual, get a frame geometry not intended for racing (such as the H2, H3 or Roubaix).

Also note that Trek is not really in the race bike game anymore. The H2 geometry is too high for a race bike (I had to put mine through a lot of contortions to make it fit right) and their H1 geometry is only offered on their top end frames. They are not even putting standard size cranksets on most their bikes anymore; everything below the 6.x series is compact. They are clearly aiming at the middle age baby boomer market with money to burn rather than the poor college racer.
Your comments couldn't be more flawed. My tone as you put it is proportional to the level of disinformation dispensed on this forum including yours. You are like many if not most that look through their personal prism. You are a racer. You better re-read the OP's opening post. He says nothing of racing. He is not seeking a race bike. He is looking for a road bike. A road bike can be raced but the vast majority are not. The average road biker will not seek a racer position. In fact, some racers, including one of the greatest of the modern era rides in a pedestrian position. See below. My position is in fact very close to his. A good model for the average non racer in fact. This is the divide that often gets crossed on the 41. Cyclists here come from all walks and as a racer you clearly don't understand the OP's needs and hence all your mis-statements.
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Old 01-04-13, 05:10 PM
  #24  
Brian Ratliff
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Your comments couldn't be more flawed. My tone as you put it is proportional to the level of disinformation dispensed on this forum including yours. ...
Ah, so now I am spreading "disinformation". Did I mistake my facts or are you simply taking issue with my opinion? Did I somehow offend you in some way? Are you discriminating against the fact I do race and have ridden a lot of miles on bikes? You assume the OP is an old codger; I'm not sure that is true. Never met the guy before. He's said he's in his 50's, I'm not sure if I'd equate that with a guy who wants a touring position for his riding. Anyway, if he wants a touring position, then the H3 or the Roubaix is a good option. If they guy wants a fast position, he'd be better off with a racing type frame. If he doesn't know or if he strives to be fast but isn't yet, he's best off with an H2 and making liberal use of steering tube and spacers.

... You are like many if not most that look through their personal prism. ... My position is...[a] good model for the average non racer in fact.
Oh the irony. Tell me you don't see it.

Also, Armstrong doped a lot and has a weird back. Having a doping enhanced body able to output near 500W at threshold will solve a lot of aerodynamics problems.
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Last edited by Brian Ratliff; 01-04-13 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 01-04-13, 05:20 PM
  #25  
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