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  1. #1
    awake
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    Help with cockpit build, please!

    This afternoon I took my new bike for an 18 mile ride with 1500 feet of climbing to get a feel for the set-up. I have another, longer, ride planned for Sunday morning to further help me decide what needs to change.

    My first impression was that I kept pushing myself back on the saddle to make the handlebars feel the right distance away. I think that means I need a longer stem -- though I am not sure whether it also means I need it to be lower. The builder fit it with a 100mm stem with a 7 degree rise (SOMA Shotwell). Suggestions?

    I am used to handlebars with a bigger drop -- seemed fine today, though not familiar. I liked the access to the brakes and shift controls. The unfortunate thing is that the lateral aspect of the Force brake lever mount (where it attaches to the handlebar) protrudes and was digging into my hands whenever I was riding with my hands on the hoods. This is definitely different from Ultegra. A brief discussion with one of the mechanics at the LBS led to either a recommendation for padding under the tape OR routing one cable in front and one in back (which I prefer). The bars aren't what I requested (Salsa Pro Road med 2): he fitted Salsa Cowbell ("PRM 3" etched on the front); they don't have cable grooves, which may make a difference.

    Finally, I'm not sure about the seat post: I requested the Salsa Pro Moto 2, and he fit an FSA SL-280 (I imagined middle-of-the-road Salsa stem, post, and handlebars).

    My idea? Get a Thomson setback seat post and a Thompson 110 stem with 17 degrees to create a level stem and add some more reach. I am at a loss about the handlebars and the uncomfortable brake hood situation.

    Suggestions?


  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    My first impression was that I kept pushing myself back on the saddle to make the handlebars feel the right distance away. I think that means I need a longer stem -- though I am not sure whether it also means I need it to be lower. The builder fit it with a 100mm stem with a 7 degree rise (SOMA Shotwell). Suggestions?
    Assuming you've got hex wrenches, you can play with the positioning of the stem since you have so much steerer to work with. I don't get why you're looking at a Thomson stem when this free experimentation is at your disposal.

    Didn't catch on to what exactly is uncomfortable for you at the hoods. If you're talking about the transition from hood to bar then it's possibly a matter of the mounting being too high. But then again you're dwelling into cable routing so I'm not sure what you're getting at.

    Also don't get your setpost proposal. Your FSA post has more setback than a Thomson setback model would. You're not just looking for excuses for some component changes, are you?

  3. #3
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    Try a new LBS.

  4. #4
    awake
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    Thanks, guys. I will meet with the builder on Monday night to figure out the best set up. I just thought there might be some wisdom out there about how people decide which stem, handlebar, and seat post to buy. There are hundreds of possible combinations!

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    IMO: Fit starts by getting the saddle positioned correctly with respect to the crank for both height and setback. Then you fuss with the stem/bars getting them situated acceptably. Generally speaking, the saddle position isn't moved to fix a problem with reach or drop to the bars.

    Starting point for saddle position is to set the height so that your knee gets to ~30 degrees at its straightest when warmed up and pedaling normally. Then check the that the front of the knee is over the pedal spindle with a plumb bob. If you move the seat forward or back, recheck and adjust the height. These are default starting positions which experience (either yours or a bike fitter's) might change.

    Where the bars go is dictated mainly by comfort and riding intent. The default is to have the tops level with the top of the saddle and positioned for and aft such that the tops hide the front axle from your view in your normal riding position. As with saddle position, experience (either yours or a bike fitter's) might change this.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Lowering or flipping the stem would extend the reach to the bars. Another thing that this would accomplish would be to lower the drops of the bars to where they would be if you had deep drop bars mounted at the current height.

    And as far as the lip at the bar lever interface it looks ,to me, like the lever is falling away from the bar. Maybe if the lever was raised enough that the top of the hood and the top of the bar was on a more level plane the lip you feel would blend a little better and would be less noticable.

  7. #7
    awake
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    Sweet advice. Thank you!

  8. #8
    tmf
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    I agree with velodog - it looks like you have a few things you can try without taking out the checkbook.

    As looigi stated, get your saddle position squared away first. From the picture, it looks like the saddle still has some room to slide back a little if needed or desired.

    Second, try a combination of flipping the stem over and rotating the bars a little (the drops more parallel to the ground. Rotating the bars will make your reach to the drops a little longer, but it will be a personal thing to make things comfortable (the angle of the hoods and how your hands feel on them).

  9. #9
    awake
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    Thanks for your help, everyone.

    To be clear, I haven't paid for this bike, yet!

    The LBS has my deposit, of course. We are sorting out the build details this week. I can get whatever bar/stem I want and there is no lost money (though some options may be more expensive than others).

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