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  1. #1
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    Shoulder hunching, mild soreness, frame/stem fit.

    Anyone experience this?

    I've recently noticed a couple times now, that when I start out for a ride my left shoulder area, around the sholder blade starts to ache somewhat. It's similar to the feeling of a "charlie horse", where it's not a tough pain, but it feels weaker and tingly. I'm thinking lack of circulation. This is riding upright, on the levers, or climbing with hands flat on the horizontal bar.

    I also noticed, for no new reason I can think of, I'm hunching quite a bit with both shoulders being held tensely and cinged "up" a bit. I started to take note of this and relax them down, and the pain starts to ease up, but I also think anyhow, it does take me always a good 10+ miles before I get the andorphins to kick in and I'm on my biking high where nothing seems to matter.

    Side note also, I have new bib shorts which kinda contort my torso (or feel that way sometimes too... perhaps they're too small, and I react by huntching.

    Question:
    An LBS I went to was shocked to find that I'm 5'10 and 3/4", yet I ride a Trek 58cm. They think it's large. Well, in reading the "Proper Sizing for Road Bike Purchase" thread, I used the Colorado Cyclists fit method to find my inseam and calculated that I should be riding a 56 acording to the formula. In fact, the calculation was like "56.1" cm.

    Also, my current bike also uses a 120 stem, which could be too much of a stretch forward too.

    As I've been riding for just a year now, with about 2200 miles, I think I do know what I want in a bike now. I'm contemplating trying a 56cm out, and then paying for a good fit (which is like 100 bucks! I wonder if it's worth it.) I know all bikes handle differently, but I'm hoping for a more relaxed, less shoulding hunching stance, and then perhaps greater confidence in curve handling. I ride a lot of hilly courses with wonderful twisties that could be quite dangerous. My handling skills have improved greatly and I have more confidence anyhow. I also do prefer to have the stem flat, which allows me to get down in the drops and go through the curves with a lower CoG, leaning down and into the curves. (Fun!!)

    Anyone have similar hunching of shoulder pain? Or thoughts on 58cm vs 56cm? I've gotten used to a 58. I guess I'll just have to see if they know what they're talking about and try a 56er out, and perhaps a smaller stem (yet, I do have long arms.... I was initially trainer fitted for that stem as it was, but I was just starting out too.) I'm sure it's time now that I have more experience.

    -Hunter
    Last edited by brownhunter; 01-24-2005 at 11:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    Horror story ...

    I can relate to this. This dull aching pain and tingling is a warning sign. Summer before last I was experiencing this exact same thing, but I chose to largely ignore it. Same thing as you describe, where it seems to "go away" after some warmup. Well in late summer I did a pretty intense weekend of riding, woke up on Monday morning and something just seemed to snap. I had extremely intense pain in my upper back, right near my shoulder blade. I couldn't really sleep for about 3 days, and after a week I still was in a constant state of pain. It ended up taking me nearly 2 months before I could ride on a bike without pain. It seemed being in an aero position with my head looking up was the worst possible position to bring on the pain.

    Your frame definitely seems too big. I'm 5'9'' and ride a 54cm Colnago. I've dialed in my "cockpit length", i.e. center of saddle to center of bar to be 25'', and my drop from saddle to bar to be only a few centimeters. Outside of these dimensions leaves me too stretched out and ends up doing a number on my back and neck. Of course it all depends on your flexibility et. al. as far as what is right for you.

    I'd also strongly suggest that you do some stretching. I found that regularly doing shoulder, back, and neck stretches has eased any stiffness and soreness, especially after real long rides and hard efforts.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownhunter
    Anyone experience this?

    I've recently noticed a couple times now, that when I start out for a ride my left shoulder area, around the sholder blade starts to ache somewhat. It's similar to the feeling of a "charlie horse", where it's not a tough pain, but it feels weaker and tingly. I'm thinking lack of circulation.

    Or thoughts on 58cm vs 56cm?
    Not knowing your specific dimensions, I'd suspect that a 58 is too big. I'm also 5' 9" and ride a 54 or 55. I'm talking top tubes here which is what matters most. Most companies seat tube sizes move up proportionally with top tube length.

    You mentioned that the pain is there when you start out. Shops that have a Serotta Fit Cycle could get you a setup with a 56 tt and perhaps even a shorter stem to see if you notice the pain right off. I bit the bullet and had a fit session in January last year. It is the best $100 you'll ever spend on the bike. It's really useful to see how different the various settings have on how you feel on the bike. You have enough experience now to know what feels "good" and what doesn't. New riders have no basis for comparison usually.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownhunter

    Question:
    An LBS I went to was shocked to find that I'm 5'10 and 3/4", yet I ride a Trek 58cm. They think it's large. Well, in reading the "Proper Sizing for Road Bike Purchase" thread, I used the Colorado Cyclists fit method to find my inseam and calculated that I should be riding a 56 acording to the formula. In fact, the calculation was like "56.1" cm.



    -Hunter
    I don't necessarily agree. A 58 Trek is about the smallest 58 you'll ever find. When I switched to a Look, a 57 Look was actually larger than a 58 Trek. I'm taller than you and was cramped on the Trek. A 58 Trek is pretty close to any other brand's 56 frame. You are about in the ballpark for a 58 Trek.


    If your bibs are too short your boys will be unhappy.

    You might try slightly rotating your bars upward, and maybe adjusting where your levers are.... and check your seat- if you are sliding forward because it isn't level that can be a problem.

  5. #5
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    None of us can say for sure without...

    ...seeing you on your bike. From my experience fitting people, and what you've told us, I'd say you're on a bike from 1 to 2 sizes too long for you, not to mention a stem that's probably 1 or 2 CM too long. The symptoms in your shoulders, and your height (unless you've got a super long torso and arms that outreach a chimpanzee's) compared to even a "square" geometry bike tell me this. I highly recommend that you find a high quality shop near you that specializes in road bikes, and schedule a serious fit session. We charge about $40/hour, whether you get fit on your bike, or on the Serotta fit bike(I'd recommend the fit bike). We might be a anywhere from about the same to bargain basement depending on where you live.

    As I said at first we can't give you definitive advice without seeing you actually riding the bike. But you do at least need some adjustments, probably a new frame.

    Bob

  6. #6
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    I feel your pain.

    I've too have been having neck and shoulder pain recently. For me it's on the right side of the neck near the base of the neck. I also have a duller pain around the lower part of the shoulder blade. My Chiropractor says it's from hunching my shoulders up while riding. He was able to help me out considerably with massage and back adjustments. I've been thinking of getting a shorter stem but my stem is already at 90mm. I'm also thinking of getting wider handlebars. I noticed I don't have the neck and shoulder pain when I'm on my mountain bike which has considerably wider handlebars. I think that the wider bars might help to open up the shoulders more.

  7. #7
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    shoulder soreness

    FWIW I am 6' 2" and ride a 58cm Roubaix with a 100mm stem. It is a bit of a reach but when I tried a 56cm I felt the top tube was to short when out of the saddle.
    Tom R.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownhunter
    I also noticed, for no new reason I can think of, I'm hunching quite a bit with both shoulders being held tensely and cinged "up" a bit. I started to take note of this and relax them down, and the pain starts to ease up, but I also think anyhow, it does take me always a good 10+ miles before I get the andorphins to kick in and I'm on my biking high where nothing seems to matter.
    I had a similar experience when shopping for my first road bike recently. I was test riding a 58 cm Specialized Allez Elite (I'm 6'1"), and after a few minutes my shoulders started to seize up exactly as you're describing. I noticed that my back and shoulders were rounded forwards, and that I was "reaching" for the handlebars. The shop let me try it with a shorter stem, and the pain got better, but still didn't go away. Then they told me I'd "get used to it," which sent me packing for another shop. The top tube was just too long for me, even though it was supposedly the "right size" for my height.

    Well, after being measured, it turns out I have a relatively short torso for my height, and I ended up going with a slightly smaller bike (a 58 cm Felt, measured C-T rather than C-C) that fits me much better.

    Good luck!
    Ari

  9. #9
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    Big & Tall

    Quote Originally Posted by tomrob_36
    FWIW I am 6' 2" and ride a 58cm Roubaix with a 100mm stem. It is a bit of a reach but when I tried a 56cm I felt the top tube was to short when out of the saddle.
    Tom R.
    I'm 6'2" also and I was also having trouble adjusting back to my bikes after back surgery. My current riding stable includes a 61cm LeMond Zurich, 60cm Pretendamount. Pre-surgery, I used to run a 10cm and 11cm stems on the Zurich and Pretendamount. After surgery I tried a 12cm and 13cm stems, just for the hell of it, and felt a little better. It didn't feel like I was pushing my torso up. I've been riding sporadically (its tough to get back on the bike after nearly 6 months off the bike) and I havne't done any rides longer than 24 miles yet. But stretching definately helps.

  10. #10
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    Like many others who replied, I have had similar experiences. I'm the same exact height as you with average torso length and my bike is an 04 Lemond Zurich. I went with the 57cm frame and replaced the 120 stem with a 90 to compensate for the top tube length. It sounds like the 55 would have been the better fit for me, but when I test rode that size frame it didn't feel right. I would agree that even with a good fitted frame one needs to stretch properly and give your body time to get in shape and be flexible to maintain the aero position for long miles. I find that I ride on the hoods 95% of the time and will start to get the pain you describe after about 15-20 miles (not at the start). My pain isn't very bad compared to yours (more of a discomfort), but I'm not riding constantly enough to allow my body to adjust properly. Definitely go with the fit kit by a reputable shop. I had a fit done by a specialized dealer when I was considering a roubaix elite. They told me that a 56 was the perfect frame for me. I ended up with the Zurich, which I have been happy with. Let us know how it goes with your situation.

  11. #11
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    Could be the stem

    What I've found from working at my LBS (and fitting road bikes) is that the average person fits on two sizes of a given road bike. You seem to have found the bigger size, which shouldn't be too big of a problem - if the stem is the right length. I am 6'10" (quite a draft- ) and ride a 120 mm stem, which seems about right for me.

    I would recommend changing out the stem for a shorter one. When we fit bikes we measure the angle of the upper arm in relation to the torso. The general rule is that this should be 90 degrees on the head. Obviously there are exceptions (racers, very relaxed riders), but if you find that this is not the case a shorter stem would be my first guess.

    You might also want to check the drop from the seat to the handlebars. A racer will take a drastic drop between the two, but most recreational riders (as well as the occassional enthusiast) will have them set level.

  12. #12
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    Relax?

    Bike fit is pretty personal, so I'll leave the fit discussions to others. However, you should consider why a longer TT/stem would make you scrunch your shoulders. It seems like it would be just the opposite. Also, you state that dropping your shoulders helped, so you have a clue that your posture is part of the problem. Try concentrating on riding relaxed (good for the rest of your body as well) and doing some on-bike stretches. Have someone who knows what they are doing watch you ride to help with your (potential) sizing issues.

  13. #13
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    Treks run small...

    i normally ride a 58 ctc, but in a Trek I'd need at least a 60 because of the way they size their bikes. I think a 58 Trek is probably very similar to a 56 in other bikes. You could compare the individual measurements like top tube, front center, head tube etc.

  14. #14
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    Not correct completely.............

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger H
    i normally ride a 58 ctc, but in a Trek I'd need at least a 60 because of the way they size their bikes. I think a 58 Trek is probably very similar to a 56 in other bikes. You could compare the individual measurements like top tube, front center, head tube etc.
    Treks only run small ( realtive to other "square" frames) in the seat tube length. A 58 CM Trek has a 57.2 CM effective Top tube, but only a 54 CM C to C ST (Trek measures thier ST length to the top of the collar not C to C, you need to subtract about 4 CM to get a C to C measurement).

    To the original poster:

    If I were you, I would consider some combination of the following, before I bought a 56:

    1.) Trade out your 120 stem for a 110, ride it a while and see if it fixes the problem. The difference in TT length between the 56 & the 58 is only 1 cm (57.2 vs 56.2 see http://www2.trekbikes.com/en/Bikes/R...L_59/index.php)
    This is a much cheaper way to see if the shorter reach will solve your problem

    2.) Try shorter reach bars.

    3.) as Kerry says, relax your shoulders.

    Good Luck

    Len



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  15. #15
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    Trek 58 is a 56...

    You're suffering from size confusion. Trek has an odd-ball measuring system. A 58cm has the same standover height and head tube length as a 56cm frame, measured center to top. You really shouldn't need a smaller frame, but the TT could be long, sinc it's the longest of any brand in this frame size.

    If you truly feel that you're too stretched out, why not buy a 110mm stem and find out? Silly to complain about it before attempting a cure.

    As for judging stem length, I try to avoid knee to arm interference when I have my hands in the drops, fingers in reach of the brake levers and the upper back horizontal. If you have any amount of knee to arm clearance, the stem is long enough.

    Saddle fore/aft position has a great affect on total reach and it's something that most posters on this board fail to consider. There's 3-4cm of travel available on most saddles. If you need the saddle fairly far back, with a setback seatpost, then your "reach" or "cockpit length" could be quite long. It's possible you could even need a 100mm stem (hence the knee to arm clearance check).

    A lack of strength in the neck can cause shoulder pain. If I fail to do regular neck strengthening exercises, I can get a pain in one shoulder, but only after quite a long time on the bike. Try clasping your hands behind your head, bend your neck forward and then straighten it while applying resistance with your hands. Repeat 10-15 times.

  16. #16
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    Treks do run small...

    Frame size is basically a vertical measurement and Trek measures to the the top of the seat tube, not the top of the top tube or center of the top tube to determine frame size, so their frames are small with regard to standover height and head tube length, compared to most other brands of the same "size", if a buyer merely compares the adviertised "size" and doesn't bother to measure the frame c-t or c-c.

    Their TTs are indeed long, but the TT length is a horizontal mesurement that should be evaluated separately and always with the STA in consideration.

    As for the comparison of the 56 and 58cm frames, the differnce is the effective TT length is only .6cm after correcting for the difference in the STA.

  17. #17
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    I'm with Filtersweep on this one.

    Make free changes on the bike you own before you spend a dime on anything else. Not all of the changes that work are intuitive, so experimenting is well worth the effort. If you can't arrive at a comfortable position on your bike, at least you'll know what made it worse and what made it better.

    Ymmv, but my shoulders hurt as you describe when there was too little length for my arms or I rode with my elbows locked straight or when the nose of my seat was too low. My deltoids and triceps hurt when I was too stretched out. If I ride over 200k they start to ache, but not the acute pain you describe. The solution for me turned out to be longer stems and rotating the bars so the tops are parallel to the ground from the stem to the hoods.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

  18. #18
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    True & not true

    Quote Originally Posted by C-40
    Frame size is basically a vertical measurement and Trek measures to the the top of the seat tube, not the top of the top tube or center of the top tube to determine frame size, so their frames are small with regard to standover height and head tube length, compared to most other brands of the same "size", if a buyer merely compares the adviertised "size" and doesn't bother to measure the frame c-t or c-c..
    While this is technically true.......it is not true relative to the question he asked, which I interpreted (maybe incorrectly) had more to do with a problem with reach than with height. Looking back, since he didn't talk about drop, I might be wrong, but that is the context in which I answered it.

    Quote Originally Posted by C-40
    As for the comparison of the 56 and 58cm frames, the differnce is the effective TT length is only .6cm after correcting for the difference in the STA.
    This is incorrect......if you look at Treks geometry chart, the 56.2 & 57.2 is the effective TT length (already adjusted for the difference in STA.

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  19. #19
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    T-Rex syndrome

    I have a similar build. I jus scrape the bottome of the 6' mark on the tape but have relatively short torso/arms. My wife and I joke I'm built like a T-Rex.

    I had a bike fit done and it did help even though I read it wrong. When I was measured the guy helping me assumed I wanted a MTB so the measurements he gave me recommended a TT length about 2cm longer than I really needed for an road bike. Thus, I bought a bike with a 57.5 TT when I really needed a 55.5. After working with him a bunch last summer to work through options, we finally got to a shorter stem (9cm vs. 10cm) and bars with a shorter reach (70mm vs. 88mm) It was really the bars that made the difference. So rather than trimming 2cm off the TT length, I saved 2.8 cm in bars/stem. I usually ride with my saddle about .5-1cm back of KOPS for some knee problems so this worked out perfect. And because I stayed on the larger frame, I was able to minimize the drop from saddle to bars (which I like).

    I did keep my old stems though. I noticed toward the end of last summer that I was a feeling a little cramped as I lost weight and got more flexible.

    I'd start with stems and then bars. If none of that works, move to a good bike fit to make sure you understand what you need exactly.
    I may be fat but I'm slow.

  20. #20
    mmm hmm
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-40
    If you truly feel that you're too stretched out, why not buy a 110mm stem and find out? Silly to complain about it before attempting a cure.
    Why? give me a chance to state the problem first, so I can find a cure from all you good people.

    I really don't want to go out and buy a new frame, but my curiosity was piqued after having made the inseam calculations as stated from instructions in the other thread, and after the reaction that LBS made when I told them what I ride. I would like to save up a little right now personally anyhow.

    My last couple rides, where I've had this pain first show up, have been on cold days, and it happens when just starting out like I said. Last fall and summer, etc and the earlier part of this winter before all the rain, I was fine.

    This could all be me being fairly out of shape as I couldn't ride for a stretch of 3 weeks there with all the rain we've had in Calif, etc. and having been out of town for Holidays.

    For now, I'll concentrate on relaxing the shoulders and doing more pre-ride stretches. I usually do in-riding stretches as well on the bike, but when it's cold I find I'm less motivated. Damn the cold really does a number on making me tense.

    I wouldn't be out normally in the cold, but I love riding too much to miss it.

    Thanks for all your suggestions everyone.

    -Hunter

  21. #21
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    you're confused Len...

    Manufacturer's do NOT correct for differences in the STA when listing the TT length. If they did, they would also have to list the nominal angle that a particular frame is being compared against. Where is that listed?

    Trek is a confusing brand because their seat tubes do not all intersect the center of the BB. When this is done, the real seat tube angle is not what's listed, so they throw in the term "effective", and throw in a correction to account or the offset seat tube. I assume that their TT length is measured the same as all other brands, from the intersection point of the TT and ST.

    To make an accurate comparison of two frames wih different STAs, a correction must be made to account for the fact that the intersection point of the ST and TT are not the same relative to the BB. The exact value is determined by multiplying the saddle height times (cosA-cosB). An average amount is 1.2cm per degree, added to the TT length of the frame with the steeper STA. In this case, add .6cm to the smaller Treks, yields a COMPARABLE TT length that's only .6cm less. The difference in the wheelbase also shows this to be true. The larger 58cm only has a .5cm longer front center than the 56cm. With the same HTA and fork rake, the front center would have to be a full 1cm longer if the TT was truly 1cm longer. If you run the numbers through my formula using the true c-t frame size for the Treks insteda of saddle height, if figures out to be a .5cm difference in the TT length, exactly matching the difference in the front-center.

    My favorite comparison of the effective TT concept is my two LOOK frames, one with a 52.5cm TT and 74.5 degree STA, compared to the other with a 54cm TT and 72.5 degree STA. Which is longer? The answer is the 52.5cm TT. Add 2.4cm to this TT length to account for the 2 degree STA difference, and you get 54.9cm. The bikes are setup to reflect this, with a 10mm shorter stem on the frame with the effectively longer TT. Both bikes have the same reach with the saddle in the same position relative to the BB.

  22. #22
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    I don't think so....

    [QUOTE=C-40]Trek is a confusing brand because their seat tubes do not all intersect the center of the BB. When this is done, the real seat tube angle is not what's listed, so they throw in the term "effective", and throw in a correction to account or the offset seat tube. I assume that their TT length is measured the same as all other brands, from the intersection point of the TT and ST.QUOTE]

    A Trek rep told me that the difference in STA they have is exactly because there Seat tube does not intersect exactly in the center of The BB. This difference in angle is the correction necessary for a given Seat tube length, to intersect the TT at a spot equivilant to a normal 73 degree STA. In effect, no correction is necessary to TT length (or at best an incredibly nominal on for the distance from the TT to the seat) for the differences in STA (because the STA is not starting from the fixed center of the BB). All OCLV frames have a STA of 73 degrees when measured from the center of the BB to the intersection of the ST & TT.

    Trek has the most screwed up geometry....I will agree on that. I can tell you that when I had my OCLV, (a 56) the actual STA was 73 degrees (measured from the center of the BB to the intersection of the ST and the TT). I measured this on a frame building jig my LBS had. This was even though the geometry chart said it was 73.5 degrees.......we queried Trek about this and the answer above is what we got.

    If your assumption that the STA is accurate is correct, then I agree with everything you say, unfortunatly, your assumption is incorrect.

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  23. #23
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    wheelbase proves you wrong..

    Len, it's simply impossible for a bike to have a TT length that is truly 1cm longer, the same 73 degree HTA and rake and not have the wheel base also be 1cm longer. This particularly true with the 56 and 58cm Treks. The 58 chart that I have shows the chainstay length of the 58 to be 2mm longer than the 56. Add another 1cm for the idfference in the TT and the wheelbase should be 1.2cm longer, yet it's only .7cm. This clearly shows that the the TT is really only .5cm longer.

    I'm quite confident that no manufactuer compensates for the differences in the STA and if they did the geometry charts would have to state the nominal STA, since they vary from 72.5 to 75 degrees. I see no mention of a nominal STA.

  24. #24
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    Good point, explain this years numbers.....

    Quote Originally Posted by C-40
    Len, it's simply impossible for a bike to have a TT length that is truly 1cm longer, the same 73 degree HTA and rake and not have the wheel base also be 1cm longer. This particularly true with the 56 and 58cm Treks. The 58 chart that I have shows the chainstay length of the 58 to be 2mm longer than the 56. Add another 1cm for the idfference in the TT and the wheelbase should be 1.2cm longer, yet it's only .7cm. This clearly shows that the the TT is really only .5cm longer.

    I'm quite confident that no manufactuer compensates for the differences in the STA and if they did the geometry charts would have to state the nominal STA, since they vary from 72.5 to 75 degrees. I see no mention of a nominal STA.
    Damn is Trek Geometry screwed up
    Current Madone S L 5.9 geometry chart:

    Size 56 58
    Head tube 73.8 73.8
    Seat Tube Ang 73.5 73.0
    Eff TT Length 56.2 57.2
    Chainstay Length 41.0 41.2
    Trail 5.5 5.1
    Wheelbase 99.6 99.6

    So if you are right, the net change in wheelbase = TT Length 1 cm - effect of change in STA .6 cm + Change in Chainstay length .2 CM = change in WB of 1.4 CM, yet the wheelbase is the same. Does trail change result in a 1.4 CM shortening of the front end?

    BTW, geometry is fom http://www2.trekbikes.com/en/Bikes/R...L_59/index.php

    I don't know if they changed the geometry any.....My LBS & I had this figured out on the old 5500.....now I'm confused........it's one reason I would never buy a Trek again.

    I give up.

    You win

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    10,126

    error in the chart....

    The chart lists the HTA as 73.8 on the 56 and 58 and the same 4.5cm fork offset, but different amounts of trail. This is impossible. The 5.1cm trail for the 58cm is correct, so this means the HTA of the 56cm is wrong. I get a HTA of 73.1 for a trail of 5.5cm.

    I made a rough calculation for the change in wheelbase due to the HTA using the .7 degree difference and a length of 50cm for the fork and head tube. This yielded a reduction in the wheelbase of .6cm. This offsets a .5cm longer efffective TT length and the .2cm longer chainstay, within .1cm. Good enough for me.

    http://www2.trekbikes.com/en/Bikes/R...L_59/index.php
    Last edited by C-40; 01-26-2005 at 03:26 AM.

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