Bike fit help...

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  • 08-04-2004
    Xyzzy
    1 Attachment(s)
    Bike fit help...
    I broke out the camera today to see if my bike fit is even close to where it needs to be... I just got the bike a few days ago and it is my first road bike in 17 years or so, so I'm kind of lost... The picture quality kind of sucks because I had to set the auto timer and rush over to the bike before it snapped the picture... I don't have a trainer yet so I just leaned up against the wall... The bike is totally stock except I swapped the 11-23 cassette for a 13-23 cassette to get the 16 and 18 cogs...

    The bike feels pretty good so far... When I ride on the top of the bar it is perfect and when I stand up and grab the hoods it is perfect... When I sit down and grab the hoods I feel a little stretched out by maybe an inch or so, but I don't know if that is because it is too long or whether I'm not used to it... It isn't painful, just a bit weird feeling... Riding on the drops is a bit spooky in that the steering seems to get very twitchy, but I probably only have a couple hundred yards riding in the drops so I bet I'm just not used to that yet... The reach to the brakes in the drops is a bit weird, too...

    So far I've ridden the bike 5 times with each ride around 10 miles each... I stop at 10 miles because the ball of my left foot gets a hot spot... I've experimented with loosening the front velcro straps on the shoe and that seems to help a bit... I routinely ride much farther on my mountain bike with no hot spots, but I use a different shoe and cleat system... I find that the road bike is much faster than my mountain bike and that I have to work a lot harder to get my heart rate up into the same area I usually ride in... My plan right now is to ride the bike once or twice a day for a few weeks to get used to it before I try anything longer...

    So far I have tried the following fit suggestions:

    - Don't overlap the elbow and knee when on the drops...
    - Have a plumb line dropped from the lower part of the knee bisect the pedal axle +- 1cm... Mine is about 1cm in front of the pedal axle...
    - Don't put the seat so high as to cause the hips to rock...
    - Try to lean forward with the pelvis tilted a bit to get a straighter back...
    - Obscure the front hub with the handlebar... Mine is obscured when on the hoods...

    I have the stem slammed down all the way... The drop doesn't seem to bother me... From the picture I'm guessing I need a 2-3cm shorter stem and I need to move the seat back maybe 1-2cm... Overall the bike handles well so I think I have the weight bias set up okay... I hit 40.5mph today on a downhill on the hoods and it felt very stable... I think if I were to put a 1" spacer under the stem it would bring the bars back a bit, but I don't know if the bars need to be raised or not... The seat is a bit forward on the seat post, but the seat post is one of those laid back ones so if it was a straight post it would be right in the middle... I'm guessing the seat needs to go back a bit too...

    I could have bought a medium size frame but it felt kind of small on the test ride I took, so I went with the large... I read many messages where people who are the same height as me (5'11" to 6') went with the medium, but my goal was to minimise excessive headset spacers and I didn't want to have a lot of seat tube exposed... I also dont want to come close to hitting the bars with my knees when standing... A lot of people I have talked to advocate getting the smallest possible bike that can fit, but I guess I am too old fashioned for that... My inseam, measured with the book slammed into the crotch method, is 33.75"... I've been told that I have a long torso and short legs, which is another reason I considered the large... The effective top tube on the medium is 55.5cm and the large one is 58.5cm... The standover height on the large is fine so I figured if I really do have a long torso then the longer top tube would be good... I hope I got the right frame size!

    I'm not sure if the brifters are in the right position... They seem kind of high in the picture but I looked at a pile of TdF pictures and those look kind of high too... If I flip the bike upside down the front rests on the brifters and not the bar... There is maybe a 1" gap...

    BTW, I know it looks like I weigh 400# in the picture, but I actually weigh 192.5#... The t-shirt makes me look fat I guess... I know wearing black sock and a t-shirt and having hairy legs make me look like a Fred... Give me some time and I'll get those fixed... When I ride the bike I feel pretty sleek and aerodynamic but when I look at the picture I look pretty rough... I also wear a mountain bike helmet with a visor and mountain bike gloves... I'm sure the fashion ploice would have a field day with me... As it was I had to get new shoes... I had counted on using my mountain bike shoes but the road cleat didn't fit...

    Overall my biking goals are to do a lot of long training rides and maybe some longer semi-competitive rides, like organized centuries and stuff like that... I'm not too interested in criteriums yet... I also like climbing a lot even though it hurts a bunch...

    Thanks for the help!

    Mike (Xyzzy)

    PS - Three unrelated questions:

    1) The chainline when on the smallest chainring lines up perfectly with the 3rd largest cog... Is that the way it is supposed to be? The chain angle going to the largest cog is a bit angled but I guess that is because the chainstays are so short?

    2) What tubes come with a non threaded stem? I have some Hutchinson mountain bike tubes that are not threaded and they fit my pump head very nice...

    3) Overall, what bar position do most people use most of the time? The hoods or the top bar?

    PPS - I actually took a pile of pictures with myself in different positions and with the cranks in various locations... If any of those pictures would be helpful please let me know...

    PPPS - Two of my previous threads with possibly relevant information:

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=7181
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=7575
  • 08-04-2004
    johnny99
    Hard to give a good evaluation because I can't see your chest position through that baggy T-shirt. Your chest does seem very high for that hand position. Have you tried moving your seat back more, and maybe lower? You really should bend your arms more. If your knees are hitting your elbows when your elbows are at 90 degrees, then your top tube or stem are way to short (or your seat is too far foward).

    Regarding hand positions, I only use the top of the bar when climbing in the saddle. On flat roads, I use the hoods or the drops, depending on intensity level.
  • 08-04-2004
    freezin_is_the_reason
    Agree with Johnny99
    It is hard to tell with the baggy Tshirt on in the pic. As far as riding on the hoods and drops is concerned, it does take some time to get used too. If you are coming over from Mtnbikes, you have become used to riding in a more upright position, especially with the big FASHION of riser bars that has swept the Mtnbike world in the last five years. Give the roadie some time, and you will become comfortable riding for long periods in the drops and on the hoods. Having a road helmet to wear will help in this respect as they don' t poke out so much from your head. At least remove the visor from your Mtnbike helmet for now. You will notice a difference, I promise.

    I also see you either moving your saddle back a bit, or getting a longer stem, or both, at some point in the future. I could be wrong, but you do look pretty upright.
  • 08-04-2004
    Xyzzy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by freezin_is_the_reason
    I also see you either moving your saddle back a bit, or getting a longer stem, or both, at some point in the future. I could be wrong, but you do look pretty upright.

    Wow, I was thinking the bike was too big, not too small!

    When I ride it it feels kind of big, but I guess I dwarf it in that picture...

    I searched the archives here and 10:1 it seems like people my size are going with the medium... How do they get away with it?

    BTW, I just measured the drop from the saddle to the bars... It is ~9cm...
  • 08-04-2004
    Xyzzy
    3 Attachment(s)
    Ok, here are a few more pictures... I know I am ugly, please focus on the fit... :)
  • 08-04-2004
    C-40
    saddle a bit high, maybe too forward...
    The first picture showed very little bend in the leg and your heel up quite a bit, which indicates that a tad lower saddle height should be considered. I see a lot of beginners who look a lot like ballet dancers at the bottom of the stroke, toes down and heels way up, with the leg almost fully extended. You don't see pro riders with this position.

    The plumb bob is tough to do alone, with much accuracy. It's quite common to not be sitting fully back in the saddle, resulting in an incorrect measurement. I found that the only way to get a decent measurement was to ride the bike for 5-10 minutes on a trainer, with the bike LEVEL and then have a helper check your position.

    Personally, I would never ride with my knee forward of the pedal spindle. I like as much as 2cm behind.

    After the saddle fore/aft position is set. The stem length can be evaluated. Ride in the drops with your fingers in reach of the brake levers and your upper back horizontal. If your knees and arms don't hit, the stem is long enough.
  • 08-04-2004
    johnny99
    Looks to me like your back is too curved and your elbows are too straight. Unless you have a medical problem, you should ride with a straight back and bent elbows.

    Your back may be curved because your seat is too far foward. Or vice versa.
  • 08-05-2004
    Xyzzy
    Okay, I moved the seat back 1cm and it seems like this makes my back a bit straighter... It also seemed to give me a lot more power while climbing when seated...

    I find if I consciously make an effort to bend my arms a bit at the elbow my back gets straighter, but I have to think about it to do it... Is it safe to assume that I will get more flexible over time and this will happen automatically? I didn't feel any pain or discomfort when I forced myself to straighten out, but if I didn't focus on it I tended to arch my back... Or are there special stretches I can do to increase my flexibility? Right now I can touch the ground with my fingertips when I bend over...

    I guess my main question is whether or not this frame is in the ballpark as for size... I'm starting to think that it is... I found a picture on page 103 of the April 2004 issue of Bicycling magazine and that is what I am working from... If anyone has any side shots of perfectly fitted riders on their bikes please link me...

    Oh yeah, about my heel being pulled up... I think that was because I was leaning against the wall because I made an effort this morning while riding to see where my heels were and they seemed a lot lower than in that picture... I do find that I have to force my heel down a little to clip in to the pedal but that might just be the way the cleat is designed...

    Thanks for the help!
  • 08-05-2004
    Dave_Stohler
    I second the elbows bit. Also, you need a shorter lanyard for your keys, or else you're going to do an "Isadora Duncan" on a ride someday. I'd also suggest putting some color on those walls.......
  • 08-05-2004
    johnny99
    Some people do develop more flexibility, some people don't (or at least not as much). Stretching helps. Fitness helps. Strong legs and lower back muscles help hold your body up so you don't have to put as much weight on your shoulders and arms. If you have problems with flexibility or back strength, you should raise your handlebars to take more weight off your arms.
  • 08-05-2004
    MShaw
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by johnny99
    Looks to me like your back is too curved and your elbows are too straight. Unless you have a medical problem, you should ride with a straight back and bent elbows.

    Your back may be curved because your seat is too far foward. Or vice versa.


    His back's bent 'cause his TT is too short and the saddle's too high and too far forward.

    To the OP: You want to open your chest/straighten your back by rolling your hips forward some, bending your elbows, and think about expanding your chest.

    Now, I could be wrong 'cause I'm seeing you leaning on the wall... It'd be preferable to have someone in a car beside you taking a pic/video as you're actually riding.

    M
  • 08-05-2004
    bimini
    Your in the ballpark
    I think your frame is the right size. I would not cut the fork tube yet. If you find you have back problems I would raise the bars and then work them back down again slowly over time. It takes awile for the muscles to adapt to a low aggressive position on the bike.

    When on the bike focus a bit on position and form. If you start to feel pain relax the position a bit. Over time the body and muscles will adapt. If you push it too fast you can cause damage, then things will take a lot longer (if ever).

    PS: I like a slightly heel up position and I know C-40 likes a heel down. To each their own

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Xyzzy
    Okay, I moved the seat back 1cm and it seems like this makes my back a bit straighter... It also seemed to give me a lot more power while climbing when seated...

    I find if I consciously make an effort to bend my arms a bit at the elbow my back gets straighter, but I have to think about it to do it... Is it safe to assume that I will get more flexible over time and this will happen automatically? I didn't feel any pain or discomfort when I forced myself to straighten out, but if I didn't focus on it I tended to arch my back... Or are there special stretches I can do to increase my flexibility? Right now I can touch the ground with my fingertips when I bend over...

    I guess my main question is whether or not this frame is in the ballpark as for size... I'm starting to think that it is... I found a picture on page 103 of the April 2004 issue of Bicycling magazine and that is what I am working from... If anyone has any side shots of perfectly fitted riders on their bikes please link me...

    Oh yeah, about my heel being pulled up... I think that was because I was leaning against the wall because I made an effort this morning while riding to see where my heels were and they seemed a lot lower than in that picture... I do find that I have to force my heel down a little to clip in to the pedal but that might just be the way the cleat is designed...

    Thanks for the help!