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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I haven't posted in a while because I mostly mountain bike but I've been road biking with my friends a lot more lately. Here is my issue:

I have an old 2002 model 58 or 60cm (cant remember) Iron Horse Victory road bike (that I love) that I've been riding since 2003. It's steel, fast but not very comfortable for longer rides and climbs because I believe the handle bars are a tad too low. I'm 6'2", 240lbs with 34" inseam. When I was younger, I loved the speed and sprinting ability of this bike. But in the past 5 years or so, I've been going through many adjustments trying to get the fit just right. The main issue is on long climbs. I cant seem to get good power when climbing or out of the seat sprinting. I feel like my I'm too low even when on the top of my bars and I never use the drops. I've moved my stem up as high as it can go on the steerer tube; it was kinda short from the factory because it's a race bike. I went through different size stems, adjusting the seat and seat tube, flipping the stem upside down, ect. Got on my friends 63cm frame and his felt right. The final conclusion is the bars are just too low for me.

So I was thinking about buying a new carbon fork with a full length steerer tube and adding some more spacers. I notice a lot of new bikes coming this way anyway. I figured this would be the best way to get the bars up 30mm or so. I really like the other aspects of the bike so I just want to keep it and replace the fork. If that doesn't work, I'll be looking at selling it and getting a new bike. If you guys have any other thoughts or opinions on this approach, please let me know.
 

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If you like everything else about the bike then a different angled stem may be your least expensive option.
Then again, the bike sounds like it may be a tad too small for you to start with. You really can't go by frame sizes because effective-top-tube lengths vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model.
Hell, go test ride a few at your lbs, can't hurt. Except your wallet, that is.
 

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Carbon forks are typically limited to a maximum of 30mm of spacers. If you need more height than that, you may either want to buy a larger frame or seek out one of the "endurance" geometry frames (other brands call them by other names). These frames have taller head tubes than typical road frames in a given size and will get the bars higher. The smart thing to do would be to bring your existing bike with you to compare at bike shops on road tests, and bring a tape measure and a couple allen wrenches to make adjustments.
 

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Your issue doesn't sound right to me. Often times when I see people trying to move the bars up and/or closer they're doing the exact opposite of what will help them, I've been there.

Several years ago I never would have imagined the setup I ride today and I fought it tooth and nail but it is what it is. I ride a totally slammed negative angle stem with the bars very low and spend most of the time in the drops. I used to be the opposite. I used to have a short stem that pointed up and I would never use the drops, hell I'd have a hard time just using the hoods, I'd put my hands right behind the hoods or on the tops.

What I'm getting at is that you may be moving in the wrong direction. Maybe not of course but far more often than not you are.

Weird thing is that you don't note any pain or discomfort or anything. Just that you don't feel powerful. Well yes, a proper fit can improve power but it does so with comfort by a lion's share. A good fit doesn't just give you power, it gives you comfort instead. And because you're comfortable you can then put out more power naturally.

And by the way, in terms of climbing, I'm personally much more powerful when seated and leaning forward, pretty much in an aero position, and I'm not alone. The old adage of climbing sitting upright "so you can breathe" is complete horse ****, just ask Adam Hansen and maybe go read about all of his testing on the matter and that of his pro team. They found a consistent gain of 8% by staying seated in an aero position vs. sitting upright while climbing. Tested on many climbs in many conditions, consistent results. But then again, you have to be comfortable, comfort is the base of everything.

And also your bars are as high as they can go, you never use the drops, but you're having trouble with powerful sprinting. Same thing, I think you're going the wrong direction. I've never seen someone try to stand upright to sprint hard, it's the exact opposite. I see everyone leaning as far forward and getting as low as they comfortably can.

You can go ahead and buy a new fork and get those bars even higher but I caution you that it's probably a fool's errand. I would instead probably spend the money on a pro fit if I were you, or at least one of those Retul things or whatnot.
 

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I agree with the points made above. Raising the bars on a racing bike really affects the way it handles. It may be that you'd be more comfortable on a gran fondo/enduro style bike but the ride quality is different. Still this kind of bike is better than a racer with a high front end . Is the bike still fun to ride with the stem flipped?

I'm fifty three and still ride a racing bike, maybe not as often as my rando bike, but still two or three times a week between 60-100km's per ride. To stay comfortable, I have to do a lot more core strengthening than I did ten years ago.
 

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Not to be cruel but, dude, you're 240. Bike fit may or may not be an issue and your idea to fix it may or may not be right but that's a distant second place as to why you feel slow on long climbs.
One big clue that it's all your weight it that you say you have the same issue out of the saddle. Bike fit would have be extremely f'd up to impact out of saddle power because if you're even in the ballpark you can position yourself just about anyway when not seated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not to be cruel but, dude, you're 240. Bike fit may or may not be an issue and your idea to fix it may or may not be right but that's a distant second place as to why you feel slow on long climbs.
One big clue that it's all your weight it that you say you have the same issue out of the saddle. Bike fit would have be extremely f'd up to impact out of saddle power because if you're even in the ballpark you can position yourself just about anyway when not seated.
Yea, I really want to get back down to 220 and I've been riding a lot lately. I notice on my mountain bike rides with the guys, I can out climb them and generally last longer than they do and I'm riding an XL Giant Xtc 26er hardtail with 2.3 tires. But the same guys can woop me on the road bike. I feel much more comfortable since I got a larger mountain bike. But my road bike now feels a bit small for me. The weight is an issue, but I do think my bike is too small.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Carbon forks are typically limited to a maximum of 30mm of spacers. If you need more height than that, you may either want to buy a larger frame or seek out one of the "endurance" geometry frames (other brands call them by other names). These frames have taller head tubes than typical road frames in a given size and will get the bars higher. The smart thing to do would be to bring your existing bike with you to compare at bike shops on road tests, and bring a tape measure and a couple allen wrenches to make adjustments.
Thanx for the input. However, the steerer tube is actually aluminum so I was thinking I can add more spacers if I go with another carbon fork with an aluminum steerer tube. But I'm definitely going to bring my bike with me today to do some comparisons. I feel a debt about to be incurred.
 

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Yea, I really want to get back down to 220 and I've been riding a lot lately. I notice on my mountain bike rides with the guys, I can out climb them and generally last longer than they do and I'm riding an XL Giant Xtc 26er hardtail with 2.3 tires. But the same guys can woop me on the road bike. I feel much more comfortable since I got a larger mountain bike. But my road bike now feels a bit small for me. The weight is an issue, but I do think my bike is too small.
I see.
Because you think raising the bars is the answer I think maybe what you really mean is the head tube is to short and not the bike is too small per se. Just guessing.

Before going out and buying a new fork, you can try rotating your bars up. That off course isn't a good long term way to raise the front end but it'll give you an idea if doing so will get you where you want to be.
 

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I've moved my stem up as high as it can go on the steerer tube; it was kinda short from the factory because it's a race bike. I went through different size stems, adjusting the seat and seat tube, flipping the stem upside down, ect. Got on my friends 63cm frame and his felt right. The final conclusion is the bars are just too low for me.
How did you adjust the seat and seat tube? Fore-aft, saddle height? Looks to me, you are not paying enough attention to the fitting of lower body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Your issue doesn't sound right to me. Often times when I see people trying to move the bars up and/or closer they're doing the exact opposite of what will help them, I've been there.

Several years ago I never would have imagined the setup I ride today and I fought it tooth and nail but it is what it is. I ride a totally slammed negative angle stem with the bars very low and spend most of the time in the drops. I used to be the opposite. I used to have a short stem that pointed up and I would never use the drops, hell I'd have a hard time just using the hoods, I'd put my hands right behind the hoods or on the tops.

What I'm getting at is that you may be moving in the wrong direction. Maybe not of course but far more often than not you are.

Weird thing is that you don't note any pain or discomfort or anything. Just that you don't feel powerful. Well yes, a proper fit can improve power but it does so with comfort by a lion's share. A good fit doesn't just give you power, it gives you comfort instead. And because you're comfortable you can then put out more power naturally.

And by the way, in terms of climbing, I'm personally much more powerful when seated and leaning forward, pretty much in an aero position, and I'm not alone. The old adage of climbing sitting upright "so you can breathe" is complete horse ****, just ask Adam Hansen and maybe go read about all of his testing on the matter and that of his pro team. They found a consistent gain of 8% by staying seated in an aero position vs. sitting upright while climbing. Tested on many climbs in many conditions, consistent results. But then again, you have to be comfortable, comfort is the base of everything.

And also your bars are as high as they can go, you never use the drops, but you're having trouble with powerful sprinting. Same thing, I think you're going the wrong direction. I've never seen someone try to stand upright to sprint hard, it's the exact opposite. I see everyone leaning as far forward and getting as low as they comfortably can.

You can go ahead and buy a new fork and get those bars even higher but I caution you that it's probably a fool's errand. I would instead probably spend the money on a pro fit if I were you, or at least one of those Retul things or whatnot.
Thank you for that detailed information. I feel you're right about me being wrong. I guess I need to look into this pro-fit thing. Maybe my cockpit is too cramped. Either way, I still think the bike is a bit small for me. Thanx for all the input. Ill post my findings later.
 

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This is what it looks like. I'd swear this is the exact same frame as the Lemond Buenas Aires that was very popular when I bought it.
What I'm trying to say is, since the lower body is doing the lion's share of work when riding, it should get the lion's share of attention for the proper adjustment.

Have you fully explored different settings of the saddle position before moving on to the handlebar position? Even just a little forward, rearward, up or down of saddle position can affect the power output and comfort level noticeably.
 

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Thanx for the input. However, the steerer tube is actually aluminum so I was thinking I can add more spacers if I go with another carbon fork with an aluminum steerer tube. But I'm definitely going to bring my bike with me today to do some comparisons. I feel a debt about to be incurred.
Aluminum forks have the same height limitations.

The picture of the bike is very insightful. By the way, I think it's set up very well proportionately. Problem is likely your weight. I could envision a lithe, racer type fitting that setup well, not your 240lb. self.

At your height and weight I'll bet you're carrying extra girth. That would make it difficult to lean toward the bars. I would hold definitely consider an endurance style frame to raise the bars and improve comfort. Personally, I don't think even the loss of the 20lbs. you plan would be enough to make your existing bike fit comfortably. On the plus side, should you buy a bike that places the bars higher, as you lose weight and perhaps feel like lowering the bars, you'll likely be able to do so by either moving spacers around or using a stem with less rise.
 

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Carbon forks are typically limited to a maximum of 30mm of spacers.
While carbon steerers are limited to 30-40mm, many carbon forks are made with alloy steerers that are more tolerant.

With brand-name alloy steerer carbon forks starting around $200 (like Ritchey) and store brand $100 (like Nashbar) you could save $1000+ over a new frame.
 

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I'm 6'2" with a 32" inseam. I'm comfortable on my 56 but I fit my 58 best. Perfectly. That bikes not too small... What bvber says above is so true for me. It took me a bit and I had fitter help, but when I got the seat position and height right it was magic. All the niggly knee pain went away and I could ride harder and longer. The more I ride and learn the more I'm coming to realize that bike fit is everything. On climbing... I came out of winter and only mountain biking 9lbs heavier than my best riding weight and let me tell you, that 9lbs makes a HUGE difference when I climb. I'm back to my fav weight and climbing pace is back up. I'm back down to 165. On drops... I do a ride a week, an after work ride, of a little less than 20 miles where I don't let myself out of the drops at all. I focus on handling the bike and my weight with my core and not my arms so much... I find it's a really good training ride.
 

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The green badge suggest Reynolds 853 tubing... that's the good stuff!

Looking at the picture, it appears that you're using the attachments to counter the frame's design to shift your weight forward on the bike. You have a seatpost with set back and yet it looks like it's slid as far back on the saddle rails as it will go. If you don't have much post bedded into the frame, you're putting a significant amount of stress on the welds below the collar. The frame wants you leaning towards the handlebar, but your attachment adjustments have you back as far as possible.

A proper bike fit should be your first priority. Also, why not work on getting your weight down, core strength up and flexibility improved? If I were in your shoes, once I'd gotten myself to truly appreciate what the bike has to offer, I'd reward myself for meeting my objectives by swapping the existing fork out for a Columbus Minimal!
 

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By the way, the core issue I had back in the day was a seat too far back, that lead to all of the other issues.
 
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