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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just jumped back into road biking after a long hiatus. I think Father's Day this year was my first actual ride. I have logged 500 miles since and have a few issues that I hope can be remedied.

I bought my bike used, but it is this year's model and only had single digits on the odometer. It is a Trek 2.3 56cm. I am right at 6 ft. I had been sized at a 58, but rode one at the LBS and it felt big too me. I found this Trek for roughly half the price of new and thought it was worth a try.

It is over $200 to go through the fitting process at the LBS. Great people and great customer service, even though I did not buy my bike there. I am wondering if it is worth the money, though. I know I need to make some adjustments. For example my left hand gets some numbness as I ride. I am guessing that adjusting the saddle fore or aft would help, but have not determined which. I have been reading online about "fitting" myself, but am not too confident. I really don't have the bucks right now, but will. When I have the cash is it worth it to spend that much?

My issue, other than occasional hand numbness, is butt pain. I know we all have it, and I have been told I am usually the pain in the butt :D Anyway, I have the original Bontrager saddle. It is rounded on top and either 146 or 143. Regardless it feels like a wedge was driven between my sit bones, at the end of the ride. I seriously think I can feel them creaking back into their original positions.

I might have a line on a Specialized Avatar 155 (that is my sized size....I know, birthing hips). If that does not pan out, are there any suggestions for a reasonbly priced, realatively light, and comfortable saddle? Everything I find online is in the $140's it seems.

The saddles I have perused have been Specialized, Koobi, and stuff on Nashbar.
 

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When I bought a new bike, the fitting was free. It's been great for my riding and only took about an hour. The question is, are you willing to shell out 200 bucks for an hours work? Is it worth it to you? There may be another LBS that would charge you less.
As for the saddles, I had a lot of luck with the cut out versions. It's best to try out different saddles.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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joker1656 said:
Just jumped back into road biking after a long hiatus. I think Father's Day this year was my first actual ride. I have logged 500 miles since and have a few issues that I hope can be remedied.

I bought my bike used, but it is this year's model and only had single digits on the odometer. It is a Trek 2.3 56cm. I am right at 6 ft. I had been sized at a 58, but rode one at the LBS and it felt big too me. I found this Trek for roughly half the price of new and thought it was worth a try.

It is over $200 to go through the fitting process at the LBS. Great people and great customer service, even though I did not buy my bike there. I am wondering if it is worth the money, though. I know I need to make some adjustments. For example my left hand gets some numbness as I ride. I am guessing that adjusting the saddle fore or aft would help, but have not determined which. I have been reading online about "fitting" myself, but am not too confident. I really don't have the bucks right now, but will. When I have the cash is it worth it to spend that much?

My issue, other than occasional hand numbness, is butt pain. I know we all have it, and I have been told I am usually the pain in the butt :D Anyway, I have the original Bontrager saddle. It is rounded on top and either 146 or 143. Regardless it feels like a wedge was driven between my sit bones, at the end of the ride. I seriously think I can feel them creaking back into their original positions.

I might have a line on a Specialized Avatar 155 (that is my sized size....I know, birthing hips). If that does not pan out, are there any suggestions for a reasonbly priced, realatively light, and comfortable saddle? Everything I find online is in the $140's it seems.

The saddles I have perused have been Specialized, Koobi, and stuff on Nashbar.
Fit being of utmost importance in biking, assuming the $200 gets you a pro fitting, IMO the money would be well spent, but ask for specifics before proceeding. The one concern I'd have is that because the LBS sized you for a 58 and you own a 56, the pro fitter won't be able to work magic and optimally fit you to the 56 (assumes you actually take a 58 in this make/ model). This might explain the hand numbness, but not for certain.

Considering your fit issues and the fact that you can't really spare the money right now, there would be little lost in trying a couple of small adjustments, then rethink replacing the saddle. The numbness you describe is fairly common and we could suggest some things that I think will (at least) minimize your discomfort. If you're game for trying this follow up and we'll go from there.

Regarding the saddle, IMO there are indications that the Bonty isn't for you, but there's also a possibility that once the adjustments are made for the hand numbness, the saddle will be better positioned. If not, and before shooting in the dark (so to speak) seeking out your next saddle, I'd get your sit bones measured. Some Specialized stores offer the service, but there are also instructions on their website explaining how to do it at home. Because rider preferences/ anatomy and shapes/ contours of saddles vary widely, this alone doesn't guarantee success, but at least you'll know the general size you require.

HTH...
 

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I used the Avitar, great saddle; I changed to the Selle Italia Gel Flite Flow Max, which I love. I wanted different rails is the reason for the change. I'd sell you my Avitar, but I put it on my hybrid.

Fit is definately worth $200. It seems to me that a 56 is a bit too small for a person 6 foot, but depending on the geometry, you could put on a longer stem ad that might do the trick.

The saddle size of 143 is definately a problem if you really need a 155.
 

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Hooben said:
When I bought a new bike, the fitting was free. It's been great for my riding and only took about an hour. The question is, are you willing to shell out 200 bucks for an hours work? Is it worth it to you? There may be another LBS that would charge you less.
As for the saddles, I had a lot of luck with the cut out versions. It's best to try out different saddles.
A $200 fit should be a good deal more than an hour's work.

My BG 3D fit @ $170 was 2.5 hrs and involved a pretty extensive set of measurements of body parts and range of motion plugged into the software and a long discussion regarding my issues w/ the current setup and goals prior to ever actually getting on the bike.

The LBS also did a free pre and post sale fit for me that took an hour but was done by one of the sales guys/techs, not their fitter. There were a large number of significant changes to be made when I got the BG fit to address the issues I was encountering.

I guess it depends on your LBS and luck, but IME in many cases you get what you pay for. I feel like it was definitely money well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input, all. I appreciate it.

I would be open to any suggestions on self-fitting. I would love to pay the money and get a pro-fitting. They spend about three hours on it. My buddy just bought a Caad 9-5 from them and finagled a free fitting. He said he would definitely still do it for the $200, though. He has ridden for quite awhile. He said that it was amazing the difference it made. It just is not in my budget, yet.

I did sit on their sit bone measuring device. They put me on a 155 saddle. It sure seems that is the direction I should go. I will find out Thursday if the Avatar is going to pan out. I think it is going to be around $30. If I can get it that cheap, I think that is pretty good.

I hope I am good on the 56, but you might be right. It was a risk, but I feel like I got a good enough deal that I should be able to get my money out of it. I really like the bike, though. I paid $1250 for the bike, shoes (shimano), pedals (speedplay zero), helmet (trek), cages, flat repair kit and bag, headlight, tail light, computer (trek wireless) and Saris T-rax bike rack. I only say that to explain why I took a chance on the smaller frame. Maybe it was a bad idea, but I will at least try to get it adjusted.

What are your suggestions, because I would be happy to try them? Maybe it will get me by until I can spare the $200+. I appreciate it.
 

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I suggest a professional fitting. Fitting yourself can possibly work, but having someone who has seen 100s or 1000s of people will have much more precise results (in general). As my fitness level has changed, I have been fit 3 times and am very happy about the results.

Note that I am not a fitter nor have ever done a fitting. My basis for the below suggestions is merely on what I have experienced and have read. Always make notes of your bike's initial measurements before making changes and make changes in small increments...

For the numbness, look at how your hand is positioned. The wrist should be fairly straight. If you are bending at the wrist in anyway, you may need to adjust a few things. For me, a simple rotation of the bars was enough to change the angle I was resting on the hoods.

For your butt, it may be that you simply need a different saddle. But you may also want to look at where your weight is. I believe that your weight should be close to 50% between the saddle and the bars. Try to be resting on your sit bones rather than sitting on them.

As for your bike size, it depends heavily on the geometry of the frames you tested out. If they were the same frame but different sizes, you may be an in-between. Adjusting on a frame one or two sizes off should be possible, but it will help more to have it professionally done. For the record, I am 6'2" with a 33" inseam and ride a 58cm 08 Trek Madone 5.2 Pro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
PJ352, and anyone else... I don't know if this helps you help me, but my bike is a "compact" I guess. I did not realize exactly what it was at the time I bought it. I am still not sure if the geometry is out of the ordinary, or what. I do know that the chainrings are different (smaller). It is fine for now, but I may want to change later. The point is, I thought it might be something you needed to know.
 

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joker1656 said:
I might have a line on a Specialized Avatar 155 (that is my sized size....I know, birthing hips). If that does not pan out, are there any suggestions for a reasonbly priced, realatively light, and comfortable saddle? Everything I find online is in the $140's it seems.

The saddles I have perused have been Specialized, Koobi, and stuff on Nashbar.
I would ask if they can do a quick fit for $50. This is the fit you get for free if you're trying out a new bike. It will take about 20min for them to adjust the seat, handlebars, and pedals. They might tell you that the 56 is not right, in which case the extra $150 would just be a waste of time/money.

The saddle fit should be free since you're buying a saddle. Saddles aren't cheap.

David
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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joker1656 said:
Thanks for the input, all. I appreciate it.

I would be open to any suggestions on self-fitting. I would love to pay the money and get a pro-fitting. They spend about three hours on it. My buddy just bought a Caad 9-5 from them and finagled a free fitting. He said he would definitely still do it for the $200, though. He has ridden for quite awhile. He said that it was amazing the difference it made. It just is not in my budget, yet.

I did sit on their sit bone measuring device. They put me on a 155 saddle. It sure seems that is the direction I should go. I will find out Thursday if the Avatar is going to pan out. I think it is going to be around $30. If I can get it that cheap, I think that is pretty good.

I hope I am good on the 56, but you might be right. It was a risk, but I feel like I got a good enough deal that I should be able to get my money out of it. I really like the bike, though. I paid $1250 for the bike, shoes (shimano), pedals (speedplay zero), helmet (trek), cages, flat repair kit and bag, headlight, tail light, computer (trek wireless) and Saris T-rax bike rack. I only say that to explain why I took a chance on the smaller frame. Maybe it was a bad idea, but I will at least try to get it adjusted.

What are your suggestions, because I would be happy to try them? Maybe it will get me by until I can spare the $200+. I appreciate it.
If you've had your sit bones measured and have a chance to get the Avitar in your size for a good price, by all means do so. The only glitch this presents is that two of the adjustments we'd make are saddle related, so it makes sense to wait for you to get the saddle, then proceed.

Until then, there are some general practices that usually help with hand numbness:
- keep a slightly loose grip on bars, tight enough to maintain control, but loose enough to prevent road buzz from transmitting through your hands.

- keep your upper body relaxed and arms slightly bent at the elbows. This will also prevent some road shock from traveling up your arms to shoulders/ neck.

- change hand position often, alternating from tops to hoods to drops... (the specific combo doesn't matter, so choose based on your preferences)

- use good quality gloves and bar tape.

- keep tires inflated in the correct range for your weight and the road conditions.

I agree with jsedlak that a slight change in bar angle may help, but your level of success will likely depend on how often you ride on the hoods, and if this is when the pain occurs. If it is, you may also want to consider changing the hood position on the bars, so... food for thought.

Regarding your post about compact geo and the chainrings, I don't see where your fit issues relate to those things, so I wouldn't worry about it.

Lastly, once you get your saddle and update this thread, we can help you get the saddle positioned so that your weight is better distributed. Once that's accomplished and we see how that suites you, we can look at changing reach (if needed).
 

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Second the pro fitting suggestions. Maybe check the forums to find a recognized expert in your area. Local shops may not be able to provide their level of expertise.

Unless you have very unusual proportions, the 56cm Trek is pretty standard road bike geometry and should be fine at your height. For a basic DIY approach check the web for Lemond and Fit Kit formulas and details. Start with saddle height and fore/aft saddle position to achieve knee over pedal. (KOP is a good starting point, although there are other methods.) Then adjust stem length and height accordingly. Handy stem calculator webpage: http://www.brightspoke.com/t/bike-stem-calculator.html?form=single&sra=8&sl=120.0&hta=73.0&sph=10.0

Might look into SMP saddles or similar if you're experiencing numbness in the nether regions, but saddles like bars are a very personal choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Trek 2.3, do you have one of these saddles? I guess vanity might get the best of me, but I don't like the looks. Interesting, though.

To everyone else, I appreciate the input. I am working with them, somewhat, on getting a better fit. The "pro" fit is even a bit more expensive than I realized. It will be awhile.

Tomorrow I will find out about the Avatar. I am hoping that works out. Think with some minor adjustments, I will be okay. I only have the complaint of numbness in the left hand, and the obvious butt pain. Like one of you said, getting the sit-bones measured should help with the butt pain.

I found the card from getting my inseam measurements. One of the sales guys at the LBS had me stand over the measuring device a couple of months ago. The card put my inseam at 89.5. The units are not on the card, but I assume CM. That equates to roughly 34 inches, correct? If so, it sounds like my 56 is way wrong. I am barely 6 feet tall, that seems awfully long for my height. Oh well, thanks for all of the input. I will quit boring the masses with my thinking aloud.

Thanks again!
 

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joker1656 said:
I found the card from getting my inseam measurements. One of the sales guys at the LBS had me stand over the measuring device a couple of months ago. The card put my inseam at 89.5. The units are not on the card, but I assume CM. That equates to roughly 34 inches, correct? If so, it sounds like my 56 is way wrong. I am barely 6 feet tall, that seems awfully long for my height. Oh well, thanks for all of the input. I will quit boring the masses with my thinking aloud.

Thanks again!
Inseam is different from your pants inseam measurement. Frame size depends on geometry, I have a 56 and call myself 5' 10"
 

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joker1656 said:
...One of the sales guys at the LBS had me stand over the measuring device a couple of months ago. The card put my inseam at 89.5. The units are not on the card, but I assume CM. That equates to roughly 34 inches, correct? If so, it sounds like my 56 is way wrong. I am barely 6 feet tall, that seems awfully long for my height...
Not sure why you think your 56 is wrong. As I said before, DIY using any number of fit guides available on the internet. Not that hard to get in the ballpark. Know that you will acclimate/toughen up the more you ride, and your tender posterior might adapt. Numb hands are often an indication of poor weight distribution, i.e., too much weight on your arms. Check that your saddle is level and not pitching you forward. And check your own inseam again. 89.5cm is 35.25 inches, which is a little long for the average 6ft specimen.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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joker1656 said:
Trek 2.3, do you have one of these saddles? I guess vanity might get the best of me, but I don't like the looks. Interesting, though.

To everyone else, I appreciate the input. I am working with them, somewhat, on getting a better fit. The "pro" fit is even a bit more expensive than I realized. It will be awhile.

Tomorrow I will find out about the Avatar. I am hoping that works out. Think with some minor adjustments, I will be okay. I only have the complaint of numbness in the left hand, and the obvious butt pain. Like one of you said, getting the sit-bones measured should help with the butt pain.

I found the card from getting my inseam measurements. One of the sales guys at the LBS had me stand over the measuring device a couple of months ago. The card put my inseam at 89.5. The units are not on the card, but I assume CM. That equates to roughly 34 inches, correct? If so, it sounds like my 56 is way wrong. I am barely 6 feet tall, that seems awfully long for my height. Oh well, thanks for all of the input. I will quit boring the masses with my thinking aloud.

Thanks again!
You're not "boring the masses". We're all obsessed with all things bike related, so we'll chat with anyone about the topic! :thumbsup:

But seriously, I think you're being a little too negative about your plight. I'm not saying you're guaranteed to be on the right size frame, but the opposite hasn't (yet) been proven, either. And even if the 56cm isn't the ideal size, once you get the saddle and either have the LBS help with fit or post an update here, you'll get the assistance you need to get the questions (re: framesize/ fit) answered.

One last note regarding the online fit calculators mentioned. Don't trouble yourself with them. You'll get far better results working one on one with an experienced fitter. IMO/E the best those calculators can do is get you in the ballpark, and you're already there with your current bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay, I think I was misreading a few of the posts. I am a little relieved in reading the last few. I don't want to be negative, but somehow I was getting the idea that the 56 would end up being impossible to fit properly to my needs.

I agree I am in the "ballpark". I also think that you guys are right regarding my weight distribution. I do have my current saddle tilted forward. It releived my crotch and made the ride more bearable from that end. It seems to be a culprit in my hand numbness now. Good direction to explore, anyway.

I am glad to know I am not boring the masses, but I do tend to ramble occasionally. LOL. I will give the subject a rest for a day or two. I need to try another saddle and do some fine tuning. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks again.
 

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Bsilver
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Bike Fitting

I just purchased my 1st roadbike about 2 months ago. I started out needing a 56 and at that time found bikes in short supply. (I am kinda impatient) anyway my LBS had the bike I wanted in a 58. I am 5' 10". They have a great reputation in my town and are the oldest. The owner said let's try changing the front stem and make it shorter. Next they worked on seat adjustment. After those two adjustments I rode the bike again for about the 5th time. I have to tell you that the bike is comfy and I am very happy with my choice. The bike I purchased is a Jamis Xenith Endura l. It's all carbon. I have thought about going to another shop out of town that has the real mccoy fitting system for about 200.00. My thought is as long as I am comfortable why mess with it. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you do not know. Bottom line take to a LBS and get the saddle fit and let them give you an assesment on the overall fit. If they are reputable they will want to make what you have fit the best they can. So the next time you are in the market they will be the shop of choice. I am on the fence about getting to technical of a fitting. Comfort is most important in my opinion and when you bum hurts that makes everything feel bad. I am sure they can get your bum to feel great and get the feeling back in your hands.

bsilver
 

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Regarding the Bontrager saddle, I had one on my Trek 1.5 and it was terrible. I had to replace it after my first ride, I then purchased a Fizik Aliente saddle and it was heaven, instant relief. My new Specialized came with a one of their Toupe saddles, this is even better than the Fizik. A comfortable saddle seems to the one of the hardest thing to find, but once you do it makes the ride that much better.
 

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Your story sounds familiar to mine. I got a 56 that was sized right (I'm 5'11") and it felt way too big for me. However, after riding a lot and getting into shape, I did find out it really was the right size. And this was after I traded to a 54cm bike. I had put on a very long stem, had a quill adapter that was a mile high, and the bike looked ridiculous.
As you get into shape, you'll realize this too. I've spent countless hours reading and researching fittings. After almost two years, I have a fit I'm comfortable with. I wish I spent the money up front.
As for the saddle, you definitely need to find one that fits you. You'll get many recommendations for saddles, but you need to use what works for you.
 
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