Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after years of back pain I'm just about ready to try road biking. I've been using my mountain bike or hybrid (700c tires) on the roads and am hoping to try and pull off a roadie this year.

The problem is I don't really trust any of the local bike shops, they've all burned me one way or another. So I have an inherent distrust of the advice I get from the standard teenager who thinks he knows how to sell/fit a bike.

So what should I be looking for in a road bike fit? (yes I've searched the threads)

All I've really noticed so far is how good the clearance I get on a stand over, and how stretched out I am reaching for the hoods. That aside and usual adjustments such as seat height what should I be looking for in terms of fit?

Oh and I'm a Clydesdale, 220ish, outside of making sure the wheels will hold up anything else I should be concerned about? (yea yea yea no ultimate wheels for me)

Also I want to get Shimano 105 groupo at a minimum. (no use screwing around with something lower end) One of the teenagers at the shop said that its built basically off the same stamps and forms as the ultegra now, just with different metals (and bushings) so its just a tiny bit heavier and shifting isn't as crisp. Is this true?

Lastly due to the back pain I've had in the past, would I be better off with a flat bar roadie or are those really low end. I must profess an ignorance in the difference in the geometry between the two.

Yes I know that was a lot but hopefully some keywords will searched in this thread and help others too.
 

·
Scary Teddy Bear
Joined
·
14,801 Posts
As

somsoc said:
So after years of back pain I'm just about ready to try road biking. I've been using my mountain bike or hybrid (700c tires) on the roads and am hoping to try and pull off a roadie this year.

The problem is I don't really trust any of the local bike shops, they've all burned me one way or another. So I have an inherent distrust of the advice I get from the standard teenager who thinks he knows how to sell/fit a bike.

So what should I be looking for in a road bike fit? (yes I've searched the threads)

All I've really noticed so far is how good the clearance I get on a stand over, and how stretched out I am reaching for the hoods. That aside and usual adjustments such as seat height what should I be looking for in terms of fit?

Oh and I'm a Clydesdale, 220ish, outside of making sure the wheels will hold up anything else I should be concerned about? (yea yea yea no ultimate wheels for me)

Also I want to get Shimano 105 groupo at a minimum. (no use screwing around with something lower end) One of the teenagers at the shop said that its built basically off the same stamps and forms as the ultegra now, just with different metals (and bushings) so its just a tiny bit heavier and shifting isn't as crisp. Is this true?

Lastly due to the back pain I've had in the past, would I be better off with a flat bar roadie or are those really low end. I must profess an ignorance in the difference in the geometry between the two.

Yes I know that was a lot but hopefully some keywords will searched in this thread and help others too.

I have ankylosing spondylitis and started road biking as a way to avoid the pain I get after running. I run 105's on both of my bikes and they work GREAT. No complaints. I wouldn't get a flat bar as it limits your positioning on the bike. With drop handlebars you have many more options for positions, and I think the constant changing of position and hand placement helps me to avoid back pain...at least for me. Try the wrenchscience site for fit advice.....www.wrenchscience.com. Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,771 Posts
105 is a great series componetry. Keep it maintained and it will preform very well. The weight penality is way less then a bottle of water so why give it much mind?

For a fit, standover doesn't matter too much. You don't ride your bike with your feet on the ground and your butt over the top tube. Although you do want to make sure you CAN stand over it... Varying top tube angles are common today so its not a good fit measurment.

There are a lot of ways to fit a bike, here is how I do it...

Are your cranks the right legnth? Figgure this out first. I like 172.5cm and I'm 5-10 with a 30" inseam. There are some good posts here telling how to size them.

First, gestimate. Then get on and pedal on a trainer. Stop you foot in the down position with your foot extended the farthest away from your saddle (not straight down but a little forward from it. Unclip your down foot and hold the cranks in position with the up foot. With your down foot extend your heel to the pedal. Be carefull not to shift your butt at this point. Your heal should be 1cm-3cm from the pedal. Go with smaller distance the less you ride. You can raise it to 3cm (or 2 finger widths) as your riding progresses.

Got that set? good.
next you adjust you saddle forward or back. Pedal again for a few min. to be sure you are in the ideal position. Stop your pedals level with the ground. Have a friend hold a plumb line from the center of your petela (knee cap) the plumbline should fall directly in line with the pedal axel of your forward leg. Move your saddle to make it align. Making a plumb line is very easy. Use some string and something with a little mass.

Mess arround with the saddle angle a bit. A couple degrees can make a huge diffrence in comfort on the bike. From a new bike, the saddle is often the best first upgrade you can make. You only have 3 points of contact to control the bike. Your butt, your feet and your hands. Don't sacrifice comfort on any of them.

The reach to the bars is a learned comfort. Your flexibility and upper body stregnth will determine what is right. You don't want to be so far forward you feel encouraged to lock your elbows. And if you are too far in you won't be able to get in an agressive position and your knees might hit the bars when you ride out of the saddle.


A good salesman will spend the same amount of time fitting you to a 300$ bike as he would a 6k bike. When the sales person first aproaches you ask what their method is. If they don't start telling you a detailed process and seam somewhat excited by it you are talking to the wrong person. Also, ask about swapping out parts. A halfway decent bike shop should be williing to swap stems to get you the right fit. Often they will let you upgrade by paying the cost diffrence in componenet and not pay for the instalation. But ask. Some stock components have no after market. They can't sell them at all and may not be willing to swap with that deal. Understanding that will make you a better customer. There is very little profit margin on bikes. Quite frankly, I don't know how these guys keep food on their table.

If you find a great shop and receive top notch customer service thank them. Tell the owner how much you enjoyed working with associate 'X'. Perhaps even drop of a case of beer on a friday if you are really thrilled with them. A bike shop is like a hooker. Take care of them and they will bend over backwards for you.
 

·
Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
Joined
·
9,419 Posts
dfleck said:
Are your cranks the right legnth? Figgure this out first.
<snip>
First, gestimate. Then get on and pedal on a trainer. Stop you foot in the down position with your foot extended the farthest away from your saddle (not straight down but a little forward from it. Unclip your down foot and hold the cranks in position with the up foot. With your down foot extend your heel to the pedal. Be carefull not to shift your butt at this point. Your heal should be 1cm-3cm from the pedal. Go with smaller distance the less you ride. You can raise it to 3cm (or 2 finger widths) as your riding progresses.
The rest of the post is sound advice, but I'd take issue with these two parts:

I've ridden crank lengths that are all over the map, and I have never noticed a difference. You can sweat about crank length if you want, but I would NOT put that anywhere at the top of the list. I wouldn't even put it ON the list for a first-time buyer. You're not going to want to shell out for new cranks before you've ridden the thing, and your shop isn't going to want to give you a free swap on a part that they likely think doesn't matter. Yes, I know Lennard Zinn is all about crank length (IMO, it's the one place where he's a little nuts--otherwise I take his advice very seriously), but he's about 14 feet tall. If you're at one of the extremes you might be noticeably well-served by adjusting your crank length, but if you're not particularly tall or short you're wasting your time, IME. My advice is to save the crank length for much later, if at all.

Also, I think dfleck's method for setting saddle height would leave the saddle too tall for most riders. It's all ballpark, so there are a million ways to get there, but what I've always heard (and used) was that if you can just barely pedal backwards with your heels on the pedals, you're pretty close. This is 1-3 cm lower than dfleck's recommendation, which is a big difference.

When you get the saddle set in the ballpark, you should look at the seatpost and make sure you can raise the saddle 1-2 cm more without exceeding the maximum extension (marked on the post)--just in case you find you need to raise the saddle later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you

hey all,

Thank you that was some really insightful stuff. While I was checking out bikes I knew fit was important, but only really had stand over and how stretched I felt to go by. As for seat height I always knew on a mountain bike wherever I set it, I wouldn't be happy, going up ya want it high, going down you want it low. Same goes with the drop down bars, that was a good point that being able to switch around positions helps too.

Good stuff, I'd appreciate any more input someone might have, hopefully others are reading this and learning more.

thanks again.
 

·
Resident Curmudgeon
Joined
·
13,390 Posts
All of the above is good advice. My only suggestion is not to underestimate the importance of the top tube length. It has everythingto do with comfort.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top