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Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 5:29pm
by Mark1978
First ride with drops today :)

It all feels very unusual after riding flat bar hybrids for years.

The most thing being that I feel really stretched out when riding on the hoods. Which I have to do otherwise I can't get to the brakes. I'm fine riding on the top of the bars

The issue is that my arms are stretched right out with the elbows locked. Is that a normal position that I should get used to or do I need to make some adjustments to the bike.

(I know you can get fitting services but I don't want to go down that route immediately!)

This pic shows where my hands are on the hoods (ignore the angle of my arm as it was taken when stopped)

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Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:06pm
by 531colin
Rules of thumb for riding position....thats all they are, just rules of thumb....but they do provide a place to start.
These rules of thumb result from the "herd experience" of generations of cyclists....they aren't science, they aren't fact, don't waste time arguing the toss over wether they are right, wrong, or halfway between, dont try to explain them.....just use them to get started, then play around from there.
Set the saddle up first to be comfortable to pedal, then set the bars....you can't move the BB!!

1) foot position on the pedal....ball of the foot over pedal spindle, or a bit forward of pedal spindle.
2) saddle height so there is a bit of bend in your knee when the bottom foot is level

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3) saddle setback....lots of people are comfortable when set up "knee over pedal spindle" ....thats all..no science...just works for lots of people.....compare with your bike you are used to....don't feel an outcast if it doesn't work for you!
EDIT...if you are looking for a bike to buy, note that a steep seat tube angle doesn't alter where your saddle ends up. A steep seat angle gives a short top tube in the geometry table, but you still need the same saddle setback from the BB, and the same reach to the bars.

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4)handlebar height....I'm 65, I have my bars level with the saddle....good place to start if you aren't used to drops. You may well find your stem can be flipped up the other way to get more height.

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5) angle of bars and brake lever position...I like the forward pointing flat bit of the top of the bars level, and the levers quite high on the bends, so the hoods are a continuation of that flat bit of bar, or even angle upwards....I find this the most comfortable position for riding on the hoods, incidentally it also reduces the effective reach compared to having the levers set lower.

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6)Reach....the hardest bit for rules of thumb, and the last bit to work on anyway. Rule of thumb one....elbow on saddle nose, index finger brushes the back of the bar.....maybe!!.
Rule of thumb 2....when riding, the bars hide the front hub....maybe!!
Usual position for your hands should be on the hoods, you should be comfortable and relaxed, with a bit of give in your elbows. If the reach is too long, I find my hands come back to behind the hoods....too short, and I drop my neck down between my shoulders. If your usual position is on the hoods, you have instant access to brakes and gears, and you can use the tops to relax and the drops for headwinds.

It will take time to get used to drops!

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:14pm
by CREPELLO
Mark1978 wrote:The issue is that my arms are stretched right out with the elbows locked. Is that a normal position that I should get used to or do I need to make some adjustments to the bike.
The default hand position for most people is where your hands are shown - and that is where you need to get comfortable. No, your arms shouldn't be straight/locked out. This is a sign that the stem is too long, or the frame top tube is.

Simple remedy - fit a shorter stem. Also, you might bring the STI's up and back a bit (but not too much if you want to be able to brake from the drops easily). Thirdly, compact bars have reduced reach and bring everything a bit nearer.


Also, your bar height might be a bit low, which will put more weight on the wrists and be a longer stretch than more level bars. Flip the stem, if it's angled.

I see Colin has posted whilst I wrote this post. Just listen to the man - he says it so much better than I ever can :wink:

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:24pm
by Valbrona
Hasn't the idea of fitting a shorter stem sprung to mind?

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:29pm
by Mark1978
I did take a second picture of where I ended up riding much of the time. Image

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:32pm
by Mark1978
Valbrona wrote:Hasn't the idea of fitting a shorter stem sprung to mind?


Have to admit I had no idea what this meant before I googled it and I'm still rather sketchy as to what would be involved both work and expense wise.

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:35pm
by Mark1978
Should be able to see the fitted stem on this pic

It's Bontrager Race Lite, 31.8mm, 7 degree

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Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:37pm
by tatanab
I like my hands to be in the position you have shown. In my case my elbows are bent, but that is the way I ride. If I were to lock my elbows I'd be sitting more upright.

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:42pm
by gaz
The expense will be the cost of a new stem, suitable for use with existing steerer (should be 1 1/8 inch) and bars (caution - various diameters available).

Fitting looks more straightforward than it actually is, some care is required with regard to the headset bearings. Others can explain this far better than me.

Before you start you need to measure the length of the stem you have and then decide how much shorter the new one needs to be.

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 6:43pm
by Mark1978
Right. Since I'm a complete noob with regards to bike maintenance (hope to improve but still!) I guess this might be a case of going back to the bike shop next weekend :)

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 7:02pm
by 531colin
Your bars look a good bit lower than your saddle at the moment, a "high rise" stem (like on my bike) will get the bars up as well as closer. Claim your old stem back from the shop, you might want to use it in the future.
Don't forget to look at the angle of the bars, and the position of the hoods....and comfort starts with getting the saddle in the right place.

What size did you go for in the end? http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=73343&hilit=madone

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 7:43pm
by Mark1978
It's a 52cm.

I did move the seat up a little as to that set by the shop with a hope to improve my reach issues. Didn't really help. (You can see in the pic as the rear reflector was originally on the bottom.

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 8:04pm
by CREPELLO
531colin wrote:Don't forget to look at the angle of the bars, and the position of the hoods....and comfort starts with getting the saddle in the right place.
+1

Also learn the art of bar tape wrapping. The STI's could easily come up and back a cm or two. Note that you can roughly approximate this alteration by moving the bars round in the clamp, although just doing that in itself isn't ideal if you want to have the drops in a usable position.

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 8:24pm
by Mark1978
Does anyone happen to be able to find out what the stem length is on a 52cm Trek Madone 2.1 2013 or failing that how I can measure it?

Just so I can see where in the range of available stem sizes mine sits.

(Until researching this evening I never knew different sized stems was a thing!)

Re: Fit question stretched out on the hoods

Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 9:08pm
by easyroller
Oooh Trek Madone! Must be a nice step up from the hybrid! :D