Monday, January 26, 2009


I had a pretty nice ride Friday afternoon. It was quite warm and the roads were a bit wet but not bad at all. I like the new bike quite a bit.

I think I may have made a mistake going with at 110 stem. Generally I like a 120 with a 58cm top tube. I thought I'd go a bit shorter in concession to my age, girth and cranky lower back. Not so good. The problem was my hands. I felt like too much weight was on my palms when on the tops and that my hands wanted to slide off the front of the hoods when I stretched out. I lowered the stem about 0.5cm when I got home and have yet to try it again.

I realize some people have to sit more upright for certain reasons but I an growing more convinced that many of the people I see with very high, short stems are just giving in to their first instinct that they don't want to be bent over. Being bent over is much more comfortable on a road bike. Less weight in the hands and rear.

When I was selling bikes I would encourage new bike owners to try the set up as is (stem a bit higher than I would like, but no crazy extenders or 6cm stems. See if it is comfortable before you screw up the handling and position of your "racing" bike. It was a losing battle, like trying to get middle aged women not to push their helmets back off their foreheads.

Anyway, now I have the bards about 2" lower than the saddle for belly clearance. I may pick up another stem to experiment with.


solobreak said...

Modern hoods (Shimano anyway) are so much bigger than the old-style, they give you a few cm of additional reach when on the hoods. Of course bars have changed to and may not reach forward as much as Cinelli 66's.

I struggle with the same issues though. I like the bike to fit when I stand and am on the hoods. If the bars are too high then my arms aren't extended and I feel I have less power climbing. If the stem is too short my knees can hit the bar sometimes.

I'm not as low as many of my peers though. I think you are correct, being too high is a correction for other problems most of the time.

There was a recent discussion on velopicedesalon about fore/aft seat position and it's relationship to the bars. Like many other riders, I've migrated my position up and forward from the old slam-back style. One of the guys on the VS forum questions that and suggests good fore/aft and reach is achieved when you can spin a medium gear up hill with your hands off the bars, hovering just a half inch over the tops, without feeling strain in your core. It goes something like if you are falling forward you're too far forward and but if you are stable in the saddle without straining your core then you are OK. It sort of makes sense to me and I'm combining that with how I feel standing (the most often neglected aspect of fit) to judge my positions on my various bikes.

Peter White also has some good points on fit on his page.

Il Bruce said...

I thought about sliding the seat back a touch but I felt too far forward when on the tops. I don't know if I will push myself back onto the saddle or just balance on the nose too much.

Dropping the bars does seem push the butt back a bit.
The ride of the Soma is very nice a lot better over the EP potholes than the straight gauge Surly. Only saved about a pound but the wheels are a touch heavier.