Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Unfit to Ride...

It's no secret that I've been lusting after a new bike for about a year now (which is roughly how long I've had my current bike). Honestly, the one I've got is fine. It's a bit old but it was a nice bike in its day and I certainly don't outclass it in terms of my skill and ability. But as with any hobby, I tend to gravitate toward the nice tools of the trade (see: fly rods, stereos, cars, etc etc).

But before I plunk down money on a new bike, I decided to have myself professionally fit at the local bike shop so I would know what size frame, handlebars, crank, and stem I need. When I got there for the fitting, the guy asked me what I thought about my current fit. I said something like "well, I think my frame is too big, the seat's too high, my stem's too long and too low, my seat's too far forward, and my handlebars seem a little too wide; I'm probably about average in terms of flexibility, maybe slightly better." Well, it turns out I was wrong about almost everything. The guy spent nearly three hours with me doing various on- and off-the-bike measurements. What I found was that my seat was 2.5 centimeters lower than ideal and about a centimeter too far back, my stem is 1.5 cm too short, my handlebars and frame are just right. I was right about the stem being too low, though. In fact, based on my below average flexibility, it should be about 3-4 cm higher. My cleats were also about a centimeter too far back on my shoes.

Because I've been riding with a less than ideal fit (unfit to ride?!?) for so long, it's going to take me some time to gradually progress toward these ideals. Specifically, if I were to immediately jack the seat up an inch it would be extremely uncomfortable, so it's something I'll have to phase in over the next couple of weeks.

The biggest things I came away with are: (1) I need to start dedicating time to a structured, regular stretching routine and (2) a top tube length of about 57-58 cm is just right for me. I somehow had gotten the impression that I needed a 55-56 cm frame--probably because I was having to reach for my handlebars which were much lower than "normal" for someone of my limited flexibility. So, until I'm more flexible, my stem is jacked up nearly 2 inches higher than it was before and, frankly, it looks silly and makes me feel like a geek.


Blogger aham23 said...

Found my way here from your sig over at BikeForums. Your pics are amazing. Great Job. I have dropped 50 lbs since Jan and the first thing I wanted to do was get a new bike to replace my year old 05 Trek 1000. I did and should have it next week. Later.

July 30, 2006 9:06 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home