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Help! I've got to ride it!!!

CrawlinguphillsCrawlinguphills Posts: 95
edited August 2012 in Road beginners
Hi All,

After weeks of my new bike going back and forth to Wiggle, I finally received it ready to roll on the weekend. Its a Felt F85 for anyone that is interested.

Firstly I love the speed, but having come across from mountain bikes, I am frankly finding the road bike censored scary, but am determined to crack it. I have encountered the following problems and was hoping for some advice?

1) All my weight appears to be on my arms, subsequently my hands are killing me after only a couple of miles. Is there anywhere I should be specifically thinking of putting my weight while I am riding that would help this. Obviously the idea is to move my weight back, but because of the 'pitched forward' nature of road bikes this is really difficult, as I am not sure what part of my boday I should be shifting.

2) I dont feel anywhere near as in control on a road bike as I do on a mountain bike. My mtb I can throw around, yet the road bike seems more fragile, and I have no confidence in the strength of the tyres. The bike also seems very twitchy, and I ride along expecting it just to disappear from underneath me.

3) I am a big unit (19 st, 6.3) what psi would people suggest I pump the tyres up to?

4) The Felt has the microshifters, and I am struggling to get used to them, is this something I will just get to grips with in time?

Thanks for any advice!

Posts

  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Shall I be the first to say bike fit needed? Of course I purchased mine from my local bike shop so it was part of the deal....
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,484
    1. That is normal, your body will adapt as you get used to it. Being more upright is defeating the point of a road bike. However, as a stop gap have a look at flipping the stem so that you aren't as low and if you have space maybe add another spacer under the stem. Then, as you grow used to the bike gradually get lower.

    2. The tyres will be fine, road bikes aren't as fragile as they look. For 'twitchy' think responsive. Again, it is just a case of getting used to it - you'll be surprised at how far you can take the bike before it reaches its limits. Get to know the bike gradually.

    3. I would go for between 90 and 100 psi, being heavier you will be at risk of pinch flats if you go much lower than that.

    4. Don't know but I'm sure you'll get used to them, most changers become second nature very quickly.

    I haven't ridden a Felt but I believe they are quite an aggressive bike in which case it would be a very big shift from an MTB, even the most relaxed of road frames is a huge difference, so it may take a while to get used to but stick with it (assuming you are definitely on the correct size bike).
  • estampidaestampida Posts: 1,008
    and dont be grabbing the handlebar for dear life

    just hold the bar, too tight a grip and your hands and arms really feel it
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    1. as above - flip the stem is turning it upside down - it'll normally be angled down ... a more upright position will put more weight through your body into the saddle ...

    2. narrow steering point - twitchy is because you've been used to the coarse steering adjustments of a wide handlebar ... practice!

    3. I run at 100psi and weigh a lot less - whats the max PSI written on the tyres - I'd run just under that TBH.

    4. Not tried the microshifters - it's just what you're used to using - you'll get used to them too.
  • Mikey23 wrote:
    Shall I be the first to say bike fit needed? Of course I purchased mine from my local bike shop so it was part of the deal....

    In an ideal world, that would of course have been the plan. I have always used my local lbs for my mountain bike, which was purchased from them, but unfortunately they are a Trek dealer, which seem very expensive for a semi-decent one. As such the Felt seemed like a great deal when also taking into account that I didnt want to spend £1000 + on my first roadbike before I knew if I would like it.

    My father in-law set the bike up for me, and he is a trained coach, he sized me etc.

    I am just hoping that it is purely that the bike and riding style currently feeling totally alien to me. I have been telling my girlfriend (who is a triathlete) for weeks that it will be 'easy' to make the transition to roadbikes, and that mountain bikers are better cyclists. Good god was I wrong, its like a totally different sport. Having made that stupid comment I have no option but to master it!!!
  • estampida wrote:
    and dont be grabbing the handlebar for dear life

    just hold the bar, too tight a grip and your hands and arms really feel it

    I have been employing the 'death grip' approach this week, thats for sure
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,484
    Mikey23 wrote:
    Shall I be the first to say bike fit needed? Of course I purchased mine from my local bike shop so it was part of the deal....

    In an ideal world, that would have course have been the plan. I have always used my local lbs for my mountain bike, which was purchased from them, but unfortunately they are a Trek dealer, which seem very expensive for a semi-decent one. As such the Felt seemed like a great deal when also taking into account that I didnt want to spend £1000 + on my first roadbike before I knew if I would like it.

    My father in-law set the bike up for me, and he is a trained coach, he sized me etc.

    I am just hoping that it is purely that the bike and riding style currently feeling totally alien to me. I have been telling my girlfriend (who is a triathlete) for weeks that it will be 'easy' to make the transition to roadbikes, and that mountain bikers are better cyclists. Good god was I wrong, its like a totally different sport. Having made that stupid comment I have no option but to master it!!!

    What size is the frame? At your height, assuming fairly normal proportions, that you would use a 58cm or possibly a 60cm and with either of those you wouldn't need to do much more than possibly change a stem, adjust your saddle height and set back to get a decent basic riding position as a maximum. But it is most likely just the completely different position that takes a while to get used to, if a qualified coach has looked at your position you shouldn't be a million miles out.
  • Pross wrote:
    Mikey23 wrote:
    Shall I be the first to say bike fit needed? Of course I purchased mine from my local bike shop so it was part of the deal....

    In an ideal world, that would have course have been the plan. I have always used my local lbs for my mountain bike, which was purchased from them, but unfortunately they are a Trek dealer, which seem very expensive for a semi-decent one. As such the Felt seemed like a great deal when also taking into account that I didnt want to spend £1000 + on my first roadbike before I knew if I would like it.

    My father in-law set the bike up for me, and he is a trained coach, he sized me etc.

    I am just hoping that it is purely that the bike and riding style currently feeling totally alien to me. I have been telling my girlfriend (who is a triathlete) for weeks that it will be 'easy' to make the transition to roadbikes, and that mountain bikers are better cyclists. Good god was I wrong, its like a totally different sport. Having made that stupid comment I have no option but to master it!!!

    What size is the frame? At your height, assuming fairly normal proportions, that you would use a 58cm or possibly a 60cm and with either of those you wouldn't need to do much more than possibly change a stem, adjust your saddle height and set back to get a decent basic riding position as a maximum. But it is most likely just the completely different position that takes a while to get used to, if a qualified coach has looked at your position you shouldn't be a million miles out.

    Its a 58, I tried a 60, but it just felt too big for me. I think my main concearn was that all my weight appeared to be on my arms, which was leaving my hands in immense pain.
  • edeweredewer Posts: 99
    I've just recieved the same bike :) Albeit with a few choice upgrades.

    With regards to your style I started with quite an agressive Trek so i got thrown into the agressive geometry setup. I tend to find that i'll use my core to hold myself back from the handlebars a little bit, and almost slouch my spine if that makes sense?

    I had mine fitted up aswell by my LBS and he set my saddle higher than I'd have done, and angled it a tiny bit, and it feels like its gonna be a lot better than the previous bike, but tomorrows initial ride will tell.

    I came from not having riddern for 10 years and so going straight to a road bike was a bit daunting but now i think ive found peace with it and seem to know the limits of the bike and tyres, and cleats too!

    I use 100psi pressures myself and seems to work pretty well.

    You will get used to it though, just persist with it, and if you dont have cleats already then try to find the limits as it wont hurt (as much) if the bike does fall on you.
  • edewer wrote:
    I've just recieved the same bike :) Albeit with a few choice upgrades.

    With regards to your style I started with quite an agressive Trek so i got thrown into the agressive geometry setup. I tend to find that i'll use my core to hold myself back from the handlebars a little bit, and almost slouch my spine if that makes sense?

    I had mine fitted up aswell by my LBS and he set my saddle higher than I'd have done, and angled it a tiny bit, and it feels like its gonna be a lot better than the previous bike, but tomorrows initial ride will tell.

    I came from not having riddern for 10 years and so going straight to a road bike was a bit daunting but now i think ive found peace with it and seem to know the limits of the bike and tyres, and cleats too!

    I use 100psi pressures myself and seems to work pretty well.

    You will get used to it though, just persist with it, and if you dont have cleats already then try to find the limits as it wont hurt (as much) if the bike does fall on you.

    What are your initial thoughts on the bike? I adore the way it looks, plus I think the groupset is very good for the money. I dont think I could have got better for £599. Which upgrades have you gone for?

    I adore riding it, and on a straight, flat, well surfaced road with little traffic I am great. Unfortunately hills come into the equation, where I struggle to get into the right gear as I am not used to the shifters. Also my girlfriend tells me steering plays a big part. The most amusing thing is that when I go down to the drops, I cant get back up, so end up wobbling along for miles.
  • I'm very far from an expert, but move the saddle backwards, and possibly angle it up a click? There are some good fitting guides on the net, used to get sore hands / shoulders etc, moved seat back and up according to the average of 2-3 guides, it worked for me =)
  • adm1adm1 Posts: 180
    Don't use the drops until you feel fully comfortable with the bike. Ride with your hands on the hood and bar tops instead. That should be much more comfortable. I spend probably 80+% of my riding time on the hoods.

    There's no need to try to get all aero until you really need to go as fast as you can, or are cycling into a strong headwind.

    Coming from an MTB, a road bike will feel twitchy as hell ( I know mine did) but you will quickly get used to it.

    As for hills, get into the right gear before you hit them. Road bike gearing is much higher than your typical MTB, so it will be tougher at first, but you will adapt. Just choose a really low gear and spin up. Should help you with your MTB climbing as well. Hills never get easier, but you do get faster going up them.
  • edeweredewer Posts: 99
    edewer wrote:
    I've just recieved the same bike :) Albeit with a few choice upgrades.

    With regards to your style I started with quite an agressive Trek so i got thrown into the agressive geometry setup. I tend to find that i'll use my core to hold myself back from the handlebars a little bit, and almost slouch my spine if that makes sense?

    I had mine fitted up aswell by my LBS and he set my saddle higher than I'd have done, and angled it a tiny bit, and it feels like its gonna be a lot better than the previous bike, but tomorrows initial ride will tell.

    I came from not having riddern for 10 years and so going straight to a road bike was a bit daunting but now i think ive found peace with it and seem to know the limits of the bike and tyres, and cleats too!

    I use 100psi pressures myself and seems to work pretty well.

    You will get used to it though, just persist with it, and if you dont have cleats already then try to find the limits as it wont hurt (as much) if the bike does fall on you.

    What are your initial thoughts on the bike? I adore the way it looks, plus I think the groupset is very good for the money. I dont think I could have got better for £599. Which upgrades have you gone for?

    I adore riding it, and on a straight, flat, well surfaced road with little traffic I am great. Unfortunately hills come into the equation, where I struggle to get into the right gear as I am not used to the shifters. Also my girlfriend tells me steering plays a big part. The most amusing thing is that when I go down to the drops, I cant get back up, so end up wobbling along for miles.

    Initial impression are pretty good. Like you I love the looks, the weight is good and it seems to suit my agressive style like the Trek did. I like a bike that can be a bit twitchy but have some power behind it, and the Felt does this. The frame size and shape also agrees with me

    Downsides are the saddle, which is so uncomfortable its untrue! Will be changing this next payday to a Fizik, as I loved the one on my Trek. I have upgraded to an Ambrosio Carbon seatpost (£50), which has massively reduced vibration, saved a little weight, and looks cracking too. This seems to have saved both my behind and my knees for some reason, although it could also be down to having a proper bike fit from my LBS
    I also find the SORA system to be pretty clunky compared to a near identical system on my Trek, but it needs to time to bed in so I'll give it a while before passing full judgement. I am however planning to upgrade to an Ultegra setup in the Spring, so even if I dont get on with it I'm not overly fussed

    The other upgrade I went for which has also made the world of difference weight wise is the Fulcrum Quattro wheels (£299). Loads lighter than standard (I'm saving them for the summer but couldnt resist a quick go this morning) and just make the bike even more of a pleasure to ride.

    I'm gonna use the bike to commute for the next few weeks as I have a few cycle events coming up so want it to be properly broken in and back for its first service and wheel true before said events, so it should all settle given a few hundred miles

    Hills I find a lot easier though, the weight reduction I reckon has something to do with it. With regards coming up and down from the drops, just go one side at a time, and dont think about it. One fairly swift movement and each hand is back upright. I've only been riding for 2-3 months but seem to have mastered cleats and drops fairly quickly, but again its different for everyone
  • adm1 wrote:
    Don't use the drops until you feel fully comfortable with the bike. Ride with your hands on the hood and bar tops instead. That should be much more comfortable. I spend probably 80+% of my riding time on the hoods.

    There's no need to try to get all aero until you really need to go as fast as you can, or are cycling into a strong headwind.

    Coming from an MTB, a road bike will feel twitchy as hell ( I know mine did) but you will quickly get used to it.

    As for hills, get into the right gear before you hit them. Road bike gearing is much higher than your typical MTB, so it will be tougher at first, but you will adapt. Just choose a really low gear and spin up. Should help you with your MTB climbing as well. Hills never get easier, but you do get faster going up them.

    I did the 6 mile run to work this morning, and felt marginally better and more in control, however it did take me 30 minutes which was disappointing!! I never actually realised just how bad the road surfaces were round here (Cookham-Marlow). Climbing was just as hard if not harder than using a mountain bike on the road (we're not talking a massive hill here, 336ft) but what I do like is that you dont have as many gears as a MTB, so cant just pootle up the hill. You have to really attack it, as I get the impression that if you stop halfway up, you wont be getting started again. So in that respect I flew up it by my standards, but felt like I was going to cough up a lung at the top. I am now certain I am done with smoking and havent smoked today as a result. If I am going to give this a go I wont to do it properly, and breathing and lung capacity may just help!

    Descending I am cr*p and was frankly terrified. The decent from Cookham to Marlow is down Quarry Wood if anyone knows it, steep, bad road surface, and two hairpins. I think this will have affected my average speed as this should be the place that I am gaining, yet I probably went down it no faster than 10 average, and 15 tops. I just felt that I wouldnt be able to get the speed off before the hairpins if I let the bike go. The road also cambers away from the middle to the side quite steeply, and after the first hairpin if you go off the side it is quite a drop.

    Feeling very good about some aspects, but still dont feel I have 'command' of the bike. On a mtb I was never worried about coming off, and would throw myself down hills, but there is something in the back of my mind with the tarmac and cars screaming at me to be careful, which I think is making me even more un-steady.

    I am however loving it.
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