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Streched on hoods - cramped on drops

KJAKJA Posts: 259
edited December 2013 in Road beginners
Hi guys and gals, have just bought myself a secondhand Genesis CDF and took it for its first ride today, 20 miles of mixed road/off-road. Loved it, but I have only ever had MTBs and had never ridden a bike with drop bars before and the one niggle is that when I'm on the hoods I feel slightly too streched out, as if the stem could do with being a couple of cm shorter. This was born out by an aching shoulder when I got back. However when I went down on the drops I felt very cramped, despite shoving my bum right back on the saddle.

So I suppose my question is, is it normal to feel cramped on the drops? If I get a shorter stem it'll sort out the reach onn the hoods, but only make it worse on the drops. Opinions please...

Posts

  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    Road bikes feel different to mountain bikes. You need to give it more than 20 miles. It's hard to see how you could feel cramped in the drops and stretched on the hoods given that the reach is going to be further to the drops!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    If you are stretched out on the hoods you can change stem but you can also change bars. They come in different widths and shorter reach designs to allow a fair bit of tweaking.

    The cramped feeling in the drops is likely to be because you are not used to riding with your back almost flat. - Do you have a bit of a belly :-)
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • Get a bike fit done before you change anything. You could fiddle with stuff, spend loads of money and only get temporary relief. Better to get the right set up and then just wait for your body to adapt.
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    Have a look at road bike setup advice on the web. Road bikes have to be setup more accurately than mountain bikes. Examples of things to look at as a starting point are :-

    Saddle height
    Saddle tilt
    Saddle forward / backwards position on the rails (KOPS)
    Drop from saddle to handle bar
    Reach to handle bar
    Position of handle bars in stem

    Takes a bit of fiddling but once you learn the effect each change has you soon get the hang of it. Just remember changing one thing often means readjusting others to get it back right again.

    To give you an example for my road bike I did all the saddle adjustments and flipped the stem to get my preferred setup. I also bought a new saddle as the original one was too narrow and caused pain on longer rides.
  • KJAKJA Posts: 259
    Thanks chaps, some useful stuff there. I think the feeling cramped on the drops is as smidsy said the fact that I'm not used to it. I have a shorter stem in the shed I can try along with a few changes to saddle position. It's not far off, so just a minor tweak or two will have it sorted I'm sure.
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    A word of caution on the saddle position.

    Saddle position should be used to set you up properly around the BB only.

    It should not be used as a way of making the reach shorter (unelss you are in fact already too far behind the BB for good pedal motion) and then treat the saddle as a fixed point from which you make the adjustments for reach etc.

    If you can not do the above and be comfortable (assuming you have the correct stem and bar set up) your frame could be the wrong size (e.g top tube too long).

    Also remember that it is new (you are use to MTB position) so you may actually find it is OK already with a bit more time on the bike to get used to the different way of riding as your body/mindset adjusts etc.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • Some good advice here. Ideally, get a bike fitting, though that can be a bit expensive. All I can say about that is that I did (it was free when I bought the bike) and it was a revelation.

    Also, from my own experience, you may find that being on the drops gets easier. At the time I had my bike fitting, it was a strain to even reach the drops but now I can do it easily, though still not for very long. I've lost a fair bit of weight, which helps, but I have also become more flexible. Try it a bit at a time.
    Shut up, knees!

    Various Boardmans, a Focus, a Cannondale and an ancient Trek.
  • KJAKJA Posts: 259
    Many thanks, especially the tip on sorting out saddle position first. I looked at a few diagrams and vids online and have now have the saddle placed further forward. This obviously has the effect also of shortening the reach to the hoods. I'll just have to get used to crouching onto the drops and hope that a bit of road riding will burn away that belly!

    As much as I'd love to have a bike fit, my regular bike shop charges £220 which isn't even vaguely affordable for me.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    I had an excellent bike fit last week from a newly qualified guy who is also a NHS physio... Done in my home, cost me £40 and revolutionised my cycling. I suspect that east cornwall is too far to come?
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    Damn straight. In fact East Cornwall is too far to come even when you are in West Cornwall :-)
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • KJAKJA Posts: 259
    Whereabouts mikey? I'm in North Dorset but occasionally get down that way.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    Launceston
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,365
    Launceston eh? Could you give us the details (or PM me...)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    KJA wrote:
    Many thanks, especially the tip on sorting out saddle position first. I looked at a few diagrams and vids online and have now have the saddle placed further forward. This obviously has the effect also of shortening the reach to the hoods. I'll just have to get used to crouching onto the drops and hope that a bit of road riding will burn away that belly!

    As much as I'd love to have a bike fit, my regular bike shop charges £220 which isn't even vaguely affordable for me.

    Road bikes take a bit of experimenting until you get it right but once you do they are faster and more comfortable. Just remember most bike fit articles are just a guide to get you started. Going by KOPS my saddle is way too far forward but it works well for me and I get no knee pain etc. at all. Put it in the KOP's position and my knees hurt :)
  • KJAKJA Posts: 259
    If anyone's interested, I found a localish physio who does bike fits for £35. Unfortunately turns out the bike is a bit big for me, hence feeling stretched out and getting shoulder pain.
  • KJA wrote:
    If anyone's interested, I found a localish physio who does bike fits for £35. Unfortunately turns out the bike is a bit big for me, hence feeling stretched out and getting shoulder pain.

    What did he recommend, aside from getting a smaller frame?
  • KJAKJA Posts: 259
    He set it up it in a 'reasonable compromise'. But my arms are still too stretched really, and as I have an old shoulder injury it's not ideal. He suggested I could try a shorter stem, but pointed out that it might adversely affect handling. So I think it'll be in the classifieds next week!
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    A shorter stem is not guarenteed to be a problem.

    What size do you have now/need to go to?

    I have a 110mm stem on one bike and it handles fine. I have a 90mm stem on another of my bikes and it still handles fine.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • KJAKJA Posts: 259
    It came with a 110mm, I put a 100mm on before I went for the bike fit. Physio suggested 80mm would put me in a better position. I'm going to nick the 70mm one from my wife's MTB just to see how it goes, and think about buying an 80mm if it's ok.
  • smidsy wrote:
    I have a 110mm stem on one bike and it handles fine. I have a 90mm stem on another of my bikes and it still handles fine.

    Depends on the bike to a good degree. I had a 80mm stem on my Trek Madone and I found the handling unstable, I would be going down hill slowly as I wasn't at all sure of the steering. I have the exact same 80mm stem on my Scott CR1 and it's completely planted and completely stable at speed.
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    smidsy wrote:
    I have a 110mm stem on one bike and it handles fine. I have a 90mm stem on another of my bikes and it still handles fine.

    Depends on the bike to a good degree. I had a 80mm stem on my Trek Madone and I found the handling unstable, I would be going down hill slowly as I wasn't at all sure of the steering. I have the exact same 80mm stem on my Scott CR1 and it's completely planted and completely stable at speed.

    Indeed, hence my first line in my full statement.
    smidsy wrote:
    A shorter stem is not guarenteed to be a problem.
    If you are going to quote me and then derride what I have said at least quote me fully :lol:
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • I was agreeing with you ;)
  • KJAKJA Posts: 259
    Now now boys, this isn't stw. Let's not forget that the idiot of this thread was me for buying an unseen bike on a whim, with no idea whether it fitted or why iI needed it.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    spoken like an officer and a gentleman!
  • KJAKJA Posts: 259
    I never met an officer that would have admitted to being an idiot. Not many were gentlemen either!
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