Handle bar height on new bike

carbineacs Posts: 65
edited March 2014 in Road beginners
Hopefully someone can help here!

I've currently got a Carrera Virtuoso. I've done around 700 miles on it, and it's done me well. However, I can't seem to put the miles in without pain. I've had a bike fitting and they have helped a bit, but it's not done the job. 25-30 miles I'm ok with, 40 and I'm starting to hurt, 50+ and I need to get home! It's my neck and shoulders mainly. I also find myself keep having to scoot back on the saddle to sit on my sit bones instead of my you know what. Fitness isn't the problem I don't think as in, I my legs could keep going plenty more miles.

Now I've got a roadie friend who is selling his Dolan Prefissio and he says it's a much better bike for me. I'm sure it is. However the main thing I've noticed is that the handlebars are a lot lower. Maybe 2 inches lower by the top of the headset, so it's frame, not setup. I can't test it properly this weekend as the wind is fairly bad, so I can't see if my average speed is any better. I got two punctures on it so had to head home after 10 miles! So I couldn't get a proper feel of the bike. Although it does feel different.

So the questions are: Do you think the Dolan would make longer rides more comfortable? Will the lower bars actually make the comfort better, or worse? I can't make them much higher. I feel like my hips are more rotated forward on the Dolan (saddle height is same as my Virtuoso and it feel right too) and I think there will be more pressure on my perineum. Will I just have to get used to that?

I can't go with what I think feel right, as I know sometimes with road bikes, you need to adapt and get used to new aches if you've not used that part of your body before. I've only got this weekend to try it so any advice would be appreciated. I do like the decent shifters, gearing, and general quaility of the bike. I'm not 'that' bothered about its high weight. I'm mainly riding from town to town, not racing, or accelerating hard out of corners. Searching Google hasn't shed much light on this either! Thanks
Rule #65 // Maintain and respect your machine.


  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Hi there, if your neck and shoulders are hurting on your current bike set-up, I would think that if the Dolon's handlebars are 2 inches lower in relation your to saddle height, that would hurt your neck and shoulders more rather than less. That is my experience anyway on my slightly racier carbon bike where the handlebars are lower than my audax bike.
  • Ok, thanks. Maybe I should look for a more audax / touring bike then. Or I just need to man up on the Virtuoso! The Dolan is supposed to be a winter trainer / tourer but with it being so much lower than the Virtuoso, I'm a bit worried the Virtuoso is the right setup, I'm just a wimp! Just annoying that it's the aches that stop me riding so many miles, and it ends up putting me off trying to get more miles in.
    Rule #65 // Maintain and respect your machine.
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    I have just had a look at the Dolon online and it looks a really nice bike. You could always try flipping or changing the stem on your existing bike, or on the Dolon if you buy it. I tried about 4 different stems on my audax before I found one that I was comfortable with. The audax bike I was sold is a bit big for me, so I have ended up with a shorter more upright stem than normal. It is not the best looking set-up but it works for me and the ride is now really comfortable.
  • The Dolan will be worse for you than better so i would avoid it. If your shoulders are playing up the Dolans position of being lower will only put more pressure on your arms and shoulders.

    Your current bike doesnt sound right either. Bike fits are good but they arent always the solution. Sounds to me that your saddle position should be the first place you start as this affects the arm position more than people realise. If you are having to sit forward on the saddle a lot then its too far back. You are then leaning forward too much which then puts pressure on your arms and shoulders.
    Try moving the saddle as far forward as you can and then go out for a ride. See if the pain kicks in. Then adjust the seat position back a bit at a time.
    Secondly, check the stem length. If its too long you will also be over-reaching, again causing pain. You need to be more upright with no pressure on the arms or back.
    Lastly, check the width of the bars. People often neglect this aspect of the bars but if you have a wide shoulder set and are gripping a narrow bar set then that will cause pain eventually. You need the right bar width.
  • Nice one, thanks for the replies. I may give the Dolan a miss then.. Unfortunately the Virtuoso's saddle is all the way forward! So I think I will try a much shorter stem. Ta
    Rule #65 // Maintain and respect your machine.
  • cyberknight
    cyberknight Posts: 1,238
    You should get your seat height /seat back sorted 1st before playing around with reach, once thats done then look at a shorter stem.
    I had the exact same issues and a 10 mm shorter stem sorted my issues out and i now can ride with the bars 2 spacers lower.
    FCN 3/5/9