Bit of set up advice

Cycle4shay Posts: 15
edited July 2017 in Road beginners
Hello all,

Back on a bike again after about 13years. Had a little stint at welyn wheelers doing track cycling one summer.
Doing London to Brighton in September so brought
Myself a very cheap carrera to get going.
I'm really struggling in 1st's like my mates 6th/7th gear. Struggling up hills etc..why is this? And how can I fix it?
Also is changing the stem over for a shorter one as easy as it first looks? Mines around 100mm, wouldn't mind going down to 60mm,
Loving being back on a bike and hoping to get into a few more rides in the future. Do struggle with good routes though. Live in Watford.

Thanks for taking the time if you do answer my questions.



  • Gearing - what size chainrings and what range rear cassette do you have?

    As for the stem - going that short suggests the size of the bike isn't quite right.
  • burnthesheep
    burnthesheep Posts: 675
    Cycle4shay wrote:
    I'm really struggling in 1st's like my mates 6th/7th gear. Struggling up hills etc..why is this? And how can I fix it?

    Brad, go look at your crankset. It's the big front rings. Find a part number or numbers that look like 50/34 or 52/36 on it and then post back here what it says.

    Do the same for the rear cassette. Post either a part number or something like 11-28 or 11-32.

    Then take a look at the crank arms the pedals are on. Should be a small number there in millimeters.

    Once we know that, we can see if you need a different setup.
  • Cycle4shay
    Cycle4shay Posts: 15
    Ok from what I can make out it says SG x34-f on the front cassette and only thing I can find on the rear says 22T. Says Shimano mf-tz21 above it. Could find anything on the crank that resembled a number in MM.
    I'm 5"8 and the bikes a medium. I know carrera annoyingly do s/m/l instead of 54/56"
  • fat daddy
    fat daddy Posts: 2,605
    don't change the stem just yet ..... when I started cycling I swapped my stem for a shorter one, then I got more flexible and got a longer one ... then I got more flexible and went back to the original one .... then I got more flexible and bought a longer one

    I now have 4 stems and are about £100 worse off .... I could have saved my self £60 had I persevered for a while whilst I got used to riding a bike
  • Bobbinogs
    Bobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Ok, sounds like you have a compact chainset (50/34) so we need to know what your cassette at the rear is. It will have a number of cogs, each with an increasing number of teeth, typically 12-28, for example. Find the biggest cog and carefully count the teeth and do the same for the smallest. Let us know...we also need to know how many cogs are in the cassette.

    The more teeth (at the rear), the easier the gear. Changing cassette for one with a lower gear (more tetth) is fairly straightforward but you may need a new rear derailleur and chain...but we can come to that later.

    60mm is quite short for a stem. I would suggest 80mm as a min. They only take 5 mins to swap. Go for the cheapest you can find and give a go. Keep the 100mm so that you can stick it back on in a couple of months time.
  • Cycle4shay
    Cycle4shay Posts: 15
    Hey thanks for taking the time. Will have a count tomorrow. It was only a cheap purchase so maybe I should buy a better bike in the long run,
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    Sounds like a 7 speed 14-28 cassette there - what rear mech do you have - we need to see if that would take any more - but realistically it's pretty low already - can't really imagine it's equivalent to your mate's 6th gear.

    Ride as many hills as you can and you'll get fitter and faster.

    Your wheels aren't rubbing anywhere are they ? Lift the bike and spin them both ?
  • Cycle4shay
    Cycle4shay Posts: 15
    Yea it's a shimano 7 speed 14/28t. Just looked at spec online. 6th gear may be a slight exaggeration but his is a lot easier I know that. From what I read shimano tourney is a pretty basic entry level set up right? Maybe I'm just better off using for a while then chopping it in for a more serous bit of kit.
    One more thing. . My padded shorts were only cheap from Halfords. But the padding just seems to end up more towards the front and not my actual ass! Isit because there cheap/too small/better off with bib shorts?
  • Does you mates bike have a triple front chainring by any chance?
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,756
    When you say your friends bike seems to be significantly easier, is this with you riding it?

    If not, if he is fitter, might it not simply be that?

    As for the stem - I too have a bike with a 60mm stem, as my first road bike was too big, but I now use it on the turbo trainer - I also have a converted hybrid that runs a 60mm stem, and have no issues with handling.
    You can probably pick up a second hand one for less than a tenner, or sometimes brand new if you get lucky, and are not fussy about what you are after\colours etc, which I would imagine with a cheap first bike you would not be.

    Re your shorts - yes I expect it is a combination of them not being bibs and perhaps not the right size most importantly.
    If you are looking to do this on a budget, then perhaps consider Decathlon, dhb (From Wiggle) and Aldi and Lidl are worth a look.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18