Author Topic: What about your bike are you obsessive about?  (Read 2152 times)

Andre Jute

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What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« on: December 09, 2017, 11:26:59 PM »
We all agree your bike must be right for you. For me the fit, or the capability to tailor the bike to fit me to within a millimeter, is the most important thing. The way some people are obsessive about having a clean bike, especially the transmission, I'm obsessive about having precisely the right relationship between saddle, pedals and handlebar grips.

All of that said, my last three bikes I bought sight unseen, unridden, on the reputation of their makers -- and I've been very happy with them after a bit of light reengineering.

Of course, that happened after a dozen years of educating myself with the wrong bike, buying my physio every new BMW that came out.

After I didn't visit her for more than a year, she stopped me in the street to ask me, "What happened to your old purple Peugeot bike?"

She sounded rather bitter. Probably lost face driving a two-year-old Bimmer.

Hurrah!

Danneaux

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2017, 11:43:04 PM »
Initially, it is achieving a similarly good fit, then suitable gearing

Both are important to me because cycling is a pursuit that involves a lot of repetition. Get it wrong, and it is easy to incur a repetitive stress injury, especially if you are a high-mileage rider as I am.

Once the bike is properly setup, then I turn my attention to keeping it cleaned and well maintained. Goes back to the old mantra, "take care of your tools and they'll take care of you".

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 09:14:33 AM by Danneaux »

jags

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2017, 12:23:18 AM »
well not really obsessed but i do have it in pristine condition before and after a ride  ;) i also use quality gear wheels and tyres are important to me ,
i was always a strong little fecker so i could ride near enough any size of bike  but not anymore the fit has to be spot on if it's not i suffer like a dog so worth getting it right, you will most certainly pay for a bad fit sooner or later.
good fitting bike
keep her spotless at all times ,
don't let it out of your sight . ;)

anto.

Danneaux

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 01:04:30 AM »
Quote
...don't let it out of your sight . ;)
Yeah, that too! For sure! Absolutely for me!

So ingrained and natural, it didn't even come to mind till Anto said it. :D

All the best,

Dan.

PH

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 02:16:45 AM »
On a new bike, absolutely everything has to be the best it can be, I'll change anything and everything until it's just right.  I like neatness and a zip tie on display is to me a sign of failure, I'll change screws till they're the perfect length to not stick out anymore than necessary.  When I've finished adjusting and changing, which can take days or months, that's it, that's the way it'll stay, there's nothing more to do except routine servicing and maintenance  and replace parts as they wear out.  Once it's done it's done, it goes from being all about the bike, to all about the cycling. It'll often be dirty, it'll pick up a few knocks, it'll be locked up all over the place and if someone wants to start a conversation about it I'll try and steer it away from the tech and onto the riding.
I sort of enjoy the new bike experience, but not as much as I like it being done with.

Andre Jute

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 05:24:02 AM »
I sort of enjoy the new bike experience, but not as much as I like it being done with.

I used to have a shortlist, every year in December, of bikes that I might like to have, but then the question would arise: where will I ride it and how often? Eventually the list shrunk to two bikes and then to another one of a bike I already had, but in a different frame color. I couldn't even come up with a component I would change. That was ridiculous, so I gave it up. My everyday bike hasn't had a new component for several years now, same reason as you: it's just right. And anyway, I'd rather give the time to riding.

Pavel

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2017, 06:34:13 PM »
My bike focus is not primarily not on the bike but rather on cycling with it.  I'm obsessive about not setting goals, especially speed and distance  goals.  Men can get ridiculous about that and I think it closes the potential to really enjoy the trip and be in the present.

But in regarding the equipment, since that is the real intent of the question, I think my focus now is to not worry about striving for bicycle and gear perfection.  It does not exists, except as an illusion. Perhaps it's better said as "adapt for the trip, rather than wrestle with mechanical details.  Woman two wheel travelers seem  to get that part so right.  Why can't us men seem to just hop on and not over-think things? 

Andre Jute

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2017, 02:58:48 AM »
Woman two wheel travelers seem  to get that part so right.  Why can't us men seem to just hop on and not over-think things?

It being Christmas Day still (somewhere near the dateline), we'll forgive you for bringing up sex.

Danneaux

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2017, 09:14:01 AM »
Quote
Perhaps it's better said as "adapt for the trip, rather than wrestle with mechanical details.  Woman two wheel travelers seem  to get that part so right.  Why can't us men seem to just hop on and not over-think things?
Pavel, I think you're touching on something very important here in terms of how cycling resources have been divided (and made available) according to gender (and stature). Bike fit -- for anyone -- is so important to enjoyment, endurance, and injury prevention. I think that's what so many people obsess over it...when solutions are in reach.

Some ruminations...

Back in the day (late 1970s, early 1980s), I led tour groups professionally. Typically, the men in the groups had their bikes all personalized as to fit and components, yet continued to fuss with setup, trying one thing after another "to fine-tune and improve performance". At that time, the female members of my groups were saddled (sorry!) with equipment that was unsuitable at the most basic level: Bikes were too tall or mostly too long and when the top tubes were suitably short they had wicked toe overlap (falls were frequent and terrible) because the frame geometry was "off". Handlebars were too wide, brake levers too big, cranks too long...but the "problems" were not because they were women. The problems occurred because at the time most production bikes sold in 'Merka were a) made for men of average dimensions (not ideal for the extra-large or small riders) and b) it was cheaper to make all frames with the same length top tube and parallel angles, so frame sizes could be adjusted simply by making the seat and head tubes shorter. These "one size for all"  top tubes were too long for short people, too short for tall people and really only close for those in in the middle. Really short stems were hard to come by and taller riders fitted stems that looked like tillers in order to stretch out properly as they reached for the handlebars.

The women in my tour groups did not have these bicycle fit problems because they were women, but because they were smaller in stature and a majority of bikes were not sized ideally for them. One man in the group was similarly small and had the same difficulties. A taller woman in the group was able to ride a borrowed men's bike and she found it a remarkably good fit. I usually brought a number of stems of various lengths with me to try, but in the days before hatch-plate stem clamps the changeover was time-consuming -- moreso once the "aero" craze took hold and cables were routed under handlebar tape.

When there are no alternatives for bike fit -- and you very much want to ride or have paid the money to do so -- you soldier on with what you have and usually in some degree of pain, which means doing the ride and putting aside insofar as possible what can't be changed. The "average" size guys in the group were spoiled for choice finding any number of bikes that could be fitted pretty easily...and had the luxury to fine-tune them to the nth degree as they sought perfection. I think it is true that once a bike fits properly, then ever smaller niggles become apparent. For example, my sister found a ready fit in the rear compartment of my tandem so the basics of posture and reach were quickly sorted for her; not so the saddle. We went through more than 30 of them before she found a good match. Now she has it (Bell Sports from Walmart at $18), she increased her distance/endurance by about 5x simply 'cos saddle-caused pain was no longer the limiting factor. Once that was resolved then things like stoker grip position could be fine-tuned. These lesser things seemed fine initially because they were overshadowed by the saddle pain.

Me? Over time, I "tune the pain" out of all my bicycles. While I readily concede I get tired and muscles may hurt from use and exertion, I don't believe the bicycle itself should hurt the rider and cause pain. If it does, then adjustments need to be made till it does not. My particular bugbear was always quill stem height -- until Nitto's Technomic arrived,  an awful lot of stems stopped at 150mm above the insertion mark and I needed 180mm to get the handlebars level with the saddle-top or no more than 2in below on a properly fitted frame. Thank goodness for the long, uncut steerers available on some threadless forks these days. Their hatch-plate stems also make swaps miraculously quick and easy these days.

Sizing and fit are where Thorn really excels in offering a generous range of seat tube lengths and top tube lengths -- and components -- to match their bikes to riders' body types and make rider-specific bikes. In general, there's a lot more awareness in the market now of how important bike fit is and there are more ready means to achieve it -- so we can and do...or come ever closer as we search for that pain-free ride. Still, it is not always so easy and sometimes a person has to think unconventionally to solve the problem. Some examples for riders at the edge of the fit margins:
http://dirtragmag.com/feature-coming-up-short-in-search-of-the-truth-about-womens-specific-bikes/
https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/bike-fit/why-men-should-try-womens-specific-bikes
http://www.bicycle-touring-guide.com/difference-between-men-womens-road-bikes/
https://www.icebike.org/the-womens-mountain-bikes-scam-why-you-should-not-buy-a-womens-mountain-bike/
https://momentummag.com/find-bike-short-people/
http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/are-women-specific-bikes-necessary-164672

Even when the bike is professionally fitted, other factors come into play...personal preference, what makes one comfortable, even style/fashion. For example, a change of handlebars can make a world of difference toward comfort or discomfort...or add novelty by making a bicycle feel totally new and fresh. Fitness plays a role too. My bikes always feel "wrong" when I start putting in higher mileage at winter's end, but always feel "right" after I have been on them awhile. Bike fit is the most important factor in each of my bikes and once I get that sorted, I am obsessive about marking things like seatpost height, saddle rail placement and angle, and so on. Cycling is a repetitive-motion activity and if things are a little off, joints and such take a pounding. Same for posture on the bike. You've got to be comfortable in terms of where you sit and how and the longer distances you ride, the more important fit becomes.

Best,

Dan.





jags

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2018, 05:19:16 PM »
Total silence  8) 8)

geocycle

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2018, 06:44:06 PM »
Total silence  8) 8)

Completely agree, any rattles or squeaks ruin a ride for me!
 

energyman

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2018, 10:54:48 PM »
Riding at the optimum angle for my back.

jags

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 10:29:35 PM »
Riding at the optimum angle for my back.
Try a racing set up back as flat as you can go  ;)

Andre Jute

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2018, 12:22:28 AM »
Riding at the optimum angle for my back.
Try a racing set up back as flat as you can go  ;)

Worst possible advice. The racing posture -- down on the drops, back flat -- is not a natural position but one painfully learned when young for aero advantage, not the benefit of your back. I cannot conceive of any posture more likely to wreck your back. That it's comfortable for middle-aged cyclists is a matter of habit, and probably fused vertebrae, nothing to do with ergonomics and kinesthetics.

Go stand beside the road when whatever Tour is nearest to you passes. Note how many of the contestants ride on the hoods for most of the race, rather than on the drops. They're resting their backs, because their backs know down on the drops isn't a natural or normal position for a human being. If you don't have that opportunity, check out http://coolmainpress.com/BICYCLETourofIrelandwithLance&Andre.pdf, which has a humorous intent but shows that only Sean and Alberto, out in front, are on the drops, almost all the others are on the hoods on a rough section of road. There's a reason for that.

energyman

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Re: What about your bike are you obsessive about?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2018, 10:23:19 AM »
I prefer the "Dutch" style of riding i.e. 60 degree plus.  Not very aerodynamic I know but at the speeds I cycle at it doesn't matter.  The main advantage is that at the end of the ride I have actually seen the scenery !