Fit Recovery

Home » Cycling » 13 Miles Per Hour…

13 Miles Per Hour…

August 2014

What is the difference between a properly sized aero race bike, with the saddle pegged 5″ above the handle bars and a standard round tube race bike with the saddle only 2-1/2″ above the bars?

Make it interesting and add skin tight racing kit opposed to a looser fitting jersey.

Everything else comparable… Aero racing wheels, road racing helmet, etc.

Last year, on a special 3/4 mile descent I managed a max speed of 43 mph on my old Trek 5200.

On my comparably equipped Specialized Venge, 53 the first time and 56 mph the next two – on the exact same hill.

Now, this isn’t to say it’s all in the bike because I had big gains in the setup, the lower handlebar and the tighter clothing.  In other words, the aerodynamics were much improved…

I was a follower when it came to how I should set it up. I took the advice of virtually everyone who said an upright setup is more comfortable, so when I brought my Trek home from the shop, I rode it as it was set for a while.

Over time I started working the handlebar down but once I got to 3-1/2″, riding in the drops became less than comfortable. I still went so far as to devote one ride a week to just riding in the drops so I could try to get used to it.

Eventually I got that down to 3-3/4″ or so but that was about as low as I could comfortably go.  Then I bought my Venge, the frame is smaller by 2cm with a sloped top tube and shallower drop bar… With the shallow drop handlebar I was able to lower the top of the bar far beyond that of the 5200 (5-1/4″).  Also, the difference in geometry between the standard flat top tube and the sloped meant added comfort – and this one is hard to quantify scientifically, the Venge just feels better, even with the lower bar.

The standards have me, a 6′ tall male, on a 59 cm frame.



And this:
(This was after one serious climbing effort – I was completely gassed)


13 mph, coasting…









  1. JustI says:

    OMG, I can’t even think what 56mph feels like on a road bike! It puts the fear of road rash in me 😯

    • bgddyjim says:

      It’s AWESOME! Now, to be fair, 45 on the Trek was quite spooky and a little shaky. 56 on the Venge was solid and stable – I felt like a guided missile on a roller coaster rail. There’s no way I could handle that kind of speed on the Trek… It still rides great but the parts are just a little old on that bike so at high speeds it is scary. In other words, on the right bike, it might not be as bad as you’d think.

      Oh, and the thought of road rash never even crossed my mind.

  2. My Argon 18 is going through the same transition, just a 5mm spacer to go. I agree with you, descending is a crap load of fun even though I enjoy the ascent just as much.

  3. sxeveganbiking says:

    I just fitted a new handlebar yesterday (Deda Zero 100) with shallower drops (handlebar overall will be much better for my hands and wrists , especially after the problems I’ve had this year) and I’ve had to drop the stem down the steerer tube to achieve the same drop/reach as before. Feels good. After a few rides, if the position is right, I may be tempted to cut the steerer tube down slightly so I don’t have a stack of spacers above the stem. I’ve managed 39mph hoiking it down a slope (definitely can’t class it as a hill) which was comfortable. I’ve planned some routes for my Garmin 800 further afield with good climbing and good descents so I shold hit some better speeds on the downhill sections to test that aspect of the bike out. I’ll blog about that soon.

  4. zoeforman says:

    Bike fit really does make a difference . Be safe on those hills Lycra at 50mhp+ offers little protection !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: