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The Problem with Riding the PERFECT Bike.

January 2015
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If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time (and actually taken the time to read my posts) you know I write about my Venge a lot. My Trek is a great bike, a formidable racer and the Cannondale is old school cool but it’s like riding on… Hmmm, something really stiff and hurty. I’m thinking one of those hand operated rail cars, on bumpy rails, only with a saddle on it. Yeah, that.

In any event, up until I started riding the Venge, the Trek was fantastic. Smooth, fast and comfortable. Sized properly, fitted expertly… Then I rode the Venge and my understanding of smooth and comfortable was thrown on its head.

Closing in on the fall, when the weather starts to turn for the worse and a rain bike becomes necessary, I decided to try to get the setup on the Trek to match the Venge. Unfortunately the two bikes are just too different…it’s a standard compared to the Venge’s compact frame so with geometry differences and a lack of patience, I call close good enough. I did get it close though, after changing out the stem and handlebar.

In the middle of a fifty mile ride early this fall I realized I had a niggle. I just couldn’t get comfortable in the saddle. I pulled out the level and found my saddle to be slightly nosed down. On trying to level it, the notches in the seat post wouldn’t allow a perfect level. The only options were nose slightly up or slightly down.

Problem #1: My Venge infinitely adjusts. No notches mean I can set it perfectly level – and I don’t use a dinky torpedo level, I use my 4′ pro carpenter’s level. Folks, when I say perfectly level, I mean it.

Problem #2: Nosing the saddle up, when you ride in an upright position, is awesome – it better supports the posture. When you have an aggressive posture and your a guy, bad things happen. We’ll leave it at that.

Problem #3: I’ve been riding with the saddle nosed down slightly since I bought the Trek. When that was my “A” bike, I never new what the perfect balance felt like, I was always being pushed forward so I just got used to it. When I switched to the Venge and a perfectly level saddle, I got used to the proper balance… Two autumns ago and then through winter, when I switched over to the Trek and more weight was thrown onto my upper body I ended up with a gnarly case of tendinitis in my right arm that I fought ignored all summer long. Enter this fall and my arm is starting to hurt again so I nosed it up. See Problem #2 – big time. I nosed it down, arm started hurting again and I’d finally had enough…

IMG_6174
Yes, Titanium Henry, it is. Carbon Fiber. I ordered it from the shop sight unseen but I figured with a retail of more than $150 it should have, if not infinite adjustability, a setting for dead level (and if it didn’t, I could always send it back).

Well, it showed up at the shop yesterday and I’ve got it meticulously set (the adjustability is just as good as the Venge’s seat post but even easier to dial in). I should be good to go.

The point is, once I found and started training on the perfect bike, in both geometry and components, a few thousand miles over a summer made even minor defects in the Trek serious issues. There’s another side of this little ongoing saga though… I’ve managed to write a rather lengthy post about maybe two millimeters. I may have gotten used to the Trek’s saddle as it was, nosed down of course, but I really didn’t want to fight through another season of tendinitis if I couldn’t. Also, if I were one to only ride a few miles a day, such a great attention to detail wouldn’t be so important… When you average up to 30 a day though, getting things dialed becomes a little more important. When it comes to cycling, millimeters matter.

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2 Comments

  1. bribikes says:

    I have the same problem on my mountain bike, the notches don’t allow the saddle to be in the ideal position. I rode my sister’s mountain bike through the summer, on hers the saddle was fine but I switched to my bike for winter since it is more stable and lower to the ground plus I didn’t want to ruin her bike with nasty winter roads. It took me a few hundred miles but I am totally used to it now, having no other option I just roll with it.

    But if I buy another bike for the summer it might be hard to go back 🙂

  2. This is a great write up. And agreed. Two MM’s can make a world of difference.

    I’ll do a quick review about my experiences with my seat here in a few days.

    I really think that it may have slipped. I say that cause I never noticed the whole “my sit bones are sliding into a different position” until after at least 100 miles. But I’ll try to keep it short 🙂 and not recreate a “lengthy” post about 2 MM’s on a seat haha. Great

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