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Daily Archives: April 10, 2020

Tinkering with the Saddle Heights on the Road Bikes; Next Level Tinkering

I’ve had a lot of fun tinkering with our bikes over the last three weeks(ish).  As one might imagine, with that level of attention, our fleet of bikes is flawless and squeak free.  When the weather is decent, there’s plenty do do getting the house and yard ready for summer.  When it’s cold and nasty, it’s time to play.  The other day, I rode twice. Once in the late morning/early afternoon with my wife, then later in the late afternoon with my buddy, Chuck. It was a nice day during COVIDcation… and my neighbors can’t call the police to tell them I rode twice because we don’t have any ridiculous restrictions on the duration or frequency of our daily exercise.  I should add, yet.  Our governor seems she may be warming up to many forms of stupid.

I chose the Trek for my first ride and my Specialized for the second. When I threw my leg over the Venge’s top tube and clipped in it felt like my balance was off because the saddle was slightly higher. Humorously, maybe ironically, I knew the saddle on the Trek was just a shade lower and I wrote about it in a post, putting the probable necessity to differences in bike geometry (the 5200 is a standard 58 cm frame, the Venge is a compact 56). The two rides happened only a couple of days after I wrote that post.

With the saddles on the Trek and Venge within 1/16th of an inch of each other, it got fun trying to answer this question: was the Venge too high, or was the Trek too low?

Currently, since I’ve been using Strava (Sparingly in 2018, then all of 2019 after buying a Garmin Edge 520 Plus) I’ve got more than 9,900 miles between the 5200 and Venge 5,200 to 4,700 respectively. All of those miles and I never knew the saddles felt so different until I rode one right after the other. After that day, I could feel it every time I rode either bike. Over a sixteenth of an inch.

After some contemplation and a little consternation, I decided to play.

Tuesday evening, I lowered the saddle on the Venge by a half-millimeter, and raised the 5200’s by a half-millimeter. I split the difference… and I’m not under-exaggerating – one half of one millimeter.  It wasn’t much.

I rode Wednesday around lunchtime with my wife. I chose the Venge because 64° and mostly sunny. We went 38.8 miles and I liked the change on the Venge a lot. After we were done, I hopped on the Trek and took it for a 1.2 mile spin to round the ride to a cool 40. Unfortunately, because my Garmin rounds up, I hit the stop/pause button and uploaded the ride at 39.98 miles. I didn’t find out till after I’d ridden the 1.2 miles home that I was short two hundredths of a mile… I was not amused.  I also couldn’t feel the difference between the two bikes – and I liked the ride on the Trek a lot more, too.

Yesterday, with nasty weather in the forecast, Chuck texted me at 8am asking if I wanted to ride.  We had a window, and I had already started getting ready.  I chose the Trek because the roads weren’t entirely dry from the previous evening’s rain.  With just that extra half-millimeter the extension of my legs at the bottom of my pedal stroke improved.  I felt like I was able to get a little more power to the pedals – my 23-mile ride was enjoyable.

I’m not going to change a thing.  At least until the next time I get bored.  I think it might be time to bring the tandem in to mess with it!  Tinkerin’, baby!