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Road bikes are just terrible. Please explain

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Road bikes are just terrible. Please explain

Old 12-23-22, 08:22 AM
  #1  
Bonts
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Road bikes are just terrible. Please explain

I thought I posted this last night but see no mention of it on my account or an alert that it was deleted. I'll try again

As far as I can tell, there are mountain bikes and road bikes. Of course this isn't the case, but I'm not a big bicycle person. I'm comfortable on anything with straight, mountain bike type handlebars. Ive had a Schwinn, Raleigh, and Superior. No clue what type they were, but they could be called mountain bikes to the uneducated. I've ridden (tried to ride) road bikes- anything with "ram horn" handlebars. They were all terrible. The dimensions don't look much different than "mountain" bikes, but I just cant ride them. It seems almost as different as trying a unicycle.

The reason I ask is cause my wife got us a Burley Duet of the "ram horn" style. I've ridden tandems well in the past so I don't think it's that. The sporty seat is a big issue I think. I've always put on beefier, cushier seats. This one (common on all road bikes I've sat on) almost feels like there's no seat at all and I'm just sitting on the post.

Question: What should I modify to get this thing to fit? I'm incredibly comfortable on previously mentioned "mountain" bikes. I can wheelie, jump, and slide. It doesn't seem like I'd be so incredibly uncomfortable on any bike. I have zero ideas:
- handle bar drop? I had one bike (too small) set up with a solid 3" of drop
- Narrow handlebars? I can ride no handed, one handed, with a wrench instead of handlebars

There must be some geometry I'm not considering that's incredibly important. Pedal-seat vertical alignment? Fork rake?
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Old 12-23-22, 08:28 AM
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Great way to start a thread.
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Old 12-23-22, 08:30 AM
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You are blaming a whole style of bike on your particular likes about fit on a bike. It's possible to change bars and stems to find a great fitting position on a drop bar bike, obvious as millions buy these and are happy. With a bike that currently has drop bars and wanting to convert to a flat bar you need to change a lot of stuff and it can be expensive. Better to have purchased a tandem that has flat bars from the outset. You need to change 2 stems, 2 h-bars, shifters and brake levers, likely the front derailer, rear derailer, hopefully not the brakes as well. You need to change essentially to a 2X mt. bike shifting system as the road shifters on the drop bar are unlikely to work with the derailers. Best bet is take it to a shop and have them advise. It can run a few hundred $$$.
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Old 12-23-22, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
You are blaming a whole style of bike on your particular likes about fit on a bike.
Maybe I came across to harsh toward the segment. I'm just wondering why it feels so incredibly alien to me. It seems that it'd just be uncomfortable, not a completely new learning curve. Do you think the handlebars are the main cause?
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Old 12-23-22, 08:57 AM
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maybe it's you...send a photo of yourself sitting on the bike....nobody can tell anything unless they actually know how you look on the bike.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt View Post
maybe it's you...send a photo of yourself sitting on the bike....nobody can tell anything unless they actually know how you look on the bike.
That may be a good point. Is there a "girth limit" associated with this style bike that is more restrictive than others? I don't think I ever noticed an offensive tackle type build on a road bike.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:05 AM
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Unless the road bike isn't the size you need, it may just be a matter of getting used to a different position on the bike. I rode mtn.bikes for approx. 35 years before owning a road bike. Luckily, I bought it from a knowledgeable and very helpful bike shop. All they did was to put a shorter stem on it to make a more comfortable fit. Now, I was 55 when I bought it and was most likely used to the more upright position, if I had been riding road bikes prior, maybe it would have been ok with the stock (longer) stem. I still ride on the hoods on the road bike, still don't like being too leaned over. I have gone through a number of saddles, the one now is fine, some were torture devices. Different leg muscles are used also (at least in my case). The riding I do on my mtn.bike has me off the saddle most of the time. On the saddle while on the road bike.
Probably just an "adjustment" phase, assuming the road bike is the proper size for you.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonts View Post
That may be a good point. Is there a "girth limit" associated with this style bike that is more restrictive than others? I don't think I ever noticed an offensive tackle type build on a road bike.
How big are you? Yes, there is a lower weight limit on road bikes than on mountain bikes in general.

I was once very obese. I had to lose weight even to ride a MTB. I tried drop bar bikes about 100 lbs later and at first, they seemed incredibly awkward. As my flexibility increased and my belly decreased, Drob bars (Ram horn) became my favorite.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:22 AM
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OP, your problem is...... you are sitting on the saddle as a seat.... and it's not a seat... it's a saddle..... there is a difference. ....and you are probably used to riding a "crank forward" bike.
You need a more aggressive bike fit.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonts View Post
That may be a good point. Is there a "girth limit" associated with this style bike that is more restrictive than others? I don't think I ever noticed an offensive tackle type build on a road bike.

In part, I think it depends a bit on where your girth is. The drop bar road bike generally has a more forward-leaning position than the flat bar bikes. If you have a big belly, this leaning forward can be unpleasant.

If you're looking for a flat bar bike that might be better for the road than a mountain bike, you might want to look at fitness bikes, which are a type of hybrid that is a bit faster on the road than a mountain bike.

I think your basic question is a bit like asking "I like chocolate, but I hate vanilla, how do I make vanilla taste like chocolate?"
.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonts View Post
Maybe I came across to harsh toward the segment. I'm just wondering why it feels so incredibly alien to me. It seems that it'd just be uncomfortable, not a completely new learning curve. Do you think the handlebars are the main cause?
I operate several different bike styles depending on my mission (and unexpected flats). Iím borrowing a hard tail 29 BSO right now and itís taking me a while to get used to it. The long stroke of the front suspension is very new to me.

It takes a while to work the learning curve on bikes that are new to me.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:36 AM
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Road bikes are awesome.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:52 AM
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There is nothing wrong with not liking certain type of bike or handlebars. Some people including myself just don't like drop bars...Just ride whatever bike makes you feel good.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonts View Post
I'm comfortable on anything with straight, mountain bike type handlebars. Ive had a Schwinn, Raleigh, and Superior. No clue what type they were, but they could be called mountain bikes to the uneducated. I've ridden (tried to ride) road bikes- anything with "ram horn" handlebars. They were all terrible. The dimensions don't look much different than "mountain" bikes, but I just cant ride them. It seems almost as different as trying a unicycle.

The reason I ask is cause my wife got us a Burley Duet of the "ram horn" style. The sporty seat is a big issue I think. I've always put on beefier, cushier seats. This one (common on all road bikes I've sat on) almost feels like there's no seat at all and I'm just sitting on the post.

I'm incredibly comfortable on previously mentioned "mountain" bikes. I can wheelie, jump, and slide. It doesn't seem like I'd be so incredibly uncomfortable on any bike. I have zero ideas:
IMHO, you don't want a road bike. You aren't alone as I see a lot of used road bikes come up for sale with oversized saddles and the drop bars rotated to an upright position. A good test ride would have perhaps been in order before purchasing. For what it's worth, if you replace the saddle or handlebars to try to get this to how you like it, save the old ones to preserve some resale value if you decide to move on from it. I've passed on a few bikes because I didn't want to procure the correct saddles, stems or bars.

Good luck.
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Old 12-23-22, 09:59 AM
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Take measurements of your most comfortable flat bar bike and try to duplicate them on the drop bar bike. Use the top of the drop bars as if it was a flat bar. There should be no reason why you can't find the same position.

Drop bars come in many shapes and sizes. I use a short reach shallow drop bar on my road bike. My back isn't as flexible as it once was.

And yes, there are offensive linemen on road bikes, but they do trim down a bit. My friend was offensive team captain in college and shrunk down to 265 pounds to ride road bikes and started racing at the velodrome and did well.
Another offensive tackle (college) rode with our club for years and varied between 265 and 280 pounds. Quite strong on the flats, he raced crits as a cat 3.
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Old 12-23-22, 10:14 AM
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Tandems can be tricky to size correctly, because both ends of the bike have to fit people of different dimensions. Handlebars are relatively easy to replace, which might solve your issue, but are you sure the Burley is the right size for you? Was this bike a surprise, or did you test ride it first?

As for the saddle, "beefy and cushy" is a recipe for chaffing and discomfort, IMO. There is a middle ground between a cruiser saddle and a the current minimalist one.

Some people don't like drop bars because they're used to having more weight on their butts than on their forearms and hands. The saddle choice can play a role here (again, "beefy and cushy" wouldn't be my choice), but it's also something that people get used to by riding more.

So check the fit carefully before making cockpit changes, but handlebars and saddles can be swapped. Just be ready for some trial-and-error; you might not get it right on the first pass.
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Old 12-23-22, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonts View Post
I thought I posted this last night but see no mention of it on my account or an alert that it was deleted. I'll try again?
It might be possible that someone mistook this earnest question, along with the accompanying phraseology, as an example of a phenomenon known as trolling.
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Old 12-23-22, 10:21 AM
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Or might this be the missing thread?

https://www.bikeforums.net/introduct...ot-tandem.html
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Old 12-23-22, 10:35 AM
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A genuine post like this is certain to get abundant traction. Especially given the OPs tenure here.
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Old 12-23-22, 10:49 AM
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I am more or less a middle linebacker build from days gone by: 6'3" 255 pounds, I have no problem with a properly sized drop bar bicycle.

Our tandem is setup with flat bars for touring. We have gone as far as 75 miles in a day with it fully loaded. The main reason it has flat bars is that when I built it up, the available brakes suitable for two large people with a lot of gear were from the Mountain Bike downhill racing world. That and the fact that I can't seem to adjust to Shimano or SRAM drop bar controls. There is nothing wrong with either, I just don't like them and I find them difficult to use. So because of those factors, I went with flat bars.

But enough about me. How can you make this bike fit?!? Because the most important thing is that the bicycle fits you and your stoker. The first bit of news is that it may not be possible to make this tandem work for you. There are a lot of bicycle fit calculators on line. I have found the one on the Competitive Cyclist web site to be good.

https://www.competitivecyclist.com/S...waAojEEALw_wcB

If the size of the bike you have is way out of range, sell the bike and find one that is close enough to be workable for you. If someone gave me a 58 cm or smaller bike there is probably no way I could make it fit.

Now, how many miles do you plan on riding per day? The "comfort" seat will become a torture instrument after just a few miles. If you plan on doing ten mile trips on a bike path with a break in the middle, then do what ever you want. My wife / stoker thought she wanted a "comfort" seat, so I replaced the touring saddle with one. We made it about two miles before she wanted to turn back and put the touring saddle back on the bike. There are just so many things wrong with those tractor seats for a bike once the miles go up.

Looking at the bars, how wide are the current drop bars? If they are too narrow or too wide, the problem may not be that they are drop bars. They may just be the wrong size. Or the wrong shape for your body type. Fizik recommend bars and saddles based on your flexibility. They divide them into three groups: "snakes" are very flexible people, "chameleons" are people of average flexibility, and "bulls" are people who are less flexible.

This is not about fitness level. I have a brother who even when he was young and extremely fit couldn't come close to touching his toes. He is a "Bull", I can touch my wrists to my toes. I am a snake even if I look like a snake who just swallowed an elephant. I like Fizik's system because it is easy to determine which will work for you, but they are not the only brand that have saddles and bars that fit different body shapes.

And finally, switching to flat bars is possible, but it may not be cheap. You may want to find out how much it will cost to do the conversion to see if you would be better off selling this bike and buying a flat bar bike. Also remember that you will not just be switching from drop bars to flat bars. The change will almost certainly require a different stem length.
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Old 12-23-22, 11:27 AM
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There is just so much to unpack here it's hard to know where to begin.

For starters: The steering of a mountain bike is going to be different than a road bike. Road bikes tend to be steered with your hips & counter-steered with the bars. This works because they are designed for high speed sweeping smooth terrain with a moreorless different weight distribution than perhaps what you are used to.

Legacy mountain bikes started similar but the handlebars were on long stems so that steering was stabilized by a sweeping motion. We would probably call them "cross country" bikes now. Road-mountain bikes are called "gravel" bikes & fill the next increment in the road direction of the spectrum. But are essentially designed for the same spot on the continuum as bikes of yore.

Newer mountain bikes: The weight distribution is much more rearward biased & the head tube geometry is much more slack. This means that the bars must be much closer to the rider for reach & wider for leverage over the 'flop.' This it done to lighten the feel of the front end because at the comparatively much lower speeds counter-steering isn't so much a thing as is simply pointing the bike the direction you want it to go & leveraging the bike to the proper orientation to stay upright.

All this in broad strokes of course.

That being said: You shouldn't feel any pain or numbness. If so, something is wrong. Handling characteristics aside, either bike should be as comfortable as the other.

Last edited by base2; 12-23-22 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 12-23-22, 11:33 AM
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I can't ride more than 5 miles on a hybrid. Very uncomfortable for me. The upright position is harder on my back and my wrists don't like the bars. But I've ridden road bikes for 50 years so it's what I'm used to. The position of the rider is very different on different styles and the unfamiliar style can often feel just too odd. With a good fit, you could probably adapt to a new style over time. If you feel the need.
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Old 12-23-22, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonts View Post

As far as I can tell, there are mountain bikes and road bikes.
Maybe start with the Ladybird book of bicycles?
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Old 12-23-22, 11:35 AM
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.
...people modify tandem bikes according to personal preference all the time. Just swap out the stuff that bothers you, (but not your wife.)

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Old 12-23-22, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...people modify tandem bikes according to personal preference all the time. Just swap out the stuff that bothers you, (but not your wife.)
Sometimes you swap out the wife. Especially before she mellows and decides that tandems arenít as bad as she thought

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