Beginner bike for a non-enthusiast

Co-opski

Expedition Leader
I wear baggies over my padded spandex shorts on longer rides, I used to ride with Fox baggies that had padding built in, that were good also. Lots of areas to fine tune the ride also. Seat up and down, forward and back on the seat rails, and tilt (nose up or flat). I used to get numbness in the hands on longer rides but getting a bar with 15-20 deg sweep and good grips have helped with that. The biggest thing is that your body hardens up. Start slow but make some longer rides you will be sore. If you stick with it you will hurt less and feel stronger. Other things that have helped my wife is getting a Thudbuster seat post. She rode it for a few years and now she does not "require" it like she used to on all her bikes.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
You may look or feel like a dork but bike shorts with a chamois are absolutely legit. I wear baggy outer shorts unless I'm racing or it's a long ride. My personal favorite currently is the Fox Ranger and the liners they include aren't terrible. I have good Pearl Izumi liners as well. Plain bike shorts are really the best thing to wear, no hot spots or anything to catch, but I tend to tear them pretty quick without the baggy outers.

Saddles are super personal, you find one you like and you stick with it. I ride the WTB Pure V Pro, which is a fairly wide saddle and considered a thick padding.

There's really no substitute for saddle time. And don't skip the kicking back with a beer after, it's just as important to enjoy the post ride. :)

Years ago I paid the local bike fit guru for a session. He measured me, the bike, set everything up. Now anytime I change something, new shoes, change a bike, whatever, I have a baseline to start and change from if necessary. They should include at least a basic fit analysis with your new bike.
 

4runnerteq

Explorer
Friends don't let friend ride Specialized. :) Other than that (and violating the unwritten rule about triple cranks) that's the sort of bike that would be a good value. It's not high end of course but it's legit. New it's a $950 bike, so I would talk him down some, though.
Be easy there. I Am Specialized. Although Trek is the local fave
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
i'll freely admit Sheldon Brown can be a deep dark hole, but the information is usually there if you can bear up: http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html#posture

some unofficial, questionable, unreliable thoughts:

sit on a hard surface for 10 or 15 minutes. you will be aware of your "sits bones".

stick a pillow under your backside, and the immediate pain disperses. after about 15 more minutes, you become aware of the aforementioned sits bones again. but where did the padding from the pillow go? it's usually bunched up between your legs - and this is what will give you ultimately more problems than an unpadded saddle.

stand in a normal posture with your hands at your sides. without moving or looking, where do your wrists point? now raise your arms 90 degrees. where do your wrists point? drop handlebars will keep your wrists in a position which enable you to use arm, back, and shoulder muscles to absorb road shock, turn, and exert brake/ pedaling effort in a more natural and efficient manner. straight handlebars which require the user to rotate wrists 90 degrees to hold exert substantially more stress on the wrists and use less muscle groups less efficiency.
 
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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Have you ever ridden an unpadded saddle @s.e.charles? I had one on an ultralight GT Xizang years ago and there's nothing beneficial about not have some padding on the saddle. You only see pros using them on TT bikes but they're barely on the saddle anyway and they wear a chamois. I prefer a thicker padded saddle mainly because I ride a hardtail and it takes the buzz off and cushions a little and I use a thin chamois. When WTB says "thick" it's relative. We're not talking a living room couch gel cushion.
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
brooks b-17. exofficio boxers* & Rivendell MUSA shorts or Ibex knickers/ shorts w/ pad removed depending on the season.

my scranus is like 3-M 60 grit.

sorry; no pics available.

*I am not now, nor shall ever be, a "doodie-grinder". I know it works for more folks than I care to think, but it just ain't fo' me.
 
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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I gotcha about the Brooks. That's of course not padded but is far from an unforgiving saddle, which is the implication. Leather saddles in my mind are in the same category as anything else, you figure out what works and what doesn't and go with it. They don't work for me but my wife loves her Selle Anatomica saddles.
 

4runnerteq

Explorer
Set the bike up as comfortable as you can for you. Its not a LAZ BOY. Hit the trails and enjoy. Ride in whatever you are comfortable in. ALWAYS wear a helmet. Everything else is optional.
 

ultraclyde

Observer
The saddles they ship OEM on bikes are the worst POS's they can find because they know it's the first thing everyone ditches. More padding on the saddle is not the answer, a better fitting saddle is. Some shops have fit testing stuff as mentioned, but it's also trial and error. There are some WTB saddles that aren't too pricey and work well for a lot of people. finding YOUR saddle and getting it set just right is a great thing, and no one else can really tell you what's "right." I also run different saddles on all my bikes because they server very different purposes and therefore need different saddles to be comfortable.

Padded shorts and spandex have their place. I'm fat and slow but I happily wear spandex. I wear it because it makes riding more comfortable for me. This is partially because of the padding (which is NOT all created equal) and partially the fit. Not having loose cloth flapping around like a tarp on a truck and getting hung on the saddle as you clear obstacles is a good thing. But the biggest reason is I live in south Georgia and it's god awful hot. A thin layer of lycra is about the coolest thing temperature-wise that you can wear when the heat index is 105 and the humidity is over 90%. And I'm talking MTB here, riding road bikes has even more advantages in spandex.

Now if I'm riding in cooler weather or if I'm commuting I wear padded baggies and a t-shirt, but if I'm doing long miles it's going to be spandex and a quick dry jersey, usually of my own design (pedaltrash.com.) I have no shame walking into convenience stores and/or restaurants or bars in south Georgia kitted out, but people do look at you funny.

Wear what makes you comfortable. If you start riding long distances, at least try a pair of lycra padded shorts and a decent jersey. You do feel like an idiot at first, but you might find out it makes a big difference. Or you might not.
 

Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
I think I'm starting to find a balance between what I'm comfortable in and what works for riding at least for now. I did about 2 miles on my driveway (way too steep for starting out, about overdid it) and later went to a 3 mile loop (paved) over the weekend to see how everything fit and felt. The hills there were not as severe there so I could actually kind of get into a cruise and pedal without struggling or just plain coasting along. The pair of baggy (although they don't seem baggy to me) shorts I got worked well. Very lightweight and breathable, and just tight enough to not snag on the seat and fit snug, but not so tight I was uncomfortable. I do not like tight fitting clothes. They are polyester, and I happened to have a light polyester shirt handy, and compared to what I normally wear (Cotton, and canvas type stuff, rip-stop) it was very comfortable on the bike and cool. I also didn't feel like a dork wearing it, pretty average looking stuff just a change of fabric.

I think I didn't gave the seat enough credit, it's not as bad as I thought at first. I moved it forward and tilted it down a bit and it's much better. I was sitting too far forward on it because it wasn't in a good position for me to naturally come to rest on it correctly, now moved forward and maybe now I'm paying better attention, my sit bones hit on the wider part with more support. Just took a bit more riding to figure out. Not sure how it will do on longer rides yet though.

Now I want to hit a easy dirt trail.
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
there's a bunch of ways to range in your position on a bike. KOPS is one that has some merit, but again, any formula is just a guide and need not be adhered restrictively.

KOPS = Knee Over Pedal Spindle. let's determine right off you're not "one of those" guys who pedals with the arch of your hoof over the pedal so your toes flop around like a fish outta water and your pedal stroke is only about 50% effective.

now - oh, you're gonna need a helper with a small weight tied to a piece of string and something like a workbench or door jamb to balance - put the ball of your foot over the spindle of the pedal. rotate - BACKWARSD - NOT FRONTWADRS - so your feet are at 9:00 & 3:00 o'clocks. now, again, and I should have told you this right off.... on the outside of your knee there's a little notch in the bones. I have no idea what it's called. maybe just "a little notch".

so with the 9 & 3 thing, feet balls over spindles, have your friend drop the weighted string from the little notch to the pedal spindle. if the string is forward of the spindle, move the seat back, and if it's to the rear of the spindle, slide your seat forward.

when pedaling, if the backs of your legs (hamstrings?) start to hurt, the seat is usually too high. if the tops (quads?) hurt, it's usually too low.

adjustments first get made major, and then as you ride it's surprising how much difference in comfort a 6mm tweak can offer.

https://janheine.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/myth-5-an-upright-position-is-more-comfortable/

http://sheldonbrown.com/starting.html

http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html#posture

http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

https://janheine.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/its-a-hobby/
 
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Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
when pedaling, if the backs of your legs (hamstrings?) start to hurt, the seat is usually too high. if the tops (quads?) hurt, it's usually too low.
Thanks for the info, the quoted part hit a particular issue I had and figured was just me out of shape. My last few rides the tops of my legs were becoming very strained and that is likely why. I mean I anticipated soreness and stress since I'm not used to this, but it was becoming quite noticeable the strain was focused in that one area. I'd slow down or take a break when it started to get painful of course, but I could feel just the tops of my legs tightening up wheras the rest of my legs didn't really feel that stressed. I've adjusted my seat up, I'll see if that helps.

I'm not accustomed to having a bike physically large enough for me. That old bike I had as a teenager was way too small for me even then. This bike feels huge in comparison, I'm not used to needing to go up to hit the seat.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
If the bike feels big that's likely a good sign. Having your seat too low is very common with newbies, since they don't feel secure unless they can touch the ground while seated. That usually means the bike is too small or at least the seat is much too low.
 
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