There is no one perfect fit …


Lou at rest mid-climb overlooking the bay

I have come to realize there is no one perfect bike fit.

This past weekend, I cycled 120+ km with Lou.

Chas: “What’s with that? We rode all week. Did the most difficult climbs over and over again. Then you do the easy ride with him.”

On Saturday we did a 40+ km solo ride with a lot of hard climbing and fast decants. All the while I kept thinking of how comfortable my son’s Cervelo felt the previous weekend; and, how far I was reaching on Lou.

On Sunday, we did an 80+ km group ride hammering around the river delta. Apart from the climb home, the ride was flat and fast. I was on the drops most of the time, and all the while I kept thinking how comfortably the bike fit.

Lou: “You felt just fine. Not uncomfortably stretched. You see. We are a pair.”

Two different rides, two different feelings. You see, when I’m on the drops hammering or battling a wind, I benefit from the more aggressive setup, and it feels comfortable. On the other hand, when I’m climbing long hills, I prefer a more relaxed fit because I’m on the tops most of the time.

I understand why the tour riders have different bikes for different stages; even different bikes for parts of the same stage; different gearing, and, different positioning.

Maybe that’s the answer. I need more bikes 🙂

One for each of the different rides I enjoy. One for long, difficult climbs with lower gearing and a stiff, light frame; one for the flats with higher gearing and more aerodynamic fit; and, one for rolling terrain with …

Exactly. What do I need for rollers? Something in between 🙂


Lou at rest in a cabbage patch in the river delta

Chas: “I don’t like the sound of this. You think I’m old, heavy, and slow. Well, you are older and heavier than me you know.”

In my world, there is a lot of climbing. A lot of hills, mountains, and rollers. Occasionally, I do a long, flat ride around the river delta, the only place to find flat in these parts.

Is there an in-between setup? A compromise? Perhaps? I’ll try a shorter stem, but after this past weekend, I’ll keep the longer ones on-hand.

Maybe, just maybe, I have the perfect compromise already. Chas is perfect for the long, flat and rolling rides. His longer wheel base, larger section tires, and steel frame quiet the ride, and once rolling, inertia takes over. He rolls effortlessly. And, Lou, with a shorter stem, lighter, stiffer frame, and lower gearing is ideal for long, difficult climbs.

Maybe I don’t need another bike after all 🙂

Chas: “Now you’re talking!”


Chas at rest at the “big lake” this past summer

But it would be nice 🙂

Chas: “Be careful what you wish for.”

8 thoughts on “There is no one perfect fit …

  1. I’d maybe think of adding a third member of the family. Nothing too remarkable, just something simple for quick trips to the shops or the pub and back. I’ve got a single speed for that from the State Bicycle Company. Alloy frame, bullhorn handlebars, and one gear. I bought it because I wanted something that was of less financial value in case it did get stolen while locked up outside shops, the local library, and pubs I frequent. Curiously thanks to its copper paint job it’s attracted far more attention from casual passers by than my two road bikes, each of which is worth 4 or 5 times the price of my single speed.

  2. If I had to guess, the difference is in the frame style. The Cervelo is more of a compact geometry while Lou is the classic, standard frame (sloped top tube vs. flat). My 5200 and Venge are set up within millimeters of each other but the Venge is vastly more comfortable. Just a guess.

    • I think you are right. We just haven’t been able to figure out why. The reach is almost identical. The only difference is the Cervelo is lighter and stiffer. And the bars narrower. I need to talk with a frame builder 😄

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