Over the past month, my bike has acquired a new seat, new handlebars, and a new crankset. The seat came at the recommendation of my sore butt, and the bars and cranks at the recommendation of my bike fitter. The question is: Has all this stuff made a difference?
You bet they have.
First, the seat. It’s a WTB Speed V. I’ve already posted on this. I still like it, and since I’ve had it for more than a month without any complaints, I guess I can keep it permanently. I wish I’d gone this route a long time ago.
The handlebars. I got a pair of 44 cm bars, although the bike fitter recommended 46 But he said I could get by with a minimum width of 44 centimeters. I picked up a used pair at a good price. Even though they’re only 2 cm wider than the old bars, I can feel the difference. There’s a less constricted feeling in the chest, resulting in a more comfortable riding position. The new bar is a smaller diameter than the bar it replaced, but that’s only really noticeable when I grab the top during climbs. Not a big deal.
The crankset. I replaced the Shimano Tiagra crankset that came with the bike with a Truvativ Rouleur. The new cranks are shorter — 172.5 mm instead of 175s. This is the change I was most interested in, because I was told it would make climbing easier. I suppose it has, although as noted here a few days ago, I’m working more on hills than I have in the past, so I’m getting stronger legs anyway. However, what I have noticed is that it makes turning the pedals easier. I get moving faster, and I run at a somewhat higher cadence than I had been. In other words, they’re easier to ride than the old cranks, and I am pleasantly surprised at the change.
So, as Don Blount reported last month, upgrading the bike results in a better ride. If you know what you need and have some spare cash lying around, you can coax more performance from your bike without having to spend big bucks for a whole new one.
Man, first Don and now you. You guys are really making me want to buy something!!!
That was our plan. We decided it’s time for you to spend lots of money.
I’m pretty sure I need to get new crankarms as well. I’m 5’4″ and ride a 50cm bike, even though some people my height ride 47’s. I’ve noticed I don’t have the top-of-the-stroke power to pedal circles, and feel like I need to lift the seat, but then when I get to the bottom of the stroke the seat height is just right.
So yeah, shorter crankarms are needed.
The length of your crankarms is stamped on their inside surface, if you need to double check.
dude! you’re going to get me in trouble with the wife…now I want to upgrade my bike