Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh the difference a stem makes...

So as I posted in the clydesdale forums I swapped out the stem on my Redline d440.

The fit for the d440 wasn't perfect for me out of the box. But I also have a weird build. Kind of Gorilla-ish - long torso & arms, shorter inseam. Couple that with the fact that 29ers don't seem to be super prevalent in South Florida. So I ordered the bike blind. Fortunately the shop I go to (Jim's Bicycles in Deerfield Beach, FL) is a good one. We took a guess and ordered the large frame. Turns out it was a bit too big so they brought in a medium.

The medium frame fit reasonably well but I was too stretched out. This surprised me given my gorilla build. But I'm guessing my not inconsiderable gut probably had something to do with it as well. I had pretty bad hand/wrist pain and I had to get used to the non-comfort saddle. My first few rides were not pleasant.

Ergon grips helped a bit with the hand/wrist pain. Spending time on the bike helped with the saddle. But it still wasn't pleasant. I talked to Jim at the shop, he watched me ride around and ordered a different stem. I kept riding and dealing with the pain but I could tell I could ride farther/better with the correct fit.

And the stem came in yesterday. Dropped the bike off at Jim's on lunch and picked it up after work. I met up with another Club Mud member after that and took the bike out for a test ride.

And wow! What a difference. Moving my position about an inch and a half back & up totally changed the ride. I was able to pedal pretty much the whole time, I had better control, and I felt great. I even explored the intermediate trails which I hadn't hit yet.

I had so much fun riding it felt like 1990 again. At least until after the ride, then it felt like 2009. The joys of getting old.

So there you go. My plan to get less huge has a jumpstart. I can focus on riding my bike rather than enduring it. I'm craving, literally craving, getting out tomorrow morning and riding the trails before work.

And I'm loving my d440. Any hint of buyer's remorse is gone. The thoughts of "maybe I'm just too big for this" are gone. I know I can ride again! Now it's just a matter of which parts will succumb to my clydeness!

So thanks Jim, great eye for picking out the right piece of equipment to dial in the bike. It just might be the best $30 I've spent in a looong time.

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