Custom Bike - 6~8 weeks
Bike Repair - 1 week
Just about everyone has ridden a bicycle that was uncomfortable at sometime in their lives. A lot of people think that discomfort is just part of cycling. This is not true...just ask Nancy. When she came to us, she had put up with knee pain for 30 years!
We're in it for the long haul
Before we even cover the actual bicycle, you should know that the shop you work with is the most important factor in comfort. Fit changes with injuries, core strength, fitness level, type of riding, etc... You want to choose a company that will work with you over time to get it just right. When things change (injuries, age, etc...) you'll want us to be here to make the appropriate adjustments. Many times we've been able to get people back on their bike when they thought (or were even told) their cycling days were over because of injury.
We'll cover three aspects of comfort here, and you can read the related articles to go deeper into any of the subjects. We'll cover:
years now. At Rodriguez we're known as one of the original Pioneers when it comes to bicycle fitting techniques and expertise. We're so committed to fitting bicycles that we've even developed our own methods, software, and complete fitting system, NEXT-fit (no other bike manufacturer can say that).
What does all of this mean for you? Fitting a bicycle to a person requires hundreds of considerations and adjustments. We can illustrate the importance of fit by comparing it to something that is a lot easier to understand. Think of a pair of shoes or pants. Have you ever run a 10K in a pair of shoes that didn't fit? How about worn a pair of Levis for a day that were too small? You wouldn't put up with that right? With pants or shoes, you can tell right away if the fit is wrong because the discomfort is immediate. What if you didn't know your shoe size and had to trust a salesperson to select the proper size for you?
Let's visit 4 shoe stores
Now here's a subject that I could write an entire series of articles on.....oh wait....I have! If you really want to know the modern history of bicycle frame materials in depth, here's a link to a series of articles that I wrote on the subject for a bicycle publication.
If you're the type that would rather have it boiled down for you, then we'll do that in a paragraph or so here:
There's been a lot said about the subject of materials as they relate to comfort. When a manufacturer of carbon bikes wants you to believe that their bike is comfortable, they say something like "it rides like a steel bike". The same is true for aluminum bike makers. That's because steel is the most comfortable frame material to ride on. Luckily for the cycling community, it's also the material that's the most versatile, least expensive, most durable, and most easily repaired if damaged. Surprise! Aside from it's other qualities, modern day steel is as light or lighter than the other materials. That means that the only drawback to steel is the fact that it has to be painted to protect if from rust. Not much of a drawback I say. Who wants an unpainted bike anyhow?
But...but...the ad says "rides like a steel frame". Don't be fooled! The truth is that the only frame material that rides like steel is steel...well I guess titanium also rides like steel, but carbon and aluminum......I think not. Now, I could ramble on and on for hours about this, but why would you believe me? You should try a Rodriguez light-weight steel bike for yourself. I think you'll agree with Mike ....or maybe Steve....or how about Jay....I could go on and on with customer testimonials that have given up their expensive carbon or aluminum bikes for a Rodriguez steel bike. Our customers say it best.
These are where your body comes into contact with your bicycle. Hands, feet and...well...hind quarters. Most bicycles come standard with XX handle bars, or XX seat. They are made that way in Taiwan or China and delivered to your bicycle shop that way. You have to buy the bike, then purchase a different seat or different handle bars after you discover how uncomfortable the stock parts are. Then you have to buy different seats or bars until you are comfortable. Hopefully you're at least working with a shop that can help suggest the right stuff for you. Most people end up with hundreds of dollars worth of seats and bars in their garage. That's a lot of money and parts, but also think of the time invested going back to the shop several times to buy those parts.
Hands (Handle Bars)
At Rodriguez we do things differently:
Handle bar width and style are considered a comfort component, and selected before you order the bike. We measure your shoulder width to ensure that the bars are the right width, but also consider your hand size when selecting the style and brand. If we get it wrong, and you're uncomfortable, we'll get you a different set at no charge. It's part of fitting the bike. This is an area that people often neglect, but I have transformed people's riding experience with a simple handle bar change.
We see the seat as a comfort component, and you can try as many as you need to in order to find the perfect one. We're happy to keep trading them out for you. The only way money leaves your pocket is if you want to try an expensive saddle, and even then, you're only cost would be the difference in price. Always ask if a shop has a saddle return policy. We allow 30-days to exchange any saddle that we stock.
This is an area that requires a talented bicycle fitter with years of experience to get it right. Some peopleride for decades in pain (like Nancy) before discovering how much difference a good bicycle fitter can make. It may take several tries to get it right. I can't stress enough that you'll want to work with a company that can help you either in person or via email. I have worked with customers who've sent me photos and video of them riding so that I could analyze what might be causing their pain.
The right pedals and shoes are important, but the adjustment of your bicycle is really the biggest component here for comfort. Realize, when you buy a bicycle, you really are buying a relationship with the shop and the manufacturer of that bicycle. It's your choice, who would you like to work with?
Thanks for reading -Dan 2011