Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Little Changes = Big Differences

I have been spending some time swapping back and forth between my Inbred 29"er and my Karate Monkey lately. I have been very curious as to the differences in the two set ups that I was running and how I might want to change one or the other. One thing that became more and more apparent was that I really liked the KM and the Inbred bugged me.

Initially when I set up the Inbred, I took measurements off of my Karate Monkey, to mimic the same seated position, height, and saddle to handlebar length. The biggest difference was that I was running the stem on the Inbred in a positive rise which put the handle bar slightly higher than the KM's. Should be good I thought, just wanted to see if a more relaxed posistion on the upper body would work for me. With the exception of the Salsa seat posts slipping, the answer seemed to be yes at the Dirty Kanza. I felt great all day riding that bike. However; when I got back and started the swapping between the KM and the Inberd, something was really off on the Inbred.

I felt more in the bike on the KM instead of on top of the bike as I was on the Inbred. Another thing was the saddle height and posisition. They were feeling way off from the KM. Even though I had set up the Inbred off of measurements from the KM, I was not getting the same sensations on both bikes.

So, I disregarded the previous set up on the Inbred and made some minor changes based upon feel. I felt the saddle was too low, so up it went about 5mm. That was better, but about two weeks later it went up another 5mm. Ahh! Much improved! Then I was chatting with Mr. 24 at work and he mentioned reposistioning his Arione, making it feel much better. Oddly enough, I had just decided to try the same thing. I did the change yesterday and it looks to be a winner. The last change was to flip over the stem to negative rise, which places my hands in about the same posistion as they are on the KM. Looks like that one will work too!

The point is that the changes are slight, and the sensations that they give on the bike are huge! I am much happier with the Inbred after a short single track ride yesterday afternoon than I have been previously. In fact, I was about to condem the Inbred to the sales block the other day, that's how unhappy I was with it!

So, if you are not quite happy with your current bike, it might not be a bad idea to tweak a few things first before you run out and spend a bunch of money on a new bike. My changes didn't cost me any money. Just some thought and time to effect the desired changes. The results were fantastic for me. Maybe you won't be so fortunate, but at least you'll know what you like, and that alone makes tweaking worth it.

Just remember small changes will make big differences on the bike. Do not do anything radical right out of the box! A little bit here and there might be all you'll need to change a so-so ride into your favorite rig!

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