It is the start of my second week with my new bike, the 2013 Specialized Roubaix Elite Apex Compact. I spent a long time with the bike shop using the loaner bike, tweaking the setup until I could ride comfortably (or close enough). After searching their catalog to see what is available at my frame size. The picking were slim due to the transition from the 2013 to the 2014 models that I found myself in. Not wanting to wait until the 2014 models come out, I went this model.
This model uses the DoubleTap system from SRAM and I’m liking it. Very easy to use. The brakes are what I have to condition myself to use. I’m used to the flat-bar and it’s mountain bike style of shifters and brakes. All within your finger tips. Not so with the road bike handle bar. I’ll get the hang of it, especially for those emergency stops.
I didn’t like the handle-bar on the loaner, especially on the tops. My wrists and thumbs felt jammed and on chip seal roads it was jarring experience for my hands. After much looking around, I ordered the Ritchey Pro Biomax to put on it along with the Specialized Body Geometry Bar Phat tape (which also included the body shapers). So far so good. That little backward sweep puts my hands in a more comfortable position on the tops and the short reach really helps when riding on the hoods.
Riding on the hoods stretches me out more than the Sirrus does, so I’ve got back pain. I’m hoping that with a combination of more conditioning (exercising) along with daily rides, my back should get used to it. If I still had back pains after one or two weeks I’ll opt for a shorter handle-bar stem. Last Sunday I was able to go for a 25 mile ride with little or no back pain! I’ll give it another week and see if I settle down into the bike comfortably.
Planned changes to the bike will be the skewers. I really don’t like the gym quality industrial strength look of them. I looking at some Salsa Skewers in Pewter to match some of the highlights on the bike. I kept the tires that came with the bike. They are supposed to be training tires with double Black Belt for puncture resistance, but surprisingly, they are easy to roll. So, I’ll stick with them and see how it goes.
So onward I go for a 40 mile ride this weekend and later next month a metric century. I hope to continue to do longer and long bike ride. Loving the bike is all I can say.
Keep the wheels spinning and drop a me a comment if you have the Roubaix and the things you have done with it.
After a month later, I was still having some back pain on just 20-25 mile rides. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rank it at a 7. I thought that I was not riding consistently enough to get used to the new riding position, but with Conquer the Coast (CC) coming up next month, my 65 mile ride was in serious jeopardy of not happening.
Speaking of CC, some friends of mine signed up for the 25-mile tour, but I know they haven’t been out on the road training for it. I figured that this was a great opportunity for me to start putting in some longer miles and for them to get out in an organized fashion and train for their event. I planned the event for every weekend until the date of CC. A win-win situation.
With the training rides looming and the prospect of aching back, I conferred with a friend of mine and decided a change was in order. Off I go to Bicycle World I go for another tweak. I replaced the 100 mm handlebar stem for a 90 mm stem and wow, what a difference that made! I did a quick 20-22 mile ride and felt no problem.
When Saturday morning came around, I led a 30-mile ride training ride with absolutely no problems as far as back pains and very little hand numbness. After the ride I was thinking that maybe I should do the same ride again, but at my pace and not the slower beginner pace that we took. So, the next day I took off and proceeded to go at a faster pace, pushing it like I normally do. After the ride I felt just fine. I just had some minor aches, but on a scale of 1 to 10 it was a 2. I think I got the bike dialed in just the way I like it.
I get a few more weeks to build up to be able to do the 65-mile ride, but now I feel good about my chances. Everything from the Ritchey handlebar to the Specialized Bar Phat makes for a comfortable, enjoyable ride. Now for that cup holder …