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!
You don't have to ride in pain. There are people who are dedicated to making cycling comfortable and fun for their customers. Once you meet these type of folks, your cycling comfort improves greatly, along with your performance and speed. Yes! You'll be faster and in better control of your bicycle when you are comfortable on it. There are several aspects regarding comfort that we address when building a Rodriguez Bicycle.
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:
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
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)
Hind Quarters (Seat)
- Handle bar widths vary from 36cm to 46cm, and come in many different styles (a lot of people don't know this). That's because everyone has different shoulder widths, and different hand sizes. The wrong bar is horribly uncomfortable to ride on. Most manufacturers address this issue a little bit by putting wider bars on their large sizes and narrow bars on their smaller bikes. That's like determining someone's shirt size using their inseam measurement. Bar width has absolutely nothing to do with the bike size, but everything to do with the riders shoulder width. A person can be short and have broad shoulders right? Bottom line: If your bicycle fitter is not measuring your shoulder width before recommending a bar, then they really are not trying to make you comfortable. You are at the mercy of your bike shop on how much it will cost you to get the bars right. You can spend several hundred dollars if you have to go through a few 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.
Feet (Relates strongly to Knees)
- Manufacturers (including Rodriguez) buy their seats in quantity to get a better deal on them. One of the ways we differ, is that the seat doesn't go onto the bike until we build it. We don't build a Rodriguez until you order it. So....it really doesn't have to be the 'seat the bike comes with'. The other shop receives the bike in a box with the seat already on it, and rarely gives the customer an option to trade it out for free.
- Another way we differ: We don't order 1,000 of the cheapest 'no name' seats in the world. Most riders have experienced a new bike with a $2 seat on it. We order expensive, name brand saddles for our 'stock' saddle. Then, if you want something different, we can afford to trade it for something else equally good.
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.
Thanks for reading -Dan 2011