Armstrong's set up



chisa1234

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Jul 30, 2004
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i was browsing through a cycling mag recently and noticed a couple of things a bit odd about armstrong's bike on the hilly stages.

firstly, i noticed that armstrong is using an old style down tube shifter for his front mech. is this for weight? any ideas? p.s. this was not just on the alp d'huez time trial.

secondly, i saw that lance had his handle bars set at a funny angle with the bars seemingly upturned rather than having the dropouts level with the floor. I also noticed other riders doing this. i haven't noticed this before and i don't know why they do it - fad, higher riding position? i went out on a ride today with a similar set up and noticed that you do get a hgher seating position and climbing is slightly more comfortable.

i have a pic which is not great quality but i think you can see what i mean about the bars.
 

Doctor Morbius

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Mar 15, 2004
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chisa1234 said:
i was browsing through a cycling mag recently and noticed a couple of things a bit odd about armstrong's bike on the hilly stages.

firstly, i noticed that armstrong is using an old style down tube shifter for his front mech. is this for weight? any ideas? p.s. this was not just on the alp d'huez time trial.

secondly, i saw that lance had his handle bars set at a funny angle with the bars seemingly upturned rather than having the dropouts level with the floor. I also noticed other riders doing this. i haven't noticed this before and i don't know why they do it - fad, higher riding position? i went out on a ride today with a similar set up and noticed that you do get a hgher seating position and climbing is slightly more comfortable.

i have a pic which is not great quality but i think you can see what i mean about the bars.
I can't comment on the bike setup, but keep in mind that Armstrong has a condition known as Spondylolisthesis which limits the flexibility in his lower back . That's why his back is arched compared to the flat aero positions of the other TdF riders.
 

boudreaux

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Oct 16, 2003
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chisa1234 said:
i was browsing through a cycling mag recently and noticed a couple of things a bit odd about armstrong's bike on the hilly stages.

firstly, i noticed that armstrong is using an old style down tube shifter for his front mech. is this for weight? any ideas? p.s. this was not just on the alp d'huez time trial.

secondly, i saw that lance had his handle bars set at a funny angle with the bars seemingly upturned rather than having the dropouts level with the floor. I also noticed other riders doing this. i haven't noticed this before and i don't know why they do it - fad, higher riding position? i went out on a ride today with a similar set up and noticed that you do get a hgher seating position and climbing is slightly more comfortable.

i have a pic which is not great quality but i think you can see what i mean about the bars.
The shifter is about saving weight.Since everyone is different there are no hard and fast rules about bar/brake setup,except that some I have seem are damm goofy and probably indicate bad sizing or wrong choice of bike.
 

lokstah

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Sep 30, 2003
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I haven't done the math, but if you're really out to shave grams for a mountain stage, there's a significant gain (loss) to be made by using a downtube. Them STIs and Ergopowers are bulky. Fun, but bulky.

You'll see nothing but downtube shifters on those 10lbs Weight Weenies record-holding builds.
 

Roadrash Dunc

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Aug 19, 2004
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Wouldnt have thought it was for weight considering theres a limit to how light your bike can be in the TdF and the Trek Madone that LA used on Mountain stages (and his TT aswell if i recall) both came in under that limit so weights were added.
 

lokstah

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Roadrash Dunc said:
Wouldnt have thought it was for weight considering theres a limit to how light your bike can be in the TdF and the Trek Madone that LA used on Mountain stages (and his TT aswell if i recall) both came in under that limit so weights were added.
Good point, but it's still the only sensible reason... the Postal mechanics team knows something we don't about that setup. Somehow, the math worked out right, given whatever else was on that frame that day. A minor mystery?
 

tonepad

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Aug 15, 2004
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I've read in several mags over the last year...Velonews and/or CycleSport that many in the Peloton are using the more upturned bar and/or shifter hoods approach these days and I think it's just mainly for comfort. LA also uses more spacers in his stem stack so it seems he's even more "upright" in general. There also might be something going on with the popularity or non-popularity of shallow drop bars. Didn't know LA had a back problem but I've always noticed the arch in his back when he;s in the drops or TT position. Makes him even more of a "freak". I went to the TDF this year and caught him on 3 stages and you just can't believe his power until you're 5 or 6 feet away from him...it is truly awesome...especially what he did on ADH, that is one ***** of a hill!!!
 

rek

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Aug 31, 2002
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I always thought they used downtube shifters for the front derailleur because they're more tunable trim-wise, and less prone to causing the chain to fall off the cogs (the derailleur shift isn't as much of a sudden jolt as it is with STI)

You see them sometimes used in flat stages too, so weight mustn't be the overriding factor.
 

ahimsa

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Aug 25, 2004
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I've always been told he does it for weight, but now out of habit he uses it even though this new frame puts him at the limit. The trim idea is a good one too. As far as the hood placement, all my buddies ride them high ("Point 'em to the sky!") and it's comfortable. My older riding buddies tell me that "back in the day" the standard setup was point the handlebar drop at the rear axle and align the hood to run at the same angle as the downtube. That's a comfortable ride. Lance also uses some Dura-ace brakes from the mid-90s, ones that he's convinced were the most aerodynamic model ever.
 

boudreaux

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Oct 16, 2003
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ahimsa said:
The trim idea is a good one too.
Trim is not an issue with a properly setup double with DA. If that was the big deal they would use it in all the stages. The down tube front thing in the mountain stages was being done long before Lance.
 

chisa1234

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Jul 30, 2004
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i also think that the front mech is used a lot less than the rear so thinking about it - weight saved, ect - it makes sense to have a down tube shifter. i think they don't do this on many commercial bikes due to the unbalanced look you get. but that's style over substance i suppose.:cool:

i have continued to ride with my bars in a higher position and i do like it on climbs but it is a bit annoying on flat ground as you never feel really "low pro" with that set up. also it can be a bit of a pain to reach the brake leavers.
 

dfvcad

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Aug 4, 2004
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Doctor Morbius said:
I can't comment on the bike setup, but keep in mind that Armstrong has a condition known as Spondylolisthesis which limits the flexibility in his lower back . That's why his back is arched compared to the flat aero positions of the other TdF riders.

Spondylolisthesis a congenital defect/malformation of the posterior structure and it is most common to the L5 vertebra. This condition does not make you less flexible or less mobile what occurs is that since anterior and posterior structures of the segment are held together by ligamentous tissue, it tends to stress and sprain/overstretch causing inflammatory reactions leading to secondary/compensatory reactions such as muscle hypertonicity/stiffness and leading to the inability to perform extension movements or action of sitting up straight. Thats why LA rides in a more erect position to avoid the symptoms. Also, this condition affects pedaling activity due to the hip flexors, which originate from the lumbar region, shortening and tigthness which increase the lumbar curve. Combine this condition with prolong periods of times in the saddle and you end up with a very stiff back and needing to see you local chiropractor.
 

sphen138

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Aug 8, 2004
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ive heard the downtube shifters are intimidation only, but that sounds pretty ridiculous to me. i just think it looks bad, especially now that the DA sti's look better than before.
 

sphen138

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Aug 8, 2004
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boudreaux said:
Ya can't shift the front with an old school aero brake lever can Ya?
im going to pretend to be a celebrity caught in the middle of a lie and say that it was taken out of context. my 15 mins of fame.
 

serenaslu

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Feb 3, 2004
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boudreaux said:
Ya can't shift the front with an old school aero brake lever can Ya?
You might be able to forcefully shove the lever between the FD and seattube to get shifted up onto the large chainring, but then the rubber hood gets caught in the crank and makes one hell of mess!!:p