After much trial and error, testing and advice from all and sundry, I bought my first road bike, a Wilier Mortirolo about eight months ago. I was like a proud parent when I first brought it home and lavished it with love and attention. I had spent a lot of time at the bike shop with a long fitting process and on the day I rode it home, about two hours of adjustments to get it right. It being my first road bike, I was willing to accept the new and unfamiliar position, the more aggressive ride and the different way my body felt after a long ride on it compared to the upright bikes I’ve ridden all my life. But it never really felt right. On long club rides, my back and kidneys were always aching, on short rides it just felt too unstable to enjoy. I though I’d get used to it and struggled on.
Then I spent £50 on the vintage Raleigh Wisp, on spec from eBay, and suddenly I was riding a bike that just fitted me perfectly, with no modifications. It was such a fluke. I bought it because I wanted a mixte and the size (21inch frame) seemed OK. I put new tyres and a saddle on and that was it. But suddenly, I began to feel what it was like to ride a comfortable road bike. A really comfortable bike that was fun to ride, not a pain. So I took my Wilier back to the shop. They shortened the stem, flipped it up, changed the handlebars from a 42cm Ritchey bar to a 38cm shorter-reach bar from Bontranger, with a more compact drop for smaller hands. They adjusted the saddle position and the cleat placement and I began to wonder what they had been doing on the hours that I’d spent on fitting in the first place. It’s kind of OK now but some of the joy has been taken out of the bike. I love the feeling of going fast on skinny tyres, feeling like a cyclist. But I don’t love the fact that it still isn’t right, that my £50 eBay purchase is more fun to ride than the Wilier which cost, all in all, a few pence short of £1,500.
Freespeed.co.uk have very kindly offered me a free bike fitting service, to test and review, which I would like to do. But is it worth it on a bike which may not be the right one in the end?
What’s your advice? Shall I sell it and start again? Shall I do the bike fit and see what happens? Shall I persevere? Or am I expecting too much and is the difference between a vintage bike and a modern carbon version something I should just get used to?
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