I think it is fair to say my sprint bike setup has gone through a full metamorfosis. I had been really unconfortable with my old frame. Upgrading to a proper race bike, that being a Look, BT, or the “budget” version Felt, would cost me a small fortune. So there I was feeling stuck with my DF3 and dreaming of a new, proper race bike. I did try putting those thoughts aside, but you all know how that goes. It’s a fever with one single remedy.
Then about a year ago I came across with a used Felt TK1. Those frames were on short supply at the time and 55 was pretty much all that there was. It was the same size as my DF3 but due to the Bayonet system it offered better setup flexibility and a tad more reach than my old frame. I decided to give it a try.
With the DF3 I had suffered from these mysterious steering errors. Holding the line in the bends when in speed felt really hard. I found myself well above the sprinter’s lane more often than I care to remmember. I never quite understood why I had this issue, and eventually thought it was somehow skill related. Maybe it was not. A while after getting the TK1 I suddenly realized I no longer had that problem. The bike behaved just the way I wanted it to behave. Maybe it was about differences in bike geometry (fork rake and angles) or frame flex, or a bit of both. What ever the case may be I felt a lot better with the TK1. More importantly I rode better with it!
The last step from caterpillar to butterfly took place last October after Master’s Worlds. I saw a couple of videos a friend of mine had taken of my rides. It became obvious that I was sitting more upright than most of the top riders. Also, my back was really round due to posterior pelvic tilt. I found this great illustration on one Acme Bicycle Co. wordpress page that captures the whole ugliness.
So the obvious conclusion from the above was that I needed to go longer on the bike. Moving the saddle backwards to its current position did not change the situation much. Nor did dropping the bar a little. So to be able to go longer would require a bigger frame. Oh great.
For a change I was in luck. Just when I was busy dwelling on the problem Felt published their new FRD frame, which offered several sizes, including the 57 that I know have. After few calls I got a confirmation from a local bike shop, that they can get this frame for me! I’ve had the frame for 6 months, and I just love it. Now my posture on the bike is more like the “Good” in the above illustration.
Here’s a little table to summarize the key differences between my old setup, being the DF3, and the new one. For me going with the longer frame really paid off. It looks better, it feels better and it certainly rides better.