Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Northeastern NJ - NYC Metro Area
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Professional Fit, part 2 plus some questions
This post won't be as long as Part 1. The bottom line is that I had the second round of fitting for my mid-90's Bianchi Eros - new handlebars, quill adaptor, stem, saddle, a bunch of adjustments. This round was very quick, and consisted of minor adjustments, so I was out in about 15 minutes.
My objectives were (1) to eliminate (or at least mitigate) the neck pain I was having on that bike (I have stenosis and arthritis in my neck, so an aggressive riding position is very painful after a little while, particularly in traffic), (2) to eliminate the knee pain I was experiencing on that bike with my clipless pedals, (3) To eliminate or mitigate the numbness and perineal pain, and (4) to make the bike less fatiguing to ride.
We went for a new stem (10 degree rise) to address the neck pain, and new, wider handlebars with a flatter top out to the hoods, and shallower drops to address both the neck pain and the fatigue factor. The clipless pedals (late 1990s Look road pedals) were adjusted to give maximum float. And, after a sit bone measurement, my saddle was replaced with one that is still hard and very light, but wider and flatter in the back. (148 mm.)
I took the bike out for a test ride yesterday - a relatively flat 12 mile ride down to the Cathedral in Newark, NJ, through Branch Brook Park. An aside: Saturday traffic around here SUCKS!
The saddle seems to have completely fixed the "taintal" issues, so I'll call that an unqualified success.
The handlebars and general fit are infinitely better than they were before - that bike used to feel completely natural, like part of me 15 years ago. But I've changed, and the last couple of times I'd ridden it were torture. Not anymore - it feels so much better now.
The neck pain was better but not gone. I could use another inch or so of rise on the bars, so I will contact the shop and see about getting a higher stem. (This one is 90 mm, +10 degrees). I think one issue with not going higher is that I'm near the limits on the cables, at least for the front brake. I'm tempted to just buy an adjustable stem online and play with it until I find the angle I like, and then get a fixed stem. But I'm wondering if something like physical therapy would be a better route to go than continuing to raise the handlebars...
I really like the changes made to the clipless pedals, but there are still problems. The knee pain was better but not gone. The pain is in back of the knee, which screams "tendon". I'll discuss this with the shop, but the end result is that the clipless pedals may have to go, or I may need to change brands.
Does anyone else have experience with stenosis and arthritic changes in the neck that make it painful to have to look up at the road and traffic? Does physical therapy help, or is this just one of those "It sucks to get old" things you've got to suck up and live with?
What does pain in the back of the knee mean, anyway, with respect to what needs to change?