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  1. #1
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    My Arms Are F***ing Killin me...

    Hey i'm a newbie rider just got a single speed bike i bought used for 120 bux... the frame is heavy... but the bike is solid... anyway the bike rolls smooth(to me at least) it's not hard to ride at all but i find myself putting alot of weight on my forearms... and there burnin' boys and girls yumm! anyway... i just wanted to know if i need to raise the handle bars or the seat... i'm 5'8 and the frame feels really comfortable just my arms... so is this something i can fix or is it just strain from riding?

  2. #2
    Mirror slap survivor
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    You need to get your bars UP. It's not going to look hipster messenger cool, but raise the bars.
    "When I'm on a bike, it's like I'm 14 again, racing off to the arcade with a pocket full of quarters."

  3. #3
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    Also try moving your seat back. You need to move your center of gravity so that you put less weight on the bars. It's a basic bike fit problem. You should be able to ride with almost no weight on the bars when everything is just right.
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  4. #4
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kk4df View Post
    Also try moving your seat back. You need to move your center of gravity so that you put less weight on the bars. It's a basic bike fit problem. You should be able to ride with almost no weight on the bars when everything is just right.
    Exactly what I was thinking. itsdefnit, If you want some 'examples' do the exercise listed under "Saddle Front/Back Positioning" at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html

  5. #5
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwinnrider View Post
    You need to get your bars UP. It's not going to look hipster messenger cool, but raise the bars.
    Get your bars up, but if you want to preserve hipster messenger cool, make them into bullhorns, if you have drops.

    http://www.ridefixedgear.com/howto/c...bars-bullhorns
    Last edited by spock; 03-26-09 at 07:44 AM.

  6. #6
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsdefnit View Post
    Hey i'm a newbie rider just got a single speed bike i bought used for 120 bux... the frame is heavy... but the bike is solid... anyway the bike rolls smooth(to me at least) it's not hard to ride at all but i find myself putting alot of weight on my forearms... and there burnin' boys and girls yumm! anyway... i just wanted to know if i need to raise the handle bars or the seat... i'm 5'8 and the frame feels really comfortable just my arms... so is this something i can fix or is it just strain from riding?
    OK. Before you get your bars up, consider just getting used to it (after getting someone who knows what they are doing to adjust your saddle height and fore/aft position). Also, your stem may be too long. A rule of thumb - put your elbow against the nose of the saddle and extend your fingers toward the bars. At least one finger should come close to touching the top of the handlebar. In other words, the distance from the nose of the saddle to the top of the bars should be equal to forearm+hand.

    Then, like any new physical activity, expect some discomfort at first. And remember that racers who set up their bikes for speed are generally not all that comfortable anyway. If you want comfort in the long run (like on a bike tour vacation), yes, raise the bars - but check stem length too!
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  7. #7
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kk4df View Post
    Also try moving your seat back. Y
    No.

    You don't adjust handlebar reach by moving the saddle.

  8. #8
    Freewheelin' Fred dwilbur3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    ... Also, your stem may be too long. A rule of thumb - put your elbow against the nose of the saddle and extend your fingers toward the bars. At least one finger should come close to touching the top of the handlebar. In other words, the distance from the nose of the saddle to the top of the bars should be equal to forearm+hand.
    Thank you! I knew my stem felt like it was too long. By your rule of thumb it turns out to be about twice as long as it needs to be.

  9. #9
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Most people who start biking after a long hiatus think that there legs will be in the most pain, however it's usually the arms/hands and sometimes the stomach muscles that feel it the most. It might pay to have a professional fitting for your bike. As others have stated, a seat adjustment might help. However you should expect some mild soreness for a while until your muscles adjust to biking. However if it extends beyond a couple of weeks, then try some adjustments.

  10. #10
    Didn't make it Bat22's Avatar
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    Every one is right. Have some one fit you or pay to get fitted.
    Cheaper than a doctor bill. I have the long torso that I adjust
    by raising the stem. That after an lbs fitting on all my bikes.
    Ride like a teen machine

  11. #11
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwilbur3 View Post
    Thank you! I knew my stem felt like it was too long. By your rule of thumb it turns out to be about twice as long as it needs to be.
    You're welcome. Hope that does the trick. Ride on!
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  12. #12
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    Before you do anything, check your saddle position to be sure the nose isn't pointed down. The saddle should be level (or close to it). The most common reason new riders feel soreness in arms, hands and wrists is too much weight is held with your arms. The saddle should keep you balanced on the bike so you aren't using your arms to hold your body from going forward.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  13. #13
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    thanx for the advice, my arms are sick sore right now though so i might hold off on riding(long Distance) until tommorow or until they get a little better i will however make adjustments to see what works thanks for all your help!

  14. #14
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Raise the handlebars and make sure the nose of your seat is level, not pointing down.
    Ride what you like. Ride in what you like.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by KitN View Post
    Raise the handlebars and make sure the nose of your seat is level, not pointing down.
    Unless you have a Brooks B-17, then i might point a bit up.

  16. #16
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    It wouldn't hurt to work on your core strength: situps, crunches, superman raises, pushups.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  17. #17
    Spinning @ 33 RPM Glynis27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    A rule of thumb - put your elbow against the nose of the saddle and extend your fingers toward the bars. At least one finger should come close to touching the top of the handlebar. In other words, the distance from the nose of the saddle to the top of the bars should be equal to forearm+hand.
    I have 3 bikes. 2 of them are comfortable, but one is not and I almost never ride it because of this and only use it for short trips. I just went out and tested them with this method. The 2 comfy bikes had my fingertips just touch the bars. The uncomfortable bike had my fingers a good 2 inches from the bars. The uncomfy bike is my first and only road bike and I thought it was just how things were. I think I am going to go get fitted at another LBS now. Thanks!
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  18. #18
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    i'm pretty sure the nose on my seat is pointing down, i'm going to try to get it level and lift the bars up a bit, thanks again for all the help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by itsdefnit View Post
    i'm pretty sure the nose on my seat is pointing down, i'm going to try to get it level and lift the bars up a bit, thanks again for all the help.
    Correcting the saddle tilt ought to help your problem a lot, in and of itself. However, I suggest you make one change at a time, and give it a good couple of rides to feel the changes and whether or not you like them. Then, make the next adjustment. To help the process, since you stated you were a newbie and that this is a new bike to you, I suggest you read over Peter White's article on bike fitting: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm. Not all of it may make sense right off the bat, but over the coming months it will, as you'll probably be tweaking a lot of aspects of your saddle height, fore-aft, and stem length and height. On my new bikes or re-builds of bikes I already own, it can take weeks for me to dial it all in. And, if I later decide to get a new saddle or handlebars, I have to do the process all over again.

    Good luck!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    A rule of thumb - put your elbow against the nose of the saddle and extend your fingers toward the bars. At least one finger should come close to touching the top of the handlebar. In other words, the distance from the nose of the saddle to the top of the bars should be equal to forearm+hand.
    This is an interesting tip. I went to check on both of my bikes and found my fingers reach about an inch past where the stem meets the steering column, but still a couple of inches away from the bars. However, I'm quite comfortable on each bike, and with the drop bar bike, spend almost all my time in the drops. So this does vary a bit from person to person.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

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  21. #21
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    But what if the seat does need to come forward a bit? How does one tell? Hmmm I think I need a shorter stem.... I'm of the bar over the hub school-of-thought. I know KOPS is an old model but it's what I know, despite it seemingly being impossible to fit sometimes... neat tip. Joey, not just a hornet nest stirrer-er.

  22. #22
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    I'm a firm believer in getting the saddle position correct first, both height and setback. Level the seat, or slightly pointed up with a Brooks. Then you can adjust the stem length to get the bar in the correct position. That's all assuming you start with the correct frame size.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member somedood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer View Post
    But what if the seat does need to come forward a bit? How does one tell? Hmmm I think I need a shorter stem.... I'm of the bar over the hub school-of-thought. I know KOPS is an old model but it's what I know, despite it seemingly being impossible to fit sometimes... neat tip. Joey, not just a hornet nest stirrer-er.
    The seat moves forward but the pedals stay in the same place. That puts more weight on the handlebars since the center of mass moves forward and pedalling with your legs isn't as able to help keep your torso upright. You want the feet to be in front of the seat, really.

  24. #24
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    Bars too low, saddle not adjusted properly, wrong size frame. Could be any (or all) of these issues.

  25. #25
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer View Post
    But what if the seat does need to come forward a bit? How does one tell? Joey, not just a hornet nest stirrer-er.
    That's why I told him to get someone who knows what they are doing to look at him on the bike FIRST. Then check the stem length.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

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