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Old 08-23-10, 08:39 PM   #1
stringbreaker
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Neck and back issues and a new stem

My commuter/all around bike came with a short stem. I didn't think too much about it until this week. I have had neck and back issues for a long time and this bike seemed to stretch me out just a shade too much. Not to the point of agony or anything just seemed a bit off so I replace that stem for an adjustable unit this afternoon and the ride at least when I took it around the block seems much better. I'll be able to tell more on my ride to work in the morning but I think its gonna be a good bit more comfy. I can still use the drops if I want but since I usually ride the hoods and the top of the bars I'm not too concerned about it.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:49 PM   #2
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I use adjustable stems to get my bars up, and to be able to raise/lower them if I want, without a lot of trouble. Works good for me!
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Old 08-23-10, 09:09 PM   #3
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Yes a truly wonderful item to have.
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Old 08-23-10, 10:49 PM   #4
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It's amazing how such a small measurement/part can affect your body
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Old 08-24-10, 05:40 AM   #5
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"Tweak my Ride"

I just got a new bike(Fem Quick 3) and am having neck issues as well. The flat-bar it came with had a 20mm rise. I replaced that with one that had 30mm rise and a bit more backsweep. That took care of the wrist angle feeling wrong. Also tipping the saddle back slightly helped take even more weight off the hands. But then my neck started hurting! Maybe I am still too stretched out..so lowered the saddle next. Will take a ride to see how that works. The next step is a 40mm riser handlebar-but I know I will probably have to replace cables. Maybe an adjustable stem! I have written to cannondale and see what they recommend. Maybe there is a shorter stem I can use. Then I begin to wonder how much is just- the over 50 part? Perhaps we can have a special sticky called "Tweak my Ride".
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Old 08-24-10, 06:10 AM   #6
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Hope it works for you. My experience supports damnpoor's. That is small changes can make big differences.
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Old 08-24-10, 06:12 AM   #7
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I just got a new bike(Fem Quick 3) and am having neck issues as well. The flat-bar it came with had a 20mm rise. I replaced that with one that had 30mm rise and a bit more backsweep. That took care of the wrist angle feeling wrong. Also tipping the saddle back slightly helped take even more weight off the hands. But then my neck started hurting! Maybe I am still too stretched out..so lowered the saddle next. Will take a ride to see how that works. The next step is a 40mm riser handlebar-but I know I will probably have to replace cables. Maybe an adjustable stem! I have written to cannondale and see what they recommend. Maybe there is a shorter stem I can use. Then I begin to wonder how much is just- the over 50 part? Perhaps we can have a special sticky called "Tweak my Ride".
If you have a visor, take it off. This can help markedly.

Also, one needs to learn to tuck your chin back into your chest , instead of stretching your neck forward and back.

Good luck.
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Old 08-24-10, 06:13 AM   #8
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Indeed small changes do make a difference. I think I had the new stem up too high as my speed seemed to be a bit slower this morning, probably due to the more upright position so I lowered it about an inch. I'll see how that works this afternoon. I was feeling a bit too stretched out other than that no problems.
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Old 08-24-10, 07:04 AM   #9
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I was having a lot of back issues also. They seemed to go away on my right side after having the right kidney removed, but taking out the other one isn't really an option. I went for a professional fitting and was told that my quads were too tight and I needed to stretch them out to be able to get in proper position. I also had handlebars that were too wide so got those replaced and a shorter stem so I didn't have to reach so far out. Still have some back pain but I've been working on stretching out my quads and can ride in the drops for longer periods and on the hoods comfortably.
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Old 08-24-10, 07:31 AM   #10
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I was having a lot of back issues also. They seemed to go away on my right side after having the right kidney removed, but taking out the other one isn't really an option. I went for a professional fitting and was told that my quads were too tight and I needed to stretch them out to be able to get in proper position. I also had handlebars that were too wide so got those replaced and a shorter stem so I didn't have to reach so far out. Still have some back pain but I've been working on stretching out my quads and can ride in the drops for longer periods and on the hoods comfortably.
The advice you got during your fitting seems a bit odd to me. My understanding of a quality fitting is that they will find ways to make your ride accommodate you, not tell you to "stretch" to get in a "proper position". Such advice seems aimed at an incorrect notion that there is a proper position that will work for everyone (if only everyone will learn to accommodate it).
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Old 08-24-10, 10:22 AM   #11
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The advice you got during your fitting seems a bit odd to me. My understanding of a quality fitting is that they will find ways to make your ride accommodate you, not tell you to "stretch" to get in a "proper position". Such advice seems aimed at an incorrect notion that there is a proper position that will work for everyone (if only everyone will learn to accommodate it).
There was a bit of both. We discussed options for my preferred postion that I wanted to adopt and what was causing me pain. I wasn't able to ride in the drops because of bar width and stem length and my quads not wanting to letting me comfortably bend down to the drops. I was also pedaling with my toes pointed down instead of a more poweful flat or heel down position, again because of the tightness. The choice then became, stretch out so I can ride in the drops, raise the bars to a less aerodynamic position, or ride on top of the bar again a less aerodynamic position. The only thing I have changed since that ws done in the spring was lower the nose of my saddle 1/4 inch and move it foward 1/8.
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Old 08-24-10, 11:54 AM   #12
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Riding in the Drops

I guess some (many) of us don't really ride in the drops much at all - except perhaps on a descent or in a head wind. I think we have discussed this before - and maybe it was about 5-10% of folks who regularly use the drops. However, they say memory is the first to go, so I COULD be wrong .
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Old 08-24-10, 02:48 PM   #13
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Riding in the Drops

I guess some (many) of us don't really ride in the drops much at all - except perhaps on a descent or in a head wind. I think we have discussed this before - and maybe it was about 5-10% of folks who regularly use the drops. However, they say memory is the first to go, so I COULD be wrong .
Think you are safe on this one dnvrFox.

4 years ago and I changed to road from MTB's. That first road bike took some adjusting to and it took 6 months and a lot of practice before I was comfortable in the drops. The bike wasn't really there though for comfort but 1 year after starting on the road- I got a custom build on a frame. The LBS built it up as they thought I should ride it. The bars were 4" lower than the first bike and the top tube length pushed the bars further away. I had my doubts but they told me to take it for a ride and come back.

What a difference!!!!! I have never felt so comfortable on a bike. No back ache- I could reach the drop position with ease for as long as I wanted and the Hill I took it up was only a slope. Only problem was the neck ache but with practice even that would improve. 2 years later and I still had a problem so I took the visor off the helmet. That cured it immediately.

So watch out for the shortening of reach and raising of the bars- it is not always the solution. The longer more stretched out position has worked for me.

Attachments of the two bikes do you can see the difference in setup. The OCR is the first bike by the way.
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Old 08-24-10, 05:20 PM   #14
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I regularly use my drops 10 - 20 percent of the time.
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Old 08-24-10, 09:21 PM   #15
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Think you are safe on this one dnvrFox.

4 years ago and I changed to road from MTB's. That first road bike took some adjusting to and it took 6 months and a lot of practice before I was comfortable in the drops. The bike wasn't really there though for comfort but 1 year after starting on the road- I got a custom build on a frame. The LBS built it up as they thought I should ride it. The bars were 4" lower than the first bike and the top tube length pushed the bars further away. I had my doubts but they told me to take it for a ride and come back.

What a difference!!!!! I have never felt so comfortable on a bike. No back ache- I could reach the drop position with ease for as long as I wanted and the Hill I took it up was only a slope. Only problem was the neck ache but with practice even that would improve. 2 years later and I still had a problem so I took the visor off the helmet. That cured it immediately.

So watch out for the shortening of reach and raising of the bars- it is not always the solution. The longer more stretched out position has worked for me.

Attachments of the two bikes do you can see the difference in setup. The OCR is the first bike by the way.
Glad you were able to get set up so well. This is my commuter bike and I'm after comfort in all positions. I don't ride the drops too much either. I'm a mess from the neck to my hands.(carpal tunnel) in the hands and tendinitis in the shoulders and elbows.The back has been problematic since a fall down the stairs at age 16. docs say they see a bit of arthritis in there so thats kinda troublesome. Two delicate knees and questionable everywhere else. The only time I don't hurt so bad is on the bike except a bit of hand numbness so I am trying to eliminate that along with the back and neck stuff. Otherwise I'm in perfect health. At least my heart is ok (so far) I really like a more upright postition to commute. If I want to ride the drops I'll get my old Volare or my 96 Raleight Cadent out and go.
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Old 08-25-10, 01:19 PM   #16
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I'm also a 50+ rider with a herniated disk in my upper spine, and I spend a lot of time in the drops, I find it quite comfortable. The key is having a bike that fits properly. I tried a so-called "relaxed geometry" bike (Specialized Roubaix) and found it heavy and unwieldy. It reminded of me of why I never rode much on my old hybrid. That more upright position is not for everyone. I ride a Fuji SL-1 and a Specialized Allez, both aggressive racing geometry bikes with short head tubes.
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