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Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

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Old 06-03-14, 07:05 PM   #1
BROOKLINEBIKER
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Shoulder Pain Solution?

Hi everyone,
I have been experiencing shoulder pain when riding more than 45 minutes straight. I am seeking solutions. I am 5'11" and ride a 2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker. It has a 56 cm frame and 700 c wheels. I have bad knees so I shortened the crank arms to 142 mm. Medically, I have had both rotator cuffs operated on so my shoulder issues are chronic. Last year, I replaced the stock handlebars with wider handlebars. The new bars are Nitto drop bars and measure 17.5 inches across on the inside. This helped but did not resolve the problem.

I would like to raise the handlebars to unload my shoulders when I ride. Unfortunately, the bike mechanics say the headset (correct part?) will not permit any additional elevation. I am not worried about aerodynamics, I just want to be comfortable and take some longer rides. What are my options for improvement?
Thanks,
Neil
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Old 06-03-14, 08:32 PM   #2
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My first suggestion is to forget changing bike fit for now. Instead focus on fitness. Have you read this book?:
http://www.irongarmx.net/Articles/7_...f_solution.pdf

Tom Danielson's Core Advantage book has helped me with a range of issues, including sore shoulders.

If you want to mess with bike fit now, I suggest viewing this video:
Pedaling Efficiency.wmv - YouTube

Particularly notice the section about saddle set-back. You don't need to have much weight on your bars. I find that having my bars lower and further away reduces rather than increases shoulder loading. It's leverage. The further away the bars are, the less force on your hands.

I would think that very short cranks, while limiting leg movement, would increase pedal force and thus force on the knees, due to the decreased leverage of the short cranks. I ride 52 cm frames with 170-172.5 mm cranks.
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Old 06-04-14, 01:33 AM   #3
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Riser bar.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:02 AM   #4
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Riser bar.
Hi Herman,
Interesting suggestion, thank you.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
My first suggestion is to forget changing bike fit for now. Instead focus on fitness. Have you read this book?:
http://www.irongarmx.net/Articles/7_...f_solution.pdf

Tom Danielson's Core Advantage book has helped me with a range of issues, including sore shoulders.

If you want to mess with bike fit now, I suggest viewing this video:
Pedaling Efficiency.wmv - YouTube

Particularly notice the section about saddle set-back. You don't need to have much weight on your bars. I find that having my bars lower and further away reduces rather than increases shoulder loading. It's leverage. The further away the bars are, the less force on your hands.

I would think that very short cranks, while limiting leg movement, would increase pedal force and thus force on the knees, due to the decreased leverage of the short cranks. I ride 52 cm frames with 170-172.5 mm cranks.
Hi Carbonfiber,
Thanks for your recommendations. I am working on core but that is a long-term project. I am in need of some relief soon. I will check out Core Advantage. I am wary of increasing my reach on the bike. I do a lot bike commuting in heavy traffic and need my hands near the brakes to stay alive. Also, reaching in certain angles inflame my rotator cuffs. I will check out the video.
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Old 06-04-14, 08:37 AM   #6
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I agree with Carbonfiberboy. Bike setup is often counter-intuitive. People tend to believe a more upright position with less reach is the solution to their problems but the exact opposite is often the case. You should post a photo of your bike. It's possible the bars are too low or the reach too long but we won't know until we can see it.
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Old 06-04-14, 07:50 PM   #7
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Hi everyone,
Here are some photos of me on the bike. I am leaning on a wall for the picture as I lack a trainer.
Thanks!






http://i1153.photobucket.com/albums/...ps3992f8fb.jpg


IMG_1438_zps3992f8fb.jpg Photo by Wheelies1 | Photobucket


IMG_1437_zpsde282dcb.jpg Photo by Wheelies1 | Photobucket
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Old 06-05-14, 01:08 AM   #8
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People tend to believe a more upright position with less reach is the solution to their problems but the exact opposite is often the case.
Could you explain why?
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Old 06-05-14, 06:00 PM   #9
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Hi everybody,
Would a stem that has a variable angle so I could raise the handlebars help my shoulders? If yes, can anyone recommend a model? (I like the suggestion for a riser handlebar above but would prefer to retain access to drop bars).
Thanks!
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Old 06-05-14, 10:45 PM   #10
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I suggest installing interrupter brake levers, so you can ride on the tops of the bars while still having braking at your fingertips. That will move your hands rearward by several inches and could be all you need. The levers cost $30-40 and can be installed without even unwrapping the bars.

Also, try this: sit on the bike, hands on the bars in riding position, then lift your hands just an inch off the bars, while keeping your body in the same riding position. Are you straining to hold your body up in that position, without support from your hands? More core strength will help. Now, try pushing your butt all the way to the rear of the saddle, and try the same lift-hands-off thing. Is it easier or harder to hold your body up? People often find it is easier. Moving the butt rearward balances the torso forward. If that is the case for you, you could try adjusting your saddle rearward, just a very little bit at a time.

If you do want to change the bar position, tell the bike shop you want a stem that has positive rise, meaning it angles up. You can get it shorter as well. In fact, there are adjustable stems, that pivot up and down and lock in place. They look horrid but might be useful to try different positions.

Last edited by jyl; 06-05-14 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 06-06-14, 10:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BROOKLINEBIKER View Post
Hi everyone,
Here are some photos of me on the bike. I am leaning on a wall for the picture as I lack a trainer.
Thanks!






http://i1153.photobucket.com/albums/...ps3992f8fb.jpg


IMG_1438_zps3992f8fb.jpg Photo by Wheelies1 | Photobucket


IMG_1437_zpsde282dcb.jpg Photo by Wheelies1 | Photobucket
Too bad we can't really see everything in your photos. They cut off information and there's only the choice of too small to see detail and original, which is too big to see the whole thing. Feet level and near-side foot down would have been good.
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Old 06-06-14, 10:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BROOKLINEBIKER View Post
Hi Carbonfiber,
Thanks for your recommendations. I am working on core but that is a long-term project. I am in need of some relief soon. I will check out Core Advantage. I am wary of increasing my reach on the bike. I do a lot bike commuting in heavy traffic and need my hands near the brakes to stay alive. Also, reaching in certain angles inflame my rotator cuffs. I will check out the video.
In traffic, you should always ride with your hands on the hoods, two fingers on the levers. Reach is good unless your shoulder movement is limited. Reach mostly affects the lats.
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Old 06-06-14, 10:22 AM   #13
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Could you explain why?
I believe I explained that in post #2 .
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Old 06-06-14, 06:34 PM   #14
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I suggest installing interrupter brake levers, so you can ride on the tops of the bars while still having braking at your fingertips. That will move your hands rearward by several inches and could be all you need. The levers cost $30-40 and can be installed without even unwrapping the bars.

Also, try this: sit on the bike, hands on the bars in riding position, then lift your hands just an inch off the bars, while keeping your body in the same riding position. Are you straining to hold your body up in that position, without support from your hands? More core strength will help. Now, try pushing your butt all the way to the rear of the saddle, and try the same lift-hands-off thing. Is it easier or harder to hold your body up? People often find it is easier. Moving the butt rearward balances the torso forward. If that is the case for you, you could try adjusting your saddle rearward, just a very little bit at a time.

If you do want to change the bar position, tell the bike shop you want a stem that has positive rise, meaning it angles up. You can get it shorter as well. In fact, there are adjustable stems, that pivot up and down and lock in place. They look horrid but might be useful to try different positions.
Hi jyl,
Thanks for your recommendations. I really like your positive stem idea! These are really great tips. You raise an interesting issue with the interrupter brakes. I already have interrupter brakes and ride them almost exclusively in heavy city traffic. Because they are located close together, I am wondering if they are aggravating my shoulder problem. When I last had a fitting done, they put wider handlebars on the bike, which helped a bit.

Would moving the seat back increase knee strain?
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Old 06-06-14, 06:36 PM   #15
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In traffic, you should always ride with your hands on the hoods, two fingers on the levers. Reach is good unless your shoulder movement is limited. Reach mostly affects the lats.
Hi Carbonfiberboy,
In traffic, I usually ride on the interrupter brakes, because traffic where I live is brutal. I want maximum control of the bike if a car door swings open on me or I see a fresh pothole.
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Old 06-06-14, 06:37 PM   #16
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Too bad we can't really see everything in your photos. They cut off information and there's only the choice of too small to see detail and original, which is too big to see the whole thing. Feet level and near-side foot down would have been good.
Hi,
Thanks for your help here.I will post better pictures tomorrow.
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Old 06-06-14, 07:51 PM   #17
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I have not heard people get knee pain from moving the saddle rearward, but I'd have to try it to see. I ride with my saddle all the way back. When you move the saddle rearward, it has to be lowered just a tad to keep the same leg extension.
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Old 06-07-14, 03:36 PM   #18
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How about strengthening your shoulders? Is that a possibility? I have chronic shoulder pain, and I'm doing pushups now. Also, I am mindful to keep my shoulders down when I ride. I also work to keep my back straight. To make sure my back is straight, I bend it so it feels arched backwards. These things help me. They might help you.
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Old 06-08-14, 09:45 PM   #19
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How about strengthening your shoulders? Is that a possibility? I have chronic shoulder pain, and I'm doing pushups now. Also, I am mindful to keep my shoulders down when I ride. I also work to keep my back straight. To make sure my back is straight, I bend it so it feels arched backwards. These things help me. They might help you.
Hi Tom,
Yes, I am doing physical therapy for my rotator cuffs. You say you keep your shoulders down when you ride. I have been told for good posture to keep my shoulders back. Could you explain more about your positioning when you ride?
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Old 06-08-14, 09:46 PM   #20
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I have not heard people get knee pain from moving the saddle rearward, but I'd have to try it to see. I ride with my saddle all the way back. When you move the saddle rearward, it has to be lowered just a tad to keep the same leg extension.
Hi JYL,
Thanks for explaining about seat positioning.
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Old 06-08-14, 09:51 PM   #21
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I suggest installing interrupter brake levers, so you can ride on the tops of the bars while still having braking at your fingertips. That will move your hands rearward by several inches and could be all you need. The levers cost $30-40 and can be installed without even unwrapping the bars.

Also, try this: sit on the bike, hands on the bars in riding position, then lift your hands just an inch off the bars, while keeping your body in the same riding position. Are you straining to hold your body up in that position, without support from your hands? More core strength will help. Now, try pushing your butt all the way to the rear of the saddle, and try the same lift-hands-off thing. Is it easier or harder to hold your body up? People often find it is easier. Moving the butt rearward balances the torso forward. If that is the case for you, you could try adjusting your saddle rearward, just a very little bit at a time.

If you do want to change the bar position, tell the bike shop you want a stem that has positive rise, meaning it angles up. You can get it shorter as well. In fact, there are adjustable stems, that pivot up and down and lock in place. They look horrid but might be useful to try different positions.
Hi JYL,
I have experimented with riding hands just off the hoods for the past couple days. I can go about 30 seconds before I have to return to the hoods. Sliding a bit back on the seat does help me to last longer riding with hands off the hoods. Does this mean I should move the seat back and down a bit?
Thanks for the feedback,
Neil
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Old 06-09-14, 03:18 AM   #22
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I believe I explained that in post #2 .
Thank you.
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Old 06-09-14, 03:19 PM   #23
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Hi Tom,
Yes, I am doing physical therapy for my rotator cuffs. You say you keep your shoulders down when you ride. I have been told for good posture to keep my shoulders back. Could you explain more about your positioning when you ride?
I'm not sure what I'm doing, and I'm not even sure it's working well for me. I have chronic shoulder problems. I think I am keeping my shoulders low and forward. I'll check next time I ride!
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Old 06-09-14, 03:47 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BROOKLINEBIKER View Post
Hi JYL,
I have experimented with riding hands just off the hoods for the past couple days. I can go about 30 seconds before I have to return to the hoods. Sliding a bit back on the seat does help me to last longer riding with hands off the hoods. Does this mean I should move the seat back and down a bit?
Thanks for the feedback,
Neil
I'd try it and see. If it allows your core to do a bit more of the supporting, and takes a little load off your hands/arms/shoulders, it may help. Measure the distance from center-top of the saddle to the pedal at lowest position, and adjust seatpost to maintain that distance as you adjust the saddle rearward.
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Old 06-09-14, 08:56 PM   #25
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I'd try it and see. If it allows your core to do a bit more of the supporting, and takes a little load off your hands/arms/shoulders, it may help. Measure the distance from center-top of the saddle to the pedal at lowest position, and adjust seatpost to maintain that distance as you adjust the saddle rearward.
Thanks JYL. This is good information.
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