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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 03-20-11, 03:05 PM   #1
BryantTheTyrant
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Shoulder Pain.

Went on a long ride last night and my shoulders (which are usually a point of muscle tension anyway) are in pain right now. Nothing too wild, they just hurt.

Right now I have stock drops (don't like the shape), and I know I want something else. Tried my friend's flat bars and liked them, but it's not on my bike. I also want to raise my seat but I feel like being higher will only strain my shoulder point a bit more.

Don't have the budget to be changing my handlebars whenever I'm sore the next day, so I want to settle in on what handlebars I may wanna grab in the future.

Just wanna know what has worked for y'all, preferences, suggestions. Had my bike for a few months and now I'm really focusing on the tweaks that'll make my ride more comfortable. ( I know every component makes a difference just trying to work with what I have)



Peace.
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Old 03-20-11, 03:10 PM   #2
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I noticed having some pains in my shoulder and back when riding with cut bull horns. Always being in a humped over aggressive position didn't cut it for me in long rides. I switched to riser bars and haven't had any problems at all, being in a higher body position seemed to fix the problem and not much of a difference in the speeds I can reach.
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Old 03-20-11, 03:24 PM   #3
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try risers with some nice setback, a little more upright position can't hurt.
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Old 03-20-11, 03:25 PM   #4
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The type of handlebars doesn't matter.

The positional relationship of the saddle to bottom bracket to handlebar matters.

Some shoulder pain comes from having to crank your neck up in order to see forward.

Bars too low or too far forward will cause this neck cranking.

If you can raise your bars by flipping your stem (or raising your quill stem), this will give you a no cost test of your handlebar position.

If you raise your bars and get any relief from your shoulder pain, then you can justify experimenting with stem length, stem rise and saddle position.

The type of bar doesn't matter.
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Old 03-20-11, 03:31 PM   #5
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The type of bar doesn't matter.
ahhh but a riser bar would do exactly what you are suggesting........
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Old 03-20-11, 03:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post
The type of handlebars doesn't matter.
I would have to disagree considering that different types of bars create different hand positions, which can directly affect the position of - and stress placed upon - your shoulders while riding.
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Old 03-20-11, 04:47 PM   #7
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Always being in a humped over aggressive position didn't cut it for me in long rides.
It does take some core strength to maintain lower position.

Op, you should also be conscious of your elbows, if you keep them locked then everything around your shoulders and neck takes the shock that would normally be absorbed by bent elbows. locking you elbows can be caused by too much reach, you can make a temporary fix by raising the handle bar - like Cox said

Last edited by hairnet; 03-20-11 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 03-20-11, 04:52 PM   #8
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The type of handlebars doesn't matter.
I disagree also. I went from drops to Soma Sparrow bars and that relieved all the pain in my wrists and tension in my neck/back. Different bars make a huge difference.
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Old 03-20-11, 06:39 PM   #9
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Great answers, a lot of which I wanted to hear. This is really what I want to learn; tweaking my bike for total comfort.

Small update: I tilted the bars a bit downward, felt a bit better, but still just not ergonomically sensible. Also, shoulder tension happens when I stand up. Today I purchased a Brooks B17 (which has to be placed on right, and I'm sure it's not on right) & I know that changes the equation significantly. I'm willing to put the time & effort into fine tuning my machine: can't see it any other way.

I appreciate the help, fellow riders!

Ken Cox: You make great points as far as the positional relationship, I guess I focused a bit too much on the handlebar aspect of the situation (although I know they aren't great). So I can actually flip my stem over? How do I raise my (WTF is a) quill stem? It makes sense to me for them to be higher. They may be too low, and/or too far - can't put my finger on it yet.

vw addict & Thebrad20: I like risers, they feel good on the bikes I've ridden. For some reason I'm just not too attracted to them. Besides the way they look, (and the many bikes I ride with that have them) I like having a different place to put my hands, so drops, or bullhorns is what I'm aiming for. Not completely shooting down risers, though, if they're gonna be my 100% comfort landing.

Hairnet: GREAT point, man! I will be conscious of my elbow locking, for I do it both sitting down and standing up.

Keep the replies coming. Great stuff. Any other members that have comfort related issues feel free to use this thread.
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Old 03-20-11, 07:26 PM   #10
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The type of handlebars doesn't matter.

Where your hands fit in space, in relation to your saddle and bottom bracket, matters.

Almost any kind of handle bar can put your hands in the right place, in terms of height and reach.

His shoulder problem has to do with his body organization and not with the type of bars.

=====

Regarding stems, some types of bikes have a stem that clamps on to the steerer tube (threadless), and some types of bikes have quill stems (threaded), in which the stem looks like a continuation of the steerer tube.

Quill stem: http://www.businesscycles.com/tstem-nitto.htm

Threadless: http://aebike.com/product/ritchey-cl...m4875-qc30.htm

If you have a threadless stem, it probably has an angle (usually about six degrees).

You can loosen the bolts that hold it in place and flip it over.

This will give you a little extra height.

It won't solve your problem, but, if it improves your situation, it will give a clue as to why your shoulders hurt.

You most probably have a neck problem because you have to raise your head and crank your neck in order to see your path.

This compresses the openings through which the nerves serving your shoulders, arms and hands pass.

Different people have different symptoms when this happens, such as numb fingers, etc.

However, shoulder pain almost always means a cranked neck.

Raise your handle bars by the easiest and cheapest method you can, and see if this give you any relief.

If it does give you relief, you have several cheap options, mostly involving the placement of your saddle and either raising your threaded quill stem or replacing your threadless stem with one that fits you better.

=====

Bike fit for riding on the street...

People ride with their hands low and their backs level because it gives them an aerodynamic advantage.

This position also compresses the angle between their torso and their hips, making their spin mechanically less efficient.

For that reason, track and time trial riders move their handle bars far forward and their saddle far forward in order to open up the angle between their torso and their hips, thus recovering some (but not all) of their mechanical efficiency.

However, this places an enormous amount of weight on the hands and requries an unnatural head and neck position in order to see forward.

For riding on the street, in all conditions, one has the option of a more upright positioin, somewhat similar to that of geared bike road racers.

You can find the optimum position for your body with the following method:

1. sit on a hard chair on a hard floor in stocking feet;

2. slide your sit bones towards the front of the chair and slide your heels back as far as you comfortably can with your feet flat on the floor;

3. make a loose fist with your hands, reach forward with your hands for the handle bars, and begin to sloooowly stand up;

4. at the very moment your sit bones barely break contact with the chair, note the angle of your torso and the position of your hands;

5. if you put your handle bars and your saddle in relationship to your position, above, you would probably notice that the point of contact between your hands and the handle bars occurs about one inch below a level line extending forward from the nose of our saddle;

6. if a friend helps you, you can measure the horizontal and vertical distance between your hips and your hands.

Just look at the torso angle of road racers when the ride on the horns (and they ride on the horns most of the time).

This road racer angle seems very erect to track and time trial riders, but it works on the every day street better than the back-level torso angle so fashionable right now.

The type of handlbar only changes your wrist position.

Some people like palms level, like on a mountain bike, and some people like palms vertical, like on the horns.

I like palms vertical.

It doesn't matter.

The veritcal and horizontal distance of your hands from your hips matters.
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Old 03-20-11, 07:29 PM   #11
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Old 03-20-11, 07:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
It does take some core strength to maintain lower position.
Agreed! A bike really is a full body workout. From what I have learned is that you shouldn't have lots of pressure on your hands/ bars. Enough to grip your bars, but you shouldn't be resting your upper body weight on your hands. You should be using your core to slightly hold up your arms/ upper body with your arms slightly bent while riding.

Also, seat position will affect your shoulder pain too. If the nose of your seat is pointed too far down, it can make your body slightly slip off the seat, making you counter act that with more pressure on your hands / arms to keep your body up.

All in all, if you have your elbows locked holding up your upper body weight, you will have some upper shoulder pain.

So, like mentioned, make sure you keep your elbows slightly bent, use your core to keep some weight off your hands / arms, and check seat position.

If any of my info is off and / or hard to understand please let me know.

.Chris
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Old 03-20-11, 07:54 PM   #13
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Also, seat position will affect your shoulder pain too. If the nose of your seat is pointed too far down, it can make your body slightly slip off the seat, making you counter act that with more pressure on your hands / arms to keep your body up.
OP, just want to add you might also try shifting your seat to the rear a scosh. That should help take some weight off your upper body--if that is the problem.

I'll third the emphasis on keeping your upper body relaxed. But, if you're willing to put in time and effort, you might also consider getting yourself fitted, which is arguably a better alternative to listening to us ramble.
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Old 03-20-11, 08:17 PM   #14
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op post a picture of your bike
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Old 03-20-11, 08:57 PM   #15
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Why make it personal?

Nothing to relevant to say?

Just discuss the subject.
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Old 03-20-11, 09:06 PM   #16
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Agreed! A bike really is a full body workout.
It does nothing for your core and upper body

Quote:
From what I have learned is that you shouldn't have lots of pressure on your hands/ bars. Enough to grip your bars, but you shouldn't be resting your upper body weight on your hands. You should be using your core to slightly hold up your arms/ upper body with your arms slightly bent while riding.
good for rollers
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Old 03-21-11, 03:14 AM   #17
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It does nothing for your core and upper body
Although I agree with you when I say it is not a full core workout. I will say that it takes a little something to maintain proper riding posture for long rides. Doing that overtime will in fact help with a little bit of core strength. Again, as i said, it is not a full core workout, but to say it does 'nothing' I feel is a bit much. It will surely do something over time...even if in very small amounts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRock View Post

I'll third the emphasis on keeping your upper body relaxed. But, if you're willing to put in time and effort, you might also consider getting yourself fitted, which is arguably a better alternative to listening to us ramble.

OP, although I notice your emphasis on not having a huge budget, if the problem persists, like ScottRock said, you may want to save some change and get fitted for the bike.


.Chris
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Old 03-21-11, 05:46 AM   #18
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Why make it personal?

Nothing to relevant to say?

Just discuss the subject.
KC you are taking it personal, you have to remember that in ssfg irrelevance is revelant.
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Old 03-21-11, 11:33 PM   #19
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I'm planning on going and getting fitted like you all recommend, but of course here to learn on how I can improve on it. And I don't mind reading the ramble.

If a mod would assist me and change the post title 'Help Fitting My Bike For Comfort'

It rained today, and I believe the best way to get a good opinion is to photograph myself on the bike and post how I am riding.

Thanks for the responses.
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Old 03-22-11, 06:53 AM   #20
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It rained today, and I believe the best way to get a good opinion is to photograph myself on the bike and post how I am riding.
Thats what I was goign to suggest. I had some wrist pain on my last bike, and had a friend take a picture of me riding. I realized how hunched I was, and the super-sharp break angle of my wrists. New stem, and then no pain.

Then again, that bike was stolen and I moved on to something better fitting.
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Old 03-22-11, 11:18 AM   #21
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This thread is TL;DR, but I skimmed some of Ken's posts.

It is the positional relationship of your hands to the bottom bracket and saddle that matter, but different bars will directly change that positional relationship. So, everyone in this thread wins.

Risers often provide sweep back that I've never seen on drop bars, and have only seen on one set of bullhorns. Risers can also be cut to a wide variety of widths, while drops and bullhorns are more or less limited to a specified range. On the other hand, bullhorns and drops/drops with hoods provide numerous riding positions that let you switch it up if one position tires you out, while risers and flat bars pretty much only provide on riding position.
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Old 03-22-11, 11:23 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by BryantTheTyrant View Post
vw addict & Thebrad20: I like risers, they feel good on the bikes I've ridden. For some reason I'm just not too attracted to them. Besides the way they look, (and the many bikes I ride with that have them) I like having a different place to put my hands, so drops, or bullhorns is what I'm aiming for. Not completely shooting down risers, though, if they're gonna be my 100% comfort landing.


+



+



Although that is exponentially uglier than just risers...
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Old 03-22-11, 11:41 AM   #23
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As far as getting fitted,while having it done at a competent shop is best, some online calculators are a decent alternative.I used the competitive cyclist one and it worked really well.I also like that it gives you three fit options with the french fit being the best for street/city riding IMHO.
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Old 03-22-11, 05:15 PM   #24
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The type of handlebar does not matter.

Where your hands are does matter.

For example, you see guys running Nitto B123 (deepest drop around) and they ride on the tops...because they like their hands there. That's when people started using flat bars then risers...because it was more comfortable. Now if you take some risers and flip them over and use a negative stem which ultimately puts your hands down near the tire, then they aren't so comfortable anymore.
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Old 03-22-11, 05:20 PM   #25
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A standard track geometry is not a comfortable position. Don't get a bike with a real track geometry (AKA a sprint geometry) and use drop bars and expect it to be comfortable. It just will not happen.

Comfort comes when the hands are even with or higher than the saddle. As your hands (in whatever bars god thinks you deserve) go below the saddle, the riding position becomes less comfortable over time.

A sprint position is comfortable (well tolerable) for around 5 minutes tops.
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