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  1. #1
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    Body pain after first long ride on 60CM LHT

    Recently I posted queries as to what size Surly Long Haul Trucker I should buy. After feedback, research and second guessing myself I settled on a 60cm frame, being 189cm tall with an inseam of 90cm.

    Anyway, two days ago I did a 65 km shakedown ride on the newly acquired bicycle. Just to get a feel of
    it and test the fit.

    The results during the ride;

    1. Painful palms when gripping the handlebars - only remedied by riding the brake hoods. Gripping the top of the bars was uncomfortable for any length of time.

    2. Saddle needed adjusting with the point of the nose slightly down. I suspect the saddle may be slightly too high. May be related to problem with hands.

    3. Towards the end of the ride I was into the wind and attempted to ride the drops - this position felt very uncomfortable for pedalling and immediately led to severe cramping in the muscle just above my knees.

    The results after the ride;

    1. Dull but significant ache across back of shoulders and neck.

    2. Aching palms.

    3. Sore knees.

    4. Sore muscles from cramp.


    Although I haven't made any adjustments I'm beginning to think I may have purchased a bike that is too big.

    Any suggestions????

  2. #2
    Just ride it. MrPolak's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like you need to adjust seat height, angle, position, handlebar height... in other words, take it to a bike shop for a professional fitment.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Was this shakedown ride an unusual ride for you? If you haven't been riding and then banged off a 65 km ride, I would describe your symptoms as normal.

    Speedo

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    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    Ok, get the seat height dialed in. Get the set level. Then while you're on the hoods or in the drops, see if you can't see the front hub. It should be obscured by the handlebar. If it's behind the handlebar, which I'm thinking it probably is, then you're stem is probably too long. Sounds like you're stretching to reach the bars, what length stem did you put on? I think I ended up with a 8 or 9cm on my LHT. My pbh is 91cm, and I'm a touch under 6'2"

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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Get the saddle height right and level it. Work from there. Tipping the saddle nose down pushes more weight on your hands which can hurt.

    How flexible are you? If you bend at the waist, how far can you go? Can you touch your toes? The floor? Head against your knees? Do you have lots of upper body mass? If so, muscle or fat? How many miles do you have in this season? Do you currently have a bike that's comfortable?

    There are lots of rules of thumb. Many are BS and a few actually have value.

    Do you really want to go through this with a bunch of internet loudmouths or would you rather work with someone who can actually see you on the bike?

  6. #6
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I figure you're about 6' 2.5" tall. I'm 6' 4" tall and ride a 62cm LHT. Mine feels perfect. However, I had to do some "dialing in".

    Painful palms, in my experience, are caused by lack of padding and too-low handlebars. I put gel padding on my bars (Aztek or Specialized), wrap with the foam tape that comes with it, then wrap that with cloth tape. I've even put two cloth wraps over the the top. My hands are plenty big enough for the thickness, and I'd guess yours are as well. I also use gel gloves. I've tried a couple of different stems to get a good fit. The one I have now has very little forward stretch, but rises as steeply as possible (I bought the steepest one I could find) and rises about 4 inches high. It puts the bars even with my saddle, which prevents most of the hand numbness I used to feel. Although my hands got numb on this past weekend's century, on rides up to about 50 miles I get no numbness.

    Saddle angle is a matter of personal preference. My usual strategy is to try an angle that I think is about right, ride for awhile, adjust a bit, ride some more, tweak a bit more, etc. Gradually, through tweaking, often by tiny gradients, I get it so it feels right.

    It seems like the 60cm frame should be about right for you. Keep tweaking and see if you can get everything dialed in.

    I don't understand why riding on the drops was uncomfortable. Was it hard on your hands? Your back? You report cramps in your legs. I don't get that. How is the stretch from your saddle to the bars? Again, I'd recommend tweaking until you arrive at what feels best. My first stem on my LHT was too long. I felt stretched out. I tweaked by sliding the saddle forward. It got better, but never felt right. The new, less-stretched stem solved that, but I still had to slide the saddle back and forth until it felt "just right".

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    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    I'm also about 6' - 2-1/2" tall (189cm), and have a 36" (91.44cm) standover, and ride a 60cm LHT. I am perfectly comfortable. I am presently away from home on business, and so I can't measure my down-pedal-to-seat-height to see how your setup compares.

    I am nearly 55 years old, and when my LBS set up my LHT they put the handlebars on a stem with an extreme up-angle (I think he was concerned about flexibility) - see the following picture:





    Just basing the selection on standover height alone, my LBS thought I could ride the 62cm LHT as well. I do have longer legs and arms, and a slightly proportionally shorter torso, so he dropped me down to the 60 cm frame because he thought I would be too stretched out on the larger frame. Again, I am very comfortable on the bike.

    I am in agreement with the previous poster - I think you have the correct bike, it just needs to be dialed in.

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    "1. Dull but significant ache across back of shoulders and neck."

    Normal until about day three or so, on tour. I guess if you ride a lot between it shouldn't be a problem, but how many ride 12 hrs a day on their comute

    2. Aching palms.

    I had an odd experience with that this time. I had pain but it went away after a day or two, which is unusual for me, I normally don't experience it, or if I do it gets worse. I wear leather gloves with the hardest top grain I can find. I call that "armouring" vs. a lot of the gel strategies which are padding. With padding, sometimes I still feel the bar print through. At the least, do not assume that the first kind of gloves you get are all you will need. I have gloves that are only good for a few hours at a time...

    3. Sore knees.

    One needs to keep on top of this. Don't overdo. Position is hyper-critical, even a fractional seat adjustment can make all the difference. In particular not too extended a seat height, no knee locking at bottom of stroke, knees should be bent at all time. Do not overgear, spin in light gears for a long time if you are not broken in. Position, fore and aft over pedals is key.

    "Young" athlete types may benefit from a fitting pro, but in a lot of cases you have to work it out for yourself. No way I would trust it to someone else. I just follow what my body is telling me. My right side is all smashed up so I have to follow what works for my resultant body not what is on anyone's chart. Fititing systems can be as much marketing as anything else.

    4. Sore muscles from cramp."

    Sounds like a day at the "office" to me.

  9. #9
    jcm
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    tpelle's setup is about as sensible as you will ever see. I could jump on that rig and rip off a century right now - even with that ...that 'saddle.' (I'm a Brooks Cultist) Classic relaxed touring posture. Both of my road bikes look like that, as well as my 520. Notice the bars set so the ramps are flat, the drop grip angle is negligible, allowing comfortable drop grip position. Tops are above the saddle, transferring weight to the saddle and off the hands. This also takes strain off the neck and shoulders. The stem moves the bars back and up, allowing a slight bend at the elbows. This absorbs road shock before it reaches the neck and shoulders. There is nothing to be gained by riding a bike that hurts.

    I think you have the right size frame. However, most of the L or XL bikes I have seen (like mine) come with a stem that is way too long - 130mm is not unusual. If that is the case, ditch it. A more relaxed rider is a rider that is having more fun.

    As you relax the posture to a more upright position, you will be lifting your knees less because you won't be leaning so far forward. That will help with the knee issue.

    Remember, ALL riders tweak their bikes - even those who spend $5000 will do it. It's just that they do alot of it in the order process. The rest of us ride-it-in.

  10. #10
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    ouch

    Quote Originally Posted by StuckInMud View Post
    Recently I posted queries as to what size Surly Long Haul Trucker I should buy. After feedback, research and second guessing myself I settled on a 60cm frame, being 189cm tall with an inseam of 90cm.

    Anyway, two days ago I did a 65 km shakedown ride on the newly acquired bicycle. Just to get a feel of
    it and test the fit.

    The results during the ride;

    1. Painful palms when gripping the handlebars - only remedied by riding the brake hoods. Gripping the top of the bars was uncomfortable for any length of time.

    2. Saddle needed adjusting with the point of the nose slightly down. I suspect the saddle may be slightly too high. May be related to problem with hands.

    3. Towards the end of the ride I was into the wind and attempted to ride the drops - this position felt very uncomfortable for pedalling and immediately led to severe cramping in the muscle just above my knees.

    The results after the ride;

    1. Dull but significant ache across back of shoulders and neck.

    2. Aching palms.

    3. Sore knees.

    4. Sore muscles from cramp.


    Although I haven't made any adjustments I'm beginning to think I may have purchased a bike that is too big.

    Any suggestions????
    It doesn't sound like your frame is too big but it does sound like you are putting too much weight on your hands. Riding on the tops of the bars indicates (to me) that you were trying to get comfortable at the highest position the bar offered, at the time. Riding on the horizontal bar of the bar is not the best for the nerves in your hands. The handshake position on the hoods is the best from a comfort perspective and you should try to make that your best fit position. Riding the tops allows a more upright place to ride for a change of pace and the drops are nice in headwinds or when you need even more leverage for climbing or sprinting, than the hoods. If a cyclist always rides the tops, then the hoods are too low/far away and the drops are all but useless. For a touring bike, your position should not be confused with a racing position.
    My bike is set up similar to tpelle's with a 30 degree rise stem, 90mm long. This gets my bar several cm above the saddle and for me, with a short reach, it is really comfortable.
    The cramping may have been related to insufficient water or riding past your fitness level. Soreness between the shoulders indicates too low/far of a bar position and/or exceeding your fitness level.
    I can ride about 50 miles before any soreness becomes a factor and I believe my bike is fit well. I do know that my flexibility, weight, fitness and age make riding a long way a bit of a challenge with proper bike fit being important only to a point.

    In short.....raise the bars and maybe make them a little closer (which they will naturally do, due to head tube angle) when you raise them. This will take weight off your hands, allow you to ride on the hoods, the flats will be a nice spot for a change of pace and the drops will become usefull for several minutes, without pain, when needed. Make your saddle level and move it back on the rails, if its not already. Lastly read www.rivbike.com in their section on bike fit etc. if you are interested in comfort for long rides and not in looking like a racer.

  11. #11
    Senior Member brianmcg123's Avatar
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    Your bars are too low. You need to get the bars at least level with the height of the saddle or even up to 4cm above.

    If you got a smaller LHT your pain would be much worse.
    Everyone's a roadie, they just might not know it yet.

  12. #12
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm View Post
    tpelle's setup is about as sensible as you will ever see. I could jump on that rig and rip off a century right now - even with that ...that 'saddle.' (I'm a Brooks Cultist)
    OK, OK, I've got the B17 on order! Scheduled delivery is tomorrow or Thursday, and I get home from out-of-town on Friday. One Proofide treatment Friday afternoon, on the bike on Saturday AM, and we'll see how she feels.

    Thanks for the complements on the bike, too.

  13. #13
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    I never quite get the whole proofhide thing. Supposed to be the only stuff to use (ha ha) because it doesn't change the saddle adversely, and yet it seems somehow implicated in break-in.

    Certainly good to have some protective goo on it.

  14. #14
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    I never quite get the whole proofhide thing. Supposed to be the only stuff to use (ha ha) because it doesn't change the saddle adversely, and yet it seems somehow implicated in break-in.

    Certainly good to have some protective goo on it.
    I know what you mean. Interesting paradox.

    tpelle:
    That's actually a decent saddle you have there. You may find that you'll need to change the setup when your Brooks arrives. A slight up tilt so just the seat portion is level with the ground. If the peak bothers you, scoot the saddle forward a tad, but try to keep the peak up. They usually work better that way. Brooks' advice concurs.

    If you get a 17 that has a totally flat spine out of the box, tilt it up anyway. The negative arc will quickly form as soon as you get on.

  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPolak View Post
    It sounds to me like you need to adjust seat height, angle, position, handlebar height... in other words, take it to a bike shop for a professional fitment.
    If the frame height is ok, then most every thing else can be adjusted thru minor changes to the saddle , seat , or handle bars. Of course some pain is normal, and with lots of road time, your body will adjust. Other than that, with the purchase of a road bike, most shops give you some fitting time. The amont of fit time might be dependent upon the generosity of the shop and their cost for an in depth fit. Or else, google for on line computer enhanced bike fittings. There are several and provide the web sites with your measurements, it will give you some good advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charles vail View Post
    It doesn't sound like your frame is too big but it does sound like you are putting too much weight on your hands. Riding on the tops of the bars indicates (to me) that you were trying to get comfortable at the highest position the bar offered, at the time. Riding on the horizontal bar of the bar is not the best for the nerves in your hands. The handshake position on the hoods is the best from a comfort perspective and you should try to make that your best fit position. Riding the tops allows a more upright place to ride for a change of pace and the drops are nice in headwinds or when you need even more leverage for climbing or sprinting, than the hoods. If a cyclist always rides the tops, then the hoods are too low/far away and the drops are all but useless. For a touring bike, your position should not be confused with a racing position.
    My bike is set up similar to tpelle's with a 30 degree rise stem, 90mm long. This gets my bar several cm above the saddle and for me, with a short reach, it is really comfortable.
    The cramping may have been related to insufficient water or riding past your fitness level. Soreness between the shoulders indicates too low/far of a bar position and/or exceeding your fitness level.
    I can ride about 50 miles before any soreness becomes a factor and I believe my bike is fit well. I do know that my flexibility, weight, fitness and age make riding a long way a bit of a challenge with proper bike fit being important only to a point.

    In short.....raise the bars and maybe make them a little closer (which they will naturally do, due to head tube angle) when you raise them. This will take weight off your hands, allow you to ride on the hoods, the flats will be a nice spot for a change of pace and the drops will become usefull for several minutes, without pain, when needed. Make your saddle level and move it back on the rails, if its not already. Lastly read www.rivbike.com in their section on bike fit etc. if you are interested in comfort for long rides and not in looking like a racer.
    The bars are already about an inch higher than the saddle, I think I will take some spacers out and use a shorter stem at a steep angle such as the one tpelle uses. When I bought the bike the LBS left the steerer tube uncut. Should I leave this be??

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    yes

    Quote Originally Posted by StuckInMud View Post
    The bars are already about an inch higher than the saddle, I think I will take some spacers out and use a shorter stem at a steep angle such as the one tpelle uses. When I bought the bike the LBS left the steerer tube uncut. Should I leave this be??
    I would not cut the steer tube until you have things right where you want them. You can run the spacers on the top of the stem to get the star nut to tighten the headset before tightening the stem that way. You might try just leaving the spacers on and putting the stem on for maximum height and try it. Thats what I did and just left it that way. I have been thinking of a less steep stem lately and may try that for a slightly lower position but I won't cut my steer tube until I have ridden it for another season and I have at least one 100 mile ride on it. For rides over 50 miles you learn more about what works and what doesn't. Right now 50-60 miles is my limit, this late in the season but my plan is to work back up to longer daily distances.
    The problem with cutting your steer tube is that you can't add it back, if you decide the higher position is better on a super long ride. I think my bar is 5 cm higher than my saddle at this time and I may end up with it about 2-3 cm higher eventually. Riding the hoods for me now is really comfortable with a nice bend in my elbow for bumps and about a 45-50 degree bend in my back which is fine for touring. If I want to ride lower in a head wind, I use the drops and can maintain the drop position for several minutes if necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm View Post
    I know what you mean. If you get a 17 that has a totally flat spine out of the box, tilt it up anyway. The negative arc will quickly form as soon as you get on.
    Not to hijack, but glad to hear that negative arc is not a bad thing! My conquest has sagged a bunch. Well, not sagged, but inverted, it is still rigid as all get out.

    I don't think the proofide is involved in break-in at all, it's just a water-proofing thing.

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    A picture says a thousand words, stick a picture up of how it's setup atm.

    If anything, given your height and problems, I'd say it's too small a frame. Bicycle frames generally aren't made for 6'+ people, given your height I'd suggest something between 64 and 66cm of seat tube, 60-62cm of top tube.

    The gold standard for sizing is wearing flat shoes measure inside leg deduct 10.5-11 inches and you have your frame size.

    Where'd all this BS about being able to straddle the frame come from anywho, it might have something to do with sizing compact frames for racing, but it has squat to do with sizing trad frames for general cycling.

  20. #20
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlyselassie View Post

    The gold standard for sizing is wearing flat shoes measure inside leg deduct 10.5-11 inches and you have your frame size.
    So two riders four inches apart in height with the same leg length will fit equally well on the same bike? I'm not buying it.

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    frame sizes

    When it comes to frame sizes with Surly LHT bikes and Rivendell Atlantis's, both with low bottom bracket heights and slack head and seat angles, you have to keep in mind that you will get plenty of stand over so thats not necessarily what you are looking for in a proper fit. What you want is, enough standover and enough seatpost sticking out of the seat tube to get the saddle at the right height for your leg length. After that, you want to look at the angle of your back which should be about 45-50 degrees when your hands are on the hoods. Your arms should not be locked out but should have a comfortable bend in them. You don't want to be so stretched out that your arms are straight as a board and you get jarred by every bump. In addition, you don't want to be straining your neck just to see where you are going while riding. You don't want to be bolt upright either, not even when riding the tops of the bars (just close to upright). The use of a shorter or longer stem and a higher or lower bar position should allow you to fine tune your position. Keep in mind this is for a touring style bike position and not for your local young and lanky racer, that wants to win at all costs and is still flexible enough to ride all bent over and not suffer for a week, after riding.

    You can have your bars too close and that will put additional weight on your hands too. I think the original poster has the right bike unless he has a very short or long torso and or arms. At 6'2"+ I think thats not the case and the 60 cm should be fine. I know some that would put him on a 62 cm on these style of bikes. I suspect that the bar height at 2 cm above the saddle is right on but the stem may be too long or too short and that is where I would make an adjustment. Other than that, I think the sore back, hands and knees is the result of not being used to riding that much on that bike. Riding on the tops is never a good place to ride for a long time, as far as your hand nerves are concerned. The sore knees may have been the result of either a too high or too low saddle, which the poster mentioned.
    Perhaps our O.P. can give more details on measurements and how the bike is set up now. Maybe a side photo of him on the bike would tell us what the problemo is!

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
    So two riders four inches apart in height with the same leg length will fit equally well on the same bike? I'm not buying it.
    That's OK, because it's rather unlikely two people of the same inside leg would have a 4 inch variance in overall height. Most people are in relative proportion.

  23. #23
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlyselassie View Post
    That's OK, because it's rather unlikely two people of the same inside leg would have a 4 inch variance in overall height. Most people are in relative proportion.
    If you design for the middle of the bell curve, you can fit a lot of people, but there's an even larger group on both sides of the middle for whom the fit is progressively worse. That doesn't even begin to take into account things you can't measure with a ruler like age, fitness, flexibility and amount of time in the saddle.

    Compounding this is the variance in frame geometry, especially from compact designs, and how frames are actually measured. Is it c-c, c-t, actual, effective, with or without slope on the top tube?

    A simple leg length factor is an especially crude instrument.

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    true....but

    Fitting a bike is not rocket science. Once you have your saddle height figured (a simple task) all you have to consider is the distance to the handlebar and the handlebar height. Unless you have either a very short or very long torso/arm combo, relative to leg length, you can make adjustments with stem height and length. If a rider is extremely out of shape, overweight or otherwise unable to ride without discomfort then they need to ride less and slowly build up their endurance. Aches and pains are normal once the fit is in the ball park. Subtle refinements make progressively more sense as you put on more mileage. I own a performance recumbent as well as upright bicycles and while it is very comfortable, aches and pains happen on it also if I ride too far beyond my limitations.

  25. #25
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles vail View Post
    Once you have your saddle height figured (a simple task) all you have to consider is the distance to the handlebar and the handlebar height.
    What you're glossing over is that the distance to the handlebars and bar height don't show up in a geometry chart and even when you figure out what it is, the only way to find out what works best for you is to ride a while and make adjustments.

    And the concept of using a factor of leg length on a bike with compact geometry sized literally (like a Bruce Gordon) is laughable.

    Most of the people I ride with are over forty so we're a bunch that may be a little more sensitive to aches and pains than your average 22 year old. Some guys like to be bolt upright, some are flat aero all the time and most of the rest are at different places in between. No leg length measurement is going to be a silver bullet for most of us.

    Over the years that I've been hanging around here, I've found that the absolute worst advice you can get on BF is about sizing.

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