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bike fit vs back pain

Old 12-05-10, 03:08 AM
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bike fit vs back pain

I've got a Giant CRX3 (road bike with flat bars). If I stand astride the frame I have about 2.5 inches clearance. It's set up so my bars are about the same height as my seat. Recently I strained my back and now when I ride it hurts my lower back. Previously I've not had the problem. Question is; should I change my set-up? The seat height is right relative to the pedals. I could buy a bike with a larger frame but the frame seems about right relative to my crotch. Should I try to change the height of the bars so they are 3 inches higher perhaps as that would reduce the curvature in my lumbar region? If so how would I do that?
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Old 12-05-10, 06:10 AM
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Easy way to check the bar height---Is to lower the saddle. Won't give you the best position for cycling but you will be able to see if raising the bars would help.

And hate to say it- For some of us- having a longer lower stretched out position helps our backs. Only been riding road for 4 years but first road bike and I set the bars up to saddle height on the flats but it was never really comfortable. 2nd bike is longer on the position and the bars are 4" lower than the saddle. It works for me.
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Old 12-05-10, 08:23 AM
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I have to go along with Stapfam. You might want to experiment with the bars a bit lower and a slightly longer reach to stretch the back. Oh, yeah, "experiment" is the key word here.
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Old 12-05-10, 08:46 AM
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009jim, This is a temporary thing, don't make any permanant (expensive) changes... as long as there was no discomfort before wrenching your back.

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Old 12-05-10, 09:17 AM
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I have a Giant FCR3, which I believe is the old name for your bike. Mine has an adjustable stem - I can raise or lower the bar slightly by rotating the stem adjustment. In my case there is definitely a connection between handlebar height and back pain. If I put the bar too low I get lower back and neck pain.

BTW, after several years with the original flat bar I changed it to a trekking bar. That seems to have helped my back, and definitely has helped my hands and wrists. Nashbar sells a trekking bar that is plug-n-play on the FCR3.
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Old 12-05-10, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 009jim
I've got a Giant CRX3 (road bike with flat bars). If I stand astride the frame I have about 2.5 inches clearance. It's set up so my bars are about the same height as my seat. Recently I strained my back and now when I ride it hurts my lower back. Previously I've not had the problem. Question is; should I change my set-up? The seat height is right relative to the pedals. I could buy a bike with a larger frame but the frame seems about right relative to my crotch. Should I try to change the height of the bars so they are 3 inches higher perhaps as that would reduce the curvature in my lumbar region? If so how would I do that?
Bikes are not sized by stand-over height, but by virtual top-tube length which in conjunction with the stem length and height, sets the back angle. First the seat is adjusted for fore-aft placement of the knee relative to the pedal spindle, then the seat height is reset, then the stem is selected for the suitable back angle. Specifics are rider dependent: different strokes for different folks.

Adjustment is an iterative process as seat height affects seat fore-aft and vice versa.

If you are not bent over more than roughly 50 degrees from the verticle, I'd consider some back exercises. There are reams of articles on the web and lots of books on Amazon to do that. Many are targeted to those who suffer pain. I'd avoid any that hyper extend as that compresses the disc's and is considered dangerous over the long term.

I used to have a lot of lower-back issues before age 26 when I started to exercise. I stayed back-pain free until recently when I may get week-long periods of lower back pain every 8 or 9 months it seems. I've decide that do to age (71), I need to specifically target the back.

I'll soon to order a roman chair. I'm going for an adjustable one where I can set the difficulty.

A lot of folks apparently use the Roman chair for back issues. You can see some owner reviews on Amazon. Some use it every day.

Riding the mountain bike for 2 to 4 hours doesn't seem to aggravate or cause it in my case.

Al
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