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Need some info from you guys.

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Need some info from you guys.

Old 06-24-13, 09:37 PM
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Need some info from you guys.

I am turning 45 this year. Have been on a Giant Defy for several years in comfort.

But with my two newer road bikes:
I seem to be getting neck and left arm pain numbness if my reach is too long/low on a road bike. Lasts for days after even a short ride.
I also have low back pain for days after riding if I sit any higher than bars above saddle height. I have tried them with differing setups trying to get comfy.
Bolt upright seems to be fine on one of them.

I never had this kind of stuff happen before and have ridden a Giant Defy road bike for several years in comfort.
Is this part of just the body changing as I progress through middle age?

Or can you guys and gals just hop on any ol bike, set up any ol way and ride pain free?

Maybe I need to see the doctor. I seem to have a very limited fit tolerance and am having a hard time finding a comfortable position on my road bikes I have (3 of them) except for my Giant bike, which seems to always be good.
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Old 06-24-13, 09:41 PM
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Why don't you have them set up the same way?
Fred "The Real Fred"

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Old 06-25-13, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Why don't you have them set up the same way?
This. I have several bikes. On each of them, the distances between my contact points are virtually identical.
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Old 06-25-13, 04:14 AM
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A few millimeters can mean the difference between comfort and discomfort so "virtually identical" may not do ...

I'm talking position of brake levers on bars as well as fore/aft on seat and other variables.
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Old 06-25-13, 05:10 AM
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I am comfortable over a range of settings, but my road-style bikes are [initially] set up identically, as measured. I'm working with three different types of handlebar (randonneur, old narrow alloy drop, and narrow ergo) and the brake levers are different. I try to position them as close to the same as I can, using measurements from the centerline of the vertical plane of the crank spindle. I do, however, make slight adjustments for each bike (changes from the initially identical settings) to tailor my riding style to the characteristics of each of the bikes. The tourer and utility bike remain identical.

But the steel racer has a slightly lower handlebar, and consequently the longest reach. The carbon racer has a lower still handlebar and slightly shorter reach stem. All of the bikes are within the range of what my body finds comfortable. Settling in to my comfort zone on each bike may take a few miles though, depending on how flexible and relaxed I am on a particular day.
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Old 06-25-13, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ThatBritBloke
A few millimeters can mean the difference between comfort and discomfort so "virtually identical" may not do ...
I'm clearly more of a pedant than you. I used "virtually identical" on the basis that truly identical set-ups are impossible to achieve. I think we're both giving similar, if not identical advice here...
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Old 06-25-13, 07:25 AM
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I'm with the others.

This seems to be a fitting problem, not a medical one.
  1. Research the fitters in your area.
  2. Interview them, explaining the issues you're having.
  3. Make an appointment with the one you seem to have the best rapport with.
  4. Take all your bikes with you and start the session with the one that already feels best.
  5. Get it dialed in.
  6. Document the measurements.
  7. Then have the other bikes adjusted to the same measurements.

I did this a couple of years ago. I don't have a lot of "body sense". I can get used to anything, even if it isn't right. But at the same time, I can tell you it's not right, but I don't know what's not right about it.

Nor do I have facilities at home to do fitting work. Just an extra set of hands would help, but I have only two. And I could use one of those giant T-squares for cutting drywall. But where would I put the thing afterwards?

At the time, my four bikes were each recruiting leg muscles differently. If I rode only one bike, I was fine. Switching between them caused a day or two of leg pain while the muscles that weren't being used on the first bike, got used on the next. If I rode a different bike each day, my leg muscles were constantly in pain.

Additionally, one bike seemed better for climbing, another seemed better for stretch-out-and-crank, a third I could ride in the drops all day long, and the fourth the drops were forbidden territory.

I took the two bikes that felt best on my first appointment. We fine-tuned my position on the one and transferred the measurements to the other. I rode those two bikes exclusively for the next two weeks. (This for me was the hardest part of the procedure.)

I was happy with the new position on both bikes, so I took the other two in and we transferred the measurements to them. Life has been good ever since. I can switch among them with impunity. Each one feels just right. I can climb well (seated and standing) with them all, and I can stretch-out-and-crank in either the drops or on the hoods.

What I hadn't expected, and have learned a lot more about since, is that since my weight distribution is closer to the same (within geometry differences of the four bikes), the handling between them is much more similar.

In the end, if you mapped out saddle position and bar position of the bikes, at each end I had circled what finally became my new position. One saddle went up and back, another up and forward, the third down and back, the fourth down and forward. And we're talking less than a CM here. Same on the front.

So start with a good fitting first, transfer those measurements, and see if your problems go away. Mine did.

Last edited by tsl; 06-25-13 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 06-25-13, 10:34 AM
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First road bike I had was a size too small and to alleviate back pain I raised the bars and extended the reach but it was never really comfortable. Second one was race Geometry frame and the shop set the bars up 4" below the saddle and told me to ride it. That long low stretched out position really made the bike comfy and only showed in a bit of discomfort in the back after 60 odd miles. Next bike was same same frame size and geometry and set up in the same way and has now evolved into my hilly and long ride bike. Bars are 2" below the saddle and 100 miles with no back pain is good.

Then I got my latest and same size frame bike and I decided to let my body tell me how to set the bike up. Saddle height and fore and aft in relation to the pedals is the same on all bikes so that is a constant Top tube length is 535 on the first two but 525 on the latest. Stem length varies but distance to the flat of the bars is the same on each bike from the seat post. That latest bike has finished up with the bars 3" below the saddle and is comfortable. For how long I don't know as it has not done a 50 miler yet. When I do the bars may get raised a bit to assist this aging body but all of my road bikes have evolved into very similar set up and each is comfortable.
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.

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