Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fitting Your Bike
Reload this Page >

Muscle overwork only on road bike

Notices
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.

Muscle overwork only on road bike

Old 05-26-23, 09:16 AM
  #1  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Muscle overwork only on road bike

Hi,
I started cycling some years ago with an entry level mtb. Everthing was fine until one day i decided to tweak my saddle position because i felt it was too low and too far back. So i moved the saddle up, forward and tilted it down a lot. Since then i started developing an increasing quad soreness which led to quads overwork when trying to do high intensity sustained efforts; also my cadence dropped a lot.
I've never experienced this pain with the old position, it is localized in the upper thighs. When i returned to the old position everything was again fine. Then i bought a road bike and here is the problem: i started riding it experiencing a similar quads pain, it is localized higher compared to the mtb (front of the hips); i've tried every saddle position, even the same saddle in the same position relative to the bottom bracket with same shoes and pedals, it didn't work. I've tried long and short stems, even a +17° stem to exactly match the saddle to bar drop. I've tried different saddles, including a smp forma with which i can have a lot of seat setback (i have a 20 mm offset seatpost).
I've noticed it gets slightly worse when i'm in the drops. The cadence is high enough on the road bike (90+). The fact that bothers me the most is that i can't push forcefully as i do on my mtb; as a consequence i struggle to climb the same roads with the road bike at the same speed of my mtb, which is heavier and with low pressure tires. I've already seen a bike fitter but we didn't solve the problem.

Last edited by Rooooadbiker; 05-26-23 at 04:48 PM.
Rooooadbiker is offline  
Old 05-26-23, 09:34 AM
  #2  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,561

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Liked 5,096 Times in 3,504 Posts
Your issue is likely saddle position fore/aft along with height. And maybe even your foot position on the pedals. Though for me foot position usually affects my calf muscles.

But it'd help to know your inseam measurement and your bike model and size. Inseam is measured snug in the crotch to the floor. I don't particularly care if you have shoes on, just don't wear your stilettos or platform shoes.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 05-26-23, 02:07 PM
  #3  
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 1,280
Liked 384 Times in 289 Posts
I would start by measuring the pedal to saddle distance on the MTB and compare that to your setup on the road bike. I orient my body quite differently on a road bike with its drop handlebars than on my mountain bikes where I am much more upright while riding. I use my back and stomach muscles a great deal more on my road bike as the drops allow me to do so.

It is easier for someone following you while you ride to spot problems with seat height and position. I do not think having a fitting in a bike shop is particularly useful. Even when I make adjustments on my bikes I ride for at least 20 minutes to get my muscles and connective tissue warm and limber. If I just get up on the saddle with cold legs I cannot accurately determine the optimum seat position.
Calsun is offline  
Old 05-26-23, 04:12 PM
  #4  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've already tried to match the saddle position, measuring both with respect to the bottom bracket and to the pedal axle. It feels like my pelvis is much more unstable on the road bike compared to the mountain bike even with the same saddle in the same position. I've also already compared the saddle to bar distance and even reducing it (to be shorter than the distance on the mtb) on the road bike with a short stem didn't solve the problem.
Rooooadbiker is offline  
Old 05-26-23, 05:29 PM
  #5  
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,679

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Liked 2,034 Times in 1,443 Posts
It would be easier to figure this out if we could see two photos of you on each bike in your usual position on that bike, one with cranks vertical, one with them horizontal.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 05-26-23, 06:15 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Chicago North Shore
Posts: 2,392

Bikes: frankenbike based on MKM frame

Liked 671 Times in 401 Posts
'Unstable' + pain makes me think saddle is too high.

Btw, I'm assuming you restored the seat position that didn't hurt on your MTB.
philbob57 is offline  
Old 05-27-23, 08:58 AM
  #7  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,561

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Liked 5,096 Times in 3,504 Posts
It might just be that you aren't use to a road bike position for riding. Though your burning quads tend to make me think your saddle is way too low and you are pushing a high gear ratio.

Still, more info about your bikes and you would help. Otherwise we can only just generalize about things that might be different for anyone since personal preference plays a part too.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 05-27-23, 09:58 AM
  #8  
ignominious poltroon
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 4,291
Liked 3,666 Times in 1,913 Posts
Bike fit (or lack thereof).

Assuming the bike is the right size, it might be worth it to spend a few bucks and get a (better) professional fit.

If you want DIY, https://bikedynamics.co.uk/
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 05-28-23, 07:26 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
freeranger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,647

Bikes: 06 Lemond Reno, 98 GT Timberline mtn.bike

Liked 754 Times in 463 Posts
Your riding position on a road bike and off-road bike will be different. Road=bent over more, trail=more upright. While using the same legs, same muscles, they are being used in a slightly different position. I sometimes ride my off-road bike on pavement for a workout, and find I have to raise the seat higher than when riding trails. And while my position on my off-road bike is comfortable and works for me while trail riding, it sucks on road. Don't try to match position on the bikes to each other. They are meant for different purposes and each will have a "sweet spot" which works for where you ride them. Find the most comfortable position on your road bike and go with it for a while. Could be that your legs and muscles just need to "break in" to a slightly different position and the way you use the muscles. I am assuming the road bike is the correct size for you.

Last edited by freeranger; 05-28-23 at 07:37 AM.
freeranger is offline  
Old 05-28-23, 12:26 PM
  #10  
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 1,280
Liked 384 Times in 289 Posts
Upper leg muscle pain is usually the result of the saddle being too low. The saddle height measurement should be from the top of the saddle to the top of the pedal at the 6 O'clock position. This is only a starting point and I always take a wrench with me and do not start making changes to saddle position until I have fully warmed up my legs, i.e after 20-30 minutes.

With my mountain bikes I like having a dropper seat post and one came with the full suspension bike but I had to add one to my hardtail bike. Being able to drop the seat gave me a lot more flexibility in positioning myself on the bike.
Calsun is offline  
Old 05-29-23, 04:44 AM
  #11  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I don't think the problem is the saddle being too low because as i said, on my mountain bike, a very similar problem started when i moved the saddle up (by a lot ~2 cm/almost 1 inch)and all the way forward; and tilted the nose down by a lot. So on the road bike i took as a starting point a position with the saddle all the way down and back, leveled. Then i started moving it up until it felt way too high; then i started moving it forward (reassessing saddle height). I've also tried starting with the nose down.
None of those positions worked.
I feel my pelvis more stable (i.e. feeling more on my "sitbones") on the mountain bike (with the old/correct saddle position) compared to any position on the road bike, even with the lowest saddle height and the same saddle.

Last edited by Rooooadbiker; 05-29-23 at 05:02 AM.
Rooooadbiker is offline  
Old 05-29-23, 08:20 AM
  #12  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,561

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Liked 5,096 Times in 3,504 Posts
Tilting the nose down a lot is an indication something is wrong with how you are doing things or that you have a wildly wrong size bike for you, whether that is the mountain bike or the road bike. Saddles pretty much should be level. Maybe a little tilt up or down, but usually up very slightly is typical for those that don't prefer them to be level.

Still, if you want some help you are going to have to answer some of the questions ask. Essentially, you've just repeated your original post.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 05-29-23, 09:01 AM
  #13  
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,679

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Liked 2,034 Times in 1,443 Posts
Yeah, well, this is all useless without photos.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 06-02-23, 10:11 AM
  #14  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My inseam is 76.2 cm and i've already tried the 0.885 and 1.09 (pedal axle to saddle) formulas. I am 1.66 cm and my bike has a weird geometry with a reach of about 395 mm. I think the seat tube is very steep. I tried with a 70 mm stem though getting a very short position with the saddle all the way back but it didn't work. My cleats are positioned all the way back, it should be a safe positioning (speaking of muscular load).

One more thing i can notice is that the pedals are way more far apart on the mountain bike compared to the road bike.

Last edited by Rooooadbiker; 06-02-23 at 12:37 PM.
Rooooadbiker is offline  
Old 06-02-23, 01:05 PM
  #15  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,561

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Liked 5,096 Times in 3,504 Posts
It'd really help if we knew what bike you were talking about that has the weird geometry.

Perhaps it's really a TT bike and not what we'd typically think of for a road bike.

Pic's you can put in the Gallery here on BF and let us know they are there and we can find them to look at.

Until you provide some tangible information about your bikes and some of the other stuff ask of you then all we can do is commiserate with your aches and pains.
Iride01 is offline  
Likes For Iride01:
Old 06-08-23, 11:24 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Road Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 16,933

Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

Liked 677 Times in 517 Posts
Originally Posted by Rooooadbiker
My inseam is 76.2 cm and i've already tried the 0.885 and 1.09 (pedal axle to saddle) formulas. I am 1.66 cm and my bike has a weird geometry with a reach of about 395 mm. I think the seat tube is very steep. I tried with a 70 mm stem though getting a very short position with the saddle all the way back but it didn't work. My cleats are positioned all the way back, it should be a safe positioning (speaking of muscular load).

One more thing i can notice is that the pedals are way more far apart on the mountain bike compared to the road bike.
What does his 1.66 cm mean? If he means meters then it's probably his height, and I can compare: My height is about 167 cm, and my PBH is 81.4 cm. I think his 76.2 cm might not be the correct inseam measurement. If he has done PBH in line with usual guidelines, I think his saddle height should be from the pedal 83.1 or so, and from crank 67.5 cm, at least assuming his body data is accurate and the old rubrics work for such a short leg. I also wonder if his frame is small enough. I ride a 52 or 53 cm vintage-style (1970s and a980s) road frame, and his inseam is 5 cm shorter than mine. But his height is about the same as mine so he has a long torso and/or long arms.

OP: what do you mean by "reach?" I can think of about four different measurements folks have called reach. We throw around these terms, but there is actually a lot of ambiguity in them.
Road Fan is offline  
Old 06-12-23, 11:23 AM
  #17  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Yes i am 166 cm and the inseam is measured correctly. I've tried those saddle heights and they didn't worked, as any of the other saddle positions i tried (a lot).
The bike is not a TT, it is a road bike with a custom frame. By reach i mean the horizontal distance between the bottom bracket and the headset (I've tried a 70 mm stem to see if it was involved in the problem but it didn't solve it).
Noticing that the distance between the pedal is bigger in the mountain bike lately I've tried a pair of pedals extenders but it didn't work either.
Describing the problem in other words, it's like i have normal strenght to push the pedals on the mountain bike, and no strength at all when i ride the road bike, with any saddle position.

Last edited by Rooooadbiker; 06-12-23 at 11:28 AM.
Rooooadbiker is offline  
Old 06-12-23, 11:37 AM
  #18  
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,679

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Liked 2,034 Times in 1,443 Posts
Yet once again, you won't be able to get any useful advice without posting photos. See post 5. You're wasting time and the energy of people who know a lot about it.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 06-12-23, 12:05 PM
  #19  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,561

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Liked 5,096 Times in 3,504 Posts
Describing the problem in other words, it's like i have normal strength to push the pedals on the mountain bike, and no strength at all when i ride the road bike, with any saddle position.
Road bikes and mountain bikes have different gearing. Mountain bikes will have more easier gears to push given the same riding conditions. So if you are just saying that you can pedal the hardest gear of your mountain bike easily on a paved road but can't pedal the hardest gear on your road bike without wearing out your quads, well... you are right, you can't and probably you should be able to as a normal thing. The big gear gets used once you've achieved a certain speed via the use of the lower gears that lets you pedal without cramping up your quads.

Still sharing some information about your two bikes and maybe even a picture might help. As well a better description of when you have this pain in your quads that you mentioned in your OP. Only while riding and it goes away soon after you stop riding or you get this after the ride.

Repeating your measurements isn't going to help without you also telling us the other stuff. You haven't even given us the size of the bikes.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 06-12-23, 12:42 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 13,104

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Liked 4,134 Times in 2,665 Posts
Another thought. If this road bike is a fun ride, you may be seeing what I see any time I take out the old race bike I picked up last summer. My bike is as good as it gets for extracting everything my body had to offer by:

1) Fitting perfectly and feeling 100% race and

2) Subtly encouraging my body to go far harder than I planned. I frequently find myself riding a gear higher but also keeping up a good RPM. Faster! Fun! And I pay for it after on a regular basis.
79pmooney is online now  
Old 06-12-23, 02:40 PM
  #21  
ignominious poltroon
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 4,291
Liked 3,666 Times in 1,913 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Yet once again, you won't be able to get any useful advice without posting photos. See post 5. You're wasting time and the energy of people who know a lot about it.
In fairness, posting photos isn't enabled until the OP has more than 10 posts. (There is a workaround of creating an album.) That is why the spammers have to be content with phone numbers.
Polaris OBark is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.