Bike fit or posture?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Trainingwheelz, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. Trainingwheelz

    Trainingwheelz New Member

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    My hands sometimes go numb and my lower back begins hurting with sharp pains during some rides about 2 hours or longer (seperate aliments occuring, therefore independently of one another). The back problem may occur during a shorter more intense ride. Question is, will bike fit or posture on the bike take care of this problem? 5'10" 165 riding a 1999 55cm Lemond Malliot Jaune.

    Any input is progress at this point.

    Thanks
    Ian
     
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  2. WP33

    WP33 New Member

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    Hand numbness can be caused by a few things, vibration through the bike or too much forward tilt on the saddle for instance. None of us here can tell you for sure what it is over the internet. I'm sure most of us from time to time, good set up or not, have an issue with minor, short-lived numbness due to road vibration, though by your post it seems this is a common occurence on most rides. Is that right? If so, first place I'd look is at your saddle tilt. Too far down and you'll be trying to push yourself back on the seat constantly, possibly pinching nerves in the hand, leading to numbness. Too far up and you'll crush your genitals (numbness again). Everyone's different. Some will run a straight flat saddle, some with a bit of down tilt, others up. I personally have just a shade under 1/4 inch of nose up tilt because that's where I feel right. I recently had to grease the rails on the saddle, requiring me to take it off, and when I reinstalled, I had maybe 2mm more upwards tilt just from human error. I knew pretty quickly that I didn't like that, as I started feeling perineal pressure. Yeah, a couple millimeters can make that much of a difference.

    Part two of your problem can also be due to a couple reasons. None of us can say if a 55 LeMond is right for you, as, again, everyone is different. My main bike is a 54 (measured center-top), but when measured against my 53 LeMond (measured center-center), it's appreciably longer, even though they're technically supposed to be same size (and LeMond's marketing hype of the "longer top tube than other brands" Yeah, okay). And according to Specialized's world, my bike should be fitted with a 120mm stem, but I felt off with it, and had them put a 90mm on. I guess what I'm driving at is that none of us know your set up, your body build or how you ride. You could be on a 150mm stem where a 100 would suffice for all we know and have your seat too low, both of which could be causing back issues. I'll tell you this- there are times if I get a little crazy and push too hard I can get muscular pain and stiffness in my back after any amount of time. This is almost definitely due to my lack of core strength. I'm the first to admit I need to do some weight work and probably some situps to strengthen my back and abs. Stretched out along your bike for long periods of time the only thing holding you up and still is your lower back and your abs. And you'd be surprised at how much work your back actually does for you on the bike. You give it too much juice too early and you could very well be causing the back pain. Make sure you're stretching as well. Lack of flexibility can cause big problems, especially in the lower back and legs. I'd be willing to bet with some core strengthening and some increased flexibilty the pain will stop.
     
  3. Trainingwheelz

    Trainingwheelz New Member

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    Thank you for your response. I will investigate both my set-up and my optimal set up, find my confort zones and mke the proper adjustments. Thank you for the starting reference.


    Ian
     
  4. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

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    Ian, I spent $65 at a bike shop to get a personal measurement. The shop then set my bike up by changing the stem, setting my saddle height, saddle tilt and setback, cleat adjustment (different for each leg) and gave me riding advice about checking for pain in different areas. It was money, well-spent and I was so glad for it made a tremendous difference in my comfort. I'm 52, have a bad back (compressed disc in L3), bad knees, yet, properly set up on my bike I can ride 50 miles at a 16mph average pace without developing any pain. In fact, riding regularly helps my joints because I am working them within their limits and strengthing my muscles.

    I subsequently bought a bike that was fully customized to my measurements. I went from my old bike to my new one and immediately was able to ride a couple of mph faster and more than 35% further with the same effort than I had on my old bike. Not all was due to bike fit, but a lot was for long distance riding means a lot of time in the saddle and a lot of muscle fatigue. I've come home exhausted yet feeling fine the next day without joint pains.

    I strongly reccommend you find a bike shop that offers proffesional fitting because it makes such an impact on how well we are fit on our bikes.
     
  5. kd1958

    kd1958 New Member

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    What was the name of the bike shop that fit your bike for you?

     
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