Do i need a shorter stem, lower back pain?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by CycleLad99, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. CycleLad99

    CycleLad99 New Member

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    Hey guys,
    So I have a second hand 52 cm road bike which by what I went from should be right as I am 5ft 5 inches. However on very intensive rides like going up new hills etc or even longish distances I get lower back pain to the point of crippling that I have to pull over and get off the bike. The stem on it currently is 115mm and while on the hoods I can see the hub behind the bars. I also feel slightly stretched out. Weirdly, I never experience this pain on the trainer, only while out on the road. Do I need to strengthen my core? I can't afford a bike fit and also tight on money so need to decide on proper stem length before I buy!

    I have included pics of my position while holding hoods and drops. I am getting quite annoyed now. And to move the saddle very far forward it goes past the max lines.

    https://m.imgur.com/a/Gs6mS

    Thank you!
     
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  2. CycleLad99

    CycleLad99 New Member

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    Anyone here?
     
  3. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    Don't take the lack of responses personally, it's just really difficult to diagnose fit issues in a forum. The fact that your pics are taken from a slightly rearward angle makes is hard to get a good read on your position.

    The old rule that "the stem should block your view of the front hub" may work for some riders, but it doesn't work for people like me who have long arms for their height. I've always been able to see the front hub on properly fitted bikes.

    Although your current stem appears to be a 115, I don't know of anyone who actually makes that size, so it's probably a 110. That does sound a bit long for a 52cm frame, but it depends on the frame geometry and your body dimensions.

    Stems are cheap and easy to change, so experimenting with a shorter one is easy enough to do. If you're in the UK, PlanetX has closeout prices on a several models of stems as we speak, so for $25-$40 you could pick up a couple of different sizes to try. You're not going to hurt yourself by experimenting.

    As for the fact that your back only gets sore on the road, it's likely due to the increased vibration. If you're running high tire pressures, try dialing them back. I'm 175 pounds and with 25c tires, I routinely run 72/82, front/rear. You don't necessarily need to go that low, but if you're running a lot more, try dialing it back. It will make your bike a lot more comfortable and it won't cost you anything performance-wise.
     
  4. Lostfreight

    Lostfreight New Member

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    If the pain you experience is “crippling” it might be worth getting sized or at very least rely on your local bike shop for some sizing input. What is your good health worth? Especially when it’s a back issue.
     
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