Endurance bike


New Member
Jan 2, 2017
I am currently riding a 2011 Giant Defy Advanced 2. This was my first road bike. For the last few years I have had an increasing issue with pain between my right shoulder blade and neck. Pain seems to start around the 30 mile mark. During my third pro fitting (this one at a new shop) I was told the bike was the wrong size. So my thought is to start looking for a new bike. I would love some comments on what people think are some of the better endurance bikes. I would be looking in the US $3,000 to $5,500 range. THANK YOU
This will be an interesting post. Did the fitter say if you needed a larger or smaller bike? a closer reach or a further reach? How old are you? Are you flexible? or not so much? Do you want carbon fiber or titanium?

Usually if there is neck pain your seat height in relation to your handlebar height is too high, which means you either need a larger bike and/or a bike with a shorter top tube to shorten the reach. To see if that is the situation you could install a riser (spacer), and/or flip the stem if you have one of those with a different angled end, this will raise the bar, but to bring the bar closer you'll need a shorter stem. Raising the bar will in effect bring the bar a bit closer but it may not be enough, only trial and error will figure that out.

You might also only need to do some proper exercises and stretching.
"Most cyclists tend to have a sustained contraction in their upper back/neck region while riding. This means inadequate circulation (and oxygen and nutrients) to the upper back and neck region. A sustained contraction means your muscles are under continuous load and not moving (not alternating between a contracted and relaxed state which is desirable).

So what types of things can be done to help? You probably already know that stretching is advantageous to avoiding muscle related injuries. In addition to stretching the neck and upper back muscles, you can also benefit from these two exercises: elbow presses and reverse shoulder shrugs.

Elbow presses are a great blood pumping exercise that helps an ample blood supply reach the upper back and neck region. This will counter the sustained sub-maximal contraction that cinches down on the muscle’s small arteries which occur with long bike rides.

To perform elbow presses, bring your elbows out away from the body at the shoulder level. Then pull your elbows back as far as you can, causing the muscles around your shoulder blades and upper back to contract before you bring the elbows back to the starting point. Continue performing reps until you get a mild burning sensation in the muscles of the upper back and neck.

Reverse shoulder shrugs are also great because they make the muscles in the neck and upper back region alternate between full contraction and full relaxation.

Reverse shoulder shrugs are performed by shrugging your shoulders upward toward your ears and then back down toward the ground and behind you. It is important to do reverse shoulder shrugs (shrugging up and back) rather than regular forward shoulder shrugs. Forward shoulder shrugs have a forward rotation which makes the back hunch forward into a chimp-like posture.

This prevents the muscles of the upper back from contracting enough to accomplish the desired “contract, relax, contract, relax” movement pattern. Doing this exercise properly will get the muscles in the upper back and neck pumping periodically and cyclists will notice a positive difference within a few times of performing the exercise.

There are also some basic neck movements that may help neck range of motion and circulation in the neck. Here are the ones that I recommend:

1. Flexion (chin to chest)

2. Extension (head up)

3. Right and left rotation (chin pointing toward the point of the shoulder)

4. Right and left lateral flexion (ear to the shoulder).

Cyclists can also fall prey to another common problem that occurs in the upper back and neck area known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome or TOS for short. T.O.S. is a condition in which blood vessels or nerves are compressed, usually by overlying muscles, as they pass from the neck region into the arm. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands. Typically, athletes in strength sports like football and baseball are most susceptible, but cyclists may also experience thoracic outlet syndrome-type symptoms.

The difference is that cyclists are more likely to suffer because of muscle tightness or spasm at the base of the neck. Again, muscle movement and stretching are effective in relieving TOS related discomfort."

That above information came from a former distance runner, Ron Fritzke, D.C. currently races his bike in California. He’s been helping patients with their back problems for the last 22 years in Mount Shasta, California. In addition to serving on the sports medicine team at the College of the Siskiyous.

I would try the cheaper alternatives first before rushing out and getting new bike, with any changes and especially exercising and stretching programs, it takes time to see results, but they will slowly occur and could save you big bucks. If you after 3 months and you're still in misery with no signs of improvement than look into getting a new bike, but this time test ride the bike for a long time to make sure it will work for you. You may want to look at various endurance bikes too, these have a taller headtube for increased comfort in you upper back and neck.

Some taller headtube endurance bikes are the Eddy Merckx Mourenx 69; Trek Domane S 5 endurance bike; Specialized Roubaix series; and there are other bikes as well of course.
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Thank you Froze, very thorough! To answer some of your questions. The third fitting I went through the fitter told me th bike was too big. Probably by as mush as 2 cm. The stem has not only been flipped but replaced as well as two different handlebars. One wider then the stock bars and the last was a shorter width.

My flexibility could be better. And you are 100% right in regards to stretching. I do not do that as mush as I should, truly if it all. This coming season I will be 49 years old. I started cycling in 2010 buying my current bike a 2011 Giant Defy Adcanced 2 I. April of 2012.

I have no experience or knowledge in regards to Titanium. I was focusing on Carbon Fiber bikes. One of the issues I have in my area is there are very few shops that seem to Demo bikes. The 2 ships I use one does not at all the other will for $100 a day. There is another I know of but have not been to yet that has a demo fleet of BMC bikes that the do demo.

Your answer took some time I really do appreciate it. I have another 4 months here before we are back on the road so I will be focusing on stretching and core improvement.

Thank you and safe cycling,

For the last few years I have had an increasing issue with pain between my right shoulder blade and neck.

Have you and your doctor looked into what is causing the pain?

I am not impressed with bike fitters at the local shop level...at least the ones I've had experience with. You could probably do a better job fitting yourself to your physiological needs, riding style and comfort. If your current bike is 2 Cm too large you might want to hit Craigslist up for a used bike in the size you think you need.

It's just going to be a test mule, so nothing fancy. All it has to do is roll down the road for a few more hours of service life. Dial in the fit that works with bars, stem, saddle setback & height. Experiment! Tape measure, 4' level and notebook to record all measurements and changes.

Replicate what works to the big dollar purchase and sell off the Craigslist fitting sled when you're done with it. Setting up a bike is easy and low-end fitting components are dirt cheap.

The alternative is spending money on a really good fitter. One with test ride bikes and a well equipped fitting studio. One you might have to travel to and spend a couple days working with. It's a way better investment IMO than relying on some local's opinion...especially if you are going through a health problem.
I mentioned Titanium because being a person that had lower back fusion I had to find a bike that absorbed road shock better and TI does that better than any other material. In that light if you suffer from shoulder and neck pain you can make your riding more comfortable, after do all that I said earlier, but absorbing more of the road shock is just part of the equation of adding all the other stuff into it. It was just a thought about an alternative to CF.

I agree with Campy Bob on the fitter issue, there are very few fitters in this nation that actually know what they're doing, most small to medium cities will have some 18 to 22 year old college kid that was trained at some class for a day, then marketed as a professional fitter which they are not! Some large cities, especially those that are in cycling mecca type of areas where pro racers may be born, usually will have one shop with a high level of fitting going on. Most small to medium cities will have a trainer that has only been certified to level 1 which is really just basic fitting which you could do on your own by googling how to fit a bike, of course it would take longer doing it yourself due to experimentation Campy Bob mentioned but it's far cheaper too. Most fitting systems have at least 2 levels, the last level in most cities is never reached. When a fitting marketing rep goes into a bike shop to market their fitting equipment, the discussion isn't about how good the fit will be, but rather how much profit the equipment AND selling accessories will be for the bike shop, thus you end up with a fitter pushing products to "make" your bike fit better, when in reality most of the stuff they sell you about 50% of the time won't work and in fact you could end up worse off than before! You know this to be true because you bought parts due to recommendations in the hope that all would be good after the purchases and they were not, you ended up wasting money.

Though it sounds like the new larger bike may be the right thing for you if the stretching and all the stuff I mentioned earlier doesn't improve after 3 months, but once you get that new bike you still have to be fitted to it, so see these sites on how to do it for yourself to save money, and the worse case scenario is if you can't figure out how to dial it in then see a fitter and pay the big bucks, but most people by and large do not need a pro fitter, racers are more likely to need this sort of service and people with unusual physical problems...but only if they see a good highly rated fitter.


Thank you both I feel I have a good direction through the off season and into riding this spring.

Ride safe
One thing I forgot to mention, if you decide to buy a bike, buy the bike from the shop that said you were riding a bike too small, why you scream? Because maybe, note I said maybe, the shop, since they've already charged you for one fitting, would give you a fitting for free with a purchase of a bike...but you will have to negotiate that into the deal which they may or may not accept, but it's worth a shot. Also if that shop is correct about the size of your bike being too small than that's really the only shop you want to use for a fit seeing that all the others you went to were flunkies.

Also, if you decide to get a CF bike Specialized has a model called the Roubaix SL4 Comp UDI2, or the SL4 Sport (the UDI2 has electronic shifting which I'm leery of due to having to keep battery charged, software glitches, computer failures, servo motor failures, wireless sending unit failure, fast out of date hardware, all of which could keep you from shifting your bike when you need to; the Sport is less expensive with 105 groupset which works very well); this bike has a shock absorption feature in the rear seat stays and fork called Zertz which might also help with the pain issue. Having seen several brands of expensive CF tubing cut lengthwise, Specialized seemed to have the best quality control. But I happen to like TI for all the reasons I mentioned previously plus weird events won't damage the bike like those events can with CF, argumentatively those events are somewhat rare but they can and do happen; and with CF you never know if you have exceeded the frame/forks limits if you hit a simple pothole till it's too late. Ti is a bit heavier than some CF frames, but not all, lowend CF bikes can weigh as much as a lowend TI bike, the Specialized is no lightweight though at around 20 pounds, I have a steel bike from 1984 that weighs 21, and my low end Lynskey Peloton TI bike weighs 17.5 pounds, but it costs a bit more than the Specialized too. You can read about the Specialized here, but I think this is last years mode but it will give you an idea of what it is about; see: http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/reviews/road-bikes/specialized-roubaix-sl4

You could also side step the bike shop and get a nice titanium bike from Bikes Direct for about the same price as the Specialized but with Ultegra, but that's another story for another day if you need to know.

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