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-   -   Neck pain after ~30Min of riding (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1183460)

Speedldew 09-11-19 06:02 PM

Neck pain after ~30Min of riding
 
So, I'm 1,80m (5,9 foot) and I have a Trek Checkpoint SL in Size 54 and use a large seatdome. Problem is, that every time after riding about 30 minutes the right side of my neck starts hurting. Now, despite riding Size 54 I'm feeling quite stretched out so the reach might still be a little bit too long for me (appearently I just have rather long legs in relation to my upper body) and since I use the shortest version of the Redshift suspension stem I can't shorten the reach with a shorter stem anymore. However the stock Handlebar has a pretty long reach with 85mm (42cm wide) so I could upgrade to one with a shorter reach. I'm thinking about the Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR which has a reach of 70mm and also a backsweep which would be nice since I never felt quite comfortable on the tops either. Also the 42cm feel okayish on the hoods but a bit narrow on the tops so I'm thinking about going to a 44 or maybe even 46cm? I don't care much for aerodynamics - comfort is my main goal here.
I also want to mention that I don't just ride my bike but also work out in the gym and the neck pain only pops up during cycling and trying to straighten out my posture under supervision of a physical therapist didn't improve anything, unfortunately. Turning the stem around to sit higher also didn't help.
So, would shortening the reach be a valid approach to fix my issues and if so, should I go for a 44 or a 46 (42 definitaly feels a little bit too narrow on the tops)? Any input would be welcome.

Clem von Jones 09-11-19 06:12 PM

It's counter-intuitive but sometimes you can increase your comfort by lowering/slamming the stem. If you can get the stem low enough and your saddle setback far enough to balance over the bike with very little or no pressure on your hands (supporting all weight with your spine) that will remove tension in your neck, upper back, and shoulders. When riding your hands should rest very lightly on the bars. They shouldn't be supporting your weight. You shouldn't be leaning onto bars that are too far away. If your headtube is too tall you can buy deep drop bars (150mm FSA Energy). You could even use 175mm drop track bars if it comes to that.

There are many compact road bars with 70mm reach (for example Specialized stock bars, UNO bars). Also you could go with narrower bars. I'm a big guy but love narrow 40cm bars. Narrower also reduces reach. I use 40cm drop bars on my mountain bike and have no problem with that. It's a myth you need wide bars offroad. Wide bars are actually a hazard on tight overgrown trails.

Speedldew 09-11-19 06:19 PM


Originally Posted by Clem von Jones (Post 21118634)
It's counter-intuitive but sometimes you can increase your comfort by lowering/slamming the stem. If you can get the stem low enough and your saddle setback far enough to balance over the bike with very little or no pressure on your hands (supporting all weight with your spine) that will remove tension in your neck, upper back, and shoulders.

There are many compact road bars with 70mm reach (for example Specialized stock bars). Also you could go with narrower bars. I'm a big guy but love narrow bars. Narrower also reduces reach.

Alright, currently I have tilted the handlebar up and put the saddle in the frontmost position. Didn't have the time for a testride with these adjustments, yet, tho - I will check this out tomorrow. But if that fails, I gonna try out your suggestion next.

Seattle Forrest 09-11-19 11:30 PM

If you have medical insurance, get a fit done by a physical therapist.

Speedldew 09-12-19 01:53 AM


Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest (Post 21118966)
If you have medical insurance, get a fit done by a physical therapist.

I'm german and only have normal state insurance but a bike fit isn't covered, unfortunately.

trailangel 09-12-19 03:31 AM


Originally Posted by Speedldew (Post 21118646)
Alright, currently I have tilted the handlebar up and put the saddle in the frontmost position. Didn't have the time for a testride with these adjustments, yet, tho - I will check this out tomorrow. But if that fails, I gonna try out your suggestion next.

5'9" with long legs on a 54cm?
I think you are going in the wrong direction.
Put the saddle all the way back.

trailangel 09-12-19 03:36 AM


Originally Posted by Clem von Jones (Post 21118634)
It's counter-intuitive but sometimes you can increase your comfort by lowering/slamming the stem. If you can get the stem low enough and your saddle setback far enough to balance over the bike with very little or no pressure on your hands (supporting all weight with your spine) that will remove tension in your neck, upper back, and shoulders. When riding your hands should rest very lightly on the bars. They shouldn't be supporting your weight. You shouldn't be leaning onto the bars. If you're headtube is too tall you can buy deep drop bars (150mm FSA Energy). You could even use 175mm drop track bars if it comes to that.

There are many compact road bars with 70mm reach (for example Specialized stock bars, UNO bars). Also you could go with narrower bars. I'm a big guy but love narrow 40cm bars. Narrower also reduces reach. I use 40cm drop bars on my mountain bike and have no problem with that. It's a myth you need wide bars offroad. Wide bars are actually a hazard on tight overgrown trails.

There is no myth, it's why MTBs come with wide bars. It's why motorcycle dirt bikes come with wide bars.

Speedldew 09-12-19 05:23 AM


Originally Posted by trailangel (Post 21119018)
5'9" with long legs on a 54cm?
I think you are going in the wrong direction.
Put the saddle all the way back.

According to the physical therapist the problem lies in the bend of my spine when I have to look up on the Gravelbike to see what's in front of me - I don't have the problem at all on my trekking bike with an upright position. Appearently I lack some core stability in the neck/shoulder region so that my muscles can't quite support the aggressive position, yet. Meaning I have to get the spine in the neck region as straight as possible - which means, shorteen the reach and raising the handlebar. And, of course, doing some more core strength training for neck and shoulders. According to him, it's more about the position rather than weight distribution. However I will try a lower Handlebar position with a longer reach if the current position doesn't improve things. Can't hurt - at least not that much more than it already does.

u235 09-12-19 07:36 AM

It may not just be from the bike... I get the same exact neck pain occasionally after some 80+ mile rides. At times I can do 5 straight 80 mile days with no pain and at times it appears after only one. Once triggered from the long ride it can take a week or two to fully go away. I've found my work desk at home and using the computer I feel the same pain after the long ride triggers it. You may have other factors putting stress in that region and the bike is just one more and enough to take it to the next level.

Clem von Jones 09-12-19 09:16 AM


Originally Posted by trailangel (Post 21119021)
There is no myth, it's why MTBs come with wide bars. It's why motorcycle dirt bikes come with wide bars.

Recall your comment after you crash when oak branch branch reaches out and snags the bar. That's happened to me a couple times. Every time I upgrade my bikes I've chosen narrower bars and a lower center of gravity position. What's happened in recent history is that mountain bikes have become accessories to ski resorts and are mere downhill rides that require seasonal ski pass tickets. They're just recreational "rides" and are no longer real bicycles in the traditional fully-functional sense. The geometry of modern mtbs is designed to mitigate the risk of breaking your neck when bombing downhill at break-neck speed. They won't prevent your neck from breaking though. Gravel bikes have moved in to fill the niche that mtbs have now abandoned.

My gripe with modern bikes is they've gone from something developed incrementally by evolution over a century that had real utility to something concocted by a gimmicky marketing doofus between coffee breaks.

u235 09-12-19 12:02 PM


Originally Posted by Clem von Jones (Post 21119393)
Recall your comment after you crash when oak branch branch reaches out and snags the bar. That's happened to me a couple times. Every time I upgrade my bikes I've chosen narrower bars and a lower center of gravity position. What's happened in recent history is that mountain bikes have become accessories to ski resorts and are mere downhill rides that require seasonal ski pass tickets. They're just recreational "rides" and are no longer real bicycles in the traditional fully-functional sense. The geometry of modern mtbs is designed to mitigate the risk of breaking your neck when bombing downhill at break-neck speed. They won't prevent your neck from breaking though. Gravel bikes have moved in to fill the niche that mtbs have now abandoned.

My gripe with modern bikes is they've gone from something developed incrementally by evolution over a century that had real utility to something concocted by a gimmicky marketing doofus between coffee breaks.

It's not a myth that wider bars on a bike give more direct control per given amount of effort. How wide you want to go and anything you see as a negative side effect of that is up to personal preference. Applies to flat bar and drop bars with width or a drastic flare. Your description is close to a similar analogy that reducing the capability of front brakes might save you from flipping over the bars.

TimothyH 09-12-19 04:35 PM


Originally Posted by Speedldew (Post 21119074)
Appearently I lack some core stability in the neck/shoulder region so that my muscles can't quite support the aggressive position, yet.

And, of course, doing some more core strength training for neck and shoulders.

My feeling is that this might resolve itself as more riding is done.

This is based on my own neck which got quite thick and muscular when I commuted 12,000 km/year on a road bike. In 2018 I rode nearly 8000 miles and much of that on rough gravel. Small gains in upper body mass and lots of definition, especially in the triceps, were noticeable in the mirror.

I'm not saying to ride through the pain or ignore your health care provider but only that it will might be temporary if you have not ridden a more aggressive drop bar bike and go away as your body strengthens.


-Tim-

Chi_Z 09-12-19 07:11 PM


Originally Posted by Speedldew (Post 21118646)
put the saddle in the frontmost position

you may have a weight distribution problem, by slamming the saddle way forward, you are loading more weights to your shoulder and neck.

Seattle Forrest 09-12-19 10:55 PM


Originally Posted by Speedldew (Post 21118999)
I'm german and only have normal state insurance but a bike fit isn't covered, unfortunately.

Sorry to hear that. Here, it's only covered if riding the bike gives you pain. Anyway, I would still recommend a physical therapist if it doesn't go away.

Speedldew 09-13-19 02:05 AM


Originally Posted by u235 (Post 21119659)
It's not a myth that wider bars on a bike give more direct control per given amount of effort. How wide you want to go and anything you see as a negative side effect of that is up to personal preference. Applies to flat bar and drop bars with width or a drastic flare. Your description is close to a similar analogy that reducing the capability of front brakes might save you from flipping over the bars.

Yeah, steering on the tops feels a tat bit too wonky on the 42s for my taste - that's why I'd prefer a wider bar. I can make do with the current one but it's certainly not ideal. However, first I need to figure out what reach I really need in order to feel comfortable concidering my neck pain - I don't think that the width has a noticable impact on that - wider bar would be a nice bonus, tho. It's propably gonna take me a bit of experimenting to figure out my ideal bike fit, tho.


Originally Posted by TimothyH (Post 21120118)
My feeling is that this might resolve itself as more riding is done.

This is based on my own neck which got quite thick and muscular when I commuted 12,000 km/year on a road bike. In 2018 I rode nearly 8000 miles and much of that on rough gravel. Small gains in upper body mass and lots of definition, especially in the triceps, were noticeable in the mirror.

I'm not saying to ride through the pain or ignore your health care provider but only that it will might be temporary if you have not ridden a more aggressive drop bar bike and go away as your body strengthens.

-Tim-

Yeah, I think so too but I want to get the transition to getting stronger as painlessly as possible. Also, I want to make sure that the pain won't develop into something serious which keeps me off the bike, so I'd prefer to ease myself into it rather than forcing myself into a certain position.


Originally Posted by Chi_Z (Post 21120344)
you may have a weight distribution problem, by slamming the saddle way forward, you are loading more weights to your shoulder and neck.

True. Although my physical therapist claims that this is not the case I still concider that to be a possibility. He's the opinion that the bend of my spine when I have to look up on the Gravelbike to see what's in front of me is causing the pain. So, getting to an as upright position as possible is gonna be my first try (seatpost still has 10mm setback so it's not that bad, btw). But I'm fully prepared to try out a longer reach and maybe even a lower handlebar position if that doesn't work.

grubetown 09-13-19 07:24 AM

I highly recommend spending the money to get a proper fit with a certified fitter. It's worth it!

billyymc 09-13-19 09:36 AM


Originally Posted by trailangel (Post 21119018)
5'9" with long legs on a 54cm?
I think you are going in the wrong direction.
Put the saddle all the way back.

I think I'd disagree with that - 5'9" with long legs means he has a short torso. The reach is too long and it's causing shoulder and neck issues.

I'd definitely try moving the seat forward, maybe checking the tilt (if you're tilted forward you will have more pressure on your hands/arms/shoulders). I tilt my seat on my road and gravel bikes slightly back. Then possibly put a spacer under the stem to raise the bars just a bit (use a 4 or 5mm spacer). Depending on how the steerer tube is cut you may not be able to put a spacer under the stem - if you have a couple spacers above the stem already just move one under.

You said you're more comfortable on your trekking bike with a more upright position...the changes above will make you more upright.

trailangel 09-13-19 09:39 AM

No

Speedldew 09-13-19 10:11 AM

Alright! Todays ride with the saddle in the forward position and another 5mm spacer under the stem felt much better than yesterdays ride in a more aggressive position so I think I'm going in the right direction. I wasn't completely painless but this time the pain started to set in much later at around an hour mark while yesterday I felt the pain creeping in after 20min or so. I also had no issues with numbness in my hands so the forward saddle position doesn't seem to have any negative side effects. So, I gonna test this position a bit longer and if it stays that way I may try the shorter handlebar. Btw, 42cm definitely is too narrow for my taste - so would you recommend a 44 or should I go straight up to 46?

Kapusta 09-14-19 01:30 PM

Fit advice for aches and pains over the internet should be taken a whole sack of salt. Who knows why YOUR neck hurts, but I’ll tell you what helped mine:

Tilting my saddle nose down a bit so that I could tilt my pelvis more forward. This took some of the bend out of my back, so that my lower back was tilted more forward, and my upper back was more upright than before, which means my neck is not as bent to look forward. I am not any more or less upright than before, but my neck is less bent back.

Speedldew 09-14-19 03:18 PM


Originally Posted by Kapusta (Post 21122458)
Fit advice for aches and pains over the internet should be taken a whole sack of salt. Who knows why YOUR neck hurts, but I’ll tell you what helped mine:

Tilting my saddle nose down a bit so that I could tilt my pelvis more forward. This took some of the bend out of my back, so that my lower back was tilted more forward, and my upper back was more upright than before, which means my neck is not as bent to look forward. I am not any more or less upright than before, but my neck is less bent back.

For now I'm just collecting advice so that I have a few options to try out. So, every advice which comes together with sensible reasoning is very welcome! So, thank you very much! :)

dalebreton 04-13-20 05:39 AM

I think you should consult a doctor, in order to find out what causes the neck pain, it may be a serious problem. I know it from my own experience. I also had neck pain and I thought that it was caused because of riding the bike, wrong posture and stuff like that. So, I didn't pay too much attention to that, until it began to hurt really badly. I went to the doctor, and I found out that I had the facet syndrome, it could be treated only by the surgical way. A friend advised Dr. Tony Mork who did the surgery and now I feel much better. I advise you to visit site for more details. I thought it may be useful for you.

Kapusta 04-13-20 09:14 AM


Originally Posted by trailangel (Post 21119021)
There is no myth, it's why MTBs come with wide bars. It's why motorcycle dirt bikes come with wide bars.

Agreed. I started mtb in the 90s with 560mm bars. Now I am on 750mm - 780mm bars. For actual trail use, I would never go back.

The “bars catching the trees” issue is way overblown, and I say this as someone who rides in the very kinds of places where people say it would be an issue.

EDIT: Oops! I just responded to a 6 month old thread. Sorry.

mstateglfr 04-13-20 09:23 AM


Originally Posted by Kapusta (Post 21415645)
Agreed. I started mtb in the 90s with 560mm bars. Now I am on 750mm - 780mm bars. For actual trail use, I would never go back.

The “bars catching the trees” issue is way overblown, and I say this as someone who rides in the very kinds of places where people say it would be an issue.

EDIT: Oops! I just responded to a 6 month old thread. Sorry.

I usually use my gravel bike on the local singletrack around here since most of it is river bottom so any elevation is from short hard punches up berms. Its otherwise quite tame and extremely twisty. The gravel bike feels and is faster.
But I go out with my kids and often bring my MTB for those times. I know there will be 3 times on one run where I have to come to a complete stop, wiggle my absurdly wide bars thru 2 trees, then start up again. Its very minor yet very annoying. The fact that all the trees at these 3 points are missing parts of their trunks is testament to a change needing to be made on the trail.
Wide bars are fine, but then some parts of twisting trails needs to adjust.

trailangel 04-13-20 09:34 AM

It's different here in So California. We do not have the nice gravel roads like in the midwest. We have messed up fireroads, rutted out, washed out, hardpacked adobe clay with sand on top. Rocks in the road. Going to higher elevation the roads can be solid rock.
Takes a mountain bike. I see some people on gravel bikes with drop bars and they are going ever so slow negotiating this stuff.


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