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Neck pain, fit judgement

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Neck pain, fit judgement

Old 05-16-20, 06:48 PM
  #1  
oik01
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Neck pain, fit judgement

So I've been having neck pains on hilly rides that are longer than 1.5 hours. My current bike is a used trek 5000... It was originally figgsr with a 110 mm stem ... I thought the issue may be that it had too much reach for me. I decreased stem length and am now at an 80 mm stem. At least to my novice eyes the reach doesn't seem too far. To put things in perspective I'm 182 cm tall and the bike is a size 58. The first bike I had was a bigger size 61 but I had a high angle stem and brought the handle bar up and didn't have issues after that. Was wondering what you guys think of the fit here. I took the pics after driving back so the shoes aren't my clip-ins but I think the leg extension is similar too.

Pics:











Thoughts? Suggestions?
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Old 05-16-20, 06:55 PM
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surak
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If you have integrated shifters in those brake levers, they look placed too far down.
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Old 05-16-20, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
If you have integrated shifters in those brake levers, they look placed too far down.
Nice pick-up. If I follow the rules of strait line from bottom of drops to bottom of brake levers it would put them even lower. Wondering if my handlebar angle is off? The prior user had it angled up a lot and I thought that was increasing the reach.

Previous owner setup:



the straight part of the handle bar was pointing upwards but the drops parallel to the ground.

I tilted the handlebar downwards with the straight part parallel to the ground instead :

now the straight part on the handlebar is just slightly upwards compared to the top tube. Before it was angled way up. The back/ most part of the handlebar points down going forward.
If the handlebar position is ok now, is there another rule for me to follow to get the right position? Do I just do trial and error?


Of note the neck pains were present before my fiddling with the handlebar angle
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Old 05-16-20, 08:18 PM
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That is an aggressive position for the brake/shifter hoods. That's very 1980s, mostly for time trials (pre-aero bars) and only a few grand tour riders rode such an aggressive position -- Marco Pantani, for one. If you check the position for some riders, including those from the 1950s on, many preferred the bar tipped up a bit with the hoods mounted higher. Some riders even had their brake levers visibly flared upward for comfort, which would offend the aesthetics of some purists.

And I found it difficult to get a good riding position on that type of drop bar, with multi-angled drops rather than a smooth rounded curve. I tried 'em for awhile -- they're in the back of the closet now.

Regarding the neck thing, yeah, that's way too familiar. An old neck injury still gives me trouble, especially after a car hit me two years ago and aggravated the old injury. Broke my C1-C2 with permanent degenerative injuries. But I can still ride a drop bar road bike about 400-500 miles a month, usually 20-50 miles per ride. Neck pain usually determines how far/long I'll ride.

Some bike fit tweaks here and there help a bit but the only thing that really made a difference was getting serious about physical therapy. I visited a PT clinic three times a week this time last year, for two or three months. Learned a lot, and I continue it on my own at home. And I check a few reputable YouTube channels for tips (there are some atrociously bad PT tips online too, especially for using kettlebells with horrible advice that will eventually result in crippling injuries).

Massage helps too. With the pandemic I've had to discontinue most non-essential outpatient stuff, so no in-person visits to PT, massage therapy, etc. I got a long handled percussion massager, one of those doodads with two heads the size of golf balls to straddle the spine along the neck and back. Really helps. I've nearly worn out my first massager. It cost only $30 but worked well for awhile -- eventually it became just an ordinary vibrating massager without noticeable percussion effect. I'll get a better one next time.
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Old 05-16-20, 08:27 PM
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Your fit looks perfect. The only thing I see wrong is No Helmet! Yes, the helmet police are onto you.

The only issue with your bar/brifter placement is the way the bars are bent/built. Doesn't give you a long enough ramp to rest your wrists on.
You want your setup to look like this: https://www.bikeforums.net/19145009-post3.html
which you could accomplish with these bars: FSA Omega Compact Road Handlebar (google)

Unfortunately, none of this has anything to do with your neck pain. Your saddle position and back straightness look near perfect, unless you hunch your back when not on camera, of course. Something to think about. Neck pain is usually from a hunched back.

Otherwise and in any case, here is a real good idea for cyclists: Do neck exercises, specifically dumbbell work, Only need one pair, 10 or 15 lbs. Do side raises, front raises, back raises, and standing presses, super setting all these. Say 3 sets of 12, 1 minute break between supersets. Find on youtube if you don't know them. This will totally fix you up. Some folks do head raises, bent over, strap around the back of the head attached to a small plate, just up and down.

But really, your position is friggin' perfect.

Oh, ignore that BS about what your bars are supposed to point to. That's ancient history. All you worry about is the angle of your ramps. Tilt the bars so that your wrists rest nicely on them, then set your brifters so that the brake levers are vertical. That usually is correct, or very nearly. Your hoods should then be an extension of your ramps, like in the photo. With that setup and a well-bent elbow, you can rest your wrists on your ramps with your hands vertical, your thumb hooked over the top of your brifters, like the rider in the last photo at this link: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...l#post12953035
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Old 05-16-20, 08:30 PM
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The previous owner's bar angle looks more correct to me. Having the levers level with the bottom of the drops is totally dependent on shape, I don't consider it a good rule of thumb given the huge variety of bars out there. Generally the ramps should be level and the hoods should have a smooth transition from them, not dip down like older style brake levers used primarily in the drops.

It's interesting that you feel neck pain on climbs. Do you use the tops at all when climbing? There's less aerodynamic penalty at lower speed to sit up and give your neck a break.
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Old 05-16-20, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Your fit looks perfect. The only thing I see wrong is No Helmet! Yes, the helmet police are onto you.

The only issue with your bar/brifter placement is the way the bars are bent/built. Doesn't give you a long enough ramp to rest your wrists on.
You want your setup to look like this: https://www.bikeforums.net/19145009-post3.html
which you could accomplish with these bars: FSA Omega Compact Road Handlebar (google)

Unfortunately, none of this has anything to do with your neck pain. Your saddle position and back straightness look near perfect, unless you hunch your back when not on camera, of course. Something to think about. Neck pain is usually from a hunched back.

Otherwise and in any case, here is a real good idea for cyclists: Do neck exercises, specifically dumbbell work, Only need one pair, 10 or 15 lbs. Do side raises, front raises, back raises, and standing presses, super setting all these. Say 3 sets of 12, 1 minute break between supersets. Find on youtube if you don't know them. This will totally fix you up. Some folks do head raises, bent over, strap around the back of the head attached to a small plate, just up and down.

But really, your position is friggin' perfect.

Oh, ignore that BS about what your bars are supposed to point to. That's ancient history. All you worry about is the angle of your ramps. Tilt the bars so that your wrists rest nicely on them, then set your brifters so that the brake levers are vertical. That usually is correct, or very nearly. Your hoods should then be an extension of your ramps, like in the photo. With that setup and a well-bent elbow, you can rest your wrists on your ramps with your hands vertical, your thumb hooked over the top of your brifters, like the rider in the last photo at this link: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...l#post12953035

You are right actually ... I do tend to hunch over a lot especially on longer rides when I tire out. I try to remind myself to engage my core and maintain a straight back but it's easier said than done. I definitely catch myself hunched over very often ...

Are ther any adjustments on the bike that could help counter that while I work on developing core strength and a better posture? I really want to move up to the 50 miles rides and over but what's preventing me now is neck pain and not stamina 🤦🏻‍♂️
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Old 05-16-20, 09:33 PM
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One tip I tell myself when getting neck pain is to "drop my shoulders". This almost instantly relieves my neck pain.

this usually happens when i'm tired on the bike
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Old 05-16-20, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by oik01 View Post
You are right actually ... I do tend to hunch over a lot especially on longer rides when I tire out. I try to remind myself to engage my core and maintain a straight back but it's easier said than done. I definitely catch myself hunched over very often ...

Are ther any adjustments on the bike that could help counter that while I work on developing core strength and a better posture? I really want to move up to the 50 miles rides and over but what's preventing me now is neck pain and not stamina 🤦🏻‍♂️
The best thing you can do is concentrate more, on everything. Pilots flying on instruments do a strictly regimented routine of looking at their instruments in a specific order. You might think about that, of course including butt and back. Roll the pelvis forward, flatten the back, relax the neck, hand position, arm bend, foot position, knee motion, pedal smoothness, and oh - check the mirror.

No, I don't see anything amiss, other than I suggest you change out your bars. They're not expensive. I think there's wide agreement on that here. That'll improve hand comfort, which might improve arm comfort, which might improve shoulder comfort, which might . . .They'll also give you more hand positions, which'll come in real handy as you increase time on the bike.
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Old 05-17-20, 12:00 PM
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If you normally ride with a helmet, then it might be simple as removing the visor or getting a helmet that doesn't come as low in the front.

Years ago, I had some neck pain after longer rides. Removing the visor let me see further down the road without having to lift my head as high.
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Old 05-17-20, 02:20 PM
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I don't see anything obviously wrong. You might be turtling a little bit... maybe a bad habit or a little too much weight on the bars.
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Old 05-17-20, 06:44 PM
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Cleary your neck pain is being caused by wearing the wrong shoes while riding J/K!

I'm just subscribing because I've been having some neck pain as well and am not sure if it's my bike, sitting in front of a computer, or something else that's causing it.
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Old 05-17-20, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The only thing I see wrong is No Helmet! Yes, the helmet police are onto you.
Agreed... crash and you're neck will noi be the only thing in pain.
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Old 05-17-20, 07:36 PM
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The only time I had a neck pain (nape area) is when I got my CAAD (racing geometry). Prior to that, I was riding a SYNAPSE (more relaxed geometry). Eventually, after a few more rides, it went away.
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Old 05-18-20, 08:05 PM
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First for the helmet police: I appreciate you guys looking out for me. I ALWAYS wear a helmet when out biking. This pic was taken when I got home ( hence pedestrian shoes because I had been driving back) and was just for two minutes in the alleyway. But yeah... def agree with you guys re- helmets.

Update on my situation: I have since done two things. Gotten a back brace and worn it all sunday and part of today. More importantly given everyone's remarks about the handlebar position and knowing that I wasn't going to get a new one soon I took the bike to the LBS and asked them to adjust it and put new tape on. Ive since gone on one ride today and the first impression is that I am more comfortable. Part of this is likely placebo so I will report back in a few weeks. Below is a pic of the new position. I think the shifters are brought back up a little and reach therefore a little shorter with a higher stack. They also adjusted the handlebar slightly upwards from my previous position ( probably somewhere between mine and the previous owner). Whayever it is I think I will just give it time and try to cue myself to keep straight and see how my body reacts!


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Old 05-19-20, 06:44 AM
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I know this thread is about neck pain and not the handlebars, but...

Are your hands remotely comfortable on the hoods with those bars? Your brake levers are nearly vertical which is odd. It's my opinion that I'd be searching my local Craigslist for some modern-shaped handlebars. I think the odd shape / curvature of your current bars is preventing you from being able to position the brake levers in a proper way. If you're riding on the drops, can you reach the brake levers?

The following is how I'd expect to see one's brake levers on a modern handlebar. There's plenty of horizontal surface on the tops for resting your hands on the bars or brake hoods and you can also easily reach the brakes from the drops:

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Old 05-19-20, 07:49 AM
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PoorInRichfield is correct. Those shifters are not installed properly. They are on the tops of the bars. They should be about two inches down from where they are with the bar rotated back up.
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Old 05-19-20, 08:17 AM
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I sorta kinda maybe agree with the others. But.....

Your bars have a much longer reach. So if the bars are rotated back up to what we all consider a more normal position and the shifters placed in the more common placement as shown by PoorInRichfield , then your hoods will be further out front increasing your reach.

If you like what you got, and it works, then don't worry what we say. However you might consider if you need a different bar with shorter reach.
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Old 05-19-20, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I sorta kinda maybe agree with the others. But.....

Your bars have a much longer reach. So if the bars are rotated back up to what we all consider a more normal position and the shifters placed in the more common placement as shown by PoorInRichfield , then your hoods will be further out front increasing your reach.

If you like what you got, and it works, then don't worry what we say. However you might consider if you need a different bar with shorter reach.
Agreed ... Will try to feel it out on a few rides. If it feels good and I'm comfortable getting to brakes I will probably just leave it. It's interesting the bar is specced at 83 mm reach ... 🤷🏻‍♂️
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Old 05-19-20, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by masonv45 View Post
One tip I tell myself when getting neck pain is to "drop my shoulders". This almost instantly relieves my neck pain.

this usually happens when i'm tired on the bike
That right there ^. Don't be a turtle, unlock those elbows, pull them in and un-hunch your shoulders.

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Old 05-19-20, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by oik01 View Post
Agreed ... Will try to feel it out on a few rides. If it feels good and I'm comfortable getting to brakes I will probably just leave it. It's interesting the bar is specced at 83 mm reach ... 🤷🏻‍♂️
Those bars, brifters, and seat position look awful to me, however, maybe just try moving around more
I find changing positions, varying cadence, and getting out of the saddle more on long climbs helps a lot
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Old 05-19-20, 12:46 PM
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I'll add, a good starting point for setting up your bars is to have the ends of the drops pointing toward your rear axle/skewer - then adjust to personal preference.

OPs bars are currently point up toward the saddle. PoorinRichfield's bars are pretty close to pointing toward the rear axle/skewer

This advice, however, is general and not applicable to all bars - some are designed for the drops to be level.
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Old 05-19-20, 12:53 PM
  #23  
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you already said you were on a bigger bike before

I am old and not very flexible and I'm your exact height. That is an older bike and definitely racy geometry. If you looked at new Trek Domane or Spec. Roubaix there'd be way more headtube and therefore the bars would be higher. And then you could go higher with a higher stem angle too. It's not how you look on the bike, it's how you feel. I bet if you get some modern bars that enable better shifter placement and raise the height of the bars then you won't have to crane your neck to see the road. In other words a more upright riding position.
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Old 05-19-20, 12:56 PM
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Your hand position looks really awkward. Im no fit expert, but to me proper hand position is very important and relieves all kinds of strains.
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Old 05-19-20, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by eflayer View Post
That is an older bike and definitely racy geometry. If you looked at new Trek Domane or Spec. Roubaix there'd be way more headtube and therefore the bars would be higher.
Good point. I'd like to see a side-shot of the bike after the handlebar / shift lever fit issue is fixed. It looks like the handlebars are considerably lower than the seat in the bike's current configuration, which might explain why the OP has the shift levers mounted so high up. Given that there are a ton of spacers under the stem and the stem has a very positive rise yet the bars still look lower than the seat, I'm wondering if the bike is just too small to begin with(?)
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