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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I've been riding for about three months now and in the last few weeks I've stepped up the duration and intensity of my rides. I used to ride about 1-1.5 hours three or four days a week but now I ride 3-3.5 hours on most of my rides. What I noticed early on is that at around the one hour mark I begin to feel some pain in my mid to upper back. I assume that this pain comes from being a little too streched out when I'm in the saddle because when I ride standing or take my hands off of the handlebar and ride upright in a relatively flat section of trail for a couple of minutes the pain goes away and then returns in a few minutes. I have this pain whether I wear my CamelBack or not. It rides fairly high on my back. There doesn't ever seem to be much pain in my shoulders, just mid to upper back. I ride a Scott Scale 50 which I love. I'm 5'9" and the frame is either 17 or 17.5" It has a 600mm (23.62") flat bar. I don't know how long the stem is but it looks long compared to recreational hardtails such as the rockhopper and the 3 and 4 series Treks. I understand that the Scale frame has somewhat of a XC racing geometry so being a little stretched out is expected. I stay well hydrated and make an effort to stretch my major muscle groups before I begin my ride.

So now to my question. Would a riser bar and/or a shorter stem possibly make the bike a bit more comfortable to ride? Should I just start with a shorter stem and see how that feels and then move on to a riser bar if need be? I understand that some fatigue may be expected no matter what but it would be nice to at least be able to ride a little longer before it sets in. At any rate the discomfort doesn't make me dread getting on my bike and riding. I'm just looking for possible suggestions.

Sorry for such a long post about a small problem. I just wanted to give as much information as possible so that you might have an easier time helping me come to a solution. Thanks in advance for all of your replies.:thumbsup: :)
 

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Perhaps you could consider a 29er? It's unlikely at your height but I'm 6'2" and all my back pain went away when I switched to a 29er.
You also possibly have your saddle in an improper position, possibly too far back. You're extending your back muscles, or it's too high.
before you spend money on parts, take it to a GOOD bike shop and ask them to check your position on the bike. It might just be a small adjustment, one of the most common mistakes new riders make is improper seat height, which should be as high as possible without your hips rocking.
feel free to dispute me on this, I probably won't answer LOL
 

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Post a side view pic of your bike, and if you are sitting on it, even better.
From your description though, it does sound like you are stretched out too much.
 

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I've had lower back pain while riding. 2 things worked for me. When I ride alone I almost never stop, and that's when I have pain. When I ride in a group, we stop from time to time to regroup and end up shooting the breeze a little. No back pain on those rides. Also, a more upright position helped reduce the pain significantly. And it took a much smaller adjustment than you'd think. I think an adjustable stem is a great idea, although I've never had one. Once you dial it in, replace it with a permanent stem of your liking.
 

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If the bike fits and you are positioned properly and you still have pain, you may benefit from some overall core and back strength training. You could be over or under developed in some areas, causing stress on your back.
 

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Find a fit specialist in your area.... be prepared to drop a C-note or two for the fitting, also a good fit shop will have different length/rise stems so be prepared to spend some $ on a stem (unless they have one of those adjustable deals to dial you into a specific stem). Since you aren't complaining of knee, ankle, or hip problems you should be good on seat post, pedals, saddle.

As NicoleC stated, work your core if you aren't already. ab work as well as back work will help greatly
 

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I'd like to add something to my post...
It is also vitally important that you keep your core muscles strong. Not only your abs but your lower back muscles as well. This is imperative to cycling because ALL your power is generated from your legs bracing against your core .
Find a good trainer (not some yokel who took a weekend course) at a reputable gym and spend the winter training your core muscles.

Oops, I notice that this was mentioned... Going to post this anyway,... YAY ME!!!
 

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I was told by a friend of mine (who was also a personal trainer) that sometimes lower back pain could be caused by your hamstrings being too tight. You said you try to stretch your major muscle groups before every ride so that might not be the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, I stretch and then ride at a brisk pace for about 20 minutes and then stretch again before I start riding really hard.
 

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Sitting a crouched position, like we do when biking, increases pressure on the discs which can lead to back pain. It's better for your back if you keep it in a neutral position. Problem is...Mtn bikes are not built the best for that.
 

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I get some lower back pain when i ride, but it seems that if i ride for 20 mins then stop and rest for 5 it sometimes seems to disappear for the rest of the ride. I never stretch before a ride and have been told it could be that my core muscles aren't in the best shape.

I'll try the stretching thing next ride, if it doesn't work then i might have to do something about those core muscles.
 

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fop1 said:
I get some lower back pain when i ride, but it seems that if i ride for 20 mins then stop and rest for 5 it sometimes seems to disappear for the rest of the ride. I never stretch before a ride and have been told it could be that my core muscles aren't in the best shape.

I'll try the stretching thing next ride, if it doesn't work then i might have to do something about those core muscles.
Just make sure to be warmed up before stretching. Cold stretching a no no:nono:
 

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fop1 said:
I get some lower back pain when i ride, but it seems that if i ride for 20 mins then stop and rest for 5 it sometimes seems to disappear for the rest of the ride. I never stretch before a ride and have been told it could be that my core muscles aren't in the best shape.

I'll try the stretching thing next ride, if it doesn't work then i might have to do something about those core muscles.
The transversus abdominis (TA) is a muscle people overlook probably because it's not a "6-pack" muscle. TA is like the body's natural corset. I've seen peoples' back pain get better when they strengthen their TA. Strengthen TA and it helps give stability.
 

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Well i went for a ride yesterday, and did a 20 minute warm up ride then did a decent stretching session, and i had no pain in my lower back the whole ride. It wasn't a real test because i did mostly downhill at the you yangs, i will do a proper test at my local trail which has a lot of climbing.
 
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