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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi. I've been riding this setup for a while, it is generally ok however I started to have lower back problems recently. I also ride my SS occasionally, frankly I think this is where the pain comes from as it tends to start after my SS rides. Anyhow, I think I'm going to stick with my geared bike for a while as it is less stressful for the body and want to make sure my position is ok. What do you guys think? Do I look too stretched? The stem is at 140mm but I'm 6-4 with long arms and it generally feels ok. My knee is usually bent more when I'm wearing cycling shoes and don't try to climb on the bike within 10 seconds before the camera goes off :) Cheers.

PS: scroll down or click for better pictures
 

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Valdemar said:
Hi. I've been riding this setup for a while, it is generally ok however I started to have lower back problems recently. I also ride my SS occasionally, frankly I think this is where the pain comes from as it tends to start after my SS rides. Anyhow, I think I'm going to stick with my geared bike for a while as it is less stressful for the body and want to make sure my position is ok. What do you guys think? Do I look too stretched? The stem is at 140mm but I'm 6-4 with long arms and it generally feels ok. My knee is usually bent more when I'm wearing cycling shoes and don't try to climb on the bike within 10 seconds before the camera goes off :) Cheers.
frame looks small in the pic.
cant tell about the fit.
1 start with the seat height, looks ok in the pic maybe a little bit high

2 with the pedal @ 3 oclock drop a plumb bob or weighted string from your knee, it should be at the end of the crank arm, move seat forward or back untill it is

3 with the seat adjusted look down at the front axle while seated, if you cant see it because of the handle bars, youre good,
if its behind the bars, shorter stem and/or higher angle. If its in front of the bars longer stem/ lower angle

the only time Ive had lower back pain, it was because the bars were too low, once I raised them no more issues
I would get all the adjustments as above and then fine tune from there
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
dan0 said:
frame looks small in the pic.
cant tell about the fit.
1 start with the seat height, looks ok in the pic maybe a little bit high

2 with the pedal @ 3 oclock drop a plumb bob or weighted string from your knee, it should be at the end of the crank arm, move seat forward or back untill it is

3 with the seat adjusted look down at the front axle while seated, if you cant see it because of the handle bars, youre good,
if its behind the bars, shorter stem and/or higher angle. If its in front of the bars longer stem/ lower angle

the only time Ive had lower back pain, it was because the bars were too low, once I raised them no more issues
I would get all the adjustments as above and then fine tune from there
Thanks Dan, Hmm, I thought the frame size was ok, it is a 22.5, I don't think there are too many options for a larger FS frame. Regarding seat fore-aft position, shouldn't the plumb bob be over the pedal spindle and not at the end of the crank arm? The stem is 5 degree, I used to have a 120mm stem at 15 degree which put handlebars higher, felt uncomfortable for some reason and I would get tired faster during climbing. May be I should switch it back and see if it helps my back.
 

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Valdemar said:
Thanks Dan, Hmm, I thought the frame size was ok, it is a 22.5, I don't think there are too many options for a larger FS frame. Regarding seat for-aft position, shouldn't the plumb bob be over the pedal spindle and not at the end of the crank arm? The stem is 5 degree, I used to have a 120mm stem at 15 degree which put handlebars higher, felt uncomfortable for some reason and I would get tired faster during climbing. May be I should switch it back and see if it helps my back.
the frame may be ok , just looks small in the pic

the plumb bob is over the spindle if you hang it from the cleft under the knee, if you hang it from the outer part of the knee, then its crankarm

can you see the front axle when seated?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
dan0 said:
the frame may be ok , just looks small in the pic

the plumb bob is over the spindle if you hang it from the cleft under the knee, if you hang it from the outer part of the knee, then its crankarm

can you see the front axle when seated?
Yup, just checked. Should I? It crosses the stem in the middle along the line of sight.

The frame may look small because of the camera angle - it was at about 4.5 feet from the ground, on the roof of my car.
 

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Valdemar said:
Yup, just checked. Should I? It crosses the stem in the middle along the line of sight.

The frame may look small because of the camera angle - it was at about 4.5 feet from the ground, on the roof of my car.
ideally no
so if I read you correctly your view of the axle is behind the bars?
if the seat setup is good that would indicate a shorter/higher stem
which in turn would raise the angle of your back (probably take some pressure off the arms too) get any hand numbness or sore forearms?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
dan0 said:
ideally no
so if I read you correctly your view of the axle is behind the bars?
if the seat setup is good that would indicate a shorter/higher stem
which in turn would raise the angle of your back (probably take some pressure off the arms too) get any hand numbness or sore forearms?
If behind is between the bars and the stem cap then yes. I do get some numbness on long rides, but it is not too bad. I think the seat is ok as I did K.O.P.S. check in the past so sounds like I need a shorter stem as you say, should the axle be hidden behind the fork crown ?
 

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Valdemar said:
If behind is between the bars and the stem cap then yes. I do get some numbness on long rides, but it is not too bad. I think the seat is ok as I did K.O.P.S. check in the past so sounds like I need a shorter stem as you say, should the axle be hidden behind the fork crown ?
no, the handlebars. when you're riding and look down to see the axle you shouldnt be able to see it because the handlebars are in the way.

keep in mind everybodys different but its a good place to start, especially with the back issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
dan0 said:
no, the handlebars. when you're riding and look down to see the axle you shouldnt be able to see it because the handlebars are in the way.

keep in mind everybodys different but its a good place to start, especially with the back issue.
Got you, hopefully a shorter stem should help as 140mm is a long one. I was hesitant to put it at first but it felt ok and gave me extra leverage for climbing, so I kept it. May have been a bad decision. Thanks again.
 

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Your arms are awfully straight.

That means you don't have much room for dynamic positioning. I think that is more telling than your foot/knee/set set-up which sounds fine. You have moved almost an inch forward and a quarter inch down. Ouch. Fatigue when climbing withe the 120/15? I think that, again, might be they way you are supporting your body under stress. Climbing is all about working form the waist down. Even steering is down with muscles below the torso.

Core strength is generally biggest factor in back pain. Arm position says a lot about how much stress your back is getting. If you are straight armed your spine is bowing like a plank you use to cross a creek. Pain? Sure. Your core is working overtime.

A bent armed position gives you much more movement within the cockpit which, in addition to helping with your handling, gives your body a more limber application of power. This is much more critical with hardtails but these days the FS doesn't demand the variety of body positions of a hardtail so we can get stuck just holding on and letting the bike take the shock. However the body is really not all that isolated from compression. If your arms are locked and your keester is in the seat what is showing the flex in response to a hit? Your back.

I suggest going back to the shorter stem and learning to bend your elbows. Don't worry about the front axle and line of site; that method is only a starting point and may not be relevant for you as it doesn't allow for bodies of different proportions.

The key to changing positions is patience. You may be accustomed to power output in a bad position and when you get in one that is good for you you don't feel right. Patience. Give it a half dozen rides a least. You have to go through a transition; it won't automatically feel right. You also need to rework your musculature for the bent elbow position. That can take time, too. You may also not get it right in the first change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
wormvine said:
Get a 29'r...
I've been thinking about it, but not quite ready for another investment at the moment ... At the same time I can probably just get a 29'r frame and reuse all the components except the fork and wheels, selling which plus the frame would offset the expenses, hmm...
 

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I don't think the frame looks small, I think it is the angle at which the photo was taken. Lens should be level with the TT when taking sizing photos.

Mike's comments regarding stem length are spot on.

And forget KOPS (knee over pedal) as it does not account for . . . well, pretty much everything:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html
 

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How about your hip, glute, and hamstring flexibility? All of these muscles, when tight, can pull on the lower back. I'm not sure, but from the picture it almost looks like your hips aren't at the right rotation angle and your lower back is compromising by bending and losing its natural curve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Random Drivel said:
I don't think the frame looks small, I think it is the angle at which the photo was taken. Lens should be level with the TT when taking sizing photos.

Mike's comments regarding stem length are spot on.

And forget KOPS (knee over pedal) as it does not account for . . . well, pretty much everything:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html
Yeah, I read this in the past. KOPS is a good starting point nonetheless...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
chemguy said:
How about your hip, glute, and hamstring flexibility? All of these muscles, when tight, can pull on the lower back. I'm not sure, but from the picture it almost looks like your hips aren't at the right rotation angle and your lower back is compromising by bending and losing its natural curve.
What can I say, They are not too flexible... My hamstrings are short I think as bending over and reaching the floor with the finger tips while keeping legs straight has never been easy for me. I thought about it too, I've built up some strength in my legs over last couple of years, and it may be my back cannot keep up anymore. I started back exercises at the gym, and some stretching as well.
 

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Valdemar said:
Hi. I've been riding this setup for a while, it is generally ok however I started to have lower back problems recently. I also ride my SS occasionally, frankly I think this is where the pain comes from as it tends to start after my SS rides. Anyhow, I think I'm going to stick with my geared bike for a while as it is less stressful for the body and want to make sure my position is ok. What do you guys think? Do I look too stretched? The stem is at 140mm but I'm 6-4 with long arms and it generally feels ok. My knee is usually bent more when I'm wearing cycling shoes and don't try to climb on the bike within 10 seconds before the camera goes off :) Cheers.
It looks to me like you're riding a child's toy. That bike is just too small for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here is more pictures taken from a better angle (TT level). I still think the frame is ok. I know how small frames feel, and this is not one of them. Do these, hopefully better, pictures invalidate anything that was previously said?
 

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