Lower neck Pain - is my saddle / seat height to blame ?

mikeyw

Active Member
Hi Guys,

I'm training for the coast to coast ride this summer and did my longest ride yet today of 30miles in 2hrs (is that a reasonable pace?)

However throughout the ride I had quite bad lower neck pain. I'm 41 and reasonably fit and been riding my Trek 1.2 for over a year now but mainly <20mile rides

The Aluminium frame felt every bump on the road and most went through my neck :laugh:

I did some quick research and found an article that said your bars should be no more than 4cm lower than your saddle and in most cases level. I found mine were 7cm lower :smile: - surely this must be a factor as i'm no pro and not very supple.

Are there and good rules of thumb for how far away your bars should be front the seat post ? - i also think the reach might be too far and combination of the two is really hurting my neck.

Any advice in this area greatly received. I'm 5' 8" and had the bike set up by the computer at the store i purchased it from.

Meant to ask are Carbon Forks worth the outlay to reduce weight and lessen impact from the dreadful road surfaces ?

Mike.
 

MacB

Lover of things that come in 3's
Lots of threads and info on this, the sort of summary info I've settled on is:-

saddle - begin with height and set back in relation to pedals - theory being that you'll have an optimum setup for this that should remain static across bikes for general riding purposes. Then you work forward from there.

I used various methods, most especially help from other riders to get saddle correct. I then used this online resource:-

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=FIT_CALCULATOR_INTRO&INTRO_LINK=NOREDIR

Don't worry about the competitive cyclist bit it gives you 3 different setups to work from. You'll need help to take the measurements accurately. You'll notice that it doesn't specify saddle to bar height differential but it does give a saddle nose to handlebar distance parameter. I would say that it is a useable calculation whereas the height difference is more a factor of core body strength and flexibility.

Bear in mind that your bike may be spot on as it is, but it may be that your posture is changing as the rides get longer. The lower the bars the more strength is used to maintain posture and get a clear view of the road. At the start of a ride you hold this position with ease but it becomes harder, and you tend to slump a bit, as the ride goes on. A bit like when you hear people saying a certain saddle is only comfy for the first 60 miles, etc. Plus your general fitness and pedalling style makes a difference. The harder you pedal the less weight is going on other contact points and vice versa.

I'd do the online calcs and compare to your bike first before making any changes. Because if you need to move your saddle then there's no point messing about with the bars first. When it comes to the bars this online resource is great for working out what results different stems will give:-

http://alex.phred.org/stemchart/Default.aspx

As your fitness/stamina improve you can always move the bars lower again. Just keep to the saddle nose to handlebar distance that you've calculated works for you.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
Yes, carbon forks will help. I rode an aluminium bike recently and will never again, it damn near killed me, I felt like I'd done 40 rounds with Mike Tyson not 40 miles.
 

arallsopp

Post of The Year 2009 winner
Location
Bromley, Kent
The bars do sound low, and rigid aluminium forks won't help you. Lower neck pain suggests your head is trying to bounce around / drop down, and your neck is having a hard time keeping it up.

Just incase you're wearing a concrete helmet, don't. Next stop is probably to measure off the saddle height at present, then drop it 5cm and take her out for a spin. That'll move your weight onto your 'sit bones' and away from your arms, which should loosen your shoulders and angler your head a little closer to upright.

15mph average for the journey is a good speed, so it won't hurt to lose a tiny percentage to increased drag if it means you can go further. Once you're able to ride 40/50/60 miles, you'll find the increased strength more than makes up for it anyway.
 

Hont

Guru
Location
Bromsgrove
Depending on your stem type, it might be worth flipping it. I had a similar problem (which manifested itself with pins and needles in my arms) which has - touch wood - gone since I flipped my stem, which brought the bars 3 or 4cm higher and 1-2cm nearer to the saddle.
 
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