Neck ache...are my drops to low?

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New Member
After about 40km I get a pain in the back of my helps the pain if I look at the road instead of where I'm going...but I suspect this approach might cause greater pain and even death in the longer run :blush:

I ride with my hands on top of the bars mostly and it still hurts. I have just come home from a 46km ride and am sitting here hanging my head to relieve the ache in my neck.

My drops are lower than my saddle (which is as high as I dare get it) I am comfortable like this except for my neck pain.

....when my bars were higher and my saddle lower I had less pain in th eneck but less power in my legs and some knee this a common thing or am I doing something wrong?

Keith Oates

Penarth, Wales
It takes time to get used to a new bike and a neck ache is not really uncommon in the beginning. However if it persists then altering the saddle for'd or aft on the post is one thing to try and see if it improves. There are other things to try but you have to start somewhere!!


New Member
Hiya, Not sure on the extent of your bigness, fatness or tallness is, but I would categorise myself in the same department.

I got the same pain for months when I started, it does seem to disappear over time though.


New Member
Hello Chaps!

...Ok...I am 45 years old....weigh in at 19s 8 and am 6'4" tall....most off my bulk is on my belly and chest.

I have been riding for a few months now, I will persist and hope it goes least I know it's not just me.

I am hoping that my eyes might evolve over time and move further up my forehead, in fact on top of my head would be good :blush:
Ha ha - don't stop posting.
At least you know there are many things in life which are a pain in the Brooks ! I got a bit of an ache - more above my shoulder blade than neck - but I was doing a lot of regular 80 - 100kms on holiday (haven't done one millimetre for a week now though) and, like you, it was probably down to the alternative fulcrum points we offer in the 'hold in the belly and keep looking forward dept!'
Maybe you could rig up a pair of mirrors and rest your forehead on the bars... :blush:


Bigtallfatbloke said:
...I will persist and hope it goes away...
I don't remember this being a problem for me when I started cycling (many years ago), but neck and shoulder pain did become a big problem later on; one which eventually proved to be insurmountable. I had to stop doing Audax events because of it.

Eventually, I bought a recumbent. It saved my cycling, and regardless of comfort issues, I find riding a recumbent more fun anyway. I can ride all day with nothing worse than sore legs now :blush:

Probably not the right solution for you now; but one to bear in mind - and every cyclist should try a recumbent at some time or other, anyway...

Andy in Sig

Vice President in Exile
It was pain around the shoulder blades (I think I had torn a muscle years ago) which eventually made me switch to a recumbent. I only wish I'd done it a lot earlier than I did as you simply don't get stressed muscles.


Über Member

I don't think many people do not get some kind of ache in the neck after being down on the drops for a long time. It is just a case of building up your strength in that particular area. To begin with just get down for as long as you can bear and then sit up and have a stretch. Repeatedly doing this will eventually strengthen up the required muscles. Also, don't forget that you should be using your back muscles as well as neck to hold your head in position.

Finally I would say that the day may come to us all when we have to admit that we can fight the forces of gravity no longer and at that time it is worth investigating bikes with a more upright position. It is meant to be fin after all.

christian dieu

New Member
I always get neck ache. Made worse on a road bike but even get slight ache now when using an MTB with long travel forks (the bars are the same height as the seat)

A trip to the chiropractor sorts it out as my neck always seem to need an 'adjustment' But it comes back after a few weeks. I just put it down as a weak neck!
When I first started riding on drops, I had this same problem. It does get better with time IME. I tried adjusting bar height and relative position of seat but it didn't make that much difference. I still suffer sometimes - but only when I've slept funny (as they say round here!).


Legendary Member
If its muscular aching i think it will settle down in time as your neck gets used to the new position its finding itself in while cycling, and strenghtens to it,but because of the distances your doing,i think for someone just cycling for a couple of months is admirable ,but probably a shock to what your body is normaly used to,muscular stiffness normally goes after a week or two,but if your still extending your time in the saddle the stiffness could continue as your doing more than the muscles are used to,so they are still getting stiff, if its anything but muscular,and after trying different adjustments on your bikes setup, a trip to the docs just for peace of mind if anything would be my choice.when i used to do longish trips my main problem was with a numb aching in the palms of my hands which is when i went for padded fingerless gloves,did the trick,but neck ache did happen now and again when i did longer than i normally did in the saddle.but unless you have a known injury or have done something accident wise to cause the ache,the chances are its tempory and will fade,unless you go even further :eek:

Andy in Sig

Vice President in Exile
Interesting the number of people who report some sort of neck ache/strain. I wonder if this would indicate that the tensed triangle formed by arms and handlebars is a fundamental flaw of bike design? It does seem to strengthen the case for recumbents.

Tim Bennet.

Entirely Average Member
S of Kendal
I think the number of people having problems with neck aches, etc is symptomatic of the poor fit most people have on their bikes. There are loads of large shops (like Wheelbase) who don't give any fitting advice except 'take it round the carpark a couple of times and see if it's okay'. Then there's plenty of people who just buy frames or bikes off a mate or the internet and assume some degree of pain is normal.

The idea that more upright is more comfortable is very logical, but not entirely accurate. But it's a fallacy that has been encouraged by manufacturers offering 'comfort' bikes, but this is because the marketing departments know that it's easier to go with what's 'common knowledge' than it is trying to convince people of the truth. That's why road tyres have tread on them (more grip), cheap bikes are made of aluminium (lighter than steel) and recreational bikes are more upright (more comfortable).

But comfort on a bike is more complicated than 'more upright is better', and the use of a really knowledgeable fitting service is money well spent.

I was having trouble on long audax rides and tried to sort it out myself but to no avail. In the end I went to Hewitts who put me LOWER and more stretched out. I haven't had so much as a twinge ever since. There's loads of people round here who thought they would have to give up cycling as they got older because of 'back or neck pain', but they have all invariably been sorted out by Paul and none are on upright bikes.


Tim Bennet. said:
I was having trouble on long audax rides and tried to sort it out myself but to no avail. In the end I went to Hewitts who put me LOWER and more stretched out. I haven't had so much as a twinge ever since. There's loads of people round here who thought they would have to give up cycling as they got older because of 'back or neck pain', but they have all invariably been sorted out by Paul and none are on upright bikes.
I'm glad to hear that you were "sorted out", Tim; but I think there are some people for whom sorting out on an upright is just not possible. Over the course of several years I tried short, long, forward, rearward, upright and low positions. I had two frames built specially, one with a steep seat angle and short top tube, another with a slack seat angle and long top tube. Nothing made any difference to my neck and shoulder pain except using tri-bars, and for me those don't suit touring and Audax, where looking at the scenery is the whole point.

The recumbent position, on the other hand, was immediately and obviously the solution. I do wish more keen cyclists would try riding a recumbent. We should all experience as many kinds of cycling as we can, and even if you have no particular comfort issues on an upright, recumbents are just so much fun :eek:
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