New Roadie: Normal or Adverse Symptoms?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Kelvin_C-J, 17 Aug 2012.

  1. Kelvin_C-J

    Kelvin_C-J Active Member

    Hi all,

    I hate to admit to conform to the 'standard', but recently got my first road bike - the Triban 3.

    Previously I have been riding a Carrera Subway Hybrid and a GT MTB, for a fair number of years.

    I do not mean to be rash, but, was merely being curious if my experiences thus far with my '72 hour young' Triban 3 were considered 'normal' for new road bikers or something that may need looking into.

    Namely, the issues I am having at present are:
    1) Neck strain / pain after riding
    2) Aching legs / calves
    3) Wrist strain / pain

    Now, being completely honest, I am not a 'newbie' to bike riding. I have been riding for about 14 years (perhaps not correctly!) but would like to think I do at least have some experience. I'm around 5' 7", and have the 51cm frame size, with the saddle at its lowest point. The saddle is exactly perpendicular to the frame.

    I have not adjusted the handlebars, but do not feel that I am 'excessively' leaning down / forward, but must admit to feeling neck pain a lot - as if, perhaps, I am lifting / raising my head too much?

    I hold on to the drops, and cannot say that I feel any wrist pain while riding, unlike neck and/or leg pain. But it is noticeable after riding.

    I think, perhaps due to the pedals or pedal clips, I may be pedalling in a different way than I did on my mountain bike / hybrid and hence feel the discomfort as it is a 'new way' of pedalling?

    I must admit, despite getting used to pedalling on my previous bikes fine, if I used my toe to pedal - I did feel the same kind of discomfort as I do with the Triban. However, I am not 'pushing' my feet through the clips, but must admit that: either something must be incorrect with my pedalling or, this is just something to get used to?

    My apologies for the long post, but thank you for your time, advice and help.
  2. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    Pedals - should be more or less under the ball of your foot. If you are having to stretch to reach down to the pedals with your toes, the frame is too big.
    Hands - if you are riding on the drops all the time after being used to a flat bar, you neck is bound to take time to adjust. Try riding on the hoods for a while and only going down into the drops when up aganst a headwind or really sprinting.
  3. sidevalve

    sidevalve Über Member

    Most people only really use the drops when "going for it" [well most people I have ridden with do] prefering the hoods or even the bar for just "riding" so maybe you are a little down at the front.
    lavoisier likes this.
  4. OP

    Kelvin_C-J Active Member

    Thank you both for the replies.

    I do not believe the frame is too big (though admit it is a step up from my 18" hybrid!) - I am not 'stretching' my feet / legs to complete the cyclic motion, but perhaps am putting too much effort in to keeping my toes 'tight' with the clips?

    Regarding the drops - I don't know, I just find it more comfortable than the bar. I imagine, to put it in a less than pleasing term, for most of the riding I am holding the area between the drops and the hoods - where I can extend my hand to reach the brakes if necessary. I like to try to keep my fingers on the brakes in case I need to use them, though that in itself may explain my supposed wrist problem, as I do feel I have to stretch my hand / fingers to hold the brake levers.

    Also - regarding the saddle - I have read some people advise raising it above the normal etc. but, as I feel I am not moving up/down when riding is there any perceived benefit from adjusting it?

  5. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    As a starting position....(for fine adjustment later)
    Adjust saddle height so that, sitting upright on bike, you can you put your heel on the pedal at the bottom of the stroke?
    When you put the ball of your foot back on the pedal your knees should still have an angel of 25 to 30 degrees at the bottom of the stroke.
    For saddle fore-and-aft read up KOPS (knee over pedal spindle) - not everyone agrees with this, but it's usually not a bad approximation.
    Then with hands on hoods - look down at front wheel hub. It should be hidden by your handlebar. If above or behind you may want a different length stem.

    Learn to "cover" the brakes with your hands on the hoods. If you can't comfortably reach them there are inserts for most brakes which bring them in closer to the bars. Ask at Decathlon if you didnt get any.
  6. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

  7. boydj

    boydj Guru

    If your saddle is at it's lowest point, then it's almost certainly too low. Follow the advice above to get your saddle set at the correct height and distance from the bars. You may then need to adjust the height of the bars. If you bought your bike from a shop (not online) then they should have gone through this with you.
  8. cyberknight

    cyberknight As long as I breathe, I attack.

    Land of confusion
  9. OP

    Kelvin_C-J Active Member

    Thanks...I adjusted my brakes as recommended by Pete (Thank you!) and that helped regarding hand strain.

    But - my legs were still hurting - but thanks for the links above cyberknight; they all seem to point to saddle / stem height as the problem, so I will work on that tomorrow. (neck and leg pain).

    Thank you and sorry for the 'newbie' questions.
  10. cyberknight

    cyberknight As long as I breathe, I attack.

    Land of confusion
    No need to be sorry , there are no bad or silly questions and we are here to help and in no way was i taking a poke at you , atm we are having an influx of new members and of course one and all are very welcome :smile: I thought it would be nice to have a stickied thread regarding basic bike set up on the forums to help .
    After you have got your basic set up right i would give it a while as the bike will take a while to get used too, with regards ti your legs hurting do you push a hard gear slowly or try to spin the pedals round at fair speed, 90 rpm seems to be an average sweet spot that allows your heart +legs to share the work if that makes sense ?
    Have you got a speedo? if so when pushing fast try dropping to an easier gear and pedaling a bit faster and see if you can maintain the same speed .
    Some people prefer to grind and others like to spin their legs faster so just experiment and see what works for you .
  11. Spiky Simon

    Spiky Simon Regular

    A 51cm frame size for a 5'7" rider seems pretty small to me. Especially with the saddle at the lowest point.
  12. Rob500

    Rob500 Well-Known Member

  13. OP

    Kelvin_C-J Active Member

    Indeed it was. I suppose after all my years on a hybrid or MTB I just got comfortable with the idea of having most of my feet on the ground for support / safety if I needed to get off in a hurry.

    However, after reading through the links provided, and raising my stem and the seat, I am now much more comfortable. I must admit, I was amazed at the difference the seat height had on my power output per rotation - it no longer felt like I was working against but 'with' the bike.

    I still need to fine-tune the seat height, but that seems to have made a big difference. That's 2/3 problems solved - the only remaining issue I am having is with my neck - but I imagine that is due to the 'aero' position as opposed to the 'upright' position and hence is something that will need getting acclimatised to.

    My apologies Rob - once again my University course choice shows itself! I was not intending to refer to the height of the saddle - I was aiming to refer to the 'angle' of the saddle/seat when mounted on the frame. In Physics, 'normal' 'perpendicular' and 'right-angle' are different words for the same thing - 'right-angle or 90 degrees'. I was just intending to say that I have read that people say about adjusting the angle of the seat - either slightly above or below that 'flat 90 degrees' to the frame.

    I suppose as well, though not what I had intended, it would indeed be 'normal' to me to have it at that point - for the reason stated at the start of this post. Sorry for my induced confusion. Thank you all for all the help.
  14. Rob500

    Rob500 Well-Known Member

    No need to apologise Kelvin. Good to hear that you're acclimatising to the road bike.
  15. speedygoo

    speedygoo Active Member

    just on the note of
    your saddle height on your mountain bike/hybrid is too low also your leg bend on your road bike and mtb should be the same.
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