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Hi all

Here are photos of how I look on my bike, and of the bike itself for you to check stem rise and all. As mentioned in my previous post, I fell comfortable on the bike and my only problem is that when I get off after a good ride, I feel stiffness in my lower back for about half a minute, and need to stretch it in the opposite direction before i am good again. Could it be that I will adapt as my back gets stronger and I stretch and strengthen my core? or is something wrong with the fit? here are the photos. Thanks all for your help.
 

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I wonder if your saddle is level or sloping down slightly? It's hard to tell from the pictures, but if it is you may be having to "hold" yourself in the saddle. That may contribute to your back pain.

If you have an LBS nearby ask them for their advice, but I'd level the saddle and lower it by a couple of mm, so that the nose is the same height as before.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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It's hard to tell from the pictures, but.....

to me you look cramped on the bike. It looks like your reach is too short......allowing/causing you to have a "rolled" back (as opposed to a flat back).

You should have your hips rolled forward some which will flatten your back......you can also check reach by getting in the drops (after you have rolled your hips forward) and getting low enough that your forarms are parrallel to the ground......your biceps should be 90 degrees from your shoulders......your's look like they would be behind that.

If you get to crunched for too long it can cause the kind of discomfort you describe.

Len
 

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That’s a sharp looking bike.

Others have expressed similar sentiments...

Your fit looks pretty close. Here are some observations and personal experience.

It seems like you’re a bit cramped in your position; your spine is compressed. I try to feel that I stretch my spine while on the bike by projecting my shoulders up and forward, straightening and flattening my back and rolling my pelvis forward. This may feel awkward at first and a bit unnatural. When stretched like this, I look to see a 90-or-so degree angle between the upper arm and torso. This stretched position takes pressure off your spine, promotes free-breathing, and focuses your core muscles on stabilizing your pelvis (rather than supporting your weight).

The camera perspective isn’t square-on but it appears that a) your knee-over-pedal-spindle (KOPS) is a little forward and (b) your saddle’s nose is pointed down somewhat.

KOPS is something that people here may argue about but generally, a forward KOPS will be favored more by those with a high and smooth cadence. Among other things, moving you saddle back should put less weight on your hands and promote better use of your glutes in moving the bike along.

A downward-pointed saddle may promote your weight sliding forward onto your hands and moving your rear off the sweet spot of the saddle. Think of the saddle less as a place to sit and more as a fulcrum or a balanced-place to leverage your power.

Also, rather than raising the stem, you might try rotating the bars a bit such that the brake hoods become a little higher… an easy experiment.

Don’t get too discouraged. Experiment and have fun along the way. Keep up the stretching and core work. A year from now I suspect you’ll have moved the saddle back, tilted the saddle back, and fitted a longer stem (or bars with a longer reach and bigger drops… you appear to have big hands).

Anyway, that’s enough rambling for now.

Good luck,

Jim
 

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Doesn't seem too bad. The seat may need to nose-up just a touch, as has been mentioned. It doesn't seem to me that you are necessarily all that cramped - some folks naturally sit on a bike with more bend to the back than others, and that wouldn't seem to me to cause what you are describing.

Where is the front hub in relation to the bartops when you have your hands on the hoods? Your head's cropped out in the photos, so I can't tell. Common rule of thumb is that it should be obscured by the bars on the hoods, visible to the front in the drops, to the rear on the tops. That really doesn't say much though, because it leaves a surprising amount of leeway.

It might be a strength/conditioning/fitness/technique sort of question as well. One thing that can cause all manner of discomfort is relying on the skeleton to support your upper body more than your muscles. If you tend to ride with your elbows straight and your head 'hammocked' between your shoulders, it obviously can cause neck and shoulder pain. That tends to get resolved by trying to use the back muscles to hold up the torso, causing the sort of discomfort you describe.

Better technique bends the elbows slightly, and rolls the shoulders forward, so the pecs are doing the torso-support work. That takes tension off of both the upper and lower back muscles, and the pecs are better equipped and leveraged for this particular bit of work. But they might not be in shape, and it's easy to fall into the bad habit of 'shrugging' your way up the road.

Based on your description of temporary tightness rather than a longer-lasting discomfort, I'm going to make this my main guess. Tilt that saddle, work on some push-ups/bench presses, and concentrate on upper-body support form on the bike for a while. You might find it useful to do some occasional push-up style stretches while riding - I've found it to help both relieve the back tension and reinforce the technique/position.
 

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As Len J said, you do look a bit cramped. Your saddle fore/aft position looks to be in the ballpark (there's no real metric for this.....KOPS is just a ballpark placement, a good place to start). The saddle does look a bit nose down. When on the bike, do you feel any/a lot of weight on your hands or arms? Your arms should be loose, and elbows should be bent a bit. If your arms don't feel loose or you feel like you have to hold your torso up, then I think you need to either tilt the nose of your saddle up a bit or your saddle might need to go back a bit. Your legs and butt should be supporting you.

I know from experience that if you've got too much weight on your arms, you can end up with a tight/sore back. The same is true if you're not stretched out enough.

I can't remember: have you been to a good bike fitter, yet? Good bike fitters aren't gods and aren't all powerful, but they ARE good for getting a good baseline, a good place to start, as well as knowledge of how to make further tweaks down the road, if necessary.
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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I too was surprised how cramped you looked on the bike, given that you're not showing a lot of seatpost (the hallmark of a bike that's generally small for you), and you stem isn't short. But that's about the extent of my fit advice, because it could just be a visual illusion in the photos--it's good that you sent photos instead of just describing things, though.

The back pain you describe sounds very much like hip flexor pain--it goes away when you stand up straight or bend backwards, right? If it's what I think it is, it's cramping in the top of the flexor, a muscle which reaches from your lower back to the top of your leg in front.

Some of that can be caused by weakness in your hip flexors (they get tired and cramp), and some is the muscles not being accustomed to working but never fully extending, because you're mostly used to exercising standing up straight or walking or running (again, cramping).

The things that helped me were getting my position looked at (my drop to the bars was too great), getting my cleat position dialed in (mine were slightly off from each other front-to-back, so I was more efficient with one than the other), and working on core strength. I think over that time I also probably just got stronger/more used to things too, which helped.
 

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I don't think it's fit

as much as rider posture. learn to bend at the hips and not the spine. do more core training to stiffen the core, stronger abs will help the back.you may be a tad cramped but you need to learn the flat back.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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Gotta think the best place to start is to level out that saddle. Small changes, but try it level or a degree or two up. That's my bet. Worth what you paid for it, and it's free to try.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks. Now photos of adjustments

Thank you all for all that feedback. Really the bike shop said the fit was a starting point and changes would need to be made based on feedback. your comments have helped me acquire some knowledge, so as to be able to provide feedback. Now, based on all the comments, I made adjustments and took photos before and after, with straight back and rolled pelvis. check it out. More feedback would be appreciated. thank you all again. I am very greatful. The changes basically were tilt the saddle nose up and one inch backwards.

looks like i am more streched out now. hope the KOPS position is still sound. in particular, does anyone think these changes mean i need to lower the saddle?

first photo shows saddle tilt mainly (and saddle movement 1 inch backwards.) 2nd photo os position on initial setup. 3d photo position on adjusted setup. thanks again.
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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The pictures are really a help because in the other thread we talked about "overstretch" (shortening stem, etc.) which is not what I see at all. In fact, your cockpit looks pretty short. I'm betting that riding in the drops, your elbows and knees will overlap.

Lower back pain while climbing can just be a function of pushing too big a gear or not being strong enough (ie., may be unrelated to bike fit). Otherwise, I concur that you are more likely too cramped instead of too stretched.

You could raise the bars a little but if you do, I'd go 1 cm longer with the stem. As far as KOPS, your photos don't show it enough to really tell. You'd need a photo with the foot closest to the camera at 3 o'clock.
 

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Back position looks better. Can't really tell about KOPS, as we don't have a cranks-level picture. Actually, the picture probably doesn't matter - the photo would almost certainly 'lie' because of an apparent angle difference. Find a weight and piece of string and check it out.

Retilting the seat and moving it back will both fractionally extend the seat height, so if it fit before, it's time to lower it a bit. Then ride for a while and see how it feels - which is far more valuable than anything else I can say.
 

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Looks a little better. I agree with atpjunkie about the back flat. Still looks like your bending at the spine though...stretch and build up your core.
 

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I think that many of the comments are guiding you in the direction...

of good fit, but they may not have the back problem in mind. If I were you I would...
lower my seat a bit
get a stem which has some angled rise to it
rotate the bars up a bit so the top of the bars are flatter, more comfy, and I would ride on the bar tops and hoods A LOT. I hardly ever ride in the drops.
 

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classiquesklassieker
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elvisVerde said:
of good fit, but they may not have the back problem in mind. If I were you I would...
lower my seat a bit
get a stem which has some angled rise to it
rotate the bars up a bit so the top of the bars are flatter, more comfy, and I would ride on the bar tops and hoods A LOT. I hardly ever ride in the drops.
If you were him, then maybe your advice makes sense. In general, lower seat and higher handlebar does not always mean more comfort. Otherwise most of us should be riding beach cruisers, because most of us don't cruise along at the speed of the UCI ProTour peloton and aerodynamics hardly matter.

There is a reason why we instinctively put our noses towards our handlebars when pedaling very hard: this is natural to the body. So that is one of many reasons why your suggestion is not true in general.

To the original poster: if you have physiological issues, please consult your physician or a good, reputable fitter who is familiar with your issue. The smallest things can make a big difference. I didn't know that I'd gain myself significant comfort by going to a slightly larger handlebar until my fitter told me to do it. I also didn't know that lowering my handlebar actually makes me more comfortable!
 
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