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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Bike Fit and Handlebars

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    So I've had this chronic hip pain for a few years. Been to the orthopedic doc and had plenty of Physical Therapy, they said overuse and one leg is slightly longer than the other. Since last year the pain has gone to my lower back and the front of my quad. I was told Psoas/hip flexor. I also have regular shoulder and hand pain. I stretch and stretch. I do yoga and strength training. Went to see a new Chiropractor. He suggested I get a bike fit. The shop I bought the bike from did that but only made a slight adjustment. I then decided to spend the money and go to a really high end bike shop. NOW I find out my handlebars are actually too wide, too big? And the height of the handlebars was wrong also. How did my LBS miss that? I mean I love these guys, they have never steered me wrong! I was also told my seat was actually too high and was not at the correct angle. So for years I've ridden this way? I'm anxious to get my bike back with the new handlebars, and other adjustments. I'm hopeful that my pain will stop.

    I'm just bummed that the regular guys didn't suggest this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    My thoughts are first that the high end folks are going to be eager to say it was all wrong before ... so I'd definitely see wheter it worked or not before being disappointed!
    (Okay, my first thought was "hope it works!! hope it works!!")

    Second thought was that ... maybe the regular guys don't know as much about fitting for women.

    HOpe it works!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Columbus, IN
    Just a headsup -- when I first got a bike fitting it felt uncomfortable at first because my body had adjusted to the old fit. It was better (and felt great) in a week or so but just know that the first few rides might feel funny.

    Also -- I had a "intro" bike fit and they hit the major things (knees in right place, etc.) but the more expensive fit refined a lot more. So I don't know if the initial one was necessarily wrong for you, but the expensive guys found even more stuff to fix :-)

    Hope your pain goes away.
    Last edited by Aromig; 05-11-2016 at 12:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Sorry to hear about your pain. I've been there, too, and it's no fun. The good news is that there are all kinds of things you can do on a bike to help relieve that pain.

    Don't be too hard on your LBS. Bike fit is such a VERY personal thing and no bike shop, even the highest end shop, can tell you 100% what will or will not work for you. For me, it's always a work in progress, adjusting this, adjusting that, as I go. Then, too, your pedaling technique and your posture can also be part of the problem, even on a bike that fits, correctly.

    As Aromig mentions, too, it takes your body time to fit into a new bike when you're just starting out. Even after a lifetime of biking, when I switch to a different kind of bike, it still feels a little funny for a bit.

    Yes, the best bike shops will know all the more subtle issues with fit and subtle they are, too. For instance, even a tiny difference in my seat tilt adjustment makes a huge difference in comfort and performance. Most of these less obvious adjustments you'll have to work out for yourself, but it's a big plus to work with folks who know what these possible adjustments are, in the first place.

    Too wide on the handlebars is a common issue for us gals. On flat bars, I usually have to move the grips, shifters and brake levers inward and then trim off the ends of the handlebars. Not much you can do on drop bars but get a narrower set. As for your handlebars being too high, you'll still need to be the judge of that and the only way to know for sure, is to ride and see. Take their suggestion as a guideline, not as gospel.

    Best of luck. Hang in there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    I've found that bike fit is as much art as science. Some people know the rules, set things up according to the angles and measurements they've been taught to use. Others are a step beyond that -- they've got a good eye for when a person's bike fits them and when it doesn't, and they have a feel for when they should bend the rules a bit to work with an individual's physical situation. And often there's a certain amount of trial and error involved.

    The first time I had my saddle height changed by the best bike fitter I've worked with, I didn't realize yet that he was the best bike fitter I would work with. And I felt that he had dropped the saddle way too much -- my knees just felt wrong. But it turned out that he was absolutely right, and I did get used to it and was happier for it. One time I mentioned to him that I had elbow problems that weren't caused by cycling but were made worse by it. He measured my shoulders and told me that I was on the line between my current handlebars and ones that were slightly narrower. I kept the old handlebars and resolved the elbow problem (with a larger mouse for my work pc). But a few years later I was having just enough neck and shoulder pain to make me switch to the narrower bars. That did eliminate the pain, though it also changed the way the bike handled, which took a bit of getting used to.

    I hope the changes being made help with the problems you've been having. Bear in mind that you might still need to tweak things after you've ridden the new setup for a while.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles



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