- MTB Bike Fit – wrist pressure – bars/stem/general bike fit
So had my Trek 18 months and for the most part its been a blast.
But of late I have been looking to do longer rides and been getting some wrist pain and also feeling a little back pain. Now this could be down to my body just not being used to longer rides in the saddle.
I actually felt today that I was almost pressing my palms against the bars more than normal (I have recently dropped the bars by 10mm).
So today I got the misses to take some pics and I think I look like I’m on a small bike! Ignore my current fat belly and stupid face but opinions appreciated without being too mean lol.
The frame is what Trek refer to as a M/L. I’m 5ft 10.5 with 31″ inseam.
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2h5L4PS]2B7CD6D7-C0BD-4D2A-A4F2-30A09F9B9AB1[/url] by Justin Akehurst, on Flickr
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2h5KjoH]2282CD25-D3F0-4113-BBD5-4C52BF4B931E[/url] by Justin Akehurst, on FlickrPosted 9 months ago
Do you ride with your foot on the pdeals like in the first picture? Your leg looks quite extended, makes me wonder if your saddle is too high, could result in back pain?
But yes, to my inexpert eye the front end looks low and short, although I’m more used to looking at road and CX bikes these days!Posted 9 months ago
From that glimpse I’d say your saddle is too high and your bars are too low.Posted 9 months ago
As above, lower your saddle a few mm and do some hamstring stretches.
Why did you lower your stem?Posted 9 months ago
Well from looking at those photos my experience suggests that your weeds are too high and your use of weedkiller is too low.Posted 9 months ago
Oh no that’s not my riding position in first pic. I was just showing with heel on pedal not riding position if that makes sense.
I put the bars down one spacer just as I thought It would work better with the 50mm stem. But that was just something I read online! Oops!
The bars are slightly different too. I had 7 degree back sweep Renthals that needed replacing so borrowed some raceface bars which are 8 degree back sweep. Would like make much of a difference? Both 760mm 20mm rise. 5mm upPosted 9 months ago
bike looks too small. sorry.Posted 9 months ago
Next size up is 15mm extra reach. Not that I can change up now!
I can put stem back up and see what happens. Lower saddle a bit. Would 1 degree extra back sweep make much of a difference?Posted 9 months ago
I’d say that, given your heel is on the pedal in the first photo, your saddle height is right.
If you’re getting pain through your hands now the stem’s lower I’d put it back up. It might be worth working on your core strength so that your core is supporting you rather than relying on your hands and arms to do the bulk of the work holding you up – that will help with the hand pain, but it also uses less energy so longer rides will be easier.Posted 9 months ago
Wow… that bike looks tiny… probably because I’m so used to seeing folk on longer bikes now. Try an unfashionable 70m stem. What length stem did the bike come with?Posted 9 months ago
It came with a 60mm stem and 740 bars. It probably looks even smaller as I’m carrying too much bulk! I’m not even sure the next size up would look much better looking at the stats!
2 LBS put me on that frame so maybe it’s bad angles too!!Posted 9 months ago
longer stem and sliding the saddle back on the rails would stretch you out a bit. Maybe a riser bar and higher bar position too would stop you bending over and take weight off your hands. Might be worth buying ones of those cheap adjustable stems that pivot to go higher and lower. Not really very good but could help try different positions before you splash out on proper mtb kit.Posted 9 months ago
Aye, saddle back a bit, and stick on an 80mm stem with a bit of a rise on it(brand x do one for a tenner that’ll let you test that out). If you’ve any spacers on top of the stem too, stick them under the stem. That’ll stretch you out and rise you up a bit.
Looks like you probably could have gone up a size, but still, shouldn’t stop you making that one fit.Posted 9 months ago
I still have the original 60stem which I know isn’t much longer but will stick that on and raise the stem up and then ride again!Posted 9 months ago
I’d be tempted to get some higher rise bars on top of the higher stem too, especially if bars are not higher than saddle. Could reduce OTB probability as weight won’t be so forward.Posted 9 months ago
Bars are 20mm rise so could try some 30mm ones. Bars are lower than saddle. Especially when I fully weighted in seat.Posted 9 months ago
Jedi has a recent video on bar position and how it affects the wrist.Posted 9 months ago
That bike looks far too small for you, that’s the largest problem IMHO.Posted 9 months ago
Nowt you can really do about that other then get a bike that’s more you’re size.
Going of first pic, saddle height correct, bars look low, get a higher rise bar about 20mm higher if possible, it’ll feel like a slightly longer stem too and put saddle as far back as poss, 1° more or less backsweep won’t make that much difference, go up a size on your next bike though.Posted 9 months ago
Pretty busy week ahead so probably no riding until the weekend. Will pop on the 60mm stem and raise the stem 10mm and see how it feels before looking at some higher rise bars.
Will attempt further photos too see how it effects my overall position.Posted 9 months ago
Your saddle looks to be too far forward. In the second pic your knee is in front of your toes. It should be further back – just behind your toes. You should have the saddle set horizontal or a tad down.Posted 9 months ago
trying to get comfy on my new bike took me a while and what i learned was i had too much pressure on my hands initially.. i was able to sort this with a combo of bar angle (change in sweep and rolling the bars) and grips until i found even pressure on my hands.Posted 9 months ago
the pressure was still to high so i raised the stem a little, pushed the seat back a little and tilted the seat up a little (too much seat tilt will be obvious cos it’ll hurt like hell after a few mins)
with my limited knowledge, you are aiming to get closer to 90 degrees up your body and down your arms
As a purely recreational rider with very little grasp of geometry & bike fit and as a serial bike adjuster I’ve always found that getting bike fit right to be a bit of a black art (I might also be talking rot).
longer stem and sliding the saddle back on the rails would stretch you out a bit.
This has worked for me in sorting out lower back issues on some bikes, but it increases your attack position a little and potentially puts more weight on the hands.
I’d be tempted to get some higher rise bars on top of the higher stem too,
I’ve just switched out a 0° rise stem for a 10° one and it’s helped a little with some hand numbness I was having. This moves you into a more upright position and can take some weight off the hands but I find that the more upright you get the more impact goes through the bum & lower back.
That’s the thing really, short of tying loads of helium filled balloons around your waist, you can’t actually reduce the amount of weight you place on the contact points, you can only redistribute it and there’s a degree of finding out what works best for you.
I’m not saying that the OP’s issues aren’t bike fit related (I’m certainly not qualified to say) but there is also something about a degree of aches being ‘normal’ when you’re pushing your limits. Nobody seems surprised when their legs ache after a hard ride so it shouldn’t be surprising for there to be some fatigue & aches in the core muscles that support your riding position.
I’ve got a slightly more acute (but very comfortable) attack position on my bike with my hands very light on the bars. I like my saddle height set so that when I’m pedaling hard there’s a little natural lift from my feet/ankles taking some weight off the saddle; it also allows my knees to act as suspension (pedals are sometimes overlooked as a contact point). As I get more fatigued on long rides (3-4 hours is long for me) I find that that lift from my ankles lessens and I sit heavier on the saddle and I end up supporting myself more via the saddle & bars as I sag more into the bike; knees & elbows offer less bump absorption too (I’ve a rigid mountain bike, unlike the OP’s full-sus, that I use as a sort of gravel bike). I guess that this is more about fitness than fit.
For reference, my flat bars are roughly level with the mid-point of my saddle which seems to work, but the saddle-bar height relationship seems tricky. A number of folk here are suggesting that if the bars are lower than the saddle, their height might need adjusting, however Cycling UK’s fitting guide says:
4. For a recreational road bike position, the top of the handlebar should be level with the mid-point of the saddle, or maybe a couple of centimetres below.
5. For a cross country MTB position, the grip should not be above the mid-point of the saddle.
6. For aggressive cross country MTBing, the saddle to grip drop should be in the range of 2-5 cm.
Over the years I’ve learnt to ignore the ‘shoulds’ and just go with what works.Posted 9 months ago
“Your saddle looks to be too far forward. In the second pic your knee is in front of your toes.“
This makes no sense.Posted 9 months ago
Longer stem, higher bars and some Ergon grips to take a little more weight on palms. I think the bike is the right size, but position is not right.Posted 9 months ago
Thanks for all feedback. I have the 60 stem ready to go back on and will put the stem up 10mm.
As mentioned I will try the 20mm risers first and see how that small change makes next ride with the longer raised stem.
I have Ergon GA2 fat grips but was thinking of trying the new GA1 Evo factory ones instead as Wiggle have them on offer and they are meant to be a bit softer.
Will measure saddle height and bar height before and after changes too.Posted 9 months ago
So made adjustments this evening and went for a very quick ride and I mean quick so hard to get a proper idea.
60mm stem plus stem up 10mm. Difference to start with just felt a bit more stretched but I did notice that the climb seemed a bit easier.
It’s hard to get a real idea from such a small ride so that will have to wait until Friday.
I ran the 20mm rise and think the 30mm might just put them a little too high.
I would say without measuring they are now level with the middle of the saddle but my eyes always deceive me so could be wrong!
Will see what happens on Friday and get some more pics to compare to see if you notice the difference.Posted 9 months ago
Thanks for all the advice. Did a 21mile ride today as was much better. Wrists still hurt a bit but far less than they did on my previous 6mile ride!
I lowered the saddle just a few mm and went back a few mm. Put the unfashionably long 60mm stem back on and put the last 10mm spacer back under the stem.
I didn’t feel cramped at all and didn’t find myself wanting to rest my hands on the bars either.
Hopefully the Tweeks will get me through until I save up for the 2020 Fuel, all be it a bigger size! Although the same size as mine is now quite a substantial 20mm linger in the reach department.Posted 8 months ago
looks like you could go for more than a 20mm reach increase.Posted 8 months ago
So a quick update after a 69.5 mile ride – actually felt pretty good through the ride and after. Slight bit of wrist ache and neck ache after 45ish miles but nothing bad at all.
Only aches and pains the day after were my legs!
So here are a couple of pics from the ride – I definatly thik I don’t look as cramped as the ones above!
As for bars – going from the sangles of my arms and my span – reckon I could go any wider than the 760s? When doing press up’s I definatly have a wider span – but in the pic – maybe my arms look ok?
Bad face time…
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