New bike, new questions
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  1. #1
    In the zone.
    Reputation: bikersteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    New bike, new questions

    So I bought a new bike ('04 Fuji Team), and there are a few issues that have been popping up. Just some background - I'm a new rider, and the 50 miles that I've put on the bike so far this week are the first "real" 50 miles I've put on a road bike.

    1. I've been experiencing some lower back pain on rides longer than 10 miles. I was worried that this was due to fit, but I carefully used the online fit formulas to pick out a frame that is in my neighborhood. The bike is a 58 cm c-t (57.2 effective tt), and I'm 6'0 with a 34'' inseam. There could be two issues here though. One is the fit. I've also heard that newer riders experience some discomfort at first, until their back muscles get used to the riding position. The pain isn't in my spine, it's in my lower back muscles right above my ass, so I could fall into the latter category. However, I think this is odd because I'm a weight room rat and have done plenty of back work (deadlifts, extensions, etc) through the years.

    Also, the stem is a bit short (10cm), I could get a longer stem and try that, but I want to make sure that its the stem's fault first.

    2. After my first 13 miles on the bike, the rear wheels went out of true. I took it in to performance, which is where I bought it, and got it trued quickly for free. I asked the mechanic what the deal was with the wheels going out of true and was told that it was typical for new wheels to go out of true. I went out for a 35 miler a few days later, and the rear wheel was, once again, off true. What's going on here?

    Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Get some experience...

    With more time on the bike, you will become accustomed to the riding position and, if the fit is indeed right, you should not experience the pains you mention. Even though you might do weights, there are very specific muscles that always come into play with most new exercises. So time in the saddle is the key.

    Also, I don't think a longer stem is an answer to the pain - you may need a longer one, but that will only exacibate your initial pains. The best thing to do is get the bike setup right from the start, and then get used to it. That's not to say after you become accustomed to it that some parameters might change, cos they might, but correct initial setup is the best starting place. The correct stem length for you shouldn't change.
    Fac Fortia et Patere

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    and relax

    relax your hands. relax your arms. relax your shoulders. relax your back. relax your stomach muscles. in that order.

    seriously, relaxing the upper body is totally important.. don't arch your back. don't go nuts trying to keep the back straight. just be....relaxed and comfy.


  4. #4
    hi, I'm Larry
    Reputation: bimini's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Fit formulas are for people who are use to the position

    It takes awhile for the lower back muscles to stretch and adapt to a low handlebar postion. It's best to start high and work your way down over time. I ride a lot of miles and still notice it in my back when I drop the bars down a little more.

    Raise the bars until you get a couple of hundred miles in and then work it down. You may be able to flip the steam over to raise the bars, or add spacers, or buy a new stem or getting fork tube extension (if the tube has been cut off too short).

    Then lower the bar an inch or so, ride a lot and slowly work your way down.

    It is common to need to true a wheel after the first few rides. Most shops will do this for free a few times with a new set of wheels or new bike. There are ways to stress relieve the wheels to reduce this and most hand built wheels are stress relieved. Factory built wheels will stress releive themselves after a few rides and then need to be retrued.

  5. #5
    wots...uh the deal?
    Reputation: mmoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    All the above are good ideas. Stem too short, but don't change until you have adapted...longer stem will stretch you out more and put more stress on the back. On the other hand, since this is your first road bike, make sure that you are not hunching up your back into an abnormal position...where do you keep your hands most of the time? on top of the bars, on the hoods or in the drops?

    There is a dramatic difference between short strong efforts (working the weights) , and sitting in a saddle for an hour or more.

    As for the wheels, maybe checkout the specs in regard to your weight. Certain wheels are made for certain weighted riders. I'm 6', 34" inseam, but I've gained 40 pounds in the last 18 months (without putting many miles in) and worry that I may be over weight for my wheels (170# vs. 210#). A friend who is close to 150# bought a new Bianchi and changed out the rear wheel for same model with more spokes as he did not feel the rear was strong enough and had true problems also.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    For your back pain and stem issue you should try 2 things:

    1) Lower your saddle a touch and slide it forward a couple of millimeters.
    2) This bike comes with a nice flip-flop Ritchey stem. Turn it over so it gives you some rise.
    This should do the trick.

    The Ritchey wheels that come on this bike are truly terrible! They will never be completely true. All Fuji's, including the Professional and Team Issue, come through with terribly built wheels. Put them on your beater bike and invest in a nice set of wheels (e.g. MAVIC Kysirium's).

    Good Luck

    Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give.[/QUOTE]

  7. #7
    Windrider (Stubborn)
    Reputation: Len J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Couple of suggestions.......

    1.) Re back pain....this can be caused by not sitting on the bike correctly. You should be riding with a flat get the feel of a flat back....sit on the bike the way you normally would...hands on the without changing your hand position or where you are on the saddle, attempt to move your chest closer to the top tube of your bike.......the only way to do this is to "roll' your hips forward which if you notice flattens your also gets you sitting on the correct part of your pelvis. This position puts less strain on your back but does take a while to get used is also a more powerful position. Relaxing your upper body while you ride also helps....if you still have lower back pain after riding relaxed for several rides it probably is a fit issue.

    2.) Re the wheels. This constant retruing of a new set of wheels is almost always caused by an improper build. Part of a good build is "stress releiving" spokes and setting them in their final positions while continually retruing as you bring them up to even tension. If this is not done, or not done enough, the spokes will "stress relief" themselves while you are riding....this can create uneven tension and a wheel that is out of true. The only fix for this is to take the wheels to a good builder, have him de tension the spokes, and retension them while performing the proper stress relief as he is continually bring the wheel up to true.

    " the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

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  8. #8
    scruffy nerf herder
    Reputation: funknuggets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    thats interesting...

    [QUOTE=pin96]For your back pain and stem issue you should try 2 things:

    1) Lower your saddle a touch and slide it forward a couple of millimeters.

    I was gonna suggest he move it up!!!, excessive curvature in the lower spine that is caused by a seat that is too far forward or too low (without the hips being rolled) will tend to pass road vibrations pretty much to the lower back if the seat is too low, thus too much weight is placed in the rear and not displaced through the arms and hands.

    I have also found that going out and suddenly doing a 50 miler, when not accustomed to it could also cause some kidney-area pain. If that is the case... sorry mileage is your answer.
    so sayeth the funk....


    "The RBR Lounge. You won't ever find a more wretched hive of scum and villany. We must be cautious."

  9. #9
    In the zone.
    Reputation: bikersteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Thanks everyone!

    Sounds like I just need to ride a bit more. I found on my last ride that the back pain was slightly alleviated by pushing my seat back and angling it very slightly downward.

    I weigh in at about 193, which is on the heavier side for a rider, so new wheels could be the answer since I'm not going to lose much weight. I haven't heard anything about the Ritchey wheels before I rode them, but I was extremely careful not to buy any of the lower spoke-count wheels because of the weight issue. I think I heard that Mavic open pros with ultegra hubs are good and cheap. I may look into those if my damn wheel doesn't start to shape up.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by bikersteve
    I think I heard that Mavic open pros with ultegra hubs are good and cheap. I may look into those if my damn wheel doesn't start to shape up.

    Performance has those wheels (Open Pro/Ultegra) on sale this week for $199.00 a set...

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Yes, you will be fiddling with your set-up for a while.

    As your body adapts to riding, you may find yourself stretching out more along the top tube or dropping the bars a bit. I find my lower back hurts the first Spring ride with lots of climbing and then does fine so it may not be a position question at all. Keep making little changes as long as they help and don't be in too much of a hurry to swap out the stem.

    As for the wheels. Often when a new rear wheel goes out of true, the non-drive side spokes are too loose. You can check them out. If this is the case, the shop should take care of it for you. Mavic Open-Pros with Ultegra are well worth $200 if you decide you want something better.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

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