1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    lower back pain.. and numb man parts.

    Did a quick search and couldn't really find what I was looking for. been riding about 6 weeks now, and starting to get into the harder stuff. 20+ mile rides, climb after climb etc. I just got done riding and realized that my lower back is freaking killing me. There are times where it starts to ache really bad, especially on long rides.. and right now im mostly riding asphalt, so no rough terrain. And today I also had the issue of my twig n berries going numb.. its happened before but today as more troublesome (climbing for an hour straight). My questions is, is there an issue with my set up that can cause these issues? are my shorts causing some problems? my technique? XL rockhopper with stock saddle, saddle tipped lightly nose up to cure my numb hands issue.. padded camois n shorts.. any help will be appreciated
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  2. #2
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    Does your saddle have the relief cutout down the center?

  3. #3
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    Check the tilt of the saddle nose and drop it a couple degrees. It doesn't have to be horizontal.

  4. #4
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    you wrote that your saddle is tilted up, out of hand concerns.

    I have hand, crotch and back issues.

    I only ride with a level saddle to help the man parts. I make sure to get out of the saddle and pedal standing periodically to increase circulation down there.

    I also know that I must sit on my checks to relieve pressure from my taint. I particularly like the San Marcos Phobos (discontinued) as it makes good contact with the buttock as a sitting platform.

    Technique will help you wrists, keep your elbows in and bent (never locked). forearm to hand should be fairly straight. I strongly prefer Ergon grips with their anatomical support.

    When I have back pain, it is often because my seat is too high. The perfect height can vary for me depending on how limber I am. So if my back hurts, I lower the seat 3-6mm. If my knees hurt, I raise the seat a little bit.

    All of these problems could stem from a bike that is too small or too big for you. You need to be fitted by a knowledgeable person whose priority is making you comfortable (some fitters are obsessive about making you efficient.... which can be uncomfortable).

    fiddle with stuff until you get it figured out.

    good luck.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Check the tilt of the saddle nose and drop it a couple degrees. It doesn't have to be horizontal.
    maybe its a little too high in the nose? lower back pain.. and numb man parts.-20131002_163722_zps29eb89af.jpg
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CriterionIndustries View Post
    Does your saddle have the relief cutout down the center?
    Its not really a cutout, its more like just a groove.. very shallow. its the stock rockhopper seat so its nothing fancy
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  7. #7
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    yeah I may have to level mine out a bit.. this ride was the first where I was climbing almost non-stop, so I wasn't out of the saddle as much as I usually am to get a stretch going. my bike has ergon style grips, and they offer great support.. I have been raising my seat a little here and there, maybe dropping it a little will help me out.. I went to a reputable bike shop that got me fitted on the bike when I bought it, but like u said, I think they wanted my seat up high and such to keep me more efficient than comfy. thanks for the advice
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  8. #8
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    Re: lower back pain.. and numb man parts.

    Looks like you post is raised pretty high above your bar height. Your stem looks like 80mm or so. Are you crunched up in the position? Your back is supporting your liened over position to relieve your hands, hence the back pain. Try a longer higher rise stem. I used to get numbness in the crotch a lot, switched to a Koobi saddle on both my bikes and havent had any problems since. I do century rides and dont have issues.

    Sent from my GT-P3113 using Tapatalk 2

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HAGASAN View Post
    Looks like you post is raised pretty high above your bar height. Your stem looks like 80mm or so. Are you crunched up in the position? Your back is supporting your liened over position to relieve your hands, hence the back pain. Try a longer higher rise stem. I used to get numbness in the crotch a lot, switched to a Koobi saddle on both my bikes and havent had any problems since. I do century rides and dont have issues.

    Sent from my GT-P3113 using Tapatalk 2
    u know what, I've never really noticed that before but looking at the picture it looks pretty high up there.. and im sure the saddle could go up higher, I have really long legs at 6'3. im sure I am a little too crunched up, especially on rides like today where I was elbows in and climbing. how can I go about buying a different stem? what info do I need? and what model saddle are u riding
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  10. #10
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    Tip your saddle down. Figure out hand issue with some other method. 2 degrees of saddle tip for me was the difference between miserable and a pain free ride. Just looking at the picture of you bike made me hurt.

  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Are you riding the road or on trails?

    Here's a good article on pain.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html

    Saddles need to be relatively firm not to interfere with the blood flow in your groin. Compare your saddle to some aftermarket ones at your shop. If it's a lot softer, that's probably part of your problem.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    That saddle angle hurts me just looking at it. I'd definitely flatten in out a bit.

    Aside from the saddle issue you shouldn't necessarily worry too much about a bit of numbness and back pain. Some numbness and pain are normal. The problem is that no one but you can determine if your problems exceed normal or not.

    I'd say that if you are spinning up a hard climb on the order of 30+ minutes or so then your back may start hurting if you are not used to it. If it hurts on 5-10 minute climbs or on flat ground then you have a fit problem. Pretty much the same regarding your nuts.

    To relieve both back pain and numbness: Stand up on occasion. Keep your elbows bent and loose. Grab the bar firmly but not with a death grip. Change up your torso angle by bending your elbows more or less. Sit up and ride hands free if the terrain allows it.

  13. #13
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    I like saddles level, very slightly down is ok too. Most people spend a long time searching for a saddle they really like. The Wtb V series gets good reviews, I really like Specialized Rivals, they have a good shape (for me) and some cushion, which is good on a hardtail. I get numb if I ride seated for too long, that's just the way it is, you gotta stand up once in a while.
    How strong is your back? I was getting a really sore lower back in longer & rougher races last spring, and I was thinking about getting a full suspension bike, but it occurred to me that maybe the solution is be to not have a weak back. I added some back exercises to my post ride short workout (situps, pullups, pushups, stretches). I'm already warmed up, and sweaty, so it's the perfect time to do those and it only adds 10 min to the workout. I haven't done any long races lately, but my back is definitely stronger, I found I sleep better as my back doesn't wake me up in the morning (side benefit). A stronger back is a good thing.

  14. #14
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    I have to laugh I keep the nose of my saddle down a degree or two below horizontal also. As stated this takes some of the pressure off and gets my weight more on my butt. On a "wanna be" mtbr forum I was given all kinds of crap about this. It was that stupidity that actually caused me to check out MTBR!
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  15. #15
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    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  16. #16
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    Double post
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Are you riding the road or on trails?

    Here's a good article on pain.
    Bicycling and Pain

    Saddles need to be relatively firm not to interfere with the blood flow in your groin. Compare your saddle to some aftermarket ones at your shop. If it's a lot softer, that's probably part of your problem.
    im riding the road for now.. seeing as how I've only been riding 6 weeks or so I didn't want to learn technique and endurance on the trails. The saddle on the bike now is very hard, I know because I had a softer gel topped one on there for about 3 weeks and then transitioned into this harder one for a few weeks.. maybe I need a saddle with an adequate grove in it so everything can hang a lil?
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by faceplant72 View Post
    Tip your saddle down. Figure out hand issue with some other method. 2 degrees of saddle tip for me was the difference between miserable and a pain free ride. Just looking at the picture of you bike made me hurt.
    thanks for the advice.. I went out and tipped it down.. it looks nearly level now. i'll be doing at least 10 miles tomorrow so i'll see how it feels then
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    That saddle angle hurts me just looking at it. I'd definitely flatten in out a bit.

    Aside from the saddle issue you shouldn't necessarily worry too much about a bit of numbness and back pain. Some numbness and pain are normal. The problem is that no one but you can determine if your problems exceed normal or not.

    I'd say that if you are spinning up a hard climb on the order of 30+ minutes or so then your back may start hurting if you are not used to it. If it hurts on 5-10 minute climbs or on flat ground then you have a fit problem. Pretty much the same regarding your nuts.

    To relieve both back pain and numbness: Stand up on occasion. Keep your elbows bent and loose. Grab the bar firmly but not with a death grip. Change up your torso angle by bending your elbows more or less. Sit up and ride hands free if the terrain allows it.
    Good stuff here, thanks a lot!
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    I like saddles level, very slightly down is ok too. Most people spend a long time searching for a saddle they really like. The Wtb V series gets good reviews, I really like Specialized Rivals, they have a good shape (for me) and some cushion, which is good on a hardtail. I get numb if I ride seated for too long, that's just the way it is, you gotta stand up once in a while.
    How strong is your back? I was getting a really sore lower back in longer & rougher races last spring, and I was thinking about getting a full suspension bike, but it occurred to me that maybe the solution is be to not have a weak back. I added some back exercises to my post ride short workout (situps, pullups, pushups, stretches). I'm already warmed up, and sweaty, so it's the perfect time to do those and it only adds 10 min to the workout. I haven't done any long races lately, but my back is definitely stronger, I found I sleep better as my back doesn't wake me up in the morning (side benefit). A stronger back is a good thing.
    I was looking at some WTB saddles.. and that's a good point as well, my upper back is massive because I always worked it out for aesthetics, but my lower back doesn't get worked out much.. and the fact that I have about 20 lbs to lose doesn't help..
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

  21. #21
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    Re: lower back pain.. and numb man parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jams_805 View Post
    im riding the road for now.. seeing as how I've only been riding 6 weeks or so I didn't want to learn technique and endurance on the trails. The saddle on the bike now is very hard, I know because I had a softer gel topped one on there for about 3 weeks and then transitioned into this harder one for a few weeks.. maybe I need a saddle with an adequate grove in it so everything can hang a lil?
    It's a mountain bike; go ride some trails. There's a lot of stuff that transfers well from MTB to road, but a shocking proportion of long-time roadies still haven't figured out how to handle their bikes. Also, a lot of your problem will go away with more dynamic riding. And, at least for me, bike setup is a little different.

    I saw your post about doing some body building in the past. MTB requires and produces a better-rounded athlete than most road riding styles, but it's still a legs then core sport. Spend a few minutes on core every morning and your back and hands problems should get better in a couple weeks. As a side bonus, if you do ab work with good form, you should get a narrower waist and if it helps tidy up your posture, you'll look taller, your chest will look broader, and your traps will look more developed. Sweet! While abs don't do much for a T-shirt body, I think they're also pretty huge for a beach body.

    What else... there are already some pretty comprehensive resources on bike fit kicking around on the 'net. They should be easier to follow than the scattered pieces of the picture you get from forums. Here are a couple favorites.
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
    http://sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html

    Check them both out and follow the fit procedure on Peter White's site. If you buy anything, make it a stem - get your fit sorted out before you start throwing money at saddles.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  22. #22
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    Some shops have a demo program for saddles,they also can do a fit test to make sure you are riding the right one.

  23. #23
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    I am also very new to this sport and have been having lower back pain. But it only happens to me the next day after the ride, I have only been working my self up to 8 miles a ride right now on the road. I am trying to get my fitness back after 20+ years. I think mine is due to over weight and that my core was build more on junk food than anything else. So far I have lost 25lbs and 2 pants sizes and one shirt size, also change my eating habbits big time. Looking forward to hit the trail and kick up some dust very soon.

  24. #24
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    lower back pain.. and numb man parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jams_805 View Post
    u know what, I've never really noticed that before but looking at the picture it looks pretty high up there.. and im sure the saddle could go up higher, I have really long legs at 6'3. im sure I am a little too crunched up, especially on rides like today where I was elbows in and climbing. how can I go about buying a different stem? what info do I need? and what model saddle are u riding
    How long is your stem now? It's looks like 80mm with a 6deg rise. You might want to try a longer stem like a 120mm with a 10 degree rise or higher. The fork isn't helping with you riding on road as it may be compressing under power and making you work harder. Be that as it may, it is your bike and you need to make it comfortable. A firm saddle with a cut is a plus to help with numbness. I use a Koobi AU Enduro saddle and they work great. They are expensive but well made and designed.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk - now Free

  25. #25
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    Re: lower back pain.. and numb man parts.

    The saddle on the Rockhopper I tested at my LBS didn't feel good neither. The one on my Hardrock Disc 29 is just fine. The one on the HR Disc 26 didn't feel good. The one on the base Camber felt just right. The one on the Stumpjumper FSR Comp 26 felt bad. The saddle on the new 2014 Crave Comp felt great.

    Maybe by simply replacing your saddle with a different one would fix the issue you're having.
    What works for me may not work for you. What's best for you depends on many factors. We are different from each other.

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