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.
Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    49

    sore triceps/upper chest...

    hey guys,

    I have a perplexing soreness regarding my triceps/deltoids.

    I currently ride a 19.5" Trek 4300 disc (solid bike for the money) . Everything is stock except for the tires and a new saddle.

    However after riding for an hour or so I am noticing some fatigue in my triceps/deltoids.

    I have my seat at the correct height.

    What I am concerned with though, is that my saddle is incorrectly positioned and/or stem length is to long.

    First with my saddle. Its a WTB Laser V Pro Saddle. (very comfy and perfoms really well). I have tried it level to the ground and still felt fatigued. So I angled it up a hair and still feel fatigue. I did notice some relief moving it as far forward as possible, BUT I still get sore.

    Second concern is stem length and/or angle. After 4 hours of rough riding and I am heading back to my car and completely exhausted I feel most comfortable riding with just my fingertips on the handlebar. This gives me a very comfortable upright position. However I am not sure that that is the best way to ride.

    For those that don't know, I live near Alafia and Boyette Scrub in Florida and just started the black diamond (difficult trails). I am not sure if this fatigue is from the more intense trails (climbs) or if its something else.

    Having my saddle as far forward as it goes gives me concern that I will put too much torque (from moving up on climbs) on my saddle clamp.

    I am sure that someone from an LBS in my area can help - but I am just not sure what direction to take.

    Can someone please point me out what would be the most logical thing to fix first? My gut tells me I need a shorter stem. But I wanted to ask your opinions first. If I wanted to move the seat back to a more balance position (not so far forward) how would I compensate for that regarding a new stem? Any suggestions for shorter stem different angle that might work for me?

    Or is all of this just because I am using muscles I was not expecting to? My gut also tells me that this is wrong to some degree because if I was really using my mucles greatly, I would be using them in a pulling motion when climbing and those are not really the muscles that are sore.

    Thank you tons for any advice.
    -Treesmacker (a.k.a. Keith)

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    138
    pics would help.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    114
    im the same way after a long ride sitting upright as possible with my fingers barely on the grips.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    8
    Have you pushed your seat post all the way down? If you did, and it seems that the length is too high for you still, bring it to your LBS and tell them to cut it down for you, or you can do it yourself. I'd say that it's just the height of your seat post that's making you bend down more then you're suppose to. It's like those road bikes that has a high seat post and a low handlebar. I hope this helps you Keith.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2,905
    wrong sized stems will usually cause back problems from being too stretched out.. seat problems will cause knee problems.

    sounds like you're just out of shape! you can try to change stuff around to get more comfy, but i bet some more riding would do you best.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: antonio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    1,933
    The pushing and pulling of the bike on technical trails can be a workout on your arms. I agree with tomsmoto and say ride more, and try to throw in some push-ups and chin-ups on occassion.

    Ant

  7. #7
    responsible zombie owner
    Reputation: Qatarbhoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    655
    do you grip too tightly onto the handlebars? a relaxed but firm grip (using your arms like suspension forks not as rigids) is better than a deathgrip.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Kaba Klaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1,673
    As you see from the responses this is hard to diagnose. Riding rough trails will wear your upper body out. You do a lot of fork lifting (what a pun) and push ups when you maneuver the bike over obstacles. But there is still the question if your bike fits you and/or if your riding technique is as efficient as it could be.

    To narrow this down a bit I would advice to ride a mellow trail or road for a couple hours. If the bike fits you should not feel fatigue in the arms. You are supposed to hold the upper body with the core. There should be no lean and no pull on the bars. Ideally. Most of us lean a little, though.

    You might find that the stem is too long. Heck, the whole bike might be too long. You didn't tell us anything about your body geometry.

    Technique, fittness. Ride more from your legs. You are supposed to have your weight centered on the bike and not to lean on the bars. You should absorb shocks and pump the trail mostly with your legs. Even when you need to pull the front wheel up this should come from the hips rather the arms.
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: NoobHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    101
    Sounds like the bike is to big. How tall are you?

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    49
    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the responses.

    I will post geometry for my bike if that helps (I am getting this from the trek website).

    Frame Size M 19.5 in
    Head Angle 70.5
    Seat Angle 73.0
    EFF Top Tube 58.5 cm
    Chain Stay 43.0 cm
    Bottom Bracket 29.3 cm
    Offset 3.8 cm
    Wheel Base 106.9 cm
    ******************************
    Handlebars Bontrager Crowbar Sport, 25mm rise
    Stem Bontrager Sport, 10 degree

    I am 5'11". From what I gather from the geometry my bike is on the tall side for a medium, which i think is a good fit.

    I realize that there are many variables here - I appreciate all your comments.

    KABA KLAUS its funny I can ride around on mellow easy trails or fireroads for a few miles and never feel uncomfortable. Or I can hop on the bike and zip out of my driveway and it feels great. Its only after a few hours that I feel like the stem is to long because of my sore triceps/deltoids.

    So I guess I am wondering is the stem causing my soreness OR is it just normal fatigue from riding hard for a few hours that makes me think the stem is to long? LOL

    From all the varied responses - I think I will just keep riding it as is. I am still having a blast and perhaps I am outta shape a bit (I dont really know). I will give this some more time. Would love to hear comments/suyggestions if anyone has any more though.

    THanks all,
    Treesmacker (a.k.a Keith)

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    497
    Quote Originally Posted by Treesmacker
    ...KABA KLAUS its funny I can ride around on mellow easy trails or fireroads for a few miles and never feel uncomfortable. Or I can hop on the bike and zip out of my driveway and it feels great. Its only after a few hours that I feel like the stem is to long because of my sore triceps/deltoids.

    So I guess I am wondering is the stem causing my soreness OR is it just normal fatigue from riding hard for a few hours that makes me think the stem is to long? LOL...
    I'd say go for a 2-3 hour road ride, where you move around on your bike very little. If you still are fatigued, I would say it might be a stem that is too long, or possibly you are leaning on the bars a little too much.

    BUT, if the fatigue is not as bad as it is after a long trail ride, I'd suspect that maybe you are gripping and bracing yourself against the bars too much when you ride trails (you mentioned that you have started riding black trails). So I'd suggest that you also try staying loose at all times, esp. through technical stuff (as someone above me mentioned).

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    96
    Maybe long step is having you lean more onto your bars and your using your shoulders and triceps to do more work. Picture yourself on a dip machine with your arms locked out. Kind of an exaggeration but you should get the point. You notice in on more technical terrain because you are more tense and activating more of the muscle in order to stabilize the bike. Now picture that dip machine vibrating and shaking. Developing both your tricep and delts would def help.

    I agree that possibly the bike is too big

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Kaba Klaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1,673
    Quote Originally Posted by Treesmacker
    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the responses.

    I will post geometry for my bike if that helps (I am getting this from the trek website).

    Frame Size M 19.5 in
    Head Angle 70.5
    Seat Angle 73.0
    EFF Top Tube 58.5 cm
    Chain Stay 43.0 cm
    Bottom Bracket 29.3 cm
    Offset 3.8 cm
    Wheel Base 106.9 cm
    ******************************
    Handlebars Bontrager Crowbar Sport, 25mm rise
    Stem Bontrager Sport, 10 degree

    I am 5'11". From what I gather from the geometry my bike is on the tall side for a medium, which i think is a good fit.

    I realize that there are many variables here - I appreciate all your comments.

    KABA KLAUS its funny I can ride around on mellow easy trails or fireroads for a few miles and never feel uncomfortable. Or I can hop on the bike and zip out of my driveway and it feels great. Its only after a few hours that I feel like the stem is to long because of my sore triceps/deltoids.

    So I guess I am wondering is the stem causing my soreness OR is it just normal fatigue from riding hard for a few hours that makes me think the stem is to long? LOL

    From all the varied responses - I think I will just keep riding it as is. I am still having a blast and perhaps I am outta shape a bit (I dont really know). I will give this some more time. Would love to hear comments/suyggestions if anyone has any more though.

    THanks all,
    Treesmacker (a.k.a Keith)
    The bike might be a tad long for AM riding. I am 6' and ride a 573 effective TT and a 90mm stem. My bike has slacker angles, too.

    Check if you could get a spacer under the stem. Should work if you currently have a spacer between stem and top cap (move it under the stem) or the stem now only sits 2mm over the steering tube of the fork. This change would get the stem/bar up and provide a bit more relaxed position. Spacers cost close to nothing (Performance Cycles).

    Measure the length of the stem (middle of top cap bolt to middle of bar). If that is a 90mm a shorter stem would probably be a good investment. Not that expensive either. You just need to stay away from the high price brands.

    For XC riding the bike is probably a perfect fit. Small wonder you have a blast!!

    (And final note: After riding 100 miles on my road bike I, too have sore arms)
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  14. #14
    .
    Reputation: nomit's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1,137
    imho...

    just because something's sore doesn't mean something's wrong.

    AHHHH!! my legs are sore after a 4 hour ride and 5000 feet of climbing. should i adjust my saddle? are my cranks too short? will going to a steeper stem fix my problem?

    if you feel you've strained a muscle/tendon/ligament and are aggravating it while in a specific riding position, that's one thing. if its just general muscle soreness then you're probably just weak in those areas and will get stronger with time.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: NoobHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    101
    I'm 5'10" and I ride a 17.5" medium and I think its almost perfect. When I get on my brothers 19" frame bike I feel like im reaching for the bars, which would probably lead to soreness like your explaining if I ever did any long rides on it.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    49
    Hey guys,

    Just wanted to update you all on my bike fit issues.

    I decided that it would be wise to get my body and bike checked out as far as fit goes by a different LBS than where I purchased my bike (My LBS goes by eye apparently and not scientific/ergonomic means).

    I am glad I did. First thing I discovered was that my bike is a tad big for me, especially in the top tube length. Thankfully it was not so long that it could not be fixed.

    After getting my seat height corrected (should have been higher then I thought) AND forward/aft postion figured out it was time to tackle the stem.

    What we found was better for me was to add another spacer to the fork tube and shorten the 100mm stem to an 80mm stem. Effectively, this brought the bars up a little bit more and closer to me. MUCH better!

    The tech noticed a vast improvement in riding position immediately and said that my riding angle (from my back through my arms) went from very obtuse to more upright and acute.

    He also aligned my brake/shift levers to a more downward position to allow my hands a more natural alignment. Apparently I had them to far up. Never even thought of that as a problem, but immediately felt more comfortable in the new position.

    So, bottom line ... It is worth every penny to get your bike fitted. I am glad I did. When I finally get into clipless pedals, my new LBS will gladly set them up for me for the most comfort and let me get my bike on the trainer to learn how to clip in/out properly.

    Highly recommend the bike fitting.

    I should be goign for a ride late sunday afternoon to get a more in depth feel of my new setup, but I will gladly come back and let you all know how it goes.

    -Treesmacker

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •