SS bad for my back?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SS bad for my back?

    Anybody else getting back problems from riding SS?

    I tried SS mtb riding for the first time last May and really enjoyed it. I quickly found a great deal on a rigid KHS 29er and got the bug pretty good. I noticed my back feeling stiff and a little sore about the same time but didn't necessarily put the two together. I ended up crashing on my dirt bike in July and the already stiff back soon became a seriously jacked back. I was off bikes for over 3 months but have been riding again on my geared FS 29er and the back was fine. Today I took the SS for a spin for the first time in months and sure enough my back is getting stiff and sore again. It isn't from sitting because I was out of the saddle climbing a lot. I'm wondering if it is the standing and climbing that is doing it.

    Any suggestions/solutions?

  2. #2
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    My lower back gets sore after riding so I stretch it out near the end. But besides that soreness has been other soreness, possibly coming from my bed? Not sure. I'm also dealing with some elbow tendonitis since I too went SS crazy earlier this year.

  3. #3
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    Core work, ride more and just plain harden up.

  4. #4
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    Whatever. I'm trying to figure out why a 10 mile ride on my SS hurts my back while a 70 mile 10 hr. ride on my geared bike doesn't. It ain't about how much I ride or being tough. Your comment was of zero value or relevance.

  5. #5
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    Well, is the body position on both bikes the same? Especially the stack height.

    Is your SS also comes with a rigid fork?

    Also note the amount of time you spend standing & mashing on both bikes.

    Ultimately, you can just swap over the drivetrains from your FS to the KHS to find out ya know?


    IMHO, between an SS and geared, one tends to stand up to pedal much more. On the descends, one needs to use their limbs as a shock absorber rather than using the shock absorbers on the bike.

    These two attributes might be the ticket to your problem. Again "can't get right" might have the correct solution to your problem. Build the core.

    I too can't ride for long distance with my rigid SS compared to my geared FS. Cramps and soreness is my pain. Well, I acknowledged that my core is weak and I'm trying to toughen it up.

    At the end of the day, I'm just having too much fun on the rigid SS to go back

    Just my two cents

  6. #6
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    Be careful. I am pretty sure I mildly herniated a disc due to overstressing my back after a lot of SS riding. But the actual injury itself didn't happen while I was SSing, it was while I was sprinting deep in the drops on my road bike. As I crested a hill I just felt a sharp pain stab my lower back. I couldn't bend over or stretch my hamstrings for two months afterward without a strong pain. I never got a professional diagnosis because, well, I figured it was just a muscle pull when it happened. The pain lasted far too long for it to be a muscle pull, so I figured I probably tore something. After a number of months and some time off the bike and a fit re-evaluation, I realized I was riding with my road bike seat way too high and my SS mtb was too big for me, so I was too bent over. I got a new, smaller MTB frame with higher bars and re-fit my road bike with a slightly lower saddle and a less setback position and now things are much much better.

    The injury can come on strongly and without warning, and takes months to even begin to feel somewhat normal. I realized that this was a symptom of either poor technique, poor core strength or poor fit, or a combination of any of these factors.

    Ideally all of your cycling muscle groups are worked in balance when you're fitted correctly, but with a bad fit you will be relying too much on your back. Focus on supporting your body with your abs instead of your back (remember, your abs are the front of your back), and when you are out of the saddle try to keep the small of your back more or less flat instead of curved, while keeping your abs engaged. This has helped me a lot, as well as doing more squats and deadlifts at the gym to strengthen the lower back and core.

    Good luck, and make sure you rest and stretch!

  7. #7
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    I see hurting backs with new SS riders all the time. Every single time it was because they were trying to ride it like a geared bike. With gears you're taught to just sit and spin up a hill. However, if you try to pedal seated up a hill on a single speed, you'll quickly hurt your back. On a single speed you need to stand up and pedal and lot sooner then you think you do. Go ride and consciously stand up for hills right when you get to them, and see if your back isn't fine at the end of the ride. That's assuming, of course, your bike is set up correctly (seat high enough?).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gila monster View Post
    Whatever. I'm trying to figure out why a 10 mile ride on my SS hurts my back while a 70 mile 10 hr. ride on my geared bike doesn't. It ain't about how much I ride or being tough. Your comment was of zero value or relevance.
    Gila, I love riding SS as it reminds me of my BMX days but it does hurt my back. I recently converted my Jabber to 1x9 and the back pain is gone. Once I HTFU I'll pull the gears and give SS another try.

  9. #9
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    back pain

    I found the opposite.Riding my rigid ss gives less back pain than my geared with front fork suspension.Bothe bike r niner air 9 and one 9,same size.I think since I stand up a lot mor e on the ss I have less back pain.I still get a little soreness sometimes after the 2.5 hour mark but not bad.At 58 There is always something that hurts.

  10. #10
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    I had a similar issue when I first started riding SS. I found that of was a combination of a couple things that were both related to muscular deficiencies.

    First, riding my SS thrashed my legs in ways that my geared bike didn't. The tight and sore leg muscles actually created tension and caused some back pain.

    The other issue I've found is that mashing the pedals while standing and pulling on the bars requires a lot of core strength to transmit the force to the pedals. I've found that overhead squats were great for developing those muscles.

    The solution to the pain was a good foam rolling session nightly to loosen up my legs and back combined with core work that involves transmitting force from the feet to the arms.

    Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk so expect typos dammit!
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  11. #11
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    Before I started riding SS I used to regularly use a hydration pack. Once I started SS I found the hydration pack hurt my back. Just switching to bottles solved my problem.
    Just food for thought.

  12. #12
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    Try riding your FS as a single speed and that should tell you if it is suspension or gear related.

    I have had my share of back issues, including herniated disk, and find that I adapt to whatever I am riding most, then when I switch back to secondary bike, I tend to get a bit sore for a while. My SS currently sees 80% of the action.

  13. #13
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    Same here. If my back is already cramping or spasming from too many hours at a desk, I'll go to the SS instead of the geared bike, since the last thing I need is more time bent at the waist in a fixed position. SS-ing is good therapy, but I've got pretty good core strength from decades of weight training.
    - Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by speedyd View Post
    I found the opposite.Riding my rigid ss gives less back pain than my geared with front fork suspension.Bothe bike r niner air 9 and one 9,same size.I think since I stand up a lot mor e on the ss I have less back pain.I still get a little soreness sometimes after the 2.5 hour mark but not bad.At 58 There is always something that hurts.
    We rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfdog93 View Post
    Try riding your FS as a single speed and that should tell you if it is suspension or gear related.
    Yep, this may be suspension related. My back hurts less when I have my tire pressure sufficiently low. As you ride over varying terrain, your lower back does a lot to keep your torso stabilized over the bike, even when seated, which is where you spend most of your time, even on an SS.

  15. #15
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    My lower back pain is due to effort level and fatigue. On my geared bike, high effort days and high fatigue days lead to lower back pain. I did notice it more on the SS, which I ride 95% of the time now. Standing helped. I have spent a lot of time and effort learning how to stay seated and climb on the SS. It isn't a problem anymore, and I think it enables me to ride longer on the SS.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the info. It is nice to know this is not an uncommon problem and that many people have been able to get through it. I'm betting that in my case it is related to trying to push a bigger gear while seated. Both bikes are set up almost identically with respect to seat and bar height/position. I'll keep stretching and be more deliberate about standing earlier. The injury I sustained from my little dirt bike accident was definitely set up by the back problems I was developing due to riding. It was not just simple muscle soreness. There was something structurally wrong that was just waiting to be tweaked.

  17. #17
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    All in the hips

    Make sure your saddle isn't too low--or too high! Make sure your hips are not rocking at all. Make sure you are recruiting your glutes as well and not just your quads. Then get a hip stretching routing going. The extra pressure from the big gears really load up the hips, then eventually your back will cramp up or spasm to protect it from sloppy contractions. So even though your back is hurting, it is most likely coming from your hips. Work in some core exercises that have the emphasis on endurance. It will take some figuring out on your end, but you can do it. Back pain is the worst. Good luck!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gila monster View Post
    Thanks for the info. It is nice to know this is not an uncommon problem and that many people have been able to get through it. I'm betting that in my case it is related to trying to push a bigger gear while seated. Both bikes are set up almost identically with respect to seat and bar height/position. I'll keep stretching and be more deliberate about standing earlier. The injury I sustained from my little dirt bike accident was definitely set up by the back problems I was developing due to riding. It was not just simple muscle soreness. There was something structurally wrong that was just waiting to be tweaked.
    Even on my FS geared bike, I like to vary things and stand up and mash after slow corners......seems to stretch me out and everything feels better.
    Also, the more I ride, the less pain I feel, now getting 1-2 hours 4-5x / week.

  19. #19
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    I noticed whenever I stop going to the gym in the summer my back and core gets "lazy" so this last year I made it a point to hit the gym twice a week to maintain. My back has felt great this last year.

    Do very light back and core workouts till your back gets stronger. Keep up with the workouts all year long, your back and core are the life line support muscles.

  20. #20
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    Gila, perhaps now you are realizing that I am not an idiot and I gave you some solid advice. Just because you didn't like it does not make it useless.

    No need to apologize, we cool,

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by slohr View Post
    Make sure your saddle isn't too low--or too high! Make sure your hips are not rocking at all. Make sure you are recruiting your glutes as well and not just your quads. Then get a hip stretching routing going. The extra pressure from the big gears really load up the hips, then eventually your back will cramp up or spasm to protect it from sloppy contractions. So even though your back is hurting, it is most likely coming from your hips. Work in some core exercises that have the emphasis on endurance. It will take some figuring out on your end, but you can do it. Back pain is the worst. Good luck!
    I have to second this - all of it. All your power comes from your hips. I used to have lots of problems with long races or rides when I rode a geared bike. Strengthening the abs and stretching your hips + everything else makes a HUGE difference. I have far fewer lower back problems in my 40s riding a single-speed than I did in my 20s.

  22. #22
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    While sittng and spining on my geared full squish bike, I'm good for about 1/2 hour before my lower back cramps and tightens up, especially when racing. I then try and stand on the peddles to stretch my back.
    Since riding a HT SS this year, I've built up better fittness which alows me to stand most of the time. Back doesn't hurt nearly as much any more. I do alot of road training on the same SS but with a differant gear in the rear, same thing, standing on all the climbs, allows for a great stretched out position while smashing the peddles.

    I agree about what was stated about sitting and hard peddling, not good for your back, especally on the climbs. And I don't have any back injuries, just old age at 50.

    Mojo

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2 View Post
    Before I started riding SS I used to regularly use a hydration pack. Once I started SS I found the hydration pack hurt my back. Just switching to bottles solved my problem.
    Just food for thought.
    This helped as well for me. Plus I moved my tools & spare tube to an under-seat bag.

  24. #24
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    Two things come to my mind based on my personal experiences. Obviously you'd only want to change one variable at a time to get to the root cause (not that its necessarily singular).
    Play with gear ratios. I intentionally gear a little tougher because I prefer more standing than sitting. I could be faster if I sat and spun but I'm not racing anyone on my lunchtime rides.
    Raise the handlebars. We don't particularly need to be hunched over. Kind of nice to sit up and see a bit more of what's around you too.
    Best of luck in finding your solution. Let us know what worked best for you.
    Cheers,
    M

  25. #25
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    I live in Prescott, AZ and our local trails are generally really SS friendly in that there aren't a lot of long hard climbs. There are lots of short steep ones though. Thinking back it seems like my back started hurting after a ride in Flag that had a lot of sustained climbing. This latest back issue also came up after riding a trail that climbed for a couple of miles. I'm riding a boat anchor KHS solo-one-se 29er geared 32X22. Not exactly high gear ratio but it sure seems like it on a long climb.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by random walk View Post
    This helped as well for me. Plus I moved my tools & spare tube to an under-seat bag.
    I did the same! Also for longer rides I switched to a wing nut pack to cary water on my back. It made a huge difference lowering weight of my pack to my hips.
    wingnutgear.com

  27. #27
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    I got some backpain and my left ribs hurt for 1 week which I thought it come from riding but it appears my bed problems.

  28. #28
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    Can't get right is spot on for the most part. SS is labor intensive and you need to be in good shape for the most part if you want to move along at anything other than a snails pace. Lower back pain is sometimes caused by, Weak Abs and tight Glutes. A nice stretch for the glutes and lower back is to lay on the floor, cross one leg over the other so your ankle is resting just above the knee and pull the straight leg up so your foot is pointing toward the ceiling. This is great for the lower back as the bent leg really has a good pull on the glutes. There are not many stretches that target the lower back and I have found this to be the best as the pull of your A$% tweaks the lower back. Then do sit ups, not crunches, sit ups and rip those abs, core core core, like it or not that's the key. If you don't understand my less than descriptive explanation on the stretch I'm sure Google knows. Just started riding my Specialized Epic SS again and have the same issue. Good Luck

  29. #29
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    jack touched on this. But I notice my back hurts when I sleep wrong. When lying on my back most of the night vs on my stomach I feel less sore.
    If I want the luxury of shifting gears, I'll drive my car.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TreeFarmer View Post
    I had a similar issue when I first started riding SS. I found that of was a combination of a couple things that were both related to muscular deficiencies.

    First, riding my SS thrashed my legs in ways that my geared bike didn't. The tight and sore leg muscles actually created tension and caused some back pain.

    The other issue I've found is that mashing the pedals while standing and pulling on the bars requires a lot of core strength to transmit the force to the pedals. I've found that overhead squats were great for developing those muscles.

    The solution to the pain was a good foam rolling session nightly to loosen up my legs and back combined with core work that involves transmitting force from the feet to the arms.

    Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk so expect typos dammit!
    I've found this solution to work extremely well. I have an unfused extra lumbar vertebra and it's pretty easy for my back to blow out. If I keep my legs from getting tight by using the foam roll, I can keep the back issue at bay.

  31. #31
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    Lots of good advice given here.
    As one with limited flexibility due to a back injury, I rely on the foam tube and an exercise ball to stretch after riding. When stuck at a desk, will also switch out my task chair for the ball to help loosen lower back. Getting old sux, hips hurt from the geared FS, and lower back on the SS, so yeah core, core, core.
    Best,

  32. #32
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    [QUOTE=ccs1676;8783828]My lower back gets sore after riding so I stretch it out near the end. But besides that soreness has been other soreness, possibly coming from my bed? Not sure. I'm also dealing with some elbow tendonitis since I too went SS crazy earlier this year.[/QUOTE

    same here - back gets sore during riding so I stop and rest / stretch a bit about every 4 miles.........ALSO dealing with elbow tendinitis from riding the SS like a maniac, but my elbow has strengthened up quite a bit and I can ride SS 29er again..........
    Rigid 29er Ti SS
    KHS Solo One SE 29er
    29er SC Tallboy AL
    Paketa Magnesium Road Bike

  33. #33
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    I don't get back pain like this from sleeping or any other activity. I'm generally very fit and do several other sports which tends to reduce over use injuries and build a balanced core etc. I hate going to gyms and don't have time to do it anyway. Stretching is about all I'm going to do in that regard. My plan is to just slowly increase the proportion of riding I do on SS and be more aware of when to sit and stand. I might ditch the camelback too just to see if that has any effect. Thanks for the advice.

  34. #34
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    I'm new to the SS world myself. My new bike feels really long to me. As in I'm stretched to far out when seated and holding on to the bars. So I'm bent over a lot more than on my old bike. My geared is a HT and the SS is rigid. So I'm used to a little back pain, as I'm to lazy to stand over every single root. But the pain from SS is as much if not more than I ever got from riding twice the distance on my geared bike. Could a shorter stem help? Currently the stem is over 2 inches long! I've not measured it, but it is damn long!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  35. #35
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    Try shorter stem with more lift. Don't go too short though as it will affect the front grip.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  36. #36
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    I was thinking as short as possible. I've seen elsewhere mentioned alt bars. Did a quick search and can pick up an on one mary for around $30 plus shipping. So that's not a bad idea either. Could go with the bars first then add the stem later. Maybe the bars would have enough back sweep to put my back in a position that doesn't kill me. I'd know after 3 miles!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  37. #37
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    what size top tube do you have and how tall are you? 2" stem is pretty short IMO. Mine is over 3.5" and fine.

  38. #38
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    I guess my eyeballing of sizes is a bit off. The bike comes with 110 mm stem. I assume it's measured in mm, damn america and our "only country in the world that doesn't use the metric system" Anyway, my conversions are also way off. It's actually 4.3 inches? Longer than I would have thought. But yea it's crazy long! TT is 622 or just shy of 24 1/2 inches. I'm 6'1" ish. So maybe a 2 inch stem would be perfect? I know it will affect handling, but I can get used to that a lot quicker than I can get used to my back being on fire!

    Saturday I'm gonna be heading to the trail near the LBS where I bought the bike. Rain or shine. I'm curious what they'll say. It's not my normal LBS as it's over an hour away, which is a damn shame as they are super nice people and real easy to deal with! Also very knowledgeable. I didn't think much about being stretched out during the test ride. Now I know. At least it's something that can be fixed, just need to figure out what exactly.

    In the mean time I'm gonna slide the seat forward and see if that offers any improvement.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  39. #39
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    OK, that sounds more normal. I wouldn't personally go shorter than 80 for your height and XC but that is just me. That is roughly 3'. Your 110 isn't short, but not exceptionally long either. Trends these days are for shorter it's true. Is that TT length effective, or did you measure it yourself along the tube length (centre to centre)? Just asking as the ETT is usually longer. The length you gave for an ETT seems OK for your height but it depends bit on if you have a long or short torso, and arm length. Getting the lbs to check is a good idea. IMO if you need to go shorter than 80mm for xc you have the wrong size bike.

  40. #40
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    I have an achy back and noticed it flares up more when riding a non FS bike. I have the benefit of having one of the few FS SS bikes and the rear suspension is really a back saver.

  41. #41
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    Those who have mentioned sitting and mashing hit the reason that my back tightens up. Doesn't matter what bike I'm on, though. If I'm sitting and pushing a tall gear then my back tightens up. It's not a core strength issue for me. It's the issue of trying to put a lot of force through your legs which are pushing against a curved back. I reckon that if'n I had some huge cruiser bars that brought my back inline with my legs then the back issues would go away, but that wouldn't be an ideal all-around riding position, so I try to find a happy medium.

  42. #42
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    I have been riding SS since October and love it. Got me in great shape and I climb so much faster. However, I herniated a Lumbar disc last week and I think it is from the SS. First of all your in a biomechanical state of flexion compounded with extreme torque. Not a good combo for disc material. I stand as much as possible and try to stand up-wright. Going to be hard for me to go back to FS geared but have too. If your low back is sore after rides you need to do some extension stretches with out firing the paraspinals because they will compress disc. I may go to a bigger tooth cog and see how that goes.

  43. #43
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    I have converted my geared bike to an SS 3 rides ago. I did not change anything else on the bike except for the drivetrain. I rode the geared bike for over a year so I am used to the geo, setup, parts, etc. For the SS rides, I stayed seated on the gradual climbs, flat or almost flat sections but make sure to stand on the bigger climbs and on the technical sections.

    I can tell you with only 3 rides on the exact same bike that there is much more torque to the back with the SS compared to the geared setup. There are many more muscles involved when muscling your way up some hills compared to going to a granny gear. At this point of riding SS, this is why my lower back aches....mine is not used to working so hard. I hope that I will be ok after it has been accustomed to being engaged while riding. Some core workout should help with this, as well.
    Last edited by LowOnO2; 05-01-2013 at 01:45 PM.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by gila monster View Post
    Whatever. I'm trying to figure out why a 10 mile ride on my SS hurts my back while a 70 mile 10 hr. ride on my geared bike doesn't. It ain't about how much I ride or being tough. Your comment was of zero value or relevance.
    I assume both bikes are hard tail? If so, then try using the same gearing on both bikes and see if your back hurts on your geared bike using only the one gear. It may be your frame sizing difference?

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by finch2 View Post
    OK, that sounds more normal. I wouldn't personally go shorter than 80 for your height and XC but that is just me. That is roughly 3'. Your 110 isn't short, but not exceptionally long either. Trends these days are for shorter it's true. Is that TT length effective, or did you measure it yourself along the tube length (centre to centre)? Just asking as the ETT is usually longer. The length you gave for an ETT seems OK for your height but it depends bit on if you have a long or short torso, and arm length. Getting the lbs to check is a good idea. IMO if you need to go shorter than 80mm for xc you have the wrong size bike.
    The measurement I got off the redline website. They don't list the ETT, so I'm assuming that's even longer. I did move the seat forward an inch and it helped. Back still sore, but not crippling like the previous ride.

    I think part of the problem is I'm so worn out that I stay seated over roots and small rocks. All of which jar my back ever so slightly. Just don't have the energy to stand going over them. I'm sure that will change over time. Just need to kick myself in my ***** and stand up!

    I noticed that my back is used much more now than it was on a geared bike as someone else has said. Hopefully with enough time on the trails it'll get used to being used as well.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cormac View Post
    The measurement I got off the redline website. They don't list the ETT, so I'm assuming that's even longer. I did move the seat forward an inch and it helped. Back still sore, but not crippling like the previous ride.

    I think part of the problem is I'm so worn out that I stay seated over roots and small rocks. All of which jar my back ever so slightly. Just don't have the energy to stand going over them. I'm sure that will change over time. Just need to kick myself in my ***** and stand up!

    I noticed that my back is used much more now than it was on a geared bike as someone else has said. Hopefully with enough time on the trails it'll get used to being used as well.
    if it is the only measurement from the site then it's probably the ETT. Maybe check it to be sure with a tape measure. I am 6', and my ETT is 620 with a 90mm stem. Your lbs may be able to help you if you can show them your old bike so they can get the position similar. A little back pain is normal when starting off, but a really sore back is not worth aggravating. If your last bike was very upright you may need to bring your bars up or/and back, but there shouldn't be too much else to do. Yes, seat position was a good idea. The next thing I would look at is flexibility and core strength, and then technique and then conditioning.

  47. #47
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    The other thing to look at id the gear ratio of your SS. My old ratio was 32/17 and I had to stand frequently and pedal harder to clear obstacles. When I switched to 32/21, I had a much easier time with the same obstacles and was able to remain seated.
    I also lock out the front fork and use the rear suspension more- this seems to equate to less back pain for me.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by gila monster View Post
    Anybody else getting back problems from riding SS?

    I tried SS mtb riding for the first time last May and really enjoyed it. I quickly found a great deal on a rigid KHS 29er and got the bug pretty good. I noticed my back feeling stiff and a little sore about the same time but didn't necessarily put the two together. I ended up crashing on my dirt bike in July and the already stiff back soon became a seriously jacked back. I was off bikes for over 3 months but have been riding again on my geared FS 29er and the back was fine. Today I took the SS for a spin for the first time in months and sure enough my back is getting stiff and sore again. It isn't from sitting because I was out of the saddle climbing a lot. I'm wondering if it is the standing and climbing that is doing it.

    Any suggestions/solutions?
    Use one more tooth on your rear cog. You are probably pushing to big a gear. If others are using a 19, I am using a 20. I am not macho. Also, buy a foam roller and start using it. I can ride my SS for 6 hours, in the mountains, and feel fine. I am also not a young puppy, (57). Ease into it because it uses different muscles.

  49. #49
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    FWIW, my old bike did aggravate my back, but it took 2 laps (14 miles) of the trail to get to the point where it was almost unbearable. Poor technique has a lot to do with it I'm sure. Like I've said, I know I need to stand more, especially over roots. Thats where the conditioning would come in. I'm just not physically able to stand over every root, my body doesn't like me standing every time!

    My current gear is 32/20. It's about perfect for one of the trails, but to low for the other. Gonna go 32/18 for awhile, just for some added speed in the flats. Plus the hills aren't to bad anyway.

    I'll keep an eye on how things progress. In regards to back pain. Maybe my back is just to jacked up? I delivered furniture for 7 years, and now I play around with semi tires all day. Pretty sure my back isn't weak, just worn out maybe? Dunno, but I'll stick with it!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  50. #50
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    yeah sounds like more than just your bike. Maybe look at a sus bike one day if you like sitting. It's not worth stuffing your back, really look into core strength and posture, which can act like a girdle to protect your back. Get some really big tyres at low pressure tubeless too.

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    I have 2 prolapsed discs in my lower back which were wreaking havoc, my Osteopath gave me some stretches to strengthen my Core and a exercise routine, at the same time I started riding my 29er SS (07 GT Peace) much more frequently, whether it was an 8 hour epic or sprint down to the pub . It has flared up much less frequently and if I spend more than 2 days off the bike it starts to tweak through lack of use.
    I also lowered my seat to the height of the stem so my spine is more upright and I'm less hunched over the bike. Hope this helps

  52. #52
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    If you sit hunkered over and mash up a hill like you are constipated: yes

    If you stand and use your hammies to dance to climb: no.
    Veni Vidi Biki

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  53. #53
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    I agree with the above comment about lack of use. Less saddle time means less adjustment to rough conditions on a bike and muscle memory fades with time.
    When I go racing, I take some anti-inflammatory meds and drink plenty of fluids. The back roller is must too.
    I'll have to say that the 32/21 combo is the best gain in performance and less pain than any other adjustment on the bike.

  54. #54
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    Went to the shop where I bought the bike. They put a 90mm stem 5 deg, rise on for me and it helped! Also I actively thought to myself "stand more" which also helped probably even more so than the stem.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  55. #55
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    Check out some of Stuart McGill's work, he is a master at spinal bio mechanics. BackFitPro.com

  56. #56
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    Are you standing up and wrenching the bike from side to side with your upper body? That can lead to some heavy use of your back that doesn't get used all that often. Try going down a tooth or two and seeing if it helps at all. Also try and keep a calmer upper body while climbing.

  57. #57
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    Go down a tooth? As in 20t to 18t? Which was one thing I did. But that was more for a little extra speed on the flats. My back has been better ever since. Stronger too. I do try and keep a more stable upper body on the climbs. I only get to throwing the bike side to side on the steep climbs when I'm about to stall out. Just for a little extra oomph to get to and over the top.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  58. #58
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    Yoga is great for keeping everything stretched and building strength. Yes, guys do yoga, too.

    It's great that the stem change helped. I got riser bars and that solved my issues, as well. Incredible how just a few mm can make such a huge difference. Also reminding myself to keep relaxed in the hands and back, no matter how hard I'm pushing it...

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    I was actually thinking the other way, so you can sit and spin rather than have to stand up as much, but now I am thinking that perhaps the pain could be more tailbone vs seat related?

    Have you tried out different seats? How about something along the lines of a Thudbuster Seat Post?

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyri View Post
    Yoga is great for keeping everything stretched and building strength. Yes, guys do yoga, too.

    It's great that the stem change helped. I got riser bars and that solved my issues, as well. Incredible how just a few mm can make such a huge difference. Also reminding myself to keep relaxed in the hands and back, no matter how hard I'm pushing it...
    Making a habit of standing for even the smallest root helps too!

    Quote Originally Posted by rusheleven View Post
    I was actually thinking the other way, so you can sit and spin rather than have to stand up as much, but now I am thinking that perhaps the pain could be more tailbone vs seat related?

    Have you tried out different seats? How about something along the lines of a Thudbuster Seat Post?
    I hear that's really heavy. Bike already a porkly 30lb. I'm gonna put her on a diet. Not to help with my back, but just because. From what I understand is lighter = faster. Besides, standing more helps a lot! I find that sit n spin actually stresses my back more than standing and mashing.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  61. #61
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    I don't agree. hardening up/core work isn't necessarily good singular advice.

    riding SS, especially grinding, can put tremendous torque on your lower back. blew out a lower back disk (herniated L3-S1) this way. my core was in the best shape ever at the time. i'm a multi-sport athlete.

    technique and attention to form go along with a strong core.

  62. #62
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    You on too big a bike?

    I find top tube length, stem length affect my back more than anything. Is you bike too big for you?
    SF
    Who cares how much gas you save, ride your bike to work because it's fun!!!!!!!

  63. #63
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    I have a bad back but my SS (or any other bike for that matter) does not cause it to hurt. I have compressed discs and a ruptured disc at S1/L5.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Freak View Post
    I find top tube length, stem length affect my back more than anything. Is you bike too big for you?
    SF

    no, the stem was to long. The bike feels about right after getting the shorter stem!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  65. #65
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    Yes the distance between the bars and the seat. I find when it's too long I get pain especially when bunny hopping a ditch or wheeling over and obstacle. I bet the shorter stem will help quite a bit.
    Who cares how much gas you save, ride your bike to work because it's fun!!!!!!!

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaizer View Post
    Well, is the body position on both bikes the same? Especially the stack height.

    Is your SS also comes with a rigid fork?

    Also note the amount of time you spend standing & mashing on both bikes.

    Ultimately, you can just swap over the drivetrains from your FS to the KHS to find out ya know?


    IMHO, between an SS and geared, one tends to stand up to pedal much more. On the descends, one needs to use their limbs as a shock absorber rather than using the shock absorbers on the bike.

    These two attributes might be the ticket to your problem. Again "can't get right" might have the correct solution to your problem. Build the core.

    I too can't ride for long distance with my rigid SS compared to my geared FS. Cramps and soreness is my pain. Well, I acknowledged that my core is weak and I'm trying to toughen it up.

    At the end of the day, I'm just having too much fun on the rigid SS to go back

    Just my two cents
    I agree!
    2013 Specialized Carve SS

  67. #67
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    +1. No more camelbak.
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  68. #68
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    Most yoga and pilates postures are not good for your lumbar spine. I use to think so but according to latest research with EMG scans and FMri some of the exercised tear annular fibers that have little pain receptors.

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    I love it when people say this. Usually it comes from a person who doesn't know true pain.

    As far as back pain and single speeding is concerned, what causes some people to experience back problems, especially if they're riding ss exclusively, is the imbalance it can create in your hips and low back.

    As mentioned, core work helps, but also do exercises that strength your hips, psoas, and other connective tissue in your hip area. Cycling is great for your quads and calves, but does little to strength your hips. Mashing on a single speed all day only exacerbates this imbalance. And when you're climbing steep sections and yanking on the bars so hard it feels lie you're going to snap them right off, focus on using your arms, lats and upper back to pull on the bars and not your low back. Wider bars also help with leverage.

    Oh, AND FOAM ROLLER!

    Quote Originally Posted by can't get right View Post
    Core work, ride more and just plain harden up.

  70. #70
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    My back was pretty unhappy with SS. I think what got me was those in-between gradients where it's a struggle to spin up but not hard enough to warrant standing, which strained things.

    My two cents.

  71. #71
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    I find long periods of seated climbing with high pedal forces (tall gears) leads to a sore back for me. Does not matter if it is a single speed. I actually get less sore backs while SS'ing because I stand more often which stretches out the muscles.

  72. #72
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    Like a lot of people, I have herniated disc in lower lumbar from other sport (wrestling and Judo), but the only lower back pain I get from SS is at the beginning of season (long winter, usually around April after 5 months off the saddle) for the first 2-3 rides. I'm on rigid as well, so I'm almost always out of the saddle.
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