Why do road bikes always hurt my back?

Having always enjoyed riding bikes I have now aquired a few bikes to my name in Taiwan. Whenever I ride my folding MRT bike or my mountain bike I never experience any back pain. I can ride them both happily for over 2 hours.

However whenever I ride my roadbike after only 5 minutes I get a pain in my lower back. I have been to a shop to check the bike and my riding position and both were found to be ok. My only theory is that my body just isn’t compatible with the “lean forward” position required on road bikes as I dont have a lot ofexperience riding them.

Does this theory have any logic behind it? Has anyone else experienced this?

Finally does anyone know a store in Kaohsiung where I can trade my roadbike in for another mountain bike?

I wouldn’t trust the bike shop’s opinion.

Consider the possibility you might have a back problem developing, especially if you’re getting on a bit and/or have a sedentary job. I’ve had both bone problems and teeth problems since living in Taiwan and I wonder if diet might be a factor. Pay attention to your core muscles (which hold your spine in position) when you exercise, and go see a doctor to see if he can spot any problems brewing (collapsing discs, bone spurs, etc).

Do what you can to adjust your positn more upright than you currently have. Back pain comes from asking too much from a
Back that is not used to the position. Then ease back into a lower position. I would not trust most bike shops opinion either.

These are some random tips for achieving a higher, straighter position… Some may apply to you

If there are spacers above the handlebar mount at the stem, move them below the stem to raise the bars.

Flip your stem over to lift the bars higher. (Does require using an Allen key, usually a five mm). Only applicAble if the stem points down…

Ride with a Straighter back, perhaps you are rounding your back too much.

Ride on the top of the bar rather than in the drops until you get used to it.

Lower your saddle an inch or so… Nt what I usually recommend but perhaps your hams are over stretched from a saddle too high.

Push the saddle forward, but make sure it’s still dead flat from nose to tail.

Use lower gears and spin faster, some back pain comes from too much torque in a high gear.

Ride for half an hour with no hills, rather than an hour in the hills til you get stronger in that posting. core strength takes a long time to build and you should go at the speed of your body, no faster or risk inflammation cycle.

Whatever you do don’t go into one of those half-assed “bike shops” and expect to be taken for anything but a potential cash cow. I’ve visited too many in Kaohsiung that were all too happy to encourage me into a high priced size too small bike. Find a shop that is closed on Sunday and go back on Monday. Those are the guys that are likely riders themselves and will probably help you.

I cut/pasted this from the immortal Sheldon Brown’s website. (Sorry mods if this is a faux pas)

"Back pain while cycling is usually caused by poor cycling posture. Good cycling posture is very different from good posture while sitting or standing. A posture that is comfortable for sitting still will not necessarily be comfortable while actually riding a bicycle. Correct cycling posture must facilitate the pedaling action, and also must enable the rider to cope with the jolts that result from road irregularities.

When riding a bicycle, the back should be arched, like a bridge, not drooping forward between the hips and the shoulders. If the back is properly arched, bumps will cause it to flex slightly in the direction of a bit more arch; this is harmless. If you ride swaybacked, bumps will cause the back to bow even farther in the forward direction, which can lead to severe lumbar pain.

Some back-pain sufferers modify their bicycles with extra-high handlebars so that they can sit bolt upright, with their spines straight. This is actually counterproductive in most cases, because a straight spine has no way to “give” when the bike hits bumps. Road irregularities will jam the vertebrae together, often aggravating existing back problems. The bolt-upright posture is comfortable if you’re sitting stationary on the bike, but is not suitable for riding much faster than a brisk walk. Riders who for some reason require such a position should use some form of suspension…a sprung saddle at the very least."

you can stop into this shop and talk with Victor about your issues and maybe he’ll have some thoughts. I’ve been meaning to stop in and shoot the shit since I plan on setting up a touring bike. I’m not sure what he has but he’ll probably have some good ideas (better than mine) and if possible I wouldn’t mind doing business with a fellow expat. It is located on tiansiang rd (goes to New Hanshin) where the Love River crosses it (near Wenzao college).

here’s a thread topic on it.
forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 34&t=94952

FWIW - I also don’t feel comfortable on road bikes with drop bars.

Also depends what you mean by the “lean forward” position. Is that you down on the drops? Unless the bike is totally set right, (and if you’re not in real good shape, perhaps even if it is), it’s not a posture you’ll be able to hold for very long without feeling uncomfortable. I spend most of my time with various hand positions on the top bars, but that’s not a road bike.
Even so, now the years are rolling by, I notice lower back pain where there previously was none. I reckon the frame is too big, and I’ve always over-reached a little, but now that I’m older the body is less forgiving of that.

What has helped me this year is doing some free weight training off the bike. It doesn’t have to be much, just 1 or 2 sesisons a week.

[quote=“urodacus”]… core strength takes a long time to build …[/quote] +1 to that, but every little helps. I’ve lost a lot of my belly fat, and am stronger too.

there are 2 courses of action.

1 get your back looked at, if there is a problem there riding your bike will exacerbate it.

2 see a bike pro and see if he can adjust your position or give you pointers,

but if your back is bad thats your answer.

I find that if I’m regularly swimming, my back is much happier with cycling as well. I assume there are other exercises you can do with a similar effect, but I don’t know what they are.