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flipping the stem..

elderoneelderone Posts: 1,410
edited October 2012 in Road beginners
hi,did my longest ride to date yesterday,35.5 miles and for the first time i got some back and neck ache.After watching some utube vids it seems flipping the stem helps,so basically what does flipping the stem do? and what benefits does it have,as can learn more from peoples experiance than watching utube.

In balance, is the slightly longer ride just pushing my body more and it will pass .

thanks
Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori

Posts

  • It's pretty simple, really: if your stem is angled downwards now, flipping it over will angle it upwards instead.

    Modern road bikes (not that old racing bikes were referred to as 'road bikes') tend to be designed to facilitate a very stretched out position, which many people find difficult to adapt to. It's also most tolerable if you are riding at high intensity all of the time; if you are not, then a racing-oriented bike will never be ideal for you.

    In practice therefore I would not expect miracles from this, but it may help you. If you really want comfort then you can move your spacers (assuming you have spacers) to place your stem as high as it can be, and replace the stem for one that gives a much more upright position, but you can't turn your bike into something it fundamentally isn't.

    To be honest, since I don't know what your bike is or what your posture looks like on it, and I don't know about this stuff anyway, I would suggest you go to a bike shop with your bike. They may be able to advise you on a more suitable stem length if the one you have isn't ideal; beyond that I would say it's a matter of getting used to the positioning, and if that doesn't work considering more drastic changes. Hopefully they won't be necessary.
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    you could try it of course, it may or may not solve your problem, it certainly did mine.
  • FWIW, as another rookie of much the same age as the OP, I had a bit of neck ache to start with which seems to have gone away. I also became very tense between the shoulder blades initially, which showed up as a brief intense burning pain when I got off the bike and straightened up. That doesn't happen any more either.

    I'm a bit over 200 miles now, and feeling a lot more relaxed on the bike now - I wonder if tension has something to do with it in the early days.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • FWIW, as another rookie of much the same age as the OP, I had a bit of neck ache to start with which seems to have gone away. I also became very tense between the shoulder blades initially, which showed up as a brief intense burning pain when I got off the bike and straightened up. That doesn't happen any more either.

    I'm a bit over 200 miles now, and feeling a lot more relaxed on the bike now - I wonder if tension has something to do with it in the early days.

    I wouldn't be surprised. Tensing the upper body is a vice of cyclists of all levels (including me); most of the time it does not benefit you as such to be death-gripping the bars.
  • elderoneelderone Posts: 1,410
    thanks for the replies,think i,ll try another cpl of 35 mile rides see if it persists,if so i,ll take action.
    as far as death gripping the bars goes,i,ve learned from motorcycling that light grip on bars is the best way to ride.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori
  • When I had a LBS do a bike fit he put a slightly shorter stem on and flipped it. He explained that it was because "I was no spring Chicken" :evil: He sent me away to ride the bike for a month and when I went back he flipped it back the right way as I am now "a bit looser" He also recommended putting my original longer stem back on in a couple of months which I keep meaning to do.
    It's worked out fine for me on all but a couple of 'epic' rides where I have got very tired and had a bit of back pain.
    I find moving my hand position between the drops, hoods and bars helps as does riding no handed for a short while (when conditions allow of course 8) )
    "You really think you can burn off sugar with exercise?" downhill paul
  • Stem length, seat height and position can make a big difference too

    Getting all of these things right together will help you to get comfortable on longer rides
  • TakeTurnsTakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    If you do decide to flip the stem, make sure you have a torch wrench. Tightening those bolts to the correct tension is important. I've broken a Ti bolt in a brand new stem before. :|
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    When I had a LBS do a bike fit he put a slightly shorter stem on and flipped it. He explained that it was because "I was no spring Chicken" :evil: He sent me away to ride the bike for a month and when I went back he flipped it back the right way as I am now "a bit looser" He also recommended putting my original longer stem back on in a couple of months which I keep meaning to do.
    It's worked out fine for me on all but a couple of 'epic' rides where I have got very tired and had a bit of back pain.
    I find moving my hand position between the drops, hoods and bars helps as does riding no handed for a short while (when conditions allow of course 8) )
    It's nothing to do with age, but everything to do with position imo
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