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#97343 - 06/04/08 10:51 AM Higher stem or high rise handlebars?
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
With my bad back and worse neck, I haven't been mtb much the last three years. I tried last year to get a taller stem put on my bike but the bike shop mechanic/owner couldn't break the nut loose from the bottom. I was thinking of buying highrise handlebars instead to raise my "view" up some so I don't have to look up so much when riding, so maybe I can get out again. Anyone have any input? A recumbent is out as I like to use FS roads/trails, with some pavement riding to get there at times.

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#97344 - 06/04/08 11:11 AM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Been riding/racing since the early eighties and have had plenty of back/neck issues with ill fitting bikes. Lesson learned...."Get a professional to fit you!!!"". I don't know the area you are in but most good shops can fit you properly. Back pain can come from the wrong seat angle/placement, incorrect cleat placement on your shoes, wrong bars, seatpost, stem, frame, and technique. You'll spend less money with a good fitting, that taking guesses on parts replacement. Your stem height/length, or taller bars might make an initial improvement, only to shift the problem somewhere else.
Example...my road bike NEVER causes me pain except from rough roads (it's a crit bike, but is custom built and fit). My latest off-road bike felt like it fit but for some reason caused my lower back to hurt after a couple hours. A trained tech had a look and a tweak, and figured out the problem.
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#97345 - 06/04/08 06:24 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: Dryer]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
It is my neck that bothers me, but not sure if it all comes from or came from riding with my head down some and trying to look up. I did take a header skiing over 20 years ago, so my neck has never been the same since. My back pain when I have it comes from doing heavy work around my place, shoveling snow and cutting firewood. When I ride, I am looking at the scenery and being a wood cutter, I am always on the look out for a snag, whether I was just down the same road a few days ago or not and doesn't matter if I still have a valid permit to cut wood. I want to look around in a more normal fashion. The chiropractors don't do much for me, my neck goes out in a few days again, even when I take it easy, I can hear it crack if I look wrong, just a temporary fix, just the pain/discomfort level changes.

My bike was purchased used over 10 years ago down in Chico at the Specialized dealer.

Of course my butt hurts too after a 30 minute ride or more, time to invest in one of those newer, made for men seats.

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#97346 - 06/05/08 08:06 AM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
Damian Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/02
Posts: 324
If it's a quill and it's stuck then you have a problem and a riser bar is probably the best approach. If it's an aheadset then as an alternative to riser bars you can also fit an extension to get the existing bars higher or fit an adjustable stem. I have separated vertebrae so fitted an adjustable stem to my touring bike.

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#97347 - 06/05/08 06:16 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: Damian]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I'll have to try a larger shop in a bigger town, they may have more options/suggestions. I do know, a taller stem and/or one that can move the handle bars back some would help. Seems every month I need something, pants, chainsaw parts, oil/filter, motorcycle parts.

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#97348 - 06/05/08 07:35 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
I worked in a bike shop for several years. A competent mechanic should be able to get your old stem out....he may have to destroy it but not the rest of the bike. Then you could try this. I'm referring to the stem on the upper left, assuming it's compatible with your steering tube. If your bike is 10 years old you probably have an old school threaded steering tube. But if it's threadless there are risers on the website for those too. High rise bars will require new cables, cable housings, grips and possibly even brake levers. Aside from parts, labor will be expensive too unless you do it yourself. I'd recommend just the new stem first to see if it does the job without new bars.

Quote:
Of course my butt hurts too after a 30 minute ride or more, time to invest in one of those newer, made for men seats.


Are you referring to your skin or underlying tissue? If it's the latter, try adjusting the seat angle before you spend $$ on a new seat. Most seat posts will allow you up to 45 degrees of adjustment. Sometimes just a few degrees can make a world of difference.

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#97349 - 06/05/08 08:45 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: Trailrunner]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
That is the one. I need to bring my bike to town where I work, so I have a bigger selection of shops. The nut on the bottom of the stem is rusted on I guess, the mechanic couldn't break it loose.

My butt hurts beyond the skin. I'll have to look at my seat. The bike is a '92 Specialized, Rockhopper. Last time I got parts in Chico where I bought it, I showed my discount card they gave me, but I still didn't get my discount, I don't think they believed I still had the bike, over 10 years later at the time.

Thank you

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#97350 - 06/06/08 04:46 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Duane, I also have a Rockhopper-got it used so no idea what year. Mine was built from various pieces by the previous owner. It has a Specialized stem with Raceface riser bar-the rise in the bar isn't very much, but it isn't flat, like some mountain bike bars.

I bought a Serfas brand saddle which has a slot down the middle. It is very comfortable. I am pretty skinny, so not much padding on my butt but the saddle has a fair amount of padding and give to it, unlike my hard road saddle. They make a number of different models. Mine is one of the RX series, probably the Men's Saddle, which retails for $45. I don't see the model number on it, just the RX mark, but I doubt I paid much more than $50 for it.

Check out their website- Serfas

As already mentioned, fit is really important. I spent a lot of time tinkering with my road bikes over the years, setting them up right. I learned to set mine up myself and you can too. It just takes doing some reading, looking at websites and a lot of experimenting with seat position-back and forth as well as tilt; seat height and bar height.

I have my saddle tilted up very slightly, but I have seen them way up, way down and neutral. I use step in pedals which I really like. I think those help a lot for comfort and ease of pedaling.


Edited by TomD (06/06/08 04:55 PM)
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#97351 - 06/06/08 09:34 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: TomD]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Mine is a '93, just checked my card, a former rental bike for a year. I see there is a dealer in Carson City for those seats. As soon as I start hauling firewood to NV, then I can haul my bike over there and have something done with the handlebars.

I need new tires also, the ones on it have been cracked for some time now, I don't want to flat with the front the back is bad enough when you are cruising. This one single track in Carson City gives me a flat usually after going over it. I bought this pump out of England, which you just pull a rope like starting a motor, not that great. Back to a hand pump style.

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#97352 - 07/13/08 05:35 AM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Quote:
I'll have to try a larger shop in a bigger town, they may have more options/suggestions. I do know, a taller stem and/or one that can move the handle bars back some would help. Seems every month I need something, pants, chainsaw parts, oil/filter, motorcycle parts.


I'm hip to wanting to ride in a more upright position. I'm getting to old to be a high tailer. As far as more stuff, Designed obsolesece and maintence will allways keep you making trips to the store.
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Enjoy your next trip...

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#97353 - 08/24/08 04:32 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
schweinhundert Offline
member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 36
Loc: Amerikkka
I always used a pair of bar ends, the kind that go forward about 4 inches then turn inward about another 4 or so. Then I turned them backward at about 45 degrees, and rest my hands on the upper part. It gets you way further upright, gives more hand positions too. Put them so you can easily quickly drop over them to reach the brakes, in that position, your arms will be just brushing them, to be in the perfect spot. Works great, honest!
Fatten them up with some cork, and get the fattest ones to begin with, for comfort. Answer used to make some perfect ones. I ride a bent now, it rolls down mild trails ok, too.

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#97354 - 08/25/08 03:55 AM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
leadfoot Offline
member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 954
Loc: Virginia
I recently converted my hybrid bike that had flat bars with these
http://www.rivbike.com/search/run?query=handlebars#product=16-127

and love them. I have a short torso and almost all bikes do not have a top tube to fit me, regardless of a professional fit. The professionals tell me I need a custom bike. The flat bars always made my hands go numb and my back was tired. Drop bars are ok but after 20 some years of that I wanted to be upright. So, these bars fit me and my body and I can still go fast, enjoy the ride. I just put on my mt bike style shifters to the handlebars but will switch over to bar end shifters later. Wald makes cheaper bars, as does Nitto in a slightly different style, but not much. Just make sure you have room for your hands and shifters if you go that route.

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#108114 - 12/20/08 06:43 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: leadfoot]
Rich_M Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 165
Loc: Southern Oregon
I have found that as I get older, I prefer the more upright position. I use Albatross bars on my touring bike and like them alot. I did a 3150 mile tour last year with them and had no trouble at all. But bars are a personal thing. Butterfly bars might also be an option for you.

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#108121 - 12/20/08 08:10 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: Rich_M]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
If I get butterfly handlebars, I'll have to get some streamers for the ends too.:) Back to the 60's.

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#108131 - 12/21/08 07:33 AM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
leadfoot Offline
member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 954
Loc: Virginia
I converted my hybrid bars into the something similar to the Nitto Albatross, they are the North Roads. I have a short torso and no bike fits me unless it is custom built. The top tubes are all too long. These bars are perfect for me. I can still use my mtb setup, or may switch to bar-end changers but I can manuever off road just as well...no, I don't do gonzo biking anymore, but for long-distance riding and gentle off-road trails, they work just fine. No more neck pain, back pain, numb hands. You can put on some really slick cork handlebar grips with varnish over them. Cool as all get-out. This commuter website shows what people now are using and maybe you won't feel so bad. If people give you grief, tell them they are way behind the times. Just scan thru the site and pictures.

http://www.ecovelo.info/

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#108140 - 12/21/08 12:14 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: leadfoot]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Thank you leadfoot. Nice bikes, can't ride now here in CA, too much snow. No one gives me grief, I'm too old for that, they probably like seeing middle aged folks out. If I can get some overtime at work again, I can get my bike fixed up, I'm working on a few more new things for bping and a trip to AK in Aug. Still need the balance of the bush pilot air fare, the other plane fare is paid for now. Priorities man.

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#175340 - 02/25/13 08:59 PM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Finally bit the bullet and took my mt bike into a shop. Everything snowballed. First the little higher handlebars with a little "V", new fork as the old one was shot, new stem as the new fork would not fit on the old stem. Not sure what they did to get the nut loose to get the fork off. New cables, baskets for the pedals, air, I'm rolling. $142 with labor, did good. Still need to see if this will be enough to give my neck a break. Went for a short ride both Saturday and Sunday. Saturdays ride was only 2 mile round trip to the Post Office, all I had was some seeds, not my new cuben bp.:(
Duane

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#175408 - 02/28/13 10:01 AM Re: Higher stem or high rise handlebars? [Re: hikerduane]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I have noticed soreness in the trapezoid muscles when I first started riding some years back. After that first time, the soreness never came back. For me it could be attributed to constant pounding my fork was taking from the terrain and my muscles were not used to it. I suppose I got use to it? Another issue I see with beginner mountain bikers, beside ill fitted bike, is when they are riding down hill, they're tense up a lot by gripping too hard, holding the brakes hard, etc. It a snowball effect to making their muscles in the neck hurt.
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It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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