Cycling - Road bike and pain

ktsj2015 Posts: 63 Member
Every year I do a coast to coast cycle ride for Charity, this year we are doing Holland in about 2 weeks.

I've always used my trusty Hybrid bike for all my cycling but this year I treated myself to a nice Road bike, because I always struggled keeping up with the lads on road bikes.

I've been riding the new bike for about 3 weeks and i'm getting some pain.

1) My wrists ache after about 3 minutes I seem to be putting a lot of pressure on them and I keep having to move from the top to the drop handles to keep blood flowing.

2) My back doesn't trouble me during the ride, but the next day it really aches.

The bike was measured for me, all the angles around my knee's and back to make sure it was the right size.

I initially thought it was just because I wasn't used to the lower angle and new positioning, because i'm used to being more upright on the Hybrid, but its just not getting any better.

Any idea's?


  • msf74
    msf74 Posts: 3,498 Member
    Take it back to the shop where you got fitted and ask them to watch you while cycling on a turbo to see if further adjustments are necessary.

    The wrist pain could simply be as a result of a death grip on the handlebars because road bikes seem harder to handle than hybrids sometimes and new rider ends up fighting the bike rather than working as one unit with it. Try to consciously lighten your grip.

    The back ache could also simply be due to a lack of core strength to hold a more aero position for long lengths of time and your body should adjust with time. That said some core work wouldn't hurt.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,643 Member
    Good points above from @msf74

    When I switched from a fast hybrid to a road bike I found the steering incredibly twitchy so held on far too tight.

    Other bike fit issues....
    Saddle fore and aft position or angle maybe off putting too much weight on your hands?
    Excessive drop from seat to bars? (Or just needing to adapt to a lower position...)
    My road bike is a Roubaix so fairly high at the front - is your bike on its highest handlebar position?

    I have a damaged lower back and do tons of abs and core strength work (some ultra high reps) which really helps on the bike.
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member
    Fit might be an issue. And as @sijomial points out core strength is an important part of cycling in a more forward position. Go back to the shop and ask to get fitted again for a more relaxed position - stem angle and height can be adjusted to meet your needs.

    Small fixes can help a little - gloves, bar tape - but if this is all your shop suggests, walk away and get a real fit.
    Generally, it might include adjusting the handle bar, height, getting a shorter or different angle stem, or bringing the seat forward.

    If the issue does not resolve get a touring or Jones-style bars. These are wing shaped and while the look funny, can help a lot with long ride pressure.

    Work on your core strength and hip flexibility will also reduce pressure on wrists.
  • Mr_Stabbems
    Mr_Stabbems Posts: 4,773 Member
    double bar tape and flip the stem, that'll raise you up and give you some comfort.

    Check your reach, if you sit too far back or your seat isnt adjusted correclty and you're stretching for the bars you'll be putting pressure on lower back and the hands.

    Check for hip rocking as you pedal and your tracking at different cadences.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,870 Member
    I'd agree the points above, it's likely that the back pain is more about adaptation and core strength, but the wrist pain would suggest something about your bike fit.
  • Mike02209
    Mike02209 Posts: 301 Member
    If you moved from traditional pedals to clip ins, the position of your feet is now fixed which if set improperly can lead to issues on longer rides. The wrist numbness is likely due to the much less upright body position that road bikes have in relation to hybrids. That will diminish as you get accustomed to it, in the meantime a pair of cycling gloves with gel inserts in the palms might help.
  • kcjchang
    kcjchang Posts: 708 Member
    Based on your description, you got a bike sized but not necessarily a fit. Knee over peddle spindle, is a quick sizing but unlikely to produce a good fit. For the wrist, you're probably sitting to far forward and maybe to high; a good fit and more time on the bike for the back pain. If you can reach for a drink, eat, put on clothing, and ride with no hands, your core is fine. Work on it if you like but it's a waste of time to think it'll improve your cycling (don't confuse poor bike handling with lack of or inability to control the bike).
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,903 Member
    Most shops will fit a bike for you when you buy it, but some fitters are better than others. It might be that while this happened, it wasn't really done well.

    I agree with everyone else about core strength.

    Is your saddle level with the ground, or is the noise pointed up or down? If your wrists are hurting, and you think it's from too much pressure, you might try angling the nose up slightly and see if it helps. Could be that you're sliding forward slowly over your ride and using your arms to hold yourself backwards.

    Also, I guess it depends a lot on the bike. The first one I had with drop bars was a CX bike, it wasn't twitchy at all, that thing was a tank. But if yours is harder to control, and you're holding the bars tightly because of it, try holding the bends in the drops as you have more control in that position. It's harder on a lot of peoples' backs though.

    A professional fitter will do a better job but if you post a photo of yourself riding the bike people here might be able to make better suggestions.
  • daj150
    daj150 Posts: 978 Member
    Not that this hasn't already been said, but I experienced the exact same issue when I first switched to a road bike. The first issue was the fitting needed to be tweaked slightly. Aside from that, because you are on a tire that has less than half of the road grip you are used to, your body has a little more effort for balance. This results in the rider "fighting" with the bike instead of working with it. The solution for this is core strength at a bare minimum. However, too much pressure on your grip might also mean you need to some upper body strength training in addition to core strength. Good luck and have fun!
  • Lisa_Ookoo
    Lisa_Ookoo Posts: 134 Member
    When I first switched from a hybrid to a road bike, my hands kept going numb. I had to constantly remind myself to loosen my grip and put less pressure on the handlebars. Keep your weight on the pedals, because that's what drives you forward!
  • ktsj2015
    ktsj2015 Posts: 63 Member
    its also worth noting I went from Aluminum to a carbon frame, and to clip-ins all at the same time :/

    I knew it would be a big leap ... but damn I keep falling off the thing at traffic light which although highly amusing for motorists isn't great for my confidence.

    Thanks for the advice, I've got my 6 week service due before my trip i'll get them to do a proper fit while i'm there.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,903 Member
    Always clip out with the same foot (so it becomes a reflex that you can do without thinking in an emergency) and do it before the light, not when you get there. :smile:
  • Abbey2Lynn
    Abbey2Lynn Posts: 33 Member
    As a distance road biker for the last 30 odd years (as well as more upright town biking and mountain biking) I agree with most of the above. Core strength is primary! Your seat nose needs to be slightly tilted up to keep you from fighting constantly to maintain position. And relax! A good road bike is an extension of yourself. Don't fight the bike.
  • kcjchang
    kcjchang Posts: 708 Member
    Confusion between core strength and core fatigue and anecdotal conclusions from Abt et al 2007 study “Relationship Between Cycling Mechanics and Core Stability”? ( and summery version

    "Core fatigue resulted in altered cycling mechanics that might increase the risk of injury because the knee joint is potentially exposed to greater stress. Improved core stability and endurance could promote greater alignment of the lower extremity when riding for extended durations as the core is more resistant to fatigue."

    Here is a "devil's advocate look at core training":
  • beemerphile1
    beemerphile1 Posts: 1,710 Member
    The fact is that a road bike places your body into an unnatural and possibly uncomfortable position. A road bike is designed like it is to maximize aerodynamics, not comfort.

    Like others have suggested keep making small adjustments till you get it best it can be. Only make tiny changes and only make one at a time. It is best to do several rides between each adjustment.

    As to hybrid vs. road, it isn't about the bike unless you are racing. For social rides it is such a tiny difference that it really doesn't matter. Ride whichever is most comfortable.

    I ride a Trek Madone but I also ride cheap Trek hybrids. I can beat the same people on my hybrids as I can on my road bike. The real difference is minuscule but minuscule wins races.