Lower back pain on the trail bike.

Discussion in 'General MTB Discussion' started by Ezkaton, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Ezkaton

    Ezkaton Eats Squid


    So after more than a year and a half of riding my large Spitfire and dealing with lower back pain... at Thredbo on the weekend it was suggested I should try an XL frame.
    I'm 6'3 and the fit and feel is good on the large for the most part pedalling around, but I guess I do feel like my head is a bit too far forwards when in 'attack' position and jumps can feel like I am a bit too big for the frame.
    And of course there's the lower back pain.

    Using a 50mm stem and 760mm wide/38mm rise bars.
    No steerer room to get the stem higher, and don't really like the bars to have any higher rise than they already have.

    I rode the next day on my Makulu which is essentially an XL (1 inch longer than the production L frame) and everything felt fine (50mm stem, 800mm wide bars/15mm rise).

    Anyone else suffered similar issues? Did a frame size change help? Did something else help?

    Should I sell off the large frame and seek out an XL?
  2. Mywifesirrational

    Mywifesirrational Eats Squid

    What years the spitty, as in whats its reach, STA and TT length?

    Your the same height as me and I'm on an XL santa cruz 460mm reach, 60mm stem x 780 bars, I can't imagine going smaller than that, although personal preference is very strong in selecting sizes. Next bike I think I'll aim for 480mm reach and then have the option of shortening the stem by 10-20mm if needed.

    A shorter frame generally means your arching your back more, at least when seated and probably standing, this puts more pressure on specific areas of the back, which backs don't like. In road cycling, LBP from cycling, often leads to a larger frame as the solution - as this keeps the back straighter or more neutral.

    Another thing I found with going longer is I can run my bars higher, and not have the front end wander or lift when climbing, as there is more weight forward by default, with taller bars feeling a lot better for jumping and descending as a bonus.

    I'd be after a few test rides on XL's before throwing money at this, it'll probably help, but may be other issues.
  3. Ezkaton

    Ezkaton Eats Squid

    It's a 2014 Spitty.

    Reach: 452mm
    STA: 73.5 degrees (in slack setting)
    TT: 615mm

    The XL of the same year for comparison...
    Reach: 477mm
    STA: 73.5 degrees (in slack setting)
    TT: 640mm

    And L and XL of the 2017 models...
    Reach: 450mm (L) / 490mm (XL)
    STA: 75.0 degrees
    TT: 615mm (L) / 640mm (XL)
  4. Mywifesirrational

    Mywifesirrational Eats Squid

    They have gotten long.

    The advantage of the 2017's is not just the extra length, but also the STA has gotten steeper.

    Steeper STA means less hip flexion (forward bend) which allows you back to stay more neutral, this effect is magnified if your someone with excessively tight hamgstrings or some hip issues.

    Can you touch your toes standing?
  5. Ezkaton

    Ezkaton Eats Squid

    I'm about 5cm away before the back of my knees starts burning.
    I could do it this time last year, but I've been slack for a bit, haha.
  6. JTmofo

    JTmofo XC Enthusiast

    Being a bigger bloke on a Large vs X Large frame, its also important to keep in mind the ETT length and the position of your hips and seat while pedalling.
    Reach is an important measurement for cockpit room while standing in the attack position, but the ETT is critical to where your hips are positioned during seated pedalling.

    A Large frame will have a shorter ETT (which is really only an estimated length seeing as its affected by seat post height) vs an XLarge. To get "room" on a large, you will likely be running your post pretty high. This will put your hip position further behind the BB on a Large v XL and can impact on lower back comfort.
    Many people dismiss ETT dimensions, but they are crucial to seated pedalling comfort.

    This along with stack height are often overlooked.
  7. Ezkaton

    Ezkaton Eats Squid

    It is sounding like a steeper seat tube angle, longer reach, and a new CSU for my Mattoc might be what I need.

    Brb, financial despair. Haha.
  8. Dozer

    Dozer Heavy machinery. Staff Member

    Core strength. It's all about core strength.
    I ride XL frames but hate the stretched feel of the reach. If I can, I go for a large now and kit it out accordingly to make it work for me.
    I'm 6ft 4" and have had / still have lower back pain. The biggest improvement I made to my life was discovering core strength and doing the small exercises each day to keep it fine tuned. It's quite easy actually but you need to use the proper technique and engage the right muscles.
    I do 100 crunches as soon as I wake up, 50 leg raises lying on my back with my knees bent to engage my core and a bunch of other stuff at the gym that also helps. Honestly though, simple engagement and a small amount of core strength will change your life. Please look it up. ;) It's an instant result too!
  9. Freediver

    Freediver Likes Dirt

    I started working on my core strength because of hand pain, the discomfort (never pain) in my lower back was just something I figured was a part of cycling. After a few weeks on a rowing machine and crunches both hand pain and back discomfort went away.
  10. Dozer

    Dozer Heavy machinery. Staff Member

    Thats unreal! It is an almost instant fix I've found but be careful with rowing machines if you haven't isolated how to engage your core muscles, they can do more damage than good.
  11. Logic

    Logic Likes Dirt

    My dad was similar to you, he used to ride a large specialized enduro 29 then moved to an XL Nukeproof mega 29, problem solved immediately!

    Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
  12. bikeyoulongtime

    bikeyoulongtime Likes Dirt

    Yoga, peoples.

    appropriate bike size will help as well, but nobody gets younger ;)

    ps if the class thing is no good: https://www.pinkbike.com/video/search/?q=yoga, but teachers can help a lot with getting positions right and not hurting yourself.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  13. tkdbboy

    tkdbboy Likes Dirt

    Had the same issue when I started riding more frequently. 5'10 on Medium Specialized Enduro.

    I found that stretching for about 10 mins before I rode helped a lot. Not just your lower back but pretty much everything as it all helps in some way.
    Stretching lungs helped with fatigue and forearms n wrists also helped decrease soreness and arm pump.
  14. Ezkaton

    Ezkaton Eats Squid

    I already do light core work at gym a couple days a week. Nothing too intense, but yeah...

    I did get a nice quote on a 2017 XL Spitfire frame + dropouts only option (no headset, no post clamp, no shock), as I'm really digging its numbers.
    All I'd need is a new dropper (2017 frames made the jump from 30.9 to 31.6), longer fork steerer, new shock hardware for the top mount, maybe a new rear brake hose and gear cable+outer to accommodate the longer front end... the rest can come over from my existing Spitfire.

    Worst case scenario, I get a nice and new, more appropriately sized frame, and retain the back pain. :thumb:

    Suppose I'll strip down and clean my frame, then list it for sale when I find the time.

    Thx m80s! :party:
  15. haltz

    haltz Likes Dirt

    I'm going to throw an extra something in there and say you need to work on your core strength, also some shoulder work too but mostly core every bit of work you can rely on your core to support is less work for your back, just something else to think about

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  16. Mywifesirrational

    Mywifesirrational Eats Squid

    Ah yes core work, the panacea for all LBP issues, regardless of the cause.

    The relationship between LBP and core stability, not that their is valid measurement tool for core stability, does not exist. For many chronic LBP we are aiming to reduce muscle activation not increase it. We want less activation of the core, so individual segments of the back can move freely as they are meant to.

    Core stability is the cross fit of rehab.
  17. DMan

    DMan Top Bloke

    What do you recommend? I get a lot of LBP, after riding. While I'm warm and moving I'm good. For me it's when I cool down. Could be that I'm old...
    I also wear a kidney protector style back support. I think it makes a difference. Is there any harm wearing a support or does it make your back 'lazy' so to.speak?
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  18. JTmofo

    JTmofo XC Enthusiast

  19. mark22

    mark22 Likes Dirt

    I too have a dodgy back and moved to bike with more suspension travel and advocated this earlier on in this thread and I can say I can hit things that I had previously stopped hitting because of the pain it was causing.

    I am enjoying my riding much more with the softer ride with a heap less pain.

    What are you riding?
  20. DMan

    DMan Top Bloke

    160mm Reign. Yep, I agree with that. Like I said I'm good while riding. It's after. And it's accumulative. After 3 days of riding my back gets quite bad. So maybe some stretching after a ride because I'm naughty and don't do that. Can someone recommend some stretches to do after riding please?

Share This Page