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Attack the Singletrack!, Issue #008 -- Mountain Bike Fitting Tips to Avoid Hand, Knee, and Back Pain
August 17, 2010

Catch the Buzz on Playing in the Dirt

Attack the Singletrack! Issue #008 -- Mountain Bike Fitting Tips to Avoid Hand, Knee, and Back Pain

Attack the Singletrack brings you mountain bike tips to help you become a better rider and enjoy mountain biking more.

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In this Issue...

1) Tip of the Month -- Want to know a tip for significantly increasing your mountain biking strength and endurance?

Click here or scroll down for a tip on how to ride longer and climb stronger...

2) Mountain Bike Fitting Tips -- Are you having knee pain while mountain biking? Back pain? Hands going numb? There may be an easy solution. Your mountain bike may not fit you properly.

Click here or scroll down for some mountain bike fitting tips to optimize your riding comfort and avoid hand, knee, and back pain while riding...

3) What's New on Mountain Bike Buzz -- Click on the links below to learn about new information that has been recently added to the site...

Women Mountain Biking: This Section is for You!
- A new section for women, including information on women's mountain bikes, women's cycling clothing, how women specific bikes and clothing are different from men's, and influential women mountain bikers...

Tip of the Month:

How to Increase your Mountain Biking Strength and Endurance--

I used to only mountain bike and not road bike. Several of my mountain biking buddies told me that if I road biked, I would become a stronger mountain biker. A couple years ago, I took their advice and bought a road bike. They were right!

Road biking has definitely improved my mountain biking abilities significantly! I have much more endurance now because on a road bike, you can work more on endurance when doing long rides and hill climbs; whereas, on a mountain bike we tend to do more short energy bursts while climbing and then rest on the downhill sections.

I have even found that road biking can actually be fun! Plus, it's a great way to stay in shape when you can't mountain bike because the mountain biking trails are muddy or snowy in the fall and spring.

Mountain Bike Fitting Tips to Avoid Hand, Knee, and Back Pain While Riding

A poor mountain bike fit can cause a lot of problems and discomfort while riding. When buying a mountain bike, it is important to make sure that the frame fits you properly and then components like the seat and handlebars can be adjusted as needed. For tips on how to determine whether a frame fits you properly, please visit our page on Mountain Bike Frames.

If you are having pain in your hands, back, or knees while mountain biking, the solution may be as simple as making some slight adjustments to your mountain bike saddle and handlebars.

Hand Numbness or Pain?

If your hands are going numb or hurting while riding, you may be putting too much weight on your handlebars. It's important to stay light on the handlebars while riding. If you feel like you are sliding off the seat and have to hold yourself up with your arms, try tilting the front of the seat up slightly so it is level with the ground from front to back.

Incorrectly adjusted handlebars could also cause hand or wrist pain. If your hands feel like they are at an awkward angle on the handlebars, try rotating the handlebars slightly or adjusting the position of the shift and brake levers.

Knee Pain?

A common cause for knee pain while mountain biking is an incorrectly adjusted saddle. If the front part of the saddle is tilted down, it can cause a lot of stress on the knees. Try adjusting the saddle in a neutral position that is level from front to back and then make very slight adjustments as needed.

If your seat is too low or high, this can also cause knee pain. For tips on adjusting your mountain bike seat position, please visit our Mountain Bike Seat page.

Back Pain?

If your back hurts when riding, check to see if your mountain bike seat height is adjusted properly. If the seat is too high, it can cause your hips to rock, which causes strain on the lower back.

Another reason for back pain could be too long of a reach to the handlebars. Raising the handlebars may be enough to shorten the reach, but if the reach is still too far, you may need a shorter stem.

For more tips on adjusting the position of your mountain bike handlebars, please visit our page on Mountain Bike Handlebars.

Click here to see previous issues of Attack the Singletrack!

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