Some bike fit considerations for those experiencing neck pain caused by riding your bike.
In a recent survey of riders at the end of a 160km Gran Fondo, neck pain was the second most common complaint only beaten by saddle pain.
Neck pain is often caused by having too much cervical flexion or compression. In addition to position it is important to consider the helmet and its weight, especially in very upright positions where it can cause excess compression, or in very aggressive positions where the weight of the helmet is further away from the fulcrum point of the neck.
As always, start by ensuring your position on the bike is neutral to begin with by checking it with the MyVeloFit software. If your position isn’t neutral to begin with, start by getting a neutral position. If your position was drastically off to begin with that could be what was leading to the pain.
Once you’ve taken a baseline of your position, double check that your reach measurements (shoulder angle wrist and shoulder angle arm) aren’t too stretched out. Even if you are in range but on the long side of the range you should consider reducing the amount of reach.
In addition to being conservative in terms of reach you will also want to check how much drop, or how low your back angle is. Raising the front end can also take some pressure off the neck and shoulders.
One last thing to consider is not being too conservative in terms of reach. Too little reach to the handlebars can cause tension in the neck/shoulders/upper arm.
It is also important to make sure you are holding your bike correctly. On a road bike that means the webbing of your thumb near the upswing of the hoods. If you are choking back away from the hoods then adjust the reach and drop of the bike so you are comfortable in the correct position.
Now assuming the bike is in the correct position for you, it is also important to consider your posture on the bike and how it can affect your overall comfort and efficiency. Please take a moment to review our cycling posture page which will help guide you towards the proper posture on your bike, as well as your specific strength and flexibility recommendations which are generated when you do our mobility assessment.
Jesse's cycling journey was destined to end in bike fitting after first being sold a bike that was two sizes too big. The resulting chronic discomfort and related injuries transformed into a passion for finding the right riding position. The improvement he experienced after his first professional bike fit inspired a career change from economics to bikes, fuelling a quest to help others unlock the joy of cycling.