Until today I've been doing 200km brevets on a trekking bike. It was quite comfortable, there was no ass pain after that, but the average speed was low (24km/h). Also if the wind blew, I had problems riding further, or arms were aching from taking more aerodynamic position.

So I bought a road bike, and it's great, but after doing 50km on it: - ass pain became unbearable (I had pants with a gel diaper) - my back and shoulders were aching from road bike position

Is road bike really a good choice for 200km brevets or longer?

Triban 520 c1:

enter image description here

  • "Road bike" is a very broad category with many sub categories such as road racing, endurance road, randonneuse, gravel, cyclo-cross, touring, etc. Each have a different purpose and a different fit. We have no idea what type of road bike you purchase and whether it is even the correct fit for you. This makes your question (as asked) impossible to answer. That said, the endurance road and randonneuse sub-categories are well suited to brevets. – Rider_X Sep 24 '15 at 20:21
  • I have triban 520 C1, size M, I'm 168cm and I took a bit bigger so that it's more comfortable. – khernik Sep 24 '15 at 21:06
  • 1
    As pictured, the saddle is titled down which will continually slide you forward putting pressure on your hands, shoulders and upper back. The bars also look a little low (hard to tell from the angle) for endurance riding. I actually have the tops 1-3 inches above the saddle, with deep dropbar hook so I can get more aero when needed. Others like a lower position (YMMV). As for your general back pain (lower, mid or upper?). The causes of back pain is hard to diagnose without seeing someone on the bike riding - even then it can be a lot of work to track down. – Rider_X Sep 24 '15 at 21:21
  • Following my last comment on the difficulties of tracking down back pain. I actually had mid back tightness because my cockpit reach was a couple cm too short, which altered my pelvis rotation, and change my back curvature leading to too much back flexion. I needed professionals to help me track down the source. – Rider_X Sep 24 '15 at 21:26
  • 1
    The bars are about 2-3cm below the saddle, as I've heard it's the proper position on the road bike. According to saddle, yes, it will put the pressure on my hands, but also reduce it from my ass, so I don't know what's better. – khernik Sep 24 '15 at 21:32

To answer your question: of course a road bike is great for a 200km or longer brevet! And, I think your bicycle is great too. In my opinion, to get better long rides on your arms and rear the order of most to least expensive and effective changes are new fork, tires, then handlebars and stem.

The fork on the 520 C1 is steep, short, and has almost no rake (or fork offset). Here's an illustration:


Your frame has a pretty slack head tube for a road bike (good for you!), so you probably don't need to go all out; but a longer fork makes a shallower headtube angle which is going to stabilize your ride and require less work which is going to save you that arm and shoulder discomfort. On top of being steep and short, the fork doesn't have any rake (or fork offset) to absorb road discomfort. If you get a fork with more rake, it'll soak up some of the road vibrations, potholes, pebbles, etc. and it won't all be going to your rear end through the seat.

This article says your frame can take up to 32mm tires. The wider the tire, the less pain in your arms and ass. B'Twin's website says stock width is 25mm, very skinny. If you don't want to go to 32mm to save your butt, 28mm is a common size.

There's been some great advice about handlebar height! Swapping the handlebars would be a much larger project than swapping the stem. A little more rise is a good way of working on that back pain and longer drops than your compact bars offer might give your shoulders and back some relief.

Good luck!

tl;dr get a fork that isn't built for crits and twitchy, short rides.

  • 1
    Welcome to Bicycles @BEVR1337. Most of your post is about forks, rake and trail, but you don't connect this with the OP's problem. It should not be for others to connect the dots. You have put a lot of effort into your answer, so I'm hoping you'll make that connection. Without it, you are not answering the question and your post can be down voted and possibly removed. Oh, and please don't use so many exclamation marks! One or two is more than enough. – andy256 Sep 25 '15 at 2:33
  • @andy256 thanks for the tips! I implemented the ones that were easy enough without rewriting the whole post. Made my points a little more obvious. – BEVR1337 Sep 25 '15 at 2:52
  • Thanks a lot! It's a great answer that really helped me to clear some things out. – khernik Sep 25 '15 at 10:46

Riding long distances comfortably has very little to do with whether you're on a 'road' frame or a 'trekking' frame and much more to do with the tires you're using and the seat you're sitting on. Wide, plush tires will go a long ways toward absorbing the bumps in the road, and the seat is your most important point of contact with the bike.

For starters, try swapping the seat from one frame to the other, swap out the tires for wider touring tires, and see if your problems don't go away.

Edit: and for Pete's sake, make sure the bike fits you. If it doesn't fit you, nothing else really matters. Have a professional fit performed if you need to.

  • What about overall fit? Fit (IMHO) is critical to long distance riding. I have one frame that no matter what components I have I cannot get it into my endurance fit window. It will always be uncomfortable for longer rides. – Rider_X Sep 24 '15 at 20:30
  • Yeah, I didn't mention it here, but I think fit is a given. If a bike doesn't fit you properly, it doesn't matter what else you do to it, you're not going to be comfortable if it doesn't fit you. – Scott Hillson Sep 24 '15 at 20:35
  • 1
    It does "fit" me, I mean I am pretty comfortable on it. But it's a road bike, and thus I have different position than on a trekking bike, and it creates a pain in my back and shoulders. – khernik Sep 24 '15 at 21:09
  • 1
    I posted a comment in my post about what bike it is. – khernik Sep 24 '15 at 21:09
  • 1
    I also updated my post to add a photo of my bike. Today I switched the saddle from my trekking bike, moved it a bit forward, and added those long handlebars on the middle. – khernik Sep 24 '15 at 21:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.