Fit Recovery

Home » Cycling » Back/Tendon Problems Associated with Riding a Triathlon Setup on a Road Bike

Back/Tendon Problems Associated with Riding a Triathlon Setup on a Road Bike


December 2020

I bought my wife a Specialized Alias in 2014, for Christmas, hoping a decent high-end bike would help her embrace cycling more… enthusiastically. She was still running back then and liked to dabble in the occasional triathlon so that particular bike made sense. It’s a brilliant mix between a triathlon bike and a road bike, with a forward swept seat tube that gets the rider over the pedals. This incorporates the quads for cycling leaving the hamstrings and back of the legs fresher for the run. She’s come to love that bike. Absolutely adores it – especially the aero-bars when she’s up front. In fact, she loves it so much she wouldn’t let me replace it after the carbon was slightly damaged in a crash with a deer (the shop looked it over and gave it their blessing).

That photo was from a few years ago… I bought her carbon fiber wheels since that photo. Over the years, as I did, my wife has walked away from running and moved to cycling exclusively for her fitness (though she’s just recently started going to the gym with my daughters). While both her trainer road bike and her gravel bike are compact frames, they both feature the more traditional seat post angle. Throughout the last couple of summers, my wife has become quite the strong cyclist. She can put a few of the guys we ride with in a hurt locker and she’s been known to make my tongue dangle into the spokes from time to time. She’s also developed a nagging backpain since. Well, she finally went to her doctor to get it checked out. It was tendonitis. The doctor gave her a shot that relieved the pain but we started talking solutions.

I started doing some research.

See, we all know, the seat tube on a tri-bike is swept upright a lot more to engage the quads, right? Right. Well, because my wife stopped running, she’s developed a massive imbalance between her quads and the muscles/hamstrings in the back of her leg. This pulls on the hamstrings which connect to tendons in the back, which can’t deal with the constant pull, become inflamed and voila; tendonitis.

I’ve searched for solutions in the past, too. We went from a zero-offset seat post to a 20mm offset. Now we’re going to try a 32mm offset (FSA K-Force SB32) to see if we can get her back far enough she can get a little more use out of the backs of her legs in the pedal stroke.

Before you head to the comments section and ask, yes, I’ve tried to get her into buying either a new frame or a whole new bike. She’s not having any of it. She wants to run the options out on the seat posts first and see if she can solve the issue that way… and happy wife, happy life. Some $#!+ you just don’t fight.


  1. The Omil says:

    It’s good to hear that, after all the years, your wife can make your tongue dangle into your spokes – is that some sort of US euphemism?

    • bgddyjim says:

      The owner of our shop loves to say that when he’s tired. “How ya doin’, Matt?” “My tongue’s danglin’ down by my spokes. It’s precariously close to getting caught in the fork!”

  2. unironedman says:

    Arrah, nothing like a spot of running to create problems! I can relate. I’m guessing the solution is probably a good physio and some workouts targeted at rebalancing the bod. And I also suspect the bike is not really part of the problem, but will help with the solution (the solution being fit, happy and healthy).

  3. Brent says:

    It sounds like your wife’s hesitation at buying another bike frees up cash so you can buy that fat bike you’ve been drooling over for the last few winters. Order now before supplies for this year run out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: