Need Help with Upper Body Twist

I am a relatively new rider but I have a problem I cannot solve. My upper body seems to twist to one side when I am riding straight ahead. My right shoulder, rather than pointing to the right, is twisted so it is pointed forward, twisting my upper body to the left. This makes turning to the left very hard and is very uncomfortable. About the only time I seem to straighten out is when I am powering up hills. I try to balance my feet equally on the pedals and put the same amount of pressure on both feet when pedaling but nothing seems to help. No matter how much I practice or how much I improve in other areas, I can’t figure out the cause of this or the solution. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

This is a very common problem that almost everyone fights at one time or another. From my experience, the best way to solve this is to ride more and try to relax. Sometimes this is caused by physical issues like a crooked seat or an off camber trail, but if you know the seat is straight and you are on fairly flat ground, then you just need to get more saddle time.

I say this from experience because I had this problem for months when I first started riding Muni. I never had the issue riding my 20 inch on the street, but immediately picked up this problem when I bought a new 24 inch Muni and took it off-road. Looking back, I know now that I was just uncomfortable with off-road terrain and the bigger, heavier wheel of the Muni. Fast forward to 6 months later and the problem is completely gone. I have been riding Muni 2-3 times per week since then and the Uni hasn’t changed one bit. However, my riding is much more comfortable and I no longer ride crooked… :smiley:

It seems to be very common for new riders to have one shoulder pointing more forward, my girlfriend and i had that problem and i did read about many others her in the forums. With more practice and therefor more relaxed riding this will solve itself (practice holding onto the seatbumper, front or back, with one hand, left or right, while riding eventually).
I had this “shoulder”-problem, which does effect cornering, depending on how you ride corners (by leaning the upper body into the corner or by twisting the upper body so the rest will follow) first on my 20",then on my 24" and still slightly on my 26".



I had this problem as well. I think it was partially because my tire was off center, partially because all of the roads here have a camber, and mostly because I needed more experience. Now I have no issues with this unless I am hit by a strong side wind. That is very challenging. I think I’ve figured out how I fixed the problem:

I make turns by bending at the hips. If i push my hips to the left, I turn left. If I shift my hips to the right, I turn right. After developing this, it helped me to correct my problem of riding down the road with one shoulder in front of the other. I think my shoulders were twisted to try and correct my tendency to turn one way because of various possible factors, so now I just ride with my hips in a different position. I can now ride without using my hands or arms at all for going straight or turning.

Damn it, completely wrong (should not answer post in foreign language when still sleepy. I do ride corners the way Ereksonj described (and not by leaning the upper body…).
I also remembered that i was able to correct much of the initial upper-body-twist by adjusting the seat-height (a little bit lower in this case).



Your Guys Are Brilliant

Thanks for all your input. I went out this morning and tried to apply some of your techniques. I tried to relax more, dropped my right shoulder a bit, changed the seat position a fraction, tried holding onto the front of the seat on and off, tried to sit up and lean more forward, and yes, the road camber makes a difference, etc. Did not completely solve the problem, but it SEEMED a little better to me. :slight_smile: Just knowing I am not alone in this issue was a huge help. It is tough being alone and trying to learn from YouTube where every technique is different. I think the hip placement may also be key so I will try that tomorrow. KEEP THE SUGGESTIONS COMING! Please!

I found it helped to hold the saddle with the hand

I usually use less. And remember that an initial twist or lean may resolve a few minutes into the ride as you warm up.

I assume (you’ll get better advice when you tell us what and where you ride) you don’t have a handlebar. It was not until I learned to hold on with both hands (left hand never leaves handle, right is for balance) on the extended Shadow handlebar of my 36er, I was able to tuck in my right shoulder. The wobble went away and I just took off.

You May Be Fixing Me

Tried implementing all your suggestions during my ride today - and I think you are on to something! For the first time in a while I felt like I was controlling the twist rather than the twist controling me. To early to tell if the problem is solved, but it seems to be headed in the correct direction. (No pun intended.) The key for me may have been hip action. :slight_smile: I have been riding for about 1-1/2 months now and may have developed a habit of resting the seat slightly into my right inside hip/crotch while riding, thus twisting my upper body to the left to remain straight. By trying to tilt the cycle/seat more into left hip it seems to have allowed me to straighten out my upper body. Hard to keep it there, but I think it may work. Will see how I do tomorrow. BTW, I ride mostly on neighborhood roads (slanted on both sides). Can ride pretty much without stopping for 20-minutes or more if I don’t pick roads that are too broken up or too steep. Your hip tips are also allowing me to make more controlled turns. Now if you all can just help me master my Free Mount! :slight_smile: Can do it, but still miss about 5-10 times for each success.


If you have only been riding for 1.5 months, you are light years ahead of where I was then. Just keep up the practice and you will be free mounting like a mad man in no time. Remember, if you are riding for 20 minutes at a time, you aren’t getting much mounting practice, so set aside 10 minutes or so every ride where you do nothing but practice your mount until it becomes second nature! Sounds like you are really taking to this sport well, so welcome aboard!

Thanks Mad Furai, Byc, and Ereksonj

Thanks Mad Furai, I am indeed enjoying this new sport. With input with folks like you, Byc, and EreksonJ I might just learn it! Good advice about the Free Mount practice and that is what I try to do. I will ride for about 5-10 minutes then dismount and attempt free mounting until successful then ride for 15 seconds, dismount, and try again. Try to get in 7 successful mounts at least before quitting and riding the 5 minutes back home. I often only have about 15 minutes per day to practice, however, but longer on the weekends. I know 30 minutes a day is recommended and would definately be more helpful, but I am still trying!

The way that works best for me to fix this problem is to change my tyre’s pressure. If your tyre has too low a pressure it will be adversely affected by road camber and you’ll get the ‘twisted shoulders’ effect. Simply by pumping up your tyre a lot of this problem can be solved. Muni tyres, which are often set to low pressures for cushy offroad riding, can be terrible to ride on roads for this reason.

Now that you mention it i remember my one tyre pressure related problems.
On my 26" (with Duro Wildlife 3" tyre) i have to keep the pressure low so i can sit upright and without one shoulder forward. On my 20" and 24" (road tyres) low tyre pressure is giving me problems.



More good advice

Tire pressure is something I am playing with, too. Thanks for the thoughts TonyMelton and Byc. Currently riding just above the minimum “normal” range for my 20" Sun Classic. (About 40 PSI) Had it lower than that for awhile (not on purpose. I just did not have a pump) and when I put it back up to 40 the uni was MUCH more responsive. (laughing) Don’t remember if it affected the twist since it affected EVERYTHING. Not a bad day riding today. Still fighting the twist but it is no long in total control :slight_smile: Even got in several free mounts with less than 10 misses in between. (Some with only a few.) My misses usually consist of stepping up on the second pedal and stalling / stepping off because I don’t have enough forward momentum. Getting better at back peddling a bit to bring the bike under more, but I am definately still a work in progress. I know you are all probably thinking, “That is such basic stuff” but for me it is still a challenge! Trying to learn from YouTube videos where everyone has diametrically opposed ideas and techniques only goes so far. That is why your advice has been priceless. Thanks again.

It’s not only the momentum, you also have to want to ride. If you put too much thought into mounting you’ll just mount and that’s it. You step off. Think about riding when you are mounting the uni and off you’ll go.



Be Ready to Ride After Free Mount

Your advice to be ready to ride, not just mount, when practicing my free mounts really helped Byc. I was able to mount and ride with only a few (if any misses) in between today! Of course yesterday, I was a little TOO committed to ride and fell face first, spread eagle on the asphalt, with the uni crashed behind me (laughing). But I got up, wiped the blood from my knee and kept trying. Today was much better. I think the combination of practicing for a few weeks and now thinking about being ready to ride, not just mount, is beginning to work. Thanks again for the great advice.