Bicycle Mechanics - Hand Fatigue
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Quick question, usually only after 20-30 min of riding, my hands become pretty fatigued. I can reduce it by switching between hood and drop-down. Is that similar for everyone? Maybe I have my bike position set up poorly? I usually ride with my hands on my hood since I have sora shifters, and the most of the pressure is on the palms of my hands right below the thumbs.
For those of you who have your bikes set up properly, do you experience any discomfort after long rides? (not just the hands, anywhere else as well)
05-18-07, 04:13 PM
Do you wear gloves? Are they padded? How's the fit of your bike? If you're on a long ride, changing positions can help prevent the fatigue you're describing (one reason why drop-handlebars are good on long rides.
05-18-07, 04:23 PM
Sheldon "Ouch" Brown
Lots of fit-related things could be causing sore hands. Try raising the bars slightly (1/4 inch at a time) and tilt the bars so the hoods are perfectly flat. I did that and it totally alleviated the hand soreness I would get on long downhill stretches. Also, if your saddle is tilted nose down too much, you could be sliding off the nose of the saddle, which will put too much weight on your hands.
05-18-07, 05:59 PM
If your hands/fingers get weak or numb, that is a nerve problem and you need to make some changes in your bike position and take it easy. This happened to me 100 miles into a 200 mile ride, I didn't stop, and I could barely write or eat with that hand for 2 months.
If its just soreness that is not as bad, but still warrants some fiddling with gloves/handlebars/stems/ ect. to find a better riding position.
Specialized makes some gloves now with pads designed to take pressure off the ulnar nerve; they seemed to help a bit but I also made some changes on handlebars at the same time.
05-19-07, 10:37 AM
I had the same problem. I bought gloves with thick pads, and wrapped my bars with gel pads, then two layers of cloth handlebar tape. All that helped. However, the thing that made the biggest difference was raising my handlebars. I have long legs and my bikes always seem to have the seat several inches above the handlebars, even with the stem raised as high as it would go. So I bought a Nitto Technomic stem from Harris Cyclery. Now I can raise the bars too high if I want. I fiddled with it until I found a height that felt good and alleviated the numb hands problem.
You can also fiddle with the distance from seat to handlebars by sliding the seat backwards and forwards on the seatpost. To me it feels like too long of a stretch makes my hands tired faster, but too short doesn't feel right either. I ride and tweak, ride and tweak, until I arrive at a setup that feels good.
I have been adjusting the handbar tilt and lever position. I'll play with height of bars and seat. Never thought about the angle of the seat, I think mine is slightly pointed downward. Brilliant! thanks!
I am currently using lifting gloves for cycling, I'll invest in proper gloves.
It's the nature of upright bikes with a performance orientation. Not an issue with most recumbent bikes.
05-20-07, 10:20 PM
+1 to all these suggestions. For me, moving the saddle back 1cm and making sure it was perfectly level made my hands more comfortable. Also, "toeing in" the brake levers--that is making them point slightly toward the centerline of the bike rather than parallel to it, when viewed from above--made a surprisingly big difference. I suppose 'cause it made my hands line up straight with my arms rather than cock outwards when on the hoods.
Tweak and tweak again has become my motto.
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