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  1. #1
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    too small bike = hand pain?

    hey all,

    hoping somebody here can halp me with a problem i'm having which i'm 99% sure is to do with riding a bike that's a little too small for me and therefore putting too much downward pressure on my wrists and hands. the bike is a flat bar trek rst hybrid fwiw.

    essentially i've recently started having a nerve sort of pain in the palm of my hand right down towards the wrist whenever i apply backwards pressure (ie. anything that pulls the finger like away from a claw position) onto my fingers (particularly my index finger).

    i'm quite new to distance riding and did my first 100k + day trip on the weekend and it's only really flared up since then so i'm a little (well, actually, a lot) clueless here but thought i'd see whether anybody had experienced anything similar and if so should i be too fearful of getting back on the bike.

    i'd thought to buy bar ends to give myself a higher gripping point in the interim (before switching bikes) but am worried about doing any long-term nerve damage by pushing my luck.

    has anybody experienced anything/heard of anything similar and if so any happy solutions/horror stories to share?

    thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Phat but not too fat 62vette's Avatar
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    I'd say it is likely to have more to do with saddle angle than bike size. If your saddle is angled too far forward you'll have too much weight on your hands, regardless of the height of your handlebars or the amount of reach you have.

    Whatever the cause is, I'd say you should go visit a bike shop and pay a few bucks for a bike fit. They will either make appropriate adjustments to your bike or advise what size you should be riding.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Just to add to the advice given, if your seat is too far forward then you will also put too much weight on your hands. You really should see someone about getting your bike fit assessed. Where are you located? It will help with recommending who to see.

    You can also have problems if you ride long distances on a flat bar because you cannot vary your hand position. If you want to stick with the flat bars, then bar ends or something similar would be a good investment as they allow you to alter your hand position from time to time.

    BTW, the symptoms you describe, will, if ignored, lead to problems. (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by clipperton

    i'm quite new to distance riding and did my first 100k + day trip on the weekend and it's only really flared up since then so i'm a little (well, actually, a lot) clueless
    its nothing. just your body whinging at you cos it doesnt like being out of its comfort zone. keep riding and ignore it and in a few months your body will adjust and your hands will be fine. i dont think it would honestly matter if you had the perfect bike setup before doing your very first 100+km day ride - your hands will always say 'hey what the f$%k is all this grabbing a bar for 5 hours getup???'. they will stop whinging and moaning at you after a while when they realise no one is listening to them

  5. #5
    Wrong Side Of 50
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    I've ridden flat bar bikes for 4 years & many thousands of kls including 4 & 5 hour rides. Often a bike with to long a top tube can also put to much weight on the hands as well as a forward seat as previously mentioned.
    When you do get the weight on your handlebars correct, try some of these tips:
    Don't:
    a) Sink your wrists, have your hand almost in the same plane as your forearm
    b) Grip to tightly, a soft grip also lessons fatigue of the arms
    c) Pump the front tyre to max pressure, particularly over bumpy surfaces

    Vary your hand position often, & yes get bar ends. These are very useful when pedalling standing, which you should do often anyway, even for 30 or 40 metres[further as you become more accomplished]. This varies the muscles you use, again lessoning fatigue, not to mention giving your bum a rest
    I ride flat handed a fair bit, even over rough/bumpy surfaces [where the natural reaction is to grip the bars for fear of falling ] with my fingers resting on the brake levers.
    Some of these take practice, so like all new skills try them when you’re not in traffic etc. Eventually they will become second nature.
    Last edited by Albert '55; 11-05-06 at 09:11 PM.

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