Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
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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.