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  1. #1
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    Reach to Brake Hoods - Suggestions

    I have been having problems with sore hands and numbness after a ride. Most people have said that it is related to fit - so I have been taking various measurements.

    I checked the height difference of the handlebars vs. the seat and it was set to 2.5" (set during the original purchase). I raised the stem so that there is only about a 0.5" difference and it has made a huge difference.

    I still feel 'stretched out' trying to ride on the brake hoods and end up riding a majority of the time with my hands on the curved part of the bar between the flat portion and the hoods. Part of the situation is that my back is not real flexible. Is there anything I can do to "draw in" the distance? The original shop put a shorter stem (about 3") on the bike.

    Thanks Mike

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    You've already taken the two steps that I would have suggested. You could try a stem that's a bit shorter yet.

  3. #3
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    if you can add more spacers, that will not only raise the bar, it will bring it slightly closer. I prefer to have the bars at the same height as the saddle; or a little higher. You will feel poised and relaxed when you finally get it right. And that is worth the cost of another stem, or another fork (if you need a longer steerer tube) or even another bike.....IMHO

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    Wind Breaker Bruco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mshadow
    I still feel 'stretched out' trying to ride on the brake hoods and end up riding a majority of the time with my hands on the curved part of the bar between the flat portion and the hoods.
    Depending (partially) on the shape of your bar (e.g. 'classic' vs. 'ergo'), you could perhaps also experiment a bit with the position of the levers. Or tilt the bar upwards.
    Waakzame Vingers
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  5. #5
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    How does the frame itself fit you? How's the top tube length? Hope the frame itself is not too large for you..... You've already made two obvious corrections.

    George
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  6. #6
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Bicicling buying guide that everybody is ragg'n on does have a nice page on bike fit,pretty good info.

  7. #7
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mshadow
    I have been having problems with sore hands and numbness after a ride. Most people have said that it is related to fit - so I have been taking various measurements.

    I checked the height difference of the handlebars vs. the seat and it was set to 2.5" (set during the original purchase). I raised the stem so that there is only about a 0.5" difference and it has made a huge difference.

    I still feel 'stretched out' trying to ride on the brake hoods and end up riding a majority of the time with my hands on the curved part of the bar between the flat portion and the hoods. Part of the situation is that my back is not real flexible. Is there anything I can do to "draw in" the distance? The original shop put a shorter stem (about 3") on the bike.

    Thanks Mike
    I suffer from carpal tunnel to the point of having to wear braces at night. Forearms overdeveloped when I was a young buck due to an extreme amount of work related heavy lifting. Popeye would have been proud.

    I've rotated most of my bars to bring the brake hoods further up. It gives me a more comfortable riding position and also allows my hands to rest on the hoods vs gripping the hoods. It also maximizes the amount of horizontal surface between the stem and hoods, giving you more hand positions to work through. I've found wearing full gloves (mountain bike style) helpful, maybe its the compression of the glove on the hand....or maybe its all in my head. Either way, I was able to ride most of last year without much difficulty.

    Is your stem the clamp on type for threadless or an old school quill type. If clamping, you could buy a variety of the cheap (low cost) ones from Nashbar till you got a good fit (length, angle).

    And if you are, don't grip the bar so much as lay your hands across them

  8. #8
    El Inglés el Inglés's Avatar
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    Try and get some gloves with more padding , failing that try double taping the bars : this is what most of the riders use on the pavé in the Paris - Roubaux ( mind you they can lose the feeling in arms and hands for days after )
    It´s a problem we all have at times but usually get over eventually - or so I´m told .
    ' To Old To Rock ' N ' Roll : To Young To Die '

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber
    I suffer from carpal tunnel to the point of having to wear braces at night. Forearms overdeveloped when I was a young buck due to an extreme amount of work related heavy lifting. Popeye would have been proud.

    I've rotated most of my bars to bring the brake hoods further up. It gives me a more comfortable riding position and also allows my hands to rest on the hoods vs gripping the hoods. It also maximizes the amount of horizontal surface between the stem and hoods, giving you more hand positions to work through. I've found wearing full gloves (mountain bike style) helpful, maybe its the compression of the glove on the hand....or maybe its all in my head. Either way, I was able to ride most of last year without much difficulty.

    Is your stem the clamp on type for threadless or an old school quill type. If clamping, you could buy a variety of the cheap (low cost) ones from Nashbar till you got a good fit (length, angle).

    And if you are, don't grip the bar so much as lay your hands across them

    I'm a little clueless on the stem terminology - there is the main bolt which secures the stem in the frame via an exansion nut. Is this what you meant by quill type? There is a second bolt underneath that is the clamp of the handlebar to the stem. This is the bolt that I was going to loosen and rotate the bars up.

    In regards to the other posts:
    I have retaped the bar and bought gel gloves which have helped some. My thought is that with the handlebar being set so low below the seat that I was putting alot of extra weight on my hands?
    The frame size seems to be correct via a number of shops measurements. I have been looking at some 53 cm compact frame designs which I think have a shorter 'virtual' top tube length.

    Mike

  10. #10
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    Check that your saddle is set horizontally, in relation to the pedals, correctly. If it is too far back, that can increase the reach. DONT set the saddle position to change your reach, but only to set your saddle-to-pedal distance. With the correct sized cranks, you should ride with your knee joint direcly above the pedal spinde (but personal preferance can shift it +- 1cm).

    On a medium sized bike, an 6cm stem is about the shortest you can go before the handling becomes unacceptable.

    The handlebar design and the type of brake lever can also affect the reach.

  11. #11
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    Everything above is certainly helpful, but the one part that has been left out has to do with the rider. Core stability improvement through Pilates or other conditioning can help you stabilize your body so that you aren't resting on your hands, but using your hands only for balance and steering. Just something else to consider.
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  12. #12
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    As stated, you may simply have a frame that has too long a top-tube. I, for example, have long legs for my height (or a short torso for my height, depending on your perspective). So a frame tall enough for my legs is usually too long in the top tube, creating the very problem you're experiencing.

    Three options that come to mind, in increasing order of expense:

    1) A stem with the same rise (that is, how far it comes out of the headtube), but shorter reach (that is, the distance it sets the bar forward). Be careful of a phrase like "shorter stem"; does that mean shorter rise or reach? It's the reach you want to decrease.

    2) A frame made for women, who generally have longer legs in proportion to their height than men. Such a frame will have the height for your legs, but will be shorter in the top-tube.

    3) A frame custom-made for you, based on your specific body measurements and movements. There are dynamic fit systems that measure not only body geometry, but how you move on the bike. These numbers then determine the exact geometry of a custom-made frame.

    You may be able to do a "hybrid" of the above. That is, you might be able to get the dynamic fitting done, and then use those numbers to get the right components (seat post, stem, bar, etc.) for your existing bike. There's a local bike shop here that will do that, for people who just can't justify investing in a custom-built frame. Or you could use the numbers from the fitting to find a mass-produced frame, perhaps a women's frame, that will fit you better.

    I've basically done a combination of 1 and 2 above (I just haven't gotten 'round to getting the fitting). I found a used women's bike that's short enough in the top tube, put on a stem with a fairly high rise and a very short reach, and it happened to have a very long seat post. Yeah, it's a cheap substitute for having the right-sized frame for my build, but it got me to ride the hoods for real, instead of sitting on the curves of the bar like you're doing. I can't describe what a relief it is, not just from the absence of numbness/tingling, but because for once I feel like the bike fits me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by madpogue
    As stated, you may simply have a frame that has too long a top-tube. I, for example, have long legs for my height (or a short torso for my height, depending on your perspective). So a frame tall enough for my legs is usually too long in the top tube, creating the very problem you're experiencing.

    Three options that come to mind, in increasing order of expense:

    1) A stem with the same rise (that is, how far it comes out of the headtube), but shorter reach (that is, the distance it sets the bar forward). Be careful of a phrase like "shorter stem"; does that mean shorter rise or reach? It's the reach you want to decrease.

    2) A frame made for women, who generally have longer legs in proportion to their height than men. Such a frame will have the height for your legs, but will be shorter in the top-tube.

    3) A frame custom-made for you, based on your specific body measurements and movements. There are dynamic fit systems that measure not only body geometry, but how you move on the bike. These numbers then determine the exact geometry of a custom-made frame.

    You may be able to do a "hybrid" of the above. That is, you might be able to get the dynamic fitting done, and then use those numbers to get the right components (seat post, stem, bar, etc.) for your existing bike. There's a local bike shop here that will do that, for people who just can't justify investing in a custom-built frame. Or you could use the numbers from the fitting to find a mass-produced frame, perhaps a women's frame, that will fit you better.

    I've basically done a combination of 1 and 2 above (I just haven't gotten 'round to getting the fitting). I found a used women's bike that's short enough in the top tube, put on a stem with a fairly high rise and a very short reach, and it happened to have a very long seat post. Yeah, it's a cheap substitute for having the right-sized frame for my build, but it got me to ride the hoods for real, instead of sitting on the curves of the bar like you're doing. I can't describe what a relief it is, not just from the absence of numbness/tingling, but because for once I feel like the bike fits me.

    Thanks for the suggestions....one of the things that I am doing as I am looking at new bikes is some of the compact geometry bikes like Lemond and Litespeed which I believe brings the bars closer as well as moving to a 53 cm (I have been measured for a 54 cm bike in standard geometry).

    Also, I have contemplated a custom bike (been drooling over the Seven's) but having a hard time choking on a $3500 price tag. Also, I was told that my flexibility may change with time and more riding so the custom bike might not be an option for me at this time.

  14. #14
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    You should be able to get a custom geometry bike for less than $1500. You wont get a big big name on the head-tube, but there are plenty of local frame-builders making good quality frames at good prices.
    henryjames.com is a good place to look.

  15. #15
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I bought these, but haven't had a chance to try them yet..... they are bar pads, they go under the bar tape.
    http://www.wallbike.com/oddsnends.html
    Specialized makes a similar product, might even be better, called Bar Phat.

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