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  1. #1
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    Need to move hands higher to distribute weight

    Folks, I really need some help here. AND…I know the real answer is get fitted at LBS before buying a bike. I tried but am underwhelmed by 4 that I have been to within 50 miles. Three tried hard to sell me what was in stock and I knew not what I wanted and not right for me, and the fourth guy is too big time to spend any consultative time with me.

    So…I got a 19.5” 2009 Jamis Coda Elite from Bananas. I made a bad assumption on the geometry. I got the “lean forward” posture I was after but that results in way too much weight on my hands…I am a lardazz, but getting better. I have installed some Ergon Grips but all that has done is to put checkerboard indentations in my palms.

    The bottom line is that I need my hands about 2 to 2 ˝ inches higher (I think). Here is what I have in that regard:

    • Headset Ritchey LB Aheadset, 1 1/8”
    • Handlebar Ritchey Comp flat bar, 6061 T-6, 5D bend x 580mm wide
    • Stem NVO Components adjustable threadless system (ATS) forged aluminum stem, 80mm (16”), 100mm (17.5”/19.5), 120mm (21.5/23”)

    I think, I need a new stem, one that will let the hands get higher than the existing stem. I have the existing stem (see above) at 100mm up. Alternatively, a different handle bar arrangement could work too while retaining the existing stem. I think I prefer a “higher” stem solution, but I don’t know jack..only that I am certain I have too much weight on my hands. I am, by the way, happy with my seat, its position and angle, and on it, my knees are in great shape in regard to the centerline of the pedal.

    I would appreciate a concise and complete answer, if possible, since I am not good at connecting the dots in regard to cycling components.

    Thank all responders very much.
    "It was a good life, if you did not know any better."

    2009 Jamis Coda Elite
    2000 Specialized Crossroads Sport

  2. #2
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    If you're really that troubled by it, you should probably look for shorter-and-higher as opposed to only higher.
    Also, if you're fairly new to riding you can probably benefit from having several positions to choose from, so have a look at trekking bars. Looks like there's some adjustability in that stem already, have you tried that yet?

  3. #3
    AEO
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    http://www.habcycles.com/fitting.html

    getting something like a 35 degree stem at 130mm long, should give a slight reduction in reach over your current 100mm, and boost the height up drastically.

    If you feel that you are comfortable with your current saddle position, then it shouldn't be putting too much weight on your hands. moving the saddle backwards and slightly down will put less weight on your arms and hands.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    I'm guessing they sized the frame for in a size smaller than would be optimum for comfort. How tall are you?

    BUT- I have seen fixes for short threadless systems: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/stems/index.html Scroll down to the bottom for threadless stem risers. Like dabac said, you might want to look for a shorter stem. You've got a 100mm stem now, you could go down to at least 70mm, and a different angle of rise if you wanted.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    19.5 inch frame..... How tall are you?

    The lean and weight on the hands and wrist issue will get better with more riding time as you get more used to useing the seat and bars more as body postioning points rather than places to sit and lean on. Also your wrists will toughen up during this same time frame. But that doesn't help much for now. The point here is that assuming that the bike is not the wrong size is that you should keep the old parts to put back on as you condition yourself into the more aggressive posture.

    Instead of a stem it sounds like an easier solution would be a set of riser bars. The riser bars will both lift the grips higher and sweep the grip angle back a little more compared to many flat bars. This sweep will move the grips back a hair as well as altering the angle to one that I find much more wrist friendly. You can get riser bars in a number of rise values from 1 inch to around 2.5 inches of rise. Unless you bought a bike that is way too small for you the 1.5 inch rise bars would very likely give you the lift and back plus angle that you want.

    And finally can you flip the stem over to change the angle to a more upright one or is the stem already flipped that way? Or is it the one that is symetrical by being at 90 degrees to the steer tube spacer sleeve?
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

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    But the position that's right for a trained rider doesn't have to be right for a rookie rider, even if the fit is supposedly "anatomically correct".
    It takes some time to to build up enough strength and endurance to be able to support the torso when you're hunched over forwards.

  7. #7
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    I'm guessing they sized the frame for in a size smaller than would be optimum for comfort. How tall are you?

    BUT- I have seen fixes for short threadless systems: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/stems/index.html Scroll down to the bottom for threadless stem risers. Like dabac said, you might want to look for a shorter stem. You've got a 100mm stem now, you could go down to at least 70mm, and a different angle of rise if you wanted.
    you have to factor in stem angle too. 100mm stem with 6 to 8 deg angle is actually longer than a 130mm stem with 35 degrees rise.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    Thanks for the input. I have some ideas to try out. Appreciate your help. As for size, I am a wierd ....5'11" but short legs and long torso. I think the longish torso is what has me bamboozled. My prior hybrid was a 17.5 and the local shops were split 50/50 on 17.5 or 20, so I went with 19.5. I dunno.

    jcinnb
    Last edited by jcinnb; 09-06-10 at 07:56 PM.
    "It was a good life, if you did not know any better."

    2009 Jamis Coda Elite
    2000 Specialized Crossroads Sport

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If the bike fits you well but the handlebars are too low , Have the dealer assemble another bike from the box.
    same size, brand, and model, just specify that on the one you will buy ,
    you want the steerer tube left long, add some more spacers under the stem..

    if not the whole length un cut down.. you can place spacers above the stem rather than cut it ..
    to lower the stem without cutting it.
    they start out with a 30cm long steerer tube..

    On a used bike there are several stem riser options to shift the existing stem higher , since it's already cut..

    Setback of the saddle takes weight off your hands , but adds to the reach..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-06-10 at 10:20 PM.

  10. #10
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    I had a similar problem with my mountain/urban bike.
    When I set the seat to the correct height for peddling, I was hunched-over the bars, causing me to place a lot of weight on my wrists and shoulders.

    I overcame this by installing a 140mm adjustable stem.

    See attachment.

    Adjustable Stem..jpg

  11. #11
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    One common problem is placing the saddle too far forward. If you're not balanced over the saddle, the common, but incorrect solution is raising the bars. You may also need to work on core strength. Carrying a lot of extra weight doesn't help either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
    .. You may also need to work on core strength....
    +1

    That, and pedalling stamina. Despite coming from a background of regular MTB-ing and frequent utility riding it still took me some 18 months and 3 stems to get to my current riding position on my commuter bike. (which is still a bit wimpy compared to some I see out there)

  13. #13
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcinnb View Post
    Thanks for the input. I have some ideas to try out. Appreciate your help. As for size, I am a wierd ....5'11" but short legs and long torso. I think the longish torso is what has me bamboozled. My prior hybrid was a 17.5 and the local shops were split 50/50 on 17.5 or 20, so I went with 19.5. I dunno.

    jcinnb
    I am 5-11 with really short legs (30 inch inseam), long torso and arms. I usually ride a 56cm frame size (22 inch). I have zero standover, which to me is a lousy way to size a bike, but that gives me a better top tube length.

    Since you are on a pseudo hybrid, smaller sizes work OK, 19.5 is small for you IMHO, but probably do able. I would look at one of the stems mentioned above, along with trekking handlebars to give yourself more hand positions.

    I really hate flat bars. They limit your hand positions. A lot of new riders shy away from drop road bars, then they eventually move to a road bike.
    Last edited by wrk101; 09-07-10 at 11:26 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Your long torso is likely what is confusing the whole fit. That and I remember how my own hands and wrists hurt at first even with a very mild lean forward. So take our suggestions and consider what you really need and make whatever mod will do the trick. At 5'11" I would say that a 19.5 inch bike is not way out of the picture by any means. Especially with the upper torso of a 6' to 6'2" tall person with compact legs The top tube SHOULD be a decent reach and not stretch you out too much. Likely a lot of the issue is just getting out and riding more and build the core strength and wrist toughness. As I and a couple of others suggested you should not be "resting" on the saddle and handlebars and just letting your legs do all the work. You want this to be a whole body sort of deal where the saddle and bars are as much used for just positioning your body on the bike as they are for taking a breather on the downhills. Once you ride in that manner then you'll find that a lot of the aches and pains go away pretty quickly.

    If you still can't seem to find a fit that makes you more comfy in the short term then perhaps get a buddy to take a few pictures as much directly from the side as possible as you ride by him. These side on shots would aid us in seeing any really major fit faux pas' and let us suggest some further ideas.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  15. #15
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    Again, some great responses. I am carrying a lot of extra weight, and several of you have described issues very similar to what I feel.. The real answer is core strenght and weight loss, but I need some interim steps to get me to the levels I need. I have some great ideas and options. Thanks for all so far, keep inputs coming.

    jcinnb
    "It was a good life, if you did not know any better."

    2009 Jamis Coda Elite
    2000 Specialized Crossroads Sport

  16. #16
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    I want to reinforce checking the saddle fore-aft (and of course height) before making any stem adjustments. Having the saddle too far forward and even too high can put too much weight on your hands irrespective of the stem/bars. Once the saddle is OK the distance between saddle and handlebars should be addressed before height, although youj need to make sure with threadless design that your stem allows enough latitude for

  17. #17
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Ironically enough, drop-bars are actually more comfortable than flat bars. You ride on them with less bend at the wrist than flat-bars and there are multiple positions to vary the load on your wrists. I see a lot of riders using too wide of bars, which causes you to ride with locked or inverted elbows, very bad for absorbing road shock. The results are sore wrists, arms, shoulders and necks in a short time. Don't do this:


    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...icerOnBike.jpg

    Also, DO NOT squeeze the bars tightly with a deathgrip using your fingers, that's what causes improper positioning and pain. You want to place the place ALL of your upper-body weight passively through the heel of your palm on the spot of the bar that balances sliding off the top versus slipping off the back of the grip. The imaginary spot on your palm is where your arm-bones would extend out past your wrist. With your weight balanced on this spot, you can actually wiggle all your fingers and be relaxed. You can ride for hundreds of miles with your fingers loose.

    Here's a good example, even if you have higher bars, you want to keep your elbows bent, with very little bend in the wrist... fingers loose:


    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/_uploa...race_dirt5.jpg


    http://www.singletracks.com/blog/wp-...oped-hand1.jpg
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-07-10 at 11:41 PM.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Im using Trekking bars on one of my bikes , quite like them, lots of hand positions on their figure 8 bend,
    mountain bike controls work, grip shifters and Hydraulic brake levers.

  19. #19
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    So, here's what seems to be true for me, weight on my hands is often a symptom of wrong saddle position rather than wrong bar position (saddle's probably too far forward, and if it's tilted nose-down that doesn't help either.) I think long torsos would generally like to run the saddle further back--it's all about putting your body's center of gravity in the right position above the pedals.

    You should be able to put yourself on a slightly high gear on a shallow climb so you're mashing a bit and breathing a bit hard, ride along and you should be able to 'float' your hands above the handlebars without sliding off the saddle or changing your posture or straining unusually. The proper setback and tilt will enable this.

    I'm a fan of the highish bars combined with long forward reach, I think it makes the arms less of a load bearing member when the upper arms are at a more horizontal angle. Too short a reach, however, can counterintuitively encourage you to rest more weight there, because the bar is closer to being "below" your body. if the bar's in the right position It should be natural during the above hill climbing exercise to have your elbows bent slightly. So if I wanted a lot more height I would at first avoid shortening reach at the same time, maybe go from a 100mm*6deg stem to a 120mm*25deg or so -- try this program to see what different stems will do for you:

    http://alex.phred.org/stemchart/Default.aspx
    Last edited by zzyzx_xyzzy; 09-08-10 at 03:17 AM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Or you could just slam your saddle back. And compensate for the stretch by lowering it a bit.

  21. #21
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcinnb View Post
    Folks, I really need some help here. AND…I know the real answer is get fitted at LBS before buying a bike. I tried but am underwhelmed by 4 that I have been to within 50 miles. Three tried hard to sell me what was in stock and I knew not what I wanted and not right for me, and the fourth guy is too big time to spend any consultative time with me.

    So…I got a 19.5” 2009 Jamis Coda Elite from Bananas. I made a bad assumption on the geometry. I got the “lean forward” posture I was after but that results in way too much weight on my hands…I am a lardazz, but getting better. I have installed some Ergon Grips but all that has done is to put checkerboard indentations in my palms.

    The bottom line is that I need my hands about 2 to 2 ˝ inches higher (I think). Here is what I have in that regard:

    • Headset Ritchey LB Aheadset, 1 1/8”
    • Handlebar Ritchey Comp flat bar, 6061 T-6, 5D bend x 580mm wide
    • Stem NVO Components adjustable threadless system (ATS) forged aluminum stem, 80mm (16”), 100mm (17.5”/19.5), 120mm (21.5/23”)

    I think, I need a new stem, one that will let the hands get higher than the existing stem. I have the existing stem (see above) at 100mm up. Alternatively, a different handle bar arrangement could work too while retaining the existing stem. I think I prefer a “higher” stem solution, but I don’t know jack..only that I am certain I have too much weight on my hands. I am, by the way, happy with my seat, its position and angle, and on it, my knees are in great shape in regard to the centerline of the pedal.

    I would appreciate a concise and complete answer, if possible, since I am not good at connecting the dots in regard to cycling components.

    Thank all responders very much.
    Don't let the 19.5 comments throw you, I've built up a 15" 29er and 18" MTB for my 6 foot frame, they fit wonderfully. I also have a 19.5 inch MTB tourer that's fine for LD riding, and a 58cm sprint bike - both fine with a few mods. Having shorter legs and a long torso changes all the rules. As a first step, try a stem extender you can pick up from ebay. It will effectively raise your bars 2-4 inches, and see how it goes. I like the idea of having your LBS trade you for a uncut steerertube IF the height is the difference you need, but right now you don't know that for sure. Personally, I ride a deep drop in spin class and on my track bike, but I like a higher road bike bar and spend more time in the drops. So, fit is a matter of preference and riding style, don't buy in to someone saying it's because you're a noob. Make you bike comfortable for yourself now, if you adjust over time, then so be it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Don't let the 19.5 comments throw you, I've built up a 15" 29er and 18" MTB for my 6 foot frame, they fit wonderfully. I also have a 19.5 inch MTB tourer that's fine for LD riding, and a 58cm sprint bike - both fine with a few mods. Having shorter legs and a long torso changes all the rules. As a first step, try a stem extender you can pick up from ebay. It will effectively raise your bars 2-4 inches, and see how it goes. I like the idea of having your LBS trade you for a uncut steerertube IF the height is the difference you need, but right now you don't know that for sure. Personally, I ride a deep drop in spin class and on my track bike, but I like a higher road bike bar and spend more time in the drops. So, fit is a matter of preference and riding style, don't buy in to someone saying it's because you're a noob. Make you bike comfortable for yourself now, if you adjust over time, then so be it.
    +1

    Make sure you are comfortable, even if that means getting a much longer stem or whatever way to raise the bars as high as is possible, and even if that means you have to replace some cables.

    I had to raise the bars on my road bike several inches, but I went from having pain after 1 hour, to being fine riding 10 in a row.

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