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  1. #1
    Senior Member gforeman's Avatar
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    Cramping hands, what to do?

    I can ride my Mtn bike for an hour with minimal hand cramping. My new Trek 1.5T starts giving me hand cramps about 15-20 minutes into the ride. I am sure it is the extra weight from leaning forward more.

    Is this something that will build tolerance as I do it more? I found myself popping up and putting my hands on the crossbar a lot to ease this. I'm not even using the lower part of the bars. I have my hands forward to use the shifters. I am also using Gel gloves to try and ease this.
    Gary F.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member theetruscan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gforeman View Post
    I can ride my Mtn bike for an hour with minimal hand cramping. My new Trek 1.5T starts giving me hand cramps about 15-20 minutes into the ride. I am sure it is the extra weight from leaning forward more.

    Is this something that will build tolerance as I do it more? I found myself popping up and putting my hands on the crossbar a lot to ease this. I'm not even using the lower part of the bars. I have my hands forward to use the shifters. I am also using Gel gloves to try and ease this.
    I find that I have this problem when my handlebars are lower than my saddle. Too far away or too close can also cause this problem

    Go to a bike shop you trust and pay for a full professional fitting. It can run anywhere from $30-god knows (never seen over $75, but I'm sure it can happen), depending on the shop and how long you take.

  3. #3
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    I've never liked the padded gloves. I much prefer the gel pad that goes under the bar wrap.

  4. #4
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Looks like you could rotate the handlebars up a little more to reach the hoods. You can also loosen the fastener on teh brifters to slide up a bit on the bars. May have to remove the tape to do so. I did on my bike. Made it much more comfortable while riding on the hoods which is where most road bikes are ridden. Usually the drops are only for sprinting or cheating a big headwind. I also spend plenty of time on the staright section near the stem. It's not unusual. Having drop bars doesn'tmean you stay in the drops. That's the reason for drop bars, several positions, including the straight section. Use as the entire bar!

    The difference in a roadie and an MTB can also be a big difference. Plus narrow tires may contribute to vibration. I'd say it will take time to get used to it since youwere on an MTB. I felt a big difference going form one roadie to another because of difference in geompetry..

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    Did you change the seat out? It looks like you did and from the photo's it looks like it needs to have the nose tilted up a little. When the nose is down you slide forward on the seat and put more weight on your hands.

  6. #6
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I do my best to keep my weight on my legs, in a half-standing position, using the saddle and handlebars more for balance than support.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  7. #7
    Senior Member gforeman's Avatar
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    With knee problems, I try to stand and peddle as little as possible. I have the seat tilted forward because the front hurts the boys at times

    I will try tilting it back a little.
    Gary F.


    2015 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert
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  8. #8
    atop a blazing saddle idig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dockrey View Post
    Did you change the seat out? It looks like you did and from the photo's it looks like it needs to have the nose tilted up a little. When the nose is down you slide forward on the seat and put more weight on your hands.
    I agree with this. That seat angle is likely a major part of the problem.

  9. #9
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Level up the seat.
    Get some white gloves and the handle bars won't know your hands are on them.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Having a good bike shop help you with the fit is probably the best idea.

    In general, I've found that a more upright seating position helps these problems. There are two ways to get that: swap stems, or (if your fork tube hasn't been cut) add more spacers between the headset and stem. If your fork tube has already been cut, and I'm assuming it has, then a new stem is the way to go. A stem that angles upward, or is shorter, may allow you to sit more upright, which will put less weight on your hands and wrists. A really good bike shop will loan you an adjustable stem for a few days or weeks, then swap it out for a fixed-position stem once you know what works...

    The other solutions may help, but involve compromises in one way or another. You could move the brake levers up the bars, but that will compromise your ability to use them when riding with your hands on the drops. You can rotate the bars in the stem, but again that compromises your ability to use the drops.

    FYI, if you like to ride with your hands on the flat part of the bars, take a look at cyclocross brake levers (sometimes called "interrupters"). They're mountain-bike style brake levers that mount on the flat part of a drop handle bar and allow you to brake from either hand position. I paid $20 for a set of Tektro RL721 cyclocross brake levers. They feel a bit cheap, but seem to get the job done! For higher-quality levers, check out Paul Component Engineering's Cross Levers.

  11. #11
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    cool stands!

  12. #12
    Senior Member gforeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axejeep View Post
    cool stands!
    Thanks, been perfecting the design. They are quite handy!
    Gary F.


    2015 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert
    2012 Specialized Crux Disc
    My bike page: http://www.gwfweb.com/bicycles
    Build a bike stand! http://www.gwfweb.com/bicycles/stands.html

  13. #13
    Rider
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    Get some handlebars that are NOT flatbars, that have more hand positions to chose from, or at the least don't make you turn your hands like flats do.
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

  14. #14
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    Gary,

    I had the same problems when I added a road bike to my collection. Previously I'd only ridden on either Dutch bikes and more recently on hybrid bikes.

    First I had to play around a little bit with seat hight and set back to get that right. The previous posts already have given plenty of suggestions regarding bike fit.

    Second, I had to start working my core more to help my cycling. My legs are strong after a year of commuting and extra rides on a regular basis. The problem is that the core is not so strong. I started doing some of the basic abdominal work from a Palates class I used to take (no more health club membership... that money is being used to pay for the bike). Once you get a stronger core you will natually be able to support your upper body with your abs rather than your arms. This will not happen over night, but I did notice a nice improvement within two weeks. I also worked on slowly increasing the ride time. At first my arms got tired after 5 to 10 miles. Now I can easily ride 20 miles before my arms give me any problems. The last few weeks I've been mostly off my road bike as we've had nothing but thunderstorms just about daily. I can't complain though... at least we've had none of the flooding that these storm systems left in their wake in the mid-West before they got to us here in the North-East.

    Happy riding,
    André

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