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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-04-10, 04:15 PM   #1
dcrowell
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The Bike WAS Comfortable

I bought my LHT in January. I put a Brooks B-17 (from my old bike) right away. I swapped out the stem to get the bars a little higher and closer. I bought one of those VO seatposts to get the saddle in a better place.

Life was good... for a while.

Now my left hand get painfully numb while riding. I wear cyclling gloves, and I try not to lean to hard on my hands.

I rode about 60 miles yesterday and my hand is still numb today. I'm getting frustrated because I don't even know what to change now.

I've thought about moving away from drop bars, but that could get expensive.

Any ideas?
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Old 07-04-10, 07:52 PM   #2
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Make sure your saddle is level or at least not pushing you forward onto the bars. Make sure your elbows are bent, and make sure your gloves have a channel between the pads to relieve pressure on the ulnar nerve. Sometimes I notice that I'm holding the bars in such a way that I'm putting all the pressure of my upper body directly onto the gap between the pads on my gloves, which seems like a big no-no to me! When I notice, I try to keep the pressure on the big fleshy parts of my hands instead. If your bars are still below your saddle, you might still want to bring them up or back or both.

This stuff hasn't fixed me but it's helped.

Mr. Beanz suggested that I roll my bars back to get the hoods closer, and that seems to help, too.
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Old 07-04-10, 08:58 PM   #3
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Maybe try some softer tape to help the gloves?
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Old 07-04-10, 09:04 PM   #4
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Your weight should be evenly distributed between legs, butt and hands. You are supporting too much weight with your hands. Most likely your saddle position is causing you to slide forward, putting more pressure on your hands. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but perhaps you shortened things up too much when you swapped stems?
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Old 07-04-10, 09:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post

I rode about 60 miles yesterday and my hand is still numb today. I'm getting frustrated because I don't even know what to change now.

I've thought about moving away from drop bars, but that could get expensive.

Any ideas?
I had the same problem and going glove-less provided me with 90% relief. Installing aerobars and using them for a few minutes each hour took care of the rest.

May be worth trying if you've run out of options.
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Old 07-04-10, 11:24 PM   #6
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Your weight should be evenly distributed between legs, butt and hands. You are supporting too much weight with your hands. Most likely your saddle position is causing you to slide forward, putting more pressure on your hands. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but perhaps you shortened things up too much when you swapped stems?
Interesting thought. That would be cheap to try. Free to put the old stem back on, or cheap for another stem.

Thanks for the ideas folks!
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Old 07-05-10, 03:01 AM   #7
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Let us know what you figure out! I'm in pain!
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Old 07-05-10, 03:13 AM   #8
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I had the same problem and going glove-less provided me with 90% relief.
I too find that some cycling mitts seem to create the problem they are supposed to solve. I very rarely get any numbness when not wearing gloves.
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Old 07-05-10, 04:25 AM   #9
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i had my bars rotated just a tiny bit (not straight with the wheel) once, it was such small amount I didn't notice while riding but eventually my shoulder hurt in one arm. Having a seat or bars uneven a a little can cause pain in one side of the body.
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Old 07-06-10, 05:42 PM   #10
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Just an update... my saddle was crooked. It was hard to notice it visually. I straightened it out, but now after my commute, I think I'm in more pain. Gah! My butt hurts and my hand is numb.

I'm riding the 'bent tomorrow. I may do the unthinkable and go to flat bars on the LHT. I may also remove the Brooks saddle and put the stock saddle back on.
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Old 07-06-10, 05:56 PM   #11
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The saddle on every one of my bikes is crooked, about 3 degrees to the left. I find them all uncomfortable straight, even my Brooks.

Have you considered going to Bluegrass and having Bob fit you?
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Old 07-06-10, 06:36 PM   #12
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Just an update... my saddle was crooked. It was hard to notice it visually. I straightened it out, but now after my commute, I think I'm in more pain. Gah! My butt hurts and my hand is numb.

I'm riding the 'bent tomorrow. I may do the unthinkable and go to flat bars on the LHT. I may also remove the Brooks saddle and put the stock saddle back on.
Booyaa! I called that one! they should make seatposts line up so saddles would be easier to get straight don't ya think? I'm always doing that thing where you close one eye and look at it then close the other.... glad you feel better
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Old 07-06-10, 06:38 PM   #13
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Have you considered going to Bluegrass and having Bob fit you?
I really should. Alright, so I commute on the 'bent until I have the money to visit Bob.
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Old 07-07-10, 09:48 AM   #14
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I may do the unthinkable and go to flat bars
Flat bars aren't going to fix your problem + you'll need new shifters & brake levers. I would get a good fitting before spending more money at shot-in-the-dark solutions.
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Old 07-07-10, 11:30 AM   #15
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Maybe your left brake lever is too high. My left lever slid down recently. I popped into my LBS near closing and they did a quick raise for me, but there wasn't time to fiddle with it to get it even with the other lever. Started a three-day tour the next day and got hand numbness. I had been riding the bike (also an LHT) for over 2 years and had never experienced had numbness. Just got the bike tuned up and the left lever positioned properly. Problem solved.
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Old 07-11-10, 03:53 PM   #16
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Just a little update. The saddle issue appears to be my own doing. The Brooks B-17 is sagging, probably from getting wet (while riding, I don't leave the bikes outside). I can probably lace it up and it'll be better.

The hand/bars issue. Still not sure. I rode it on Tuesday and my hand was numb for five days. Maybe it's medical. I rode that bike 116 miles today, and my hand is rather numb again.

In any case, I'm mostly going to ride the 'bent, then lace the saddle, then get a fit.
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Old 07-11-10, 08:46 PM   #17
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i was having knee and achilles problems and went for a fit from a racer over here a couple of weeks ago. No computers, just measuring angles and adjusting over and over. It REALLY made a difference. Made me wonder why I waited so long to do it. You might be going numb in the limbs from poor weight distribution or nerve issues; one requires a fit visit and the other requires a medical specialist. If you've tried all the normal crap like moving the bars, changing gloves, etc. it's probably time to get a fitting.
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Old 07-11-10, 09:10 PM   #18
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I have brutal numbness in both wrists. But I know I also suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. In time I will get it worked on and hopefully it will be repaired, until then I suffer. If you have the same problem I can sympathize with you, it is painful and debilitating on a long ride. There seems to be no comfortable position. I have tried to take all the weight off my hands by changing the saddle height, but nothing has offered relief. If you have carpal tunnel surgery may be the only out.
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Old 07-11-10, 10:28 PM   #19
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One other thing that might be worth trying is changing the angle/position of the hoods (I'm assuming you spend most of your time on the hoods). There are two ways to do this - one is by rotating the handle bars a bit up or down. The other is moving the hoods themselves on the handle bar ( bit of a pain since you'd probably need to rewrap your handlebars after you find a new position that works). Like all bike adjustments, best done in small increments until you are sure you've found something better.

I've also found that my (SRAM) hoods are most comfortable tilted towards the center of the bike a bit. My older Ultegra hoods seem most comfortable pointed straight down the road. YMMV, but all of this stuff is adjustable - a good thing, unless you can't figure out want to change next!

JB
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Old 07-12-10, 10:33 PM   #20
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The saddle on every one of my bikes is crooked, about 3 degrees to the left. I find them all uncomfortable straight, even my Brooks.
Nothing wrong with that. I have my saddles crooked, a little to the right. My pelvis is left-looking, so turning the saddle tends to straighten me out a bit.
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Old 08-17-10, 07:35 AM   #21
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I figured I'd update this thread with my solution.

I managed to fix the hand numbness issue by rotating the bar again (and again, and again...) to get them just right. I don't feel like I can grip the brakes as hard, but my hands don't go numb.

I did consider lacing my B-17, until I talked to someone who did, and it really didn't fix the sag issue. I put the stock WTB saddle back on, and although it didn't cause numbness, it wasn't comfortable either.

I dropped by my LBS last night and picked up a Brooks Professional in honey. I promise to keep this one dry.

The commute into work today was great. No discomfort. The saddle is slightly nose-up, and a few degrees twisted left, but that seems to work for my body.

Now that the bike is comfortable, I will probably still go in for a fitting, but it wouldn't make much sense to do so, if I were going to swap out the saddle.
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Old 08-17-10, 10:35 AM   #22
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Why not simply tighten the sagging B17 at the nose adjuster?

Especially now that you've replaced it, you don't have much to lose.
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Old 08-17-10, 12:01 PM   #23
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Why not simply tighten the sagging B17 at the nose adjuster?

Especially now that you've replaced it, you don't have much to lose.
Oh, I'll probably play with it, and see if I can fix it. It won't hurt to have an extra saddle around the house.
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