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  1. #1
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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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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  2. #2
    Real Human Being wild animals's Avatar
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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.
    Go until you stop, then take a break.

  3. #3
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    Maybe try some softer tape to help the gloves?
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  4. #4
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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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?
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Senior Member c.miller64's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  6. #6
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    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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  7. #7
    Real Human Being wild animals's Avatar
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    Let us know what you figure out! I'm in pain!
    Go until you stop, then take a break.

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c.miller64 View Post
    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.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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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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  11. #11
    Senior Member
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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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  12. #12
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
    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

  13. #13
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    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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  14. #14
    Senior Member
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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.

  15. #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.

  16. #16
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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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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  17. #17
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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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.

  18. #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.

  19. #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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  20. #20
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    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.

  21. #21
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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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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  22. #22
    Senior Member Bluetrane2028's Avatar
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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.

  23. #23
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluetrane2028 View Post
    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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