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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 10-06-13, 06:39 PM   #1
ShortestStraw
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So frustrated with bike fit problems. . .

Do any overweight Clydes have a bike that doesn't hurt to ride?

My LBS installed a steering tube extender, and that helped, but I still have problems. When I move my seat all the way forward, I feel best, but my hands still go to sleep after a few miles.

If I move my seat backward, my hands don't go to sleep as much, but I get piercing pain in my elbows. I'm not locking them. I have moved my Ergo grips so that my wrists aren't bent, but I still get the numbness.

I don't feel like I will ever break 25 miles with this kind of issue happening.

If it matters, I'm 6' 0" and 290 on a 19" Rockhopper with 2.35" Big Apples, riding only on the road with my fork locked out.

I'm quite frustrated, and I feel like the LBS is out of ideas, except for a longer steering tube extender, which would add yet another inch to the existing one.

I guess I'm wondering if it's a bike fit issue, or just b/c I'm so overweight.

Thanks!
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Old 10-06-13, 06:49 PM   #2
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I think it has more to do with getting into bike shape. I rode my skinny tires for the past three months to get in shape for a couple charity rides. Today I tried my mountain bike again. The posture is more to my liking than road riding. But my wrists and elbows start aching. But I know that in a couple months I will be dialed in again. I really think that your body will adapt, hang tough bro!
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Old 10-06-13, 07:02 PM   #3
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I think it has more to do with getting into bike shape. I rode my skinny tires for the past three months to get in shape for a couple charity rides. Today I tried my mountain bike again. The posture is more to my liking than road riding. But my wrists and elbows start aching. But I know that in a couple months I will be dialed in again. I really think that your body will adapt, hang tough bro!
I agree. I started off changing bikes like underwear. I settled in on a road bike. Now that I can ride it all day, I find almost all my others are fine to ( 10 total). May just need to keep trying. What kind of extender are you using? Mine are all 3 1/2 inches each.
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Old 10-06-13, 07:04 PM   #4
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Here's a link to another thread with what I have found to be the best explanation I've heard to date. It's in post #7 . At least this is what I have experienced:
Numb-Hands



In my own case, I've just decided that I prefer drop bars to upright bars, and I've converted my flat bar bikes to drops. The different hand position doesn't cause me any major numbness issues.

A couple of things you could try if you don't want to go to the extreme that I (as well as some others on this forum) have gone to:

-Add bar end extensions (Easy & cheap). These will allow you to have a hand position similar to what drop bars provide when riding on the hoods, and more places to move your hands to overall.

-Change your handlebars for trekking bars (also called butterfly bars because of the appearance). This is a little more expense and work, but not too bad. These will work with your existing shifters and brakes, but offer many more possible hand postions.
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Old 10-06-13, 07:13 PM   #5
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Right now I'm just playing saddle roulette. I felt like I had my fit dialed in, but then I crashed and my saddle is wonky and needs replacing. Took a rental home from the LBS today and hate it. Just did 8 miles on it and it's clearly not clyde material. Gonna shoot for a SMP or something.

I also had the numb hands; what worked for me was a 2nd layer of bar tape, some decent gloves, and moving the bar cant a bit which made me a tad more upright.
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Old 10-06-13, 07:17 PM   #6
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handlebars w/ more back sweep. Some OEM bars don't have enough.
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Old 10-06-13, 07:36 PM   #7
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Unfortunately you could be experiencing pain for a number of reasons. You could be gripping the handlebars to tightly, your saddle and/or handlebars may be to low or high (thus affecting your posture or weight on handlebars), you may have to much or not enough padding for your hands (or it could be in the wrong places).

From my understanding mountain bikers tend to get sized on smaller bikes than what they would normally ride on an equivalent road bike. For instance I am 5'9 and ride a 19" hardtail set up for road riding. Can't say I ever did 25 miles but I usually don't experience any pain on my 5 mile rides with it.

Do you experience the pain rather quickly when you start riding (like within a few miles), or after a while?
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Old 10-06-13, 08:11 PM   #8
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The elbow pain is almost immediate. But if I move my seat all the way forward, it goes away. But the hand numbness is there after about 10-15 mins.

My my extender is about 3 inches.

I've been considering switching to something like a Salsa Vaya. Better for the road, and has drop bars. But I'm not sure that will solve the issue.

Thanks for for the help.
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Old 10-06-13, 08:18 PM   #9
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Bike fit for me seems to be when all contact points with the bike are complaining equally. I don't think that I will ever be comfortable on a bike for a long period of time.
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Old 10-07-13, 06:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by amrmatt View Post
I agree. I started off changing bikes like underwear. I settled in on a road bike. Now that I can ride it all day, I find almost all my others are fine to ( 10 total). May just need to keep trying. What kind of extender are you using? Mine are all 3 1/2 inches each.
My wife told me I didn't need an extender, I was just fine
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Old 10-07-13, 09:09 AM   #11
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Before springing for the Vaya I would try a different type of bar, such as a handlebar with more sweep and rise, or a trekking bar.. Does your fitter have some different bar options you could try in the shop? What works for one might not work for you. For example, on one of my hybrids I use a Sparrow bar which has some rise and are swept back significantly. I find them very comfortable. My spouse tried some swept back bars and the did not work for him. Trekking bars are a better choice for him.

Here is a picture of my bars. See that I added bar ends to the middle of the bars, if I want to stretch out.



I wonder if it would make sense to try to find a physical therapist that does fittings. Large cities seem to have them.
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Old 10-07-13, 09:34 AM   #12
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I guess I'm wondering if it's a bike fit issue, or just b/c I'm so overweight.
I said something like this awhile back ... But there's a point when we start out that bicycling needs to be a little "uncomfortable" to remind us of the bad choices we've made that put us in this situtation, and that discomfort reminds us that making it right is hard work and shouldn't be a "joy ride."

Now, I don't mean pain, constant numbness, etc ... but instead I mean the "growing pains" we feel as cyclists, either beginners or even those of us who have ridden for a long time.
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Old 10-07-13, 10:10 AM   #13
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I had pain issues with my hybrids. To mitigate, I would ride standing up for some and I would ride with no hands on straight smooth roads. That made it where I could do 40+ miles on it.

When I made the switch to a road bike, much of that went away. The bike was just more comfortable for me in general. The problem I have now is penis numbness after rides. During the ride, no pain. After the ride, varying degrees of numbness. So that is my battle with the road bike now, which is scarier to me that butt or hand or elbow pain. If I can find a saddle that fully eliminates that issue, I will be fully comfortable on my road bike.
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Old 10-07-13, 11:58 AM   #14
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there's a point when we start out that bicycling needs to be a little "uncomfortable" to remind us of the bad choices we've made that put us in this situtation
I can appreciate that.

I'm to the point where I've got 300 miles on this bike, and have spent money on a saddle, and riser bar to try and get it working. I thought about trying some alt handlebars like the Surly Open Bar, or On One Mary. But I just wonder if I am throwing good money after bad, and should just stop, and buy a tourer / road bike, since that's what I'm doing most.
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Old 10-07-13, 11:59 AM   #15
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I would ride with no hands on straight smooth roads
I would die on this twitchy bastard if I tried that. It's quite a nervous bike, even on 2.35" slicks.
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Old 10-07-13, 12:07 PM   #16
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I can appreciate that.

I'm to the point where I've got 300 miles on this bike, and have spent money on a saddle, and riser bar to try and get it working. I thought about trying some alt handlebars like the Surly Open Bar, or On One Mary. But I just wonder if I am throwing good money after bad, and should just stop, and buy a tourer / road bike, since that's what I'm doing most.

Thanks for taking it in the spirit it's intended

Honestly, 300 miles is a drop in the bucket.

Realize, it does take a while to get a fit "dialed in" ... unless you pony up for one of those fitting services.

Maybe you should go ride a road bike/tourer and see what you think of it first. You may not like the way it rides. You may be trading one set of fit issues for an entirely different set.

But I wouldn't give up on your current bike. Hand numbnes sometimes isn't even a fit issue. I know that when I'm pushing hard on my commute or a road ride, my hands get all locked up on the hoods (like a death grip kind of thing) and I don't realize it until my hands start to show the tingle. I'll drop a hand off the bars or even ride no handed if I can safely. Make some more adjustments. Move your seat (forward, backward, up, down) in small increments, and ride. See what happens. It can be maddening, but you'll get it eventually.

Do you have bar ends on your MTB? Those could offfer another option in terms of hand placement.
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Old 10-07-13, 01:16 PM   #17
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Generally, you don't move your saddle to adjust reach. Once you set the height/angle/fore-aft of the saddle relative to the pedals, you leave it. Moving the saddle forward in the clamp also decreases the distance to the pedals, just as raising the saddle increases the distance aft.

I'm assuming you've got a flat bar? And the ergo grips are some kind of backwards extension of the normal round grip? If you angled them upward to straighten your wrist, you may be putting pressure on the median nerve, by putting weight across your palm.

Honestly, I think the ergo grips are simply a way of compensating for the fact that a flat bar is ergonomically bad. Your hands and wrists are fully pronated, rather than in the neutral position that bar ends or drop bars provide.
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Old 10-07-13, 02:02 PM   #18
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I found on my hybrids that ergo grips caused me more hand issues than round ones.
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Old 10-07-13, 03:33 PM   #19
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Ive kept riding , though in the mid 80's I was not so heavy. my setups have changed..

and milage dropped , at 50 I took a long bike Tour , but I was slow and got off the bike a lot.
so was fairly comfortable throughout, other than the occasional bit of weather..
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Old 10-08-13, 10:33 AM   #20
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you might try a bar like this http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/hb2.htm

personally I have not hand luck with flat bars and comfort.

I am similar size.... 6" 270, 32 inseam, 42 waist

here are a couple of my bikes for reference

my commuter utility. 23"/58cm frame started life as a 82 nishiki road bike. I sit very up right with the nitto stem and bar combo. Very comfy, but you can feel the wind


My road bike.
58 cm (58 cm ctc seat tube, 55 cm ctc top tube)

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Old 10-08-13, 01:10 PM   #21
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Thanks a lot everyone. I have just ordered an "Alt" bar, and a swept, carbon riser bar. Going to see if either of these are more comfortable for long rides.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005D7FUCS/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002EC5B8I/
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Old 10-08-13, 05:57 PM   #22
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Personal opinion, but I have problems riding flat bar bikes more than about two or three miles. The flat bar bike now has cruiser bars and is much more comfortable. Also, most people seem to be more comfortable stretched out on a road bike with drop bars, but there are a few of us that have discovered we are more comfortable sitting upright like on a cruiser.
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Old 10-09-13, 09:23 AM   #23
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When I got back into riding some 6 years ago anything over 5 miles was pretty darn painful. Now, a century is not such a big deal. I still have that first bike, a rigid MTB, though now it's dressed out for touring. The biggest difference in the set-up of that bike then and now is the saddle height. I swear it has come up well over 2 inches over the years; as my core got stronger the saddle became less of a seat and more of a ... perch. As I seem to remember it, every time the saddle went up a few cm the weight on my hands and shoulders diminished, my core got more engaged, and my pelvis naturally rotated forward. I have no idea if this would be useful for anyone else, but it was my aha! realization, it just happened naturally over time a few cm at a time. No big jumps. I could swear my inseam got longer, but it's what it always was...and I'm no taller.

I'll also opine that the "angle of the leg", "heel on the pedal", method of determining saddle height might be problematic for some riders. For me, the correct measure is moving the saddle up until you start hip rocking, then bring it down slightly. And that will change as you move the saddle fore and aft.

If you had asked me six years ago if I could ride a bike set-up like the one below I would have said "impossible". Since this picture was taken I've gone to a smaller (Fizik) saddle, and the seatpost is a higher - though that's due to going back to clipless:
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