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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 04-09-14, 02:29 AM   #1
OneLessFixie
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Stem length question

Can too shot a stem cause increased hand pressure? I ask because I notice that when I'm riding, my wrists are bent at almost 90 degrees and they feel like they have a lot of pressure on them. I'm wondering if this is a sign that I've graduated to my 90mm stem that my bike physio (not psychic - damned autocowreck) said I eventually would.

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-09-14, 03:33 AM   #2
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Definitely. When the top tube is short, you can feel cramped. A remedy is to slide the saddle back and increase stem length.
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Old 04-09-14, 07:09 AM   #3
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Definitely. When the top tube is short, you can feel cramped. A remedy is to slide the saddle back and increase stem length.
^ this. By having the seat back, where it should be, your upper body is cantilevered and your weight is on the saddle/pedals.
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Old 04-09-14, 09:13 AM   #4
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Something else that can cause excess hand pressure is having your saddle tipped too far forward. Before you spring for a new stem, try tipping the saddle nose up slightly and see if it relieves some of the pressure.
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Old 04-09-14, 11:51 AM   #5
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Definitely. When the top tube is short, you can feel cramped. A remedy is to slide the saddle back and increase stem length.
See, my physio/fitter gave me both 80mm and 90mm stems after my appointment. She said that at some point in the not-too-distant future I would graduate to the 90mm stem. I figure I'll try it on this afternoon's ride. Worst case scenario is that I can switch it back. The issue, again, is lots of wrist angle and consequently lots of pressure on my hands when I'm riding.
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Old 04-09-14, 12:28 PM   #6
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I'd disagree on moving the seat back to gain room. You are mixing two different fit adjustments. Seatpost up, down, forward and aft has to deal with foot position over the cleats, and to gain a proper pedal stroke. You know to avoid knee injuries and such......

Frame size (effective top tube), stem length, head tube length and spacers has to deal body angles to address w/ hand pressures and general fitting issues.

I'd start by rotating the handle bars to adjust the angle on your wrist (drop bar bike). If you are on a flat bar bike, you might need something w/ more back sweep. But can still adjust the angles. Bring a tool with you on your next ride and make adjusts ever 10mins til you feel it get better.
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Old 04-09-14, 12:48 PM   #7
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Saddle fore/aft affects weight distribution (along with bar height). Going back should leave less weight on the hands, it's not really to get more room. Stem length is to adjust reach (too stretched out vs. cramped) after you get the saddle position sorted. Confused what you mean about wrist angle though. Specify what sort of bar you are using, where you are gripping it, and what direction your wrist is bending. It might be addressed by handle bar rotation, changing position of brake levers on a drop bar, or simply how much you bend your elbows. On a flat bar you may want to install bar ends to give you additional positions.
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Old 04-09-14, 06:38 PM   #8
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Confused what you mean about wrist angle though.
Meaning my wrists are bent at an angle when I'm on the hoods, where I almost always ride. And while it's not painful, I do get numbness and have to give my hands a good shake every few km.

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Specify what sort of bar you are using, where you are gripping it, and what direction your wrist is bending.
See above. I dread moving the brake levers as then I'd have to redo my beautiful tape job.
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Old 04-09-14, 07:58 PM   #9
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Meaning my wrists are bent at an angle when I'm on the hoods, where I almost always ride. And while it's not painful, I do get numbness and have to give my hands a good shake every few km.
See above. I dread moving the brake levers as then I'd have to redo my beautiful tape job.
Well if it's the angle of your wrists on the hoods, rather than the weight on your hands, that is the main problem, I don't really see any alternative; changing stem length I don't think would really affect that. You could try just rotating the handlebar first, though that might throw off comfort of the forward bend behind the hoods (which I personally use a lot), and the drops. Hassle of a partial retape is one time, better than hurting on every ride!
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Old 04-09-14, 08:13 PM   #10
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See above. I dread moving the brake levers as then I'd have to redo my beautiful tape job.
Sounds like you will have numb wrist till you wear out your tape. You can always remove and redo the tape. Or remove it and ride tape less til you get the angles figured out....
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Old 04-09-14, 09:17 PM   #11
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See, my physio/fitter gave me both 80mm and 90mm stems after my appointment. She said that at some point in the not-too-distant future I would graduate to the 90mm stem. I figure I'll try it on this afternoon's ride. Worst case scenario is that I can switch it back. The issue, again, is lots of wrist angle and consequently lots of pressure on my hands when I'm riding.
I really can't picture a change in stem length by 10mm will make that big of difference with out perhaps changing the stem angle too. A Picture of your current setup will help everyone what you are working with. What is the height of your bar tops compared with your seat height measured from the ground?

Mike
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