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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-20-07, 12:41 PM   #1
Charlene
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Searching for comfort

Hi everyone. I checked around about where to post this, and also if this thread had been explored in the past. If you have suggestions on a thread to read, please pass it along.

So, I recently bought another bike in addition to my beautiful cruiser. I wanted something sporty that could stand weekend touring and camping here in BC, as well as commuting. I picked up a second hand mountain bike, an 18" Norco Katmandu. I outfitted it with fenders, rack and bike computer and just really like it.

THe problem is that it is a bit uncomfortable. My hands and wrists are sore. I intend to install bar ends to help vary the position, but will that help? WHat if I raised the handlebars?

I guess I am just confused about how to adjust seat height, handlebars, saddle position, etc to achieve maximum comfort. Should I change the handlebars? If I went into a LBS and said "fit me" would they be able to help? Without trying to sell me lots of stuff or a new bike? Money is tight, which is why I went with a secondhand MTB in the first place.

Thank you kind friends!

Charlene
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Old 04-20-07, 12:45 PM   #2
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Comfort is subjective.

If you can't fit yourself, or determine what's causing the problem, then yes, you should probably go to a bike shop. Wehther they can help you, and how much, will depend on the person you speak with.
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Old 04-20-07, 12:49 PM   #3
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I would definitely look into bar-ends. I got a pair from Canadian Tire (Raleigh brand) for $15, I believe. Those definitely help with changing hand position along the ride.

I would make sure your bike is properly fitted - check out www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html for some basic 'fit' information.

You could always drop by your LBS (or next LBS) and ask - if they don't suit your needs or you feel that they're going to force you into a sale, then move on to the next store before your wallet leaves your pocket.

Oh yeah, and look into getting some gloves (maybe fingerless) - padding around the palm of the hand, the heel (above the scaphoid and ulner/radius) which will help out, too.
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Old 04-20-07, 12:59 PM   #4
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Mountain bike bars are great for control going down twisty singletrack descents. They are not so great when it comes to comfort.

When you ride a bike, the most comfortable position for your hands is parallell to the bike, or the same as they are when they are at your side. That's what is natural.

The problem with bar ends is that mtb bars are very wide, so you will be very stretched out.

One idea would be to cut your bars a little shorter to about the width of your shoulders, then put bar ends on them.

Or you could get moustache bars or bullhorns.
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Old 04-20-07, 02:09 PM   #5
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I just bought a set of North Road bars to put on my wife's hybrid. Her wrists start hurting after 15-20 on flat bars. I haven't installed them yet so we'll see if that's the solution, but I am optimistic after reading a number of posts on BF about these bars.
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Old 04-20-07, 02:16 PM   #6
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Here are a couple of links with info on fitting your bike:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
http://www.sbraweb.org/setup.htm
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Old 04-21-07, 08:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
I just bought a set of North Road bars to put on my wife's hybrid. Her wrists start hurting after 15-20 on flat bars. I haven't installed them yet so we'll see if that's the solution, but I am optimistic after reading a number of posts on BF about these bars.
I just put a pair of north roads on my Fiancee's second hand MTB. she loves them. they MTB bars bothered her and she hates having her hands out of reach of the brakes. the new bars solved the comfort problem without having to move her hands around much. She's not so good about telling me what the problem is, or how she thinks I should fix it so I decided to just jump in and change the bars instead of trying bar ends or anything like that. The bars I put on her bike are from a '73 Schwinn Suburban and they are the same as the ones on her '69 Breeze so I was sure they'd work. We rode 10 miles the other day and she loved every minute of it.
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Old 04-21-07, 08:27 PM   #8
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Trekking handle bars are one of the best options for this problem with MTBs. Usually Nashbar has these too for about $12 but can not find them there right now. Double tape or padd with pipe insulation for added comfort.
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Old 04-21-07, 11:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen

One idea would be to cut your bars a little shorter to about the width of your shoulders, then put bar ends on them.
That is exacly what I did with one of my bikes, I took 1.5 inches of either end... and fitted the bar ends back, and found them a lot more comfortable. It also had another effect... it raised my riding position to a better height. The bike did not really fit me very well I must confess, when I had my seat height right, the handle bars at their max height were still a tad to low for 'my' ideal position. I found myself holding the bars with a few inches to spare either end to make up for it... so I cut the unwanted bit away... and the bar ends where easier to use then.
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Old 04-22-07, 08:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
One idea would be to cut your bars a little shorter to about the width of your shoulders, then put bar ends on them.
Hmm. I should try this. I have bar ends, which I really like, but they totally feel too far apart.

I think I'll try sliding everything inboard and riding around a little before actuallly cutting the handlebars though .
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Old 04-22-07, 07:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggplant Jeff
I think I'll try sliding everything inboard and riding around a little before actuallly cutting the handlebars though .
Forgot to mention that... but it is a very good idea. I did the same until I found the correct setting.

As regards cutting them, I used a normal plumbers pipe cutter, it did the trick just nicely.
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Old 04-23-07, 03:39 PM   #12
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I don't like a lot of weight on my hands so I tend to get a higher rise stem to shift my weight back. I am currently using 110mm/25 degree stems on both of my bikes

I also have had very good luck using old-skool flat bars with built-in bar ends (Scott or Klein). For me these are superior to standard flat bars with bolt on bar ends. First of all, the Scott or Klein bars will be lighter and have more hand positions (you can use the bends, where bolt-ons would have a big nasty bracket). The Scott bar (AT-2) is narrow like a road bike bar and was a nice solution on my Specialized Sirrus.
http://www.bikepro.com/products/hand...ott_combo.html

The Klein Stratum handlbars are wider and are a good combo on a mountain bike commuter. I used these on a Trek 4300. I also wrap the bars from the neck to the brake levers to provide an "aero" position. I can't find a good link for the Klein bars but you can search google images for "Klein Stratum" for a few thumbnail pics.

Both bars work nicely wrapped in Bar Phat for a bit of extra cush. I also use lightly padded fingerless gloves to pad my palms.

I can't use drops anymore and flat bars are just too limiting. These old-skool bars are a nice option and great conversation starters (along with my WTB pedals). With a bit of patience, both the Scott and the Klein can be found on eBay.

Cheers, TR
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