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Old 03-17-14, 07:23 AM   #1
MountainMommaC
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Wrist friendly disc commuter

Hi,

I need an upright bicycle set up to help with my carpal tunnel. I'm having a hard time finding a steel frame, step through, 26 inch wheels AND disc brake bike frame.

Does anyone have any recommendations? I could give up the step through frame if the bike still had and upright seating position. I could also possibly give up the 26 inch wheel requirement, though reluctantly.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-17-14, 07:41 AM   #2
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My wife also wanted an upright position frame (the other criteria you list weren't on her list but nevertheless, ...) and tried a couple and found them to be uncomfortable. So the store gave her a 29er to try but, despite the fact that she would normally have been given a medium size, she was given a large size frame and she loves the bike and it is very comfortable. Being a larger size, the seat is lower than a "properly" fitted person would have it which results in a more upright posture. I can't help you with the other items but this might be a direction you might want to investigate. She ended up with a Specialized Myka SE 29 but in looking for this, I noticed a Specialized Myka Step-through you might want to consider.
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Old 03-17-14, 07:54 AM   #3
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I switched to a bike with drop bars to get rid of my wrist pain.
More positions mean less fatigue.
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Old 03-17-14, 09:35 AM   #4
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One of the reasons I switched to a recumbent was because my hands would go numb if I wasn't in an extremely upright position (read: a sail in the wind).

I'm not saying you can't get comfortable on a DF bike, but it's still worth considering as an option.
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Old 03-17-14, 11:30 AM   #5
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Try the Kona coco or splice. Not steel though. Good luck finding all those requirements. Some of the newer 26/29er mt bikes have a sloping top tube.
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Old 03-17-14, 11:48 AM   #6
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I think from the OP's mention of carpal tunnel, this is also about lever force, not just leaning on the hands. Finding the exact bike might be difficult because step-through steel frames are usually found on old-fashioned-style bikes (Linus, Pashley et al) and the disk brakes on modern style aluminum bikes (hybrids and mountain bikes).
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Old 03-17-14, 12:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMommaC View Post
Hi,

I need an upright bicycle set up to help with my carpal tunnel. I'm having a hard time finding a steel frame, step through, 26 inch wheels AND disc brake bike frame.

Does anyone have any recommendations? I could give up the step through frame if the bike still had and upright seating position. I could also possibly give up the 26 inch wheel requirement, though reluctantly.

Thanks for your help!
The poster who mentioned switching to drops has it exactly right. An upright seating postion only appears to solve wrist pain issues. It's more complicated than that. It is also about wrist angle. Something like a North Road bend might be great but you can still have wrist pain if the bars are at seat height or an inch or two above. Yet, if you want to actually get anywhere on a bicycle that is about where you want your bars. You can put your bars four, six, even more inches higher than seat height and you won't have wrist pain but you won't be efficient. You may develop back pain. You may hurt your knees. The Dutch get away with it by keeping their trips short. Their cities are compact and this can work there. But. Enough about that. The 26" wheels.... I don't know, most of the disc bikes I've seen are 700C/29". Not saying no one makes 26" disc. Of course they must... doesn't mean you will be able to afford them or that they will be steel and they will absolutley not be step through. Have you seen an Electra Amsterdam? They list for an insane amount but most people get them for 1/2 or less of their list price. I'd start looking at the Electra product line. If I couldn't find anything there I'd start thinking that I am maybe putting too many conflicting search criteria into the engine. FWIW.

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Old 03-17-14, 12:34 PM   #8
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Trekking bars is a simpler swap. 1" , just like common straight bars ..

whole Bike? I like my Bike Friday, its functionally a step thru ..

My Pocket Llama has (optional) disc brakes .. but yes you give up the 26" wheel in favor of 20"

does take up less room when parked in the entry of the house, because of the wheel size.



Carpal tunnel? wear those wrist supports !!

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Old 03-17-14, 12:40 PM   #9
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How about bar ends? While not officially diagnosed with CTS, my wrists are in bad enough shape that I have to use a special split keyboard at work. A couple of cheap Forte Kor bar ends from Performance Bikes solved my wrist problems on my mountain bike after adjusting them to the right angle. I spend about 70-80% of time on the bar ends and I don't need to stay upright either.
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Old 03-17-14, 12:47 PM   #10
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Why disc brakes?
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Old 03-17-14, 04:29 PM   #11
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Hi everyone, thanks for the input.

I currently have a surly disc trucker with trekking handlebars but am leaning too much on my hands. I had a trek hybrid 700 CC that I was quite happy with, but I started carrying heavier loads (by trailer) and needed disc brakes for better stopping power and 26 inch wheels so they didn't taco. I also opted for a steel frame that had a little more bend to it and could take a little more abuse from the weight.

Does that help clarify? Drops really aren't going to work for me--I'd prefer something just like the trek except smaller wheels and disc brakes (preferably).

Thanks again!
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Old 03-17-14, 04:40 PM   #12
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Trekking bars are pretty adjustable,I'd try playing with them(and the stem) before swapping the whole bike. Might also want to consider a 'promenade' or 'townie' bar;one of my bike clinic's regulars got a Disc Trucker with one and really likes it. His other rides were a Sirrus and Crosstrail,both of which had adjustable stems that put him upright.
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Old 03-17-14, 04:50 PM   #13
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I think Breezer makes something that would work. Not cheap, though.
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Old 03-17-14, 05:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMommaC View Post
Hi everyone, thanks for the input.

I currently have a surly disc trucker with trekking handlebars but am leaning too much on my hands. I had a trek hybrid 700 CC that I was quite happy with, but I started carrying heavier loads (by trailer) and needed disc brakes for better stopping power and 26 inch wheels so they didn't taco. I also opted for a steel frame that had a little more bend to it and could take a little more abuse from the weight.

Does that help clarify? Drops really aren't going to work for me--I'd prefer something just like the trek except smaller wheels and disc brakes (preferably).

Thanks again!
It doesn't get much better than a Surly Disc Trucker! FWIW cheapo V-Brakes stop a tandem weighing 65lbs. a team weighing 250 and a trailer and load weighing 120. One brake (front) can stop the entire works on a downhill bomb. Seriously. I upgraded the OEM brakes only because the caliper return springs were weak. Now I have $20 Shimanao V-Brakes on that tandem. 700C wheels will not taco if properly built. In any case, wheels taco from side loads mainly. You are over-thinking this. Put the bars up insanely high and your wrists cannot hurt. There isn't any other kind of bike, brand of bike or type of handle-bar that can do better than what you already have. Scouts honor. It's all in the setup.

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Old 03-17-14, 06:56 PM   #15
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It's not 26" or step through, but the KHS Green Delux has most of your other requirements: GREEN 8 DELUXE | KHS Bicycles. It's a steel frame, upright riding position, with disc brakes. They also make a step-through version, the KHS Green 8. I wonder if you could put a disc compatible fork on it. That would get you everything but the 26" wheels. I think the Delux is about $1000.
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Old 03-18-14, 06:16 AM   #16
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Leicesturm put it better than I could. V-brakes will definitely make you happy. Set up is everything. Your local bike shop can sell you an extra tall stem. It's worth a shot before buying a new bike. If your wheels taco'd, it's because either you had some sort of collision or they were lousy wheels to begin with. Some people put astonishingly big loads on 700c wheels, and it is not an inherently weak size.
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Old 03-18-14, 07:17 AM   #17
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I bought a Disc Trucker fork and installed it un-cut on my Steamroller for similar reasons. I am now working my way down through the spacers to find the lowest height at which I can ride comfortably. The bike looked pretty silly to start with, but was surprisingly stable despite the long steerer tube. A long steerer tube is a lot more rigid than a fork with a stem extender on it. I know; I tried that first. I will cut off the excess steerer when it gets to be more than an inch above the handlebars to prevent impalation. I also use Ergo grips on Surly 1 x 1 bars, which is a very comfortable combination for me. My pain has disappeared and my view of the road and surroundings has improved greatly.
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Old 03-18-14, 11:49 AM   #18
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Okay, I'm going to see (again) if I can tweak it into working. Other than the ride position (and the lack of solid kickstand footing) the surly works well for me. I might try a promenade handlebar. Or... I will question for this poster:

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I bought a Disc Trucker fork and installed it un-cut on my Steamroller for similar reasons. I am now working my way down through the spacers to find the lowest height at which I can ride comfortably. The bike looked pretty silly to start with, but was surprisingly stable despite the long steerer tube. A long steerer tube is a lot more rigid than a fork with a stem extender on it. I know; I tried that first. I will cut off the excess steerer when it gets to be more than an inch above the handlebars to prevent impalation. I also use Ergo grips on Surly 1 x 1 bars, which is a very comfortable combination for me. My pain has disappeared and my view of the road and surroundings has improved greatly.
Would it be possible to find an even longer steerer tube/fork to pair with my surly? Is that a bad idea/dangerous? I already have a tall stem and can't go taller that way.
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Old 03-18-14, 01:39 PM   #19
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Would it be possible to find an even longer steerer tube/fork to pair with my surly? Is that a bad idea/dangerous? I already have a tall stem and can't go taller that way.
Why don't you show us what you're working with... we're not picky about image quality, a cell phone snapshot will do. FWIW I have a Delta stem extender on one of our tandems. 3" of additional bar height. I have to imagine an uncut factory fork is plenty long. Maybe yours was cut? Regardless, I think you should be looking at other strategies along with more bar height. Someone mentioned wrist supports. There are alternative bar shapes... "H" bars and "W" bars that put your wrists in different orientations... then there are drops... <running, ducking...>

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Old 03-18-14, 02:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMommaC View Post
Would it be possible to find an even longer steerer tube/fork to pair with my surly? Is that a bad idea/dangerous? I already have a tall stem and can't go taller that way.
It sounds like you've got a fit issue, but I think there's a good chance you can fix it with your current bike.

Bike fit is all about balance. If you're putting too much weight on your hands, it's because your balance is tipped forward. Higher handlebars aren't the only way to fix that.

Picture the triangle formed by your pedals, your butt and your hands. What you want is for your weight to be perfectly balanced across a vertical line drawn up from your feet (actually, the bottom bracket since that's the center around which your feet are moving). You've got too much weight in front of the line, so what you need is to move some behind it. Sitting more upright does that, but there's a point beyond which raising the bars more is counter productive. Other options are bringing the bars closer and moving your butt back.

One of the sacred rules of bike fit is that you don't fix reach problems by moving the saddle. However, like most of the rules of bike fit this one has some caveats behind it. You should never move the saddle forward to get closer to the bars (because it tips your balance forward), but it's OK to move the saddle back. What's really sacred here is the space between your hips and the bottom bracket -- you have to give your legs room to move -- but there's an arc of acceptable positions that have the same distance. If you move your saddle back a little and down a little, you keep the same distance from the pedals and gain some rearward balance.

Having moved the saddle back you may now need to lean more to reach the bars, which defeats the purpose of moving the saddle back. To fix that, you might need a shorter stem.

Do you see what I'm getting at with all this? Bike fit is hard to do in text, but if you understand the basic concepts you can do it yourself. Otherwise, some pictures of you on the bike might help. A visit to the LBS might also help.
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Old 03-18-14, 04:02 PM   #21
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I can't upload here for some reason, so I posted the pics here: Surly Ideally, I'd like the top bar to be shorter. I have relatively long legs and a short torso, so this is a reach for me (therein lies the problem...).
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Old 03-18-14, 04:38 PM   #22
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If you really need the upright positioning for wrist pain, then I can't imagine you really needing disc brakes. IMO, if your wrist pain is that bad you will never be riding at a level where disc brakes offer any benefit over v brakes.
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Old 03-18-14, 04:40 PM   #23
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A little help for you...





It definitely looks like you could move the seat back, but if reach is already a problem it may be that the frame is just too long for you.

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Old 03-18-14, 08:57 PM   #24
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It sounds like you've got a fit issue, but I think there's a good chance you can fix it with your current bike.

Bike fit is all about balance. If you're putting too much weight on your hands, it's because your balance is tipped forward. Higher handlebars aren't the only way to fix that.
Also, fitness matters. The stronger your core is, the more you can lean forward without putting weight on your hands.
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Old 03-27-14, 11:43 AM   #25
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Okay, I'm going to see (again) if I can tweak it into working. Other than the ride position (and the lack of solid kickstand footing) the surly works well for me. I might try a promenade handlebar. Or... I will question for this poster:



Would it be possible to find an even longer steerer tube/fork to pair with my surly? Is that a bad idea/dangerous? I already have a tall stem and can't go taller that way.
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. An un-cut steerer tube is pretty long. Can't imagine you'd be want anything higher. See if they've got one at your LBS and you'll see what I mean. The feeling is a lot more solid than using a tall stem because the steerer is welded to the fork. It's all one piece, essentially. Hope this helps.
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