I've now done over 1500 kms on my Trek520 ... and am still fighting hand problems, particularly on the drops which are downright painful. I recently bought a new stem to raise the bars to close to saddle height. Every tilt angle known to man has been tried. It's okay, but not perfect. I probably would have just muddled along on her, but ...
I recently discovered Peter White's article on bike fitting and applied it to my old Europa (see avatar), now a fixed gear bike. Seat shifted back quite a bit, angled a tad. This old bike was dead comfortable for many, many years, but after returning to cycling last year, I began to regard her as oversized - largely due to the high top tube (which IS too high, but I can live with it). The interesting thing was, when I applied the 'secrets' in Peter's article, the reach to the bars was spot on his starting point - in other words, apart from the high top bar, this old bike ISN'T too big for me.
I took the Europa for a 25km ride yesterday ... and not a hint of hand problems. Mild numbness at one point but I'm prone to that thanks to a shoulder injury and a change in hand position sorted that. On the Trek, numb hands and pain in the wrists are a way of life (it's not bad but it's there and it shouldn't be).
So I put the Trek in the wind trainer and started having a look a the setup. Shifted the seat back (previously set using KOPS) a bit. Then the bar angle. Bars loose so I can shove the things around while sitting on the bike to find just the 'right' spot. BUT I just can't get a comfortable position for the bars when on the drops - I don't use the drops much but a mad downhill run this morning proved that the 'most comfortable' position hurts! It's obvious why when you look at the way my arms sit while on the drops - I have nowhere near enough reach.
So I ran a tape measure over the two bikes - the Europa has an extra 1" of reach.
The Europa feels comfy and over 25km, gave me no hand issues.
The Trek feels cramped and I still have hand issues.
Peter White's article supports those observations.
So, what are the options for gaining reach?
I'm already running a 35 degree neck (a BBB) to get the height and a glance at BBB's site tells me I can only find 10mm of extra length (which won't translate into that much extra reach due to the angle).
The Trek has those appalling 'ergo' bars that everyone seems to like but which I'm still wary of ... possibly because I haven't been able to get them far enough away from me. They look short, but can you buy bars with longer top tubes to push the hooks further away from you? Any thoughts on whether ergo bars really are 'ergo' or just 'horrid'?
It's early days in the search for a solution - I don't really have a good feel for how much I need to gain yet, though I reckon the full 1" of extra reach is where I need to be - any thoughts are welcome.
yes, I have considered a custom frame and just shifting the components over New bars would probably be cheaper