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Old 02-26-08, 02:06 PM   #1
gr84l
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Wide handlebars causing shoulder pain???

I have developed shoulder pain in the front of my R shoulder since I began to ride a road bike last July. I've ridden about 1800 miles since then. The pain is over the anterior tendon to my biceps muscle. I have a hunch that it might be due to how wide my handlebars are; 46 cm. I should be using 42 cm. Has anyone over heard of wide handlebars causing shoulder pain?
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Old 02-26-08, 02:11 PM   #2
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Waiting for the answer now.

I ride an MTB with 27" riser bars- In Fact I ride two as the Tadem also has wide bars. On an MTB-Wide bars will give you control once you get used to them and I am currently riding 42's on the road bike. I am quite small but I do feel that a wider bar would give me more bike control.
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Old 02-26-08, 02:30 PM   #3
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I have developed shoulder pain in the front of my R shoulder since I began to ride a road bike last July. I've ridden about 1800 miles since then. The pain is over the anterior tendon to my biceps muscle. I have a hunch that it might be due to how wide my handlebars are; 46 cm. I should be using 42 cm. Has anyone over heard of wide handlebars causing shoulder pain?
no, i have not,but does not mean it dosen't happen

i use 44 on both bikes and no problems,you might want to check your fore/aft position as well as the tilt of your saddle you could be too bunched up or too stretched out; and check the height also too make sure you are getting the proper leg extension.
imo all of these can contribute to shoulder pain.
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Old 02-26-08, 02:31 PM   #4
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I Has anyone over heard of wide handlebars causing shoulder pain?
It might be the height of your bar, not the width. How does the height of your bar compare to your saddle? Too much drop (to the bar) could be putting excessive pressure on your arms and shoulders.

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Old 02-26-08, 02:43 PM   #5
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Haven't seen any studies, but I have been told by two bike fitters that it can lead to shoulder pain.

Here's a web page that claims the same:
http://www.roadcycling.com/cgi-bin/a...iew.cgi/6/1026
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Old 02-26-08, 02:49 PM   #6
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Great article Tom and put on my favourites to fully digest later.
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Old 02-26-08, 02:58 PM   #7
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I use 42s and those are a little wide by usual standards for me but I don't have a problem. However, I would guess the answer to your question would be, "Yes, it could cause pain" especially if your bars are too wide AND you put a lot of weight on your hands AND you ride on the hoods or the drops. Wide bars effectively increase the extension, so that may also be an issue here. I would try to find an expert fitter in your area.

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Old 02-26-08, 04:19 PM   #8
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I ride 46cm wide bars and they are GREAT.

But that's my weird, stuffed up body.

I've heard the 'too wide gives shoulder pain' theory before but seeing it always came with advice about sticking the bars down near the axle to be 'aero' (the most over rated bit of advice on roadie forums), I haven't given it much credence. That doesn't mean it can't. All you can do it suck it and see (ie, bung narrow bars on her and see how it goes).

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Old 02-26-08, 06:46 PM   #9
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Thanks Tom for the article. I have the rubbery knots mentioned in the article and they are pure misery. I think my problem was caused by the bars being too low. Now I have to find out how to get rid of the knots. My bars were not too wide but my thinking is that if you are riding over 40 miles a week that you need to take care of any problems with fit or be prepared to put up with great misery like me. I have corrected my fit problem and after 4 months of the correct fit the knots are getting better but they are still there and let me know it when I try to move my arm.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:44 PM   #10
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Here's the salient sentence from Tom's article: Handlebars that are too wide may cause excessive trapezius and rhomboid strain leading to muscle spasm and pain. (Burke)

I'm too lazy to look up what those things are.

But, I should have 42 cm bars according to my FIT session, but I was initially hooked on 46cm bars from when I bought my Atlantis, and the LBS guys said they were better wide. I assume it was some Rivendell philosophy.

As I rode, I began to want narrower bars. I never "hurt", but I think I felt more fatigue. I don't ride on the flats very often, though. If you do, I don't see why it would make much of a difference.

Anyway, I'm getting rid of my 46cm bars slowly.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:51 PM   #11
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Pain on a bike can be caused by pretty much anything in a given situation. What causes me pain may be the cure for yours, and vice-versa. My 46 cm Noodle bars feel great to me even though traditional rules would have me using 42s. That doesn't mean they couldn't be what is causing your pain. You just have to try different things.

And where I ride MTBs, 27" handlebars would lead to being wedged between two trees or to being slammed to the ground when one hand hits a tree and spins the bike to that side.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:22 PM   #12
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I had similar issues but my pain was caused by the reach being too long. It might not be what's causing your pain but just something you might check. A rule of thumb is when your hands are on the hoods the bars should block your view of the front hub when you look down at the front wheel. In my case the bar appeared to be in front of the hub. I rode with my arms stretched out, elbows "locked" and my shoulders absorbed all the road buzz.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:59 PM   #13
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Would you consider something like this to be too wide or long?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hugehandlebars [800x600].jpg (86.9 KB, 21 views)
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Old 02-26-08, 09:40 PM   #14
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...Anyway, I'm getting rid of my 46cm bars slowly.
How did you accomplish this... By shrinking them with withering looks?
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Old 02-26-08, 09:56 PM   #15
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Maybe she's chewing on them as she rides.
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Old 02-26-08, 10:17 PM   #16
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How did you accomplish this... By shrinking them with withering looks?
Vanishing cream.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:42 PM   #17
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The wider is better bar theory came from pro racing and some study(recently disproven) that you would get better oxygen intake if you were not keeping your shoulders inboard so much. My 1983 Centurion 50cm frame came with 38 width bars!

Can you get pain from the "wrong" width bars? I would say it is possible. Trip to a good LBS to talk about this issue might be in order. What else are you going to do, it is 15f with the wind chill.
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Old 02-27-08, 12:51 PM   #18
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Would you consider.......
like these (ram horn I found on Ebay):

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Old 02-27-08, 12:57 PM   #19
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BAH! Didn't work. Link:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Rams-Horn-Handle...QQcmdZViewItem

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Old 02-28-08, 08:56 PM   #20
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Would you consider something like this to be too wide or long?
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