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Old 07-13-08, 08:18 AM   #1
Metric Man
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A Silly Millimeter...

Reminds me of the old Benson & Hedges commercials. Anyway ever since I got my Madone I've been suffering with hand numbness. With my Trek 1600 it didn't start to set in for at least 45 minutes, then I could just shake it out and it would be ok for a while longer. With the Madone it starts around 15 minutes into the ride. I tried raising the hoods just a tick, I flipped the stem trying to see if getting me up a little higher would solve the issue but no luck. I was starting to wonder if I destined to riding this bike like this for ever.

I have been noticing the bar tape already starting to pull apart around the corner part of the bars just above the hoods so I decided to get some new tape and get rid of the Bontrager tape that came with it. Then it occurred to me to maybe double up the tape. So I put a band of electrical tape around the stock tape right at the hoods, rolled the hoods up and cut around the old tape to remove it from the hoods down leaving the stock tape across the top of the bars. Then I wrapped the bars with new Specialized tape all the way and covering the stock tape. Went out this morning for 55 minutes and NO numbness at all...none!! I'm not sure if it's the extra thickness or the extra softness but it works and I will be doing this from now on. It took me a while to suspect the tape since it's the same tape, and bars for that matter on the other Trek that I have with much less numbness, but apparently that was the answer.

Just thought I'd share...now they can move this thread to the Road Bike section or maybe the mechanics section.
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Old 07-13-08, 09:04 AM   #2
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Just thought I'd share...now they can move this thread to the Road Bike section or maybe the mechanics section.
'Course, most of the people there won't get the Benson & Hedges reference.

And now I'll have that song running around in my head for the rest of the day. ("A silly millimeter longer, 101; a silly millimeter longer, 101...) Thanks a lot!

(Just kidding! )
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Old 07-13-08, 09:07 AM   #3
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I remember the old TV Ads where the cigarette got broken in elevator doors, and other ways.
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Old 07-13-08, 12:36 PM   #4
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Well in this case I was just referring to a millimeter thicker in bar tape, which is actually more like several mm but you get the point. As I was riding I kept thinking of the song too.
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Old 07-13-08, 12:53 PM   #5
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Mountain bikeing and bar grips. I cannot use the ergonomic type and I cannot use the thin type. Has to be the thickest- hardest type available.
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Old 07-14-08, 06:18 PM   #6
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Another hour of numb free riding this morning...I can't decide if it's the extra thickness that's helping or the added cushion. It doesn't seem to be softer, just thicker. Although I'm sure it's absorbing more vibration. Either way, I'm sold.
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Old 07-14-08, 07:20 PM   #7
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I have double wrapped handlebars for the same reason.
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Old 07-15-08, 11:54 AM   #8
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I have suffered from hand numbness this year also. I've been trying all the other tips you mentioned also. I'm for sure going to try the double taping! Thanks for the tip.
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Old 07-15-08, 03:57 PM   #9
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Another hour of numb free riding this morning...I can't decide if it's the extra thickness that's helping or the added cushion. It doesn't seem to be softer, just thicker. Although I'm sure it's absorbing more vibration. Either way, I'm sold.
Have you thought of moving your seat back a few millimeters to reduce the weight you are carrying on your hands?

I think it would help more than a silly mm.
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Old 07-15-08, 04:08 PM   #10
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Have you thought of moving your seat back a few millimeters to reduce the weight you are carrying on your hands?

I think it would help more than a silly mm.
Wouldn't moving the seat back increase the lean of the torso and therefore increase the weight you put on your hands? To answer your question, no I have not tried that.
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Old 07-15-08, 04:28 PM   #11
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I just went from cloth to the Gel Cork Tape on my bike handlebars and am also pleased with the results. BTY I ruined a set of gel padded riding gloves in two months and wonder if the cloth tape had something to do with the gel break down.
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Old 07-15-08, 05:51 PM   #12
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Wouldn't moving the seat back increase the lean of the torso and therefore increase the weight you put on your hands? To answer your question, no I have not tried that.
It seems to work for aggressive riders, shifting more weight over their feet. At least that is what many have reported.

For riders like me, it works as you suggest, moving more weight to my hands.
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Old 07-15-08, 06:37 PM   #13
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Wouldn't moving the seat back increase the lean of the torso and therefore increase the weight you put on your hands? To answer your question, no I have not tried that.
It seems to work for aggressive riders, shifting more weight over their feet. At least that is what many have reported.

For riders like me, it works as you suggest, moving more weight to my hands.
Stand up against the wall with your rear end touching and bend at the waist. You can only go so far before you are using all of your muscles to hold yourself up. Move away from the wall and bend to the same degree and you will find that your bum sticks out balancing your upper torso - Balance is the key here.

With the seat moved back your rear end is moved back which helps balance and lower the weight being carried by your hands.

If you don't believe it. Take a bike and move the seat all the way forward and go for a ride. That will convince you.
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Old 07-15-08, 08:11 PM   #14
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Perhaps there is a factor of handlebar height in this too. Don't know. On the bike I tried it on, my handlebar grips are 3" higher than the seat. When I moved the seat back, I felt more pressure on my hands.
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Old 07-15-08, 09:44 PM   #15
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Stand up against the wall with your rear end touching and bend at the waist. You can only go so far before you are using all of your muscles to hold yourself up. Move away from the wall and bend to the same degree and you will find that your bum sticks out balancing your upper torso - Balance is the key here.

With the seat moved back your rear end is moved back which helps balance and lower the weight being carried by your hands.

If you don't believe it. Take a bike and move the seat all the way forward and go for a ride. That will convince you.
Looks like I have more experimenting to do.
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Old 07-16-08, 12:16 AM   #16
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Perhaps there is a factor of handlebar height in this too. Don't know. On the bike I tried it on, my handlebar grips are 3" higher than the seat. When I moved the seat back, I felt more pressure on my hands.
There is a relationship to the distance to the bars which can be changed by stem length and to some degree a lower bar accentuates the weight carried by the hands. I have my drop bars on my touring bike (Nitto Noodles) set just slightly above the saddle.
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Old 07-16-08, 03:45 AM   #17
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http://www.bikefitting.com/English/Frame.aspx

Here is an interesting article on the comfort parts of bike fit that indicates saddle angle is an important part of the weight on hands feel. ie: a saddle tilted forward leads to riders sliding forward and thus having to support much of their weight on the hands.

This whole series of articles is very interesting and if you back out to the basic bikefitting.com you can follow several paths through different aspects of bicycle fitting.
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Old 07-16-08, 08:18 AM   #18
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I used to get sore hands even with well padded cork handlebars. I went to a larger size quality tire and now I used thin cloth bar tape and my hands are happy. If you think more bar tape is cushy you should try more air!
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Old 07-16-08, 02:28 PM   #19
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http://www.bikefitting.com/English/Frame.aspx

Here is an interesting article on the comfort parts of bike fit that indicates saddle angle is an important part of the weight on hands feel. ie: a saddle tilted forward leads to riders sliding forward and thus having to support much of their weight on the hands.

This whole series of articles is very interesting and if you back out to the basic bikefitting.com you can follow several paths through different aspects of bicycle fitting.
An excellent point = Saddle Tilt

Something that should have been included in the above!
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Old 07-17-08, 12:09 PM   #20
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Stand up against the wall with your rear end touching and bend at the waist. You can only go so far before you are using all of your muscles to hold yourself up. Move away from the wall and bend to the same degree and you will find that your bum sticks out balancing your upper torso - Balance is the key here.

With the seat moved back your rear end is moved back which helps balance and lower the weight being carried by your hands.

If you don't believe it. Take a bike and move the seat all the way forward and go for a ride. That will convince you.
In thinking about this, I am not convinced that the above holds 100% true for a bicycle.

When one is leaning forward & balancing on their feet, all of the weight is being supported by their feet. There is no weight on the hands or butt.

I agree that this is relevant to one's riding position, if you are placing most of your weight on your feet. Which may be true for an experienced, performance-oriented cyclist.

For those who are not putting that much of their weight on their feet / pedals, then the rest of your weight is being supported by either your hands or on the saddle. And for this, I cannot see why moving your saddle back, is going to result in weight being transferred from your hands.

Consider the extremes ... if you moved your saddle far forward to be close to the handlebars, and the handlebars are above the saddle's position, then nearly all of your weight would be on the saddle, not your hands.

Likewise if the saddle was moved way back, say to over the rear wheel, you would be supporting a lot of weight on your hands, much like when doing a push-up.

So while I'm in agreement that if one has very good cycling form, and is supporting a lot of weight on their feet/pedals, then achieving a good balance by moving the saddle backward to get an optimal angle could be the perfect thing to do. But if one is more of a cruiser and is seeking to move more weight off of their hands and onto the saddle, then that might require moving the saddle forward, not backward.
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Old 07-17-08, 05:15 PM   #21
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I can say that in my experiment over the last two days moving the saddle back resulted in more numbness. I certainly am not TdF ready so I can't comment on a better rider and how it might work out for them, just that it didn't help any for me.
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Old 07-17-08, 08:51 PM   #22
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I can say that in my experiment over the last two days moving the saddle back resulted in more numbness. I certainly am not TdF ready so I can't comment on a better rider and how it might work out for them, just that it didn't help any for me.
Maybe we are not taking into consideration all other relevant issues:

Saddle Tilt
Bar Height in Relationship to Saddle Height
Tops vs Drops
Stem Length
Top Tube

The above discussion with regards to putting most of your weight on your feet certainly is relevant if out of the saddle. Otherwise, most of us will not be lifting ourselves out of our saddle when pedaling. If we can or do it might indicate that the saddle height may not be spot on.

Peter White has an excellent explanation of bike fit, which we might use as a basis for our discussion here.
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Old 07-18-08, 07:17 AM   #23
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I used to get sore hands even with well padded cork handlebars. I went to a larger size quality tire and now I used thin cloth bar tape and my hands are happy. If you think more bar tape is cushy you should try more air!
I use this in the firm green http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...ls.php?id=7148 on Nitto Noodle bars with cloth tape and can ride w/o gloves for hours. With the drops angled down 5-10 degrees these bars are very comfortable.

Metric Man,

You need to fiddle with the fit until you find what works for you. Also, if you ride on poor roads larger tires
will be a big help.
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