Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31
  1. #1
    Who took all the oxygen? Lobby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, Tx
    My Bikes
    Trek
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Hand Pain: Converting Handlebars

    I've recently started bicycling and am really enjoying the short term health benefits. Bicycling seems like an effective way to do some strenuous exercise enjoyably.

    But I'm having some hand pain / numbness.

    Facts: 55 years old, 200 lbs, 5'9", 33" inseam

    Bike: Trek X01 cyclecross, converted into a road bike. 55 cm

    (original setup)



    With this setup, the hand pain was extreme. Anything longer than 10 miles was torture. I hated coming home with plenty of legs and lungs left, but with my hands all crunched up and aching.

    (1st modification: installing stem riser)





    I remember thinking to myself, "wouldn't it be nice if I could convince my machinist friend to make this piece so I could raise the stem a bit?" A few days later, I went to a bike shop and found exactly what I was looking for.

    It made a huge difference, but still no joy. Hand pain continues.

    (2nd modification: installing Wing handlebars)





    Got it from Nashbar, FSA wing handlebar. Much better. But the pain hasn't gone away.


    Sure seems to me that converting handlebars to flat bars, or something higher, where I don't have to bend over as much, would fix my problem.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    6,379
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I emphasize with your struggle. Riding in pain is no fun. As I look at your photos I notice that your brifters are pretty high on the handlebar. While this might seem counter-intuitive, you might get more relief with them lower on the bars. The way the are positioned right now, your wrists with be slightly cocked and the weight of your upper body compressed on a relatively small area. This can lead to had pain pretty quickly. I'd suggest sliding them down a bit so the weight of your upper body falls in the space between your thumb and forefinger. It's worth a try before buying more equipment.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  3. #3
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Milledgeville, Georgia
    My Bikes
    2014 Specialized Crave Pro 29, 2014 Specialized Crux EVO Carbon Disc, 2012 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross, 2011 Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert Compact, 2009 Salsa Casseroll, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB
    Posts
    12,713
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I know this makes no sense, but try sliding your saddle back a little if there is room. Also try some crunches or other exercises to strengthen your core muscles.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  4. #4
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    On Some Far Away Beach After the Season is Over...
    My Bikes
    A Home Built All Rounder, Bianchi 928, Specialized Langster, Dahon Folder
    Posts
    6,363
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    I emphasize with your struggle. Riding in pain is no fun. As I look at your photos I notice that your brifters are pretty high on the handlebar. While this might seem counter-intuitive, you might get more relief with them lower on the bars. The way the are positioned right now, your wrists with be slightly cocked and the weight of your upper body compressed on a relatively small area. This can lead to had pain pretty quickly. I'd suggest sliding them down a bit so the weight of your upper body falls in the space between your thumb and forefinger. It's worth a try before buying more equipment.
    They look like they are still set up for cross. I don't have a picture of mine but imagine a sort of flat horizontal line out to the horns. I ride a lot with my fore arms resting on the top of the forward running bars and my hands thumbs on top loosely gripping the horns. It's like I've got imaginary bar-ends. I move my hands around a fair amount, too. I'll be deep in the drops (I also have learned to always have a break in my elbows, never lock them - it's like shock absorption) then back to the hoods, maybe I'll sit up a bit with them on the flats and then down to the anatomic bend. I'll still have to shake them every so often to get the blood flowing especially after a couple hours.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  5. #5
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    On Some Far Away Beach After the Season is Over...
    My Bikes
    A Home Built All Rounder, Bianchi 928, Specialized Langster, Dahon Folder
    Posts
    6,363
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    I just looked at those pictures again and you should (IMO) raise the bars so the bottom of the drop is parallel to the ground and move the brifters a lot more forward. You need a deck to lay half of your fore arm on. I'll look for a picture but you are jamming yourself up.

    With a properly set up bike while you are leaning forward in an aero riding position you should be still balanced so you can let go with both hands and move them from the tops to the drops slowly and back slowly with out falling forward. If your seat height and fore and aft isn't right you can't do this.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  6. #6
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    On Some Far Away Beach After the Season is Over...
    My Bikes
    A Home Built All Rounder, Bianchi 928, Specialized Langster, Dahon Folder
    Posts
    6,363
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    I don't think this shows quite the "deck" that I'm talking about but it's good fit advice.

    http://www.jimlangley.net/crank/bikefit.html

    I run Campy so the hoods and horns are different shapes. Shimano always looks a little uncomfortable to me but masses of riders like it.

    Notice though the fit starts with seat height and fore and aft. Handlebars are the last bit of the puzzle.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  7. #7
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Coral Springs, FL
    My Bikes
    ''09 Motobecane Immortal Pro (Yellow), '02 Diamondback Hybrid, '09 Lamborghini Viaggio, '09 Fiji Aloha 1.0
    Posts
    2,047
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Fit is critical. I got a pro Retul fit. Biggest adjustment was 2 cm. The fitter didn't say much, but he did say that my bike was "very close. Most I see are WAY out." Made a HUGE difference. I couldn't ride 20 miles with out a sore back and numb hands. Absolutely the best $150 I've ever spent on my bike. Period. YMMV.
    BT
    '09 Motobecane Immortal Pro, with lollipops
    '09 Fuji Aloha 1.0 TT build. with lollipops
    '09 Lamborghini Viaggio Tandem
    '06 Mongoose Commuter
    '02 Diamondback Hybrid
    "Oh, to be 60 again!"

    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...c/exercise.png

  8. #8
    Who took all the oxygen? Lobby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, Tx
    My Bikes
    Trek
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    They look like they are still set up for cross. I don't have a picture of mine but imagine a sort of flat horizontal line out to the horns. I ride a lot with my fore arms resting on the top of the forward running bars and my hands thumbs on top loosely gripping the horns. It's like I've got imaginary bar-ends. I move my hands around a fair amount, too. I'll be deep in the drops (I also have learned to always have a break in my elbows, never lock them - it's like shock absorption) then back to the hoods, maybe I'll sit up a bit with them on the flats and then down to the anatomic bend. I'll still have to shake them every so often to get the blood flowing especially after a couple hours.
    OK. I'll try that.

    I also don't like the way the Shimano brifters feel. They seem like my hands don't fit in them.

    Snooping in various bike shops, there were other brifters that seemed way more comfortable to me.

  9. #9
    Senoir Membre Rosso Corsa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    My Bikes
    Centurion Le Mans, Bianchi Sport, Trek 3500
    Posts
    424
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    This is absolutely an issue with saddle fore/aft. In short, if your saddle is way back, there will be almost no weight on your hands, while a saddle way forward will be less weight on your back and much more on your arms/hands, as you are experiencing. If you move your saddle back (don't do more than a cm at a time), you may notice a bit more back soreness than you are used to if your core strength is lacking, but your hands will be happy. Once you get used to doing planks and back exercises, you will be happy as a clam and will hopefully move your bars down and stay comfortable. Most people out there riding don't have an amazing tolerance for pain, they just have a fit that works.
    As an aside, when you move your saddle back it will effectively raise it a bit, so take note.
    As long as I breathe, I attack.
    Read my Blog!

  10. #10
    Senoir Membre Rosso Corsa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    My Bikes
    Centurion Le Mans, Bianchi Sport, Trek 3500
    Posts
    424
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    This is absolutely an issue with saddle fore/aft. In short, if your saddle is way back, there will be almost no weight on your hands, while a saddle way forward will be less weight on your back and much more on your arms/hands, as you are experiencing. If you move your saddle back (don't do more than a cm at a time), you may notice a bit more back soreness than you are used to if your core strength is lacking, but your hands will be happy. Once you get used to doing planks and back exercises, you will be happy as a clam and will hopefully move your bars down and stay comfortable. Most people out there riding don't have an amazing tolerance for pain, they just have a fit that works.
    As an aside, when you move your saddle back it will effectively raise it a bit, so take note.
    As long as I breathe, I attack.
    Read my Blog!

  11. #11
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Around now and then
    Posts
    20,812
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    How tight are you holding the bars/squeezing your hands? Hands should be open and relaxed, fingers flexible and flexing as needed.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Jersey - outside the bibs.
    Posts
    3,457
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Get a good, professional fit.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  13. #13
    Who took all the oxygen? Lobby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, Tx
    My Bikes
    Trek
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    How tight are you holding the bars/squeezing your hands? Hands should be open and relaxed, fingers flexible and flexing as needed.
    I'm hardly gripping anything. It's just the weight of my upper body on my hands that causes the deadness.


    I started this thread, and titled it the way I did, because I suspected that I would need to go to flat bars instead of the drop down handlebars I currently use. Every change I've made to raise the bars has improved things. Seems to me that continued raising the bars would help...

    But I didn't understand what I would be getting into, should I attempt to convert the handlebars. What to do about shifters, brakes, etc... I did a search on this forum on that topic but didn't find anything.

  14. #14
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Hollister, CA
    My Bikes
    Volagi, daVinci Joint Venture
    Posts
    3,934
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It would be helpful if you could have a friend take a picture of you on the bike (from the side of course!). Also, can you take the weight completely off your hands in your normal riding position. Not that you would normally ride this way, but if you can't balance without having weight on your hands that might suggest you need to build up core strength. The bike needs to fit right and the handlebar rotation/brifter re-positioning suggestions sound reasonable, but you also need to build strength
    Rick T
    --------
    Volagi - Triple"ized" and Tubeless
    daVinci Joint Venture

  15. #15
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Around now and then
    Posts
    20,812
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Lobby View Post
    I'm hardly gripping anything. It's just the weight of my upper body on my hands that causes the deadness.


    I started this thread, and titled it the way I did, because I suspected that I would need to go to flat bars instead of the drop down handlebars I currently use. Every change I've made to raise the bars has improved things. Seems to me that continued raising the bars would help...

    But I didn't understand what I would be getting into, should I attempt to convert the handlebars. What to do about shifters, brakes, etc... I did a search on this forum on that topic but didn't find anything.
    You should be able to find the "flat bar" position on regular drop bars. IOW, the top of the drop bars (the "bars") could/would be the same height as flat bars. I believe that is why folks are suggesting you investigate other options. Drop bars contain more potential riding hand positions than flat bars do. However, some folks just like flat bars better.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  16. #16
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Milledgeville, Georgia
    My Bikes
    2014 Specialized Crave Pro 29, 2014 Specialized Crux EVO Carbon Disc, 2012 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross, 2011 Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert Compact, 2009 Salsa Casseroll, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB
    Posts
    12,713
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Whatever fit problems are causing there to be too much of your weight resting on your hands will still be there if you convert to flat bars. With the more limited and less natural hand position provided by flat bars, your numbness issues might very well increase. Before going to the expense and trouble of changing handlebar types and the associated changes to control levers, you should address the root problem, the way your bike fits.

    Looking at the dimensions you gave in the first post, I get the idea you have relatively long legs and short torso. This could be making your ideal fit a little more problematic and strengthens the case for going for a professional fit.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  17. #17
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    The Mangroves, UK
    My Bikes
    None.
    Posts
    1,896
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I just went through all this with a new bike. Long legs, average torso & arms. Bike fit is fine, but numb fingers and palms after an hour. In my case the stem was too long. Moving the saddle back just made matters worse, still too much weight on the hands. I tried a few bits including flat bars - no better, and a short MTB riser stem. That helped. The final cure for me was MTB riser bars (Easton EA80), Ergon palm rest grips, and a Ritchey 80mm adjustable stem set at 45 degree rise. Could not be happier now. Cheap option? Try a shorter 80mm riser stem, first.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
    My Bikes
    Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
    Posts
    19,915
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I only changed over to road from MTB's 4 years ago and I had the same problem as you. Initially I thought it was the padding within the gloves so bought a pair of road gloves. Then I went your route and raised the stem. Neither of which gave me any improvement.

    Then out on a ride and the pain was bad. I was passing a new to me Bike shop that does triathlon bikes and called in. I mentioned it to the assistant and he suggested I look at the gloves. His wall must have had 50 different makes and models on it. The hand pain was still there so I ran through the gloves till I found a pair- or 3- that had the padding where the pain was. These gloves were not the cheap out of the sales box gloves that I normally use- These were the $50 gloves and in comparison to some on show- they were cheap.

    Bought them and the gloves cured the problem- or most of it. Bit of adjustment on bar height and tilt and less pain. Since then The pain has decreased again as I had got the final tweaks in on fit- but I do know it when I go on a ride without the right gloves.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  19. #19
    Who took all the oxygen? Lobby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, Tx
    My Bikes
    Trek
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I hadn't posted in this thread in a while. Not because of lack of interest, but because I wanted to try some of ya'll's suggestions.

    Here's is where I've ended up:



    Yeah, another handlebar riser. I took the advice of an earlier posted and installed this adjustable riser on my bike. It sure seems to have made a huge difference.

    The handlebar is much closer to me now. While reaching the brifters still stretches me more than I'd like, I actually use the drops now and feel comfortable in them.

    I also moved the seat back about 0.8 cm. There's no more rearward adjustment; it's all the way back now. I can let go of the handlebars while riding and keep my upper body from dropping without too much effort. Although if I try to pedal without my hands on the handlebar, I tend to lose my balance.

    So whereas I started this thread to get advice on converting my handlebars to flat bars, I'm sorta ok with where I've ended up.

    Waves from San Antonio.

  20. #20
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    My Bikes
    ariZona carbon fiber tandem & single
    Posts
    9,943
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Looks like that frame could be too small for you . . . hence the need for stem extensions.

  21. #21
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The 'Wack, BC, Canada
    My Bikes
    Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline
    Posts
    5,410
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I tend to agree on the frame size issue. Depending on the size steps a size or two larger looks like it would be more appropriate.

    Like you I did not find drop handlebars all that comfy. But for a different reason. My hands and wrists were OK but I just couldn't bend as needed for the drops without suffering in the breathing department. Then I tried a bike with bullhorn bars and fell in love. I found it super easy to lean forward with bent elbows to get down and aero but thanks to reaching forward instead of down my back stayed much straighter and my chest more open and breathing well is a cinch. And from your perspective I also found that when bent over that way and pedalling hard that it was easy to take my weight off my hands. In fact it was just a natural thing. So go shopping around and see if you can find a bike with bullhorn bars and act like you're interested enough in it to take it for a test ride. You may just find that it's a nicer option for your hands.

    Oh, and your hands and wrists WILL harden up in time. And I mean that in the GOOD way of hardening up... But you also need to do your part and try to limit how much of your weight you extend forward onto your hands and wrists. In time and as you get more fit you'll find yourself lowering the bars a bit here and a little there and looking for more lean forward to cut the headwinds better.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
    My Bikes
    Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
    Posts
    19,915
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Saddle right back and the bars brought back and upwards does sound like a fit problem- but what the h*ell does it matter. You have the bike more comfortable and it is taking the strain off the hands.

    You can still get back to the original fitting if required so as your body improves- you will be able to get more conventional to accomodate the improvements as they come..
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  23. #23
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    The Mangroves, UK
    My Bikes
    None.
    Posts
    1,896
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The MTB/Hybrid boys hit this problem more often these days, there's a tendency on newer hybrids and road MTB style frames to fit longer stems for a lower sporting 'aero' fit. It puts more weight over the front, which on flat bar bikes, puts further pressure through the heel and palm of the hand.

    Congrats to Lobby for getting his bike comfortable. I love drop bar bikes, but, not in town.
    Last edited by snafu21; 06-08-10 at 09:51 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  24. #24
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lincoln Ne
    My Bikes
    RANS Stratus TerraTrike Cruiser
    Posts
    3,762
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It remains that changing handlebars and seats slightly on a DF bike is kinda like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The only real solution is going to a recumbent bicycle. On a LWB bent especially you can ride all day long without pain. Of course you will get tired but you wont have pain.

  25. #25
    Who took all the oxygen? Lobby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, Tx
    My Bikes
    Trek
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Looks like that frame could be too small for you . . . hence the need for stem extensions.

    I actually thought the opposite, that the frame was too "long" for me. While straddling the top tube, with my feet flat on the ground, my "jewels" are about 1 inch off the top tube. And no, I don't droop!

    Yet I felt like I was stretching to reach the handlebars.

    I've considered that the frame height is fine, but that the top tube is too long. Or something along those lines.


    edit: I originally typed short, but I meant long in 2nd to last sentence




    Thanks for all the comments. You've help me quite a bit.
    Last edited by Lobby; 06-08-10 at 07:59 PM. Reason: mis typed

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •