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  1. #1
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    Hybrid bikes with hand pain. **Pictures**

    Hi all. After looking for a long time last year, I finally found a bike for commuting, doing family rides (with a burley trailer), fitness and fun. I have a bad back so I though a flat bar would be the way to go. Anyway, I planned on riding a ton (my commute is 18 miles each way) but I had some issues with hand pain that really inhibited me from riding more than 400 miles for the entire season. I adjusted the grips a thousand different ways and added gloves with extra padding. Unfortunately the padding is already worn down to nothing in about 200 miles. I am about 6' or maybe a touch over. Specialized says I could either be a Large or XL in the Sirrus. I ended up getting the Large but now wonder if I should have gotten the XL. Attached are pictures of me on my Charcoal/Green Large from last year and an Orange XL from this year. Also included is a mountain bike that feels pretty comfortable.

    20140609_173259.jpg

    20140609_173430.jpg

    20140609_173528.jpg

    Based on what you see, which frame appears to be the best fit. I understand that the feel is important and no one can but me can determine it, but I really need an outside source. I don't want to continue having issues with hand pain or anything else for that matter.
    Last edited by drumgod828; 06-09-14 at 10:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    As I just said in another post, the bike, its type and/or its frame size are really irrelevant to comfort because just about anything can be fixed by getting a different length of stem and/or a different reach of handlebar. There are even zero offset stems with no reach at all! I raised the bars on my flat-bar road bike until they were almost 2" above seat height and still had hand pain. Even with Ergon grips. You could change to drops and your hand pain will go away for good. I'm serious. But its not always an easy conversion. If you must stay with flat bars, in addition to raising the height, you have to bring the bars back to your riding position. North Road bars do this very well, but so do short stems under 80mm of length. A shorter top tube will do the same thing but I haven't always found that the smaller bike has the shorter top tube!

    H

  3. #3
    Senior Member raqball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    You could change to drops and your hand pain will go away for good. I'm serious.
    Not entirely true.. There is another recent thread where that OP has severe hand pain and is riding a drop bar..

    OP.. It looks to me like in the 1st photo (I assume this is the current bike) that you are leaning to hard onto the bar. This is going to put pressure on your hands and cause the pain. Your hands should rest on the bar with very little pressure.. Maybe try a different stem. A visit to your LBS might be in order as perhaps they have some they can put on for you to try..

    My .02
    Last edited by raqball; 06-09-14 at 11:09 PM. Reason: spelling
    2013 Sirrus Limited SL4
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  4. #4
    Senior Member hermanchauw's Avatar
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    Are you putting pressure on the palm heels or elsewhere?

  5. #5
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    I am definitely putting too much pressure on my hands. The pressure is directed at the heel of my palms. I feel most of the pain in the lateral aspect of the heel of my palm.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I like Ergon's flattish broad surface grips much more than round ones ..

    less quick a swap, but relatively simple..

    Figure-8 bend Trekking bars ..

    I double wrap mine with thick padded tape ..

  7. #7
    Senior Member headloss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drumgod828 View Post
    I am definitely putting too much pressure on my hands. The pressure is directed at the heel of my palms. I feel most of the pain in the lateral aspect of the heel of my palm.
    You should be able to take your hands off the bars without feeling like you are going to fall on your face if you do so. If you can't, you may not be well balanced on the bike which could be an issue with the saddle being too far forward. It may also help to raise the handlebars?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by headloss View Post
    You should be able to take your hands off the bars without feeling like you are going to fall on your face if you do so. If you can't, you may not be well balanced on the bike which could be an issue with the saddle being too far forward. It may also help to raise the handlebars?
    I don't know you from a hole in the wall. This is not meant to be personal. What possible relation could "raising the bars" have with "you should be able to take your hands off the bars... etc. etc? These are entirely unrelated concepts, and do not belong together in the same post. Your first sentence is merely another repeat of a well worn line item that has actually been taken out of its original road-racing context. A roadie in full crouch may, in fact, be able to take his hands off the bars, or reduce pressure to nearly nothing and not feel like he will fall forward. A commuter at 45* to 55* back angle absolutely needs significant pressure on the bars to stay that way, hence, padded grips, Ergon Grips, Gel Gloves, etc. Observe a fixie rider cruising "no-hands". He (always he) is sitting bolt upright. 90* back angle and his hands are nowhere near the bars. Not even in the same time zone. Anything less than a 90* back angle brings new forces into the equation and thus the feeling that a face plant is imminent, unless back muscles, or arm muscles (or both) are recruited to counteract Gravity.

    There are actually two completely unrelated ways to ride flat-bar: first with the bars located where the top, flat part of drop bars would be and the second way with the flatbars located where the hoods of drop-bars would be. There is a third way which puts the flatbar more or less where the drops of dropbars would be, but decent, God Fearing, Commuters never set up their bikes that way. I digress. The first way of setting up flatbars is common in Europe, and requires a fairly short top tube relative to seat tube. Or a fair amount of back sweep in the handlebars. The second way is found in newer Scott, Fuji and Trek bikes, among others, and requires a more or less equal seat and top tube and a stem longer than 90mm for the typical male rider.

    As a younger rider I often rode no hands for considerable distances. I could even turn, no-hands. I took a decade off of riding and got back to it in the 90's. Mountain bikes and hybrids were the rage by then and there was less need to ride no hands because the bars were already fairly high. I don't know if its lack of practice or age, or what, but at 55 I can't even think about riding no-hands for even a New York second. At least one hand or the other has got to be in contact with some part of the steering assembly while I am in motion. This seems to be the case for 90% of riders on the road. Where and how did a fit concept like "take hands off the bars... " ever get traction outside of the racing community?

    I find that I can ride flatbar comfortably if I have the bars close enough to lap my fingers over by an inch and about an inch or two above seat height. In other words, more or less where the tops of drops would be and well back from where the hoods would be. Modern flatbar bikes usually have the bars where the hoods of drops would be and I think this is mainly why there is so much hand pain and overall discomfort out there. The manufacturers do it in the interest of speed and efficiency. You lose a lot of back power and the upright position kills your aero profile and this has a HUGE effect on your ability to finish a > than ~6mi. one way with a decent ETA. An earlier poster took me to task for claiming that drops would eliminate hand pain, and they were right to call me on what was a bit of an overstatement. It did work in my case, however. No hand pain, good aero profile, satisfactory ETA. Works for me.

    H

  9. #9
    Senior Member headloss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    I don't know you from a hole in the wall. This is not meant to be personal. What possible relation could "raising the bars" have with "you should be able to take your hands off the bars... etc. etc? These are entirely unrelated concepts, and do not belong together in the same post. Your first sentence is merely another repeat of a well worn line item that has actually been taken out of its original road-racing context. A roadie in full crouch may, in fact, be able to take his hands off the bars, or reduce pressure to nearly nothing and not feel like he will fall forward. A commuter at 45* to 55* back angle absolutely needs significant pressure on the bars to stay that way, hence, padded grips, Ergon Grips, Gel Gloves, etc...
    tl;dr

    @OP, I highly advise you to do your own research.

    You may find the following helpful in troubleshooting your pain (but only if saddle position is the underlying problem), good luck!

    SEAT SET BACK: for road bikes Bike Fit Steve Hogg's Bike Fitting Website

  10. #10
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    IMO you look better on the Large. I think the headtube on the XL is too long for you.
    The MTB is OK too, but I wouldn't have it for road riding.

    There's a very good discussion of these issues right now over on the Road Bike forum:
    Newbie: Flat bar vs. traditional curved bar road bike seating position

    complete with that OP's very good solution to your problem - IMHO.

    Oh, and I like Bontrager Gel gloves. And:
    Numb Hands
    which is more about road bar fit, but might help some.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by headloss View Post
    tl;dr

    @OP, I highly advise you to do your own research.

    You may find the following helpful in troubleshooting your pain (but only if saddle position is the underlying problem), good luck!

    SEAT SET BACK: for road bikes Bike Fit Steve Hogg's Bike Fitting Website
    Maybe you should have read my post. You couldn't have made my point anymore perfectly. Why on earth would you attempt to advise a poster who shows you pictures of himself on a hybrid bike with a 55* back angle to consult a performance oriented article with pictures of competitive athletes folded like Origami paper? Who should be acting dismissive and superior? Again, nothing personal.

    H

  12. #12
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    First, it's entirely possible and precisely likely that you can set up your bike to eliminate the pain. You just need to approach it systematically.

    Next, I'd take it as a given that the size LG you have is fine. The grey/green frame looks to be properly sized for achieving good fit. Please note that frame size and fit are two different things.

    Addressing the hand pain...

    Although it's hard to see in the pics, it does look as though the bar sweep is angled upwards, right into the outside of the heels of your palms. To explain, although you have a flat bar, it's most likely not entirely flat/straight, and rather has some 'sweep,' which is a slight bend off axis. Well, rather than me explaining it clumsily, consider this picture:



    What I'd suggest you consider is to rotate the bar in the stem clamp so as to orient the sweep parallel to the road (i.e. level) or slightly downward, to avoid having the sweep foreshortening your reach at the ends of the bar. If the sweep is angled upwards, it means your outside palms hit the bar first, before the rest of your hand, and take too much pressure.

    When you do this, also consider angling your brake levers downward to allow your wrist a neutral position, inline with the angle of your forearm, while covering the brakes. Bearing pressure on an extended wrist can also be a source of hand pain.

    Lastly, as a bit of fine tuning if the bar adjustments seem to net some benefit, I'd consider putting some bar ends on there to enable you to move your hands about a bit more. I'm a committed flat-bar user for both MTB and commuter/utility, but none do I run without bar ends. I ran one MTB bar-endless in the early '90s, but I learned my lesson quickly, and so that didn't last long!
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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