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Old 08-12-03, 12:09 PM   #1
familyman
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numb hands

Having a problem with riding my MTN bike on the road (which is why I'm asking the question here because I can't decide if it's a MTN quesion or a roadie question )
After about 30 minutes my first two fingers on each hand start to go numb. I move my hands around as much as I can but to no avail, they still go all fuzzy and I have to shake them out every 5-10 minutes for the rest of the ride.
How do I fix this? Do I get a set of road bars so I can vary hand position more? Will gloves help? Am i doing any serious damage to my poor fingers?
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Old 08-12-03, 12:26 PM   #2
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I think this is pretty common. Road bars won't solve the problem. Probably make it worse. All you can do is change your hand positions - do you have bar ends on your mtn bike? Padded gloves help somewhat. Also make sure your riding position is such that you don't have more pressure on your hands than you have to (too much downward pressure will make it worse) - your LBS should be able to help here if you're not sure. You're not doing serious damage to your fingers, it's just uncomfortable & if you don't shake out your hands & are allowed to get too numb it can be harder to shift & brake.
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Old 08-12-03, 04:23 PM   #3
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Also, make sure your wrists are not cocked or bent, that they are at a fairly straight angle and you fingers drape easily over the grips to reach your brakes.

Both my husband and i use Specialized Body Geometry gloves and find them to help with numbness.

Maily, like mlwschultz sez, you may have too much weight on your hands. Try a riser for you bars to get a more upright position. You might want to go into a bike shop and make sure you bike is a close fit for you with a Fit Kit fitting.

You can also try adjusting your seat up and down and backwards and forwards very minutely to see if this will help. I'd try the riser for the bars and perhaps a bar with some backwards sweep and/ or rise on it.
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Old 08-12-03, 05:15 PM   #4
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Road bars do give more positions than ATB or flat bars. You can put your hands on either side of the stem inside of the brakes for a position that is
the same as ATB, on the brake hoods, for a completely different position and
on the drops, usually in two locations. However such a change would be very expensive as ATB shifters don't coordinate with road bars. ATB shifters cost
about half what road shifters cost ($140-200) so this would be an expensive
change + the cost of the bar, perhaps $30-50 depending. Steve
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Old 08-12-03, 05:38 PM   #5
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Along the same line of suggestions foehn gave, you might want to try rotating your bars so that your sweep (assuming you have flatbars and some sweep already) comes back at an angle that's aligned with your forearms.
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Old 08-12-03, 07:39 PM   #6
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Also try tipping the nose of your saddle up just a bit to get more weight shifted off your hands.
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Old 08-12-03, 08:30 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice. I went out and played with the saddle position a bit this afternoon. Slid it forward in the rails and it took a lot of weight off my hands. I'm going for a 20 miler tomorrow so I'll see how it helps.
Changing bars would actually be relatively cheap, the bike no longer has any shifters. Full single speed conversion should be completed this weekend. I could find a creative way to still use my MTB brake levers I'm sure. I wouldn't have any brake hoods to rest my hands on though.
Thanks for the advice, I'll see how it goes tomorrow.
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Old 08-13-03, 06:14 AM   #8
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The #1 way I relieved myself of numbing hands was to tilt the saddle tip up a bit from level. This took much of the pressure off my hands. However, do this in very small increments to insure that you do not put too much pressure on "other" areas. Finding a good balance is key!

Good luck!
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Old 08-13-03, 11:12 AM   #9
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Flat bars can cause a kink in your wrist which acts as a focus for all the vibration coming up the forks. Try and find your neutral wrist position and put a piece of bar just there.
For a singlespeed bike, bullhorn handlebars are a great idea. You often see these on courier bikes, they are like drops , but without the drop. There is nothing to stop you fitting drops if the extra reach is acceptable.
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Old 08-13-03, 12:51 PM   #10
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Is there a big difference between the height of your saddle and the height of your handlebars? If so, you might want to try raising your bars up a bit - but that could entail a new stem - however, if you've got a flat bar, a riser bar might be the ticket (worked for me).
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Old 08-13-03, 04:55 PM   #11
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Numb Hands?
Numb Tool?
Not since I started riding a recumbent.
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Old 08-13-03, 10:24 PM   #12
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when i first got my first (and possibly last) road bike ALL pressure was on my hands cause it was old and rusty and i couldnt adjust much

also, grew acustomed (i think muscles and bones reshaped) in order to handle the extra pressure. although i havent riddin one in a long time i'm sure my hands wouldnt get hurt riding a road bike anymore
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Old 08-14-03, 11:12 AM   #13
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I stole the road bars (if you want to call them that) off an old 80's Montgomery ward road bike that I bought for a home-made recumbent project. I'll see how they work on my ride tomorrow. If they're good then maybe I'll get a real set instead of these rusty crome suckers. They certainly do provide way more options on my short ride around the neighborhood.
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Old 08-14-03, 10:31 PM   #14
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I ride both a MTbike and a road bike. I only get the numbness in my hands when I ride my MTbike. At one point it got so bad that I couldn't even turn the key to unlock my car door. Gel gloves and especially bar ends helped stop the numbness.
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Old 08-15-03, 12:18 AM   #15
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position your hands so that your wrist is not bent.. This will cause poor circulation of blood to your fingers...

Using too thick padded gloves makes my hands more numb than those "normal" ones because my handle grip is rather thick.

Change your position (hand) every 10-15mins.. Even a slight movement helps..

And relax, don't grip the handlebar too much..
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Old 08-15-03, 07:14 AM   #16
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ride no-handed a little ways =)
only on straightaways with not much traffic
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Old 08-15-03, 12:34 PM   #17
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I can't ride no handed. Seriously. I have significant balance issues. I trip over cracks in sidewalks and sometimes hit the wall with my shoulder when walking down hallways.

I did 26 miles with the drops today and it was much much better. I got a little numbness at about mile 22 but that shook out really easy. I think the bars would be way way nicer if they were actually wrapped with something and had brake hoods on them. The bare rusty chrome left a little to be desired. Huge improvement though, I may have to buy real bars soon.
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Old 08-15-03, 11:43 PM   #18
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good, you're making progress..
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Old 08-24-03, 09:29 AM   #19
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Hi everyone. I will have to try some of your suggestions. I rode yesterday and my ring finger on my right hand is still tingly. I ride a road bike and even though I move my hands around they are predominantly on the corner/sides for balance. Hoping I didn't permanently damage my hand.

Any ideas?

Stacie :confused:
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Old 08-24-03, 03:46 PM   #20
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Padded gloves offer a small amount of cusion and my Specialized Body Geometry gloves aren't worth what I paid. The cusion on the palm has wadded up and no longer makes contact with the bars.
Cork bar tape is the way I'm going next time.
Tilting the tip of the saddle will only put more pressure on your perennial area and do nothing for balance.
Moving you seat back will take more pressure off your hands.
Try not putting a death grip on the bars, especially the bar ends.
Relax the wrist and elbow and don't lock out either.
My first several rides resulted in numbs hands too. Now I'm much more relaxed and move my hands positions constantly and experience no numbness.
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Old 08-24-03, 07:58 PM   #21
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You know... I had a numb hand on my ride yesterday... near the end (after trying all different types of positions and so on) I finally figured out my glove was a little too tight at the wrist.

Duh.

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