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Old 07-01-10, 11:13 AM   #1
spwelton
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Do I need a longer stem?

After long rides I get a little soreness in my palms and elbows. I've got a flat-bar hybrid, which may be slightly too small, but fits great other than this issue. I'm making a conscious effort not to lock my elbows while riding. Strangely it seems to happen more when I wear gloves, since my bike already has ergo-grips.

It almost feels like my palms are digging into the bars, like they're carrying more weight than they should be. Does this sound pretty consistent with a stem that's too short? I have no idea how long the stock stem is, but its flipped and only has a single 10mm spacer under it. The handlebar height is maybe 1 or 2 inches below the saddle height.
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Old 07-01-10, 11:54 AM   #2
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i don't think that you need a longer stem. if anything, a longer stem may increase your chance of locking your elbow. it's not surprising that you have sore hands after a "long ride" on your flat bars. would you consider flipping the stem to raise the handlebars for a more upright position? more upright means more weight on the saddle and less on the arms. just a guess from me. maybe your handlebars are a tad low and that is why you lock your elbows to reach them. your weight is supported by: (1) butt (2) legs (3) hands. the harder you pedal, the more weight goes on the pedal which propel your weight up. if you mess around with the stem make sure not to overtighten the bolts. if you purchased it from an lbs they should do basic fitting free of charge imo.
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Old 07-01-10, 01:41 PM   #3
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Try putting bar ends on your bike. Those will allow you to change your grip to a different position once in a while so you don't keep leaning on your palms and cut off circulation there.
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Old 07-01-10, 02:17 PM   #4
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I might try adding another spacer under the stem and see if that helps, since its a free fix... Anyone else with any input, too, I would appreciate it!

Thanks!
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Old 07-01-10, 02:19 PM   #5
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One of the advantages of a drop bar bike, and there are many, is the multiple hand/arm/ back positions they can provide unlike a fixed position hybrid thingy.
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Old 07-01-10, 02:38 PM   #6
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Yeah I'd love to do a drop bar conversion but its not in the cards right now... I wanted to buy with a drop bar but in the new bike category there wasn't anything with drops anywhere near my price range. For 99% of my purposes, my flat bars work great for me, its a great heads-up position for a noob like me in traffic
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Old 07-01-10, 02:56 PM   #7
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If you are carrying too much weight on your hands you will need to raise your bars or possibly change your saddle position. Is your saddle comfortable or do you fell like you're sliding forward? If it is tilted noticeably downward at the nose that could be a problem. A near level saddle is best. A short stem will usually manifest itself in cramped up shoulders and neck, as was the case with me. I went from a stock 100 mm to a 110 mm stem and it really eliminated those pains because I could stretch out a bit more. Much of this a subjective as I like to ride in the drops or hoods and my bar is 2 inches below my saddle. If your bar is level with the saddle as in your pic I'd say the problem is probably not the stem.
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Old 07-01-10, 03:47 PM   #8
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+1 on bar ends; also, consider more padding on hands or grips.

It's also possible that your bike is simply too small for you. Fit is such an individual thing.
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Old 07-01-10, 05:17 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your help! I don't think the problem is with the saddle, I've spent a lot of time working on that, proper height and fore/aft position, etc. I can ride for an hour and not get uncomfortable or slide around on it.

After some tinkering this evening I think the problem may have been in the angle of the handlebars. When I flipped the stem to get them lower I must not have paid much attention to the way they were rotated inside the stem. I rotated them maybe 10* inside the stem, and bam, problem seems to be gone, and I didn't have to raise my handlebars Seems like they were pointed down a bit and it was causing me to carry the weight on the meat between my thumb and index finger a bit too much. Now it feels more even on my palm.

I'll update this thread if I go on a longer ride and its not fixed.
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Old 07-01-10, 05:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spwelton View Post
Thanks for all your help! I don't think the problem is with the saddle, I've spent a lot of time working on that, proper height and fore/aft position, etc. I can ride for an hour and not get uncomfortable or slide around on it..

Sorry, but the fact that the saddle doesn't hurt doesn't mean it's right. It just may mean that you have it in a position that's affecting your hands. It's all relative, and fitting all the parts together is truly a science.
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Old 07-13-10, 05:42 PM   #11
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Stem too long, frame too long, headset too short, spacers are above the stem, or you need to engage your core and lift your weight off your hands. You shouldn't have any weight on your hands when you ride.
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