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  1. #1
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    Reduce pressure on hands, seat forward or back?

    Hi, I'm just getting back into riding a bike (I'm 32 and haven't ridden one in ages). I recently picked up a hybrid and made sure the sizing was correct at an LBS here in Korea. I'm a foreigner and don't speak Korean so it was hard to articulate on everything, he gave me a thumbs up saying good after making some adjustments when I bought it. He measured my leg, the angle my leg was making when I was on the bike and the peddle was all the way down and moved the saddle (how exactly I don't remember) but seemed to know what he was doing.

    After a few rides I felt great, but then once I started increasing to longer rides like 50km or so (original rides were about half) I started feeling sore wrists and numbness in my hands. After one ride my hands were so weak I couldn't open a ketchup packet the next day and I didn't ride for a week as that's how long it took to make a full recovery. Clearly something was wrong I needed to address.

    I figured as I getting tired I was slumping forward a bit putting a crush of pressure on my hands while also bending my wrists too much and possibly squeezing too hard. My bike has a standard handle bar and the seat is a few inches above the bars, so it's not a cruiser style at all. I've also made sure to maintain at least a slight elbow bend.

    I bought some padded cycling gloves and Giant Connect Ergo Max Plus (that's a mouthful) grips and positioned them so my wrists would have a very slight bend and utilize the bar ends from time to time as well go one or no-handed often while stretching my wrists out. I'm now down from days of agony to about a day of mild numbness to recover. It still doesn't seem fully fixed and I can still feel like there's too much weight going forward onto my wrists and hands. I also lowered the saddle about an inch and a half and that seems to have relieved a little bit of the pressure without making my legs feel too tired.

    My question after all that (sorry for being long but I wanted to explain what measures I've taken). I think the next piece of the puzzle may be the saddle itself. The nose is in a neutral position (not up or down, right in the middle of where it could be set to) but there is room to bring it forward a good 1.5-2 inches as well as back the same amount.

    Would moving it back be better to relieve stress from my hands as it's shifting my centre of mass further away from the handle bars or would moving it forward be better which would make me sit slightly more upright but not have to lean forward so much?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Just trying to get this right so I don't cause any serious damage. I'd like to keep my rides to about 50km and do them 3-4x a week.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Seat adjusted back + bars closer and higher.. so greater % of weight is shifted to the saddle..

    then wider seat may feel better..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-21-13 at 09:59 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    often the problem described by the op are due to a saddle with the nose lower than the tail
    saddle should be level nose-to-tail
    or slightly nose up
    since most saddles sag a bit in the middle
    i tend to put mine so the area near the tail is level and the nose is up

    if the saddle is nose down
    then it is pushing the rider towards the bars and the rider has to push back
    with excessive force

  4. #4
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    The saddle height and fore/aft position is usually set for efficient pedaling with a bit more latitude in the fore/aft adjustment. Soon some will opine, probably accurately, that you need to strengthen your core. I'm sure that's important, but your handle bar height, reach and angle can also have a big effect. I don't ride straight handlebars, but if your wrists aren't in a natural position, no matter the type of bar, then you could be affecting the nerves in your hands or wrists. I've also found that handlebars too high puts more pressure on my hands by not allowing me to engage the supporting muscles; I see a similar issues when are bars are a bit too close.

    Also agree that the saddle tilt can create additional pressure - very small changes in this can transition a rider from sliding forward to "just right" to "ouch".
    Rick T
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  5. #5
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    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...rt-rides/page2

    DannoXYZ's post was the answer to my numb hands, No issues anymore.
    I can ride with gloves, no gloves on any bike with zero problems.

  6. #6
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    Hard to say without seeing you ride the bike. What you probably need to do is find a riding position that lets you bend your elbows more when you ride. That may mean lowering your saddle or moving it backwards.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
    often the problem described by the op are due to a saddle with the nose lower than the tail
    saddle should be level nose-to-tail
    or slightly nose up
    since most saddles sag a bit in the middle
    i tend to put mine so the area near the tail is level and the nose is up

    if the saddle is nose down
    then it is pushing the rider towards the bars and the rider has to push back
    with excessive force
    Just yesterday I put a Brooks B-17 saddle on my touring bike. After about 3 miles I turned around as my hands were hurting. Sure enough I had the nose down. Putting the nose up a little took a lot of pressure off my hands. I might even raise the nose a tiny bit more.

  8. #8
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    First off, thanks for the replies guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Seat adjusted back + bars closer and higher.. so greater % of weight is shifted to the saddle..

    then wider seat may feel better..
    How would I go about adjusting the handle bars? I believe they're at their maximum height, and don't see a way to get them closer to me. Would this require a trip to my bike shop and some new components? How much could that potentially set me back?

    20130522_181506.jpg

    Here's a picture of how it is now. Also I'm not sure a wider seat would be best as if it were any wider I think the inner part of my leg would be digging into the side of the seat each peddle.

    Thanks for the link and other replies. I've adjusted my grips upwards a little bit more so it's now uncomfortable to slip into a position where my wrists are bent. I'm also going to look into some core and wrist/hand exercises as I find my weight shifting forward the longer I cycle, meaning I'm probably weak in that regard and that's the part of my ride where all the damage seems to be happening. I've adjusted my saddle upwards one notch from the neutral position, hopefully that helps and won't prove to be uncomfortable. Also, the natural riding position on this bike does have my elbows bent, locking them feels uncomfortable.

  9. #9
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutcutpaste99 View Post
    How would I go about adjusting the handle bars? I believe they're at their maximum height, and don't see a way to get them closer to me.
    You can get an adjustable stem like this one (I have two and like them a lot).


    If that doesn't give you enough height, you can also add a stem riser like this.


    I have longer bar ends on my comfort bike (like these) that I have wrapped so they're quite comfortable. I have mine horizontal and used to sometimes lie on them. And it sounds crazy, but I found that clip-on aerobars were very comfortable (as my elbows could handle the weight quite well where as my wrists just didn't like it).

    I did also have thick gel gloves that helped (but make sure you remember to change your hand position frequently). I personally found that being almost upright, my issues largely went away. I just didn't really like being that upright when riding (I now ride a 'bent).

    Cheers,
    Charles
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  10. #10
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    As has been mentioned, it's almost impossible to come up with any useful notions without seeing you on the bike or even seeing the bike in its totality.

    The shot of the bars, though the camera angle is wacky, gives me an idea though: your brake levers look like they're up quite high. What that means, possibly, is that depending on the angle at which your arms are approaching the bars, you may be bending back your wrists (i.e. flexion) to get onto the brakes, which in turn can mean not only nerve binding, but concentration of your weight over a smaller area of the palm.

    My suggestion is to simply loosen the brake lever mounting clamp (maybe a 5mm allen) and rotate the lever towards the ground until something like a 7 o'clock position-- they look more like 8 o'clock now-- so that your wrist is in a more neutral position when covering the lever.

    I'm guessing that because you're in Korea, you spend a fair amount of time in urban settings, and keep your hands on the brake levers often, but of course, there could be any other number of causes, but that's an easy, free adjustment to make before you start looking at some of the other possibilities, and making will result in more comfort and control whether it's the source of the problem or not.

    I would advise you reposition your saddle to correct height before making this, or any other, adjustment. A low saddle can lead to its own problems when doing lots of mileage and putting out power.
    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

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the great info guys. I adjusted the brake/gear levers to be at the 7 o'clock position like you mentioned, it feels much more natural and comfortable, thanks for the tip. The only urban riding I do is getting to the bike paths, although things can be absolutely nuts where I live in Seoul just getting out to the bike paths.
    I moved the nose of the seat up another notch and went for a 53km ride yesterday and amazingly to me I had only a very slight soreness in my wrists which lasted for an hour or so. I iced my wrists and took an advil and the pain was gone. I moved the seat up a bit too. The seat was a bit uncomfortable with the nose up more but I think it's just a matter of getting used to it. I'm just happy I could go on a long enjoyable ride. Usually my neck and shoulders get a bit sore about halfway into it but I felt great the whole time. I was bike shopping today with a friend and tried out some similar size hybrids and most of them had lower handlebars than mine and I felt like I was leaning forward onto the bars too much on most of them when I got them, I'm quite happy with how mine fits and my reach. It's amazing what a few small tweaks can do. It seemed like a lot of the people riding hybrids and mountain bikes on the trails have their wrists bent quite a bit, I was a bit surprised to see this since I know doing that destroys my hands.

    Here's a link to my last ride, I was with a severely hungover friend who insisted on coming along so we didn't exactly set any speed records. Also is a pic of my bike with what I hope is the final setup Thanks again.

    http://www.sports-tracker.com/#/work...j2qbaa15mib3iv

    20130526_220915.jpg

  12. #12
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    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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