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Old 05-07-14, 11:29 AM   #1
suzcruzrides 
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Bar ends

Last week I posted about my visit to the ER, thought I was having a heart attack or stroke but found out I have arthritis in my neck that is pinching a nerve. I have an appt to see my doc next week.
Funny thing is, about 2 days before this happened I asked my LBS about adding bar ends for comfort since my goal this year is to ride longer distances. He said since I wasn't riding long distances yet I might want to hold off. A few days ago I rode 20 miles (my longest ride so far) & on my way home my left arm was completely numb. I tried sitting upright & putting my hands in various positions, no relief.
I went back yesterday, told him about my neck & arm & asked for his recommendation. He said he could install the bar ends plus a new adjustable stem ($50 for parts, no charge for labor). Before installing, he called me & pretty much talked me out of the stem ($12 for parts, no charge for labor). He felt I should try another long ride, see my doctor then go from there.
I said all that to ask this....has anybody else experienced this problem with your arms falling asleep? Have bar ends helped or did you have to do something else?

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Old 05-07-14, 11:51 AM   #2
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My preferences straight >to, Trekking bars, figure 8 bend, so as to offer more hand grip and angle positions.

and where that was not going to work , on my folding Brompton M3L

the Ergon GP3, an integrated , but individually adjustable combination of Comfort grip and bar end

they flow together and so where the clamp on your bar end is is a place that is comfortable to lay my hands.

often just resting open palm .

the GP5 is more like the longer sort you show , and may be suitable . ERGON BIKE ERGONOMICS


the neck issue may be your stretching out a bit much , Fit . (shorter and upangled stem may be in order)
or unrelated and a result of all the other things you have asked your body to do throughout your past life..

Or maybe <guess> more pushups.. improve upper body strength ?


Or just take more breaks .. get off the bike , have a drink with the Locals

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Old 05-07-14, 12:33 PM   #3
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My preferences straight >to, Trekking bars, figure 8 bend, so as to offer more hand grip and angle positions.
I agree 100%. Forget the bar ends and change the entire bar. With bar ends you only get one extra hand position.
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Old 05-07-14, 06:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions. I've never seen the trekking bars but I will check them out.
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Old 05-07-14, 06:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions. I've never seen the trekking bars but I will check them out.
I agree with the suggestion about the trekking bars. I recently installed a pair on a mtb and they immediately felt just right. The extra hand positions are a big plus and all your existing gear (brake and shift levers) migrate over so the expense is quite small.
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Old 05-07-14, 09:17 PM   #6
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I'm experiencing a similar issue, but only when I ride my under seat steering delta recumbent trike. I assume it's caused by inadequate support for my elbow.

My Occupational Therapist daughter-in-law and my chiropractor son-in-law both think its a nerve issue. My son-in-law thinks he can fix it. In the meantime I'm planning to take an arm sling along with me the next time that I use that trike and, if that doesn't work, I'll jury rig an elbow rest from some kind of aero bar hardware.

Bottom line, the first thing that you try, bar ends or trekking bar, may or may not work. The bars in your picture have a little rise to them so they're probably pretty wide. A narrower straight handlebar, which will bring your hands in, might be all it takes to work better for you. You have the rest of your life to experiment until you find what works best for you. It's worth it.
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Old 05-07-14, 10:49 PM   #7
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in my opinion straight on flat bars aren't designed for intended for long "steady state" cycling. They're designed for mountain biking which has frequently changing terrain, body position, etc.

Look at the way your hands sit on a flat handle bar. The knuckles are perpendicular to the arms, and most likely your wrists are cocked. Finally, there's absolutely no chance for variety in hand / wrist position. Then look at how your hands hang in a neutral position, for instance when they're hanging at your sides. The wrists are relaxed and neutral (not cocked) and your knuckles are pretty much 90 degrees from their position on a flat handlebar.

Your hands, arms get numb and your shoulders and neck get spazzed out because your whole body is forced into a position which isn't natural, which doesn't allow variation and on a ride which the bar isn't intended for!

SOme people can tolerate this mismatch between bar and purpose better than others. If I ride my mountain bike on the road, I'm not having fun within about 30 minutes.

Road bike bars are not made as torture devices as many who just aren't familiar with using them think. They are intended to allow a wide variety of hand positions including at least three that allow the hands and wrists to be in a neutral position with relaxed neutral wrists and the knuckles in the same position as when relaxed at your sides (the three are on the "ramps", on the hoods and on the drops).

Either get some road bars for long distance riding or explore the alternatives mentioned above. These are the sort of bars actually designed for the riding you want to do.
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Old 05-07-14, 10:55 PM   #8
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flat bars aren't designed for intended for long "steady state" cycling.
get some road bars for long distance riding
Sorry.. I've been riding flat bars for years and never had an issue..

I always get a laugh when people say these type of things..

A flat bar with bar ends offers plenty of hand positions..

To the OP.. If you are getting numbness try the bar ends. If it continues maybe a different stem..

My ,02
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Old 05-08-14, 05:46 AM   #9
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I haven't been able to do a long ride yet since the bar ends were installed, just a short commute to work so I haven't been able to "test" them. The ER doctor & the nurse at my doctor's office said I may need to see an orthopedic surgeon to find out if surgery is needed to relieve the pressure. That would be worse case scenario. Hopefully will know more after my appt next week.
Hope to get in a long ride in the next few days, weather permitting, to see how it goes. Thanks again!
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Old 05-08-14, 05:51 AM   #10
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Flat bars are fine with bar ends and good grips. Did 24 hours and 420km last month no issues. The bike needs to be dialed in though.
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Old 05-08-14, 06:05 AM   #11
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Definitely check how everything is dialed in. Make sure your LBS folks see your positioning on the bike and agree that it makes sense (though don't let this work completely against your own ideal comfort). Perhaps the length from seatpost to bars needs to be checked? I do recommend the bar-ends. I've gone back to flat bars on my Racers recently, and though I love how simple they are, I really did miss the added hand positions that bullhorns/drops once offered me. I finished covering some bar-ends yesterday to add to one of the Racers; I'm sure it will help for rides longer than 20 minutes (my position-change threshold).

One other thing to question is the width of the flat bars...do your arms have to converge from a parallel position in order to meet the handlebar grips? Or do they splay away from one another to reach the grips? Opinions on this will vary, but for me, I find that keeping my arms parallel is key to a comfortable ride, shoulder- and neck-wise.
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Old 05-08-14, 06:23 AM   #12
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Definitely check how everything is dialed in. Make sure your LBS folks see your positioning on the bike and agree that it makes sense (though don't let this work completely against your own ideal comfort). Perhaps the length from seatpost to bars needs to be checked? I do recommend the bar-ends. I've gone back to flat bars on my Racers recently, and though I love how simple they are, I really did miss the added hand positions that bullhorns/drops once offered me. I finished covering some bar-ends yesterday to add to one of the Racers; I'm sure it will help for rides longer than 20 minutes (my position-change threshold).

One other thing to question is the width of the flat bars...do your arms have to converge from a parallel position in order to meet the handlebar grips? Or do they splay away from one another to reach the grips? Opinions on this will vary, but for me, I find that keeping my arms parallel is key to a comfortable ride, shoulder- and neck-wise.
+1
This appears to be a mountain type bike. Many of these have a longer top tubes than road or rando bikes designed to go distances. The stem looks pretty short already so you may not have much luck getting flat bars closer and the bar ends although offering a different hand position will stretch you out even more.
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Old 05-08-14, 06:35 AM   #13
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Sorry.. I've been riding flat bars for years and never had an issue..

I always get a laugh when people say these type of things..

A flat bar with bar ends offers plenty of hand positions..

To the OP.. If you are getting numbness try the bar ends. If it continues maybe a different stem..

My ,02
We're all a little bit different, though. Your bar end and stem suggestions are plenty valid and could very well take care of the problem, but other bar types do offer more hand positions and could perhaps be beneficial to the OP in the event he needs something different/more.
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Old 05-08-14, 09:44 AM   #14
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Agree ^^^^

Flat bars are not for everyone but far to often people write them off and the 1st thing said is get a drop bar..

It's been my experience that flat bars can work just as well..

OP, as mentioned before check the following before writing off the flat bar

--Fit (I assume the bike has been properly fitted to you)?
--Saddle height, saddle position and angle.
--Stem angle

These are important as you don't want to much hand pressure on the bar. If you are leaning to hard onto the bar you will more than likely have issues.

Your hands should rest on the bar with little to no pressure. Also, don't grab / tightly grasp the bar as this will cause issues as well.

If you do get the bar ends, you may need to tinker with the angle of them a bit..

Once you get everything dialed in a flat bar can indeed go long distances with no issues.. I have been riding flat bar bikes for years. I just recently spent $3,000 on a flat bar bike. I could have easily went with a traditional drop bar road bike at that price point..

I ride about 40 miles a day, once a week I do a 60-mile ride and every so often I do a century = all on my flat bar.. I move my hands around on the bar quite often and I do use my bar ends several times while riding..

Disclaimer: I am NO expert and I am not certified in bike fitting.. I just know what works for me..

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you get it all worked out.. Numbness in hands and/or arms is no fun!
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Old 05-08-14, 10:20 AM   #15
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trekking bars
https://www.google.com/search?q=trek...w=1310&bih=821

a seller of one type & brand , that offers a dimensioned picture ..

http://www.cyclocamping.com/Handleba...LLER_B-39.aspx


another brand and type, On My bike .. http://www.cyclofiend.com/working/20...clark1008.html

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Old 05-08-14, 11:15 AM   #16
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Sorry.. I've been riding flat bars for years and never had an issue..

I always get a laugh when people say these type of things..

A flat bar with bar ends offers plenty of hand positions..

To the OP.. If you are getting numbness try the bar ends. If it continues maybe a different stem..

My ,02
Well, have a nice laugh when people express an opinion you don't agree with. In my opinion (as I stated), they aren't made for long distance riding and my personal experience - and the fact that I personally don't know anyone who does long distance cycling with straight bars - formed my opinion.

I don't laugh at your opinion or experience. I'm sure it's true for you and others, and worth it for the OP to explore how to make those flat bars work for him with additional accessories. But it's interesting that the bars themselves aren't working for him, but adding on a feature which accomplishes what other bars do by design will probably help a lot.

I don't think I was saying the bars couldn't be made to work by adding accessories. I think I was saying that in my opinion they aren't really designed for long distance cycling.

I don't disagree at all that you might be able to make a bar work by adding bar ends -no big deal, I've even done it. You can also add another position by adding clip on drops to flat bars. Both work well, but, in my opinion are workarounds for bars that simply aren't designed for the purpose. Trekking bars and drop bars in a good comfortable position on the bike are made for the purpose.

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Old 05-08-14, 11:23 AM   #17
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Well, have a nice laugh when people express an opinion you don't agree with. In my opinion (as I stated), they aren't made for long distance riding and my personal experience - and the fact that I personally don't know anyone who does long distance cycling with straight bars - formed my opinion.

I don't laugh at your opinion or experience. I'm sure it's true for you and others, and worth it for the OP to explore how to make those flat bars work for him with additional accessories. But it's interesting that the bars themselves aren't working for him, but adding on a feature which accomplishes what other bars do by design will probably help a lot.
Your solution was to get drop bars.. Why is that the solution without dialing in the fit and flat bar 1st??

Flat bars are perfectly fine for long distances as long as everything is adjusted properly..

If the OP tires everything listed in this thread and still has problems then I'd agree that flat bars might not be the best for them..

To simply spout out (not specifically directed at you, as it happens all the time) that flat bars can't do distance, to not offer any tips to the OP about flat bars, and to simply say get a drop bar is just wrong.

My .02

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Old 05-08-14, 11:53 AM   #18
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Just to clarify....I am female, have had my bike 2 months but have only ridden it about 12 times (too much snow, rain & high winds). My bike is a hybrid - Trek Neko SL (women's design). The reason for the pinched nerve is arthritis in my neck (which I just found out about a week ago). I have a few more doctor's visits before I find out if/what can be done to relieve the pressure on my nerves. I just started seriously cycling at the end of last summer so all of this is new to me. I had no idea what trekking bars are.
At my age stability & safety are most important to me, that's why I chose a hybrid - kind of best of both worlds for my needs. Now that I have this neck issue I'm really hoping it isn't going to keep me from doing something I love. I've lost over 100 lbs this past year & finally started to get myself healthy. Biking is a major part of this new healthy journey I'm on. Finding out about this arthritis stinks.
I appreciate all your input & suggestions. You have given me a lot to think about. Once I find out what is going on for sure, I may need to reconsider options. Of course I know we're all different but I was wondering how others may have dealt with numbness.
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Old 05-08-14, 12:23 PM   #19
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Assembled a Trek Neko for the LBS .. they are a good bike ... why not discuss this with the dealership manager-owner ?

, they may offer a number of component changes to the bike

that when you got it, you may now realize, that you did not , before .

and they may offer a swap deal for the removed parts .. its Good Customer service ..

congratulations on the work done to shed that 100 pounds
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Old 05-08-14, 12:26 PM   #20
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Now that I have this neck issue I'm really hoping it isn't going to keep me from doing something I love. I've lost over 100 lbs this past year & finally started to get myself healthy. Biking is a major part of this new healthy journey I'm on.
Congrats on the weight loss and the improvement in health! Here's hoping the neck issue doesn't cause you too many problems. If it does, though, you don't necessarily have to give up on cycling. There are lots of people who find ways to make it work, even if it means switching to a different kind of bike - like a recumbent bike for instance.
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Old 05-08-14, 03:14 PM   #21
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At my age stability & safety are most important to me, that's why I chose a hybrid - kind of best of both worlds for my needs. Now that I have this neck issue I'm really hoping it isn't going to keep me from doing something I love. I've lost over 100 lbs this past year & finally started to get myself healthy. Biking is a major part of this new healthy journey I'm on. Finding out about this arthritis stinks.
Great job!!! It's a hard change to make. I'm just getting back to it at 35.

This is my trekking bar setup. You can have them raise the stem to make you sit more upright and that may help.
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Old 05-09-14, 04:39 AM   #22
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Thanks!
fietsbob - Glad to hear you had some hands on experience with the Neko. This was no small purchase for me. I agonized over which bike to get for 4 months - longer than I take to buy a car!
This is the first time in my life to deal with a LBS. I wanted to buy my bike locally & have a relationship with the LBS. I've only been dealing with them for 2 mos & trying to get a feel for how this works & how they treat me, etc. So far, the owner has has been great & has recommended small things to me (accessories, etc but not changes to my bike) When I first asked him to put the bar ends on he didn't jump at the chance to make money, he actually talked me out of it. Then when I told him about my neck he agreed. So far, so good.
It's pretty intimidating at my age & weight to walk into a LBS!

SkyDog75 -

Hauptmann6 - LOL! I wish I was 35 again....funny thing is, in my mind sometimes I still feel like I am then my body reminds me I'm not.....the ER doctor reminded me last week too!
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Old 05-09-14, 08:14 AM   #23
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FWIW , the way I set up my Trekking Bars on my bike, is such that they are a bit higher than the saddle ,
and as you will see in the picture above, the sides are closer to you than the bar ends *, by a bit ..
the rear closer , the front further away..

* though there are Bar ends that plug over the end of the bars, rather than extend entirely ahead of them ..
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Old 05-11-14, 09:29 AM   #24
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It's pretty intimidating at my age & weight to walk into a LBS!

LOL! I wish I was 35 again....funny thing is, in my mind sometimes I still feel like I am then my body reminds me I'm not.....the ER doctor reminded me last week too!
Since you're the one who brought up age, you might find it beneficial to try the 50+ board. I suspect you'll find posters with more experience and fewer opinions.
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Old 05-13-14, 02:19 AM   #25
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Bar ends will certainly help- just about anything is better than the hand position you get with flat bars- but I'd change the entire bar to something more suitable. I have one bike with drop bars set reasonably high. The objective was to give more hand positions rather than to bend double.

My other bike has north road bars, which work great for most situations. Your existing brake levers and shifters should swap right over, and you can play around with the height and angle to get a natural hand position.
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