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Thread: Hand Pain

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    Hand Pain

    I recently had a bike fit done. Overall, I am very happy with it. I had my seat too high and too far forward. Now I just feel more... efficient. Putting the deat down and back a centimeter or two made a huge difference.

    I wish I could say the same for my hands. Before the fit, I had the bars tilted slightly up, with the levers relatively high on the hooks. See below:


    Now, the tops of the bars are flat, and the levers go straight out over the transition:


    It is comfortable if I stand over the bars and lean straight down, but when I am leaning forward, I feel like I have to turn my wrists down and grip the hoods to keep from sliding forward.

    Is this a problem with core strength or flexibility? All of the advice I have heard is to give the fitter the benefit of the doubt and try the fit for a few hundred miles, but I can't even finish my 6 mile commute without getting uncomfortable.

    I asked the fitter about feeling like I'm sliding forward, and his advice was to hook my pinkies behind the bars to keep from sliding forward.
    Last edited by aggiegrads; 01-06-11 at 05:52 AM.

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    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Go back to your fitter and have him/her fix it. If you paid for a fitting you are entitled to have it done right.

    On second thought, having to "hook your finger behind the bars to keep from sliding forward" is not a solution. I can't believe a professional fitter would suggest such a thing, especially to someone planing on riding long distances. Go get your money back and find a fitter that knows what he/she is doing.
    Last edited by Homeyba; 01-05-11 at 11:39 PM.
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    Just looking, the Brooks saddle might need tilting up a smidge. I also like having the hoods on my bars the same as you originally had them. Machka has hers even further up.

    If you feel uncomfortable after such a short distance, there might be fundamental issues, but if your fitter said it needed several hundred miles to get used to, then there certainly is a probelm with his philosophy.

    What recommended this fitter to you?

    You also should be making very, very small (as in 1/16th inch/millimetre) alterations to your fit as you ride along in the first hundred miles or so. IF you are reasonably satisfied with the way other aspects of your fit work, then try tilting the handlebars back towarrds you a few degrees until you find a "sweet spot". The same with the saddle. You may even find that when the saddle is fully broken in you may have to lift it a millmetre or two to compensate for the divots formed by your sitbones.

    Naturally, working on core strength is needed for long rides and it exercises to increase it certainly don't go astray. Moving the seat back may have accentuated any weakness, but really, it shouldn't require you to push back on the bars llke that.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    hrm.. i'dve thunk that maybe if they backed your saddle up they'dve KEPT your bars rotated up to take up some of the ulnar nerve pressure. presuming the FIT was right-- i'd rotate your bars back a bit- but honestly-- it doesn't look particularly UNkosher-- nor that different save for what looks like a dropped saddle and rotated bars.

    it takes a bit of time to settle in to new changes in fit, for sure, especially if you're WAY out for a long time-- but wrist pain is a super drag-- i'd rotate your bars first, and see if you can alleviate that as an intermediary step. i know that building up your core is super importante to keeping that at bay- but as i've always been told 'you should be able to ride and just hover your hands over the hoods without affecting the ride of the bike'-- i.e.-- there's not any pressure on the bars from your torso leaning on them- just a freehanging upper body in balance. that does take a bit of core strength to begin with. so if that equation works-- rotate your bars so that you're not super miserable for the time being, and git out and ride. i'm with rowan here-- take it slow, and adjust-- fitters can't see the tiny little parts of fit that you can from the saddle-- so there'll be a little finagling to do with the details.

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    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Go back to your fitter and have him/her fix it. If you paid for a fitting you are entitled to have it done right.

    On second thought, having to "hook your finger behind the bars to keep from sliding forward" is not a solution. I can't believe a professional fitter would suggest such a thing, especially to someone planing on riding long distances. Go get your money back and find a fitter that knows what he/she is doing.
    ^^^ This.


    Three of my bike offer great ride comfort without any unwanted pressure on the hands, but my newest bike is creating a tingling sensation which is an indicator of a serious problem.

    You should feel balanced in your saddle without the issue of sliding forward. In-fact you should easily ride no-handed even with your torso angled forward. You hands should be operating the bike, not resisting gravity.

    Michael

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    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Are your photos showing the bike exactly level? It looks tilted down in the front.

    I have my Campagnolo hoods level with the bars like your new fitting shows. But, my bars have much more drop than yours, and I still have the tops of the bars angled up slightly instead of horizontal. With your higher bars, I would try tilting them up even more.

    ( I did a self fitting to the bars. I barely tightened the bars so I could swivel them while on the bike. I sat on the bike in a doorway, waving my arm around to get my hands in a relaxed neutral postion, then bringing the hands down to the bars and tilting the bars to line up the hoods with my natural hand angle.)

    "hook your finger behind the bar" : wow.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 01-06-11 at 06:56 AM.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    My bars look like your new fit except that they are a couple inches lower w/r to the saddle. I mostly use two hand positions on the hoods. In the classic position I hook my little finger behind the bars. Yes I do, and it's worked great for thousands of miles. It's safer and more secure. I started doing it many years ago, after looking at photos of Jonathan Vaughters' hand positions in an article on hand/bar safety. In the second position, I hook my two smallest fingers under the hood, middle finger on the brake, forefinger in front of the hood, thumb on top, and lay my wrists on the flat bar top. Your new position will make this position more comfortable. It's great for long stretches of flat. Your new position may want you to bend your elbows more than you are used to, possibly much more. This is good. Work on riding with your forearms horizontal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
    I recently had a bike fit done. Overall, I am very happy with it. ...
    I asked the fitter about feeling like I'm sliding forward, and his advice was to hook my pinkies behind the bars to keep from sliding forward.
    While you are riding the bike, you should be able to lift your hands a cm off the bars without any sensation of rocking/pulling forward in the saddle. If you feel like you're rocking/pulling forward, it means you're not balanced on the bike. You may do OK for a century but somewhere after 500 miles (or before) your hands will go numb. I suspect that in your old position the reason you needed your bars tilted up like that is because you're tending to rock forward. Having moved the saddle back and down should diminish that tendency, but that also depends on saddle angle. You want the saddle almost dead flat under your sitbones so that you don't tend to roll either forward or back when you're just sitting on the saddle.

    It's a little hard to tell what's going on in your photos since there are too many geegaws on the handlebars and we can't tell if the bike is level.

    I agree with homeyba that the fact that the fitter would recommend using your pinkies to resist forward movement means you should ask for your money back. Seems like your fitter is unprofessional and should have the stripes publicly torn off his fitter uniform and be drummed out of the fitter corps! Or just hang hundred pound weights off his pinkies for a few hours.

    That said ... I think he's got your bars in a better position. Your hands should be able to rest on the hoods or behind them without being cocked at the wrist (since cocking your wrist tends to cause the nerve/tendon entrapment that leads to numbness). For your wrist to be flat, the bars need to be flat on top, with the brake hoods continuing the basic flat contour.

    I also tend to think that once you've found the "ideal" position, that you might want to move everything back to the original position and then over a period of a few weeks move gradually to the "ideal" position so that your body can get used to it. Rapid movements as large as you describe can lead to injury.

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    I would go back to the original reason I went to the fitter. What were you looking for when you visited the fitter?

    If you are in pain within 6 miles the bike fit is probably not right for you. If it just feels foreign then giving it a chance may be the right approach.

    You say you feel like you are sliding forward on the bike. That is not right. You shouldn't have to hold yourself back on the seat with your arms and hands. Core fitness or whatever else people want to throw at you, the bike needs to fit your body and fitness level today. As your fitness level changes you then make slight changes to the bicycle.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that bike fits are only suggestions. You are the one doing the riding.

    Later,
    HB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heckboy View Post
    Core fitness or whatever else people want to throw at you, the bike needs to fit your body and fitness level today. As your fitness level changes you then make slight changes to the bicycle.
    This makes a lot of sense. I never thought of it quite this way. I have made an appointment for the shop to do a follow-up fitting. If they can't get it right, I can go to another fitter in the same company, but a different shop.

    I'm not that out of shape. I put in about two thousand miles last year, 6 miles at a time (my 1 way commute, every day). I'm 5'7" (170cm) and about 155 lbs (70kg). I don't think that it is unreasonable to expect to be comfortable with my current level of fitness.

    I really appreciate everyone's advice.

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    I'm surprised they didn't bug you to lower your stem. I think they may have the bars/brake levers set up the way they would for someone that has some seat to bars drop, and you don't have any. I have never experimented with this aspect of fitting, but it seems clear that as you raise the stem you are changing the way the wrists have to bend unless some accommodation is made. It's not uncommon for people with their bars set higher to have the bars rotated back a little.

    Adjusting to someone's core strength is a good point. The issue then becomes if the core strength improves, do you push for a more aggressive position. I shortened my stem due to sore neck/upper back, and now it feels too short.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 01-06-11 at 03:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I'm surprised they didn't bug you to lower your stem.
    That was one of the options I was considering. If I dropped the stem a spacer or two and rotated the bars up, I would still have the same relative positions with the hoods and drops, but with less ulnar deviation. The tops would drop a couple of centimeters, but if I'm resting on the tops now, I could stand to drop them a little bit anyway.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    There was just a thread about bike fit on a LHT, set up very like this one, over on the Touring forum. It occurs to me that while the sizing issue may be different, the bike fit issue may be similar. In both these cases, that is almost the shortest effective length stem I've ever seen. Since one's arms are hinged at the shoulder, they travel through an arc. Therefore normally when one raises the stem, one uses a longer stem. These were my remarks about the fit on that other LHT with a high, short stem:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post11923572

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    Me and my horsey. Re-fit scheduled for tomorrow.


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    From the photo in your last post, I would tilt the handlebars back a few degrees. I honestly don't think the tops of the bars are level, and that is accentuating what I think is a very slight stretch to reach the hoods.

    I am truly interested in hearing what the fitter(s) has(ve) to say, and what the outcome is.

    I might also add that if your seat has been dropped like you say, then I hate to think how straight your legs were at the bottom of the pedal stroke, how your hips probably rocked, and how you were lining up for rear-of-knee and achilles issues. For mine, I think the seat might still be too high.

    What size cranks are you using and were they ever discussed between you and the fitter?
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Rowan makes a good point about the seat height. It's hard to tell from a picture, but I think the seat may still be too high. This instability may be leading to putting too much weight on your hands. Your position looks much too upright for a person of your age. You aren't going to be able to develop as much power as you're capable of. I don't know what your goals are, but you posted this in the long distance forum, which is a performance-oriented forum to some degree. What I see is a position that is appropriate for bopping around the park or riding 60 miles and calling it a day. You might be making up for it with muscle at this point. My recommendation would be to go down on the saddle and get a 7 degree 100mm stem w/ no spacers. People think that having an upright position has no costs, but it does. It's only a good idea if that's the only way you can ride.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 01-07-11 at 08:39 AM.

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    My cranks are 170mm. At my height with relatively short legs, The fitter said that I was dead-on for the current crank length. He did measure hip-to-knee and overall length.

    Unterhausen, you are correct that I have aspirations for more than I am currently riding. My short term goal is to do Seattle-to-Portland (2 day, double century) this year without major discomfort or injury. The ride is in July, which is why I'm trying to get fit sorted out as soon as possible.

    I am definitely more efficient on the current position. I remember thinking "I'm riding a little faster than I usually do" and random speedometer checks confirmed it. Then I realized that I was riding the studded tires. I'm no doubt in a better position relative to the pedals. I just need to get the soft half correctly fitted.

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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    The handlebar positionings several of us have suggested will not involve moving your saddle positions, but rather are intended to better adjust your upper body and in some cases your wrist. Such changes should result in even more improvement, at least with time. Your saddle position might be correct, especially since you have become more efficient with it, but finding a perfect fit does not always get finished in one session or even one riding season.

    The angle of your hand to your wrist looks too sharply bent, very far away from a neutral position. This alone can lead to hand pain.

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    ya, I can from the photo see why that would begin to hurt your hands. Too much pressure on the lateral heel (below the pinkie). One method- I won't claim it was a good one- that helped me get an idea of how pressure distribution aggravated or relieved numbness was to get some of those 1/8 inch thick neoprene sandals they use at pedicure places where our teenager gets hers painted. I cut out inserts that I could put inside the gloves or tape onto the brake hoods.

    Bike fitting is voodoo, I think. It can help a great deal with fundamental issues of saddle height and fore-aft position, as demonstrated by your ability to ride markedly faster now, but the hand-handlebar interface is so complex and personal that the best results might be obtained by trial and error. If your fitter has the patience to do that, so much the better. From the photo, however, it's pretty easy to see why the original handlebar position worked well for you..

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    I found the sweet spot for my seat. I tipped up about 2mm at the second fitting, which didn't seem to make a big difference. I made another adjustment on my own raising the nose another 2mm or so, which was a big improvement with respect to the amount of pressure on my hands. I tried tipping up another mm, and instantly decided that was too much.

    At the fitting, we dropped the handlebars 2 full spacers and tipped them up a little bit. I just titled the bars back a tad more, we'll see how that works for the next couple of days.

    I know I have already said it, but I really appreciate everyone's encouragement and advice.
    Last edited by aggiegrads; 01-12-11 at 09:56 PM.

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    can you put the spacers back in? hopefully you just top stacked them and didn't cut the stem down.

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    The spacers are stacked on top. I don't intend to cut the steering tube.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Your new position may want you to bend your elbows more than you are used to, possibly much more. This is good. Work on riding with your forearms horizontal.
    I'd second this if you find yourself still having trouble. Rotate your wrists off the top of the hoods and drop your elbows a good bit; it will forced you to support yourself with your core and legs instead of resting your weight on your wrists and arms. It will lower your stance, like a few others have mentioned, and will help get more of your legs and glutes involved in pedaling.

    Nice bike, btw.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    What it's supposed to look like. I'm posting to this old thread to provide something I can refer to in the future.

    I finally got around to taking some photos of me on our tandem. I'm showing this bike because it's an all-purpose bike for fast rides, touring, and long distance. Ignore the position of my right arm, as I'm using it to hold myself upright. I'm showing moderate, all-day positions:

    captains_comp.jpg - shows captain's compartment. Bar tops are 1.25" below saddle. My singles for long distance have the bars a couple inches lower than this. Note how the start of the hoods forms a continuation of the flat portion of the bar before the bend.

    standard_hoods.jpg - shows normal cruise position with leg extended. Note foot is flat or heel slightly dropped, bent elbows, angle of back and knee, little finger behind bar.

    low_standard_hoods.jpg - shows position for slightly faster riding. Note relationship between elbow and knee, almost level forearms, little finger behind bar.

    low_modified_hoods.jpg - I spend a lot of time in this position. Note forearms again near level, two small fingers wrapped around bottom of hoods, fore and middle fingers and thumb wrapped around top of hood, wrist resting on bar top, elbow in front of knee. Stem could be 1 cm longer - this gap is minimum.

    standard_drops.jpg - shows normal position for riding in the drops. Note elbow in front of knee, angle of back similar to low_modified_hoods.jpg. The low hoods position is a little bit faster, but one has better braking, handling, and faster acceleration from the drops, plus it's a nice change. I descend in the drops.

    standard_climbing_tops.jpg - just like it says. My normal climbing position. Opens the chest. Note amount of elbow/knee overlap, angle of back about the same as standard_hoods.jpg.

    fast_climbing_tops.jpg - shows position for climbing upwind or climbing accelerations. Again note elbow/knee overlap.

    These are not racing positions. This is my touring bike. These positions are very comfortable for my aging back, arms, hands, butt, etc. There are many more hand positions available on drop bars, but the ones shown are the main ones. My legs are short and these cranks are 172.5, so your legs may not look exactly like mine in these same positions, but elbow/knee relationship should be similar.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  25. #25
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    The position of the cylindrical protein filaments growing from the epidermal layer or your chin is quite orthogonal to the plane of travel in six of the seven pictures. This will cause turbulence in the laminar flow resulting in diminished high speed capacity. Everything else looks pretty good!
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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