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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 09-17-08, 10:14 AM   #1
particleman42
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hand / elbow pain, RSI, Carpal Tunnel

I have trouble with pain in my hands, fingers, wrists, and elbows. Not sure if it is technically RSI, carpal tunnel, or what. One of these days I'll actually go to a doctor. Anyway...

Did any of you start riding 'bents because of similar issues? Not back or neck related issues, I'm specifically asking about hand pain.

If so, what style of 'bent relieved your pain? I've test-ridden some long and short wheel base 'bents but all were overseat steer. It seems like underseat steering would put my arms and hands at a more neutral position.
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Old 09-17-08, 03:09 PM   #2
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My hands are not happy on a DF but have no problems with either over or under seat steering. Most of my miles are on a Trice Q and a Rans Rocket, but I've been on many other bikes and trikes. None presented any problems or challenges for hands or wrists.
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Old 09-17-08, 07:42 PM   #3
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I went 'bent to get rid of crotch, low back, shoulder, neck, hand and wrist pain. An EZ Sport (LWB) got rid of everything but the hand and wrist pain. Solving this set of problems has taken some time. I had handle bars custom made to reduce arm reach and correct wrist angles. This helped a lot, but wasn't the final fix. Balloon tires and 1/2" wall foam hand grips completed the package. It's still not perfect, but with gel gloves, changing hand positions and running cold water on my hands after a ride, I get along ok.

In sorting this all out, I discovered several different problems needed to be addressed. First, a long reach to chopper type bars pulls the tendons that run from the forearn to the little finger. Mucho pain here. Bars long enough to let your upper arms rest almost vertically fixed it. (4 1/2" longer)

Second, incorrect wrist angles aggravated the wrist/carpal tunnel area. Rotating the hand grip part of the bar outward to match my wrist angles was the fix.

Third, low level vibration from the pavement surface irritates the nerves in the palm. Big pain, here. Fat tires and fat foam grips reduced this problem by cutting the transmitted vibration way down. I suppose a carbon fork would really help this, but with a 20" front wheel and the head tube angle on the EZ Sport, this is difficult to find.

Were I to do it all again, I'd get Rans Three Way Adjustable Bars, and forego the expense of custom made bars. Hope this helps. bk

Last edited by bkaapcke; 09-18-08 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 09-17-08, 07:51 PM   #4
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I used to get the occasional bruised sitz bones, but the real reason I switched was because of carpal-tunnel pain. My first 'bent was a V-Rex, and I still have it. Since the OSS doesn't put any pressure on the carpal-tunnel area, it completely relieved my pain. Only after that did I start getting into the speed aspect of recumbents, and I currently ride a lowracer, also with no pain.
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Old 09-17-08, 08:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by particleman42 View Post
I have trouble with pain in my hands, fingers, wrists, and elbows. Not sure if it is technically RSI, carpal tunnel, or what. One of these days I'll actually go to a doctor. Anyway...

Did any of you start riding 'bents because of similar issues? Not back or neck related issues, I'm specifically asking about hand pain.
That is precisely why I'm getting a 'bent. As soon as my friggin' Trek sells. 10 miles is the most I can muster on the Trek before getting excruciating wrist pain. I am seeing a hand surgeon next week about it after many years of struggling with pain stemming from keyboard and mouse use. The recumbent will let me separate the hand pain and cycling, letting me continue getting back into cycling while I fix my hands and wrists.
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Old 09-18-08, 04:12 PM   #6
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I got an EZ Sport cause of hand numbness. Later in the season my hands would be numb after 3 miles. I was always shaking my hands out. I've never had any bother on any other bent I've ridden.
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Old 09-18-08, 07:02 PM   #7
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I had carpel tunnel really bad prior to having it fixed with surgery. While having CT, I rode a Linear underseat steering recumbent. Not one bit of pain due to the CT during that time.
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Old 09-18-08, 07:46 PM   #8
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I have arthritis in my hands and I will get pain or numbness if the handle bars are not adjusted correctly. I recently bought a new Easy Racer Gold Rush to replace my Tour Easy. It was the change in bikes that refreshed my knowledge that the handle bars must be in the correct position. The Easy Racers web site explains that the forearm should be parallel to the ground. The arm should be slightly flexed. This reduces the pull of the arm weight on the hand and fingers when you grasp the handle. I think the chopper type handle bars offer more flexablity in adjustment. I understand that aftermarket Kalloy stems allow further adjustment to get the best fit. Check the Easy Racer Forum for more info and discussion.
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Old 09-19-08, 12:52 PM   #9
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Thank you all for the info. I'm very curious about the difference between USS and OSS in relation to hand issues. It's impossible to find an USS to test ride here and I have been led to believe that they have a steeper learning curve so don't sell as well and thus are not being manufactured by many companies anymore.
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Old 09-19-08, 01:24 PM   #10
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I suffer from an issue that affects my neck, shoulder, upper back, arm, and hand. I have no idea what the cause is, but it is one of the reasons I bought a 'bent.

Mine is a LWB with OSS, and I have no problems with additional pain from the bike.
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Old 09-19-08, 03:24 PM   #11
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I've had Carpal Tunnel for many years; the pain comes and goes. When I started riding an upright a year ago as my main transportation, my Carpal Tunnel got VERY painful, both hands get very numb when riding. THEN, I hit a nasty pothole (last February) and fractured (hairline) my left wrist. It still hurts. I am planning on touring the US and at first I was going to buy a custom upright but with so many aches and pains (back, neck, shoulders, rear ...etc) I started looking at Bents. I am totally convinced this is the way to go. Can't wait til I can buy one!
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Old 09-19-08, 05:13 PM   #12
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Hand comfort

I have carpal tunnel, elbow and shoulder problems. An upright or MTB will have my hands totally numb in short order. On the bents I have owned (approx 10) it has been so much better. With the OSS bikes I will occassionally have to shift my hand positions once the bars have been dialed in for me. I found on my first bent, an EZ Sport, if I brought the bars down enough that I could just rest my wrists across the grips it was very comfortable. USS trikes that I have had have been very nice as well and probably the easiest on the wrists but not by that much. With the Crank Forwards bikes by Rans, I had to change the handlebars to get less pressure on my hands. Once I went to a cruiser type bar they were much improved and about as nice as a bent as far as my hands and wrists were concerned.
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Old 09-19-08, 06:43 PM   #13
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My carpal tunnel syndrome mostly affects my rowing (hand numbness), and I've found the fist extension execises described here:
<http://www.apta.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Earn_CEUs&TEMPLATE=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=24757> to be very helpful (if I remember to do them on my way to the lake...). They should be helpful in biking too.
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