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Hybrid handlebar mod for carpal tunnel

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Hybrid handlebar mod for carpal tunnel

Old 07-21-20, 12:40 PM
  #1  
Sawbonz
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Hybrid handlebar mod for carpal tunnel

Just retired and bought my 1st bike in 30 years REI CTY 1.3 Will be riding on paved bike paths and residential streets for exercise/enjoyment. Usual distance has been around 8 to 12 miles. I live in Knoxville, TN so it's a very hilly. I have had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome managed non-surgical. I have a good pair of biking gloves and the bike comes with a comfort grip. Already tried changing the stem. From what I read I think i need to change the flat handlebars to a riser. But also have read about adding spacers. I sat on the bike and had my wife measure the distance from the current grip to my hand when I sat up to where I felt comfortable. Not sure how else to try to estimate the needed rise. So it seems I need about 2.5" to 3" rise. I am 6' 1" tall; inseam is 32"; wear a 35" sleeve; distance between AC joints is 14". Found a few possibilities Since the existing handlebar is aluminum I wanted to keep the same material. And matte black for cosmetic reasons.
But before I spend wanted to check if this seems reasonable and avoid a mistake. Are there unintended consequences from raising the handlebar this much? How much can I raise the handle bar with spacers? Are there any different effects on overall body position from spacer vs handlebar? All of these handlebars seem to be for mountain bikes and are very wide. My understanding is that you can fairly easily cut/shorten an aluminum bar? Any other recommendations?
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Old 07-21-20, 01:05 PM
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Crankycrank
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I can't make any recommendations on various measurements for you but generally you want to sit more upright by moving your bars up and back towards you to relieve some of the weight on your arms, hands and wrists. There is a sweet spot of course but looking at a photo of your bike it looks to be more of a stretched out and low position as sold and not the best for your CT. I would say the best way to find the right position is to get a cheap adjustable stem and you can experiment without having to invest in different spacers and bars. When you get it figured out then get a solid stem that has the correct measurements. https://www.ebay.com/itm/25-4-31-8mm...r=473459439367 You need to know the correct size steerer tube clamp and handlebar clamp area diameter before ordering. Plenty of mfrs. sell these so shop around.

Last edited by Crankycrank; 07-21-20 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:18 PM
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dsbrantjr
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I would suggest you consider Ergon grips; I have had good success with them. I use the GP1 Biokork ones, but some of the others have extensions which provide alternate hand positions which might be helpful. https://www.ergonbike.com/en/product.html?a=griffe
You might also want to look into trekking bars which provide a number of different hand positions.
https://ilovebicycling.com/trekking-...you-need-them/ https://www.sheldonbrown.com/deakins/handlebars.html
I cut my bars down so that the ends of the grips are at the widths of my shoulders; lake a cat's whiskers, if the bars fit through a space so will I.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:34 PM
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I don’t know of any spacers to raise your handlebars on a threadless steerer tube.

You can buy a steerer tube extender to raise your bar 2”/3” and then attach your stem to the extender. If you are unsure I imagine a bike shop can set it up. You’ll probably have to replace cables, housings and hydraulic lines.

John
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Old 07-21-20, 05:49 PM
  #5  
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Changing to an upright position is almost certainly a good idea for you. Here are a couple mechanical concerns:
Sometimes raising handlebar height significantly, particularly if reach stays the same, can require longer cables, housing, and hydraulic hose. This requires some fair mechanical knowledge and the majority of average riders would do best having this work done by a professional. In particular, if the hydraulic hoses are too short they will need to be replaced and the system completely rebled. It's a good idea to mock up the desired position with the existing cables/housing/hoses and see if everything works--you need to be able to turn the bars around past the top tube, or at some point you WILL do so and damage something.

Significantly more upright positions will reduce the amount of weight on the front wheel which generally makes bikes twitchier, but most people seem to get used to this. As a mechanic, some bikes adapted to very upright postures handle really twitchily to me, but, again, people seem to mostly get used to this.

You probably can't raise the handlebar with spacers--bikes usually are sold in the highest possible position. Without seeing exactly the position you need to achieve, the best way would be to combine a high-angle stem that both provides some rise and has a little bit less reach with a handlebar with some rise, and also possibly somewhat back swept hand position. You probably do not want a wide, trail-oriented MTB bar as the additional width will pull your body more forward. You can cut bars down, but some have limits. Maybe something generally in the North Road style, or something like https://www.somafab.com/archives/pro...iser-handlebar .
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Old 07-21-20, 06:12 PM
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Probably goes against conventional wisdom, but when I returned to riding I found my wrists did much better with drop bars. I hadn't ridden in decades and started with a flat bar hybrid. My wrists were sore after a few miles. A few weeks later, I bought a hybrid that was converted to drop bars and the pain disappeared.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:58 PM
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Carpal tunnel syndrome is as much about wrist position and grasp as it is about weight bearing. Maintaining a neutral wrist position and a light grasp is important. The ergon grips (and the like) can help maintain the right position. (When your arm is hanging relaxed at your side the wrist is in the neutral position. The neutral position creates the most room and least pressure/stretch on the median nerve.) You may want to try the correct set up before raising your bars. If that doesn't work, having the multiple positions of drop, trekking and moustache bars can also help
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Old 07-21-20, 09:35 PM
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Here is my bike with a hidden Stem raiser from the NL company BBB . I knocked out the star nut to put it in..




the clever bit from a Mechanic's perspective is the center bolt, once the quill wedge is tightened,
the hex socket is also threaded inside so the threadless pre load still works, moved to the very top cap ..
almost as if steerer was not cut too short,,...






...
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