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Short commute, numb hands....handle bars?

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Short commute, numb hands....handle bars?

Old 04-04-11, 12:39 PM
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Short commute, numb hands....handle bars?

I do mixed-mode commute.
About 4 miles to the bus, and then on to metro.

I currently use a brand new Cannondale Quick 6 (small size) which I got from REI about not long ago.

During the past few rides I noticed a numbness in my hands, after about 10-15 minutes of riding.

I tried adjusting the seat height - nothing
I tried tipping and lowering the seat - nothing

I use gloves (padded)

Stem is 140mm, riser bar.

Should I try an adjustable stem?

Also, these are the hand grips I have, they are comfort grips:


Can the wide grip cause numbness?


Any other ideas?

Thanks folks!
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Old 04-04-11, 12:43 PM
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When you're riding are your wrists bent or mostly straight?
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Old 04-04-11, 12:48 PM
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My hands used to go numb a lot when I rode my mountain bike with flat bars. When I switched to riding on the hoods of a road / touring bike the problem went away. I've been using the mountain bike again recently and have had my hands get numb again.

One thing I was going to try but never got around to was bar ends so that my hands would be in a position similar to my touring bike.
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Old 04-04-11, 12:50 PM
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Numb hands usually means you've got too much weight on your arms.
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Old 04-04-11, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
When you're riding are your wrists bent or mostly straight?
Mostly straight....but I dont think I am over-reaching
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Old 04-04-11, 12:54 PM
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Numb hands usually means you've got too much weight on your arms.
a study of riding position , bars too low ? , too far a reach?

Those padded bike gloves will help. Spenco offer a patented pad arrangement,
to reduce pressure on the nerve bundle in the palm/wrist area.

Bigger flat surface may actulally help , the thin round grip less helpful

ergon with integrated bar ends offers some moving your hands around , frequently,
that may help.

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-04-11 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 04-04-11, 12:56 PM
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The only times I have had serious hand numbness issues were when my bike wasn't setup properly. It's very frustrating. I tried changing to ergonomic grips, specially padded grips, and gel riding gloves. But the numbness issues persisted. You just have to find that magic spot, where the seat and handlebars are aligned to perfection. It's simply amazing how even small changes can clear up hand numbness problems. It can take a while to find the sweet spot, but it's time well spent.
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Old 04-04-11, 01:01 PM
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What about adjustable stem, to go from 140 to 125 or so?
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Old 04-04-11, 01:04 PM
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Numb hands could be from a number of factors. 1) You maybe gripping your hands to tightly. 2) Your wrist may be at an improper angle 3) Your bike may be set up incorrectly. 4) Your gloves and/or grips may be exacerbating the problem.

First off set your saddle height correctly. Also try to be aware if you are gripping your handlebars to tightly, and try to loosen up. Personally I like the Ergon Grips. If you feel you are reaching to far forward or putting to much weight on your hands then change stem. Some shops have adjustable stems they will let you borrow.

Also, gloves can either help or hurt the situation. To much padding, or not enough and where the pads are located can all affect numbness.
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Old 04-04-11, 01:07 PM
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try tilting the nose of your saddle up slightly, on my mtb the nose is pointed up, while my roadies are flat.
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Old 04-04-11, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by exile
2) Your wrist may be at an improper angle 3) Your bike may be set up incorrectly.
+1

Sounds like sizing issue. I've felt the numbness when a bike was too large for me; a new stem can work wonders on getting a comfortable position (assuming the rest of the bike is sized correcly).
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Old 04-04-11, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by exile
Numb hands could be from a number of factors. 1) You maybe gripping your hands to tightly. 2) Your wrist may be at an improper angle 3) Your bike may be set up incorrectly. 4) Your gloves and/or grips may be exacerbating the problem.

First off set your saddle height correctly. Also try to be aware if you are gripping your handlebars to tightly, and try to loosen up. Personally I like the Ergon Grips. If you feel you are reaching to far forward or putting to much weight on your hands then change stem. Some shops have adjustable stems they will let you borrow.

Also, gloves can either help or hurt the situation. To much padding, or not enough and where the pads are located can all affect numbness.
Will check out the Ergon Grips.
Thank you!
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Old 04-04-11, 01:13 PM
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I got numb hands from riding my commuter that previously had a relatively straight bar. It aggravated a nerve in the heel of my hand. No matter what gloves or grips I used, the problem existed. At one point it was so bad on my right hand that my pinky and ring finger felt almost like they weren't there (and it lasted for more than a day after my ride).

I went to see several doctors and a neurologist and they agreed there was peripheral neuropathy in my hands (though the one showed no symptoms). They suggested I quit riding, but had zero ideas about how they could help me. I quit riding for a while because of it. They didn't think it was a pinched nerve, except it always became more pronounced after riding my bike.

When riding drop bars or trekking style "butterfly" bars I had zero problems. Solution: I never ride straight bars any more, and I stopped wasting time at the doctor offices that couldn't tell me anything.
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Old 04-04-11, 01:14 PM
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You might also want to try sliding your seat back. If it's too far forward, you won't be able to balance yourself correctly. As an experiment to demonstrate the idea, try to bend over with your hips and feet against a wall, then try again with your feet about 18 inches away from the wall. With this balance perspective in mind, try lifting your hands off the bar while you're riding without sitting up straighter than you normally do. If you find yourself falling forward, that's your problem. The cause of this problem may either be too much reach to the bars or the seat too far forward (or both). Titling the saddle up may help your hands, but it could also cause numbness in a much worse place.
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Old 04-04-11, 01:16 PM
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are you riding with a backpack? i notice my hands go numb when i have my backpack on too tightly. sometimes i strap it too tight and it looks like i am restricting some circulation in my shoulder. the backpack does not reduce circulation when i am walking, just when i am in the riding position.
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Old 04-04-11, 01:22 PM
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My hands go numb during a long hazardous decent on my commute when I have a death grip on my handlebars. If I remember to relax my hands there is no problem. Also I would put some bar ends on so you can have some different hand positions.
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Old 04-04-11, 02:03 PM
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I used to have terrible problems with hand numbness. What worked for me was raising my handlebars higher and shortening my reach. My underlying problems were due to a neck injury I had as a child, which makes it difficult for me to bend my neck. When my bars are too low, it puts pressure on a nerve in my neck that leads to my hands. (This is what I found out after seeing a doctor and getting X-rays.) Your situation may be very different, so here are some other remedies that might help:
- Pad your bars with tape that has more cushion, like Cinelli gel cork.
- Work at conditioning your core muscles in abdomen, which support your upper body.
- Keep your saddle level or tilted very slightly up in the front, which helps keep your weight centered on the back of the saddle.
- Raise your handlebars.
- Try a shorter stem.
- Change your hand positions often while riding.
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Old 04-04-11, 02:54 PM
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my experience (YMMV) is that flat bars = wrist pain. I had good luck reducing that by using Cane Creek Ergo Barends. It is my opinion that the form of flat bars does not follow that function of the body. If you look at bars historically, bars have almost always positioned the hands so that the thumb point forward and the palms are parallel. The flat, mountain bike bar is a recent phenomena and it is mostly lack of experience of how comfortable drop bars and north road styles are that people look/think flat bars are comfortable. The are great for control off road, but not comfortable.
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Old 04-04-11, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
The flat, mountain bike bar is a recent phenomena and it is mostly lack of experience of how comfortable drop bars and north road styles are that people look/think flat bars are comfortable. The are great for control off road, but not comfortable.
Exactly, ever since i switched to north roads bars my neck, wrists, shoulders and back feel better and i can ride longer. The upright position gives me better side vision and since i average 10-15mph i dont even notice the wind drag.
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Old 04-04-11, 10:19 PM
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All sorts of suggestions here.
4 miles to hand numbness = I must ask if you are a new rider.
All these adjustments are meaningless if your circulatory system is experiencing something new.
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Old 04-05-11, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
a study of riding position , bars too low ? , too far a reach?

Those padded bike gloves will help. Spenco offer a patented pad arrangement,
to reduce pressure on the nerve bundle in the palm/wrist area.

Bigger flat surface may actulally help , the thin round grip less helpful

ergon with integrated bar ends offers some moving your hands around , frequently,
that may help.
https://www.bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BK...ils&ProdID=221

There's a 20.00 pair as well. Very effective in eliminating numbness. Used to have a problem until I took a chance on these gloves.
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Old 04-05-11, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeguy
All sorts of suggestions here.
4 miles to hand numbness = I must ask if you are a new rider.
All these adjustments are meaningless if your circulatory system is experiencing something new.
Yes to new rider.
Well, new as in I took a multi year break
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Old 04-05-11, 09:12 AM
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Those grips are only comfortable when they are positioned in certain ways. Try rotating them around and see if that helps. Usually the part that sticks out the most should be closest to you so that most of it rest on your palm. It maybe these grips that is causing the numbness. Maybe they are too big??? Grips are sorta cheap, if you continue to have numbness, go to a shop and ask if they have any in a bargain bin or stuff that were taken off of new bikes. Should be cheap.

But it could be a lot of things...like riding position, poor fitting, flat bars which forces the wrist to be positioned in a very unnatural way.
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Old 04-05-11, 10:53 AM
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I second the Ergons. I used to have the same symptoms, and put on a pair of ergons. They siolved almost all of my problem. I've tried some other brands that came with bikes I've purchased (most recent were Bontrager brand) but they did not seem to work as well as the Ergons for me.
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Old 04-05-11, 10:55 AM
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Just a quick update, got the Ergons installed, as soon as weather here in DC improves, I will give them a try.
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