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Fit Question high end gravel bike - hands asleep

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Fit Question high end gravel bike - hands asleep

Old 12-14-21, 10:56 PM
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Gravel50
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Fit Question high end gravel bike - hands asleep

I need some advice. I got back into biking a few years ago. I really prefer packed gravel trails. I started with a Surly Straggler (still own and like) and have since graduated to a Lauf True grit (race) and just recently purchased a full custom built Salsa Beargrease (also owned a Ice cream truck and Mukluk). I love fat bikes. My main question and concern is when I ride my Lauf my hands always go to sleep and I suffer from elbow pain. Iíve been fit now by 2 different high end fitters and they have changed a lot of components and fit of The bike and still things go numb and Iím uncomfortable and ride in some pain. I thought maybe this was just the way it was until I got the Beargrease and can go for miles and miles and have zero discomfort. I feel great on this bike.

So my question is is it me or is the Lauf geometry just not made for me? Is there a better fitting (all carbon) bike that others would recommend that would maybe for closer to the Beargrease. I realize Iím comparing a gravel bike to a fat bike but I thought id ask. I wasnít sure if maybe the Lauf geometry was to aggressive or want but Iíd like to find a gravel bike as comfortable as my Salsa Beargrease. Thanks
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Old 12-14-21, 11:58 PM
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The Beargrease's geometry is much more in line with a mountain bike's, so maybe look in that direction. Lots of folks use 29er hardtails for gravel riding, with or without drop bars.
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Old 12-15-21, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
The Beargrease's geometry is much more in line with a mountain bike's, so maybe look in that direction. Lots of folks use 29er hardtails for gravel riding, with or without drop bars.
Thank you for your advice. So maybe try something alone the lines of a Salsa Cuttthroat?
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Old 12-15-21, 07:41 AM
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Surprising that the Straggler works for you but not the Lauf. You didnít mention sizes, but comparing (for example) the 58cm Straggler and the Size L Lauf shows similar stack/reach/ett:

https://geometrygeeks.bike/compare/l...00c-2019-58cm/

I guess itís possible that your sizes donít match as close, but if they do, Iíd take a hard look at other fit details like stem height/length, handlebars, etc. Its amazing how little it takes to make numb handsÖslight adjustments can put more pressure in the wrong spot on your palms and make a huge difference. I had some numbness with my current bike that mostly went away with different handlebarsÖbut I then put those old bars on a different bike where they donít seem to be a problem.
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Old 12-15-21, 07:52 AM
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I do suffer it a little with the Straggler (large) but not near as bad as I do with the Lauf.

3 miles in on the Lauf and both hands are pretty much asleep and like I said I done several fittings and stem, and cockpit changes.

Iím trying to figure out if itís just to aggressive of a setup for me. I should add that I do have pretty severe chronic epicondylitis in my elbows because of my profession but again I donít suffer any issues on my Beargrease.

Im hoping to find a similar cock pit set Iím as my Beargrease in a carbon gravel bike. Hoping that exists.
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Old 12-15-21, 08:31 AM
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You can look at geometry charts online, compare with your Beargrease. And yes, if the Lauf is uncomfortable, sell it and try something else.
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Old 12-15-21, 08:42 AM
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Thanknuih for you hell and advice everyone. I do have a question when looking at the geometry charts online for bikes. With my issues Iím having what are the main ones (angles and measurements) I should be looking for to try and match the BG?
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Old 12-15-21, 08:42 AM
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Thank you for the help and advice everyone. I do have a question when looking at the geometry charts online for bikes. With my issues Iím having what are the main ones (angles and measurements) I should be looking for to try and match the BG?
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Old 12-15-21, 10:06 AM
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You may want to consider drop bars that have flatter top sections where your hands are most of the time and also try thicker bar tape.
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Old 12-15-21, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Gravel50 View Post
Thanknuih for you hell and advice everyone. I do have a question when looking at the geometry charts online for bikes. With my issues Iím having what are the main ones (angles and measurements) I should be looking for to try and match the BG?
I have read (and found) that people often use a higher "stack" to take pressure off their hands, but it has the opposite effect. I think reach may be more important.

Try this.
  • Stand up
  • crouch down as low as you are comfortable
  • put your hands out in front of you with your forearms parallel to the ground and your elbows in front of your knees.
Notice how there is no weight on your wrists? This is roughly the position you want on your bike.
Personally, I have found that shortening the reach (i.e. changing the handlebar stem) can do wonders in this area. If my reach is too long, I put weight on my hands and sooner or later something goes numb.
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Old 12-15-21, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Gravel50 View Post
Thank you for the help and advice everyone. I do have a question when looking at the geometry charts online for bikes. With my issues Iím having what are the main ones (angles and measurements) I should be looking for to try and match the BG?
Because the Beargrease is a fat mountain bike and the Lauf is a gravel race bike, you're really comparing apples to bananas here. Look at the stack and reach numbers, but I suspect the stem, handlebars, and general riding position are contributing to the difference in comfort.

Originally Posted by Gravel50 View Post
So maybe try something alone the lines of a Salsa Cuttthroat?
Maybe, but I was thinking something along the lines of an actual mountain bike. Geometry-wise, the Beargrease has more in common with, say, a Timberjack.
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Old 12-15-21, 09:47 PM
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I'd go back to the bike fitters and get them to help you fix it. If you want to a fitter to address an issue and they didn't get it right, they need to try again.
I agree that you cannot equate reach and stack on a Beargrease with flat bars and any gravel bike with drop bars. My gravel and fat bikes both fit me fine - reach on the gravel bike is 375; on my Beargrease 426.
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Old 12-16-21, 08:39 AM
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See your fitter. Carefully measure seat setback between the bikes. I might guess your Beargrease saddle might be set more aft. When that's set on your other bike, then adjust your stem reach. If one bike feels great, you should be able to adjust the fit of others to match it.
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Old 12-16-21, 08:43 AM
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I have a True Grit race and it is pretty aggressive for a gravel bike. I have mine set up with a similar bar to saddle drop as my road bike with just a slightly shorter reach. It comes with a pretty short stem already, so my guess is to get a little more upright, you would need a stem with some rise on it, but probably don't have much room to shorten the reach.

I definitely think it is a fit/position issue. The Lauf with the fork and smoothie handlebar (and wider tires) is way more comfortable on my wrists and hands on long rides than my cross bike with a similar set up.
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Old 12-16-21, 08:50 AM
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Excess pressure and numbness of the hands is often caused by saddle adjustment, esp. having the saddle tilted nose-down, sometimes even just by a little bit. This allows your weight to slide forward and you experience excessive load on your hands and arms to stop yourself from sliding forward.
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Old 12-16-21, 08:50 AM
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Just get a recumbent or trike and all pain will be eliminated.
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Old 12-16-21, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Just get a recumbent or trike and all pain will be eliminated.
Except the pain your ego suffers every time one of your former two wheeled friends sees you on it…

But, you’re not wrong. I have a good friend who switched to a recumbent trike about 10 years ago after he developed carpal tunnel severe enough that riding a double triangle road bike became impossible.
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Old 12-16-21, 12:12 PM
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I suffered excess pressure on my hands for years, even making the handlebar stem shorter and shorter, until I realised the seatpost on my dropbar bike had zero offset - I didn't think this was important, but I slammed the saddle back as far as I could and the pressure on my hands was more manageable. Its crazy what 20mm seat offset does to your riding position!
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Old 12-16-21, 12:18 PM
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...It comes with a pretty short stem already, so my guess is to get a little more upright, you would need a stem with some rise on it, but probably don't have much room to shorten the reach.
The trick is, if you raise the stem, you also need to make the reach shorter.
The reason why raising the handlebar height often actually makes things worse is this isn't taken into account.
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Old 12-16-21, 12:45 PM
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Thank you everyone for all of the help and advice. Very much appreciated

Things that I have tried are... 2 complete bike fittings (one being the RETUL), changed the stem out twice. I now have a very short and upright stem (my fitter says I can't go anymore upright or shorter), Double wrapped my bars with salsa gel tape, done multiple seat changes and adjustments and a few other things. I just cant seem to get used to the aggressive geometry of the Lauf. I love the bike jut can't seem to get used to the geometry.

I've been considering maybe looking at another bike style for gravel riding. Maybe the Salsa Cutthroat?

I'm just not sure what to do besides try a different bike at this point. My hands are completely asleep at mile 3 and about every 1-2 miles I'm having to shake them out.
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Old 12-16-21, 03:02 PM
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Sounds like your fitter hasn't heard of a riser drop bar.
Here's the most extreme carbon example out there:- https://bikerumor.com/eb17-3-new-bik...venture-trail/
https://alexscycle.com/collections/v...rbon-handlebar

As mentioned, you'd want to first start by ensuring your saddle height and setback position is near/exact your Beargrease. Level saddle also.
Then you dial in the front end.

That Lauf frame is quite long and aggressive for its design. Hopefully you didn't purchase a frame that is just too long for modding the fit.

On a typical flatbar your hands will be out wider than a dropbar, so when trying to achieve a similar 'reach' on a dropbar [at the hoods] you want to keep a similar distance/arc when swinging in your arm reach to a narrower dropbar.

You may be able to achieve this position using a moderately short stem on the Lauf, in combo with that rather short reach [and tall stack] Veno bar.

There are a few other carbon bars out there with much lower stack, but none have as short reach as the Borderless from Japan.

The Veno bar is quite expensive but way cheaper than a whole new carbon bike/frameset, if you ARE able to achieve the fit you're chasing with such a bar or similar.

Last edited by tangerineowl; 12-16-21 at 03:06 PM. Reason: txt
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Old 12-16-21, 03:21 PM
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This will be the last time I post this picture, I promise

if you look closely at the bars on the muddy one and the mountain bike youíll notice not only do they have a bit of rise they also have a touch of sweep. I love these bars (Redshift Kitchen Sink) which is why theyíre on the two bikes I ride the most, maybe give them a try.
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Old 12-16-21, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Gravel50 View Post
Thank you everyone for all of the help and advice. Very much appreciated

Things that I have tried are... 2 complete bike fittings (one being the RETUL), changed the stem out twice. I now have a very short and upright stem (my fitter says I can't go anymore upright or shorter), Double wrapped my bars with salsa gel tape, done multiple seat changes and adjustments and a few other things. I just cant seem to get used to the aggressive geometry of the Lauf. I love the bike jut can't seem to get used to the geometry.

I've been considering maybe looking at another bike style for gravel riding. Maybe the Salsa Cutthroat?

I'm just not sure what to do besides try a different bike at this point. My hands are completely asleep at mile 3 and about every 1-2 miles I'm having to shake them out.
ugh, that is frustrating. You could also try doing core exercizes to make sure your core is strong.

I have a super stiff front end on my bike, but I don't really notice it because I don't have any weight on my hands. If you have a strong core, you could keep the short stem but have it very low. That will take your weight off your hands, but it does require you to be athletic (note how many pros look like their knees are going to hit their elbows).

From what you are describing, you need a different frame. Try "renting" a bike from your LBS and going for a long ride. That may give you a way to feel out what you need. That is what I tend to do before making a big purchase (they often apply the rental to the cost of the bike if you buy).
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Old 12-17-21, 02:56 AM
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I get numb fingertips only when I'm grabbing the brake hoods and only with modern Shimano STI's with hidden shift cables, not with anything else. Must be the design that my hands don't like
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Old 12-17-21, 09:30 AM
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Why can't you match the setup of your Straggler?
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