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What bike style is easiest on wrists? (recovering roady here)

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What bike style is easiest on wrists? (recovering roady here)

Old 09-17-22, 09:54 AM
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Certainly not the lightest solution, but I have shoulder arthritis and bought butterfly touring bars because constantly varying my position keeps the shoulder from stiffening and they offer an infinite number of hand positions. From that I have learned what my arm likes best and have some ideas how I'd prefer to setup a lighter bar. If you're in a recovery phase you might consider them temporarily and they might inform you on what's the most comfy position for your own problem. I think mine cost $25 on Amazon.
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Old 09-17-22, 10:01 AM
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I'd start with a tadpole. Get back into the riding.

Then you may choose something else. Or you may like it.
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Old 09-17-22, 10:05 AM
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It also may not hurt to talk to a bike fitter, even with a road bike.

You're supposed to get a fair amount of support with core muscles and ride fairly light on the bars.

So things like moving the seat back or raising the bars some might make a significant difference.

And, of course, pay attention to your body. If something doesn't feel right, find a better grip (or ride one handed for a bit).

But, I'd also encourage starting slowly, so with either the recumbent or the tadpole.
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Old 09-17-22, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
Funny, my Ortho only recommends Cinelli 64-40.

John
64-40 or Fight?
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Old 09-17-22, 10:23 AM
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I like very flared, very high drop bars. I'm constantly moving my hands between drops, the hoods, and the cross bar.
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Old 09-17-22, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
64-40 or Fight?
Well… probably not.

Although I do like the shallower drop of the 64’s, I imagine modern bars would be more of an improvement. I’m anticipating that my back will weigh in on future considerations.

John

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Old 09-17-22, 10:54 AM
  #32  
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I really dislike flat bars. I have been a drop bar rider most of my life, but have recently tried a couple of other types.

First up: Ritchey Beacon Handlebar. Still a drop bar, but with very shallow and 24 deg. flare on the drops. I just got these and had my second ride on them this morning. I am very impressed with the comfort factor for this bar, easy on my arthritic thumb, neutral hand and wrist positioning, easy and short travel for access to shifting and braking, can still get pretty low in a tuck for when needed. I have the 42cm, at the start of the curve, that flare out to 53cm at the bar ends c-c. I was a bit leery of the 53cm width, but it actually works well for me. I am rarely at the bar ends, and if so, usually for a short time.

Second: Velo-Orange Porteur Bar. Sort of a modified mustache bar, but narrower with little drop, or rise. I really like this bar also. Traditionally mounted with 15mm drop, but I prefer them reversed to a 15mm rise. A lot of hand positions and easy access to shifting and braking, with brifters, with minimal movement. Again, relief for the arthritic thumbs, easy on my neck and shoulders, neutral hand/wrist postion. They are 48cm at the curve and 50cm at the bar ends. I did have to lengthen the stem by 20-30mm. Again, very comfortable, while you can get a bit lower in a tuck, not as comfortable to be there as the Beacon bar.

In the end, I like both bars a lot, but I might give an edge to the Beacon due to the drop style and comfort in a tuck. I can stay there much longer than with traditional or compact drop bars. All I need to do now is figure out which bar to keep on which bike. One other thing to mention; I have chronic spinal issues and have had 4 surgeries, lumbar and cervical, both of these bars have been a plus in that regard. My spinal column is less stressed and I can stay in that position for much longer.

Sorry, first pic is the Porteur and 2nd is the Beacon

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Old 09-17-22, 11:20 AM
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I would think that tire size and pressure could also impact you. The hands take a lot more punishment from 25c tires at 100 psi as opposed to 38c at 60 psi.
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Old 09-17-22, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rogerogeroge
I would think that tire size and pressure could also impact you. The hands take a lot more punishment from 25c tires at 100 psi as opposed to 38c at 60 psi.
My arthritis tells me you are correct. I can no longer take typical cycling vibration and my bikes are shifting as compliance has become very important to hands, wrists, & knees. Tires made the biggest benefit along with anti-vibration gloves (not cycling gloves), carbon bars are helpful over aluminum, still working on frames, forks, wheels, and saddles. On bad arthritis days a trike works.
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Old 09-17-22, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1
I really dislike flat bars. I have been a drop bar rider most of my life, but have recently tried a couple of other types.

Second: Velo-Orange Porteur Bar. Sort of a modified mustache bar, but narrower with little drop, or rise. I really like this bar also. Traditionally mounted with 15mm drop, but I prefer them reversed to a 15mm rise. A lot of hand positions and easy access to shifting and braking, with brifters, with minimal movement. Again, relief for the arthritic thumbs, easy on my neck and shoulders, neutral hand/wrist postion. They are 48cm at the curve and 50cm at the bar ends. I did have to lengthen the stem by 20-30mm. Again, very comfortable, while you can get a bit lower in a tuck, not as comfortable to be there as the Beacon bar.

In the end, I like both bars a lot, but I might give an edge to the Beacon due to the drop style and comfort in a tuck. I can stay there much longer than with traditional or compact drop bars. All I need to do now is figure out which bar to keep on which bike. One other thing to mention; I have chronic spinal issues and have had 4 surgeries, lumbar and cervical, both of these bars have been a plus in that regard. My spinal column is less stressed and I can stay in that position for much longer.

Sorry, first pic is the Porteur and 2nd is the Beacon
I rode with the Porteur bar for quite a while, and it was okay, but it felt a bit cramped. Then I switched to the V-O Tourist bar and found my happy place. With 60* of sweep, and 580mm wide, my knees fit inside the sweep, and my hands and wrists are happy, enough to overlook the 70mm of rise; i switched to a shorter stem with some negative rise, and it's all good.

Flat bars are of the Devil. They put you in a super aggressive position for bombing down hills, and that's all they're good for.
EDIT: Clarifying that the pic is not my bike; it was stolen from the V-O website.



Last edited by Korina; 09-18-22 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 09-17-22, 04:49 PM
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If you go the drop bar route (which I think is not the best), you can get handlebars that have gel inserts. I find that a second layer of handlebar tape (a cushy tape for each layer) offers more damping, and you'll ending up flattening the gel inserts. So just use two layers of tape instead. Bontager makes such a handlebar which I was googling, and came up with this solution for flat bars. I'm not familiar with it, I have no idea if it's a gimmick or if it works.

Bontrager Satellite Plus IsoZone

I do know a few people that use these grips similar to these and love them. I've ridden half an hour on them and liked them as well.

Ergon Grips
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Old 09-17-22, 04:55 PM
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I've installed swept bars on all of my bikes, including the one that I call my "road" bike, i.e., the one that I use for longer rides. I find that a single comfortable position is preferable to switching between multiple uncomfortable positions. Straight bars make my wrists hurt in a few minutes.

I've been happy with V-O Tourist and Origin8 Citi Classic. For a bigger clamp diameter, FSA Metropolis. I don't need a lot of sweep, just enough to get me out of that painful straight grip. As for drop bars, then we have to talk about my neck issues.

Switching from drop bar to any kind of upright bar involves replacing the controls (shifters, brake levers) but from a straight bar it might only need changing the cable lengths, or maybe no modification at all.
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Old 09-17-22, 05:24 PM
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Jonesbar has multiple hand positions. My wrist hurts after some miles of regular flat handlebar.
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Old 09-17-22, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Spreggy
Been a while, BF peeps!
I had surgery last year to rebuild the scafo-lunate ligament in my left wrist. The doctor said that the ligament popped most likely while riding many miles on a road bike with wrists in a less-than-neutral position. Years pass, the bones float away from each other, hurts lots, and then surgery.
I want to get back into riding but because of a now forever compromised wrist I don't think the roady position is going to work well. I see people riding the straight bar bikes and wonder if that's better. And are they slow as molasses?
Recommendations?
The thing about riding with an injury is, you have to accommodate your specific injury. General advice, conventional wisdom, and other people's experience does not take your specific injury into account. What is best for a person with healthy wrists isn't necessarily best for you If you can find a fitter with the skills and who is willing to spend the time, you could go that route. Otherwise you'll have to use trial and error.
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Old 09-17-22, 07:09 PM
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Drop bars have so many hand positions because they all suck! (This is general, not the 41, so I can say it here.)

Iím using Salsa Bend handlebars on my gravel bike. Neutral wrist but thereís still weight on them. If you want it unloaded you are looking at a different style of bike, probably a not-fancy one to carry you gently over the hill
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Old 09-17-22, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina
Flat bars are of the Devil.
I have to laugh at myself. Iím sure Iíve posted similar opinions here in recent years.

And yet, Iíve tried several bar options this summer, and both of my bikes now sport ordinary straight bars and low budget ergo grips. At this point they seem to be the most satisfactory option overall for me of any of the bars Iíve tried.

So, I would recommend trying them (and others) out to see if they actually work for you.

By the way, I never found straight bars ok until I used the ergo grips.

Otto
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Old 09-19-22, 08:31 AM
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Many thanks all, BF always comes through.
The bents make sense, but there's also something very un-bike about them that I can't get past. It looks more like pedaling than riding, know what I mean? It would be nice to have a friend nearby who would let me borrow one for a ride, who knows, I might fall in love with it.
The Ritchey bars above look like a good option, as do gravel bars in general. This gives me a good starting point.
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Old 09-19-22, 10:08 AM
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Beacon bar update

I now have numerous rides on the Ritchey Beacon Bars. I believe I got the positioning of everything right this morning, but will do one more before wrapping. I am very much liking these bars. I would not mind if they were a bit narrower at the bar ends, 53cm on 42 cm bar, but it actually works quite well for me. I do not spend much time there, and the bar gets narrower towards the bend. Some riders may not like such a shallow drop due to hand limitations in the curve, as well as not getting as low. I have chronic spine issues, at this point, the 80mm drop is really good for me. It allows head to stay up and keeps my spinal column more neutral, the wider stance on the drops gives my shoulders some relief, and, like the Porteur bar, the position is much less stress on my thumbs. I had a bit of a headwind for a while this morning, being in the drops put me low enough to help, without causing discomfort in a fairly short time. I stayed in the drops for 20-25 minutes with no neck ache and no numbing/tingling hands.

I have really fallen in love with riding my Lemond Tourmalet again. With the Beacon bar and the wider wheels allowing a bit lower psi in the tires, it is riding really smooth with high comfort level, but still nimble and quick enough.
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Old 09-19-22, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
It also may not hurt to talk to a bike fitter, even with a road bike.

You're supposed to get a fair amount of support with core muscles and ride fairly light on the bars.

So things like moving the seat back or raising the bars some might make a significant difference.

And, of course, pay attention to your body. If something doesn't feel right, find a better grip (or ride one handed for a bit).

But, I'd also encourage starting slowly, so with either the recumbent or the tadpole.
This ^^^. A fitter may suggest moving the drop bars to a different position (up/down, forward/backward), maybe some wider bars, or maybe a new type of bar like a flat bar or riser bar (think BMX handlebars but with a smaller rise), or some of the different bars shown in the posts above. I've got two 'regular rider' bicycles and one has flat bars, the other drop bars. Both are comfortable to ride up to 25 miles, but the drop bar wins at anything over 25 miles just due to the ability to vary my hand positions. FWIW: The flat bar is a 'BMX-style riser, about 4 inches of rise, and puts my hands above the level of the seat by about 2 inches. The drop bar is about even with the seat and is 46cm wide, very shallow drop.
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Old 09-19-22, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1
I now have numerous rides on the Ritchey Beacon Bars. I believe I got the positioning of everything right this morning, but will do one more before wrapping. I am very much liking these bars. I would not mind if they were a bit narrower at the bar ends, 53cm on 42 cm bar, but it actually works quite well for me. I do not spend much time there, and the bar gets narrower towards the bend. Some riders may not like such a shallow drop due to hand limitations in the curve, as well as not getting as low. I have chronic spine issues, at this point, the 80mm drop is really good for me. It allows head to stay up and keeps my spinal column more neutral, the wider stance on the drops gives my shoulders some relief, and, like the Porteur bar, the position is much less stress on my thumbs. I had a bit of a headwind for a while this morning, being in the drops put me low enough to help, without causing discomfort in a fairly short time. I stayed in the drops for 20-25 minutes with no neck ache and no numbing/tingling hands.

I have really fallen in love with riding my Lemond Tourmalet again. With the Beacon bar and the wider wheels allowing a bit lower psi in the tires, it is riding really smooth with high comfort level, but still nimble and quick enough.
Thanks for the great info! How does the Ritchey Beacon bars feel on your hands when you're on the hoods?
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Old 09-19-22, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Spreggy
Thanks for the great info! How does the Ritchey Beacon bars feel on your hands when you're on the hoods?
​​​​​​
A lot of the flared, swept drop bars like the Beacon (and also the Salsa Woodchopper / Cowchipper) and other "Gravel / Adventure style bars position the hoods so they're actually pointed towards each other, when viewed from above, as opposed to the 'straight ahead' alignment you usually get on a traditional drop bar.

I find this is much more comfortable for me, especially with the extra width these bars usually offer as well. I run the Salsa Cowchipper as my default road bar, in the 45-49cm size.

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Old 09-19-22, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
It also may not hurt to talk to a bike fitter, even with a road bike.

You're supposed to get a fair amount of support with core muscles and ride fairly light on the bars.

So things like moving the seat back or raising the bars some might make a significant difference.

And, of course, pay attention to your body. If something doesn't feel right, find a better grip (or ride one handed for a bit).

But, I'd also encourage starting slowly, so with either the recumbent or the tadpole.
This. Suprising - this is the first time in the whole thread that this has been mentioned. Check your saddle - a more set back saddle position will take pressure off your hands.
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Old 09-19-22, 06:13 PM
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Whatever bars you end up using, just make sure that it's very comfortable to ride with a nearly straight wrist and bent elbows.

That advice is valid for everyone.

I see far too many people riding with locked elbows and very extended wrists. They're just setting themselves up for a stress injury.
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Old 09-19-22, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Whatever bars you end up using, just make sure that it's very comfortable to ride with a nearly straight wrist and bent elbows.

That advice is valid for everyone.

I see far too many people riding with locked elbows and very extended wrists. They're just setting themselves up for a stress injury.
Good point. And if you can also avoid putting a lot of pressure on the portions of the palm directly over the main nerves, so much the better.

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Old 09-20-22, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Whatever bars you end up using, just make sure that it's very comfortable to ride with a nearly straight wrist and bent elbows.

That advice is valid for everyone.

I see far too many people riding with locked elbows and very extended wrists. They're just setting themselves up for a stress injury.
To help drive this important point home:




I still don't have full use after two years, and I'm a musician. It sucks. Straighten and unload your wrists! Cruise on the hoods, not on the center. If your bars have cozy-looking flat tops for center comfort, don't be fooled, it's an invitation to stiff-arm. This happened after riding a couple years with the flat part level, not even a stressed feeling in the bend.

</soapbox>
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