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angelaharms 08-16-08 09:46 PM

Carpal Tunnel
I'm shopping for a bike, and I have carpal tunnel issues. -- Looking for advice.

What's important? Do I need front suspension? What kind of handlebars do you recommend?

I ride upright right now. I am looking to ride in a more efficient position, but the handlebars will always be at least seat-height.


bkaapcke 08-16-08 09:51 PM

A long wheelbase recumbent is what you need. A Rans Stratus LE, with 3-way adjustable handlebars will minimize the weight/pressure on your hands/wrists. Short of that, ride road & paved trails on a bike with a carbon fork and a fairly upright riding position. It will minimize vibration caused by the pavement. Your hands and wrists will appreciate it. bk

angelaharms 08-16-08 10:01 PM

I am riding a crank-forward (semi-semi recumbant now, and really wanting to move forward, rather than back -- literally, that is. I rode a Rans, and it was kinda sweet, but I'm hoping I can avoid doing that for now. My CT isn't *that* bad...

Can you tell me about carbon forks? I don't know much about components, or how to find them, or whatever... :P

dynaryder 08-18-08 11:20 AM

How bad is your CT? I was worried about mine when I first started riding,and got an upright bike with fat tires and suspension. I've learned I'm ok with rigid bikes and skinny tires. Only thing that really bothers me is alloy road forks. Demo rides at a dealer prolly won't be long enough to see if your CT flares up. I'd suggest finding a friend who can let you try their bike out on a ride to see how you do.

Carbon forks work just as well as steel ones,they just weigh less.

angelaharms 08-18-08 08:06 PM

It sounds like if I can't get a carbon fork, the front suspension might be a good idea?

Nightshade 08-18-08 08:37 PM


Originally Posted by angelaharms (Post 7287075)
I'm shopping for a bike, and I have carpal tunnel issues. -- Looking for advice.

What's important? Do I need front suspension? What kind of handlebars do you recommend?

I ride upright right now. I am looking to ride in a more efficient position, but the handlebars will always be at least seat-height.


Yes, the more weight you get off your wrist and on to your butt the better. These grips will
help a lot.......

IMO, I'd skip the front suspension 'cause it adds weight & mechanical problems.

As to bars....
The more pull back the better. Cruiser or North Roads are always a great choice.

atomship47 08-19-08 07:18 AM

i have cts as well.

for me, seems like anything i do just delays when it bothers me. nothing eliminates the discomfort. i use specialized bg gel gloves and i double-wrap the tops of my handlebars. i alternate hand positions a lot during my ride and i regularly alternate dangling my hands to get the circulation/feeling back.

i started on a mtb. then, went to a comfort bike, then a hybrid. now i ride a full cf roadie and a steel roadie with a cf fork. personally, i can't handle rigid aluminum forks.

partly because of my cts, when i made the leap to roadie, i had a very relaxed fit as you describe. i also went with 28mm tires. it wasn't long before i switched to 23's and started changing my bike to a more agressive fit.

fwiw, i started riding about 15 miles at a time. i went to a road bike because i wanted to ride farther than the 28 miles or so that i could go on my hybrid (because of the upright position). edit; upright position caused circulation problems in my legs and feet when i went on longer rides. it was as uncomfortable as the cts in my hands.

i guess it's really up to how you plan on riding. i found that a suspension fork was annoyingly inefficient. it just sucked the energy right out of me........and i chose a suspension fork specifically because of my cts.

angelaharms 08-19-08 07:52 AM

Wow. Congratulations on getting onto a road bike. That's awesome!

Sounds like I really need to come up with a carbon fork, huh? I can't really imagine being able to tell the difference between steel and aluminum, but I look forward to achieving that level of discernment. :D And I really understand about the suspension eating away energy. My current bike is so... mushy. I'm not enjoying that aspect much.

I haven't really considered anything beyond a hybrid. Right now I'm on something beyond comfort. I'm thinking I might get a Jamis Commuter.... or not. (Just went looking...)

By the way, I bike for transportation, usually <10 miles a day. I also do 15-20 miles days occasionally, and would like to do more if I can get past some health issues. I'm wondering if all this "comfort" on my bike is making 10 miles rides harder on me than they should be.

OMG--I am a total n00b, and now I'm wondering if I'm going to have to build my next bike from scratch. Egads! I'm not ready!


dynaryder 08-19-08 09:43 AM

I think you're obsessing on the carbon. They're no better than steel,just lighter and blingier. Your tire width and air pressure,wheelset,bars/grips,seat,and the frame itself all contribute to the comfort level. Your riding position is also a big deal. Before dropping serious dosh on bling parts or new bike,find out what you can/can't tolerate. Ride a few friends' bikes to see what other styles of bikes feel like. You can also do things to your own. Lower the stem and rotate the bars for a more aggressive posture to see what it's like. Check CL or your local bike co-op for a rigid fork,and maybe put on some skinnier tires to see how you like it. No sense spending a bunch of money to find out your CT won't tolerate the new ride. You may wind up on a recumbent if it's bad enough. (BTW,have you looked into corrective surgery?)

Is there an REI near you? FYI,they allow returns on bikes. If you buy something from them,and find out you can't stand it,you can make a return and not be out.

angelaharms 08-19-08 10:23 AM

Steel forks aren't common on the kinds of bikes I'm looking at, either.

angelaharms 08-19-08 07:55 PM


Oh my gosh. I had no idea! I did move my handlebars to try something more agressive (comical to call anything on the Sole Ride--basically a Townie--"aggressive"), and my wrists can't handle it. BUT I found myself happily leaning down on my forearms--perfect except that I can't shift or stop in that position--and I remembered seeing something like that at LBS. So I did a websearch, and voila! Aerobars.

No more comfort bikes for me! :D At least, I think this will make the difference. (If I can afford them...)

Thanks, all.

[edit: Ok, after more research, I know I'm in trouble. Aerobars don't *typically* include brakes, and aren't made for carpal tunnel. But I still think something can be rigged to work. Ideas are welcome!]

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