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redryder74 02-11-14 07:26 PM

New bike owner - thumb pain
Hi, I've been riding my new bike for a month now, about 150km in all. I started getting thumb pain in my right hand, near the base of thumb, and now my left hand as well. In fact the pain persists for days after riding.

I've done some searching on the web, and it is very likely caused by too much weight on my hands. I'm riding a foldable bike with straight handlebars. I barely feel my saddle and have no saddle discomfort, so it is likely that there is too much weight on my hands. The saddle is about level with the handlebars, seems to be the right height for my legs. It is not tilted, completely level. I have also adjusted the saddle forward as close to the handlebars as possible.

Because this is a foldie, the handlebar post is not extendable. I added bar ends a week ago to the grips so that I can switch around during my rides, but it doesn't seem to help.

Is the only solution to sit lower or change the handlebars? Some people have reported less pain with moustache style handlebars. Should I adjust saddle tilt?

jon c. 02-11-14 07:33 PM

Personally, when I starting riding (or restarted after 30+ years) I found straight bars intolerable and had much happier hands when I went to drop bars. That may not be practical on your bike, but keep experimenting with different hand positions and switch positions frequently.

I also find that making an effort to keep your elbows bent helps keep pressure off the hands.

spdntrxi 02-11-14 08:06 PM

I had this on my MTB… tossed the straight bar.. went to a riser and shorter stem.. pain gone. Basically too much pressure.

BlazingPedals 02-11-14 08:28 PM

You could probably find some bar end extensions that would give you an extra hand position or two. Alternating between several positions will help.

redryder74 02-11-14 09:21 PM


Originally Posted by spdntrxi (Post 16488435)
I had this on my MTB… tossed the straight bar.. went to a riser and shorter stem.. pain gone. Basically too much pressure.


I’m still new to bicycle terminology so not sure what a riser is. Does the riser increase the height of the handlebars? Or should I change the handlebar completely to swept-back handlebars that are closer to my body?

About keeping the elbows bent, wouldn’t that lead to even greater pressure on the hands? At my current sitting position, keeping the elbows straight allows me to just about reach the handlebars. I would have to lean forward to bend the elbows, wouldn’t that lead to more weight on the hands?

I already installed extensions but they don’t seem to help.

Phil_gretz 02-12-14 07:11 AM

Take your bike to your best outfitted local bike shop. Have them put it up on the trainer and begin experimenting. You might find that the fit is all wrong. Do you have to ride the folding bike?

Be that as it may, you'll have to change the controls, in all likelihood, if you go to drop bars. That'd mean brake levers and shifters, so keep this in mind. How much is comfort worth to you? Assuming that it's 2x7, you could go to the Shimano A-070 brifters.

The other thing might be riser bars or something slightly swept back, and add Ergon grips. That might flatten out the area of the hand that makes contact.

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