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Body position? Rats! My wrists hurt!

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Body position? Rats! My wrists hurt!

Old 04-18-08, 05:04 AM
  #1  
driftwork
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Body position? Rats! My wrists hurt!

I just bought myself a mountain bike.

A MERIDA Matts HFS 3000-V

http://www2.merida-bikes.com/en_INT/Bikes.Detail.13

I'm a total noob to mountain-biking.

Most of what I do here in Taiwan is ride up paved hills with some big inclines and then ride down broken-paved / sometimes gravel / sometimes dirt track roads to get to the bottom of the mountains.

I'm only now figuring out all of the things related to body position and the bike to be comfortable.

With the original set-up, I was always feeling that I was sliding back on my saddle when climbing up steep inclines. So, I reversed my stem so that the angle is now about 90 degrees bent. This has made it way easier to climb up steep grades without feeling like I'm sliding back.

The problem is, when I get back into the city, my body position puts loads of pressure on my wrists.

I've replaced the original handle-bar grips with some grips that are supposed to keep my wrists straighter but I'm still having a lot of pain.

Questions:

#1 Should I reverse the stem back again and thereby re-correcting my body position so I'm not so hunched over and forward. This might make it harder to climb steep grades but it might also put the weight back on my saddle where it is supposed to be???

#2 Should I get some different handle-bars. I'm using the straight-bars that came with the bike. Some people I've talked to say that they are great for climbing but lousy for a more upright body position in the city. Is there some sort of compromise I can make?

#3 I eventually want to use this bike for a tour in Japan this summer. I'm hoping to arrange things on it so that I can switch it from being primarily a mountain bike to something of a tour bike. I'll get some 'Old Man Mountain' racks so I can put panniers on it and get a more comfortable B-17 saddle. Are there any other additions that would make a mountain bike into a touring bike I should be thinking about?

Also, I hope folks won't just recommend that I 'go in to see a bike shop professional' to answer my questions. Taiwan has a serious lack of them.


Thanks very much in advance for any ideas.
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Old 04-18-08, 07:27 AM
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RIC0
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make sure the shifters and brake levers are pointed down enough and not straight out in front of you.
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Old 04-18-08, 08:08 AM
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Could you post some photos of the bars and the bike?
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Old 04-18-08, 11:12 AM
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I have had to learn (the hard way, of course) that mountain biking isn't just about sitting in the saddle and cranking. It's about sliding around on the saddle looking for the balance point on uphills, getting behind the saddle on downhills, getting off the saddle entirely in the rough stuff, etc. Road riding is about sitting in the saddle and cranking. That may be part of your issue with the new bike.

My personal experience is that it's very difficult to make the same bike work well on both pavement and trail. You will have to make a compromise somewhere. I would recommend buying a used touring bike for your Japan tour.

That's a nice bike - intended for XC racing I believe - but just looking at that picture makes my wrists hurt! It's OK for a really fit rider to have the bars below the saddle... but that's a bad idea for a novice. I suggest getting the bars at least level with the saddle. You can swap bars and/or stem to get your hands up higher. Lightweight high-rise stems are rare these days, but there are plenty of cheap ones available, so spend a couple of bucks and experiment. And check out Ergon grips. I switched my MTB to Ergon grips and have found them to be a big help.

Also check your saddle position and angle. You may find that pointing the saddle's nose up slightly helps keep the weight off your hands on the flats. You may also find you need a saddle with a wider nose to be comfortable while climbing. Or you may need a wider saddle, period, depending on the structure of your "sit bones".

It may take you a while to get the bike to properly fit you. For me it's a never-ending quest. And you will find that "proper fit" changes with experience and conditioning. It's worth the trouble to get it right.
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Old 04-18-08, 11:40 AM
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driftwork
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Response

Thanks so much for your excellent response.

Good things to think about.


Cheers
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Old 04-18-08, 11:51 AM
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indygreg
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Originally Posted by chucko58 View Post
I have had to learn (the hard way, of course) that mountain biking isn't just about sitting in the saddle and cranking. It's about sliding around on the saddle looking for the balance point on uphills, getting behind the saddle on downhills, getting off the saddle entirely in the rough stuff, etc. Road riding is about sitting in the saddle and cranking. That may be part of your issue with the new bike.

My personal experience is that it's very difficult to make the same bike work well on both pavement and trail.
I am in the process of learning all this. I noticed yesterday on the trail that I really sat nearly all the time. I setup my MTB bike fairly close to my roadie, with a drop much like in his picture. This was because that is what I knew and I just got my bike in the winter and had just been doing some stuff on the road to get on it. My wrists hurt and went numb yesterday. Well, today I flipped my stem back up and put the spacers under it instead of over (I was leaving the extra on no matter what to not cut too early). I probably gained 1.5 inches total. I will give it a try soon. And I will try to get up and move around more. I was the roadie on the trail, that is for sure.

I want this bike to also be my occasional city bike, commute bike, etc . . . and I just have to accept that if I set it up to ride great on the road, it will not be as great on the trails.
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Old 04-19-08, 06:22 AM
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I was having lots of wrist pain too. I ended up getting a pair of SIC downhill bars. they have like 12 degrees of back sweep. They help alot.
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Old 04-19-08, 10:00 PM
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sliding back off the saddle? ty a different seat angle. The problem sounds odd as usually on steep inclines I'm at the front of the saddle. Maybe a slightly shorter 0 degree stem would be a good compromise.
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