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New to drop handlebars: does the hand fatigue get better with time?

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New to drop handlebars: does the hand fatigue get better with time?

Old 04-06-15, 12:21 PM
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willydstyle
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New to drop handlebars: does the hand fatigue get better with time?

I just recently switched from a Trek 7200 to a road bike with drop bars. I have finally figured out a saddle and saddle position that supports my sit bones and doesn't crush my taint, but on rides longer than 25ish minutes my hands start to get quite sore.

I mostly ride in the drops, but compared to a lot of the bikes I see out there I still have a pretty relaxed cockpit. Does this hand soreness go away with practice?

Here's a pic of my current set up for reference. Right now the saddle angle is a bit forward, but that seems to be necessary to prevent soft tissue distress.

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Old 04-06-15, 12:27 PM
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sounds like you need to have a fit done on the bike. I really do not spend a lot of time in the drops.
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Old 04-06-15, 12:28 PM
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What is the seat tube angle? If it's pretty laid back(looks it) the seat position may be fine, slammed forward. Only on really cold days do I have issues with hands getting sore. I also wear decent cycling gloves.... You migh also find that tilting the bars back, say 5%, May help. It also give you a more natural angle for sprinting or out of saddle work.
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Old 04-06-15, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
What is the seat tube angle? If it's pretty laid back(looks it) the seat position may be fine, slammed forward. Only on really cold days do I have issues with hands getting sore. I also wear decent cycling gloves.... You migh also find that tilting the bars back, say 5%, May help. It also give you a more natural angle for sprinting or out of saddle work.
73 degrees
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Old 04-06-15, 12:35 PM
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Drop bars are painful to my hands. When I had a road bike, I would always ride on the top or corners, never in the drops. Even still, my hands would ache. It felt like my palms had been getting whacked with a broomstick. I went to a flatbar and never had a problem. Maybe drops are not for you.
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Old 04-06-15, 12:42 PM
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if your hands are getting tired or sore, you probably have too much weight on them. Raising the bars slightly might help, bit before doing so, consider that most riders actually spend a smaller percentage of time in the drops. Try moving your hands around more to the various grip points. For most riding, you should probably be spending the most time on the brake hoods or outside top just behind the brake hoods.

The multiple positions are one of the main benefits of drop bars, so use them fully. Save the drops, for headwinds, descents, and situations where you want superior braking control (forward curve with fingers on the brakes), and your hand pain should go away fast enough.
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Old 04-06-15, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
if your hands are getting tired or sore, you probably have too much weight on them. Raising the bars slightly might help, bit before doing so, consider that most riders actually spend a smaller percentage of time in the drops. Try moving your hands around more to the various grip points. For most riding, you should probably be spending the most time on the brake hoods or outside top just behind the brake hoods.

The multiple positions are one of the main benefits of drop bars, so use them fully. Save the drops, for headwinds, descents, and situations where you want superior braking control (forward curve with fingers on the brakes), and your hand pain should go away fast enough.
With non-aero hoods riding on the hoods seems incredibly uncomfortable. I already raised the stem to close to its max height, because my back just ain't so flexible. I'll keep this advice in mind though.
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Old 04-06-15, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by willydstyle View Post
With non-aero hoods riding on the hoods seems incredibly uncomfortable. I already raised the stem to close to its max height, because my back just ain't so flexible. I'll keep this advice in mind though.
OK, I looked at your bar position and here's a suggestion which may help. You have the bottoms horizontal which is sort of textbook, but not always best. Rotate the bar so the lower section is tilted, either pointing toward the rear axle, or even some more so the top behind the levers and the bottom are at similar angles. Feel free to experiment here, with the object being making the top "horizontal" section more comfortable. Tilting the bottom also makes it more square to your arm reliving the bend at your wrist which helps there too.

Once you've dialed in the handle bar angle, move the levers around to best split the difference between use of the hoods and brake levers from over the top and reaching them from in the drops.

BTW- unless you have unusually wide hands, the non-aero levers shouldn't be a factor wither way in terms of comfort, since you shouldn't be that far forward on the lever body.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:05 PM
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Saddle tilt can affect this. The saddle on a new bike was tipped slightly forward, trying to slide me forward and put more weight on my hands. With the saddle level, it was fine.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by radeln View Post
Saddle tilt can affect this. The saddle on a new bike was tipped slightly forward, trying to slide me forward and put more weight on my hands. With the saddle level, it was fine.
+1 The saddle should keep you centered by itself. One of my tests for riding position is to hold my body in the same place and let go to see how neutral the balance is. This doesn't usually work on the drops, but when on the tops or hoods my hand load is just about zero.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:21 PM
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If the saddle is too far forward it will cause too much weight on your hands. Inadequate forward reach can cause back-pressure against your palms and cut off blood flow. It looks to me the drop is too much. You can gain height by swapping to compact style bars like the Soma Hwy One or VO Dajia, although they require 26mm stems too. If that were my bike I'd consider swapping to Microshift 3x7 integrated brake/shifters. They're pretty comfy and are compatible with your existing dérailleurs, plus they can be had for less than $60. They would give you a high and stretched-out position for climbing and long rides and relieve pressure on your wrists. It's a nice bike and is worth dialling in to perfection.

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Old 04-06-15, 01:36 PM
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OK, so here's my deal with the saddle tilt:

Any farther back than it currently is, and my soft tissues get crushed, which limits the length of my rides even more than hand fatigue. My hands aren't going numb, they're just getting sore.

If I tilt it back and drop it another 1/8" or so that might work, but it's already slightly lower than recommended, so is it worth the trade off of less power and more knee strain?
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Old 04-06-15, 01:41 PM
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That is a very large frame: 62cm+. So you must be a very large person like 6'4" or taller? If all that correct then you probably have a relatively good fit.

The pic shows bars about even with seat, which is correct recreational/touring set-up. I see too many wanna-be racers with seats way higher than the bars and they're doing 30 mile club rides not racing.

If all that above correct, then you are perhaps putting too much weight on your hands. That's a common mistake. You should be using your torso/core for support not your hands. Easier said than done - it takes lots of miles and training.

Try a few position things: move saddle forward a bit and see if the extra cm or so puts you more upright. The more upright the less weight on hands. if saddle is as far forward as possible then try a shorter stem, although the one you have looks to be somewhere between 90-110mm and not what I call long at all.

Most people move to drop bars because drops offer MORE hand positions. On top center/on top spread/drops/hood/etc and that helps reduce hand fatigue. Better than any other bar style for longer mileage. So let's see if the bike is too big or else too much weight on hands and how we can reduce that through some minor adjustments to get you more upright/move weight off your hands.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by markwebb View Post
That is a very large frame: 62cm+. So you must be a very large person like 6'4" or taller? If all that correct then you probably have a relatively good fit.

The pic shows bars about even with seat, which is correct recreational/touring set-up. I see too many wanna-be racers with seats way higher than the bars and they're doing 30 mile club rides not racing.

If all that above correct, then you are perhaps putting too much weight on your hands. That's a common mistake. You should be using your torso/core for support not your hands. Easier said than done - it takes lots of miles and training.

Try a few position things: move saddle forward a bit and see if the extra cm or so puts you more upright. The more upright the less weight on hands. if saddle is as far forward as possible then try a shorter stem, although the one you have looks to be somewhere between 90-110mm and not what I call long at all.

Most people move to drop bars because drops offer MORE hand positions. On top center/on top spread/drops/hood/etc and that helps reduce hand fatigue. Better than any other bar style for longer mileage. So let's see if the bike is too big or else too much weight on hands and how we can reduce that through some minor adjustments to get you more upright/move weight off your hands.
It's a 58 cm frame and I'm 6' even.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:48 PM
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When I started riding I had the same issue: after an hour on the bike my hands (especially my thumbs) felt like they were going to fall off whenever I went in the drops. Did a little searching on this forum, found topics by posters with my same issue, and learned it's usually caused by putting too much weight on your hands. Now when I'm in the drops or even on the hoods I put as little weight as possible on my hands, instead keeping most of my weight on my legs and using the drops/hoods for stability (and aero of course!). Haven't had this issue again since that first ride.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:50 PM
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can you take a picture of you on the bike? I am sure it will be helpful to see your geometry on it.

Take photos of you on the tops, hoods and drops for comparison and indicate which gives you the most and least soreness.

Frank
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Old 04-06-15, 01:56 PM
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That bike looks awesome btw!!!!

So if you're 6' and a 58" frame than the size is relatively ok. Lots of subtle and nuance to get bike to feel just right. You may still be stretched out too much and thus putting more pressure on hands/leaning on your hands too much. Try moving seat forward. If it's as far forward as possible, then a shorter stem maybe.
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Old 04-06-15, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by willydstyle View Post
OK, so here's my deal with the saddle tilt:

Any farther back than it currently is, and my soft tissues get crushed, which limits the length of my rides even more than hand fatigue. My hands aren't going numb, they're just getting sore.

If I tilt it back and drop it another 1/8" or so that might work, but it's already slightly lower than recommended, so is it worth the trade off of less power and more knee strain?
To get weight off your hands, move your saddle back.

If that causes your position to become uncomfortable because now you're bent over too far, raise your bars higher. And use a shorter stem.
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Old 04-06-15, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by willydstyle View Post
OK, so here's my deal with the saddle tilt:

Any farther back than it currently is, and my soft tissues get crushed, which limits the length of my rides even more than hand fatigue. My hands aren't going numb, they're just getting sore.

If I tilt it back and drop it another 1/8" or so that might work, but it's already slightly lower than recommended, so is it worth the trade off of less power and more knee strain?
Don't worry about your saddle tilt if your rear end doesn't hurt. If it was tilted too far forward you would feel yourself sliding forward. And like you say, tilted too far back and it will hurt your privates. If you're riding in the drops a lot that shows your bars aren't too low unlike the majority of people today. You can tell those because their hands are glued to the tops 95% of the time. Your hands probably just need to be built up for it. Just give it a few hundred miles to see.
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Old 04-06-15, 04:02 PM
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"With non-aero hoods riding on the hoods seems incredibly uncomfortable. I already raised the stem to close to its max height, because my back just ain't so flexible."

What seems uncomfortable, and why? For example, are you saying your hands - specifically the space between thumbs and forefingers - are in pain when you ride on the narrow hoods (narrow compared to brighter)?

"
Does this hand soreness go away with practice?"

In a word, yes. It's the same with new riders who suffer pain in the ass from their saddles. Lots of riding means no pain.

As far as your back goes, it would be more flexible if you did in fact lower the bars and rode often.


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Old 04-06-15, 04:42 PM
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i don't have drop bars, but still have a bit of numbness in my right hand (braking hand) on occasion. it comes and goes. it's gone for now and has been for several months.

i'm sure everybody was just dying to know...

Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 04-06-15 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 04-06-15, 05:29 PM
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Your brake levers look like they are not set up the same .... one higher than the other ?
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Old 04-06-15, 05:51 PM
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You could try flipping the stem upside down so it angles up.
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Old 04-06-15, 05:54 PM
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I ride with a saddle with roughly the same tilt you do and spend a lot of time in the drops. But my drops are angled down so they point roughly at the rear brake bolt. I consider that tilt very important. I always go for a ride or two with just enough electrical tape to keep my cables in place and the wrenches to adust stem height, bar angle and brake lever location (which I like considerably further forward/down than you have yours).

Go for some rides with the wrenches until you have got the drops right. Then start playing with the brake lever locations. Only then should you tape your handlebars. Then go ride and enjoy!

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Old 04-06-15, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
You could try flipping the stem upside down so it angles up.
Isn't that a quill stem?
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