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Numb Hands

Old 08-12-08, 06:58 PM
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jaxgtr
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Numb Hands

I have a 2007 CAAD9 56cm that I have been fit for, but one thing I have never been real comfortable with is the handle bar height. I always feel like I am leaning down on my hands too much which causes lots of numbness. It came with the stock fork that was already cut when the bike was purchased. To help eliminate some of the numbness, I rolled the bars back a little bringing up the hoods and making them slightly closer and making for a more comfortable ride, hand wise. I don't get the numbness I was getting, but it still happens. The offset to rolling the bars back is that the lower hand positions are no longer in a horizontal position and getting into a more aero position is a little awkward. My saddle height and position is based on my fitting and feels good. I just don't like the downward feel I get from the bars.

What would be the best way to resolve this issue? I don't have any length left to add more spacers, so should I get a new fork and have the steer tube cut higher? I have been using a shorter stem 90mm and it helped a little, but I keep thinking I should have gone with the 54cm, however I felt so cramped on it, that is why I stayed with the 56cm.

Just a little frustrated. Thoughts.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:08 PM
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I'm in the same situation as you right now except i bring it it on myself. I've lowered my bars because I really like the position it puts my body in but my hands are starting to hurt. I don't want to raise the bars and be in a less arrow position unless I'm doing something like a century or 80+ miler, but my hands are killing me lately. I don't know, for you maybe you'll have to buy another fork, unlike me you seem to want to have higher bars.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:12 PM
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I can still be somewhat aero, as much as a clyde can be, but at the same time, I don't want to point down. It's probably consistent with the race geometry, but I feel like having it 2-3cm higher would make the bike fit better.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:12 PM
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I get this too, I found changing positions with my hands, even slightly, relieves it, then I can go back to the original position after a very short time, actually I have found 6 different positions I hold my hands in. FWIW
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Old 08-12-08, 07:13 PM
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i need pics, all the letters make my brain hurt!
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Old 08-12-08, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by RideCO View Post
I get this too, I found changing positions with my hands, even slightly, relieves it, then I can go back to the original position after a very short time, actually I have found 6 different positions I hold my hands in. FWIW
I'm changing my hand every 5 minutes or less, somethings definitely wrong. I hate it, i see other guys in even more aero positions than I'm in and they don't seem to be in any pain, I don't get why my hands are killing me.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:15 PM
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You can try moving the saddle back about a cm, or lowering the saddle about a cm. Other than that, glove selection and maybe a different handlebar could mitigate the numbness assuming your current position/fit is basically proper.

Often we are more aero than we think. Get a good picture of yourself riding on the hoods and evaluate it. Raising the bars might be the only thing that will ultimately resolve your issue.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:19 PM
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Done the saddle thing with position and height and they are really where they should be. Have 3 pairs of gloves and moving the hand does relieve, but on long rides it just becomes painful. I'll have to get some pics for while on the bike. I might lower the saddle some more after the pic and see if they irritates the knees.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:25 PM
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Really difficult to make bike fit recommendations without knowing your current position. Do you bend a lot at the waist? Are your elbows locked or bent when you ride? Locked elbows can cause a lot of problems, including hand and shoulder pain. Figure out how to ride with bent elbows and most of that pain will go away. If your core strength or overall fitness are suspect, working on those may fix your problem.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:29 PM
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You can be more aero by bending your elbows. I do this now. Before I used to keep my arms fairly straight. I get more pressure on the hands if i have them straight. Also, by bending the elbows my hands rotate on the bars keeping from pressing on the same point. I still will have numbness every now and then and get it more when I race (gripping the bars too tight).
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Old 08-12-08, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by RJBTrek View Post
You can be more aero by bending your elbows. I do this now. Before I used to keep my arms fairly straight. I get more pressure on the hands if i have them straight. Also, by bending the elbows my hands rotate on the bars keeping from pressing on the same point. I still will have numbness every now and then and get it more when I race (gripping the bars too tight).
+1
Try to support yourself with your core and not lean on your hands.
But I bet you've thought of this already.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:38 PM
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I would not assume that just raising your bars will solve that. Your saddle may be "fitted" Ok in terms of following somebody's rule or practice, but it sounds like it's not fitted for you. Too much weight on the hands because your saddle is too far forward for proper weight balance won't be solved by raising the bars.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:42 PM
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I tend to have bent elbows, but it's not a large bend like I see on some of the racers. I definitely need to work on that. I also had issues early on with gripping the bars to hard, so I have found hand positions where I can have a natural lite grip. Guess I need to get some pictures and go from there. Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-12-08, 07:59 PM
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I slid my seat back about 1cm about 200 miles ago and it took a good amount of weight off of my hands.

my biggest nemesis was numbness in my last 2/3fingers on both hands. I found the problem was the hoods were rotated inward. The solution was positioning them parallel to each other.

now my hands are happy with no numbess even at the end of 40+ mile rides (long for me right now... working on strengthing my back and core)

Maybe try flipping your stem up (if not already) or try a stem with more rise.
If your hands are too low on the 56 they would be even lower on the 54.

What stem are you using now? and how is it positioned now, up or down?
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Old 08-12-08, 08:01 PM
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I have a 90mm 17 deg stem in the up position which why this is really odd and I'm thinking I need a longer steer tube.
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Old 08-12-08, 08:22 PM
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I had a similar problem on my race bike. I swapped out the handlebar for a bar that was thicker. Took care of the problem immediately.
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Old 08-12-08, 10:15 PM
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I'm in the same boat. I ride a 56 to reduce the reach, but it means I have a long seat post with short, high angle stem. I'm getting a new fork for my bike, and I'm going to run a healthy amount of spacers.

Strengthen your core and get a new fork.
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Old 08-12-08, 10:23 PM
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I actually had some trouble with numb hands as I was setting myself up on my new 56 cm caad9 (I got a new frame after not liking the 54, we should have swapped OP!).

I had a longer stem lying around. First, I flipped the existing stem to increase reach. That helped a little. Then I tried the longer stem. Problem solved. More stretched out with less weight on hands.
YMMV.
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Old 08-13-08, 06:05 AM
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^^ Yea I remember your post and I believe we have the same frame color too. I was thinking the same thing.
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Old 08-13-08, 06:30 AM
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Could someone explain how moving the seat back takes weight off the hands? I would think it would be the opposite. Sorry, I'm geometrically challenged.
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Old 08-13-08, 07:06 AM
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The saddle further back changes the weight distribution of your body on the bike a little, putting more of your weight on the saddle, and less on your arms. It's usually more comfortable to ride like that for longer distances when you're not sprinting or time-trialing all the time (ie. most normal road riding a person would do). When you are a going like heck all the time, you are pedaling with more intensity, and so more of your weight is on the pedals. Of course, with more weight on your butt, you may be more comfortable on a slightly wider road saddle, and with your handlebars a little higher than before. All of these things work together, which is why changing any one of them in isolation to the others usually does not solve a fit problem.
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Old 08-13-08, 09:09 AM
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I was having the same problem on my bike this summer--it is usually caused by compression on the ulnar nerve at one of two, maybe three points. First, the ulnar nerve passes alng the posterior aspect of the elbow through the ulnar groove ("funny bone area"). Locking out your elbows while you ride can cause irritation/inflammation of the nerve at this point. Next, the nerve passes along the under side of your wrist through carpal tunnel area and then to the "pinky finger" side of your hand. This is where most problems occur as it is where a lot of pressure is often placed while riding.

As mentioned above, the best way to avoid this problem is by placing less pressure on your arms and hands through better bike fitting and strengthening of your "core muscles." This is obviously easier said than done.In the meantime (while strengthening your core and finding your perfect riding position), get a good pair of gloves that have the padding appropriately placed and try changing your bar tape to something softer. I bought a pair of Pearl Izumi "Slice" gloves (https://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=1140) and some Specialized body geomtery bar phat tape (https://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqP...jsp?spid=33919) which seems to have helped quite a bit (or maybe I'm just more conscious of better riding position now--i don't know).

I'm new to cycling, but I am a physician (though it's been a while since 1st year med school anatomy class) so I think I qualify somewhat to give advice on this.

Keep in mind, it is important to find a solution to the problem if you're experience weakness, numbness or pain in your hands when you ride. In the short term, it's not a problem, but if you let it go on for a long period of time you could end up with some serious problems.

Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Brent
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