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Incorrect fit causing hand pain?

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Incorrect fit causing hand pain?

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Old 07-17-18, 07:08 PM
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bicyclepost
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Unhappy Incorrect fit causing hand pain?

Hello, I'm new to the forum and drop bars and any kind of bikes using them and picked up my first such bike, a used Motobecane Grand Touring, for $275 a few weeks ago. I've noticed it is not the most comfortable bike and I initially thought it was something I had to get used to but haven't yet. I get pain in the palms of my hands when using the same position for just a couple minutes. It was particularly bad when riding the hoods because my hands would slide down into the brakes and cause pain between my thumb and index finger. It was also kind of difficult to squeeze my brakes from there. I talked to someone at a bike shop today and he suggested rotating the bar back so there is a flatter surface leading up to the hoods but this puts the drops in an awkward position. The guy said it's difficult to fix that problem with old bikes because of how the hoods were designed to be pointy and less ergonomic but there must be some way to fix this rather than just buying a newer bike! I also have foam grips on my bars, could this be contributing to the problem? When I go over bumps and cracks in the road there are certain pressure points on my palm that get pain and numbness shooting up them. Another piece of info I might add, the frame is 59 cm I believe and fits just under my crotch, so maybe a bit too big for me. Any help would be much appreciated! I tried to add pictures but apparently I can't until I post more.
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Old 07-17-18, 08:18 PM
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Yes. Switch out your current brake levers for a set of Tektro brake levers: https://www.worldwidecyclery.com/pro...et-black-black
You can buy them many places, this was just the first on google.

As you can see, they are modern and inexpensive, though they are a good product. I have a pair on one of my bikes which has bar-end shifters.

Bar shape also makes a difference because the brake hoods need to blend with the bar to some extent.

More reading:
https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...l#post12953035
https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...bar-setup.html
Drop Bar Hand Positions: an Introduction

Another problem can be too much weight on the hands which can be caused by the saddle being too far forward. In which case, moving it back can help. Moving the saddle back also increases reach which many people aren't used to. But see the photos in the Numb Hands post. As long as you don't have more reach than that, you're OK.
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Old 07-18-18, 03:38 PM
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Clem von Jones
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Numb heads are typically caused by a combination of excessive reach and stack (height). If your current vintage handlebars are probably 25.4 dia with 100mm (they might even be 110 or 120) reach you can try these modern-style compact bars by Uno that measure 25.4* x 70mm. They'll decrease your reach at least by 3cm. Then you might lower your quill stem all the way and try that position with these compact bars. https://www.ebay.com/itm/UNO-alu-Roa...-EK_R5hFzoB6Rw

The vintage brake hoods are also pretty narrow and uncomfortable too, as Carbonfiberboy indicates. Compact bars and new brake levers to modernize your cockpit might be good idea. Think shorter reach and lower bars. Vintage bikes have enormously tall head tubes which easily creates excessive stack. On my vintage bike I ended up getting a quill stem 1-1/8" adapter with a -25 degree stem in combination with 31.8 dia compact style bars. You could also accomplish the same thing with a Nitto Jaguar (track) stem using the 25.4 Uno bars.
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1311.R2.TR2.TRC0.A0.H0.Xnitto+jag.TRS0&_nkw=nitto+jaguar+ste m&_sacat=0

Here's a good stem calculator you can use to contemplate different stem and handlebar combinations http://www.yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/stem.php

What is your height? 59cm vintage frames would fit someone 6ft / 183cm-ish.

EDIT: *It's come to my attention these bars are 26mm diameter, not 25.4 as erroneously described by the ebay seller.

Last edited by Clem von Jones; 11-03-18 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 07-19-18, 09:14 AM
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Unhappy

Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
What is your height? 59cm vintage frames would fit someone 6ft / 183cm-ish.
Thanks for the info but I went in to the local community bike shop yesterday and they told me it was simply too big. I'm a bit taller than 5'10" so apparently I should be looking for a 54-56 cm frame.
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Old 07-19-18, 02:50 PM
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The frame size has absolutely 100% no chance of having anything remotely to do with serious hand pain. The number one culprit of creating hand pressure/ hand pain, by a huge margin is having the seat tilted down. Having the seat down is a serious hand killer.
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Old 07-19-18, 02:53 PM
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^^ yes. I'm 5' 8" and ride 54-56cm. Maybe 59 not too large for you. Try moving your saddle back to rear more...
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Old 07-19-18, 07:41 PM
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BITD, the recommendation was 9"-10" less than your leg length, measured by, for example, jamming a book into your crotch while standing with a wall behind you - mark the top of the book, and that mark to the floor is your leg length. The 1"-2" was for prevention of pain and injury incase you had to stop very short and came down hard on the TT.

I'm 5' 7", with legs slightly shorter than average, and I could easily ride a 56. I rode a 58 for a while, and I dumped it only because I came down on the TT hard - but at least some people here scoff at that possibility.

I suspect the 59 is OK for you, though perhaps slightly big. Sizing now has people on bikes that seem very small to me for a given body size.

What have you been riding? If you haven't been riding, is carpal tunnel syndrome a possibility?.
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Old 07-20-18, 01:26 PM
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My first guess would be the saddle is too far forward and/or not level. Setting it back a couple millimeters should help shift your weight more rearward to take pressure off your hands.
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Old 09-05-18, 12:56 PM
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I am 6' tall, 190lbs and have an inseam of 34". Have the leg length of a guy that would be 6-2 but with a shorter upper body than most 6 footers. Currently riding a Trek Domane SL5 58cm frame. The bike fits me so much better than any other I have owned in the last 40 years but I still get nerve pain in my left hand (I am right handed if it matters). I get numbness along the side of my hand where my pinky is and I get a numb pinky after about 15 miles on the road. I change hand positions frequently but still end up with pain and numbness eventually. Sometimes on longer rides like 50 miles plus I will also get soreness in the muscles that go from my neck to my shoulder but only on the right side.

I can't really afford a $275 fitting right now but was wondering if there are any clues in my description that might indicate what the root cause is. I do feel too stretched out when I am fully on the hoods or on the drop. Most comfortable riding position is above the hoods with my hands on the curved section but this is where the numbness gets me if I stay there any length of time. Everything else is perfect, no saddle issues etc. Just wish I could solve this one last issue. Have a century coming up and I don't want to finish with my left hand feeling like a dead club....

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 09-05-18, 03:26 PM
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Dave, I think you're riding position is too high. You're getting the jack-hammer effect that travels up your arms into your shoulders and neck. The solution is lowering the bars. By lowering the bars and decreasing reach you can resolve both the hand numbness and sore shoulder and neck muscles. I think you're frame is a bit on the large side so I would consider decreasing the reach about 30mm and putting the bars as low as you can get them. Flip the stem to the negative side and slam it. Consider negative rise stems like the Syntace Flatforce, FSA SL-K -20, or something similar if your headtube is too high.

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Old 09-07-18, 07:43 PM
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DO NOT rotate the bars back if you are happy with the drop position. If you want to change your on-the-hoods position, only change the position of the brakes. If you rotate the bar back to change hood position, you will mess up your drop position. Always set the bar rotation first, then set the brakes later for a good, flat on-the-hoods position.
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Old 09-07-18, 10:11 PM
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Hand pain/numbness is most likely caused by too much pressure on the hands. The solution is almost always correcting your position on the bicycle. Ride with weight distributed between pedals, saddle, and hands. Elbows should always be bent. If the bike is too big... you'll be unlikely to get a decent fit.
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Old 09-08-18, 01:10 PM
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Question

A tall frame is also long, consider; a shorter stem ..

higher up (up angle type, or stem raiser & different length)
helps shift weight onto your saddle/backside..

your ' Motobecane ' French made ? that means parts need be French standard..

Brand name has sold off, now the newer " Motobecane " is only a name,
Bike it's applied to, is coming from Asia.. so component part switches, simpler..





.....
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Old 09-19-18, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
Dave, I think you're riding position is too high. You're getting the jack-hammer effect that travels up your arms into your shoulders and neck. The solution is lowering the bars. By lowering the bars and decreasing reach you can resolve both the hand numbness and sore shoulder and neck muscles. I think you're frame is a bit on the large side so I would consider decreasing the reach about 30mm and putting the bars as low as you can get them. Flip the stem to the negative side and slam it. Consider negative rise stems like the Syntace Flatforce, FSA SL-K -20, or something similar if your headtube is too high.
Went to a shorter stem and that helped but still isn't completely solved. Less hand pressure now but then my muscles that go from my neck to shoulders started getting sore. For now I am just riding it the way it is to see if the shoulder soreness is temporary or a real problem. Next step may be to lower the stem some and then hopefully save up some coin to get a pro bike fitting done. I have a Century ride this weekend though so we will see how it all goes....

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 09-24-18, 01:37 PM
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I am 5’7”-5’8” in 5/10 bike shoes. I can damage myself trying to stand over my 54cm bike frame. Someone early on said I needed a 52cm frame, maybe? Unfortunately there is little consistency in how bike companies measure their bikes.

There is even less consistency in human anatomy. Bike fitting is more of an art, even though there is valid science involved. Flexability, injuries, nerve issues.....all can play a part in all sorts of combinations.

I am finding the ultimate solution is in experimentation. The only thing I know for sure is herniating all but one cervical vertebra does not make it easier & definitely increases hand numbness.

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Old 09-24-18, 11:40 PM
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I rode a 2004 Lemond road bike for about 12 years until it wore out and I just replaced it with a new Fuji. My new bike has 31.8 mm handlebars that are flattened on the top and I noticed that I have had significantly less hand pain with the new bars. When I reconditioned my old bike and tried riding it I found that the old 26 mm handlebars are much too painful. When I replaced them with a modern handlebar (and a shorter stem) I found my old bike was also quite comfortable. The modern brake / shifters are also much more ergonomic and comfortable on long rides.
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Old 09-24-18, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Brofessor View Post
DO NOT rotate the bars back if you are happy with the drop position. If you want to change your on-the-hoods position, only change the position of the brakes. If you rotate the bar back to change hood position, you will mess up your drop position. Always set the bar rotation first, then set the brakes later for a good, flat on-the-hoods position.
+1 Then go for a ride with the wrench(es) to move the brake levers and no handlebar tape, just electric tape to hold the cables in place (if you have modern aero bars like the recommended Tekros). Wrenches plural becasue you will need a long 5mm allen wrench to reset the brake lever position and a small crescent wrench to grip the "L" of the allen wrench. Don't tape teh bars untl you really like where the levers are. When you do, tape them with cloth handlebar tape from the end plug to the stem. This means you get another chance to move the levers since cloth tape can be unwrapped, the leers moved and the bars rewrapped with the same tape.

This is one of the most important adjustments on the bike. Don't put permanent, good expensive tape on until you KNOW the handlebars, rotation and lever positions are right. (I just put new levers on a bike I've had while just ot get the fit better.)

Edit: I do not like the modern ergo bars. All of my bikes have old school bars and Tektro levers (or Cane Creek - basically high end Tektros) My setups look old. I ride with my seats relatively far forward and with some tilt down and I put real weight on my hands. But dialed in right, I can put very long days on my bikes with no hand issues at all, riding with unpadded gloves.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 09-24-18 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 09-26-18, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbear63 View Post
I rode a 2004 Lemond road bike for about 12 years until it wore out and I just replaced it with a new Fuji. My new bike has 31.8 mm handlebars that are flattened on the top and I noticed that I have had significantly less hand pain with the new bars. When I reconditioned my old bike and tried riding it I found that the old 26 mm handlebars are much too painful. When I replaced them with a modern handlebar (and a shorter stem) I found my old bike was also quite comfortable. The modern brake / shifters are also much more ergonomic and comfortable on long rides.
31.8mm and 26mm are the diameter where the stem clamps the handlebar, not the diameter of the handlebar where you hold it. Nearly all road drop handlebars, vintage and modern, use a 23.8mm diameter for the areas with circular cross-section everywhere except the stem clamp.
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Old 09-26-18, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
31.8mm and 26mm are the diameter where the stem clamps the handlebar, not the diameter of the handlebar where you hold it. Nearly all road drop handlebars, vintage and modern, use a 23.8mm diameter for the areas with circular cross-section everywhere except the stem clamp.
I think he was making a comparison between older style handlebars and newer, shallower drop handlebars with a flatter transition on the hoods. Hence the 31.8mm vs. 26mm (26.4 for pre-90 Cinelli) argument. That was my take.
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Old 09-27-18, 12:09 AM
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Old style handlebars

Originally Posted by oldbear63 View Post
I rode a 2004 Lemond road bike for about 12 years until it wore out and I just replaced it with a new Fuji. My new bike has 31.8 mm handlebars that are flattened on the top and I noticed that I have had significantly less hand pain with the new bars. When I reconditioned my old bike and tried riding it I found that the old 26 mm handlebars are much too painful. When I replaced them with a modern handlebar (and a shorter stem) I found my old bike was also quite comfortable. The modern brake / shifters are also much more ergonomic and comfortable on long rides.
My old bike has 26 mm handle bars and I only realized how thin they were when I got my new bike. I was constantly shifting hand positions and numbness was a regular part of riding. With 31.8 mm flat or aereo bars I can ride in one position for miles without numbness. The old shifters are also much less ergonomic and I now find them uncomfortable too.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:56 PM
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Got pictures of the bike and of you on the bike?
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