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Hand Fatigue

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Hand Fatigue

Old 06-04-22, 11:59 AM
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Hand Fatigue

I still haven't been able to figure out how to set up a bike to eliminate hand fatigue. I've read a lot on it, but I haven't found a good source to really explain it to me. Most sources suggest raising the bars or shortening the stem. While this might sometimes work, it really hasn't in my experience. For example my 2008 Fuji Cross Comp caused lots of hand fatigue when I first got it, it had a really short stem. I increased the length of the stem and it got better. I later flipped the stem so it was going downward and hand fatigue didn't change. The bike is much better now, but still not as good as other bikes I have. The only thing I have figured out for certain is that sitting back farther does take weight off your hands. But it's not as simple for me as moving the seat back as I tend to just sit more on the the front of the saddle when I move it back. So I'm curious if there is a get source to explain hand fatigue, or if anyone has some good tips.
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Old 06-04-22, 02:02 PM
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I find that the longer I can stay in a very aero position, the less weight that is on my hands. Just the opposite of what happens when you start sitting up and raising bars and such.

Never heard any associate it with fatigue specifically in the hands though. Usually people complain about numbness in their hands.

If you are getting on the older side of 50 then you might need to do some things to strengthen your grip and maintain the muscle you are losing in your hands and everywhere else.
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Old 06-04-22, 05:13 PM
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The stronger your core, the less weight you need to put on your hands. If you think of a triangle with hands, butt, and shoulders as the apices, the longer your hand-butt line is, the less weight on your hands.

But is it the weight that is causing fatigue? Where do you place your hands, what parts of your hands touch the bars, and are your elbows locked or bent? Bent elbows reduce stress on your hands. If you place your weight on one of the nerves, you stress you hands. Someplace in BF there's a really good write-up of cycling and hands, but I've lost track of it. With a little luck, somebody will be along with the link.
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Old 06-04-22, 07:34 PM
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I have a bike that gives me no numbness or fatigue when I ride it. I am trying to figure out what I might change on other bikes for the same effect. They seem to be set up in a very similar manner. So far I can't make much sense of any of it. I mostly ride on the hoods. But I move my hands around on the bikes that tire my hands. I'm looking for what adjustment I could make to get them just a bit more comfortable.
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Old 06-04-22, 07:42 PM
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For example. The Felt I can ride for hours with no hand fatigue or numbness. The Fuji I start getting numb and moving hands at around 45min to an hour. I've tried to set them up similarly. Since this image I flipped the stem on the Fuji and it made no noticeable difference for my hands. You can use the lines on the garage door to compare the size and set ups of the bikes btw. I really can't tell what the difference would be.

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Old 06-04-22, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
For example. The Felt I can ride for hours with no hand fatigue or numbness. The Fuji I start getting numb and moving hands at around 45min to an hour. I've tried to set them up similarly. Since this image I flipped the stem on the Fuji and it made no noticeable difference for my hands. You can use the lines on the garage door to compare the size and set ups of the bikes btw. I really can't tell what the difference would be.
It seems the Fuji bike has longer reach. One thing you can do for the Fuji is replace the dropbar with exactly the same dropbar you have on the Felt and adjusted to the same angle.
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Old 06-04-22, 10:29 PM
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Hopefully there is more than one comfortable position on the bars. Moving your hands around every so often is key.
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Old 06-05-22, 11:39 AM
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The bars on the Fuji seem to be a longer reach bar than on the Felt. Have you measured from the saddle where you sit to the hoods and other places where you keep your hands?

Dropper post on the saddle? They just seem oddly low to me, which might suggest too big a frame. But if that works for you that's what matters,
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Old 06-05-22, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The bars on the Fuji seem to be a longer reach bar than on the Felt. Have you measured from the saddle where you sit to the hoods and other places where you keep your hands?

Dropper post on the saddle? They just seem oddly low to me, which might suggest too big a frame. But if that works for you that's what matters,
The Fuji is about .5" farther from the front of the saddle to the top of the hoods. But again, when the Fuji had a really short stem it was far more uncomfortable. So that's why I'm unclear on what I should really do. The Fuji isn't terrible since I added the longer stem, just not as comfy as the Felt. There doesn't seem to be any real solid info on what to do.
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Old 06-05-22, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Hopefully there is more than one comfortable position on the bars. Moving your hands around every so often is key.
Both bikes are comfortable enough for long rides, I just have to move around a lot more with the Fuji. That makes me believe I could make some change that would make the Fuji more comfortable.
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Old 06-05-22, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The bars on the Fuji seem to be a longer reach bar than on the Felt. Have you measured from the saddle where you sit to the hoods and other places where you keep your hands?

Dropper post on the saddle? They just seem oddly low to me, which might suggest too big a frame. But if that works for you that's what matters,
I don't think you will see a bike for a shorter person with a lot of saddle post showing. That seems to just be the way it goes. Of course it may be I can put the saddle up a little bit. I just have to be careful, when the saddle is too high I get pain behind the knees. But moving the saddle up does also move it back which could shift some weight back.
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Old 06-05-22, 01:33 PM
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Don't slide your seat back, tip it a little higher in front and lower in back. Just a very very small change in between test rides. Do long test rides if you think you have it right. If you feel like you are sliding forward that's a saddle tipped to far down in front. You might even need a different saddle.

That may also keep you from riding way up front on the saddle. It works fine on all 15 of my bikes, and they are all different sizes. Road bikes, MTBs, fixie, trikes, single speeds, step through frame (ladies) beater, beach Cruser. Etc.
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Old 06-05-22, 01:58 PM
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@BikingViking793, do you have any pictures of yourself on one of these bikes? Looks like you must have a long torso/arms relative to your legs.

EDIT: Agree with @2manybikes... the saddle on the Fuji looks like it is slightly nose-down compared to the Felt.
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Old 06-05-22, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
The Fuji is about .5" farther from the front of the saddle to the top of the hoods. But again, when the Fuji had a really short stem it was far more uncomfortable. So that's why I'm unclear on what I should really do. The Fuji isn't terrible since I added the longer stem, just not as comfy as the Felt. There doesn't seem to be any real solid info on what to do.
This is why I told in an earlier post to get the same dropbar for your Fuji as on your Felt. And then set it up exactly the same as you did on Felt, the dropbar and hoods angle.

There's enough difference on the dropbar and hoods angle between the two bikes and the dropbar design itself to have significant difference in feel.

If that didn't worked still, move your saddle slightly to the back on the Fuji and if still no success then get exactly the same saddle for the Fuji as on the Felt. You'll have almost perfectly duplicated the fit between the two bikes at that point.
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Old 06-10-22, 04:38 PM
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You'd have to measure the pedal axle to saddle top distance on both bikes, but it looks to me like the Fuji has a noticeably higher saddle. If it were my bike, I'd take out all the spacers and put on a -17 stem, get the bars as low as they'll go without it looking weird. Then adjust the Fuji according to my fitting primer, here: https://www.bikeforums.net/21296948-post3.html

Most long distance riders I know have their bars about level with their saddle or a little below, like mine. I suggest that might be the most comfortable fit since people who do 90 hour rides have their bikes set up that way.
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Old 06-10-22, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
I have a bike that gives me no numbness or fatigue when I ride it. I am trying to figure out what I might change on other bikes for the same effect. They seem to be set up in a very similar manner...
Same here... All my bikes are set up similar but my old UNIVEGA ruled the roost for comfort. I then took measurements to the millimeter on the UNIVEGA measuring

Center of seat to center of bars
Center of the hoods to center of the seat
Bar height in relation to the level of the seat
Top of lower pedal to the top of the seat

These adjustments were mere millimeters difference from one bike to another but WOW! What a change when I got them to match. My other bikes are ridding much better now.

I do remember when things like this were not so important. I do remember slamming my bars and raising my seat mid ride for a race back home. Not any more. I have turned into such a Geezer...
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Old 06-10-22, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
This is why I told in an earlier post to get the same dropbar for your Fuji as on your Felt. And then set it up exactly the same as you did on Felt, the dropbar and hoods angle.

There's enough difference on the dropbar and hoods angle between the two bikes and the dropbar design itself to have significant difference in feel.

If that didn't worked still, move your saddle slightly to the back on the Fuji and if still no success then get exactly the same saddle for the Fuji as on the Felt. You'll have almost perfectly duplicated the fit between the two bikes at that point.
My thoughts almost exactly. First thought - hand positions. No, not so much how much weight is on them but what exactly are you putting them on and what angle, etc. does your hand/wrist take. The brake hoods and bars aren't radically different between your two bikes but the angles they are set at are.

I would first rotate the Fuji's bars until the tops and bottoms take the same angles to horizontal as the Felt. I would then unwrap the bartape completely (rolling it up as I go if it comes off cleanly and can be re-used). Then slide the brake hoods until they match the angle of the Felt. Tape the cables with electrical tape, put all the wrenches I need to adjust stem height, bar rotation and the brake hoods in my pocket. Go for a ride with that naked cockpit. Stop as many times as I have to dial the setup. Keep doing this the next few rides until I finish a ride thinking "that's it". Tape the bars with the old tape (or cheap cloth tape) from the bottom so I can unwrap as needed to adjust the brake hoods. Ride that HB tape 'till it dies. Only then do I put on new good tape. I consider hand position that important.

Even after doing all that, I "listen" to my hands. They speak up (in pain, numbness, fatigue and callouses if not words) when things aren't right.
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Old 07-16-22, 10:03 PM
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Have you ever tried lowering the bars to about saddle level, or even lower? Use the bike you use less to experiment on. I agree with Carbonfiberboy's post. It's counter-intuitive but often you can improve comfort by lowering the bars. You can get used parts like better bars and stems at your local community bicycle cooperative.

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Old 07-18-22, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
For example. The Felt I can ride for hours with no hand fatigue or numbness. The Fuji I start getting numb and moving hands at around 45min to an hour. I've tried to set them up similarly. Since this image I flipped the stem on the Fuji and it made no noticeable difference for my hands. You can use the lines on the garage door to compare the size and set ups of the bikes btw. I really can't tell what the difference would be.

Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
Both bikes are comfortable enough for long rides, I just have to move around a lot more with the Fuji. That makes me believe I could make some change that would make the Fuji more comfortable.
WOW! amazing job you did, lining up the bikes and taking the pics from the same perspective.
assuming the same size tires, the bikes seem close in some regards, but different in a key area.
What I can see, is what others have noted, the Fuji has a sizeable difference in saddle height/extension. Saddle also has a noticeable downward tilt angle, comparatively.
Regardless of how high you put the bars, a downward angle on a saddle will cause more weight/force onto the bars...
That is exaggerated by a higher saddle position. I'm assuming the saddles are same or similar.
Saddle setback is hard to determine, visually, but getting a horizontal measure from saddle sitz area to center of BB is the key - (I do it by dropping a plumb line from saddle nose down below the BB area - making sure the chainstay/crank arm is affecting the 'plumb' i measure from BB ctr to line. To that number I ADD distance from saddle nose back to where my sitzbones actually are when sitting on saddle... If you're comparing between the 2 bikes - if the saddles are identical, then the comparison can be made just using the saddle nose to BB measurement. Adjust the Fuji setback to be same as Felt. Check saddle tilt again after doing this.
Put a quality 'Level' on the Felt saddle, check the bubble - put the level on the Fuji, compare and adjust the saddle on the Fuji to be the same (again, same saddle?)
Put 'Level' on the Felt , measure from the center bb/crank to the bottom of the level, straight along the seattube/post. Do the same for the Fuji (assuming the same length cranks and similar pedals) adjust the Fuji to same saddle height.
Otherwise mimicking the Felt bars shape and rotation will also get them closer on the Fuji, as would placement of the brifters.. A 'level' can also help with doing that.
making sure to do all this when each bike is in the same placement point/ground - like when you took the pics. You seem to be a Pro in doing that. LOL!
With all that, THE SADDLE position, tilt are key to how the bike 'feels', especially as ride time extends. Most small 'reach and bar setting changes get adapated to much easier than even slight saddle differences.
Ride On
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Old 08-02-22, 08:56 AM
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My hands/wrists hurt after a certain period of time no matter what. They even have on the motorcycles Ive owned.
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Old 08-05-22, 12:18 PM
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OK, this is going to sound weird, but I'm going to post my experience here. And it may sound stoopid, but...
I suffered for a long time from hand tingles, nothing too uncomfortable, but very annoying. One day I was watching a video on climbing and noticed how the riders held their hands on the hoods.I often had my hands "draped" over the hoods, thumb on one side rest of fingers on the other. Or I hekd on the the top of the bar in a more "relaxed" up right position.
The video these guys had there hands more wrapped around the horns and it put them in a more aero position, FOR ME, so far it's been a great improvement.
I never would of thought after 50 years of being on two wheels I would just now learn to how to hold on.
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