Difficulty gripping brake hoods on road bike


New Member
Apr 20, 2003

I've recently taken up road bike riding, and I've been riding a Giant TCR 2 for about 6 months. Generally the bike fitting is no problem, and I have done a number of long rides without pain in the knees or back, or numb hands etc.

One problem I am trying to solve is that I do not find gripping the brake hoods as the most comfortable position for cruising. If I grip the brake hoods then I find I am putting too much pressure on the area between my thumb and 1st finger, also the wrist tends to want to slide off to the outside.

My most comfortable grip position is slightly back from the brake hoods so that the wrist is resting on the curved part of the upper bar. This means I have to move my hands forward if I need to brake.

Also, if I do grip the brake hoods for extensive periods, I get a small amount of lower back ache, which is relieved almost instantly by moving my hands back to the position described above.

I do wear riding gloves.

I have had numerous suggestions as to what might be causing my problem including:
* My hands are smaller than average.
* I am just not flexible enough.
* My handle bar is too low. Low handle bars seem to be especially pronounced on the Giant bikes due to their different frame geometry. I've tried reversing the stem extension to raise the handle bars a bit but it doesn't solve the problem. I've also tried the next size up of frame (to get the handle bars up a bit) but this didn't really solve it either.
* Bar angle is wrong. I've tried numerous angles without success.
* Bar width is wrong.
* Stem extension is too long.

Any suggestions would be welcome.


New Member
Apr 18, 2003
Not sure what the answer is, but when I first took up a road bike three years ago, I could not hold the hoods for long because of the pain. However, with perseverence, it went after a month or so. The only other thing (apart from perseverence) is maybe moving your saddle forward. You are obviously straining to reach the hoods comfortably, so lessening the distance you need to reach by moving the saddle may help.


New Member
Feb 22, 2002
Sound like you are putting too much weight on your hands in this position. This could be due to poor positioning of the brakes on the bars, a bike that is too short, handlebars too low, etc. that causes you to rotate forward and place all of your weight onto your handlebars.

Given that the pressure between your thumb and finger is great it sounds like you are not too stretched; as this would reduce pressure. It is likly to be a number of factors, get someone with a keen eye to have a look at your set up.


New Member
Jan 29, 2003
If you're having a problem with your hand position, make certain that you keep changing your hands around. My brother, on the Great Victorian Bike Ride, had a problem with his hands- one day, he complained of very slight pain in his hand, the next it was quite serious, and one day further on, he couldn't squeeze his brakes effectively and could scarcely change gears. He was, essentially, paralysed in half of one hand. He did not get his hand back to normal for over a month.

The moral of this story? Always change your hand position, and if you're not happy with the way your hands are, I'd suggest getting someone to have a look at your positon.

I hope it all works out!


New Member
Aug 3, 2003
I had the same problem when I returned after a year lay off. For me, my lower back and upper back muscles had become so inflexible, that I had a hard time returning to my old riding position.
Make sure your hams, lower back, and upper back are super flexible.

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