Road bike handlebar comfort issue

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by lumpy, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    The issue is that they aren't comfortable for my hands. Perhaps it's all the riding I do on my Mtn. bike, but I just can't get quite comfy on my road bike. On climbs I like to keep my hands on top near the stem - except when I'm out of the saddle, the rest of the time I have them on the hoods. I'm rarely on the drops. The problem is that the hoods aren't big enough for my hands - I really miss my mtn bike's bar ends I guess! I have tried moving the hoods around with little improvement by the way.
    The one thing I know would work is putting a mt. bar and shifters/brakes w/bar ends on but frankly I'm too cheap.

    Would one of these work without moving my position much?

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?...ry=1050&brand=&sku=10567&storetype=&estoreid=

    I don't mind changing the stem to fine tune things but I don't really know what these "tri bars" are like.

    I don't have easy access to a good LBS with a variety of bars to compare

    Any ideas?

    thanks,
    Tim
     
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  2. alex001

    alex001 New Member

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    what do u mean the hoods are too small? your hands cant fit on them? or they are just small to grip
     
  3. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    They are too small to grip. The front portion that sticks up is too close to the handlebar. Sorry I don't have the nomenclature down.

    This is pretty much what I have - just older ...

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?...ory=1194&brand=&sku=3055&storetype=&estoreid=

    The curve of the handlebars where it starts forward and down to the shifters is too extreme for my wrists and again too small.

    I guess I want them to fit like mtn. bike bar ends.

    thanks,
    Tim
     
  4. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    I don't really put a grip on the hoods even when I'm climbing out of the saddle... I see them actually as more of a "rest" than grips...

    I rest my hands on them as probably most others do, between the crook of the thumb and forefinger, the other fingers just curling around lightly... Sometimes I wrap the forefinger around front of the brake lever as that feels very natural as well...

    I'm not getting a sense of what you mean by "too small" unless you are meaning "too narrow" in that they are blading your hands somehow...

    If that's the case you're resting too much weight on your arms and it might be more than simply a level and hood issue, but a bike fit issue...

    Mountain biking position compared to road biking position are two different worlds... PARTICULARLY in that area called the saddle :) Do you find that you get sore arms and back road cycling? Have the bike checked for fit if you haven't yet.

    If you're talking about the angulation of the hoods in that you roll your wrists forward to rest in them that again is a conditioning issue unless the levers are improperly setup... the tip of the lever should intersect the line drawn from the drop portion of the bars... So if you tool a straightedge and pressed it up against the bottom of the drops (where they are relatively straight, the tip of the lever should touch that or be close... that's a good reference point...

    Good luck to you!
     
  5. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    Thanks Feanor,

    I use them just as you describe except I feel as though there is too much weight on the thumb and none on the rest of the hand. There is nothing for the butt of my hand to bear weight - it's just the thumb joint from the wrist. I also have the handle bars set as you describe - rotated a bit upwards but almost level - set as you suggest rolls my wrists even further and onto my thumbs. No don't get a sore back or arms from this bike either

    I've never had a fit issue with this bike. (I guess I should mention I never was bothered by the grip either until lately). It was fitted to me when I got it. It's always been comfy, but it rarely gets ridden 'cause I love my Mtn. bike so much!! I think I've just gotten so comfortable having bar ends. I want a "bar end feeling grip where I have a handfull" is the best way to describe it I guess.

    I know I'll get used to it but I just wish it was as good and solid feeling as bar ends.

    thanks,
    Tim
     
  6. pudster

    pudster New Member

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    Maybe you could roll your bars up a little and maybe you might need a little shorter stem?
     
  7. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    Thanks guys,

    I have a couple of stems I've been experimenting with. Interestingly the most comfortable one has my hand position an inch closer to the nose of my saddle than on my mtn. bike. It's never been an issue of too much weight on my hands, but just not enough bar for my hands to rest on.

    Pudster,
    thanks - I'm going on a ride today with it so I'll try some adjustments. I put on a shorter stem last night that I've not tried yet so we'll see how it goes.

    Tim
     
  8. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

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    Check you don´t have the bar too low , it´s a modern fashion thave the bar down by your ankles ( see photos of David Millar ) but a few years ago the bar hight was only slightly lower than the saddle so people spent more time on the drops : now who the hell can reach them ?
    Do you have an "anatomic bend " style of bar ? some like them and some hate them but remember there are options out there .
    a ) anatomic
    b ) shallow ( Italian bend )
    c ) deep ( Belgian style bend )

    If you have a deep bend anatomic then this could be complicating the problem of where to put your hands .
    Try putting your hand on the hood AND the bar above so that the weight is spread a bit .
    If you can try another bike with a different bar and see if it helps . A centimeter here and there can make a big difference .

    If push comes to shove try looking at the wide part of a tri-bar set up , that could use your present levers but give a more mtb feel .

    Anything out of the norm will however be a bit more expensive , non anatomic bars for example tend to be made only in the top of the range ( Deda , Ritchey , and ITM , ) yes well they may be made but imported is a different question -- best holiday in Italy home of the Handlebar if you desire anything exotic.
     
  9. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

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    Sorry forgot ;are your bars the right width for you ? it can make a difference if you need a 40 cm and have a 46 cm or vice versa .
     
  10. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    You're very welcome... the other posters had some great points... One thing I was thinking about since you mentioned that it felt like your thumbs were bearing too much weight, is wether or not you are riding with your elbows "splayed" out a bit... so that they are out farther than the hoods... If you do this then your wrists will roll to follow the angle of your forearm and that will roll more of your thumb onto the hoods.

    If this is the case, try to make a conscious effort to pull your elbows in a bit (knees pulled in closer to the top tube is a good thing too, aero-wise) and see if that doesn't help a bit.

    To get a "bar-end" feel on a road bike handlebar set, you'd have to go with something like a TT Wing bar, but in that case (though your hands would be angulated closer to what you do with bar-ends) that kind of setup provides the outboard hand position as only a transition point to ultimately being in the aerobar position. because of that, the outboard position is flattened to optimize hammering out of the saddle, so that if you tried to use them while in the saddle, your wrists would be rolled painfully forward...

    Of course you could rotate the wing bar upwards, but though that would not get a laugh from me (I respect anyone who is out pounding pedals of any type) it would definitely get you sideways glances from alot of other riders :)
     
  11. eddiebrannan

    eddiebrannan New Member

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    i'm interested that you find too much weight being placed on the web between the thumb and finger. when i ride the heel of my hand takes the weight and that is placed on the curved part of the top of the bar and the thumb and forefinger wrap either side of the hoods. but truly it sounds far more like a fit issue, as has been posted here. you should be able to comfortably rest your weight on the heel of your hands for long periods of time, with your arms bent at the elbows and in a straight line from your shoulder to the wrists looking from above. the area to grip is more than generous enough in size.
     
  12. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    WOW - great responses guys - THANKS!

    I should have spent the AM on my trainer but instead I tinkered more :rolleyes:

    The best way I can describe things is picture putting your hand down into the "U" of a horseshoe where the web between your thumb and index kunckle bear 1/2 the weight and the "heel" of your hand bears the other half - with no contact in the palm. It feels like my hand is getting squished between the front top part of the shifter and the handlebar.

    So at the risk of ruining my bar tape, I switched out the road bar with a mtn. bar and it's bar ends and it made all the difference in the world. Very comfortable now! :D :D
    Sure it looks weird to have a mtn. bar on a road bike but I don't care. It feels great.

    I suppose I could have tried different road bars to see if one works better but I'm happy with what I've done.

    The next issue is brakes/shifter - for now I have my road shifters out on the bar ends where they work but not to well. I'll post a different thread about that.

    Thanks again everybody,

    Tim
     
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