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  1. #1
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    numb hands -- weight and setup issue?

    After riding for about 3 months now, I treated myself to a new MB. I was more or less 'fitted' this time (basically just seat adjustment) and I notice after two rides I'm having the same issue I had previously: during a lot of the ride my hands are numb.

    I think this is from putting too much weight on the front handlebars? On someone's suggestion, I put a level on the seat, and indeed it's level - not tipped towards the bars. But should I tilt it slightly back?

    I also wonder if there's a measurement that's not quite right, and I'm either too close or too far from the handlebars. I have pretty long arms and legs, and don't seem to ride as comfortably upright as I'd like. Thx!

  2. #2
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    numb hands -- weight and setup issue?

    How much lower are your grips than your saddle? Try laying a 4' carpenter's level (or an eyeball leveled yardstick) from your saddle to your grips, and check the amount of drop.

    For me, raising the handlebar with a 20mm Easton riser bar and switching to Ergon grips eliminated hand pain. I recommend against tilting the seat up. I run -2 degree down(to the front) slope on my saddle, and dead level on my saddle to handlebar grips.

  3. #3
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    There has been a couple of "bike fit" threads recently.
    The best way is to go to a shop that knows about bike fit and get them to help you.
    Try moving your seat backwards a little.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    After riding for about 3 months now, I treated myself to a new MB. I was more or less 'fitted' this time (basically just seat adjustment) and I notice after two rides I'm having the same issue I had previously: during a lot of the ride my hands are numb.

    I think this is from putting too much weight on the front handlebars? On someone's suggestion, I put a level on the seat, and indeed it's level - not tipped towards the bars. But should I tilt it slightly back?

    I also wonder if there's a measurement that's not quite right, and I'm either too close or too far from the handlebars. I have pretty long arms and legs, and don't seem to ride as comfortably upright as I'd like. Thx!

    Being a noob myself other things to check are brake levers. If they are not in line with your arm angle it causes you to have your wrists bent back. Another thing is try to relax your grip a bit and avoid locking your elbows.

  5. #5
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    Thx all -- I did have 4' level, and the seat is *slightly* higher than the stem. As the seat feels just slightly too high, I'll adjust and this should leave me level.

    Second, I replaced the stock Giant seat with the WTB PureV off my old bike, which I prefer, so this gave me a chance to slide the seat back on the rails by 1.5cm or so. (This isn't related, but it's a mystery how the 'tilt' works. I see angle markings but the hardware that clamps to the seat rails only has a single hex screw...

    I'll give it ride and see. Some of this could be not relaxing, and I'll check the brake lever angles. I had a cheap pair of Forte "Ergo" clone grips on my old bike but they would twist on the bar and drive me crazy. The more expensive grips look like they'll stay in place.

  6. #6
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    Saddle tilt nose-down often leads to numb hands, as the upper body weight is all bearing down on the palms. Level it or even slightly nose-up, no more than 2-3mm north.
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  7. #7
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    I had nice rubber grips and would feel hand fatigues. I changed to these inexpensive thick foam grips and find that they are WAY more comfortable than any rubber grip I've ever tried - they absorb chatter and I like the thicker grip feel as well.

    Bontrager Race X Lite Handlebar Grip - Mountain - Grips & Bar Tape - Accessories -Trek Store

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertdc View Post
    I had nice rubber grips and would feel hand fatigues. I changed to these inexpensive thick foam grips and find that they are WAY more comfortable than any rubber grip I've ever tried - they absorb chatter and I like the thicker grip feel as well.

    Bontrager Race X Lite Handlebar Grip - Mountain - Grips & Bar Tape - Accessories -Trek Store
    Yeah, those are nice, light grips - until they start spinning on the bars a season later. Install them using hair spray....
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

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    IMO back sweep is the problem. I switched out a 9* handlebar with a 6* handlebar. Problem fixed.

  10. #10
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    Do you always have this problem, or only after long downhill sections?

  11. #11
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    (This isn't related, but it's a mystery how the 'tilt' works. I see angle markings but the hardware that clamps to the seat rails only has a single hex screw...
    That one screw controls both the fore and aft of the seat and the tilt. If you loosen the screw enough you can adjust the tilt. There are two mating surfaces under there with teeth in a semi-circular pattern. Just be easy on it because its easy to move it way more than you intended to. Just one tooth adjustment can make a big difference. BTW I was having the same issue, tilted my seat back one tooth, and problem solved.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    Yeah, those are nice, light grips - until they start spinning on the bars a season later. Install them using hair spray....
    Back when I rode Freestyle MX we always used to shoot spray paint into the grip and then slide it on. never comes loose. u have to slice it down the middle or heat it up good to remove em
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  13. #13
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    Numb hands, leaning on bars to much putting weight on hands. Your hands should be light, your weight needs to be in your feet, in your hips.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jams_805 View Post
    Back when I rode Freestyle MX we always used to shoot spray paint into the grip and then slide it on. never comes loose. u have to slice it down the middle or heat it up good to remove em
    I'll use a good rubber glue...before I use spray paint!
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  15. #15
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    Hold your weight with your core/stomach, instead of holding all your weight with your wrists/hands/bars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iscariot View Post
    Hold your weight with your core/stomach, instead of holding all your weight with your wrists/hands/bars.
    Not that easy, when your saddle slides your entire body over the bars. The majority of weight-bearing should be handled by your strongest body parts....the legs and feet.
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  17. #17
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    Re: numb hands -- weight and setup issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    Not that easy, when your saddle slides your entire body over the bars. The majority of weight-bearing should be handled by your strongest body parts....the legs and feet.
    If your saddle is making you slide forward, then you don't have it set up properly.

    Weight in the feet/legs only when descending/standing.

    Core is key to climbing. Relax your hips and sitbones into the saddle, and open the width between your knees a bit. Support your weight with your core and have light feet and hands. It will feel like your legs are spinning freely beneath your stabilized core. This also almost immediately gives you a smoother and more efficient pedal stroke.

  18. #18
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    I did a ride this weekend, after making a couple adjustments:
    1) rotated the brakes so they're more inline with my wrists
    2) slid the seat almost as far back as I could (and made sure it was level).

    Things are 'better.' I do notice I have a death grip on the bars from time to time, which is contributing, and I'm making an effort to really use my legs/core to center and stabilize my weight. So I'd say the problem has gone from a 4/5 to a 2.5/5, where 5 is the worst.

    I'm still not 100% convinced that my fit is perfect. I feel as if I'd like the handlebars raised. Ignorant question -- how is this accomplished? Through a spacer? Stem?

  19. #19
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    As someone who's go to saddle is also the WTB PureV, I can tell you this, you don't want it level if you put a level on it, toss the level What you want level is the part that your arse actually resides on, i.e. your sit bones sit on - in other words the back of the saddle is what should be level, forget about where the nose is. If you look at my setup you'd think that the nose on my setup is too high, but if you just look at the tail you realise that that is level and that's what matters, that is what either lets you sit neutrally or rotates your hips forward and puts pressure on your shoulders/arms..
    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    After riding for about 3 months now, I treated myself to a new MB. I was more or less 'fitted' this time (basically just seat adjustment) and I notice after two rides I'm having the same issue I had previously: during a lot of the ride my hands are numb.

    I think this is from putting too much weight on the front handlebars? On someone's suggestion, I put a level on the seat, and indeed it's level - not tipped towards the bars. But should I tilt it slightly back?
    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    Thx all -- I did have 4' level, and the seat is *slightly* higher than the stem. As the seat feels just slightly too high, I'll adjust and this should leave me level.

    Second, I replaced the stock Giant seat with the WTB PureV off my old bike, which I prefer, so this gave me a chance to slide the seat back on the rails by 1.5cm or so. (This isn't related, but it's a mystery how the 'tilt' works. I see angle markings but the hardware that clamps to the seat rails only has a single hex screw....
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    I did a ride this weekend, after making a couple adjustments:
    1) rotated the brakes so they're more inline with my wrists
    2) slid the seat almost as far back as I could (and made sure it was level).

    Things are 'better.' I do notice I have a death grip on the bars from time to time, which is contributing, and I'm making an effort to really use my legs/core to center and stabilize my weight. So I'd say the problem has gone from a 4/5 to a 2.5/5, where 5 is the worst.

    I'm still not 100% convinced that my fit is perfect. I feel as if I'd like the handlebars raised. Ignorant question -- how is this accomplished? Through a spacer? Stem?
    1)Your brake levers should never hang down vertically, from the bars. Looking at your bike sideways and your grip end is the "clock" let's say; Your brake lever angle should be at the 4 O'clock position.
    2)Why did you slide your saddle all the way back? This tells me your bike may be too small. Your seatpost should be smack dab in the center of your saddle rails, between both rail bends.

    There should be NO REASON to have a death grip on the bars.....EVER. If you carry enough speed - there is nothing out on the trail that will rip the bars from your grasp and make you crash. Your chances of crashing is higher, by simply not going fast enough. Speed and momentum is YOUR FRIEND....not the other way around. Watch all the videos of Downhillers flying though jumps and berms, and I guarantee you they ALL have a relaxed, loose grip on their bars. Tense-up and your chances of crashing goes thru the roof!

    I am 100% certain your fit is NOT perfect. Please take your bike to a shop and have them conduct a fitting. A poor-fitting bike, is the #1 reason why many get discouraged and quit this fine sport. The LBS will know exactly how to bring your comfort level back to you....even if it includes getting a different bike. Remember -

    COMFORT=CONFIDENCE
    CONFIDENCE=SKILL
    SKILL=FUN
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    Your seatpost should be smack dab in the center of your saddle rails, between both rail bends.

    You have doled out some good advice but I don't understand this ^ one. Seat tube angles are different, femur lengths are different, seat rails are for adjusting. I agree that centered may be a good starting point for the average person but all my saddles seem to end up jammed all the way back.

  22. #22
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    OP, have you tried rotating your bars? you can adjust reach and sweep (a little) this way.

  23. #23
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    I just now did try rotating my bars, and it felt better with a bit of upsweep. They were set to 0 degrees. Now they're +2 (or something 2). I also readjusted my brakes so again they're inline with my wrists -- like 4 o'clock as Z. said (but I'd already done that).

    Confirmed my seat is level: the WTB ProV does have funny profile, like a sideways "S", but if anything, the part that I sit on is now tilted backwards. We'll see -- too rainy now to ride. I also bumped up the seat height a tad.

    Starting to think this is mostly user error and I need to work on lightening my grip.

    @Z, I think this bike fits me well. I just need to tweak and learn.

  24. #24
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    I have always had some hand numbness off and on during long rides, quite a few years and miles since the late 80s, on lots of different bikes, I think a lot of riders get that. Sometimes I'll ride no hands on a level section, sit up straight and shake my hands. I grab ends of the grips on most easy climbs (like having old style bar-ends), I find the alternate position helps. I know I'm in the minority, but I still like the old Grab-On mt-1 foam grips, I have pretty long fingers, I like those in all conditions. I use hairspray to put those on, Grab-on used to make a 'lube&glue' pack that would come with grips, that worked great. I haven't used it on foam grips, but after lots and lots of reading about different ways to put grips on, I read about using automotive starting fluid. I've used it on many smooth inside grips, the grip slides on, and then after a few minutes locks up tight, it works really great unless the grip is really loose fitting, and you don't have to wait overnight for it to dry. There's no glue involved, so the grips can be removed without destroying them.

  25. #25
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    Oh, and 3 months is not a super long time for your body to adapt to the bike. Like somebody said above you will probably loosen up as you continue to get more comfortable.

  26. #26
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    numb hands -- weight and setup issue?

    **i am not a bike fitter, and proper torque is very important when you are screwing around with your saddle, bar and stem cockpit geometry**

    Don't adjust your saddle-to-handle-bar drop by raising or lowering your saddle. Get your saddle good. Then go from there. The online fit calculator at CC is a good place to start, but nothing beats a pro fit from an experienced fitter.

    Saddle angle is personal preference, but most people ride ~level to about 3 degrees down. Tilted back (up) is much less common, I think. Especially if you have balls. I ride two degrees down, measured from middle of saddle to tip of saddle. I'm not a bike fitter, but relieving pressure on hands by tilting saddle back is missing the big picture.

    In my experience the easiest way to raise your bar is

    - Add spacers under the stem, if you already have extra steer tube showing thru the stem. You probably don't.

    Otherwise,

    - if your stem length is good, raise your hands and smooth your ride with a high quality carbon riser bar such as a 20mm (low rise) or 40 mm (high rise) Easton EC70 bar. There are. Lot of good bars out there but I use an Easton EC 70 so can recommend this one. You can find this bar online for about $80.

    - if your stem needs lengthening or shortening, change stems to a 12 or 20 degree rise, which depending on stem length can raise the stem about 5-15mm. There are some good stem angle calculators online worth looking at.

    Best place to start is always your LBS, who can point you in the right direction, or loan you a stem or bar to test out before you decide, or set you up with a pro fit. I am a big advocate of pro fitting, but not till you have 500 or so miles of riding under your belt, to get stretched out. Don't ride a bike that hurts, tho.

    Did I mention that I'm not a bike fitter?

    And trust me about using care when torquing cockpit controls.

    numb hands -- weight and setup issue?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1376969770.779450.jpg

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    After riding for about 3 months now, I treated myself to a new MB. I was more or less 'fitted' this time (basically just seat adjustment) and I notice after two rides I'm having the same issue I had previously: during a lot of the ride my hands are numb.

    I think this is from putting too much weight on the front handlebars? On someone's suggestion, I put a level on the seat, and indeed it's level - not tipped towards the bars. But should I tilt it slightly back?

    I also wonder if there's a measurement that's not quite right, and I'm either too close or too far from the handlebars. I have pretty long arms and legs, and don't seem to ride as comfortably upright as I'd like. Thx!
    Here is what found for myself:
    GLOVES : Be careful of any gloves You wear, they can pull up tite when Your hooked around the grips , make sure Your gloves are sized large enough so when You close your fist they don't get restrictive.

    TENSION : Bombing a gnarly DH is were i found myself holding on with an unconscious death grip, i read world cup champ DH'er Brian Lopes book and memorized something he said : ' Heavy on the feet, light on the hands' .

    1 FINGER BRAKING : Took awhile for me to move from 2 fingers to 1 for each brake lever, now i can curl most of the powerful middle section of my hand around the grips and at the same time use no power at all to hold on and now the tension just disappears.

    SIZE : a bike that is just one size to small will put you up onto the bar's ?


    BALANCE: Going back to another Brian Lopes tip ,test Your balance > ride slow in a strait line then bounce up and down on the suspension to wear the bike goes up and down with the front and back in a horizontal plane going up and down , do t to wear the front and back go up and down 'together' at the same time on the same plane , in other words Your centered over the cranks aka 'heavy feet light hands' that is your default off the seat position, You can cheat You weight- ass back a tad to get even more weight off your hands.

    Ride on the street and just see if there is a difference from when You ride the trail, f Your not under tension on the street , then t could be just nerves and nervous tension, if it doesn't changer on a smooth empty street after a good ride then what the other guys are saying about bike fit could be the problem.

    Look to see when Your riding fast on the trail - ass off the seat, legs bent lower that usual in your 'attack' race position > is your face way over the stem out front or right above it ?

    JOCKEY: Watch as race horse jockey at full gallop , they have light hands.

    i hope that was helpful ....PEACE

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    my saddles seem to end up jammed all the way back.
    Because your bike doesn't fit femur length or not
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
    Because your bike doesn't fit femur length or not

    It seems bike fitting here on mtbr has become such a fine art that trivial details like height/frame size are no longer necessary. Anyone wanna buy my 22" XL KM?

  30. #30
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    ^^I'm interested. What size stem will I need?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElwoodT View Post
    ^^I'm interested. What size stem will I need?

    I'd say 73 mm would be ideal but you could probably round up to 75 and still be OK, just move the seat forward 2 mm.

  32. #32
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    OP: Have you tried padded gel gloves? I wear them all the time, but forgot them once and my hands were really sore. Could make a world of difference.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDeLarge View Post
    OP: Have you tried padded gel gloves? I wear them all the time, but forgot them once and my hands were really sore. Could make a world of difference.
    Nope -- I haven't been wearing gloves. Just don't have any.

    It's getting better and I still want to play with my seat / bar position more. I think my seat is TOO far back now. It's definitely only happening on certain parts of the trail: the downhills, mostly. When I'm on the same bike riding fire roads or greenways, no numbness.

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