1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Numbness in left hand only

    My left hand is the only one that gets numb. I'm wondering if I should change my flat bar out to a riser bar? I've also noticed that it feels unnatural to have my thumbs under the handlebars when riding, I usually just rest them parallel on the bar. Any suggestions would be great.
    2012 GT Karakoram
    2013 Scott Genius 940

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Do you have a lot of weight on your hands? Are you a new rider or one of these guys who's been riding ten years but asks on "Beginner's Corner" anyway?

    Regardless, it takes some experimentation. Don't spend money until you've dialed in what you've got. I'm betting your weight distribution is off, but you can also rotate the bars within the stem to change the angle of your grips.

    There's nothing magic about risers, but they can help solve some problems that typical flats may not.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    I'm a new rider, within my 1st year of riding. I'm 220 lbs , so I'm a big boy. I'm going to try sliding my seat forward on the rails a bit and see if that does anything
    2012 GT Karakoram
    2013 Scott Genius 940

  4. #4
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    You might try a couple things:

    1. wider grips ... expensive, but as a big guy myself, I have found that grips that are made with a platform to support my hand are less numbing than regular round grips.

    2. stem angle ... the more you lean forward the more weight on your hands ... on a smooth flat road try riding sitting up a little straighter -- this might help and give you an idea of a better stem for you and your riding style.

    3. check your hand position ... are your wrists bent? are your elbows bent? is your
    neck bent too much? are your shoulders hunched forward to reach the bars? all this can numb you out quickly.

    A good bike shop should help with fitting you to a bike.

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Rather than flailing around in the dark, here's a cohesive approach to setup I like.
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    While I switched to flats first, in retrospect, I think it's better to try a few stems to get the grips in the right place rather than buying new bars. Stems are $5 parts if you want them to be.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Rather than flailing around in the dark, here's a cohesive approach to setup I like.
    How to Fit a Bicycle

    While I switched to flats first, in retrospect, I think it's better to try a few stems to get the grips in the right place rather than buying new bars. Stems are $5 parts if you want them to be.
    That looks to be a good read from my cursory glance. I have to dig up my fitment numbers from CC and see if they are matching up with the way my bike is setup now too.
    2012 GT Karakoram
    2013 Scott Genius 940

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I'll be curious to hear how a qualitative fit as on the site compares too.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
    R.I.P. DogFriend
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    Something to consider. . . .

    Sounds to me like you might be a good candidate for a handlebar with more backsweep. Most flat bars (I call them 'wrist-wreckers') have little to no backsweep, and when you said you find yourself wanting to put your thumbs over the bar instead of under them, I recognized that from my own experience.

    I think you can go all the way up to 17 to 20 before it starts to feel like the handles on a wheelbarrow. I have a 20 backsweep carbon Answer bar they call the 20/20 that I found very comfortable in that respect, and was still ready for action being that it is 720mm wide. The bar sweeps forward and than back, so your hands end up in the same place as they would be with your original bar so you won't also need to buy a stem.

    Salsa makes the Bend 2 (in aluminum) that comes in either 17 or 23 backsweep bar that is much more affordable. The Ragley Carnegie is another that comes to mind. Niner makes a carbon bar called the Low Top that can be run with the sweep going up, but it's designed to be run as a drop bar, and it has a 17 backsweep. It's an expensive handlebar, but Niner makes some carbon bars that are mega-comfortable with superb vibration damping.

    I would double check and see what the backsweep is on your current handlebar and think about how your hands would feel if your wrists were at a more comfortable angle. For me, I like a minimum of 9 backsweep or I have issues.

  9. #9
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    Before buying anything, I'd check to make sure your arms are even the same length. If they're dramatically different, it could very easily explain the unevenness of your soreness. Won't make it any easier to fix, unfortunately.

  10. #10
    Shaman
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    Tension can create numbness. Poor body position and weight distribution can be factors too. Weight should be in the pedals, not your hands. Good luck!
    Skills coaching loved by passionate riders of all levels and trusted by the pros.
    www.betterride.net

  11. #11
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    Quick update to all those who replied to my post

    I lowered my seat about 1/2 inch and the numbness isn't nearly as bad in my left hand as it was before.I haven't been able to ride as much as I was due to various other stuff, that in my eyes is not nearly as important as riding, but had to get done. Daylight savings time put the kibosh on my rides at the end of work 3 days a week too. I've also made a conscious effort to change my grip on the bars more often.
    2012 GT Karakoram
    2013 Scott Genius 940

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Legs feeling okay with the saddle change?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Legs feeling okay with the saddle change?

    I haven't noticed anything with my legs with the saddle change. Sunday will be the first time I'll be able to get a good ride in in awhile so I'll see then.
    2012 GT Karakoram
    2013 Scott Genius 940

  14. #14
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    I suffered the same problem. Couldn't even use the shifter after about thirty minutes. Read an article on the subject that suggested moving the seat forward a hair. I moved it up about 1mm. Amazingly, no more tingles or numbness.

  15. #15
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    Relax. Make sure you are not riding stiff arm - elbows bent, chest down.

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