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.
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  1. #1
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    Ulnar nerve pain and help fixing bike geometry

    Ive got a Canondale 29er, its a size L (18.5) frame. Seat is set so that leg is not quite fully extended. Saddle is aftermarket split type. When I first got the bike last summer, I had a lot of numbness in my hands. Not usual Ulnar type, but pain on back of hands and general whole hand numbness after a ride. I tried ergo grips. Made minor difference. Tried gel gloves to made minor difference.

    Since then I took a low rise handle bar and swapped it to a 30mm rise bar, changed to ODI moab lizard skin grips and the stem is a thompson 100mm type.

    Rode on this config for about 6 months. Sometimes I get occasional ulnar type pain/ numbness after a ride in either hand. Sometimes I dont. I have found that wearing regular non padded gloves the pain is oddly less as opposed to gel type gloves.

    Occasionally the ulnar numbness gets worse.

    My question would be should I increase the bar rise to say 40mm and shrink the stem to say 40-50mm range? Would this with say softer grips give me the geometry change to stop the problem?

    Any thoughts on this or other fixes?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Bicycling and Pain

    See "fingers" and "back" in particular.

    My instinct is that you need to start making small changes in the position of your grips. Like maybe a 90mm stem. Don't go all the way to a little BMX-type stem - small changes here make a big difference.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    I think the position of the grips matters and how you achieve it doesn't.

    I think I can get a stem for $10, but new handlebars are more expensive, and moving my controls over is a pain.

    It may take you some experimentation to get it right. Better to buy a bunch of $10 stems that don't work than a bunch of $30-$60 handlebars that don't work.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Do you think rise of the bars is more critical than length of stem or vise versa? Or a combo of both? I have been reading abit online about this. But nobody really says..change this for this sort of thing. Sort of vague here.

  5. #5
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    You think to much reach is causing the problem here with to long a stem then? If so what length do you think I should try?

  6. #6
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    I don't know. Hold your bike up to the monitor.

    I've never seen you on your bike. Too small a bike causes the same problems. Read the link. Read this link too.
    How to Fit a Bicycle

    Try to get help from someone local who knows bikes - actually seeing you on the bike is important.

    Since you have a 100mm stem now, I'd probably start by going to a 90mm stem, maybe a higher-angled one. (But again - too small a bike can cause the same problems.) I assume your stem is already flipped up and on top of the spacer stack?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Depends on the glove. Mine have gel pads but not over the path of the ulnar nerve. Although, I don't wear padded gloves for MTB. I've been meaning to get fatter grips...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Yeah its angle side up. Odd that wearing the gel gloves makes it fractionally worse I think to.

  9. #9
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    Try something as simple as rotating the bar. I rotated mine and it made a huge difference.
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  10. #10
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    I wonder if you are gripping the bars really hard. Do you check your grip from time to time? If you are not on really rough terrain, you can relax one hand and shake it out.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I don't know. Hold your bike up to the monitor.
    This is gold. I've had to resort to this in a moment of frustration when I was working at a bike shop once. The person on the other end couldn't comprehend that I could not fix the problem over the phone and that in 3 minutes of having the bike in my hands I could fix it completely. I finally had to tell them to "hold the bike up the phone and let me talk to it". Luckily they had a sense of humor and got the point.

    Andrw's point? Go to your bike shop and talk to them. We can't fix the way you fit on a bike over the internet; I know, I've tried. Best case scenario, you post up some pictures and we take a stab at it but really the only way to do this right is to have a good fitter look at you on a trainer and actually get down to the finer points of a bike fit.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  12. #12
    see me rollin, they hatin
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    when i ride for long periods of time on my bike, i get pins and needles on the bottom outer edge of my palm. Sometimes it creates a lightning buzzing shock thru my haand. i believe this is the ulnar nerve since its the outside of the palm, not inside
    fap

  13. #13
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    I too was having some hand issues on my right hand when I got my new bike last month.
    A combination of much smaller grips than ever being used to (Ourys to CrossTrainer), too much gel glove
    and a nice healthy Death-Grip was miserable.

    I believe the gloves caused me to grip more due to such a vague feeling of the bars.
    I switched to larger grips, non-padded gloves, and kept reminding myself to RELAX.

    Another thing to address is the position of the brake levers in relation
    to your hand position. Take the time to get it right where you want it.

  14. #14
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    So when some say rotate the handle bars? Which direction should I go and ho much movement? The other thing I was going to try was to slightly raise saddle nose angle, but how much? I take it its a very small amount here?

  15. #15
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    You really have to experiment. Make small changes.

    Did you read the links? If you've made a change as a result, give it a ride to see if it worked before you change something else.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel29 View Post
    So when some say rotate the handle bars? Which direction should I go and ho much movement? The other thing I was going to try was to slightly raise saddle nose angle, but how much? I take it its a very small amount here?
    yup rotating risers bars moves the grip back significantly...

    Look at the front most bars have some lines that indicate the angle...so you can put it back where it belongs if you have to remove the bars for some reason.

    The lines usually go about 45 degrees off the center line....

    One trick I have found....just loosen the bars slightly....then go for a ride on easy flat ground....you should be able to twist the bars back and forth to get a feel for where you might like them the most....of course be careful...

    Also you will probably need to rotate the brake and shifters.....these should be set so that with a relaxed elbow position and the finger on the brake lever the wirst is pretty much straight.

    Gel makes it worse because the ulnar nerve is in a little low spot.on the bottom of the palm...so the gel puts more weight on the low spot hence more pain...

    Tipping the saddle back is not the way to go ....you will end up with pain down there...

    Saddle should be LEVEL or maybe a degree tip down if you have pain....

    Measure the saddle rails if you can seem to eyeball it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    You really have to experiment. Make small changes.

    Did you read the links? If you've made a change as a result, give it a ride to see if it worked before you change something else.
    Yes read all the links thanks

    Ok so i will start with rotating the bar. I have a truvativ bar with indicators. How much should I rotate it? I assume I am rotating the bar towards the saddle right? Whats a good starting point you think?

    Odd that I think these damn gel gloves are making the problems worse. but I think you guys are totally right about this.

    Thanks for this bar tip, cause it wont cost a penny to move it and try.

    Shifters are XTR and Brakes are XT. I typically ride with 1 finger on XTs and thumb on the shifters, never any pain there.

  18. #18
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    I don't know. Not very much. Small changes make a big difference. Just take a multitool with you when you ride. You should start feeling differences pretty quickly.

    Keep your hands off the brakes and shifters unless you're planning to do something with them. Staying off the controls means you're not shifting or braking at stupid times, and you have all your fingers to devote to holding the bars.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
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    Yeah I have been looking at the bars for awhile tonight. I am wondering if I rotate them back towards the saddle, does this put less pressure on the ulnar nerve? Or does rotating them forward put less extension on the wrist resulting in less pressure on the nerve? The problem I have found with the ulnar is that I dont get a ton of issues during riding, some but minor, it flairs up after I am done!

    You guys have any recommendations which direction I should twist the bars here? Do you think its direct pressure on the nerve causing the problem? Or extension of the wrist causing the nerve to be pressured?

    I have read a ton on this, but still am abit baffled. Thanks for all the help on this, its appreciated.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel29 View Post
    Yeah I have been looking at the bars for awhile tonight. I am wondering if I rotate them back towards the saddle, does this put less pressure on the ulnar nerve? Or does rotating them forward put less extension on the wrist resulting in less pressure on the nerve? The problem I have found with the ulnar is that I dont get a ton of issues during riding, some but minor, it flairs up after I am done!

    You guys have any recommendations which direction I should twist the bars here? Do you think its direct pressure on the nerve causing the problem? Or extension of the wrist causing the nerve to be pressured?

    I have read a ton on this, but still am abit baffled. Thanks for all the help on this, its appreciated.
    We can't tell you which way to rotate because that would depend on where the bars are now.

    For me I rotated forward.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel29 View Post
    The bars are set at dead centre on the graduations. So you figure I should rotate the angle forward? Will this shift weight to knuckle front of hand then?
    There we go....

    Shift it which ever way you want.....go ride the bike....

    Thin shift it back the other way and go ride the bike....

    Pick which ever way makes you feel better....

    This all started off with getting a shorter stem to put more weight on your butt and less on your arms.....(that is a hint).

  22. #22
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    The bars are set at dead centre on the graduations. So you figure I should rotate the angle forward? Will this shift weight to knuckle front of hand then?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel29 View Post
    The bars are set at dead centre on the graduations. So you figure I should rotate the angle forward? Will this shift weight to knuckle front of hand then?
    Not to be a jerk, just pick a direction and do it, you spent more time responding and asking which way. You could have picked a direction and tried it. Everyone is different what worked for me may not for you. Rotate the bars and then ride!
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Not to be a jerk, just pick a direction and do it, you spent more time responding and asking which way. You could have picked a direction and tried it. Everyone is different what worked for me may not for you. Rotate the bars and then ride!
    Ok Ill try it out, but **** if my hand is paralyzed like last weekend and I cant hold my beer again! Ill be back looking for death!!

    Sorry I get that a lot of this is ...theres no exact answer and try it and see. I was just wondering if certain positions did certain things with handle bars. Cant find squat online on this. Lots on the Ulnar nerve thing.

    The LBS I have locally set up the bike, I asked them in the past about numb hands and stuff and the guy was like hey its no big deal...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel29 View Post
    Ok Ill try it out, but **** if my hand is paralyzed like last weekend and I cant hold my beer again! Ill be back looking for death!! Well after the hand heals up casue you won't be able to type for a while

    Sorry I get that a lot of this is ...theres no exact answer and try it and see. I was just wondering if certain positions did certain things with handle bars. Cant find squat online on this. Lots on the Ulnar nerve thing.

    The LBS I have locally set up the bike, I asked them in the past about numb hands and stuff and the guy was like hey its no big deal...
    so it has been 12 minutes or so.......how did it go...which way is better.

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