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  1. #1
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    Braking bumps ruining my fingers, help?

    Not even my hands, but the first joint on all my non-braking fingers SCREAM in pain after just one run. I'm not death-gripping, in fact I'm holding on so loose the pain is amplified by my fingers smashing the bars repeatedly.

    Is there anything I can do about this? I'd expect it from a second or third run or something, but not half way down the first. :/

    Looking back, I had to quit MTB over this ~10 years ago b/c it would happen on XC rides as well (hands claw up, can't open fingers). Could never figure it out. Now, it only happens on lift-assisted stuff, and really only in fast braking bump sections.

  2. #2
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    Could be several things contributing:
    suspension set up-too stiff, damping not set up optimally
    hand/grip/brake lever position

    The majority of comfort issues I see are from people who haven't dialed in their suspension or who have haven't set up their bars/grips/brakes in a way that reduces fatigue and improves control.

  3. #3
    Racer
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    i hear carbon bars can help with the vibration. but on the other-hand some people say they are stiffer and it's worse. Not sure what to believe at this point. I would think stiffer bars would be better so you can let the suspension and tires soak up the bumps. But they also make flex bars for motos/atvs that are designed to flex to absorb bumps. I am still debating on whether to get carbon eastons or answer/renthal aluminum bars.

  4. #4
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Sounds like weak tendons. The muscles to actuate your fingers are in your forearms, but the tendons and fascia are the connective tissue and their strength probably has a lot to do with it. I do rock climbing and I spend a lot of time strengthening the tendons that run to my fingers. Maybe consider some sort of cross-training like this to make them stronger. I can't say I have any problem with this and I do DH at a very steep local ski mountain. The brakes make a big difference usually as well, but if they are working well, your ability to "clamp" is likely limited by the strength of the tendons.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  5. #5
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    Check your diet too! Yeah, I know, sounds insane but it counts.
    So by this I mean check what you're eating that may induce inflammatory response from the body. May also want to check into adding glucosamine supplements...this has helped my trigger finger on my #4 finger...right beside the pinky. And, when I was skiing lots, I'd dose up w/ 800mg of Ibuprofen an hour before hitting the hill. I now use Sportlegs and 600mg an hour before I go DHing.

    BTW, how far off your bar is your lever stopping? And more importantly, are you using 1 or 2 fingers on your brake lever?
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  6. #6
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    HTFU, seriously.

    But also, you want us to make recommendations and tell us nothing about you physically, or the components on your bike, or what exactly you are riding? LOL.

  7. #7
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    Thanks all for responding! For those who asked, I had a pro DH rider help set up my suspension, pretty sure it's 'right'. Also, the problem continued to occur when I broke my fork (derp) and ended up demoing a Trek Session to finish out the day - the coil fork didn't help one bit.

    In talking to some other pros re: brake set up, I try to have my brakes actuate and finish their range of motion as close to the bars as possible to reduce arm pump, which isn't a problem for me anyway. Always 1 finger braking. For reference I'm 185 lbs, with another 10-15 of gear, with 2014 Elixir 9 Trails (4 pots). I am, however, upgrading to a 200mm front rotor.

    I already ride large grips (ESI chunky's) and don't have abnormally large hands (XL in fox gloves).

    To be honest, it's 100% not a problem on the local South OC/laguna trails I ride, and is really only an issue when I head to snow summit. It's not like there's death grip braking there either.

    My diet is admittedly horrible, but I don't know what to do about that. Half the fun of MTB is drinking beer after! I did, however, use to take glucosamine for my knees a few months ago, so I have bottles lying around, I can pick back up with that.

    Thanks all for the responses, really didn't expect this much feedback so quickly!

  8. #8
    Racer
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    one more things. I used to be a HUGE fan of lock on grips. I would only use rogue lock-ons because of the simplicity of the design. I've found over the years that this actually made my hands cramp up a lot worse. I actually discovered this while riding my atv. I was using lock-ons and they transmitted almost all the vibrations from engine directly into my hands making them go numb fairly quickly. I put some plain ol' oury slip-ons and never had that problem again. I think it's the hard plastic under the grip. I think slip on grips are a pain in the ass but I definitely recommend them over lock-ons if you can get over the hassle. They are much softer.

    also i'm a big supplement fanatic if you are into that type of stuff. DLPA helps inhibit the breakdown of endorphins in your body and can help a ton before going riding. Turmeric/curcumin and fish oil are great for inflammation too. OTC, I found naproxen more effective that ibuprofen. My doc says you can take up to 1000mg a day safely.

  9. #9
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    Snow Summit is hard on hands.....

    Having a pro set up your suspension is not always smart....Pros run their suspension a little to a lot stiffer then "Regular Joe" riders. So you might want to softened up the suspension a little more i....

    in addition....get some more powerful brakes...all the elixers I have rode take a lot more effort to stop then the Saints and hopes...basically in my opinion elixers are XC brakes not DH...argue all you want but they don't have the real stopping power.

    if your grips are fat....then try small diameter ones/....if small switched to bigger

    check out the specialized BG (body geometry) GEL gloves....they have gel to absorb the vibration New 2014 BG Gel Long Finger Wiretap Gloves for MTB ATV DH bike bicycle mountain bike cycling off road motocross racing gloves-in Gloves from Sports & Entertainment on Aliexpress.com

    brake harder to slow faster down then open up instead of being on brakes all the time.

    relax more and breath....loosen up more....one training coach says "you suck because you are too stiff and passive. Think about that

    finally what skill rider are you....you may want to invest in lessons to give you proper technique on body positioning, how to attack trail instead of trail attacking you and how to ride more loose.

    these are some of the things that can attribute to hand fatigue
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  10. #10
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    Second on the Elixr thing, not a great DH brake.

    Try rotating your levers UPwards, so your fingers don't have to curl down and around the bar so much to reach the lever.

    Keep riding, and ride more. It can take a while to build your hand strength up to where its comfortable.
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  11. #11
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    what sort of condition are your grips in,,, are they worn out,,, i had a similar problem as you describe back in 2012 when i was in whistler, chronic pain in my fingers, ive never had it before, usually got arm pump but never hand pain, it was caused by my grips being worn out, i always liked and run the yeti grips as they are quite fat and fit my hands perfectly, obviously as they wore out they got thinner, and this slightly changed my grip on the bar, and caused stress on the joints, resulting in my pain, i rode solid for 3 weeks and my hands hurt like mad for months after, i have since built up a new bike and changed the grips and had no problems since,
    to combat my arm pump problem, i got some of them york forearm strengheners, them things that you squeeze, id do a few hunded squeezes a day to get my muscles used to cramping, and now i can do full garbo runs with no hand pump issues,
    also noticed a differance when i got rid of the crappy fox fork and threw a bos on, the better damping of the fork is much easier on my hands and arms,

  12. #12
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    2nd the bike fit comments (and the diet/ circumin), it can take time to get everything setup for your body position.. mm's make a difference. All the avids I've tried would be pretty weak for someone over 99 lbs.

    You could try different braking technique to scrub speed sooner if you can, try pump-pump-pump (without skidding), sometimes you don't need to hold the lever down so long.. lets things cool down

  13. #13
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    I had the same issue. Carbon bars and non-lock on grips did it for me. I switched to sensus grips as they have a very soft compound. After long days I will still get some pain, but it is much less with this setup.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by probiscus View Post
    Not even my hands, but the first joint on all my non-braking fingers SCREAM in pain after just one run. I'm not death-gripping, in fact I'm holding on so loose the pain is amplified by my fingers smashing the bars repeatedly.

    Is there anything I can do about this? I'd expect it from a second or third run or something, but not half way down the first. :/

    Looking back, I had to quit MTB over this ~10 years ago b/c it would happen on XC rides as well (hands claw up, can't open fingers). Could never figure it out. Now, it only happens on lift-assisted stuff, and really only in fast braking bump sections.
    ask MTBA...

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    you might just need some foam grips or thinner grips
    2010 GT Avalanche Expert

  15. #15
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    I have the same problem. I'm pretty new to downhilling though, and don't spend much time doing it. It's all about tendon strength. Adjusting grip diameter can move pressure points around, or spread the pressure out wider across the fingers, reducing tendon fatigue. Training your fingers will help too - check out what rock climbers do to strengthen their finger tendons. Carbon bars and suspension adjustments might help, but I really think the key will be grip diameter and strengthening your finger tendons. You can always go see a physical therapist or a doctor as well, to get tips and suggestions on reducing tendon fatigue.

    Anti-inflammatories may help, but recent studies have suggested to avoid using them, so it may or may not be good advice. It depends on what doctor you talk to.

  16. #16
    My arm hurts a little
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deerhill View Post
    2nd the bike fit comments (and the diet/ circumin), it can take time to get everything setup for your body position.. mm's make a difference. All the avids I've tried would be pretty weak for someone over 99 lbs.

    You could try different braking technique to scrub speed sooner if you can, try pump-pump-pump (without skidding), sometimes you don't need to hold the lever down so long.. lets things cool down
    Bah avid gave us juicys as dh brakes for years. 4 pots are just slammers and don't heat up as fast. I road single pot oros all weekend at snow summit. It's all you need.

    I used to get the same feel when I had crappy skinny grips.
    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS
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  17. #17
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    You might want to check out some ESI grips as well....

    They look like foam but are actually silicon. Pretty good in most conditions but pure mud slime.

    They do a damn good job of giving your hands a break, we've been running them on the DH bikes and they are a good option, also cheap..

    The hot set-up is to run a ODI clamp on the outside however, the only way to make them DH proof.

  18. #18
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    Funny, i actually use ESI chunky's on my personal ride. Unfortunately my fork died at Snow Summit and the demo session 88 had thin, hard, rubber grips. I definitely do like the ESI's w/ ODI clamps though.

    With my forks into Fox for a fix, I'm going to be more focused on rock climbing exercises like the finger-only pull up and finger tip push ups to see if that stuff helps.

    I'm also going back to the glucosamine supplements JIC.

    Finally shop is installing a 200mm front rotor to see if that helps. Trying not to blow $300-500 on another set of brakes if I can avoid it - I'm thinking the avids have 4 pots, they should be sufficient :/

    Thanks all!

  19. #19
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    I just started noticing that at SS too. Clicking down compression by two or three solved it.

  20. #20
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    non-lock on grips help a ton imo

  21. #21
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    Re: Braking bumps ruining my fingers, help?

    Quote Originally Posted by metalMTB View Post
    non-lock on grips help a ton imo
    Loving my Oury lock-on on my DH bike. But I do have carbon bar on every one of my bikes.
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  22. #22
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    I'm sorry to bother, but what are braking bumps? From what i've read it's when you hit your brakes while going over rocky/bumpy section? I abuse my trail bike for DH and haven't felt that ever.

    I also run brutal high pressures, usually 150psi but goes up to 175. Pretty stiff. My grips are worn out, slippy (throttle grip) but soft rubber. Alloy riser bar. My brakes are practical vertical? They drop like straight down, 90 degrees drop. Grip fit straight between my index and thumb section. Try that out. Since i don't really know what are braking bumps i can't tell.

  23. #23
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    Here's a vid from one of my SS runs:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CXLtnX1Pz8
    1:05 - 1:14 is full of them.

    Another good example is in my vid this weekend:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKNBaOAoQNM
    0:22 - 0:26 is also full of them.

    Basically high-frequency bomb holes in the trail from barneys skidding it up. If it rained more than 1x in the last 9 months they'd be 'less' shitty.

  24. #24
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    This isn't an attempt to talk crap...just want to lay that up upfront.
    But probiscus, judging by that video, you're not moving fast enough to justify a "pro" rider's tune...it'll shake your fillings out w/ how stiff they typically like their setup. I'm listening to how your bike is reacting and sounding...seems like you can dial back on LSC setting a LOT...or you need to address some loose bolts left in your frame!

    Did the person who helped you set up your bike take into account your ability level and speed?
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
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  25. #25
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    Yeah, the speed was down quite a bit owing to the pain in my hands. Never said I was a pro level rider either. I don't even race, but venture I'd be mid-pack sport fodder assuming I can ride a bike that isn't effectively a rigid on all but 5 foot drops.

    The bike in the SS vid was an end-of-season Session 88 that was probably 200 hours overdue for oil / tune / seals. As with all demos, it was a total piece of ****. :P The LSC was all the way dialed back, that was literally stiction causing the fork not to eat any of that vibration... that's how bad that setup was.

    The bike in the oaks vid is also an end-of-season demo that I was riding while I await my replacement fork from Fox :P Also in need of a tune, seals, oil, etc.

    In any case, I can ride 'better' on my bike - but my point was, even on my bike, my hands were getting annihilated. Which is a consistent theme on brake bump heavy runs.

    Here's a better vid of me chasing two pros on local dirt:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzcQ...iGUjwedBnp5V6Q

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