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  1. #1
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    Stem Riser to Overcome Numbness

    I put on a adjustable 75mm stem riser to see if that helps with my hands/wrists tingling or going numb. Is there any reason not to keep using stem riser once I get my desired height and replace it with a handlebar riser?

    Right now I mostly riding on dry and snow covered paved trails but come summer i will be riding on gravel, dirt, sand etc in varying terrain.
    Will I need to go back to factory height for trail riding?
    How much higher can one raise the handlebar without sacrificing performance?

    With factory height I can go about a mile or two then I have to shake my hands to stop the tingling or sit up and ride no handed. Just installed the riser tonight so haven't ride it yet.

    Is there a seat height to handlebars formula that one needs to follow for trail riding?

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    Last edited by ak-rider; 01-09-2018 at 10:06 PM.

  3. #3
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    Check into ergon grips. That's most likely what the problem is.

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  4. #4
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    Bar sweep, grips, seat too far forward or back etc.

    Like posted, look into ergon grips as well.

    Bars being too high in relation to the seat can cause issues the same as too low.

    If you leaning forward in a more standard position its not so much the pressure as the pressure being improperly distributed. You want you hands and wrists in as neutral of a position as possible.

    That is why guys can have seats well above the bars, they have the fit dialed to the pressure created by body weight is properly distributed and supported. This isnt everything as grips too big, too small, too hard, seat in the wrong place and so on all can cause or contribute to this as well.

    Raising the bars effects handling in the sense it simply unweights the front end, thus loss of traction and a twitchy feeling can result.

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  5. #5
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    If it feels good to you, ride it.

    Anything you change well effect the handling and comfort of the bike. When you change stuff just pay attention to how it feels and as long as you're happy with the results then why listen to what anyone else says?

    Hand numbness is usually the result of multiple things so it's unlikely the riser bars on their own will fix it, although they might help. Make sure your suspension isn't too harsh, that'll kill your hands, and wear gloves. Try different grips, and if you're riding allows, try bar-ends. Untrendy but being able to shift your hands and sit upright is great on long rides.

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    Are your brake levers set so you wrist are neutral to slightly extended?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak-rider View Post
    Try scooting your seat forward to take weight off your hands. ...
    I’m not sure if this is a typo, but you typically want to scoot your saddle BACK to take the weight off you your hands. You’ve even said in the (infamous ) chainstay length thread, to move the weight off the rear wheel, you scooted forward in your saddle. That places more weight over the front/onto your hands.

    But I’d suggest taking time and getting a proper fit done at your local shop, as there are many factors to diagnose and troubleshoot over the net. Hand numbness isn’t something you want to take lightly. It can cause permenant damage if not resolved.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatfart View Post
    I put on a adjustable 75mm stem riser to see if that helps with my hands/wrists tingling or going numb. Is there any reason not to keep using stem riser once I get my desired height and replace it with a handlebar riser?

    Right now I mostly riding on dry and snow covered paved trails but come summer i will be riding on gravel, dirt, sand etc in varying terrain.
    Will I need to go back to factory height for trail riding?
    How much higher can one raise the handlebar without sacrificing performance?

    With factory height I can go about a mile or two then I have to shake my hands to stop the tingling or sit up and ride no handed. Just installed the riser tonight so haven't ride it yet.

    Is there a seat height to handlebars formula that one needs to follow for trail riding?
    I had the same problem. What I did to correct it was to sit at a table, extend my arms out and found the most comfortable position for my hands. It came out that my hands most naturally ended up at a 45 degree angle. I went with the Metropolis handlebar, about $40.

    I went with the Ergon grips that are expressly made for swept handlebars. They're a cork and provide a flat platform for your palms and spread the contact point so as not to cut off circulation.

    Also used a shorter upswept stem like this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/2017-UNO-3D...oAAOSwpDdVdp9u

    Problem has been solved. The picture does not show the Ergon grips. They did help immensely. This is the grip you need for reward sweep bars. Products – ERGON BIKE
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Stem Riser to Overcome Numbness-20141106_153635.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatfart View Post
    I put on a adjustable 75mm stem riser to see if that helps with my hands/wrists tingling or going numb. Is there any reason not to keep using stem riser once I get my desired height and replace it with a handlebar riser?

    Right now I mostly riding on dry and snow covered paved trails but come summer i will be riding on gravel, dirt, sand etc in varying terrain.
    Will I need to go back to factory height for trail riding?
    How much higher can one raise the handlebar without sacrificing performance?

    With factory height I can go about a mile or two then I have to shake my hands to stop the tingling or sit up and ride no handed. Just installed the riser tonight so haven't ride it yet.

    Is there a seat height to handlebars formula that one needs to follow for trail riding?
    All the tricks mentioned are great. Ergons, swept back bars (Jones), riser stem. When your bars are higher than your seat it is hard to weight the front tire but in my opinion most bikes have bars that are still way to low, especially on large and XL bikes.

    I rode for years in that position and will nerver go back. Superman was "the" position back in the 90's.
    They are finally making some real high rise MTN bars so you do not have to suffer the shame of a steerer extender or boner stem, (Diety highside, Answer 3" rise protaper). I find the swept back bars do not inspire as much confidence when pinning a corner, may just take a while to get used to it.
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  10. #10
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    Installed the stem and tried the highest setting and it did not feel right. Put it on the lowest setting and rode 12 miles with no numbness (long ride for me). Normally I have to shake the numbness out of hands every mile or less.

    I have a Large bike.

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    Progress.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatfart View Post
    Installed the stem and tried the highest setting and it did not feel right. Put it on the lowest setting and rode 12 miles with no numbness (long ride for me). Normally I have to shake the numbness out of hands every mile or less.

    I have a Large bike.
    I was gonna suggest just that. Higher is not always better.
    Check if the numbness could be caused by the Ulnar nerve(s). That can originate in the upper back mucles.
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  13. #13
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    Tilting the nose of the saddle UP a degree or three can take some pressure off hands. Easy and cheap to check out.

  14. #14
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    Make sure you spread your weight across all 5 contact points (seat, 2 hands, 2 feet) AND you're supported by your core.

    • #1 Saddle high enough to have close to full leg extension to get more weight into the legs. It shouldn't take much pressure in the legs to lift your butt off the saddle for a bump.
    • #2 Pelvis tilted forward enough to have your core (lower back) carry some weight, and not have it all on your seat.
    • #3 Spread weight along your "sitbones", not just the rear bony part, but also the forward parts (ischial tuberosity)
    • #4 Have the weight on your hands controlled not by your lower back, but by the extension of your arms. Essentially, your elbows should always be bent unless you want weight on the hands (tension in arms, or lock them out, to transfer force to bars)


    These are the keys to comfort on an upright bike, for endurance riding.

    Name:  MTBBestPositionFit2.jpg
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    - This is the most comfortable position. Seriously. Even for a fat bike.

    It's more comfortable than a comfort bike. The spread of weight allows this rider to get away with less padding in the seat and less in the hands. A lot of weight is carried by the legs, while almost none is carried by the legs on a fat bike setup like a comfort bike. Your hands may be getting numb since you may be trying to compensate for too much weight on the saddle, and exhausting your lower back, and locking out your arms to support your upper body weight. Do not compromise on #1, getting the saddle at a height that gets leg extension. Do whatever it takes to get your legs more extended, including getting shorter cranks. Getting your legs to support your weight while seated is absolutely critical for endurance riding.

    If you're wearing anything on your back/shoulders, stop and try to load that weight onto the bike instead.

    Stem Riser to Overcome Numbness-1280px-fat_bike.jpg
    - Position looks pretty good. Still room to be more forward*, but not too upright and good leg extension. *Chin over stem, with shoulders over elbows, is considered "aggro", but it's just a smart position for riding, period.

    Setups that bring your grips closer to your body are doing you a disservice if you are too upright and can't get into that shoulders forward position without feeling cramped.

    I believe it makes sense to aim saddle tilt at the grips, but if it's a narrow roadie saddle, tilting it up might allow you to get away with a more upright position, as you will spread your weight along more surface area, than those 2 bony points, if you're leaning forward into it. If you want a new saddle, I suggest a SMP Hybrid (on sale at Nashbar).

    We're all on the same ship, and it's sinking.

  15. #15
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    Invest in a fit session.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Invest in a fit session.

    ^ Best advice in this thread. Everything else is just guessing, and might even increase pain/numbness.

    Getting a proper fit will identify the problem(s), and your fit specialist will suggest appropriate solutions.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    ^ Best advice in this thread. Everything else is just guessing, and might even increase pain/numbness.

    Getting a proper fit will identify the problem(s), and your fit specialist will suggest appropriate solutions.

    I'll add that when I started out, I was having the same issues that you were and because I'm ridiculously tall, my intuition told me that I needed a longer, higher stem, seat slammed back and riser bars to get comfortable. with all that, my hands would go numb a few miles into a ride and my psychological comfort was not terribly good, either- I was constantly hesitant when negotiating obstacles or descending steeps. Someone suggested a fit and I was more than a little put off by the cost, which can range between $150-300 bucks. After a few more months of discomfort, I was ready to quit riding altogether and I reluctantly signed up for a basic bike fit session, but I didn't really think it would make much of a difference. I could not have been more wrong.

    Using the laser sensors with the Retül system and pugging the data into the computer, we determined that in fact, I needed a smaller cockpit laterally, but with more seat height and lower bars. This meant reducing stem length down to 70mm, switching to flat bars with a 17º sweep and using a longer, non-offset seat post. The latter was a tricky part, there are just a few seat posts available that are available in lengths over 400mm and even fewer are clyde-worthy enough to handle a 270 pound rider over challenging, technical terrain. In the end, we opted for a 435mm, 150mm drop, 30.9mm KindShock LEV dropper post, with the seat set in the forward position. I'd long wanted a dropper post and the fact that this was just about the only post that would enable a decent fit, made the rationalization much easier. We also adjusted my cleat placement, moving the balls of my feet a few mm forward over the axles of my Crank Brothers Egg Beater pedals, as well as about 3mm outward.

    As I'd mentioned previously, this was just about the exact opposite of what I intuitively thought would be ideal for a rider of my size and I was skeptical that it would have much of a positive impact for either my comfort or efficiency while riding. In fact, I expected it to have the opposite effect. My first ride, pedaling on the street out side the shop was slightly disorienting. With a saddle height of 46-3/4", the seat put me WAY up in the air, raising my COG significantly and made mounting, stopping and dismounting the bike a challenge. Even with my 36" inseam, I had to tiptoe at a stop, but this is one area where the dropper post is nice: learned to hit the lever as I apply the brakes and shoop, i can flat-foot it easily.

    After adjusting to the dynamics of the new fit, subsequent rides proved it to be nearly spot-on. My knee pain went away quite quickly, as my muscles adapted to my new cockpit and my wrists responded positively to the increased sweep angle of the new bars. Most surprisingly, my back didn't suffer the slightest from the more compact cockpit and significantly lower bars. The takeaway here is that mountain bike cockpits in general and fatbikes in particular, are put together somewhat arbitrarily; they're made to fit an abstract, "average" rider, who in reality, probably doesn't exist.

    Your body, by the crapshoot of genetics and the vagaries of the aging process, is different from the next guy and by extension, so is the fit of your bicycle. If you're experiencing pain or discomfort when you ride, it might be due to a single dynamic like Q-factor or rise, but chances are, it's more likely due to a multitude of variables that make up your fit, and not just one alone. While the $150-300 that you might spend on a quality bikefit session may seem excessive, the benefits in comfort and riding efficiency make it a terrific value. It's entirely possible that your local bikeshop may work a basic fit session into the cost of purchase for your bike or offer a discount on replacement parts, especially if you're spending a couple grand or more. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    I'll add that when I started out, I was having the same issues that you were and because I'm ridiculously tall, my intuition told me that I needed a longer, higher stem, seat slammed back and riser bars to get comfortable. with all that, my hands would go numb a few miles into a ride and my psychological comfort was not terribly good, either- I was constantly hesitant when negotiating obstacles or descending steeps. Someone suggested a fit and I was more than a little put off by the cost, which can range between $150-300 bucks. After a few more months of discomfort, I was ready to quit riding altogether and I reluctantly signed up for a basic bike fit session, but I didn't really think it would make much of a difference. I could not have been more wrong.

    Using the laser sensors with the Retül system and pugging the data into the computer, we determined that in fact, I needed a smaller cockpit laterally, but with more seat height and lower bars. This meant reducing stem length down to 70mm, switching to flat bars with a 17º sweep and using a longer, non-offset seat post. The latter was a tricky part, there are just a few seat posts available that are available in lengths over 400mm and even fewer are clyde-worthy enough to handle a 270 pound rider over challenging, technical terrain. In the end, we opted for a 435mm, 150mm drop, 30.9mm KindShock LEV dropper post, with the seat set in the forward position. I'd long wanted a dropper post and the fact that this was just about the only post that would enable a decent fit, made the rationalization much easier. We also adjusted my cleat placement, moving the balls of my feet a few mm forward over the axles of my Crank Brothers Egg Beater pedals, as well as about 3mm outward.

    As I'd mentioned previously, this was just about the exact opposite of what I intuitively thought would be ideal for a rider of my size and I was skeptical that it would have much of a positive impact for either my comfort or efficiency while riding. In fact, I expected it to have the opposite effect. My first ride, pedaling on the street out side the shop was slightly disorienting. With a saddle height of 46-3/4", the seat put me WAY up in the air, raising my COG significantly and made mounting, stopping and dismounting the bike a challenge. Even with my 36" inseam, I had to tiptoe at a stop, but this is one area where the dropper post is nice: learned to hit the lever as I apply the brakes and shoop, i can flat-foot it easily.

    After adjusting to the dynamics of the new fit, subsequent rides proved it to be nearly spot-on. My knee pain went away quite quickly, as my muscles adapted to my new cockpit and my wrists responded positively to the increased sweep angle of the new bars. Most surprisingly, my back didn't suffer the slightest from the more compact cockpit and significantly lower bars. The takeaway here is that mountain bike cockpits in general and fatbikes in particular, are put together somewhat arbitrarily; they're made to fit an abstract, "average" rider, who in reality, probably doesn't exist.

    Your body, by the crapshoot of genetics and the vagaries of the aging process, is different from the next guy and by extension, so is the fit of your bicycle. If you're experiencing pain or discomfort when you ride, it might be due to a single dynamic like Q-factor or rise, but chances are, it's more likely due to a multitude of variables that make up your fit, and not just one alone. While the $150-300 that you might spend on a quality bikefit session may seem excessive, the benefits in comfort and riding efficiency make it a terrific value. It's entirely possible that your local bikeshop may work a basic fit session into the cost of purchase for your bike or offer a discount on replacement parts, especially if you're spending a couple grand or more. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask.
    I can’t agree with you more. I’m also a Clyde at 6’8” 275-280 lbs. I went through something similar before I was properly fitted. Like you, I thought everything needed to be pushed back, extended, and raised as much as possible. Boy was I wrong... yes, some things do need to be “extra large”, but others do not.

    A fit session is worth every penny in my opinion. Think of it as buying a nice quality suit. You don’t just pull it off the rack and expect it to fit perfectly. Even though the suit is “your” size, doesn’t mean that it will be comfortable. They have to be tailored to you body type and figure. A good tailor will fit the suit to every inch of your body. As will a fit session to your bike.


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  19. #19
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    Not sure why people think higher bar height is a good idea, but on the trail, being taller is not really an advantage.

    Stem Riser to Overcome Numbness-small_rider_on_a_fitted_29er.jpg
    - Some call this the doggy beg position, in which the grip height is above the saddle height.

    I'd look to remedy this by suggesting a slammed stem (e.g. Flatforce), shorter cranks, and flipped riser bar (it actually isn't any less ergonomic than right-side-up). The seat angle is a little slack due to the smaller rear tire, but the post's setback can be turned the other way.

    If anyone can list merits of a higher handlebar, I'd all ears. Is it due to irrational fear regarding steep descents? It might just be that it "looks comfortable" due to some fit bias regarding "comfort" or "cruiser" bikes. Those bikes get their comfort through convenience, unable to compete with a traditional riding position for long distance comfort.

    Stem Riser to Overcome Numbness-full_4_img_3228_516693.jpg
    - Regarding irrational fear on steep descents, I don't see how bar height helps offers much security at all.

    In a case like this, you're pretty much riding the terrain like a half-pipe. There's not much you can do but hold on and gently point the bike where you want to go, until you reach a point where the front tire's contact patch is in front of your CoG again.
    We're all on the same ship, and it's sinking.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak-rider View Post
    Try scooting your seat forward to take weight off your hands. Also check the angle so you aren’t sliding forward but not have the nose angled up so high that it puts pressure on your crotch.
    What he said, the numbness comes with pressure, tilt the saddle a bit up without hurting your sensitive areas.

    Raising your bar will only help with lower back pain in some cases, your best bet is to have the bike properly fitted.

  21. #21
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    Ride two, 13 miles with no numbness.

    I wont be buying a fit session as I am laid off for the winter.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatfart View Post
    Ride two, 13 miles with no numbness.

    I wont be buying a fit session as I am laid off for the winter.
    Throwing a leg over the bike during winter is pretty fun, you should stick to it.

    And Gigantic's post is an early contender for informative poty(postoftheyear)

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