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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Finger joint pain from singlespeeding

    I've been singlespeeding for about 2-3 months now, and recently I've been experiencing pain in the joints of my fingers during rides. It's mostly my right hand, and worst on the first knuckle (from the hand) of my middle finger.

    It only happens a fair ways into the ride, like halfway on a 2 hour XC ride. The pain is exacerbated by vibration, particularly while descending, while I have a very firm grip on the bar. A section with lots of rocks or roots is obviously worse than smooth trail.

    As the stock fork was rigid steel (Kona Unit), I figured the pain was being caused by the shock and vibration from the rigid fork. I bought a Sid XX and put it on there, and just went for my first ride on it today. The pain was still there and not any less bad than before. I was, however, a lot faster descending thanks to the fork.

    Now I suspect it's actually climbing that's causing my joints to hurt. This ride in particular has a steep fire road climb to start it off. Climbing this hill, I might only be pedaling 30-50 rpm, standing up mashing, for like 10 minutes. I don't weigh a whole lot myself, (135 lbs), but my bike and gear weigh about 40 lbs total. Climbing that hill was not easy, and because I'm fairly light, I have to hang onto (pull upwards) the bar with a lot of force.

    I'm wondering if having to grasp the bar so tightly is what's causing my finger pain. Strangely, when riding, grabbing the bar to climb doesn't hurt as much as descending on rough trail.

    I don't get this pain much at all on my FS bike. It has 30mm more travel, but more importantly, I don't stand up to climb, so I don't have to grasp the bar as hard.

    Has anyone else had this sort of pain? My wrists and thumbs are fine and not hurting. I bought a Grip Master finger exerciser to try and improve my finger strength. For now I'm taking it easy and will be riding the FS bike until I can ride sans pain. I'm only 18 now so I would like the use of my fingers for a while.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: masterofnone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Maybe you're holding onto the bar with a death grip? Singlespeeding puts your body to the test and you may be tensing up, focus on trying to stay loose, relax your body and your grip on the bar. Maybe your stem is too long or the wrong size bike? Bring the bike to your lbs and have them check your position on the bike, some adjustments may be in order.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Well, it's sort of a death grip necessarily. Due to the pain sometimes, I try and only grip the bar as hard as necessary, when mashing up hills and descending through chunky stuff. I agree with the statement that it puts my body to the test.
    I'm thinking that my legs have outrun my hands in terms of strength. This sort of thing has only happened in the past couple weeks, although I've been singlespeeding for a few months. When I first started SSing, the balls of my feet were hurting, but now they are fine. Hopefully the same kind of thing will happen with my fingers.

    I think my bike setup is good. I'm a mech at my LBS but I don't think anyone would really be able to help with mountain bike fit better than I can do for myself. We mostly do road stuff there.

  4. #4
    SS Pusher Man
    Reputation: mtnbikej's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    You are pulling much harder with your upper body on the SS than you do on your geared bike.....

    The more you do it, the more you will get used to it.

    Try finding some softer grips.
    I resolve to constantly assert my honest opinion on anything and everything - whether it is requested or not.
    Bucky the Cat

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