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  1. #1
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    Racing handlebar setup

    I've bumped up the intensity on my rides lately and I am noticing that most of my fatigue is coming from my hands between the 6-7 mile mark. I am losing grip on the bar and can't hold on any longer. I like the shape of my grips for the most part but maybe they are too thin.

    I think the sweep of my bar is the leading cause of the fatigue though. My elbows want to be way out there but the 9 degree sweep forces me to keep my elbows in and down or else my wrists are angled uncomfortably. I noticed most XC racing bars have a 3-5 degree sweep and ~600mm wide. My bar is 660mm wide and I can not go any narrower than that.

    So has anyone else experienced a similar issue? Did you go to a narrower bar or a bar with less sweep?

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  2. #2
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    Sounds like you are gripping the bar too tight. You could also be leaning too munch on your hands. Do your forearms feel tires/sore? If so, your gripping too tight. Check your seat. You may need to tilt it up some. You may need to move it fore/aft also. I like mine a little up from flat. You probably also need to strengthen your core. This will help a lot. You could also look into Ergon grips. Check the seat and do some core exercises.

    The sweep or width should have no effect on whether your hands get weak or go numb.

  3. #3
    I'd rather be riding
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    I have issues with gripping the bar too hard. I keep trying to use different grips and keep falling back on my ergon GX1's. I run a 700mm low rise bar with a 4 degree upsweep and 9 degree backsweep, 6'2" on an XL Trek Superfly and it feels perfect to me.

  4. #4
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    Are your hands getting tired or numb? If it's numbness, you probably have too much weight on your hands. You can fix that by getting your weight more rearward by going with a shorter stem, more spacers under the stem, a rise bar, or moving your seat back a little. Wider bars have the effect of lengthening your stem in terms of body position. I run a 700 mm bar and love it, but it took awhile to get my fit dialed with it. It's a setup I plan on doing a few 60- 100 mile races on it.
    If your hands are getting tired with forearms burning out, you are probably gripping too tight or need to work on your grip strength.
    Also, try slight changes in the angle of your bar, it's amazing what difference a couple degrees difference will do.

  5. #5
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    i would tilt the nose of your seat up a little bit and see if it helps. if you have that being pushed towards the bars feeling that is usually what solves it for me. 6 or 7 miles in you shouldn't even be close to feeling uncomfortable.

  6. #6
    DLd
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    Sounds like you need a bike fit. I used to balk at the cost, but now I realize the value. Especially with this being the XC racing and training forum, you likely spend a good amount of time on your bike, and you're looking for good results. I guarantee a $3500 bike + a $200 Wobblenaught bike fit, will perform better than an ill-fitting $3700 bike, and you can continue to use the information/measurements on future bikes. It was definitely hard for me to justify the cost at first, but I realized it was cheaper than a couple visits to the chiropractor, and I feel SO much better on my bike and when I get off the bike.
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  7. #7
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    Also try thinner grips.

    I found thicker -style grips like Oury were plenty soft on my hands, but created muscle hand fatigue for some reason.

    Switched to thin lock-on style, haven't had the same problem since.
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  8. #8
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    Try taking a little weight off your bars by engaging your core more. It takes some practice, but it will help out a heap with the longer rides.

    My first XC season started out with sore/numb hands and sore back. Engaging more core and not slumping down so hard on the front bars helped me heaps and I only slump on the bike now towards the end of a 8-10hr race - by then my hands are usually the least of my worries.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whambat View Post
    Also, try slight changes in the angle of your bar, it's amazing what difference a couple degrees difference will do.
    That gets my vote. On a flat bar with 9, 10, 11 degree backsweep you can angle them down or up a bit from the flat position to get the elbows out a bit. It's worth a try and hey - it's free.

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  10. #10
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    My hands used to buzz after long decents with a 100mm fork and ESI chunky grips. Went to a 120mm fork this year and have zero hand issues now.

    Maybe you need more travel?

  11. #11
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    I've had straight bars, and risers with a sweep, and they both ****ing suck, they are not made with human anatomy in mind at all. Next bike I'm going road bars with a slight sweep or time trial/pursuit bars, thats how my hands hang naturally at least, and that should count for something. I'm guessing it does too, since all these lance armstrong epo dudes run those, and they do that **** for hours and hours. Gotta countr for something. There is a reason they dont run 1" risers. Comfort comfort comfort. thats it.
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  12. #12
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    I appreciate all your replies! I got very ill after my last ride so I've decided to take it down a notch. Out of curiosity I swapped out my 100x5 stem for a 100x8 stem to bring me up and back just a little bit. It took a bit of weight off my hands but the steering felt twitchy and my back and hamstrings got sore quickly.

    I'm planning to hit the gym more and work on my core. It is definitely not in the shape I would like it to be in. It's kind of weird to look in the mirror to see bulging ripped legs supporting a beer keg of a torso lol. My cardio also needs more work since I've been riding at the same pace for quite awhile.

    I think at least for now I will leave my bike setup alone and work up to my goals gradually instead of pushing myself too hard and risk injury.
    If you gorge yourself into morbid obesity, you can skip everyone else in line at Disney World.

  13. #13
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    Have you conbsidered riding to X? its free and its fast man. i rode like 20km a day for 8 months, and i could live on pizzas, no belly, no ****.

    the difference in stems is mot likely just phychological, and if yoy were to coninue using one of them it would feel like usual in like 2 days. the psycholocical factor is always the biggest one. sure there is a difference from a to b but after like 2 days it feels the same since you adapt (or die).

    YOU should always push yourself too hard and FAIL. thats how you learn how your body works. wjhat your limits are.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLd View Post
    Sounds like you need a bike fit. I used to balk at the cost, but now I realize the value. Especially with this being the XC racing and training forum, you likely spend a good amount of time on your bike, and you're looking for good results. I guarantee a $3500 bike + a $200 Wobblenaught bike fit, will perform better than an ill-fitting $3700 bike, and you can continue to use the information/measurements on future bikes. It was definitely hard for me to justify the cost at first, but I realized it was cheaper than a couple visits to the chiropractor, and I feel SO much better on my bike and when I get off the bike.
    This completely. If you can't get 7 miles in without hurting, you need an experienced person to help you out and check out your fit. Conversely, if you put your bike on a trainer and pedal while video taping yourself, I'll help where I can.
    Last edited by dirtdan; 01-26-2013 at 07:52 PM.

  15. #15
    Has skills-will travel
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    Good info above.
    I would suggest you do some Core work 2-3 times per week. A strong core will lead to less weight on the hands.
    Also, focus on your biking form. I found early on that if I just rode, my shoulders where in my ears and my weight was on my hands. After the ride my upper back hurt and my hands were asleep most of the ride. Once I made it a habbit to concentrate on my Form - shoulders relaxed, elbows bent - the pain and the sleepy hands went away.

  16. #16
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    Here's where I'm riding on a daily basis: http://www.qcforc.org/trails/si/si_map.pdf

    The island is very small and the trails are tight, twisty, and technical. It's hard to maintain a specific form because you are always moving around on the bike. It's more of a BMX course than an XC course that is for sure. The other local trail systems are more XC so it is much easier both physically and mentally to get miles in.

    I have 1 hour after work to get my miles in before I go pick up my wife from her work. I think I may try "riding to X" instead of trying to hit an average MPH. It was a rainy day so I took the opportunity to replace a bent derailleur and repack the headset. Bike, body, it all needs work!
    If you gorge yourself into morbid obesity, you can skip everyone else in line at Disney World.

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