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Thread: Wrecked hands

  1. #1
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    Wrecked hands

    Alright, so maybe I'm getting too old, or I'm a wuss. That stuff aside though, DH riding kills my hands. Spent the 4th trip at Whistler this summer on my new DH sled, and hands were hammered by the end. Took it easy a while, went to my local bike park, and after 3 hours or so my hands were trashed, swollen for a few days even. Took a few weeks off and then again. Hands are too jacked to even ride safely. Is it possible I'm doing something that terribly wrong? Grip change? Hobby change? Just wondering if anyone has a similar thing, or might know a solution so I can keep riding next summer.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  2. #2
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    I was right there with you. Total newb. Went DH 2 days last week. On day 1 my mitts hurt like a mutha! To the point of possibly wrecking.

    Took a lesson on day 2. My coach got my suspension dialed in and gave me tips on my form - keep elbows out like doing push-up and let arms and legs absorb impact. I'm on a 6" travel bike but these tips helped a great deal!!
    Everything you want is on the other side of fear!

  3. #3
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    yep, it's often suspension tuning. Softening up your high-speed compression damping can really help. Or grips. Do you use lock-ons? I used lock-ons for a few years, but they have very little rubber over the nylon sleeve, so you're not getting much cushion from them. Switched to some soft compound Sensus grips and it got a lot better. I've heard that ESI silicon grips are also great at damping vibration.

    But then there's Whistler and its braking bumps. I've only been there once, and just thinking about them makes my forearms and hands hurt. I don't think there is anything on earth that can withstand braking bumps that big.
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  4. #4
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    Another factor could be the ergonomics of your brake lever position. If you sit on the bike in the body position you would normally ride in, do you have to bend your wrists much to reach the brake levers? If so, adjust them until you don't.

    I run a pretty thick grip on my dh bike. Thin ones take a toll. For me it's ODI Rogues, but I suspect any of the ones mentioned above would be good too.

  5. #5
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    another contributing factor could be handlebar setup, make sure that when in your natural DH position, your hands contact the grips evenly and comfortably. Though I'd say fork setup and grips are larger contributors.

  6. #6
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    Oury grips for teh big fat cush. non-lock on. Also relax, no white knuckling. Levers comfortable to reach and activate, and the aforementioned suspension adjustments as necessary.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad andy View Post
    Oury grips for teh big fat cush. non-lock on. Also relax, no white knuckling. Levers comfortable to reach and activate, and the aforementioned suspension adjustments as necessary.
    Try the Oury lock-ons too!
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  8. #8
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    Did you have the same problem with your old DH sled, or is it worse with the new one? If it's worse, look at any cockpit differences from the old one, like grips/bar etc. Is the bar carbon?

  9. #9
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    Our season is over up here as far as lift accessed mountain riding. First dh bike so working things out. I had oury grips, went to harder grips as some friends recommended them. They seemed okay, but maybe caused more issues. Race Face Atlas bar. Brakes seem pretty comfortable as far as reach and where they are relative to my hands position while riding. Seems like I could focus some attention on the suspension. I messed with it over the season a bit and it seemed like I couldn't tell a difference with what I was doing on the knobs.

    Thanks for the info. Maybe the beating they took this summer will make them stronger for next season.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  10. #10
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    My best advice is relax your hands. Position on the bike is key for this, try to keep your weight centered over your pedals so you can hold onto the bar without death gripping it. You want to hold the bar to keep control, but if you pay attention, you start to notice that during intense moments you are probably squeezing the life out of your grips.

    Loosen that grip!

  11. #11
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    Is the pain more severe toward the little and ring fingers? The Ulnar nerve can cause some localized pain and swelling in the hands. For me some Vitamin B12 and specific stretching helped more than changing ergonomics or grips. Check out Ulnar Nerve pain and see if those symptoms match your own.

    It may not help but I spent three months trying to figure out my hand pain. Brake lever reach and angle was great. Bars were good. Riding position was fine. But repeated beatings on my other bike (non-DH) took its toll on my hands. I rode Mammoth (95% lift served) hard for 2 days without as much pain as I experienced at Summit the week before. 2 Advil in the morning and regular Ulnar Nerve specific stretching exercises on the lifts really, really helped.

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  12. #12
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    take a rest and try icing your hands
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  13. #13
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    It sounds like an overuse injury -- and Whistler is the best place to accomplish that. I went there a couple years back and had only one day to ride, and I was by myself. It was a weekday so there wasn't much for lift lines. Needless to say, I did what anyone would do -- I rode the PISS out of that mountain. My arms were pumped all day and I just ignored it and rode through it.

    Well, I earned myself 6 weeks off of riding because it caused tendinitis in my left forearm. Ice helped, but the only thing that really healed it was time off the bike. Two weeks in I thought I could do a light XC ride and I was wrong. The tendinitis just came back with a vengeance. Had to take 4 more weeks off of riding after that.

    Part of it, I suspect, is that I was 35 years old then. I have always stayed in great shape, but when you get past about 32 your body can't handle what it used to. I ride 5-6 days a week normally, but it's not lift-accessed riding. You can wrack up more vertical in half a day at Whistler than you can in a full week of trail riding. If you just jump in to that kind of riding without conditioning yourself for it -- it can end badly.

    I would go to a doctor and/or recommend ice, ibuprofen, and take some time off your bike. You don't want to keep aggravating this injury.
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  14. #14
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    Rotating your h-bar forward or backwards just a tiny bit can have huge affects.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  15. #15
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    I was just at Whistler this past weekend, and I had the "claw" on my second run, day one of three. I had to stop halfway down, change the angle of the brake levers and the reach as well. Problem reduced, if not solved. It took a lot of effort to stay relaxed, and I was definitely death-gripping from time to time. Pressing down on the bar with elbows out instead of grabbing it made it better too. I have very thin grips on a carbon bar and reduced HSC damping. We basically rode jump runs all three days, with the occasional foray into the tech trails to ease the suffering of our bodies. The braking bumps at Whistler are truly epic. I lost count of how many times my front wheel disappeared into a hole in the trail, many of those in the middle of a berm. Ba-BAM!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRage43 View Post
    My best advice is relax your hands. Position on the bike is key for this, try to keep your weight centered over your pedals so you can hold onto the bar without death gripping it. You want to hold the bar to keep control, but if you pay attention, you start to notice that during intense moments you are probably squeezing the life out of your grips.

    Loosen that grip!
    THIS! Best advice in this whole thread. Also make sure you aren't two finger braking; a lot of beginners do that and it adds to hand stress. ONE finger on a properly adjusted brake lever makes worlds of difference (adjust levers in if needed - need to match your finger reach).

    Have FUN!

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  17. #17
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    I've started a new WBP strength routine, it involves beating a 1" square steel bar into the ground with a 20lb sledge hammer for a few hours a day. Failing that, getting as many days in as you can will help

    Also, properly set-up suspension, bar position, brake lever angle, lever distance from the bar, bar width, bar height, bar rise, sweep, grips, all will contribute to wrecked hands.

    I blew a hand off the bar a few times this year before making changes to my setup

    I seem to be getting along with Renthal Fatbars and TLD grips now.

  18. #18
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    Leaving for Snowshoe at 4 af'nm in th morning, (so we can be there when it opens, 6 hr drive), everything be hurtin & sore by the end of th 1st day & it'll be "with me" till Sun when they close the trails for the season.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe View Post
    The braking bumps at Whistler are truly epic.
    Ugggh, try Northstar. That place is the ultimate hand killer.

  20. #20
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    Some good advice here, but lever position needs to be emphasized. I see people with horrible lever position all the time, even very experienced riders.

    This is for arm pump more as much as pain, but it's an important point and has been hinted at here, but not outright said. Make sure you levers are VERY close to your bar. As close as you feel safe. My levers almost touch my grips when I stop with full force.

    Your gripping strength isn't very strong if you have to reach far for the lever. But with your hand in a ball, you've got amazing grip strength. Think of doing a pull-up gripping a 3" bar. Almost impossible, you'd slide right off. But do that some pull-up gripping a 1" bar and your grip with be excellent. Same concept.

  21. #21
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    Just my 2 cents here. I replaced my brakes for better single finger pull and upped my brake rotor size for better bite and less fade. Now it takes less effort to brake for those pucker moments. I also adjust my cockpit while in the attack position when I ride any parks. Night and day difference.

  22. #22
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    I'm 36, and ride quite a bit of xcountry/climbing-hike a bike stuff. I think overuse injury/tendonitis is sticking with me from Whistler, and I think dialing my geometry of brake lever/cockpit is in order. Suspension as well since I set it according to fox guidelines and left it alone mostly this year. Pain radiates through the bones in my fingers, had the experience of peeling my hands off the grips and could barely open them without severe burning/pain. Getting old is part of it too, but damn it is fun riding that thing. I'm in the process of cleaning the bike up, and storing it for the winter. Fat tire snow biking in AK doesn't hurt that bad though. Damn.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfbkr50 View Post
    RIDE Whistler,

    Suspension as well since I set it according to fox guidelines and left it alone mostly this year. .
    Riding Whistler is tough......You hurt but keep riding because it is so much fun....and the high speed bumbs kill.....

    Keeping that in mind.....you need to service your fork....changing the oil will make it feel brand new. (sidenote: had my DVO fork since February and it is going in for 2ed oil change next week).. Also open up your low speed compression or re-shim it....to be softer in first part of travel...this will help a lot
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  24. #24
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    Sometimes larger grips aren't a good thing. My hands are much more comfortable with a slimmer grip.

    But yes, there are loads of things to try:

    - suspension setup
    - body position
    - less death grip
    - one finger braking/brake lever adjustment
    - thicker/thinner/softer/harder grips
    - alloy vs carbon bars
    - wider/shorter bars
    - more/less bar sweep

    etc

    It's essentially just trial and error. Also the time it takes you to figure out the bike setup stuff, you will improve a lot in your technique and relaxing a bit more.

  25. #25
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    +1 for ESI grips. Lock-ons weren't working for me anymore and my hands were killing me. Oury grips worked temporarily but they're too thick for my dainty hands.

    Went to a local shop in Whistler village and had ESI grips installed after a run. Huge improvement. Others mentioned softening up your compression damping. Yes do that. But also check your spring rate and make sure you have the right spring rate. Even if your fork feels nice and soft in the initial stroke, you still might be getting too deep in the travel with the fork packing up.
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  26. #26
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    what esi grips you running? chunky? extra chunky? chunkalicious?

  27. #27
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    lots of good advice here..
    I am 45 and had a couple crashes this year that hurt my hands pretty deep in my palms.

    I also broke my hand in May.

    I had to do a few things different to be able to ride all summer/fall.
    Brakes, yes, good one finger brakes.
    try different bars with different sweep, try carbon...
    Grips, try different ones.

    Set up... like others said, you need to have it set right and maybe a bit softer with a fork that ramps up at the end?? I just got a pike recently and its got great flexibility on set up and makes my hands not hurt.

    In the end, its a bit of trial and error, or you may have to take some time off.. but it should work itself out. good luck
    BBZ

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  28. #28
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    Rock climbing and avalanche/custom suspension tunes.
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  29. #29
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    I'm using the ESI Race grips. I didn't even know there were the chunky ones when I got them. I also currently use a Raceface sixc carbon bar with 4 deg of up sweep. I'd wonder if zero degree would be better.

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