Long SS rigid rides- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Long SS rigid rides

    I recently switched from the Reba on my SS Stumpjumper to a carbon niner fork and I'm having a hard time adjusting. Last weekend I rode about 30 miles on some very easy trails (lots of loops at Alum Creek State Park) and by the end I could barely grip my bars. My fingers locked up and the joints in my fingers ached so bad I could barely keep riding at times. Well, I did a bit of reading this week and ended up adjusting my brake levers to a more neutral position. Yesterday I rode the 25 mile loop at Mohican State Park and was able to take the edge off things a bit with the new lever position and by getting way out of the saddle on descents and gripping the seat with my legs and using my legs as suspension a bit more than I usually do. These things helped but I'm still getting a lot of pain in my hands and even my wrists. 100% of the pain is coming from descending and braking while descending. When I'm climbing or just spinning on a flat section, all is well. It seems to only be an issue on rides of 10 miles or more. A pair of ESI silicone grips are on order. I don't want to go back to my Reba, but this fork is hurting me! Any suggestions? Sorry if this is in the wrong section, I just didn't think it belonged in "shocks and suspension." Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Welcome to rigid.


    ps. ride loose & avoid the deathgrip.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fargon View Post
    I recently switched from the Reba on my SS Stumpjumper to a carbon niner fork and I'm having a hard time adjusting.
    It may take some time to get used to it. I also wonder if a shorter stem would help.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fargon View Post
    A pair of ESI silicone grips are on order. I don't want to go back to my Reba, but this fork is hurting me! Any suggestions?
    I'm guessing you need to give it some time for your body to adjust to the new setup. A high volume front tire (Panaracer Rampage, Spec Purgatory, etc.) run at a lower pressure will take some of the sting out of the harder hits. I'm a big fan of Ergon GS 1 grips as well.

    Oh, and HTFU!

  5. #5
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    Give it time, I don't have that fork but I've heard nothing but good things about it. Carbon bars seems to help, especially if going from os aluminum depending on what you have. Also, a larger front tire/tubeless setup can help along with good grips. I'm surprised you're noticing that big of a difference especially if your trails aren't too rough - if you get used to it, rigid is nice and responsive and simple but I'm sure, will take a couple of rides to adjust to. Keep us posted and good luck!

  6. #6
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    I have played the rigid game a long long time and this is what totally worked for me:

    Aside from the ride loose and expect to take awhile to learn the ropes of putting your wheels where they need to be instead of just letting them roll, a high bend bar really worked for me. I can easily be out hours and hours with climbing and descending, rocks and drops and technical desert single track with no hand pain. Sore muscles the next day sure, the occasional sweat induced blister sure, hand pain, none.
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  7. #7
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    Sounds about right on the sore hands part. When I switched to rigid, it took about a month of regular (3x a week) and short (less than an hour) rides to toughen up my hands. I read somewhere on the interwebz that you want "light hands and heavy feet" Every now and then I remind myself of that while riding rigid and it seems to help.

    As a side note, where did you find the information on brake lever positioning?
    It's not about being better than others, it's about getting the best out of myself.

  8. #8
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    I find the more I ride on my rigid the better it gets, I would literally ride till my arms were going to fall off over and over and over again, Then I did the LJ 100 and had zero pain or soreness at the end.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loudpawlz View Post
    I'm guessing you need to give it some time for your body to adjust to the new setup. A high volume front tire (Panaracer Rampage, Spec Purgatory, etc.) run at a lower pressure will take some of the sting out of the harder hits. I'm a big fan of Ergon GS 1 grips as well.

    Oh, and HTFU!
    Getting a set of 2.4 Purgatories from a buddy. Hopin they help!

  10. #10
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    I find that on my rigid setups the extended sections of descent with copious amounts of braking are typically the culprit because you are forced to keep your death grip to properly managed your levers. Its tedious, but on miles-long gravel descents I will sometimes come to a nearly complete stop to spare the relentless soft braking. Its not the idea of a genius, but sometimes it helps.

    Good luck with your new fork!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    I have played the rigid game a long long time and this is what totally worked for me:

    Aside from the ride loose and expect to take awhile to learn the ropes of putting your wheels where they need to be instead of just letting them roll, a high bend bar really worked for me. I can easily be out hours and hours with climbing and descending, rocks and drops and technical desert single track with no hand pain. Sore muscles the next day sure, the occasional sweat induced blister sure, hand pain, none.
    I have been wondering if maybe my low bar is forcing my weight forward. This is definitely something to think about. Glad to hear there's guys riding rigid that don't have this issue.

  12. #12
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    Stop braking so much. Seriously. Learn to modulate your speed by picking lines and through steering, lifting the front wheel, and weight distribution. Scrub a little speed before you need to clench -- feather those levers, and brake lightly even while pedaling sometimes. You'll develop these "tricks" with experience; don't expect overnight improvements.

    And if you throw in the towel, let me know how much you want for those forks!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godless Communist View Post

    And if you throw in the towel, let me know how much you want for those forks!
    The fork actually will be up for sale by the end of the week as I have a new Air Nine Carbon with the same fork on the way. If you're interested send me a PM. I'll give you a deal!

  14. #14
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    One thing that helps is to realize that there are some sections you just HAVE to slow down for, no way around it. I have the same fork on my bike and it only took a few weeks to get used to it, there is some learning to ride the bottom bracket instead of the bars if that makes sense.

  15. #15
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    Oury grips and a 2.3 or 2.4 tire. And remember when the going gets rough pull that front wheel off the ground on ride through it.

  16. #16
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    Oury's or ESI chunky's, Carnegie carbon bar, 2.25 RR and White Brothers Rock Solid carbon fork on Kona Unit. I never have issues with sore hands or sore anything else, and I ride fast, hard and long.

    My mate, however, suffers the same symptoms as you do 2fargon and he runs 2.4 RR's front/rear. He's going back to a squishy fork thingy too.

    Gotta loosen that grip and get the elbows bent more methinks. This allows you to shift your weight more readily to unload the front or rear accordingly too.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  17. #17
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    Light hands, heavy feet does wonders for me. My problem is more on the feet. How to keep em sticking to the pedals... LOL, maybe I should go clipless.

    BTW, a little more powerful brakes (I uses hydros now) will help ease the soreness of your hands. When I got mine build, I had a mech brakes (not those BBs, but some cheapo Shimano non series mechs). It's when I grab my brakes my vision became blur and whole body shaking as the lever takes quite abit of a force.

  18. #18
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    I did a six-hour enduro on my rigid SS 29er not long after building it and had some serious hand pain after the half-way/three hour point. I ended up finishing (6:13, 94 km), but it was very uncomfortable. More details on the enduro.

    While I haven't ridden an more enduros on that bike, I have ridden for 3-4 hours and haven't had any hand problems. Most of the changes I made have already been discussed: altered the bar position for lighter hands, adjusted the lever travel/position on the brakes, lower front tyre (2.1 Ignitor) pressure and improved riding technique.

    I had Ergon Biokork grips for the enduro and still use them. I have Oury lock-ons on my 1x9 hardtail. Both grips work well, but I think the Ergons are more comfortable.
    Dave

  19. #19
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    It probably isn't an equipment related problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Godless Communist View Post
    Stop braking so much. Seriously. Learn to modulate your speed by picking lines and through steering, lifting the front wheel, and weight distribution.
    Riding rigid takes a different technique, or style, than riding a HT.

    Try to keep your arms and hands loose. Use your legs as the FRONT suspension. Let the bike move under you when there's anything rough under it. Don't fight it with your hands. Help the front wheel over the more significant bumps: don't just ride at things and hit them. If you have multiple small bumps, see if you can use the first one to launch over the rest, at least high enough to just skim the tops.

    The worst is if I need to brake over some rocks or roots: that pretty much eliminates any change of unweighing the front over the bumps.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    It probably isn't an equipment related problem.
    Riding rigid takes a different technique, or style, than riding a HT.

    Try to keep your arms and hands loose. Use your legs as the FRONT suspension. Let the bike move under you when there's anything rough under it. Don't fight it with your hands. Help the front wheel over the more significant bumps: don't just ride at things and hit them. If you have multiple small bumps, see if you can use the first one to launch over the rest, at least high enough to just skim the tops.

    The worst is if I need to brake over some rocks or roots: that pretty much eliminates any change of unweighing the front over the bumps.
    Hi Perttime, thanks for the tips. Wondering why to use the legs as the front suspension instead of the hands?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaizer View Post
    Hi Perttime, thanks for the tips. Wondering why to use the legs as the front suspension instead of the hands?
    Because legs are stronger.

    If I had to take all the bumps with my hands, my hands and wrists would be destroyed pretty quickly.

    To some extent, it boils down to adjusting my weight distribution slightly more towards the rear of the bike, when going over bumps.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  22. #22
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    Agree with pertime about avoiding stuff more than trying to set up the biek to soak it up, true points. The things that helped me get to being able to ride 40-50 miles + of low-tech / moderately rough (roots, hard-packed hoof-printed trails, general trail debris but not rocky) singletrack in comfort on a 26 (now 29) rigid SS-

    Brake lever position / lever bite point - relaxed under braking, lever nice and close
    Bar-front axle relationship - Jeff Jones is right, get your bar back behing that axle as far as you can to lower the shock. Use your legs not your arms.
    Bar shape - ditch the riser and get a 20-40 degree sweep bar. I like H-bars.
    Grips - Foam or ESI
    Front tyre - 2.3-2.4 UST
    Fork - doesn't matter - stiff handles better, flexy is comfy.
    Saddle - WTB all the way for me, but a comfy saddle (and carbon or ti post perhaps) means getting out of the saddle a bit less = less hand / arm pressure over a long ride.
    Learn to loft the front over stuff and manual / hop. See bar-axle rule.

    Admittedly I'm pretty beat by the end of a long ride on the rigid SS, but it's mainly my upper arms and sides from the hauling uphill rather than any general discomfort. On my geared hardtail I'd be equally beat, but in a different way - usually wrist and backside pain.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    It probably isn't an equipment related problem.
    Riding rigid takes a different technique, or style, than riding a HT.

    Try to keep your arms and hands loose. Use your legs as the FRONT suspension. Let the bike move under you when there's anything rough under it. Don't fight it with your hands. Help the front wheel over the more significant bumps: don't just ride at things and hit them. If you have multiple small bumps, see if you can use the first one to launch over the rest, at least high enough to just skim the tops.

    The worst is if I need to brake over some rocks or roots: that pretty much eliminates any change of unweighing the front over the bumps.
    I think you're onto something here. Though I've adjusted my style a bit for the rigid fork, I think I'm still trying to bomb over roots, etc. like I'm riding with a squish fork. Thanks for the help!

  24. #24
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    I have a lot of (10+) years on Oury grips, and while I would use them any day if I had to, I have to give the nod to ESIs as being more comfortable for long rides. They don't "feel" as thick and squishy as the Ourys but they do a great job at absorbing vibration or something. Whatever it is, it works, and I've switched all my bikes over to ESIs.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fargon View Post
    I think I'm still trying to bomb over roots, etc. like I'm riding with a squish fork.
    Just a note to make sure people don't misunderstand...

    In many cases it is still possible to go fast over roots and stuff. Often going fast enough is easier on you than going too slowly.

    For "skimming" over things, some speed can help a lot. In other situations, great care in picking lines helps: where's the ramp shaped part of that root, do those two small roots together constitute a smoother spot, is it smoother to go over 3 small rocks or the one that is bigger, etc? Pull up slightly to unweigh the bike over that root.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  26. #26
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    I have not had any trouble with my hands since I switched to Ergons.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fargon View Post
    The fork actually will be up for sale by the end of the week as I have a new Air Nine Carbon with the same fork on the way. If you're interested send me a PM. I'll give you a deal!
    Dang someone beat me to it! If he bails let me know! What color is the fork?

  28. #28
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    I just switched to Ergon GX1 grips. I rode my usual rooty/rocky trails and what used to make my hands stiff for a few days after. They really made a huge difference; they felt great. My wrists still feel a little sore. I'm gonna try the fat front tire/salsa bend 2 bars once I get some money.

  29. #29
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    That 2.4 Purgatory you have coming will help out a lot. I'm running that tire on the front with ESI grips and finally feel I have found a good combo.

    As stated by others the key is to stay loose on the bike. Ease up on the grip and remember your body is now the suspension. Experiment with tire pressure as well.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprintcarblue View Post
    I just switched to Ergon GX1 grips. I rode my usual rooty/rocky trails and what used to make my hands stiff for a few days after. They really made a huge difference; they felt great. My wrists still feel a little sore. I'm gonna try the fat front tire/salsa bend 2 bars once I get some money.
    +1 on the Ergons - surprised more people haven't recommended these.

    I've been doing the SS+rigid thing for about a month now. I found that my body has learned what hurts (rock garden's and roots) and reacts accordingly. For example, in the past, if I were about to launch myself off a cliff, something in the back of my head would hit the brakes and do what was necessary to not launch off said cliff and die. Now, that same little reaction turns on just before a rock garden, and finds the right path to get through.

    It's when I start thinking about it that I end up launching straight into the garden and a lot of pain!

  31. #31
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    Another vote here for the Ergons. I ride a SS with Niner's carbon fork - and the Ergons (with bar ends) let me relax my hands and arms so much that when I do get to the forearm-pounding downhills, my arms and hands aren't already worn out. Add that to tubeless, bigger tires and lower air pressure, and 99.9% of the time I'm happy...

  32. #32
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    Run WTB weirwolf lt 2.55 tires and it should ride nicer with Lower air pressure.
    Spinnin' & Grinnin'

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SPD View Post
    Dang someone beat me to it! If he bails let me know! What color is the fork?
    It's Godzilla Green but it's actually more of a grey color than green. $250 shipped if you're interested

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    I'm surprised how much I'm hearing about Ergon grips. Is there a certain model I should try? I'd like to keep it light weight if possible.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fargon View Post
    I'm surprised how much I'm hearing about Ergon grips. Is there a certain model I should try? I'd like to keep it light weight if possible.
    I have these: ERGON BIKE ERGONOMICS

    But they also make a bunch with integrated barends - changing up hand positions will also help out your hand/arm pain. One warning - there is ZERO cush in these grips. It's all about the shape/support. When I first rode with them, I didn't wear gloves - ended up with some nice blisters since the thin rubber has a sandpaper finish. I also went with the small size since I'm used to very thin grips.

  36. #36
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    Just ordered a set of GC2-S grips with a small bar end. Hope they help!

  37. #37
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    Ergon GC2 user here. I love the leverage I get on climbs with the bar ends.

    Took a couple rides to get the grips installed at the right angle. At first I was getting numb in my palms. Unfortunately I've developed tennis elbow on the left side. Too much death grip & braking I guess.

    I agree on the lack of cush... Ineed to get some better padded gloves. Just got a pair of Ardent 2.4s in the mail, so that should help.

  38. #38
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    2fargon

    You are not durable. Or you are old. I am both. I've been in the trades for years and I am 43 and not big or burly ( my younger brothers wrists are the size of my calves ). I have seen some tough dudes in my life and I am not one of them. I am way too beat up to ride rigid. Some people are monsters and will ride rigid forever. My friend rode Downieville sooooo fast on full rigid 3 runs and his wrists were black and blue and way swollen and he did not ride on 3rd day. I hope he gets a suspension fork for next yr. Guys I know that ride rigid front save $, and love it, unfortunately I NEED a Fox. Very expensive but I love to ride pain free. John Wayne would ride rigid. I am no John Wayne.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fargon View Post
    I'm surprised how much I'm hearing about Ergon grips. Is there a certain model I should try? I'd like to keep it light weight if possible.
    I have to say in contrast to all the ergon love for me they were a deal breaker out here in arizona. I could never get enough hand on the grips to do the maneuvers that our riding requires. I always felt that my hands were seconds from slipping off, especially on stuttery rocky descents where the front wheel would hang a bit. I really needed the butt of my hand perpendicular to those forces coming from the front of my bike and when I am way back over the saddle and rolling a bunch of rock steps they prevented me from doing that causing my hands to rotate up into a terrifying position and a couple of times I lost my grip and fell off the back.

    I gave them to a friend that didn't use them long either.

    I know people love them but they seem to be counter productive in the AZ desert for the rigid singlespeed crowd. I am throwing this out here not to dismiss your decision but to help others that may read this thread and ride similar terrain to me.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    I have to say in contrast to all the ergon love for me they were a deal breaker out here in arizona. I could never get enough hand on the grips to do the maneuvers that our riding requires. I always felt that my hands were seconds from slipping off, especially on stuttery rocky descents where the front wheel would hang a bit. I really needed the butt of my hand perpendicular to those forces coming from the front of my bike and when I am way back over the saddle and rolling a bunch of rock steps they prevented me from doing that causing my hands to rotate up into a terrifying position and a couple of times I lost my grip and fell off the back.

    I gave them to a friend that didn't use them long either.

    I know people love them but they seem to be counter productive in the AZ desert for the rigid singlespeed crowd. I am throwing this out here not to dismiss your decision but to help others that may read this thread and ride similar terrain to me.
    This had crossed my mine regarding the Ergon's. There's times going downhill when I couldn't imagine not being able to wrap my fingers around the entire grip as I'm holding on with everything I've got. I guess all I can do is give it a shot!

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    I'm a poor Man so nothing fancy. Bar tape wrapped over small grips and I wear cheap semi padded gloves. I'm finding a lot of things on a bike, you just build up to.

  42. #42
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    Ergons with a Carbon bar and a fat front did the trick for me. Ergons come in small and large sizes to fit your hands.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaBass_ View Post
    Ergons with a Carbon bar and a fat front did the trick for me. Ergons come in small and large sizes to fit your hands.
    Small Ergons on order. I probably have medium-ish hands and ordered the smalls not realizing there were different sizes. Hopefully they'll help. I'd like to try the Niner Carbon Handlebar but I really can't afford it right now. What brand/type of bar do you run?

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    You are not durable. Or you are old. I am both. I've been in the trades for years and I am 43 and not big or burly ( my younger brothers wrists are the size of my calves ). I have seen some tough dudes in my life and I am not one of them. I am way too beat up to ride rigid. Some people are monsters and will ride rigid forever. My friend rode Downieville sooooo fast on full rigid 3 runs and his wrists were black and blue and way swollen and he did not ride on 3rd day. I hope he gets a suspension fork for next yr. Guys I know that ride rigid front save $, and love it, unfortunately I NEED a Fox. Very expensive but I love to ride pain free. John Wayne would ride rigid. I am no John Wayne.
    Haha right you are! Isn't it fun to pretend though?

  45. #45
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    I have large hands but find the smaller Ergons are easier to ride on my rigid bike as the larges are too big to grip for long distances and really chunky terrain. I also enjoy a wide Ti bar with a good amount of sweep.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    I have large hands but find the smaller Ergons are easier to ride on my rigid bike as the larges are too big to grip for long distances and really chunky terrain. I also enjoy a wide Ti bar with a good amount of sweep.
    99% of riders will be fine with the 'small' ergon grips. i have big hands and the smalls are perfect.

    i roll rigid with ergons and 2.4 ardent. the only time i have hand pain are on long rough/technical descents wear i'm riding the brakes.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fargon View Post
    Small Ergons on order. I probably have medium-ish hands and ordered the smalls not realizing there were different sizes. Hopefully they'll help. I'd like to try the Niner Carbon Handlebar but I really can't afford it right now. What brand/type of bar do you run?
    Niner

  48. #48
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    Well I got the new (rigid) bike and installed the Ergon grips. The difference is unbelievable. I can highly recommend these to anyone having pain in their wrists and fingers while riding. I would say the problem is 85% better. Thanks so much for the help guys. Next is the carbon Niner bar!

  49. #49
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    Ergon GX-1 Grips
    Carbon OR Nice Steel Fork
    Carbon Bar
    Don't Overgrip
    Low pressure, Higher Volume front tire

    This recipe works well for me, though with a rough case of elbow tendonitis I switch it up a bit with some squishy fork rides to ease the inflamation. Best of Luck!

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhack View Post
    It may take some time to get used to it. I also wonder if a shorter stem would help.
    +1

    + Almost all of the other advice in this thread is probably also correct.

    If you are riding a long(-ish) stem, you may be stretched pretty far forward, causing your elbows to lock out. This will put a hurtin' on your hands.
    You need some room to flex your arms while maintaining a proper reach to steer fully and still absorb bumps. If your elbows are locking out while steering or descending, you will be getting punished.
    Conforming grips help.
    3mm gel gloves help.
    Big tires help.
    Flexy bars probably help (but they scare me too much).
    Weight on feet helps the most --> maybe your fore/aft balance needs tweaked?
    I've been riding rigid pretty much since I was 4, and I am fine on multi-day chunk-fests. However, I will say that when speeds are up, like on extended downhill runs, I fatigue faster. That's probably more due to the limitations of my training venues - there's just nowhere to train for long DHs near me.

    -F

    Disclaimer - I am not a SSer.

  51. #51
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    I rode 30 miles this past Saturday and 50 on Sunday at the Brown County Breakdown. My hands were almost pain free on Saturday but by the end of Sunday I was in so much pain I could barely grip the bars. Hope to pick up a Niner Carbon bar as soon as I can afford it. It's not often that I get to ride 50 miles so I should be pain-free the majority of the time.

  52. #52
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    A simple thing, but it helps

    When you are riding flat sections, move your thumb up on top of the bar so your hand is just resting on the grip rather than actually wrapped around the bar. This automatically results in relaxing your death hold on the bar, increases the surface area of the palm holding your weight, and gives your hands and wrists a break by changing the pressure points, impact angles and blood flow. Combined with swept Mary bars and Ergons I never have hand/wrist pain.

    Just remember to drop your thumbs before braking or hitting anything technical!

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