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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Hand numbness while riding

    My wife suffers from hands that go numb when she rides her mountain or road bike. I have carbon bars on her mtb with Ergon GP1 grips but was wondering whether there are other ideas on how to improve this? Is this a function of handlebar height/weight on the hands? Other suggestions to consider?

    Thanks in advance,

    Seth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Live Free or Die
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    My wife suffers from this too. Moreso on the.mtb than the road bike, but mostly because she can.shift hand position on the road bike more often. Thinking about getting some bars with more sweep as I've heard that can help but we've already done ergon grips and padded gloves which were improvements but not cures.

    I guess I should add hers is more pain than numbness which is associated with carpal tunnel, which I'm not sure is what your wife is experiencing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Banff
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    so many variables to adjust / test

    1) grip size
    2) grip density
    3) grip shape (ergon vs round)
    4) brake lever/shifter position
    5) stem height (more or less spacers)
    6) glove tightness (or if they have wrist closures
    7) bar sweep (more often better)
    8) bar material (Ti often good)
    9) tire pressure lower (less vibration)
    10) bar width (smaller people on wider bars can be issue)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Shuswap Highlands
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    The carpal tunnel syndrome is my issue. Both parents had issues with theirs, one day soon I'll have to get surgery on my wrists. Trigger finger bad on my right middle finger. Fingers don't go numb so much as severe pins and needles feeling. Shoulder spaced grips and an more upright cockpit/bar riser helps, but they have their riding trade-offs as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    3,126
    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    so many variables to adjust / test

    1) grip size
    2) grip density
    3) grip shape (ergon vs round)
    4) brake lever/shifter position
    5) stem height (more or less spacers)
    6) glove tightness (or if they have wrist closures
    7) bar sweep (more often better)
    8) bar material (Ti often good)
    9) tire pressure lower (less vibration)
    10) bar width (smaller people on wider bars can be issue)

    This is correct

    What’s the distribution of her numbness? Specific fingers? Whole hand?

    https://tanyacoats.co.za/2018/08/21/...ness-tingling/
    Do I detect a lot of anger flowing around this place? Kind of like a pubescent volatility, some angst, a lot of I'm-sixteen-and-angry-at-my-father syndrome?

    fuck that noise.

    gmen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    so many variables to adjust / test

    1) grip size
    2) grip density
    3) grip shape (ergon vs round)
    4) brake lever/shifter position
    5) stem height (more or less spacers)
    6) glove tightness (or if they have wrist closures
    7) bar sweep (more often better)
    8) bar material (Ti often good)
    9) tire pressure lower (less vibration)
    10) bar width (smaller people on wider bars can be issue)
    11) top tube length (shorter = less weight on hands)

    12) reach length (ditto as #11)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    [a] Van [down by the river]
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    1,317
    weight on hands.

    when on mountain bike... all terrain/always? curious if it only happens when she's stressed/gripping the bar too tight on terrain that's stressing her out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    in the trench
    Posts
    11,894
    Ive gone back to an aluminium bar in a 31.8 diameter with a bit more rise. Less sweep is better for me with wide shoulders. Next ill be getting rid of lock on grips in favor of glued on narrow grips. Suspension set up makes a big difference. I aim for coil like intitial stroke. I'll be trying wrist braces too
    https://thespacebrace.com/shop/wrist-brace/
    I used to build speed on downhills now my grip strength fades and it becomes full on survival on long dh tracks. Wrists have taken a pounding over the years

    Sent from my SM-G950W using TGR Forums mobile app

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    On a genuine ol' fashioned authentic steam powered aereoplane
    Posts
    13,617
    As everyone else already pointed out it could be a million different things.

    Also, RevGrips are a game changer and I will not run any other grip on any mtb ever again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    poor saddle setup throwing weight on the hands , saddle should at least be level or I like it nose hi
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    803
    Add suspension setup to the Mtnlion & Toast list.

    I think the grips themselves are actually the least important out of that list. I can run exactly the same cockpit setup and if my fork is set poorly, my hands will start hurting after 3 minutes.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
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    No experience with these myself but a few bikepack racers like Kurt Refsnider use these Fastco Flexx bars. Heavy and pricy but they seem to think they're worthwhile.

    https://fasstmtb.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Southeast New York
    Posts
    8,086
    As bars got wider over the years I have had more problems with my hands. I was tooling around on my flat bar bike that I built 20 years ago and I realized how much more comfortable my upper body was. At first it didn't make sense because it has a fairly long stem but after a few minutes I noticed that my hands were much closer to in line with my shoulders than I've become used to because the bar is way narrower. I think I've got some experimenting to do with the other bikes.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    15' from MT
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    187
    Ulnar nerve stretches fixed it for me years ago. I would do them on rides and the feeling would come back within a minute or so. I also added the stretches to my daily routine and haven't experienced it in years on the bike. It's happened while skate skiing and at first I thought it was the cold but after a couple stretches the feeling came back. Look up ulnar stretches and try them the next time. A lot of 'ailments' aren't necessarily set up related but just body life stuff.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    cow hampshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by tellybele View Post
    Ulnar nerve stretches fixed it for me years ago. I would do them on rides and the feeling would come back within a minute or so. I also added the stretches to my daily routine and haven't experienced it in years on the bike. It's happened while skate skiing and at first I thought it was the cold but after a couple stretches the feeling came back. Look up ulnar stretches and try them the next time. A lot of 'ailments' aren't necessarily set up related but just body life stuff.
    Yeah, this is good advice. Neck stretches also. It's all connected.

  16. #16
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    Sep 2007
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    Good advice, all. Thanks for the input.

    Sent from my SM-N970U using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Saratoga Springs, NY
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    Might also be a function of gripping too tightly. I get pain/numbness often and it is usually worse when I'm not riding as relaxed as I should be. No easy fix for that other than constantly reminded yourself to ease up though.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  18. #18
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    Sep 2004
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    Is the hand numbness a recent development? If so, anything change on bike around that time? (or anything else happen to wife around that time? Accident, workplace environment, new hobbies, anything?)
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  19. #19
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    Dec 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    poor saddle setup throwing weight on the hands , saddle should at least be level or I like it nose hi
    Oof. That's a whole new world of numbness.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    2,941
    Not a new development but we tried to get out for a mtb date once a week last summer and it was definitely plaguing her.

    Bars are a little lower than her saddle but not a ton. I think she was professionally fit for her road bike but it still happens there too. When we signed up for a century a few years ago this was her biggest worry. The miles wasn't a concern at all - just the wrists.

    Ironically she's a physical therapist but when you live with something for long enough you sort of forget that it might be a problem that can be fixed or improved.

    Seth

    Sent from my SM-N970U using Tapatalk

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    162
    Hah! I worked with some orthopedic surgeons who had the worst joints I’d ever seen, and wouldn’t do a thing about it.

    I’d echo the ulnar stretches comment. That’s been huge for me, and so have even slight ergonomic adjustments...stem height and reach specifically. Good luck. Pain makes dates way less fun.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    803
    Honestly, there are so many variables here, the best thing you could do if you want to narrow it down is to take some photos of her hand / forearm position when she's both in the seated and attack positions. From the side is best.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Los Alamos, NM
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    1,657
    I have always had riding hand numbness due to CT issues. I went with SQ Labs 702s and they helped a lot but one thing to check is the position of her GP1s. Make sure they are rotated up enough to give her the full benefit. The idea is to make sure the wrist isn't allowed to rotate "down" while riding. That position might feel odd at first.
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    But hey, I'm sure your kids will be sharp as tacks.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Washoe Valley
    Posts
    312
    My wife and riding partner is a former dental hygienist. Her hands wore out especially the thumb joint and had several surgeries. She finally had to retire. Anyway, we have been riding MTB for over 25 years and her hands always bothered her including numbness. Tried a few things over the years, mainly experimenting with grips with mixed results. The past few years it has been getting worse to the point where she was considering giving up MTB. So, recently we did a few things to her bike and the results are encouraging. She has a Ibis Mojo 3 and it came with a carbon straight bar and a 40 stem. We put foam grips on that bar and it helped a little but just a little . We decided to get aggressive with more mods and replaced her bar setup with a PNW Range bar which is 780x 35rise x10degree sweep as well as using their grips which are actually pretty firm. This is a game changer for her, more upright less weight on hands and just more comfortable to ride. She did not lose any climbing ability and maybe improved it. I was so impressed that I did the same mode to my Hightower which came with a straight bar and I feel I climb better too.

    That's what we did plus a little advise we heard on you tube and that is squeeze your grips like you are holding a glass of beer.......

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    15' from MT
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    187
    squeeze your grips like you are holding a glass of beer.......

    ^^Always! A lot of people don't apply this simple finesse technique to the MTB. Kinda like in climbing, over-grip and you'll pump-out or flash-pump. If your hands a hella calloused, you are probably over-gripping. Most men have this problem of ham-fisting things where women aren't as strong and will finesse the move/action and get to the same place with much less effort. I guess what I am saying is that a lot of pain, numbness and being uncomfortable isn't always the bike set-up. I believe in bringing oneself up to the task at hand and is always a worthy pursuit. Coming from a climbing background, it is the only. We never had more suspension or lighter bikes to buy to make up for shortcomings, you focused on solid technique and getting stronger and smoother along the way to get there. I think that this is paramount to any activity.

    I use one of these to keep the elbows, forearms and hands up to the task:
    Name:  HandyHands.jpg
Views: 1064
Size:  28.5 KB

    Very adjustable and looks great on the coffee table so every time you see it, you use it!
    Squeezin' a little more every other day

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