Handlebar Shock Absorption

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fausto99
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Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby fausto99 » 13 Nov 2017, 1:54pm

I often get slightly numb palms towards the end of a long ride even though I do used padded mitts and two layers of the thick foam handlebar tape. I also do try to shift position around the drop type bars as much as possible.

While looking for thicker gel tape I found these:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01 ... UTF8&psc=1
They look promising for use under bar tape and are a much cheaper alternative than "proper" bicycle handlebar gel tape. I'll try to report back as and when I fit and try them out.

gloomyandy
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby gloomyandy » 13 Nov 2017, 1:57pm

Just a thought, but could it be that you have too much weight on your hands? Could be worth trying moving your saddle back a little to see if that helps?

mercalia
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby mercalia » 13 Nov 2017, 2:02pm

I use 3 layers of foam * maybe 1" thick in all ( held in place by velcro and ties )- the idea is not only to add a cushion but to increase the surface area : pressure = force/area? increase the area lessens the pressure on you hands. As the previous contributer said maybe too much weight on your hands - handle bars too low, reach too short, need to move bars forward or seat back?

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fausto99
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby fausto99 » 13 Nov 2017, 3:03pm

gloomyandy wrote:Just a thought, but could it be that you have too much weight on your hands? Could be worth trying moving your saddle back a little to see if that helps?

It's a custom 531 frame with a long top tube for my long body - short thigh build. My saddle is never to far forward - I have to use a straight seat pin to get my knees over the pedal axles with the cranks horizontal. I've been riding it for 20+ years and this has only just started happening recently on long duration (not long mileage) rides. I think I just have less padding on my 65+ year old palms than I used to.

gloomyandy
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby gloomyandy » 13 Nov 2017, 3:46pm

fausto99 wrote:It's a custom 531 frame with a long top tube for my long body - short thigh build. My saddle is never to far forward - I have to use a straight seat pin to get my knees over the pedal axles with the cranks horizontal. I've been riding it for 20+ years and this has only just started happening recently on long duration (not long mileage) rides. I think I just have less padding on my 65+ year old palms than I used to.


Fair enough, but bike fit can change over time and knee over pedal is not something set in concrete, many bike fitters consider it just a rough starting point. Even if the problem is your palms, having less pressure on them may help. Might be worth taking a look at some of the blog posts by folks like Steve Hogg:
https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bi ... oad-bikes/

Brucey
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby Brucey » 13 Nov 2017, 4:21pm

gloomyandy wrote:Just a thought, but could it be that you have too much weight on your hands? Could be worth trying moving your saddle back a little to see if that helps?


I'd second taking another look at that; if by chance you are not pushing quite as hard on the pedals as you used to, that tends to put more weight on the hands, so the same position as forever eventually can become 'the wrong position' over time.

cheers
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djnotts
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby djnotts » 13 Nov 2017, 7:59pm

I find 531 or 501 steel bars the most comfortable. Even over very expensive carbon.

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fausto99
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby fausto99 » 14 Nov 2017, 9:53am

gloomyandy wrote:Just a thought, but could it be that you have too much weight on your hands? Could be worth trying moving your saddle back a little to see if that helps?

I've been thinking about this some more and have come to the conclusion that moving the saddle back, or having a longer stem, would make things worse by putting more weight onto my hands. When I ride my sit-up-and-beg 50s Rudge, almost all of my weight is taken by my sit bones; I only use my arms for steering. There is very little pressure on my palms.

On all my other bikes, as I lean further forward, more of my torso weight is taken by my arms. The more forward the position, the more weight on my arms.

Based on one of my other pastimes, Appalachian Clogging, gel inserts in my shoes have, so far, solved problems with heel pain when dancing on hard floors, and so I'm definitely going to try gel inserts under my handlebar tape. I might try putting the saddle further forward too.

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andrew_s
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby andrew_s » 14 Nov 2017, 11:11am

fausto99 wrote:I might try putting the saddle further forward too.

Having the saddle too far forward usually increases the weight on your hands.
If you can't (briefly) lift your hands just off the bars without otherwise changing your riding position or falling forwards, your saddle is too far forwards for your body to balance properly, and you have to push on the bars

If you want to reduce the weight on your hands with a more upright position, a shorter stem is the way to go.

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fausto99
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby fausto99 » 14 Nov 2017, 12:31pm

andrew_s wrote:Having the saddle too far forward usually increases the weight on your hands.....If you want to reduce the weight on your hands with a more upright position, a shorter stem is the way to go.


Please explain how a 1cm shorter stem is different to putting the saddle 1cm forward???

pwa
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby pwa » 14 Nov 2017, 12:42pm

fausto99 wrote:
andrew_s wrote:Having the saddle too far forward usually increases the weight on your hands.....If you want to reduce the weight on your hands with a more upright position, a shorter stem is the way to go.


Please explain how a 1cm shorter stem is different to putting the saddle 1cm forward???


Either your saddle is in the right position or it isn't. If you feel as if you are sat in the right position then leave well alone. Make any adjustments at the bars, so that you have less of a reach and sit a bit more upright. Shorter stem, down to 70mm perhaps, a bit higher if possible, with shorter reach bars if necessary. I went down that route to eliminate lower back ache and it worked.

Samuel D
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby Samuel D » 14 Nov 2017, 12:46pm

fausto99 wrote:Please explain how a 1cm shorter stem is different to putting the saddle 1cm forward???

Moving the saddle adjusts the horizontal distance between pedals (especially the forward pedal upon which you push) and your centre of gravity. Moving the bars just adjusts the reach.

The more you lean forward, the more you need to move your bum backward to counterbalance your cantilevered torso. Racers can only tolerate forward saddles and a low torso because they’re pushing mightily on the pedals. The rest of us need a more rearward saddle (slacker seat tube angle, greater seatpost layback, sliding the saddle back on its rails, etc.) or hand pain becomes a problem due to excess weight on the hands.

Sure, raising the handlebars a lot or putting them a lot closer will raise the torso and thereby, eventually, reduce weight on the hands to a tolerable level. But you probably have drop bars because you want to be more aerodynamic and comfortable over bumps than that. So you must get the saddle farther back.

531colin, who often posts here, has an excellent fitting guide here. (PDF) Scroll down to the section starting on page 10 called “SADDLE SETBACK”.

If you’re not convinced, perform the experiment described by Sheldon Brown here.

KOPS is useful to get the saddle in the right vicinity in the absence of any other information. It doesn’t prove you have the saddle in the right place to minimise weight on the hands, which is the main reason to move the saddle backward and forward.

pwa
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby pwa » 14 Nov 2017, 12:55pm

Samuel D wrote:
fausto99 wrote:Please explain how a 1cm shorter stem is different to putting the saddle 1cm forward???

Moving the saddle adjusts the horizontal distance between pedals (especially the forward pedal upon which you push) and your centre of gravity. Moving the bars just adjusts the reach.

The more you lean forward, the more you need to move your bum backward to counterbalance your cantilevered torso. Racers can only tolerate forward saddles and a low torso because they’re pushing mightily on the pedals. The rest of us need a more rearward saddle (slacker seat tube angle, greater seatpost layback, sliding the saddle back on its rails, etc.) or hand pain becomes a problem due to excess weight on the hands.

Sure, raising the handlebars a lot or putting them a lot closer will raise the torso and thereby, eventually, reduce weight on the hands to a tolerable level. But you probably have drop bars because you want to be more aerodynamic and comfortable over bumps than that. So you must get the saddle farther back.

531colin, who often posts here, has an excellent fitting guide here. (PDF) Scroll down to the section starting on page 10 called “SADDLE SETBACK”.

If you’re not convinced, perform the experiment described by Sheldon Brown here.

KOPS is useful to get the saddle in the right vicinity in the absence of any other information. It doesn’t prove you have the saddle in the right place to minimise weight on the hands, which is the main reason to move the saddle backward and forward.


I think what you are getting at is that saddle position should be checked, and rectified if appropriate, before looking at the front of the bike. I think that is sound. For me the saddle position comes before other fitting considerations. That has to be established first, because the bars are positioned in relation to that saddle position.

rmurphy195
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby rmurphy195 » 14 Nov 2017, 1:04pm

I've found that a slightly shorter stem,plus either these https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/handlebar-t ... ars-black/ , or thicker handlebar tape, and/or gloves with padded palms, help in this situation.
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Samuel D
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Re: Handlebar Shock Absorption

Postby Samuel D » 14 Nov 2017, 1:14pm

I had terrible trouble with ulnar nerve compression (numbness of little fingers) and other hand discomfort. Then I read 531colin’s ideas about reducing weight on the hands by getting the saddle back. The result was a transformation in comfort. I can now ride all day in my preferred low position with my preferred thin handlebar tape, wearing no gloves at all.

Try it for a few hundred kilometres. What is there to lose? Mark your saddle positions (height and setback) so you can revert to your present position. Make a big change so the weight difference at the hands is obvious. By the way, sliding your saddle back will require a (much smaller) reduction in height.