Author Topic: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?  (Read 1564 times)

scottydog

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I'm trying to decide whether to sell my road bike. It's a 2016 Kona penthouse (http://rideonlineca.konaworld.com/road-bikes/2016-penthouse.html) and it's light and fast but it my wrists go numb when I ride. I previously had wrist problems with a hybrid bike, and bought this thinking that the drop bars would solve the problem. The shop I purchased from also did a bike fitting to fine-tune it to me. I want to love it, but every time I take it out I'm reminded of why I don't like it within 5 minutes. Instead I'm riding my heavier and slower winter beater because it's so much more comfortable.

It always seems to be a buyer's market for bikes here in Montreal, and the newest version of this same bike (http://konaworld.com/penthouse.cfm) is listed at only $899 CAD. I find it hard to imagine getting more than $450 for mine, and at that price I wonder whether I should try some tweaks to see if I can make it work.

My sense for the wrist pain is that the bike's geometry has my weight too far forward because I can't stay upright on it without pushing on the handlebars, even for a few seconds.

What do you think? Should I see what the bike shop suggests, or is that simply throwing good money after bad?

letsdoit

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 01:31:00 PM »
if you like the bike pay to get it fitted

TrMama

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2018, 02:22:19 PM »
If the bike's already been fitted, you can try raising the handlebars. This should shift some of your weight onto your seat and off your hands.

Also, get some cycling gloves with gel pads.

You can also try double wrapping the handlebars so there's a bit more cushion.

Consider changing the front tire to one that's wider and has more tread (more like a mountain bike tire) to further protect you from vibration.

Consider changing to a carbon fibre fork. Carbon's supposed to better absorb vibration.

Test ride some of the shop's higher end bikes that already have carbon forks (or entire carbon frames) before committing so you can figure out if this change will help or not.

What bike is your winter bike? Is there a way to set up the road bike to better replicate the position you have on the winter bike?


diapasoun

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 03:16:23 PM »
I've had success with raising my handlebars a bit -- I too have gotten numbness (mostly in the bottom part of my hand) from riding.

Another thing -- you may want to try core/back stabilizing exercises. The stronger your core, the less you have to brace using your hands and the more your torso holds itself upright. This was pretty clutch for me!

Dave1442397

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 04:01:16 PM »
Apart from raising the bars, you could also replace the stem with a shorter one. That would give you a shorter reach, more upright stance, and take some of the weight off your hands.

Reynolds531

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 04:05:34 PM »
I bought gloves with carpal tunnel channels. They were great.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 04:34:40 PM »

I've had numbing of my little fingers and side of my hands, not the wrists.  Gloves don't seem to help.  I put bar ends on my hybrid and move my hands between different positions fairly regularly during a ride, which helps a lot.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2018, 09:58:15 AM »
i second the advice of a shorter stem and raising the handlebars. Try tweaking this geometry to reduce the weight bearing your wrists/hands experience. If that doesnt work, then yes, a new bike may be in order.

Steel frames also have more vibration dampening capacity than Al, so stick with the former. A more upright position will help your wrists/hands, but for long rides, adjusting torso angle loads the leg and gluteal muscles differently over the course of the ride. This provides a benefit for reducing load/stress on muscle groups as they approach fatigue. I wouldnt want to only be in an aero tuck or upright position for long rides, rotating torso angle as well as hand positions on the bar keeps fatigue/numbess at bay for me. ymmv

Russ

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2018, 10:59:28 AM »
Another thing -- you may want to try core/back stabilizing exercises. The stronger your core, the less you have to brace using your hands and the more your torso holds itself upright. This was pretty clutch for me!

If you've already had a basic fit done, this is really the only answer. Anything else attempts to fix the symptoms but not the cause.

Shorten and raise your stem so your core can continue to get weaker? no thanks

Double-wrap your bars or wear thicker gloves? that'll delay the symptoms for maybe another 10 miles, then what?

vibration damping is primarily marketing bullshit and has almost nothing to do with your hands going numb

Laserjet3051

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2018, 02:52:33 PM »
Another thing -- you may want to try core/back stabilizing exercises. The stronger your core, the less you have to brace using your hands and the more your torso holds itself upright. This was pretty clutch for me!

If you've already had a basic fit done, this is really the only answer. Anything else attempts to fix the symptoms but not the cause.

Shorten and raise your stem so your core can continue to get weaker? no thanks

Double-wrap your bars or wear thicker gloves? that'll delay the symptoms for maybe another 10 miles, then what?

vibration damping is primarily marketing bullshit and has almost nothing to do with your hands going numb

what makes you think that shortening and/or raising the stem will make ones core weaker? And why do you presume it was previously weakening over time ("continue to get weaker").

No, vibration dampening is not marketing BS when it comes to nerve compression damage, I happen to be a neuroscientist.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 03:47:42 PM by Laserjet3051 »

Kott308

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2018, 02:57:35 PM »
I've been reworking on my grip on my hybrid bike to address what sound like similar wrist-numbing issues. I've found success in putting a little more pressure on the outside of my palm (toward the pinky) rather than the "meat" of the palm. Also, I continually remind myself to loosen my grip a little. This has worked well so far.

Russ

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2018, 12:53:57 PM »
Another thing -- you may want to try core/back stabilizing exercises. The stronger your core, the less you have to brace using your hands and the more your torso holds itself upright. This was pretty clutch for me!

If you've already had a basic fit done, this is really the only answer. Anything else attempts to fix the symptoms but not the cause.

Shorten and raise your stem so your core can continue to get weaker? no thanks

Double-wrap your bars or wear thicker gloves? that'll delay the symptoms for maybe another 10 miles, then what?

vibration damping is primarily marketing bullshit and has almost nothing to do with your hands going numb

what makes you think that shortening and/or raising the stem will make ones core weaker? And why do you presume it was previously weakening over time ("continue to get weaker").

No, vibration dampening is not marketing BS when it comes to nerve compression damage, I happen to be a neuroscientist.

If I were to wheel myself around in a wheelchair for a few months, I would expect my legs to get weaker. If I put myself in a cycling position that engages the core as little as possible, and I don't do any additional strengthening exercises, I would expect my core to get weaker.

It's cool you're a neuroscientist, and I'm sure vibration damping in general is great for nerves, but when it's applied to bicycles it's almost 100% bullshit. "laterally stiff while vertically compliant" is bullshit. Elastomeric inserts are bullshit. Padded gloves and saddle covers are bullshit. There are a few exceptions, which I am proud to say I have personally helped design, but that technology is not available unless you want to spend upwards of $2000 on a bicycle, and even that wasn't proven to work on bikes smaller than a size 54 or so. I happen to be a literal bicycle engineer.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 12:56:05 PM by Russ »

jeninco

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Re: Should I sell my wrist-numbing road bike? Or try to tweak it?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2018, 09:21:15 PM »
Not quoting Russ's entire missive, but I'm a rider of a certain age, and all my bikes have bars that are no lower then my (properly adjusted) seat. Having the weight more on my seat and not either on my wrists or somehow magically hovering over my wrists while engaging my core has been key. (I oddly feel I should point out that I've got pretty decent core muscles ... but my wrists still need to be no lower then my seat for reasonable weight distribution.)

Maybe make sure that whoever does your bike fitting is older then you are...

(Russ, I also picked a fight over my third chain ring, which I won when I pointed out that 1. I want to be able to ride up Doc Bill's Hill seated, and 2. I'm an older lady, i.e. you can't shame me for not having a big enough member, ifyouknowwhatImean. I can balance on a bike climbing shockingly slowly...)