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Discomfort on the hoods, reach in the drops…(5 posts)

Discomfort on the hoods, reach in the drops…mk_42
Jul 28, 2001 1:04 AM
This is going to be long, but I want to give a lot of detail in hopes of someone seeing something in some of it.

The compressed version: I got new bars and I can't get comfortable riding the hoods. It seems like no matter what I do I have a pain in the outside of my forearm starting at about the pinky going about half way to my elbow. If I move the shifters farther up the bars it gets better but they get out of reach for when I'm in the drops, where I'm currently comfortable, and I feel too upright. Is it possible that the bar (prima 199) has an unusual curve on it? Can you grab your brake levers without reaching or adjusting your position from the drops?

The whole story: I used to ride road bars and then one day I got tri style bullhorn bars (going from hoods to these required no effort). Recently I wanted to go back to a road bar and I bought a TTT prima 199. I started by adjusting the bar in the stem so that I'd be comfortable in the drops (that left the ends of the bar about horizontal: pretty normal). Then I started looking for a good place for the shifters and I couldn't find one. I always felt that pain on the outside of the forearm after a few minutes riding. I thought perhaps the changes I was making were too drastic, too fast, so I went through the range adjusting only a little bit only every five miles or so. I got them to a tolerable place and thought "maybe I just need to get used to this" and so I said I'd wait 50 miles before deciding. 50 miles later it hasn't gotten any better. I currently have the shifter so the brake lever is almost vertical. If I move the shifter farther up the bar I get some relief but the lever is way out in front where I can't reach it from the drops and it changes my form (I feel too upright) on the hoods. I'm toying with the idea of a new stem (I have become more flexible) with a steeper angle to fix the "uprightness" problem but I wonder if that will just make the hoods uncomfortable again by putting more weight there, and in any case it wouldn't help the reach problem from the drops.

Another tidbit, I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel (sp?) a while back and the pain, though in a different place, is very similar.

Thanks for anything,

Campy or Shimano levers?C-40
Jul 28, 2001 5:20 AM
I've found with campy ergo levers that it's critical to get a slight upward angle on the main part of the hood where, the palms rests. The hood should also make a smooth, flat transition onto the top of the bars. This generally requires the levers to be mounted far up on the bend of most bars. If the levers are moved high enough on the curve, the brake lever will eventually get closer to the fingertips.

With campy levers, it can be difficult to get much of an upward angle on the hoods unless the bars are rotated up a few degrees. The only bar that I've found that does not require some upward rotation is the Deda 215. Deda's do the best job of placing the levers up high with some upward angle to the hoods.

I've been looking at pictures of professional bikes in magazines and during TV coverage of the tour. Most riders have the levers placed far up on the bar, with a significant upward angle to the hoods, particularly on shimano equipped bikes.

I just went through the lever adjusting process with new Easton EC-90 bars. With campy levers, I had to place them as high as they would go and even had to file some material off the outer edges of the ergo housing to eliminate some pressure points. Routed both cables on the front side of the bar for optimum comfort. I also placed some thin foam rubber material beside the shift cables to increase comfort.
It took a lot of effort, but I finally achieved a decent comfort level.
As C-40 says, try rolling the bars back a little. It's a littlebill
Jul 28, 2001 6:05 PM
harder to get into the drops, but much more comfortable on the hoods. I was able to find a happy medium. My shifters are nowhere special (very standard -- bottom of levers even with bottom of bars, forms a nice flat plane from the tops). I tried moving the levers up a little, but I didn't like it because the tops no longer were flat, and flat tops is one of the reasons to get ergo levers, if you like that sort of thing. The critical adjustment, the one that gets to the happy medium, is the bar angle. If I hit too many potholes so that my bars roll forward even a little bit (which also means that I'm leaning too much on them while riding the hoods; ah, me), it makes a huge difference. I can reach the drops more easily, I guess, but the hoods become awkward.
BTW, I have Prima bars (the 220 version).
Classic RendezvousCar Magnet
Jul 28, 2001 9:26 AM
Try this website. It has a lot of info and links on all brands. Categorized by nationality.
Classic RendezvousCar Magnet
Jul 28, 2001 2:08 PM
I don't know why my link come up. Here is the address:
I really recommend this site for all "rarity" type bikes. Really nice for the true bike-junky.