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Hand positioning question(9 posts)

Hand positioning questionICEAXE
Apr 26, 2003 2:12 PM
I just got my first road bike about two weeks ago and took my first "real ride" today (about 35 miles). My hands were killing me pretty early on. Can I remedy this? I'm starting to get the feeling that my stem is too short but I'm not quite sure. I adjusted saddle my saddle fore/aft and tilt and it made little difference. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

You will get used to it...filtersweep
Apr 26, 2003 2:59 PM
Assuming your bike fits correctly- Why do you think your stem is too short? Most newbies feel the reach is too far (compared to a more upright bike).

Most people mix up hand position quite a bit while they ride... what was bothering your hands? Were they numb?
Short stem should = LESS pressure on handsMatno
Apr 26, 2003 5:54 PM
The less you have to reach, the more weight you can support on your saddle (assuming it's adjusted right). One trick to adjusting your saddle is that you should be able to lower your hands to the bar top slowly. In other words, if you're sitting upright (with no hands on the bars!) and you lean forward, your weight should be balanced such that you don't "fall" onto the bars and have to catch yourself. You should be able to reach out and touch the bars, then sit up straight again without pushing off of the bars with your hands. Moving your saddle back can actually make this easier (I guess because of the angle between your legs and torso?) as can tilting the saddle up in front.

Good gloves can make a difference too. I wear much thicker padding on the road bike than I do on my mountain bike.

What size are you, and what size is your bike (just to make sure you're in the ballpark).
Short stem should = LESS pressure on handsICEAXE
Apr 27, 2003 12:36 PM
I'm 5'10" with a 33" inseam and I have a size 54 cannondale. I'm not sure how the bike is sized (center-to center or center to top). I noticed that putting my saddle back helped a bit and that's why I thought my stem was too short. My saddle is quite a bit above my bars so that could be it as well.

Short stem should = LESS pressure on handsMatno
Apr 27, 2003 5:32 PM
Depending on your stem, you might be able to flip it upside down to raise your bars a little higher. Sounds like you're almost exactly the same size that I am (although I'm closer to 5'11", and I ride a 56cm Cannondale. I have ridden a 54cm of the same bike, and the stem felt a tad short for me too, but it wasn't so far off that I thought the frame was way too small. (C'dales are sized center to center). Most C'dales I've seen come with a setback seatpost, so it's probably okay that you set yours back a bit. You can tell your stem is too short if you feel like you're leaning too far over the bars. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with moving the saddle back - if it makes the bike feel like it fits better.
the reason moving the saddle back helped...Steve_0
Apr 28, 2003 4:01 AM
moving the saddle back moves your body further behind the bottom bracket, creating better balance; or more offset from your 'leaning forward' position. This necessitates less support from your arms, therefore more comfortable hands.

Has nothing to do with stem length.
I disagree. If the cockpit is too small, you can end upbill
Apr 27, 2003 6:51 PM
pushing back against the bars. In that instance, a longer stem will allow you to stretch out more comfortably, supporting your weight with a slightly bent elbow.
General rule of thumb that I have found works for me -- if my stem is too short, I feel the weight in my wrists and shoulders (my traps). If the stem is too long, I feel it in my triceps. If I'm too stretched out, too, I'll find myself perching my hands on the corners of the bars instead of the hoods.
Could be a lot of things causing that feeling in your hands. It could be that the cockpit is too small, that the bars are too low (so that you're not flexing forward but sort of falling forward) and/or that the saddle is too forward, leaving too much of your weight over the front of the bike.
are your bars high enough?eflayer
Apr 26, 2003 8:15 PM
Depending on what sort of riding you do, there is a school of thought (Grant Peterson) that would suggest bars at or above saddle height. I'd be willing to bet yours are 3-5 cm below saddle. That will almost always put more weight on your hands than your arse. Check out my comfy ride at:-- ---- I'm 50ish and love this new riding position. Try it, you'll probably like it even though your riding buddies will demand you stay uncomfortable with bars too low. Good luck.
A few things to try b4 spending any money.dzrider
Apr 28, 2003 4:36 AM
1. Tip the nose of your seat a little higher. This may stop you from sliding forward and putting more weight on your hands.

2. Rotate the bars so the brake hoods are in the most com-fortable position. Most shops set up bikes with the hoods further forward than I like. You may find a spot more comfortable than the one they're in right now.

3. If you ride on the hoods a lot you can also rotate the hood on the bars to find your most comfortable hand position.

4. By the time you've tried all this stuff your hands and wrists may acclimate to riding.