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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a partial rotator cuff tear in my left shoulder. I'm going to try PT and see if I can live with it, and avoid surgery. I've found that riding with my hands on the hoods of drop bars is a lot more comfortable for my shoulder than with my hands on flat (MTB) bars. Basically, I am more comfortable if I can rotate my thumbs outward. This is a recognized issue in general with flat bars:


So does anybody have any experience with going to alternate bars on an MTB to help with this situation? I am familiar with Jones bars and some other backswept bars--it seems this would help in my situation, but I seem to see these only in the context of bikepacking, fat bikes, etc. Does anybody actually ride these on a full suspension mountain bike? Given the shoulder issues, I am not going to compete in RedBull Hardline any time soon--and in fact, I'm content to avoid tough trails in general. So would Jones (etc) type bars be good for me?
 

· Rippin da fAt
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If the bar lessens the stress on your shoulder due to positioning, good to go. The issue is finding one that you could put hands on. Sometimes, a bar on a bike you can throw a leg over is all that is needed to have the answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unfortunately the only person I knew who rode with alt bars moved out of town, so I don't have a good way to sample anything. I think I might go ahead and buy some Ritchey Kyotes--price is right around $40-45 so not too much to try out. Also, in contrast to some other options, these look as if they can pretty much bolt on with the same stem length I have with the existing flat bars, and they're 800mm long. If I like them I can fine tune the stem length and possibly cut them down later (I currently ride 720mm bars with 20 mm rise).

 

· Rippin da fAt
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My recommendation is one change at a time. For that admission price, it would be worthy to give it a go.
One question is, where does that place the grips in relation to the bar it replaces? If it is in the same location with a hand position change, perhaps the stem will continue to serve well. Tweak the adjustable aspects prior to doing any permanent change and give it some time and miles.

My desire is a custom bar with 12-15° back and 8° upsweep, rise of 50mm. Trialsy is the desire since that bar config does not induce and notable stress on arms and shoulders. I cannot afford stress in that area since it will directly affect my scoliosis.
 

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I had problems in a different area than you do. Mine was in wrist/elbow area. I have slight rise bars and found that my issues went away with rotating my existing bars to a point where all my issues disappeared. So nice to ride for several hours and have zero issues. I hope you find a solution to your issue.
 

· Rippin da fAt
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I had problems in a different area than you do. Mine was in wrist/elbow area. I have slight rise bars and found that my issues went away with rotating my existing bars to a point where all my issues disappeared. So nice to ride for several hours and have zero issues. I hope you find a solution to your issue.
Spot on! Clocking the bars can do wonders.
 

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SQ Labs has more backsweep. I'd reach out to them directly as I hear they're extremely helpful. I have Jones bars and love them on my fully rigid singlespeed but not necessarily the ones I'd choose to bomb down technical stuff. Now...Jeff Jones would say otherwise...he rides everything on his bars.
 

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Burnt rotator cuffs with similar experience as some others here.

SQLabs 30X 16° back/4° upsweep has been good on my Ranger. Since no forward bend, it would reduce reach compared to a conventional bar. I’ve used Salsa Bend2 (23°) and Carver MyTi Carbon (29°) bars for bikepacking and some trail riding. No upsweep and negligible reach change on either due to forward bend. IME a conventional bar works more intuitively for attack position but not optimally for long hours/days. I’ve settled on 16° back as optimal for duration vs technical performance. I’d go for zero upsweep if available. For sheer comfort the MyTi bar takes it. Dropping elbows (more backsweep, less upsweep) helps everything from hands to neck for me.
 

· Rippin da fAt
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SQ Labs has more backsweep. I'd reach out to them directly as I hear they're extremely helpful. I have Jones bars and love them on my fully rigid singlespeed but not necessarily the ones I'd choose to bomb down technical stuff. Now...Jeff Jones would say otherwise...he rides everything on his bars.
Mr. Jones has a riding style all his own.
 

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I've got two versions of the Jones bar. The trick to making them comfortable is to angle them down about 15°. The hand position/reach comes out to be located in space where it would be with a straight bar. I hate conventional mountain bars. In the old days I used to put those bar end ram horn thingies on, which invites even more ridicule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow, thanks for all of the input. I ordered the Ritchey Kyote bars. Here's the technical drawing:
At the full 800mm width, I think these would place the thumb/forefinger at approximately the same reach as for 800mm flat bars, i.e. should use the same stem length. However, if I cut them down to match the current 720mm bars I have, then in theory these would move my hands forward a bit, requiring a slightly shorter stem (I'll do the trigonometry later if it gets to this point). The current stem is 50mm so there isn't much to give. I believe these bars have no upsweep. Intuitively, upsweep seems like a bad idea, at least for my situation, since it would rotate the thumbs back down (medially), which is the opposite of what I want to achieve. And in fact a bit of downsweep might be desirable. I could in theory add downsweep and bring the bars closer to me (as would theoretically be needed to match my current reach) by rotating them towards me when I mount them. I'll have to do some experimenting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've always liked flat bars, but also in the past I was willing to use bar ends, and in the old days we rode 580mm. When I got my 2016 bike (Orbea Occam), the 740 mm bars seemed like too much (maybe my shoulders were already starting to complain), and it hurt when I got out of the saddle. I went to the 720s with 20mm rise, and that's been a good combo. But even before the current shoulder situation, I've tended to ride with all five fingers on the top of the bars on the road or smooth sections of trail, sort of cupping the tops of the shift/brake mounts, which rotates the wrists up. I have a rigid 29er that I ride as a commuter/gravel bike with 625mm flat bars with no backsweep, and I'm ok on that bike, at least for short rides. The additional width of the 720mm bars makes the rotation issues acute, however. I honestly don't see how people ride 800mm bars (but then again, I'm 5'8" and lots of people are taller than me).
 

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I have bad shoulders too (plural). But in my case it is tendonitis in the upper biceps tendon and a history of what was diagnosed as a frozen shoulder and a shoulder impingement. And I recently hurt the bit that connects the shoulder blade to the arm bone (on the inside). I'm not physician or PT, don't ask me what they're called. Anyway...

I'll add another variable: width.

I had a fitting with my sports med doc and his clinic's bike fitter. The width of my bars was one of the first things they changed. I think you'll understand this. Image having your elbows out wide and up, which wide bars require, versus the other extreme of your elbows at your side. I had to find that comfortable spot closer in. So my bars got chopped down. And, like you, I added some back-sweep. But not a lot. Spank Vibrocore with either 30 or 50mm rise which I have twisted to create more of a back-sweep. Seems to work well.

Good luck. If I could have bionic parts, aside from my bum pancreas, I'd get new shoulders.
 

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After years of resisting Jones bars ( because they looked so unconventional and ugly) now all my bikes have them! Dislocated bicep tendons both shoulders and the Jones bars make riding possible and pleasurable again. Even got the carbons for my winter fat bike......cost nearly as much as the bike!
 

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I have a partial rotator cuff tear in my left shoulder. I'm going to try PT and see if I can live with it, and avoid surgery. I've found that riding with my hands on the hoods of drop bars is a lot more comfortable for my shoulder than with my hands on flat (MTB) bars. Basically, I am more comfortable if I can rotate my thumbs outward. This is a recognized issue in general with flat bars:


So does anybody have any experience with going to alternate bars on an MTB to help with this situation? I am familiar with Jones bars and some other backswept bars--it seems this would help in my situation, but I seem to see these only in the context of bikepacking, fat bikes, etc. Does anybody actually ride these on a full suspension mountain bike? Given the shoulder issues, I am not going to compete in RedBull Hardline any time soon--and in fact, I'm content to avoid tough trails in general. So would Jones (etc) type bars be good for me?
Not on my FS bike but recovering from cuff surgery i installed a jones bar on my rigid niner. Theyre nice on the shoulders in terms of holding up your upper body, and the angle of your wrists but the swept section is so long that your hands are by your side. I liked um for climbing "sit up and beg" but they put you to rearward descending, i felt i couldnt hover over the bike and it made standing awkward. I tired really had to love that bar but it didnt happen. Next up is either a jones h bend or a surly corner bar...
 
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