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orthonormal
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever had a problem with tennis elbow while riding that they were able to fix by changing handlebar width? I have 760mm bars on my other bikes and sometimes find the outside of my hands sticking out past the end of the grips. So it seemed reasonable to try an 800mm bar on the new bike and to give myself some time to adjust to the wider bars. Well, now they feel normal but i'm getting tennis elbow after the ride. At first, it went away after a day or so but now the pain lingers a few days. Anything else to try before I cut them down to 780mm?
 

NedwannaB
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It was the Skyline rocks. 馃槑 But seriously a 40 mm jump does t seem much but 800's are pretty wide. Unless you have gorilla shoulders. What did you have previous to the 760's?
 

Premium Member
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I cannot speculate on tennis elbow using wider vs narrower or narrower vs wider bars. I've been using 800mm bars for close to a year now( from 740mm) and I don't think I'll ever go back to anything much narrower. BTW, I don't have gorilla shoulders
 

Registered
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I had a really bad case a few years back and posted a thread about it and got some good advice here and from other sources.

I have it under control these days but it will still sort-of nag me if I am really active for a while. Bike fit was definitely one small component of it and I had some pros help me with that but ironically for me I actually ended up going to wider bars but this was a few years ago - went from about 700 to 740 and these days I find 780 to be about ideal for me, but bar width itself was not a major factor

It鈥檚 all about repetitive movements so more important factors for me were the angles of the brakes and levers - you want them in a neutral position for when you are using them (ie brake position when descending) - and not overgripping when riding or braking is very important

Also unless all you do in your waking hours is ride a bike, you want to think about what other repetitive motions you are making - I discovered that working on the computer in an an unergonomic position, squeezing pliers all day, and rock climbing were all contributing

I got one of those braces that holds the tendon away from Walgreens and it helped a lot, but these exercises that I read about from this climber / doctor have been key for keeping it under control since I am extremely active - if I stay on top of these exercises I do not have any symptoms if I stop doing them for a while, the symptoms return when I鈥檓 really active - I鈥檒l post the article below


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Brake lever angle can cause this. I like my levers high and that creates a upward bend of the wrist when I鈥檓 covering the lever which leads to TE for me. So I have to angle them down more than I鈥檇 like to keep my wrists at a straighter angle.


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orthonormal
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5,261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll play around with my brake levers and grips before breaking out the saw. I have Ergon GE1 Evos on there, which are not quite round, and I've rotated the bar in the stem clamp slightly without adjusting the grips.

And thanks to the article skyno posted, I now know that I have symptoms of golfer's elbow rather than tennis elbow.
 

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Andy, what are your other bars on your other bikes and did you just buy an 800mm version of those bars? I ask as I think that while width can play a big role (800mm feels OK to me, but I'm 6'2" with long arms, but prefer 780mm), bar sweep I think plays an even bigger role.

I've bought bars in the past on sale to try as they were what "everyone" was using, but once they arrived, the sweep on them, or more realistically lack of sweep made them a parts bin storage item, bars like the Easton Haven. I still have my original first wide bar, a FUNN Fatboy, it has a really nice design, just enough sweep, both up (5 degrees) and back (9 degrees) and it resides on my FS, I run a SQLab 30x 16 degree sweep bar on my rigid. I've tried several friends bikes with newer bars and find they feel straight like a broom stick, most notably the Renthal bars and RF bars.

Also carbon vs alu, overly stiff vs stiff enough, all are factors for this sort of thing.
 

wretch
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I might be mistaken but I would imagine it might not be just related to handlebar width but your cockpit fit in general perhaps? Stem length, reach, all that can find you putting too much or too little pressure on your hands.

A step further might see it having nothing to do with your bike at all? Sit at a desk? Type much? I used to hardly be able to pick up a pencil with my left hand the tendinitis was so bad. Changed my seated desk position and stretched more - it's crazy how much a tight upper back, shoulders and neck will effect other parts of the body.
 

Air Pirate
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I was experiencing some issues with elbow pain when riding with both flat/riser bars and off-road drop bars. Examined for root cause, determined cockpit was set up fine, width of bars fine, angle and sweep of bars fine, body position fine...discovered the fatter grips and grip tape were the culprit. As Dufman1976 said earlier, grip issues can cause elbow discomfort...at least it did in my case.

I discovered that I was gripping too tightly in most situations during a ride. Due to the thickness and squishiness of the fatter grip (Oury) and tape (Cork and gel tapes) I was subconsciously not feeling the control I wanted at the bars...it was a subtle thing but the lack feedback I was feeling due to the insulating nature of the grips and bar tape caused me to increase my grip...which also translated into not being loose enough along my arms all the way up to my shoulders while riding.

I switched my grips (ODI Ruffian) and my bar tape (first to Newbaums, which turned out to be too thin and faded after one day in the sun, then to Fizik bar tape with the 2mm thickness) which resulted in better bar feedback...this translated to me relaxing my grip , arms, and shoulders...riding was a lot more pleasurable overall due to this small change.
 

orthonormal
Joined
5,261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Andy, what are your other bars on your other bikes and did you just buy an 800mm version of those bars? I ask as I think that while width can play a big role (800mm feels OK to me, but I'm 6'2" with long arms, but prefer 780mm), bar sweep I think plays an even bigger role.

I've bought bars in the past on sale to try as they were what "everyone" was using, but once they arrived, the sweep on them, or more realistically lack of sweep made them a parts bin storage item, bars like the Easton Haven. I still have my original first wide bar, a FUNN Fatboy, it has a really nice design, just enough sweep, both up (5 degrees) and back (9 degrees) and it resides on my FS, I run a SQLab 30x 16 degree sweep bar on my rigid. I've tried several friends bikes with newer bars and find they feel straight like a broom stick, most notably the Renthal bars and RF bars.

Also carbon vs alu, overly stiff vs stiff enough, all are factors for this sort of thing.
760mm on my other two bikes. One is a Spank Oozy Vibrocore, the other a RF Turbine 35. The new bike has an 800mm RF Next R. I believe all are 8 degree back/5 degree up sweep. I set up the new bike to have a very similar seated feel to the one with the Spank bar, other than width.

I'm only 5'10" with average proportions but i'm broad shouldered. I happily rode 585mm bars in the 90's. 760mm feels fine but like I said above, I often find the outside of my hand past the end of the bar and i've smacked them a few times. 780mm is probably the goldilocks width for me.
 

orthonormal
Joined
5,261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I might be mistaken but I would imagine it might not be just related to handlebar width but your cockpit fit in general perhaps? Stem length, reach, all that can find you putting too much or too little pressure on your hands.

A step further might see it having nothing to do with your bike at all? Sit at a desk? Type much? I used to hardly be able to pick up a pencil with my left hand the tendinitis was so bad. Changed my seated desk position and stretched more - it's crazy how much a tight upper back, shoulders and neck will effect other parts of the body.
My seated position is a really close match to my other main bike. There's a 25mm difference in ETT between the bikes but I use a 40mm stem on the longer (new) bike and 65mm on the shorter one. Out of the saddle is very different. Reach is 55mm longer on the new bike and the wheelbase is 100mm longer.

About the back, neck, etc., you may be onto something there. I was rear ended in my car right around the time I got the new bike, at the end of November. I did the PT, massages, etc. and haven't thought about it for a while but there may be little compensations i'm still making that end up leading to the forearm thing.
 

Mtbr Founder
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35,500 Posts
My seated position is a really close match to my other main bike. There's a 25mm difference in ETT between the bikes but I use a 40mm stem on the longer (new) bike and 65mm on the shorter one. Out of the saddle is very different. Reach is 55mm longer on the new bike and the wheelbase is 100mm longer.

About the back, neck, etc., you may be onto something there. I was rear ended in my car right around the time I got the new bike, at the end of November. I did the PT, massages, etc. and haven't thought about it for a while but there may be little compensations i'm still making that end up leading to the forearm thing.
Information that we could have used YESTERDAY. :)

Yeah, it might be related.

Perfect your position, stay loose and don't ride as much if in pain.

See a specialist too. They have a lot of therapy, machines, exercises if you find the right sports doctor.
 

Registered
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Sqlab handlebars are really good. 12 degree and 18 degree bends in carbon really help the arms and wrist
I run the SQ labs 18 degree and love it. Very comfortable. They fit my natural arm/wrist/hand position and I find myself more relaxed overall with these bars. I see no downside to running them. Highly recommend you try them!
 
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