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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been riding a EA70 1" rise 650mm. Not sure how old it is. I have been having trouble with my index finger and thumb going numb since I started riding about 18m ago. I had some Ergon grips but after I put on some ODI grips and the issue remained I knew that wasn't the issue. I moved the brake levers down to help keep my hand a bit more on top. I moved the grips out 100mm and I love the way the bike rides but it made the problem a little worse. As it turns out I am applying too much pressure to the saddle of my grip. That area where the thumb and index meet and bend. I can move my thumb up top and the numbness goes away.

So my next experiment is to try a bar with a bit more sweep? Maybe a shorter stem too?

I ride AM/trl with some XC loops for fitness. The numbness is more noticeable when going down hill.

Im not not a small guy. 5-10" 190. Most my weight is up top. I'm barrel chested and have a bit if a gut. I'm riding a 2010 Rip9. Saddle is set for optimum pedal comfort and power. A bit back. Maybe 10mm from center. The stem is a 100mm 6degree.

Any suggestions where here to go from here? What bars to look at, rise, sweep, width.

Thanks for for your time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not gripping too tight. I think it's more along the line of heavy hands. Or more like a heavy top end. How can I make lighten up the pressure on my hands? Like I said above, the problem got worse with wider bars. More rise? Shorter Stem? More sweep? All of the above?
 

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I had a similar issue many years ago while riding flat bars. Mine never went numb, but I felt sore after a ride. I was leaning so much forward that all that extra pressure was between my thumbs and index fingers. I went to a shorter stem (100mm to 85mm) and 2" riser bar. This put me in a more upright position which put the bar more into my hands.
 

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This possible could be a fit issue. Have you been to a shop and been fitted to the bike? Also, what size frame is the RIP? Normally if your saddle is set correctly. The majority of your weight falls on your sit bones where it should be. If your bars are to low. It can cause to much weight to be shifted forward. Causing shoulder and neck pain. Have any pain there?

Another thing you might try is loosening you stem clamp. Just enough so you can rotate the bars while riding. Go out in front of your house and gently ride around. Slightly rotating the bars while you ride. Try to find an angle that feels natural. Once you find a comfortable position. Retighten the bar clamp. Ingnore brake and shifter placement. You can reposition those after you've found a comfortable angle on the bars.

What's your saddle to bar drop? You can measure this by measuring from the ground to the top of the saddle. Measure from ground to top of handlebars. Subtract the difference.

Might be fatigue from breakin. After getting bar rotation where you like it. Try postioning brake levers where your hand and fingers are basically straight with your forearm.

If your new to riding and braking constaintly. Might be as simple as letting off the brakes and letting the bike roll.

It's tough to fit someone on the internet. The money spent at a good lbs getting a proper fit is well worth it.
 

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I have a "similar" issue with my bars.

My '08 Fuel EX9 has a 35mm riser, 650mm length. My new Fuel EX8 29er, has 720mm, only 15mm rise bars.
The bars definitely are not as comfy on the new bike. I have found so far, that my most comfortable position is actually with the bars rotated very far forward. Only a 15mm rise, so it is negligable, but the sweep and bend of course changes. I did it just by putting only the grips on, and sitting on the bike. I just put a foot on the coffee table, and slowly rotated the bars with my hands (slightly loose at the stem), until it felt the most comfortable.

I would love to try different bars, but I can't justify $50-$100 for a single handlebar, to test. If I do try anything, I think more of a rise, more upsweep, and backsweep. I know for the wider bars, the upsweep seems to be more important.

On my MX bike, I am very, very, very picky on my bars. Slightly off, and I get all kinds of issues with arm pump and general fatigue. Thankfully, mountain riding is not as intense as my MXing, so it is not AS critical, but I still need to do some work on my bars!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This possible could be a fit issue. Have you been to a shop and been fitted to the bike? Also, what size frame is the RIP? Normally if your saddle is set correctly. The majority of your weight falls on your sit bones where it should be. If your bars are to low. It can cause to much weight to be shifted forward. Causing shoulder and neck pain. Have any pain there?

Another thing you might try is loosening you stem clamp. Just enough so you can rotate the bars while riding. Go out in front of your house and gently ride around. Slightly rotating the bars while you ride. Try to find an angle that feels natural. Once you find a comfortable position. Retighten the bar clamp. Ingnore brake and shifter placement. You can reposition those after you've found a comfortable angle on the bars.

What's your saddle to bar drop? You can measure this by measuring from the ground to the top of the saddle. Measure from ground to top of handlebars. Subtract the difference.

Might be fatigue from breakin. After getting bar rotation where you like it. Try postioning brake levers where your hand and fingers are basically straight with your forearm.

If your new to riding and braking constaintly. Might be as simple as letting off the brakes and letting the bike roll.

It's tough to fit someone on the internet. The money spent at a good lbs getting a proper fit is well worth it.
I have not been fitted. The bike has a medium frame. I don't have any pain in my neck. I used to have some pain in my lower back after about 90minutes or so but that went away on its own. I set the seat where my leg is fully extended while seated with my heel centered on the pedal. When I am doing more downhill stuff I drop the seat about an inch but it makes a huge difference in pedal power.

I will measure the drop ratio tomorrow.

I not sure what "breakin" is. I will say that as I get more fatigued (must be my back) the numbness will increase. I can shake it out quickly by putting my hand down by my hip. Moving my thumb up will help too but at a slower recovery rate.

I'm pretty sure I'm not too brake happy. I tend to brake hard and late ( I used to race cars). If anything I might be strange to ride behind just because I run up speed then brake hard before corners and power out.
I will rotate the bars and report back.
 

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If you're putting too much pressure on your hands, I'd highly suspect that you have the tilt of your saddle with the nose too far down, thereby removing the proper weight distribution of mainly on your sit bones, to now onto your hands on the bar. Try rotating your saddle's nose up a bit, make sure that the rear of the saddle where you actually are supposed to sit is level. Posting a photo of your bike will help give a better idea of your setup, how you have your bar relative to saddle height, tilt etc.
 

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It seems like you have too long of a stem and too short of handlebars which is making all your weight go to your hands. Also make sure that you can wiggle your fingers, otherwise you are grabbing your grips too hard.

I run 785mm bars and 40mm stem to get my arms wider and my weight back over my bottom bracket more, you might try something in that neighborhood for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Alright, I rode on Saturday. I found that if I bend my elbows out a bit it helps with some pressure relief. But the pressure is moved towards the outside of my palm. But that didn't seem to bother me.

I moved the seat forward 5mm and installed a 50mm stem I picked up locally. I have the bars set at 720mm and I rotated the bars but to be honest I don't think I really moved them much at all.

If the ride feels better I will move the grips back out to 750mm and see how it feels.

The bars sit right at 44" off the ground and the seat is 42.5"
 

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Don't choke the bars, light hands and heavy feet.
I guess the above quote is the reason, especially the last part. Try to allways have a straight back while riding and keep your weight above the bottom bracket, thereby letting your legs, butt and back hold the weight of your body. I guess shorter stem and higher bars would help you in keeping weight on the feet... This kinda fits with it getting worse when your back fatigues, so your hands are forced to hold more of your weight.
 

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I think my widest bars are 720s.

Google "Peter White fit." Follow the article, fit your bike yourself. Buy cheap stems to experiment. I upgrade to an expensive one... never. But you can if you want to once you find "your" length.

IME, wider bars have a similar affect on fit to a longer stem. So keep playing with grip width. Keep it to one change at a time, and make them small.

You'll find it.
 

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When I have had this problem it is either the angle if the Ergons or the angle of my seat. For each we are talking about VERY small adjustments. Your grips should make your wrist in a neutral position at the seat height you are in most of the time. For me, that equates to them being a hair past level so the wings are pointing up just a bit. If your seat angle is angled too far down, you will end up trying to support your weight on your hands. Try using a level to set your seat level and of from here. Also you may need to raise your bars. Many bikes come with spacers on the stem. Are yours set so one or more spacers are on top of the stem? Try raising the bars by putting a spacer under the bar.


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Alright, I rode on Saturday. I found that if I bend my elbows out a bit it helps with some pressure relief. But the pressure is moved towards the outside of my palm. But that didn't seem to bother me.

I moved the seat forward 5mm and installed a 50mm stem I picked up locally. I have the bars set at 720mm and I rotated the bars but to be honest I don't think I really moved them much at all.

If the ride feels better I will move the grips back out to 750mm and see how it feels.

The bars sit right at 44" off the ground and the seat is 42.5"
Two things to try: Act like someone is giving you $1000 to rip your grips off your handlebars. That position you are in now (leaning forward, elbows out, looking straight ahead) should be the position you strive for. Then, keeping that position, take a hand off the handlebars and ride around slowly with one hand (climbing, turning, descending, etc). That weight you have on your hand (which should now be zero) is also what you should strive for.

Essentially you should now be in a position where all your power and balance is coming directly from your legs and your hands and arms are just being used for fine motor adjustments. Don't forget to wiggle your fingers as a quick check.
 

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Your 5'10 on a medium RIP 9. I'm the same height and fall between medium and large on many frames. Seeing how a medium has a shorter top tube. Your bars are already 1.5" above your saddle. Should already be in a fairly upright position. Even with a 100mm stem. Maybe try a stem that is slightly shorter? 70-90mm? Keep in mind if make a big stem adjustment, say down to 50mm it's going to change how the bike handles. Some people like it, some don't.

Leveling the saddle with a carpenters level is a good idea. Some bike fitters even suggest pointing the nose up ever so slightly. These help get the rider at the back of the saddle. Where your sit bones get support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Getting closer!

Tonight I'm going to set my seat back the other direction and try tilting the saddle up a bit. I'm going to attempt to get more weight over the seat. According the "Peter White Fit" article I went the wrong way by moving the saddle forward.

I will say that moving the bars back 50mm definitely made the front end a little lighter. Took some pressure off my hands so it was easier to pop the front tire over some of the boulders.
 
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