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Thread: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

  1. #61
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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    Quote Originally Posted by rabo View Post
    You mean the RCL? Any wrist-hand ligament strains just heal very slow it seems, I start riding after it did not bother me for months, one mess up at the front wheel and I.m back where I was.
    I always try to ride without gloves BTW. Will probably go back to bar tape first.
    We should've clarified. There are ulnar collateral ligaments (UCL) in the thumb, wrist, and elbow. My issue is at the thumb--Skier's Thumb they call it. Whomever named it doesn't ski powder (though, true to its name, mine came from too many falls on east coast ice). But you're right, wrist/hand ligament stains are quite pesky. Be nice to them or your hosed.
     

  2. #62
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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    Old thread. Good topic. Things have changed!

    Can't see myself going back to anything less than 28" wide and it's tricky to get anything reasonably low. I just want my grips level with the saddle, which coincidentally feels just right as a comfort/control balance. Risers are too high unless I get an angled stem and slam it.

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the actual difference between flat bars and risers. Sure, one is taller, but they seem to feel different at the same height.

    I ride a ss 29er and switch between rigid and a 100mm squish. Currently on a 760mm flat bar with 9° backsweep pointed slightly up. I bought a long-ish frame to be comfortable with a short-ish stem. I can't seem to find an angle that doesn't cause pinky numbness or pinches my thumbs. Trying to stick with conventional mtb bars. Drop bars will never work with the reach on my frame.

    While riding, I feel like I want to straighten my wrists out to a less-swept position and angle them in at an alt-bar position simultaneously.

    Also trying TOGS now. Hard to dial those in. My hand gets trapped between the TOGS and the clamp on my SLX lever.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

  3. #63
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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    I use Ergons with the small barends and end up riding in a "toggle" position when the trail/ road allows.
    The bar ends are just there to keep my arms more relaxed. (no risk of slipping of the side)
    A 6 hour mtb race will tell you quick what works and not.
    Barends getting caught on narrow trails is a risk though.
     

  4. #64
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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Old thread. Good topic. Things have changed!

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the actual difference between flat bars and risers. Sure, one is taller, but they seem to feel different at the same height.
    Flat bars are flat, i.e. no upsweep. Most riser bars have both upsweep and backsweep.
     

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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    I have been under the impression that what makes a riser bar a riser is the height, not the two angles of sweep. That's a bit of a revelation to me.

    are there then grip angles possible with a riser bar that are impossible with a flat bar? is that the difference between a "flat" handlebar and "flat-top" riser bar that has a nominal rise of 5mm?

    I can't get a comfortable angle with my flat bar, so perhaps I need a very low riser bar? I have a 20mm riser on a shelf but getting the bar low enough with that rise is a hassle.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    It's possible. As you rotate a flat bar forward, you create upsweep and reduce backsweep. It's a math problem. I'll try to look at it in more mathematical detail later
     

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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    I had to write down some numbers, but it makes sense now.
    A flat bar's angle changes as you rotate it differently in dimentions than a riser bar does. When I rotate my flat bar to the upward angle that I want, I lose backsweep. When I rotate it back down to get the backsweep I want, the upsweep goes away. A riser bar will yield different results at different angles. The precise math needed is probably unneeded but being able to visualize it has been a big help to me.

    Technically, this runs contrary to the conventional wisdom that i have read, which has left me with the understanding that all a riser bar does is add hieght.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    So your next step is to find a flat bar with more backsweep, so when you rotate it to get upsweep, you still have the backsweep you want. And technically any bar, risers, the "5mm offset" risers and flat bars, can be tuned in this way. It's just more obvious when a riser is rotated because you have the visual clue of the riser part looking leaned forward or backward.
     

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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    good point. my 9d flat bar does not seem to have enough backsweep when I angle it up enough to the the upsweep that I want. so maybe a 11-12d flat bar would do it.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

  10. #70
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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Old thread. Good topic. Things have changed!

    Can't see myself going back to anything less than 28" wide and it's tricky to get anything reasonably low. I just want my grips level with the saddle, which coincidentally feels just right as a comfort/control balance. Risers are too high unless I get an angled stem and slam it.

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the actual difference between flat bars and risers. Sure, one is taller, but they seem to feel different at the same height.

    I ride a ss 29er and switch between rigid and a 100mm squish. Currently on a 760mm flat bar with 9° backsweep pointed slightly up. I bought a long-ish frame to be comfortable with a short-ish stem. I can't seem to find an angle that doesn't cause pinky numbness or pinches my thumbs. Trying to stick with conventional mtb bars. Drop bars will never work with the reach on my frame.

    While riding, I feel like I want to straighten my wrists out to a less-swept position and angle them in at an alt-bar position simultaneously.

    Also trying TOGS now. Hard to dial those in. My hand gets trapped between the TOGS and the clamp on my SLX lever.
    Both flat bars and risers will have back sweep. The difference comes from the fact that flat bars are well flat, while risers have a specific amount of rise, hence riser.

    Despite what some may say, I personally feel that flat bars are WAY stiffer than risers. That rise allows for the bars to flex a bit and soften the sting of a flat bar. A riser can be used to make up some saddle to bar drop of course.

    One thing I've seen a lot of is excessive bar rotation resulting in what I'd call "Chicago bars" which is a BMX term... Some riders are basically using the back sweep of a bar for up-sweep, which takes your hand and cocks the wrist into a more un-natural position ergonomically. I don't know why riders do this. A bit of rotation up is ok, but in some cases, the bar literally looks like they turned it upside down.

    If your bars are aluminum and you're experiencing numbness in your palms, hands, fingers etc. first be mindful of whether you are over gripping or not. Remember in a descent, you want elbows out, arms loose, hands on the grips but don't over grip. The suspension is doing the work but you're also absorbing the hits with your arms, legs and body. When you get tired, it's common to start over gripping. Second if you are not over griping, it may actually be the material. Aluminum, especially 7000 series aluminum, I feel has a bit more of a harsher ride. This is one place on a bike where carbon really shines. Since it's a woven product, the fibers help to soak up all that small chatter. Personally, I had been running Race Face alloy bars for a long time and started to develop some pain and tingling in my palms/wrists and fingers. I swapped over to carbon bars and the problem went away. Also the bars were noticeably softer in terms of ride quality. It's subtle but I definitely felt it immediately.

    Another place to look is fork settings. Too much air? Too fast rebound? Make sure you've got the fork dialed to your terrain and style.

    Also tire pressure... Often this is overlooked and I've had a lot of bikes in the shop where people are running WAY too high pressure.

    Running a rigid fork especially some of the newer carbon forks can slowly kill your wrists. The new carbon forks offered are really stiff IMO. On one of my hardtails, I had to swap the fork out as it was just too much when the manufacturer changed the design from a previous model year.

    Once last place is hand positioning: Throughout the ride I'm constantly changing how I hold the bars so my hands are never static. I'll also change where my thumbs are while climbing (under the bar for a full grip some times and then some times over the bar for half grip while other times I'll change my hand so I only hold onto the tip of the bar as if there were a bar end in place). Changing my hand positioning on longer rides really helps. Taking breaks where I sit up hands free on dirt roads or double track where I can and/or just stopping and standing for a minute or so at a trail junction. Those little spans of time where you take a break can really revive your body on longer rides.
    Kristofer Henry : 44 BIKES : Made to Shred™
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  11. #71
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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    Quote Originally Posted by fortyfour View Post
    Both flat bars and risers will have back sweep. The difference comes from the fact that flat bars are well flat, while risers have a specific amount of rise, hence riser.
    The rest of that is valuable, but I will quibble with you over this. A flat bar raised to the same height as a riser bar is not the same thing. The grip angles can probably only be replicated in one spot.

    A flat bar only sweeps in one direction. If I point my flat bar at dead even, it has 9d back and 0d up.

    A riser bar has rise, but it also back-and up-sweep at the same time.

    If I angle my flat bar up, I gain upsweep, but the vertical backsweep diminishes. My math might be off, but a 9d flat bar tilted up 1/4 of the way from truly flat now has a new upsweep of 6.25d and horizontal backsweep of 6.375d.

    However, a riser bar with 9 back, 5 up really has both those dimensions. Rotating them changes both up and back sweep at the same time, but the result is different from rotating a flat bar, and is beyond my geomtery skills to calculate.

    The math is nerdy and uneccesary, but visualising the concept helps me understand why I can't get the position just right.

    Pincess and the pea? Sure! Impossible to determine the ideal bar without actually grabbing a handlebar? certainly! I am just trying to get a feel for the up/back !angle that feels good on my bike using cheap alu bars before dropping $$ on fancy crabon or ti bars.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

  12. #72
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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers



    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    The math is nerdy and uneccesary, but visualising the concept helps me understand why I can't get the position just right.
    I hear you on this and I get the differences you're pointing out with both riser and flat bars. But that said, if you can run a riser, and you're having numbness issues, I'd advise trying a riser in carbon. Forget Ti. Most production drawn titanium bars are STIFF. Any compliance in them has been worked out by the drawing process. My own (ENVE Mtn. Riser) are rotated ever so slightly forward but maintain as much of the sweep as possible to put my wrists into a natural position. One of the most comfortable bars I've ever ridden are a set of Jones Loop Carbon's.

    If you want more back sweep with rise, consider a set of Answer 20/20's.
    Kristofer Henry : 44 BIKES : Made to Shred™
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  13. #73
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    Default Re: MTB Bar shape and numb fingers

    My issue with riser bars has been that they put my bars too high. They are comfy, like beach cruiser comfy. Might start with a lower rise bar or a ridiculously low drop stem.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

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