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I don’t exactly know what “wits end” means – I only know I seem to be getting there. After a couple of years on a 5500, I purchased a 5.2 Pro a few months back. I love every thing about the bike – except I cannot get rid of numb hands. I don’t suffer because of it, because I change hand positions often – however it’s more often than I would like.

I know there are no pat answers, I just fell like throwing it out here to see who can say what. There are a few considerations you might want to ponder. I had been riding an 80mm stem on the 5500 and started that way on the 5.2 Using all the old standards as to stem length, I went to a 90mm. First I am certain the bike handles better with the 90 – in the standard position. I flipped it, and no question that did improve the hand problem. However, I for sure want to leave the stem in standard position.

About this time you are probably convinced I am a fool – but I am “certain” I can get the hand problem solved some other way. One thing I am thinking about would be the FSA K-Wing bars which I foolishly let go with the 5500. I put the carbon Bontrager Blade bar on the 5.2 – good bar, but not as many positions as the K-Wing.

Finally, so I don’t bore you too much – to those of you who have the hand thing licked – can you remove your hands from the bar (without sitting up) and not feel you are going to fall onto the bars? Well, have had it. Don’t be too hard on me.
 

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rboseley said:
I don’t exactly know what “wits end” means – I only know I seem to be getting there. After a couple of years on a 5500, I purchased a 5.2 Pro a few months back. I love every thing about the bike – except I cannot get rid of numb hands. I don’t suffer because of it, because I change hand positions often – however it’s more often than I would like.

I know there are no pat answers, I just fell like throwing it out here to see who can say what. There are a few considerations you might want to ponder. I had been riding an 80mm stem on the 5500 and started that way on the 5.2 Using all the old standards as to stem length, I went to a 90mm. First I am certain the bike handles better with the 90 – in the standard position. I flipped it, and no question that did improve the hand problem. However, I for sure want to leave the stem in standard position.

About this time you are probably convinced I am a fool – but I am “certain” I can get the hand problem solved some other way. One thing I am thinking about would be the FSA K-Wing bars which I foolishly let go with the 5500. I put the carbon Bontrager Blade bar on the 5.2 – good bar, but not as many positions as the K-Wing.

Finally, so I don’t bore you too much – to those of you who have the hand thing licked – can you remove your hands from the bar (without sitting up) and not feel you are going to fall onto the bars? Well, have had it. Don’t be too hard on me.
There may very well be more than one issue at play here, but IMO your weight isn't ideally distributed, resulting in pressure on your hands. Sounds counter intuitive, but saddle tilt plays a part. Mine, measured from tip of seat to tip of stem tilts up .5 cm. These types of adjustments are very personal, so you may have some trial and error till you get it right, but it does help.

The bars may also be a contributing factor. I like Trek's VR bars, but they do put some pressure on the hands, so you may want to try anatomic shallow reach/ drop bars (I say this because you make a point of saying you want to stay with the OEM stem in the 'down' position). This assumes your discomfort occurs while riding in the drops.

Finally, if flipping the stem up lessened the pressure to your hands, saddle to bar drop is probably excessive for you. If so, minimize it as best you can. That may require a 4 or 6 degree stem, but then you're closing in on just flipping the OEM stem.
 

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You should ask around your area to find out which shops have good fit specialists. You will only find tips and tricks on the forum because it's not possible to get the whole picture. It sounds to me like you have too much pressure on your hands but that can be caused in less than obvious ways. Your saddle could be too far forward/stem too short for instance. The bar is a personal preference but any bar will get the job done. If your hands are going numb I would look a the fit elsewhere on the bike.
 

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I have the same issue with numb hands. I have the same problem on my dirt bike, but interestingly, I don't have the issue (or at least as much) on my mountain bike. In my mind, I feel that it is less of a problem on my mtn. bike because the saddle and bar are approximately the same height and there is less "pressure" on my ulnar nerve.

Currently, I am riding a Bianchi 928L on the road and I am looking at replacing it with a Trek Madone 5.5 Performance (not the Pro). The main reason is the longer head tube on the Performance geometry. The Bianchi is a great bike and I hate to spend money on a new bike right now, but for me, the numb hands takes some of the joy out of riding.

I don't expect the bike switch to be a "magic bullet", but I am hopeful that it will alleviate some of the numbness. I'll report back when I make the switch.

BTW...I have not been tested for carpal tunnel, but that may be part of my issue.
 

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IntenseRider said:
I have the same issue with numb hands. I have the same problem on my dirt bike, but interestingly, I don't have the issue (or at least as much) on my mountain bike. In my mind, I feel that it is less of a problem on my mtn. bike because the saddle and bar are approximately the same height and there is less "pressure" on my ulnar nerve.

Currently, I am riding a Bianchi 928L on the road and I am looking at replacing it with a Trek Madone 5.5 Performance (not the Pro). The main reason is the longer head tube on the Performance geometry. The Bianchi is a great bike and I hate to spend money on a new bike right now, but for me, the numb hands takes some of the joy out of riding.

I don't expect the bike switch to be a "magic bullet", but I am hopeful that it will alleviate some of the numbness. I'll report back when I make the switch.

BTW...I have not been tested for carpal tunnel, but that may be part of my issue.
If you're otherwise happy with the Bianchi, why not work with IT to taylor a more comfortable riding position. I say this because I don't see the 3 cm HT 'extension' on the 5.5 performance being a magic bullet either. There are a wealth of options available - from shallow reach/ drop bars, to stems, gel tape, gel gloves.. you get the idea. An additional option (although you may already have been down this road) would be a bike fit - obviously with the focus on alleviating hand pressure. Just my 2 cents.
 

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If you don't want to flip your stem, then you will most likely loath my suggestion of trying a 17 degree rise [aka high rise] stem. Many roadies wouldn't be caught dead with one, strictly for vanity reasons, but if it allows you to ride in comfort, don't rule it out. I'm 47 years old, and have been an avid cyclist for 25 yrs, and hand numness has been a fact of life for a while now. I had surgery on ny right hand a few years back for carpal tunnel syndrome, which helped tremendously, but the numbness still rears it's ugly head after about 10 miles or so. [ it used to occur within 5 minutes on the bike. pre-surgery]. I don't know what your age is, but many cyclists find that once they are pushing 50 or so, they realize they are no longer 20 years old!
 

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Couple things while it is hard to diagnose without seeing your hand position on the bike and bars:

But things that do help:

1) keep the transition from top of bars to hoods level, so that your wrists aren't crooked downward (or too extreme) (or crooked upward for that matter), when you are riding in the hoods.

2) try to keep pressure off the center of you palm were it joins the wrist, ie try to even/spread this weight bearing area out over your bars.

3) If you cannot go hand-less comfortably both easing down to your bars and getting up from your bars, then you likely have too much weight forward. You should be able to ride in the drop or near drop position without hands (barring any back or neck issues).

4) double wrap your bars around the hand positions. I find the Bonty gel cork tape to be good stuff.

5) try different gloves. You may be cutting circulation with them too snug. (Although this doesn't sound like the problem.)

6) Try to duplicate your position that you had on the 5500. If you dont get the problem on the 5500, but do on the Madone, then swap over bars and stem from the 5500.

7) While I have never used them, some people think buzz-kills work toward reducing hand numbness.

HTH
zac
 

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I picked up my new 5.2 Madone this weekend and was able to get a quick (10 mi.) ride in yesterday. I still encountered some numbness, but it took longer to begin and, interestingly, didn't seem to be as "severe" as on my Bianchi.

With the longer head tube and 12 degree stem, I have definitely been able to raise my position on the bike and in general, feel more comfortable.

With regard to Zac's suggestions, I am doing most of those including the Bonty tape, Buzzkills, higher stem (12 degree carbon) and I have tried to make the bar-to-hood transition as flat as possible.

BTW...I am 41yo and encounter the same numbness when riding my dirt bike. I think the fault lies somewhere in the owner of the bikes (me :) ) and that I will probably have to live with it. However, I am trying to take steps to eliminate it as much as possible. Plus, it was a good excuse to get a new bike!:thumbsup:
 

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One thing I have noticed watching the pro riders, is that their hoods are quite a bit higher than mine, almost like they are grabbing a vertical post. I have a Trek Pilot with the Shimano 105 package, and the hoods keep my hands more horizontal with the bars. I get some numbness, and I have been diagnosed with CTS, but I don't get too numb when I ride, only occasionally after an hour or so, still quite tolerable. I just take the numb hand off the bars and shake it out, and move my hands around.

But was wondering if the design of the hoods may be a factor?
 
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