Wrist numbness after about 30 mins into a ride

arbj Posts: 10
edited September 2019 in Health, fitness & training

I am middle aged, I have recently taken up cycling for reducing my weight. I have an MTB style bike, with 650 MM handle bars.

My routes are in urban areas, never off road. The roads have some amount of pot holes, but otherwise is mostly smooth and level with not many inclines, most of the inclines are due to over-bridges.

I recently found that my wrist gets numb after some time of cycling. I turned the gear and the brake levers down so that the wrist is almost straight, but this has not improved the problem much. The saddle is fit correct, my leg on the pedal is extended straight down, and with this position I am able to pedal comfortably, also there is no lower back pain, or knee pain.

I also find myself sliding towards the front, consequently I have to use my shoulders to push back on the saddle, this also causes stiffness in the shoulder and arms. I have adjusted the saddle forwards less than 1/2 inch. I will try this position out.

The saddle is the ridged type (with gel), there is also an extra gel type saddle cover over it. I also wear padded cycling shorts.



  • mugensi
    mugensi Posts: 559
    Remove the gel cover, they wont help staying in one place on the saddle and as you are already wearing padded shorts then you should have no need for a gel cover.

    You could try fitting a shorter stem which reduces the reach and so will lessen the load on your arms/wrists as you will be slightly more upright. As the bike is only used on level roads then being more upright is not a problem.
  • steve_sordy
    steve_sordy Posts: 2,441
    Have a read of this on getting the perfect fit on your mtb.

    https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/fitnes ... -bike-fit/

    Pay attention to the seating position as that affects your wrists as well.

    If all that doesn't work, then maybe its the grips that need improving. I started mtb at 57 and it took me a while to get rid of pins and needles, numbness etc in my fingers, hands and wrists. For me it was a combination of getting the correct gloves and the correct grips.

    Gloves: I started with gloves that had loads of padding, big mistake. OK on the ball of the thumb, that protects your hands when you fall off, stops bad gravel rash. But after a while I realised that any other padding was causing me more pain not less. I started unpicking the stitching at one end and removing the gel bar that was across the bottom of the fingers. Much better!
    Grips: I never got on with round grips from day one. I started with thin hard ones, moved on to thicker soft ones. All to no avail. Then I discovered Ergon grips. I tried a few different ones over the years, but settled on the GP1.

    https://www.wiggle.co.uk/ergon-gp1-hand ... MMQAvD_BwE

    OK, they look a tiny bit odd, but they work! Take an Allen key with you on your first few rides out because it might take a while to get the angle just right. They will need to be set up flatter than you think, and the angles may be different for each hand. I've been using them for years now and it's the first thing I put on a new bike, even before converting to tubeless!

    If you have standard trigger shift gears, then "standard" is what you want. You can buy cheaper lock-on grips, you can also buy more expensive ones. On sale at £21 for standard black large is a good price.
  • billycool
    billycool Posts: 833
    edited September 2019
    Have a read of this as well:

    https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowl ... the-bike-0

    You certainly don't need the gel saddle cover and padded shorts. This can almost push you forward on the bike. I used to wear 2 pairs of cheap padded shorts years ago. I then got told my saddle wasn't the right size and had my sit bones measured. I can now ride with/without padded shorts with no issue. Don't underestimate correct saddle sizing.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • arbj
    arbj Posts: 10
    Thanks a lot folks for the helpful tips and those links. These were very informative.

    I did some experiments, firstly I ditched the gel cover, and indeed that made a lot of difference, I could not only sit better but also more comfortably, as there was no 'bump' on the seat, caused due to the double layers of gel.

    The seat of the bike I noticed is hard, however I read in some cycling sites that hard seats are more comfortable during long rides, as it does not change shape. I also had to raise the saddle height, so that the knee is almost straight (with a slight bend) at 6:00 position.

    Secondly I shifted the saddle forward, so that the knee is almost on top of the pedal axle (KOPS position). I didn't have a plumb-line for an exact measurement, but its more or less over the pedal axle. I think it was set very much back.

    I went for a short trip and indeed the improvement was very much noticeable. I was not sliding forward, this relieved the strain on the shoulder and the wrists.

    The backside was resting comfortably on the seat. I was tilted at an angle over the handlebar, just as shown in the 'Perfect Mountain bike fit' article.

    All these made the ride much more comfortable also I could go faster, and sure enough there was no wrist pain or numbness. I think the saddle aft/forward position needs more fine tuning, I will know more when I do a longer ride.

  • Well done - a good bike fit makes such a difference.

    Let us know if you make any more changes.
    "Ride, crash, replace"