Gell Inserts for the Handlebars

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Gell Inserts for the Handlebars

Postby europa » Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:30 pm

Yup, I've been modifying the Black Beast :D

This week, I've added tyre liners (because sharp things let all the air out of my rear tyre) and gell hand grips.

Gell inserts?

Well, like everything with me, there is a story. Tuco can now go to the end of this yarn and read the result :D Everyone else can suffer through the full story :twisted:

Nah.

I suffer from numb hands. A large part of this is from a motorcycle accident about three months before my son was born which has trapped a nerve in my right shoulder and which saw me sell my beloved GSXR1100 for a more sensible bike (a ruddy BMW ... oh the shame, the shame). But now, fourteen years later, riding bicycles rather than the motorised equivalent, I still suffer from a very numb right hand within the first half hour of riding out of my driveway.

Last night, I installed a set of gell inserts to the Black Beast (my Trek520). These required the removal of my bar tape, settling a set of 2mm thick strips of gell onto the 'pressure points' of the bars, and redoing the bar tape.

I don't think it's worth giving the brand name ... apart from the fact that the box is now in the bin, I'm sure there are other products that do the same thing.

Today I went for ride with my son that took an hour and a half and covered 35 km. The bars with their new gell inserts and new bar tape felt a lot fatter and a lot more comfortable than the old bare bars and tape. More imporantly, I didn't have any real numbness in my right arm until well after the one hour mark where it normally is a problem within the first half hour and even then, I had none of the total lack of feeling I normally suffer within the first hour. I suffered no discomfort on the left arm at all.

Conclusion?

Gell inserts under your bar tape are well worth the messing about installing them ... not to mention the (largely minimal) cost.

Richard
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by BNA » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:11 pm

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Postby 531db » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:11 pm

Gel inserts are popular amongst Audax and other long distance riders, although my preference is for TUFF brand gel gloves, that way I can 'move' the gel from bike to bike so to speak.
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Postby tuco » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:53 pm

europa wrote: Tuco can now go to the end of this yarn and read the result :D Everyone else can suffer through the full story :twisted:

Richard


Yep, I got a laugh out of that and boy, do I need it. We've had just under 500mm of rain in 12 days, it's still pissing down, there's a cyclone watch out for the Gulf, the possibility of one forming in the Coral Sea and the BOM don't know what's happening with the low on the cape causing all this rain.

I think I can kiss goodbye to my second race on Sunday with this weather.
Doesn't matter if it's canceled, the juniors have a senior ride behind them (for safety - it's a big circuit) and it'll be my daughters first race so I was going to sacrifice my race to ride around behind her.

Anyway, back on topic, I might give that a go myself. I get numb hands and at times and I've put the brakes on, my hand has slipped off the lever and I didn't realise!!

I actually read all this post for a change and you stated you redid the bar tape, did you use the old tape or use new tape? I'm new to bar tape, does it have a sticky back and if so could it lose it's stick if reused?

Bloody hell, I feel like going home because it's so dark outside but it's not even 2pm.
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Postby mikesbytes » Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:55 pm

tuco wrote:Anyway, back on topic, I might give that a go myself. I get numb hands and at times and I've put the brakes on, my hand has slipped off the lever and I didn't realise!!


I had the problem with my left hand going numb for years and then it just disappeared. I don't know why it disappeared.
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Postby tuco » Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:02 pm

mikesbytes wrote:
tuco wrote:Anyway, back on topic, I might give that a go myself. I get numb hands and at times and I've put the brakes on, my hand has slipped off the lever and I didn't realise!!


I had the problem with my left hand going numb for years and then it just disappeared. I don't know why it disappeared.


Your left hand or the numbness?
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Postby sogood » Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:31 pm

Yes, those gel pads certainly added some bulk to my bar. Agree that they are pretty nice from a comfort point of view. But I suspect they are not so nice from a weight weenies point of view. I also hear that people don't like them for racing, as they waste energy. Oh well... :roll:
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Postby Bnej » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:19 pm

You should never ride on with numbness in your hands, wrists or forearms. Or anywhere really. Numbness is an indication of a problem and you can injure yourself by ignoring it.

I have spoken to one older bloke (45ish) who said that front suspension resolved it for him - i.e, it was being caused by shocks and vibration.

I find sometimes using Gel gloves, it actually can make it worse - it's more comfortable to leave my hands in the same spot for longer so I don't shift around on the bars so much. I still use them for long trips though.

Without gloves, I find I get sweaty hands quicker than tired hands, so I move position around the curves any time they get sweaty.
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Postby europa » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:27 pm

A numb right hand is a way of life for me - trapped a nerve in a motorbike prang years ago when I dislocated my collarbone (I only ever dropped one bike ... and managed it three times, once in the back yard, once on a motocross track and once on the road. Rotten thing hated me, I'm sure of it). But back to the nerve. I get numb hands driving the car, let alone on the bike. For the gel inserts to make the difference they did, it's pretty impressive. I've still got problems but nowhere near as bad. The extra diameter is good too - a bar and tape just felt horrible and thin to me.

On a related note, my Europa still wears the foam bar covers I put on in the eighties and they are just as good today as 12 months after fitting them. That has to be some sort of record for a manufacturing miscalculation :D

Tuco, I did put new tape on, but that's only because I got careless carrying two bikes on the car one day and rubbed through the tape on one of my bars. It finally broke and while I was replacing it, put in the gel strips. It doesn't have a sticky back but seems to have worked pretty well.

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Postby heavymetal » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:25 pm

I've had constant problems with numbness in one hand, the right. Since going through a lot of tests, I finally discovered that by not putting the hands in the mountain bike position, I no longer get any numbness.

Since I stopped touring on a MTB and riding a touring bike with drop bars, I ride on the hoods and have not had any problems since.
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Postby pospete » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:34 pm

The only numbness i have is in my rump, I might have to go to Bunnings and replace the saddle with a wide plank of wood. :lol:
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Postby heavymetal » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:38 pm

pospete wrote:The only numbness i have is in my rump, I might have to go to Bunnings and replace the saddle with a wide plank of wood. :lol:


This might sound like strange advice, but try getting a harder seat. I had problems with numbness in the rump, and wear padded shy shorts. I had a fairly well padded seat with gel inserts.

I then got an even more padded seat, with even more gel and the problem got worse. Someone suggested a harder seat, so I got a narrower, harder seat, and can now ride for twice the time, than I used to.

See if you can borrow someone's old hard seat and give it a try.
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Postby sogood » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:40 pm

pospete wrote:The only numbness i have is in my rump, I might have to go to Bunnings and replace the saddle with a wide plank of wood. :lol:

Try to stand more often to relieve pressure down there. Plonking your full weight on the saddle and use it as a regular seat is a sure way to get a numb bottom.
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Postby LuckyPierre » Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:55 pm

bicyclewa wrote:This might sound like strange advice, but try getting a harder seat.

The 'original' Brook's leather saddle still sells and there's no padding on them.
I have a similar one (I think it's a Mafac) on my 1970's Peugeot tourer, The bike is squirrelled away, but I haven't ridden it for years.
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Postby mikesbytes » Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:00 pm

peterrjleach wrote:
bicyclewa wrote:This might sound like strange advice, but try getting a harder seat.

The 'original' Brook's leather saddle still sells and there's no padding on them.
I have a similar one (I think it's a Mafac) on my 1970's Peugeot tourer, The bike is squirrelled away, but I haven't ridden it for years.


I personally wouldn't go back to the leather saddles, had too much trouble with them stretching because they got wet.
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