Viewing 31 posts - 1 through 31 (of 31 total)
  • Bar back sweep and shoulder stiffness
  • asbrooks
    Full Member

    Over the last 6 months I have developed some muscle stiffness in my shoulders. It started to occur during longer rides and would get worse if I rode consecutive days. Now it has got to the point where I’m in pain after each and every ride.

    I stretch quite a bit and do some yoga to try to elevate general aches and pains.

    I have read a few old threads about bars with a greater back sweep, current bars have a back sweep of 9 degrees and was wondering if anyone with similar symptoms has had any success with something like a 12 degree or more bar.

    Googling for more back sweep doesn’t seem to get me anywhere, so what do have?

    bigblackshed
    Full Member

    I had exactly this on a previous bike. I had Renthal Fat Bars at 740mm width, I can’t remember the back sweep angle, but there wasn’t a lot.

    When I demoed and then bought my Stooge I had the Stooge Moto bars at 800mm wide with 17deg back sweep, zero upsweep. It completely changed how comfy it was. I’ve since swapped them for the Stooge Junker bars with the cross brace, 20deg back sweep and zero upsweep. Again more comfort.

    I don’t like upsweep, it messes with my wrists too much, but more back sweep has definitely helped.

    Velocity Orange have a big range of bars with lots of sweep. I’m trying to remember who else, it’ll come to me and I’ll update when the brain works.

    montgomery
    Full Member

    Buy some and see. I like On One OGs, V2 currently cost £20.

    thenorthwind
    Full Member

    I’m in almost exactly the same situation as you, both with my mountain bikes and road bike. I’ve just replaced the bar with 9 degree sweep with one with 15 degrees (Alpkit Confucius for BLB Hobo, I like the loop). Literally just fitted and not ridden yet, so no feedback but will check back.

    If it works I was looking at the On One OGs to try on my other bike too.

    This is a fairly comprehensive list that may help you – some weird bars on there, but some relatively sensible ones too: https://bikepacking.com/index/comfort-mtb-handlebars/

    I’ve also just replaced the bars on my road/gravel bike. There I went for narrower bars (albeit with more flare so that the hoods are closer together, but the drops are the same width), thinking possibly I’d gone for wider bars for “more control” rather than properly fitting my shoulder width.

    Probably worth having a bike fit too. I had one a couple of years ago, but probably need to go see the guy again because I’ve changed a few things.

    asbrooks
    Full Member

    Thanks for the replies so far.

    I have to say the angles look pretty extreme compared to ‘normal’ bars. I think I’ll have to get into my head if I go down this route, ignore the pee takers in the playground.

    Have come across a few normal looking bars this evening from the likes Hunter and Sweet 16. I hadn’t realised how expensive they are.

    bigblackshed
    Full Member

    I will say the Stooge bars are not extreme at all. Don’t let the numbers fool you. Anything straight now feels like a broom handle, really unnatural on the wrists.

    Apart from the width, they are massive. But I got used to them one the first ride and now anything smaller feels like it was made in the 1990s. Even my 750mm Fun DH bars feel narrow.

    martymac
    Full Member

    Looks don’t matter, it’s a performance thing, go with what works ‘for you’
    Ultimately, only you can decide what’s best, and you can’t really do that without test riding.

    dc1988
    Full Member

    I have some Ergotec bars with 12° backsweep, I’m completely sold on the extra sweep. I didn’t want the bikepacker look and there aren’t many options if you want “normal” looking riser bars aside from the very expensive SQ Labs.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    Over the last 6 months I have developed some muscle stiffness in my shoulders. It started to occur during longer rides and would get worse if I rode consecutive days. Now it has got to the point where I’m in pain after each and every ride.

    I would see a physio, might be you just need a few different exercises to keep your thoracic flexible. NB I currently have a locked up upper thoracic and a few specific stretches are making a difference. No idea what the root cause of it is though – probably just getting older and stiffer.

    tuboflard
    Full Member

    Salsa Rustler bars have a bit more than normal backsweep and are a really nice shape which seem to work for me (on my singlespeed).

    survivor
    Full Member

    You’ve just got to try them to find the sweet spot that’s comfortable for you.

    I started on Stooge Moto really liked them but not quite right. 17°

    Went further with Soma Dream Risers. Too much sweep. 20° something

    Ended up on some ergotec 12°. Perfect…

    One thing though. If you’ve been fine on your current setup before your aches might not be the bikes fault.
    I had a similar problem. Blamed the bike. Spent a fortune on bits trying to fix it. Finally went to a physio who found a non bike reason.. sorted that and was then fine..

    steamtb
    Full Member

    I use SQ Labs bars with 16 degrees back sweep and 780 mm wide, that seems to be the sweet spot for my shoulders and wrists. Mines an enduro bike that does everything from longer, gentler tootling to uplift days at Revs and Dyfi. Bars are a very personal thing, the only disadvantage for me is that I don’t like jumping on bikes with straight bars anymore 🙂 and if friends jump on my bike it feels really weird for them!

    survivor
    Full Member

    I’ve also got the Soma Moon Risers (uncut) and a Stooge bar cut to 780 if your interested.

    I’ve never bothered selling them as last time I tried posting a bar to someone the postage cost more than the bars! Will probably still be the same though…

    asbrooks
    Full Member

    I probably do need to see a physio now too.
    The main reason I’m leaning towards a bar with greater back sweep is when climbing I tend to rest my outer mid palms on the grips which then the inner palm is forward of the grips. In this position my elbows come in which in turn relieves my shoulders.
    I have a similar bar which I used to have on my old hardtail to the one I’m running on my trail bike, i.e. 5 degrees up and 9 back, It is 40mm narrower at 720mm.
    I never had the same issue with those bars. Just wonder if the bars are too wide for my shoulders. Before I go an spend some money, I’ll try those.
    On a side note anyone using those ergon GE1 Evo Grips? From the looks of them, they look like I can frigg a degree or maybe two.

    Thanks for the offers of bars and advice.

    dc1988
    Full Member

    I’m using the Ergon grips, they add a tiny bit of backsweep but nothing significant

    survivor
    Full Member

    Same here. Nice grips. Comfortable on the rigid bike bashing the miles out but personally thought they got in the way on my trail bike..

    chrisdw
    Free Member

    Those of you who switched to a more backswept bar. Did you also find you had to get a slightly longer stem?

    reeksy
    Full Member

    I did change from a 35 to 50mm stem but I did it at the same time without comparison. Changing to the 12 deg from a 9 made a big difference to me.

    SQ Labs explain the wrist thing … not sure if it is the same thing for shoulders.

    https://www.sq-lab.com/en/ergonomics/sqlab-contact-points/the-hand/painful-hands/#karpal

    dc1988
    Full Member

    I didn’t change stem but 12° backsweep isn’t huge and I was on a 50mm stem already. I’m tempted to try 16° so I’ll see how that works

    nedrapier
    Full Member

    I’ve been on the backsweep wagon for a while. They make perfect sense as bar widths have gone from less than, what, 550mm, to 600mm to 700mm to over 800mm. You’re not in the attack position all day, and wide, straight bars with straight arms just aren’t friendly on the wrists.

    I noticed wrist and elbow pain on all day rides, and found myself resting thumbs on the top of the bar, effectively giving my wrists a higher backsweep option. Rode the Answer 20/20 (20°) for a while, which really helped the wrists and elbows and didn’t seem to slow me down on the downs, but it wasn’t a particularly radcorebike anyway. Then a Jones Spaceframe, with the loops and 45° backsweep, but also a more upright position with way less weight on the bars. The weight shift helped shoulder pain much more. Only a big issue for me on 60-100milers, but definitely helpful.

    A few years years ago I borrowed a Switchback from a mate to try for a while, with a 7 or 9° bar and the elbow pain came back in a big way. I ended up buying a Signal Ti, and wanted to keep the handling as tech/speed friendly as possible, read some reviews, thought I’d try just a little more backsweep than normal 9°, and went for a 12° SQ Labs. No elbow pain! Delighted.

    The position is much more hands-heavy than the Jones, so if/when I start doing big long rides (young kids at the mo), I might try a 16°, 45mm rise SQ Labs bar. That would definitely help things without going Full Jones.

    Oh yeah, and Stooge Junker Bars on the little woodsy, rag-about SS 26er – 20° backsweep, 85mm rise. They were bought mainly for the rise on that bike and, I’m happy to admit it, the looks!

    endomick
    Free Member

    Bar bar back sweep. sorry, couldn’t resist.😁
    When I went for more backsweep I went higher rise at the same time then ran minimum spacers under the stem, I always roll bars back a touch to minimise upswept, its always worth experimenting with roll, i think when bars got wider they should have got more backsweep, an older narrow bar with 7° was rideable but that same degree at 800mm would feel awful to me.
    I spent a long time finding the right width and settled at 770mm, I’ve also found bar height is key and its often overlooked, seeing as headtubes can range from around 90mm to 130mm and the longer the headtube the harder it is to weight the front but people never consider a longer stem in those situations, its possibly the most important thing for me so I stick to the same bar height when changing bikes.

    hardtailonly
    Full Member

    I’ve a bit of carpal tunnel syndrome probably triggered by a recently broken finger. I’m back riding now but find the MTBs a little uncomfortable (both bikes have Renthal fatbars). Gravel bike is fine-ish. *Any cheap ways into trying out bars with a bit more backsweep?

    (*stealth wanted Ad)

    dc1988
    Full Member

    @hardtailonly there are some Ergotec ones on Amazon for £41.66, 780mm width and 12° backsweep. I got my ones from Rose bikes but I think they stopped shipping to the UK.

    thenorthwind
    Full Member

    Not my favourite bike shop, but it’s hard to look past some of the On One bars for £10-30 (depending on which day of the week it is as to how much discount is being offered) for trying stuff out without spending £100s buying something made by a Japanese monk in a remote shack only under the full moon.


    @reeksy
    someone on the Bearbones bikepacking forum was selling one of them very recently for £25.

    asbrooks
    Full Member

    I’ve also found bar height is key and its often overlooked, seeing as headtubes can range from around 90mm to 130mm and the longer the headtube the harder it is to weight the front but people never consider a longer stem

    This might be part of the issue, I had issues with the front washing out and had moved a spacer to above the stem, only 5mm though. I’m going to have a play this weekend, put the spacer back where it was and change the stem to start with. I’m sure I already have the bars rotated back to limit the upsweep.

    thenorthwind
    Full Member

    Agree about bar height. While I’ve just gone from 9 to 15 degrees sweep, I’ve also gone from 15mm ride to none, so I might need to change the stem (spacers already all underneath).

    p7eaven
    Free Member

    Op is it just when climbing?

    The decline of bar-ends was a great day for aesthetics but a sad day for climbing.

    Bar height can make a big difference, I’ve just switched from 720 high rise to some 780 low rise bars, and they’re great until I begin to properly climb, then my wrists want to rotate.

    hardtailonly
    Full Member

    Buy some and see. I like On One OGs, V2 currently cost £20.

    Just reduced to £14.99.

    I’ve ordered a set to try.

    asbrooks
    Full Member

    Op is it just when climbing?

    Hmm, I don’t really know. These conversations are making me look at what I’m doing more closely.

    1. When I’m climbing non technical climbs, I’m in a more spiny gear and I try to relax a little more. I.e. sit up and relax my shoulders. The bars seem to naturally push my elbows out adding tension in my shoulders.
    2. Technical climbing I’m more active in pulling and pushing on the bar and tend to be in a less spiny gear.
    3. I think I have too much weight in my hands when climbing.

    Initially, I didn’t notice any difference between these bars and the bars on my hardtail. As I ride the trail bike more, the shoulder stiffness has crept up to where I am now. See No1. in an attempt to relax my shoulders. No3. I’m going to add another spacer under the stem to try to unweight myself a little when climbing.

    kayla1
    Free Member

    I had this recently, stiffness in my thoracic spine and lower trapezius tightness and yoga/stretches weren’t really helping much. I saw a physio a few times and got some exercises which have helped but I also thought that my bike might be a bit too short (mk1 16.5 Switchback) so I stuck a slightly longer (60mm) stem with a bit of rise on it and I got some dumbells to do some light strengthening exercises for my back which has also helped.

Viewing 31 posts - 1 through 31 (of 31 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.