- Rigid riders, questions
What grips are you running?
If the answer isn’t ESI Chunky (or even extra chunky if you have large hands) then try some of those.
Noticeably more comfy on my hardtail, I imagine they’d be even better on rigid. I think on-one were doing them cheap, or check out charlie the bikemonger.Posted 3 years agoD0NKSubscriber
I’d look at – in order
big chunky grips – yes they help.
Big chunky tyres – ditto (and trying some that were designed this decade may be a good idea 🙂 )
Flexier bars, tho probably carbon rather than Ti.
But for free you could change your technique, looser grip on the bars, obviously keep your fingers locked in a grip so you don’t lose hold of them, just with a greater internal diameter, let the bars rattle around a bit, then grab a proper hold when you need to.
Practice will also toughen up your wrists, arms and shoulders.
Also check the sweep of your bars, first couple ride on a new rigid bike had my hands really aching, I altered the sweep and it was a fair bit better.Posted 3 years ago
D0NK – Yeah, I noticed the sidewalls are looking a bit cracked now, they’e a bit last-decade 😆 They never fail to impress me though. I’m running EA70 bars at the moment, no sweep on them. Bigger grips may well help as I have largish hand, and I’ll need to look into the sweep thing a bit more.
Cheers.Posted 3 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
ESI grips in general are good, even the slim ones are quite soft and “damped”. The extra chunkys were a bit much for me tbh, too much squish.
Never really sure if carbon bars make a difference. Big tyre definitely does, I ran a 2.5 Nevegal on mine with low pressures which was kind of ridiculous but made it possible to do things I just wouldn’t do with less squish.Posted 3 years agoDufferMember
Thought about trying some silly bars?
Ive got On One Mary bars on mine (about £10 from On One, if i remember correctly). They put your wrists in a much more neutral position, and they’re very comfortable.
That said, i’m running steel forks with a big tyre on a wide rim, so perhaps that’s making things more comfy for me.Posted 3 years agocookeaaSubscriber
I’d look at Carbon before Ti, but you’d probably find a lighter and wider Aluminium bar better at dealing with general buzz and perhaps help with control.
Yes! 2.3″+ isn’t silly fat, consider tubeless, and don’t be afraid of lower pressures, the tyres are your primary “suspension” on any bike, wider doesn’t have to mean draggy or heavy, personally I’m a fan of Specialized’s tyres but other brands are obviously available…
Gel type grips
Not sure about gel grips but I definitely noticed a benefit from going to A chunkier Oury Lock-on grip, others swear by similar ODI grips.Posted 3 years ago
More deformable material (rubber) with cut outs will be of benefit…
Reagrding relaxing, I think fatter grips will help with this. I never considered it before, but mine are pretty narrow and even a loose grip requires my hand to be curled quite a bit.
Definitely do NOT want wider bars. Don’t like them at all (have tried bikes with them). Would rather put suspension forks back on than go with wider bars! (I don’t like wide, or rise bars btw).Posted 3 years agojonathanSubscriber
I don’t ride as much rigid as I used to, but I’ve only really started using sus regularly in the last 5 years of (cough) 28 years of riding.
So all of the following make a noticeable difference (in roughly cost order):
1. Gloves – padding makes a big difference, especially over longer rides. Padded gloves have gradually dropped out of fashion (inversely to the increasing ubiquitousness of suspension) but Specialized and Giro still make very good gloves with strategic padding.
2. Grips – not what you might expect but I find thinner grips to be better than fatter (more squishy) ones. I think you tend to be able to hold them in a more relaxed manner, causing less fatigue.
3. Tyres – bigger is definitely better, and better is also better! Things like increased sidewall suppleness become more noticeable riding rigid. Also tubeless makes a massive difference as you can drop the pressure so much more. Fat doesn’t have to slow either. You can get light and supple 2.3+ tyres which are great for rigid fronts (eg Conti RaceKings). I’ve got those and Maxxis Ardents (massive 2.4s) on my rigid bikes. It might seem a lot but decent tyres, set up tubeless, is money well spent for rigid riding IME. Different manufacturers size very differently too, so don’t just rely on the stated width, try and seem a set inflated.
And 2.1″ Conti Explorers? Yurgh. Get with the programme 😉
4. Bars – before sus was the norm bars were all about lightness and vibration absorption. It’s less of a issue with sus, so it’s no longer a selling point, but it does make a difference. The trend for wider bars helps here too, but be careful not to go too chunky.
5. Forks – the difference between decent carbon, or lightweight steel forks and chunky alu or steel forks is massive. But bear in mind you weight and riding style. And never look down at carbon forks when you’re braking hard – that flex will give you the willies 😉
6. Rims – cf tyres and not just for rigid needs – wider rims can make a significant difference to the tyre performance you want when riding rigid. Increased volume and opening up the tread/shoulder better.Posted 3 years agoCheezpleezSubscriber
Technique makes the biggest difference (loose grip on the bars, stay loos and use your arms and legs as suspension, choose good lines).
Big wheels make a difference. I’ve had 26in and 29in rigid bikes and would always choose the latter.
A large volume front tyre at a lower pressure makes a difference.
Flexy bars make a difference. Don’t get hung up on what they’re made from – ali, carbon and, I’m sure, titanium bars can be either stiff or flexy.
Forks make a difference but IME more to ‘feel’ than how much you actually get battered.
Geometry makes a difference. I’ve just moved from an Inbred 29er to a Stooge and it’s much easier on my old bones. Mainly, I think, due to the high, slack front end, although the short rear also helps by making it easier to unweight or loft the front.
Never tried ESI grips. I really must.Posted 3 years agomintimperialSubscriber
I used to get quite a bit of hand pain, even with suspension, and on rigid forks it was agony after more than an hour or so. I started using a forearm exerciser regularly to build up grip strength, and that helped enormously. I think it’s not so much maximum grip strength as the ability to control how much you grip and release as required that enables you to avoid getting your hands smashed about quite so much.
The other thing I can definitely recommend is getting a decent sized tyre up front. I currently have a 2.35 Hans Dampf at about 20 PSI on my rigid SS, it works well on pretty much everything I ride and really takes the edge off all the small repetitive stuff that can really grind my hand-bones.
Oh, and angle your brake levers up if you haven’t already. They should be maybe 15-20 degrees off horizontal, this dramatically reduces the pressure on your wrists.Posted 3 years agoCheezpleezSubscriber
OP, reading between the lines of your comments, I’m guessing you’re running a deeply unfashionable narrow bar, long stem combo. If so, that’ll put more weight on your hands and add significantly to your pain.
Let it go. Join the revolution.
On the other hand, feel free to tell me to do one. 😀Posted 3 years ago
I really liked my first experience of trail centre riding with rigid forks and would like to stick with them. I was actually faster in the smoother sweeping singletrack, enjoyed the more positive tracking (less understeer), and oddly, I was more confident and comfortable over drop-off’s as well, especially multiple drops.
The not so great stuff (apart from an overall lack of fitness) was my hands hurting like hell after a few hours. They were fine on the majority of sections, but those fast, hard packed sections were terrible. You know the ones, loads of fist size rocks compacted into the trail giving a supper bumpy ride, and some of the fire road sections. Even slowing down didn’t help much.
Not having suspension forks, on the right sections, was BRILLIANT. The bike was faster and handled better than ever before. I could just do with a bit more comfort for the sections in between.
So, keeping in mind I like the XC stuff and faster/smoother sections, what would you recommend based on your experiences, for helping with the in-between sections but not messing up the rest of my ride? I was thinking:
Titanium bars (won’t change anything except comfort perhaps?).
Fatter tyre (not sure I want to do this as I don’t need a fatter tyre for any other reason though, and don’t really want extra weight. I love the Conti Explorers as well, and they only come in 2.1″)?
Gel type grips (any noticeable difference?).
Cheapest bang-for-comfort option preferred to start with, as I’m not a wealthy manPosted 3 years ago
Thanks all, lots of advice to consider above.
The forks are Kensis Maxlight XLT’s, they absorb big hits very well and also flex noticeably under braking (more than I expected). I did a lot of research and like the fact that these are reliant on design, rather than material, for their qualities (shaped like forks used to be 😉 ).
Cheapest thing for me to try will be the grips and larger front tyre. I’ll see how that goes before spending money elsewhere. I suspect the larger tyre will make the most noticeable difference, and that’s free for me to try at least.
We are riding tomorrow, so I’ll swap front wheels with my mate and let you know how the fatter front tyre goes.Posted 3 years agothisisnotaspoonMember
+1 on most of the above.
2.2-2.3 tyres minimum, and not old conti’s which were really narrow, even the 2.3’s were smaller than most 2.1’s.
Foam grips, never tried ESI grips, but foam work fine for me.
Wide bars, rise depending on the bike. Maybe knock a few mm of the stem if going from 560mm bars and 130mm stem to 680mm bars, but not essential, mines still an unfashionable 110mm, but it’s an XC bike not ‘enduro’.Posted 3 years agobonesetterMember
If it hasn’t been mentioned – and maybe a lot cheaper than some of the suggestions – get your weight off the front
Get the front end higher, hands/arms further up and back. Saddle back on its rails, lay-back seat post etc
Rigid works best imo when ridden almost BMX style – off the back wheelPosted 3 years agoTiRedMember
I ran carbon forks on my rigid 29er with Ergon grips. Whilst I loved the tracking, and never had hand pain, they would rub the skin off the inside of my thumbs on a regular basis.
26er with bouncy forks now, and I won’t be going back. Just need lighter forks than Recon Gold 😉
Hand pain sounds like grip and brake lever angle. Set the levers so there is no wrist bend.Posted 3 years agomiketuallySubscriber
Bonesetter’s right, carbon this and foam that makes no odds compared to getting your weight off the front.
I’ve been running my saddle rammed right back on the rails for a good few years now, so that makes sense. But I also run my bars as low as they’ll go, so I’d disagree with higher bars.Posted 3 years agoBruise WilliesMember
I can’t really add much more to what’s already been said.Posted 3 years ago
I’ve had the XLT forks and I was always suprised at how much they did soak up, considering the consensus on Al forks is of teeth-rattling stiffness! Also, quoting Jeff Jones, I believe the Truss forks have absolutely no movement in them at all, but I suppose that does tie in much more with the rest of the frame design?
I did find On-Ones’ steel forks fine, no problem. The Carbon ones frightened me with the amount of flex and flutter though!
On my last 26″ I had a Continental Vapour 2.5 on a 47mm trials rim on the front, that worked beautifully in wet and dry (though not mud).
Also, ODI Longneck ST grips have always been a favourite and come in a little cheaper than the ESIs.bedmakerSubscriber
Bonesetter’s right, carbon this and foam that makes no odds compared to getting your weight off the front. Read about Jeff Jones take on it all on his site, he pretty much re-jigged mtbs a long time ago on that basic idea.
+1 on this, then get a proper tyre on the front. Don’t get hung up on weight, a bigger one will be better in every way.Posted 3 years agoPacemanSubscriber
I love the Conti Explorers as well, and they only come in 2.1″)?
Other than technique (e.g. heavy feet & loose hands etc) tyre choice is your main problem unless you’re just riding towpaths etc. Try some modern big volume tyres run at a lower pressure, ideally tubeless but not essential. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money something like a pair of On-One Chunky Monkey 2.4’s would be a good start, or at least try one on the front at around 25psi. You might be pleasantly surprised.
ESI chunky grips also help in my experience and will offset some of the weight gained by the bigger tyres if that bothers you.
PacemanPosted 3 years agonedrapierSubscriber
Hijack, but related – Building up a rigid Swift for Mrs r at the moment. Thinking big tyres eg 2.4 Conti X King, certainly in the front, but not sure whether to take (i.e. give her) the weight penalty of say velocity blunt 35s over Crest/Arch EX for the extra volume. 2kg wheelset rather than 1600g
And would they mess up the tyre profile of a narrower tyre on the back?Posted 3 years ago
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