Thursday, June 03, 2021

Finally Figured It Out

The addition of the ShockStop Stem helped but...
 The saga of the issues I've had with the Whiskey Winston Bar and hand pain has been ongoing for some time now. I had blamed certain elements of the bike's set up, most notably the Panaracer Gravel King SK+ tires and the carbon fork combination, for quite a while now. Then I added a Redshift Sports ShockStop Stem on the bike which I figured would end the problems.

And initially, that is what I felt and what I settled upon as the answer. However; some residual hand pain was felt at times which I was chalking up to a 'post-pulling-on-wrenches' effect. Basically just having been hard on my hands during work. But the other day that cause and effect did not line up. My hands could not find a good place to reside unless I was up around the brake perch. 

As one does, I was thinking as I rode along, trying to figure out why my hands instantly felt better when I was anywhere away from the extensions on the Winston bar. I first felt that it was just an odd angle and this bar would never work. But, how is it that my drop bar extensions feel okay then? They are basically the same thing in terms of sweep and............. That's when the light bulb moment happened. 

The solution: Ergon GC1 grips and wrap the tape differently.
Actually, the Winston Bar and any drop bar have quite a difference in extensions. It is the diameter of the bar at that point. That diameter is about a millimeter and a half smaller, since road bikes use a 23.8mm diameter, and the Winston bar uses MTB standard bar size in the extensions which is 22.2mm. Ah ha! I figured it out! 

Ever tried to ride a MTB bar without grips? Then you know what I was feeling. It's really interesting how less than 2mm difference can feel so huge, but that is how it goes with bicycles, isn't it? Try lowering your saddle height by 2mm someday if you do not believe me. Personally, I may be a 'princess and the pea' sort of guy, but I think there are more of my kind out there than one might think. 

So, the answer then? What was it that I did to rectify the issue? Well, thankfully I have in my possession a rather rare set of Ergon GC1 grips meant for swept handlebars. It is something they came out with in the mid to late 00's. They are like standard Ergon grips but slightly tweaked in shape to better work on swept back bars. So, I took those and installed them on the Winston Bar and boom! Problem rectified. 

These grips are working in a similar way, ironically, to how the Redshift Sports Drop Bar grips work. Obviously, that grip works on the larger, road bike sized bars, so it was not suitable for the Winston Bar. So, I just used that GC1 grip and set it up as I had with the Redshift grips I reviewed recently. I'm pretty stoked that I was able to finally realize what the issue was stemming from, although it should have been quite obvious to me. It was right under my nose all the time! 

That said, those Gravel King SK Plus tires are still harsh and I won't be taking the ShockStop stem off anytime soon. But I am happy that the Winston Bar can remain on the bike now. It is a really great bar and works so well for this bike.


Stevenator said...

A little wrist support goes a long, long way. Glad you got it dialed in! I've felt similar discomfort on my Bridgestone with moustache bars. I should look into this

S.Fuller said...

I had a similar revelation with the handlebars on my Woodsmoke. I moved up to some ESI extra chunky grips and my hand numbness went away within one ride. Amazing the difference something that small makes.

teamdarb said...

Alright, I give the nod to you. I have been having a similar issue with the Box motocross handlebar. I had been using standard Ritchey foam grips. Then the other day I tried adding a thicker grip. Dang it! I never considered the overall difference. After measuring multiple wrapped bars of my fleet, I noticed that before the diameter was smaller in the Box, but similar on the others. The Box bar now matches the rest. The wrist is happy. Thank you.