handlebar gel pads any good?
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  1. #1
    Ride The Lightning
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    handlebar gel pads any good?

    Has anybody tried using handlebar gels (Fizik, Salsa, etc.)? Are they any more comfortable or do they cut off circulation? I know padded seats are bad and was wondering if gel padding for the hands have similar issues.

    My wife's hands are aching and numbed after two hour rides (her handlebars are K Wing carbon, full carbon frame and fork), and the pain lasts for a day after the ride, despite changing positions from the hood to the flats every 10 minutes or so. Current wrap is a thin leather like material that is relatively smooth and hard, but her Pearl Izumi gloves do have a little padding.

    Was wondering if handlebar gel would help. Or should I try thicker gel gloves?

  2. #2
    Big is relative
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kung Fu Felice
    Has anybody tried using handlebar gels (Fizik, Salsa, etc.)? Are they any more comfortable or do they cut off circulation? I know padded seats are bad and was wondering if gel padding for the hands have similar issues.

    My wife's hands are aching and numbed after two hour rides (her handlebars are K Wing carbon, full carbon frame and fork), and the pain lasts for a day after the ride, despite changing positions from the hood to the flats every 10 minutes or so. Current wrap is a thin leather like material that is relatively smooth and hard, but her Pearl Izumi gloves do have a little padding.

    Was wondering if handlebar gel would help. Or should I try thicker gel gloves?
    I have tried the Bar Phat (specialized brand) on my commuter and it was ok. The specialized tape feels like cork and they work well together. My road bike has Cinelli gel cork tape and the commuter will get that when I tear up the specialized stuff. I would go with the Cinelli on the K-wings since you have gel everywhere you have tape, top and bottom. The stuff feels good on a long ride. The tape on my Pegoretti is looking pretty rough. About three months ago it was white.
    Retired sailor

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I use the Fizik gel with cinelli gel tape. I only use the fizik gel inserts on bars leading up to the hoods and the tops, not in the drops and find them comfortable. IMHO - the proper gloves are more important to my comfort than the gel inserts...

  4. #4
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    I just use a piece old bar tape across the top of the bars (under the wrapping)---- but what kind of tape do you have? It doesn't sound like cork.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kung Fu Felice
    Has anybody tried using handlebar gels (Fizik, Salsa, etc.)? Are they any more comfortable or do they cut off circulation? I know padded seats are bad and was wondering if gel padding for the hands have similar issues.

    My wife's hands are aching and numbed after two hour rides (her handlebars are K Wing carbon, full carbon frame and fork), and the pain lasts for a day after the ride, despite changing positions from the hood to the flats every 10 minutes or so. Current wrap is a thin leather like material that is relatively smooth and hard, but her Pearl Izumi gloves do have a little padding.

    Was wondering if handlebar gel would help. Or should I try thicker gel gloves?

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I use the Nashbar ones

    (cheap) with cork tape. I think they definitely help. "Thin leather like material" sounds like the wrong approach for her. You can get gloves with better padding, too (including gel ones). Pain lasting a day after a 2-hour ride is definitely not acceptable.

    BTW, padded seats aren't necessarily "bad." It just depends how much, what kind, and where it hits you. A little padding in the right places can be a boon. In any event, the issues are different with bars. The only harm that overpadding a bar can do is make it too thick to grip well. Putting gel pads under the wrap in the places you need it most can be very helpful.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I have Bontrager "double gel" handlebar tape on my bike. It came stock and I love it.

  7. #7
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    i tried the fizik gel/tape kit over my aluminum bars (with AL stem, frame, carbon fork) and didn't care for it. i didn't notice much improvement and i tried wrapping it loosely and tightly to see if it was getting too compressed under the tape or not. definitely a bit spongy, but uncomfortable for me. I'd recommend a quality pair of gloves before messing with the bar gels....

    have fun,
    aaron

  8. #8
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    Pearl Izumi Gel Vent gloves... and other stuff

    Specialized gel tape (without separate handlebar gel under it) is excellent -- the most comfortable bar tape I've found. "Leather-like material" sucks as bar tape.

    That said, gloves may be more important. Most Pearl gloves don't have enough padding for my sensitive hands, but IMHO Pearl's new Gel Vent gloves are the best I've ridden. They're magic, as far as I'm concerned. Trek's Moby Gel's are aaalmost as good.

    I'd wrap her bars with Specialized gel tape with no pads underneath, and have her use Pearl Izumi Gel Vent gloves -- like I do! And make sure she's not gripping the bars tightly except when cornering. Have her tap her fingers on the bar or levers every few minute as a reminder.

  9. #9
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    what about a more upright position with a different stem to take some off the weight off her hands and put it on her butt?

  10. #10
    Wal
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    Quote Originally Posted by SleeveleSS
    what about a more upright position with a different stem to take some off the weight off her hands and put it on her butt?
    I'm inclined to agree with the comment above.

    The degree of discomfort that you have described and the fact that it lasts for a day or so suggests that it is more fundamental than can be resolved by gel pads or different gloves.

    I have just (yesterday) had my bars re-wrapped over Fizik gel pads, but I have not yet had the opportunity to get out and test the effectiveness (or otherwise). I have, however, spent the last 2 months making adjustments to my set up, including buying a new seat and shorter stem, so that I could find a more comfortable position that reduced the weight off my hands (to relieve the neck/shoulder pain that I was experencing after 2 - 3 hours). I have now settled on a position that is the best balance for me between comfort and getting forward. I don't really expect the gel pads to make a significant difference as it is now at the point where I am just trying out some minor refinements to see if I can "squeeze out" any comfort gains.

  11. #11
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    I agree with the two above posters, fix the problem, not the symptom. There seems to be too much weight forward on her hands. Adjust her position on the bike to shift weight back to the saddle and off the hands.

    As for gloves, I found that the newer Specialized BG gloves have very nice and very well-placed pads for the heel of the hand. On the bar padding, I am not convinced yet. I just installed the Fizik gel and tape recently and I am not sure if it is going to be of benefit.

  12. #12
    Ride The Lightning
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    Thanks for the various tape/glove suggestions, and I definitely will bring her to the LBS to try putting on a shorter/upright stem to see if it helps matters. They fitted her the first time around and said to come back for adjustments if there's discomfort, so we'll see if that helps too. I completely overlooked the possibility that she was too forward in her position (her torso is a bit shorter than mine) so this is very likely the culprit.

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