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Bicycle gripsPrint

Only the right bicycle grips make cycling perfect

The cause of back pain while cycling is not necessarily found in the back. Among other things, incorrect bicycle adjustment – the distances of the grips and handlebar, seat and pedals – can in fact cause complaints. Aside from the correct adjustments however, ergonomic bicycle grips can also make a contribution to healthy cycling.

Spending a few euros more for the new bicycle does not fundamentally guarantee that back pain will not be an issue while cycling. Adjusting the bicycle to the user’s individual physical characteristics is the key.

Most bicycle grips have a round or slightly oval shape. That may be OK for short distances, but often leads to problems during longer trips. Depending on the sitting position, the heels of the hands have to support the weight of the upper body, which means several kilograms of weight are resting on sensitive body regions. Bending or overextension of the wrists also occurs in many cases.

Permanent compression of the nerve tracts and the malposition of the wrist can cause numbness in the fingers and hands as well as tense muscles in the arms, shoulders and neck region. Carpal tunnel syndrome is possible as well. In this complaint, the median nerve leading from the forearm to the fingers is pinched. That leads to dull pain, prickling and burning. More than 300,000 German citizens require surgery every year due to these complaints.

Why do bicycle grips cause back pain?

But that is far from everything. Suboptimal grips and an incorrect gripping position inevitably lead to an incorrect sitting posture on the bicycle, which has negative effects on other body regions. Tense neck muscles and back pain can occur even after a short trip. This can cause cycling, which is healthy in and of itself, to degenerate into torture. Ergonomically shaped bicycle grips can remedy this situation when they meet some important requirements.

What matters for bicycle grips

Bicycle grips should be anatomically shaped, meaning they must have a much larger contact surface. This is accomplished by means of a wing that supports the wrist and better distributes the pressure applied to the palm. It is comparable to good insoles. Optimal stabilisation of the wrist can be easily accomplished as a result. Continuously variable adjustment of the bicycle grips is important as well so the wrist and forearm can be aligned in a comfortable position. Aside from a significantly improved posture, the median nerve can no longer be pinched as a result – the best protection against the feared carpal tunnel syndrome. Depending on the individual anatomy, different grip sizes also result in an optimum form fit for the hands – a larger supporting surface of the grip distributes the forces more effectively, avoids point pressure loads and does not irritate the nerves.

The grips are about the only bicycle component that is in direct contact with the body and thus the skin for extended periods of time. So it should be obvious that the material needs to be hypoallergenic and slip-proof, even with moist hands. Furthermore, no toxic substances can be permitted to enter the body through perspiring skin.

Adequate gripping variability is appreciated, particularly over longer distances. This can be accomplished with angle-adjustable small or medium-sized vertical grip extensions, known as bar ends. Regular posture changes contribute to wellbeing, also on a bicycle. If the grips also promote precise steering and shifting behaviour, nothing stands in the way of the cycling experience, which is after all one of the healthiest means of transportation in existence.

Indispensable accessories

That being said, back-friendly cycling includes a bit more than just the right bicycle grips, for instance a fitting seat. Anyone whose bicycle does not have a luggage carrier needs a back-friendly bicycle backpack. But the bicycle’s individual adjustment is the most important of all. While it is part of the service offered by good bicycle shops, you can easily do it yourself with corresponding instruction. Find tips on these AGR web pages:

- Individual bicycle adjustment made easy
- Back-friendly bicycle seats
- The back-friendly bicycle backpack

Checklist

  • Since bicycle grips are in direct contact with the skin, it is important for the materials to be non-hazardous. The grips should also be designed so they are non-slip and support precise steering and shifting behaviour, even with moist hands.
  • An anatomical grip shape is very important as well. For one thing, this supports a physiological hand position and avoids overextending the wrists. For another, the physiological fit helps minimise pressure on the wrists. Complaints in the fingers, hands and wrists (prickling and numbness) can be avoided as a result.
  • Different grip versions offered by manufacturers ensure that each cyclist can choose the grip that is right for them. No matter whether the bicycle is used mainly in the city or on longer trips.
  • Last but not least, all of this is also a matter of adjustment. Bicycle grips have to be adjustable and installable so they cannot twist.

Also see the following:

Minimum requirements

  • Non-toxic
  • Supports a physiological hand position
  • Pressure reduction
  • Anatomical shape
  • Various sizes
  • Precise steering and shifting behaviour
  • Grip variability
  • Non-twisting installation

Also appropriate

  • Grips for various gearshifts
  • Grip body made of ecological materials

Products in this sector with the AGR seal of approval

Manufacturer

Ergon International GmbH
Universitätsstraße 2
56070 Koblenz
GERMANY
Phone +49 261/899 99 80
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
ergonbike.com

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