Handlebars cushioning

Hey, I’m new in this group, new to cycling and almost new to Zwift. I have a problem with my bicycle’s handlebars. My hands just doesn’t feel comfortable. I have to change their position every 15-30 seconds. But my palms still hurt and sometimes fingers getting numb. I’ve tried two pairs of cycling gloves but that didn’t help. With gloves on my fingers are getting numb even more and palms still hurt. Bicycle’s handlebars have their own cushioning but it doesn’t look enough.

If these problems are normal I guess I won’t die from that. But if you have any ideas what could be done, please advise.

Indoor cycling certainly presents some different ‘challenges’ than outdoor cycling, and this is definitely one of them (saddle discomfort being another big one). I think one of the things that leads to both of these things is that our position is generally more ‘static’ indoors. It’s a good idea to change your hand position regularly, anyway, but indoors I think we just do it less than outdoors, even if we are not aware of it. I have to regularly move my hands around, and also shake my arms out, to try to prevent numbness/tingling, and even that doesn’t always work. You could try wrapping your bars with a second layer of tape, or using some gel wrap, but that may not be feasible if you use the same bike IRL and don’t want/need that extra ‘stuff’ on the bars. You should definitely experiment with moving your hands around regularly, and finding a few positions that are comfortable. It’s also possible that your overall bike position has you too far forward, resulting in too much pressure on the arms/hands, but you might need to go to a bike fitter to investigate that situation.

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this could also be improved by strengthening your core/trunk (I need to work on that too!)

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I had this same issue for years, padded bike gloves didn’t help, even different hand positions didn’t seem to address it.
I don’t wear padded bike gloves when riding my bikes (road, cross, gravel, mtb), but indoors my palms screamed in pain or discomfort. I tried padded bike gloves, not much better.

For me, what ELIMINATED THE DISCOMFORT was to use two of my sweat towels folded in half on the top of the bars. So, four layers of terry cloth got rid of it. I can still ride on the hoods, but my palms are resting on the towels. On the tops, my hands fully rest on the towels. I think, at least for me, the larger diameter with the towels helps. Plus, now I’m not dealing with sweaty gloves, I rotate the towels each ride and wash the top towel.

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Thank you everyone for your answers! I’m definitely gonna try Doug’s suggestion.

Btw, Nigel mentioned saddle discomfort. I actually solved it. I bought this saddle from Amazon and I’m very happy with it. My butt doesn’t hurt anymore.



It doesn’t let me include link here but if you’d like to try it search on Amazon “COZYROOMY Comfortable bicycle saddle”.

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Coincidentally I just watched the latest Trainer Road podcast and the topic of hand pain came up. Granted, it was a different situation, in that the person asking the question was talking about mountain bike descents, but the interesting thing was that a couple of the presenters talked about adding thickness to the circumference of the grip for increased hand comfort, which makes it sound like Doug’s towel solution might work well. There is apparently a product available for mountain bike handlebars called Fat Paws that offers a more permanent solution.

Good luck in finding what works for you!

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There are gel pads you can put underneath the bar tape, or just use two layers of bar tape.

Since you say you’re new to cycling, another possibility could be that there’s something wrong with your riding position. I guess nowadays your best option would be to see a good bikefitter, alternatively study the basics of bike fit and try different things in terms of stem length, height and/or angle and maybe seat height and fore/aft position as well.

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Thank you. I’ve just checked Fat Paws but looks like it won’t fit on my bike’s handlebars…

I guess towels is still my only hope.

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Alright, I’ll think about gel pads and bar tape too. Thank you so much.

But talking about riding position I don’t have many options. I’m quite tall. I even had to buy a prolonged saddle for my bike. And I can feel comfortable only with the highest position. Handlebar is on the highest position as well.

Sounds like you might have a too small bike frame, so that kind of limits your options even further. The good thing about indoors is that how the bike handles isn’t an issue so all you need is to get your saddle and handlebars in the right places relative to the bottom bracket (cranks), no matter how awkward it ends up looking.

Wouldn’t be the first time a bike shop sold a bike based on what they have in store instead of what fits the buyer…

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It’s an exercise bike. It’s only for indoors. And it’s not a bike shop’s fault. I bought it on Amazon. Well, anyway I hope gel pads and bar tape or towels will do the job.

I had the similar issue. I went to a good bike shop and told them the problems, they advised a pair that indeed solved my issue. So gel pads, bar tape or the right glove may solve the problem.

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Howdy. If towels don’t prove thick enough, you can try pool noodles. I use a spin bike with power meter pedals and when I first started I found the set up uncomfortable in the reach. I cut up pool noodles and it helped. I rarely use them now that my core is stronger but it was a great help at first! Not sure if this will help you but it’s a cheap option to try. IMG_20210205_195026|375x500

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Thank you! That’s a creative idea! I would have never thought about it. It’s definitely one of the options.

I’ve just bought a bar tape from Amazon. But those gel pads are a bit pricey and based on reviews I can’t find anything very reliable. I guess if one layer of that tape is not enough, maybe I’ll try to wrap a second layer.

I’ve just bought bar tape. But if that fails I might try pool noodles. It shouldn’t cost much.

Pipe insulation might be easier than pool noodles, probably cheaper as well.

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Alright, thank you so much. Then pipe insulation will be the next thing in Worth To Try list :slightly_smiling_face:

Tomorrow bar tape is coming. It’s gonna be the first time when I try to wrap those handlebars. I hope it won’t be very hard to do.

So I wrapped Cinneli tape on the handlebars. I can say my hands feel definitely more comfortable now. But that’s not all. Today happened something what I’m really happy about!


I’m actually on FTP building workout plan for 6 weeks now. But I’m sure that tape helped me as well.

Thank you everybody for your answers! I’m so happy!:blush:

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Hi @Algis_Murza ! Congratulations! That is super exciting! I’m glad to see that the handlebar tape helped and that you are making progress!

Be aware that if you are in a training plan, the increase in FTP will make your workouts suddenly much harder instead of progressing normally. It is my understanding that you should not change your FTP in the middle of a training program unless the training is too easy. Hopefully others will say something if I am wrong about this. This was my experience though.

Keep up the great work and Ride On!

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