Cures For Sportbike Rider's Numb Hands
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Cures for Sportbike Rider\'s Numb Hands

This article will offer some suggestions for solving this real problem many sportbike and sport touring riders experience while riding even short distances. The problem is numbness in the hands and even the fingers. This condition is annoying and fatiguing. It can become a safety issue because it's a distraction. Riding a motorcycle safely requires focus and a defensive riding style. Distractions cause crashes.

What causes this condition in a sport motorcycle rider?

The sportbike rider naturally leans forward. This puts more weight on the rider's hands and wrists while gripping the bars or clip-ons. The nerves in the hands are just in the wrong place. This nerve pressure may cause the hands and fingers to go to sleep. It happens to just about every motorcyclist at least occasionally.

Riding Position:

This is the first solution we try. Adjust your riding position. Move around on the seat. Move forward or backword. Grip the tank more with your legs. This will take some weight off the wrists. You can even lay on the tank. If you are using a tank bag, lay on the tank bag. Stand up on the pegs for a minute if you can do so safely.

Many new sportbike riders squeeze the grips way too hard. This is known as a "death grip". Lighten up a little dude or dudette. The death grip can even cause handling problems. This numbness is experienced far more by the newer sportbike rider. Some riders can never lick this problem, though. There might have been a former injury to the the hands, fingers or wrist area. This is a medical condition and can only be partially relieved by adjusting the existing motorcycle hardware or buying some aftermarket hardware.

Existing Hardware Adjustments:

Don't go out and buy some expensive stuff before you try adjusting what you have, OK? Are your footpegs or rearsets adjustable? Some sportbike front rearsets can be moved up or down by up to an inch. doesn't sound like much, but it is.

What about the bars? Some sportbike oem clip-ons can be moved around a little. Maybe they can be raised up or lowered a little. The angle of the control levers can be changed sometimes. The perches can be rotated so the wrist will naturally be in a different position when operating the brake and clutch levers. The front brake lever can be adjusted for pull distance. The clutch lever isn't adjustable though.

The gear shift control lever on the left and the brake control pedal on the right can sometimes be rotated a little for rider preference and comfort. You might be surprised how very small changes and adjustments can make all the difference between experiencing pain and riding bliss.

All of the above are some simple solutions that won't cost you any money. Look in your owner's manual and look in the factory service manual for your bike. You really should download a PDF version of the factory service manual. You may find one online for free when you join some sportbike forums.Next we'll talk a little about buying some aftermarket parts.

Aftermarket Grips:

Foam Grips may help. Gel grips may help. Grips are easy to install. They're inexpensive at 25 bucks or less. Look online for grips or your local bike dealership. Cycle Gear is a local motorcycle retailer. Maybe you have one in your town.

Throttle Rocker:

The crampbuster comes to mind. This fix is around $15.00. This simple plastic device makes it easier to hold the throttle in a steady position when cruising on level roadways. You just kind of lean your throttle hand palm into the bar and the bike cruising speed stays the same. They are are popular. The reviews are favorable. I've never used one personally.

Bar Ends:

Heavy bar ends really help many riders. Definitely check into this. I saw some excellent heavy bar ends from manicsalamander.. Great name, huh? It looks like a high quality product. The company has been around at least 3 years. There are 2 different bar end weights available. They come in a polished version or black. I like the black ones for a sportbike. Cost is around $70.00 for the pair. You can get a version with a throttle lock. I would definite buy this product if you think it might help you. I may buy this even though I don't have any numbness issues. Check it out.

Cruse Control:

This might help the numbness on those long rides. Look at throttlemeister. This is the brand everything else is compaired to. The cost was around $200.00 the last I looked. It's a proven product with a loyal following. You really can't go wrong here. Check them out.

Aftermarket Windscreen:

The new sportbike rider will probably want to get a double bubble racing screen. It's a little taller than the OEM screen. There are even taller and adjustable screens available for the touring rider. Taller screens divert the wind blast higher than the low OEM screen. You can buy aftermarket screens in many colors. Plan on spending $75 to $150.00. You get what you pay for here.

Helibars:

Helibars are very popular. I bought a set many years ago. I paid $275.00. I don't think the price has actually changed much at all over the years. These bars are top quality. Whats so good about them is if extended brake and clutch lines are needed for a particular sportbike model application, they will be included in the kit. My kit didn't need them. Your kit may cost a hundred bucks more if you need the lines.

There are excellent instructions in the kit. Everything you need is in there. Helibars usually raise the bar position up an inch and move the bar position bake an inch and a half or so. Small changes can make a big difference in comfort. Helibars definitely make riding a sportbike more comfortable. Figure on spending an afternoon installing a set of helibars by yourself. I think I took about 4 hours. I took my time. Have the service manual for your bike available for reference just in case.

If you've never worked on a sportbike before, you may want to get some installation help. You will be dismantling the triple clamps and all the controls attached to your current clip-ons. You have to have some metric tools and some patience. You can do this if you have some mechanical ability. Take some photos as you dismantle your bike. It may help you when you put it back together. Also, if decide to sell your helibars later, they will sell quickly and for a good price. That's what I did anyway.

Adjustable Brake and Clutch Levers:

This is a great mod even if you are not having any numbness issues. Most new riders buy the shorties. I've now gone back to the long style. The ASV brand has the best guarantee. ASVs can be found online for $235.00 for the pair. If you crash and break one of the levers, just send it back to the ASV company and they will replace it free of charge. Can't beat that, can you?

Racing Clip-Ons:

I tried a set of LSL clip-ons. I bought the bar ends too. I think they were in the $250.00 range, maybe a little more. Look for racing clip-ons if you ride fast and hard. Do you plan on doing track-days?

Adjustable Bar Riser Systems:

I just looked at a Cyclecat System. Check them out. There are a lot of adjustments available. CycleCat stuff is not cheap though. Go online and compare prices from some vendors with good reviews.

Put Sand, BB's or something in the hollow space of your bars. I heard about this. I have no idea if this works. I just thought I'd throw this idea out there.

Gel Seat Add-On:

These gel filled pads are relatively inexpensive. It's like a seat cover. There are usually some straps that wrap around and underneath the seat. They are easily taken on and off. They cost less than $200.00

Aftermarket Seat or Saddle:

Sargeant and Corbin make the best aftermarket saddles. There are many styles available. You can order "custom" to your personal specs. All kinds of leathers and materials are available. A ballpark figure would be $450.00 for a standard model, not cheap. If you do a lot of 2-up riding, your passenger will probably thank you.

Aftermarket Rearsets:

Rearsets are going to cost you around $500.00. I really don't think this mod is for comfort. This is a racing mod. It's more about getting around the race track faster. The track rider may want to reverse the shift pattern or raise the pegs and move them back. This will not make the bike more comfy to cruize around in.

You have a lot to Think about, Don't you?

This could get real expensive, couldn't it? How was the salesperson where you bought the bike? did you buy the bike from a dealer? Good salespeople will discus your new sportbike purchase with you. Well, they should at least a little. Maybe the sportbike style motorcycle wasn't the best choice for the type of riding you do.

Maybe a standard bike or even a cruiser would have been better. The full on touring bikes like a gold wing are very comfortable bikes over long distances. The sportbike can be ridden long distances, but not by everyone. It's not an age issue either. I'm 60, but I can ride my bike a long way in a day. I just stop once every 45 minutes or so. I walk around and maybe get a drink of water.

When I first migrated to a sportbike, I didn't like the bar position either. I immediately sent out and bought a set of helibars. I adjusted them over and over. I wanted to see if my riding position would feel more natural. Well, 9 months later I went out and bought some custom racing clip-ons. I had started doing a little track-day riding. Those clip-ons gave me even more adjustability. I was really getting used to a sportbike by then.

A couple years later I ended up buying a new bike. I didn't even consider aftermarket bars. The OEM bars were just fine. I even kept the OEM grips. You see, I had adjusted the sportbike riding style after 3 years. My body was just used to the riding position. You may experience this too. It's different for everyone.

Don't just take my wod for it. Get some other opinions. Ask some questions on your favorite sportbike forum. You will find answers to almost all of your questions on a good forum. You will find some bad answers too. Just use some common sense. Read between the lines. Personal Message some members.

Conclusion:

I hope I helped a little and you finally get some relief from this PITA problem. You'll eventually solve this. I hope it doesn't cost you too much money. Riding is just too much fun to be uncomfortable. Enjoy your new bike whatever you ride. Shiny side up Rubberside down.


Street Talk

Well, I wrote this personally for you Shawn. Your welcome.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

This has been a problem for me forever, thanks for the tips!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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