Today’s question is about your fingers on the brake levers getting numb

Why would my fingers go numb?

Good morning Caoch, I just bought a new road bike a few weeks ago. Half way on a 16 mile ride my 2 fingers that I had on the brake levers started getting numb, what would be the reason for this?

Thanks,
Numb Neil

Here’s why

Hi Neil,

There are a few reasons I can think of for this happening:

1. Lack of finger strength.

First would be, especially if you are new to road biking, that your fingers just aren’t used to using the brake levers a lot. If you are squeezing the brakes a lot and the levers have a stiff feel, it’s entirely possible that your fingers are simply worn out. Kind of like sore legs and a sore butt, this should go away as you get accustomed to it.

2. You aren’t changing hand positions.

More likely, perhaps you aren’t changing your hand position frequently enough. From the wording of your question, it sounds like you had your fingers on the brake levers for the entire ride. That is completely unnecessary and keeping your hands in the exact same position with fingers on the brake levers would cause anyone’s hands to go numb!

I recommend changing hand position every few minutes. There are about six main hand positions I use on a road bike handlebar (bar top, hoods, hooks, drops, etc.) and if you just change your hand position slightly, it’s usually enough to keep your hands happy.

3. Poor bike fit.

If your bike fit is not ideal, you might be putting too much weight on your hands, or perhaps your wrists aren’t at a good angle when braking.

4. You need thicker bar tape.

You could try some cushy bar tape and see if that helps.

Try that and you should be much more comfortable when riding!

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