Suggestions on eliminating road vibration/feedback to the handlebars

A lot of my weekend rides take me deep into the mountains and onto roads that are less maintained than the normal stuff in the city. As a result, I end up doing a lot of climbing and descending on “chip seal” and roads that have vibration patterns that can get pretty uncomfortable during extended descending (30 minutes+). I also have relatively small hands so that could be a contributing factor.

What would make the biggest difference in damping some of this vibration?

Carbon bar or stem? A little wider tire? (currently on 26c tires)

It’s not actually rough road/hard impacts, but the actual road feedback that is causing my hands to go numb.

28mm, good quality tyres if you can fit them. Experiment with tyre pressure. Try running at 80psi. Good bar tape, I like Lizard Skins DSP for softness.

If your hands are going numb though, consider bike fit. Too much weight on the heads might be responsible here too, and changing your fit to create better weight distribution on the bike may be beneficial.

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Carbon bars help, and Lizard Skins make some really padded bar tape which could help.

But, to echo the other response here, 28c and a psi change will be your friend.

In order, I would recommend the following:
– Tubeless Schwalbe One 28c tires running below 80psi
– 28c Vittoria Corsa Competition (w/ tan sidewall) combined with a latex tube
****This is the best, fastest, most comfortable non-tubeless setup in my opinion

OR . . .

If your bike can handle the clearance – check out the 30c Scwalbe G-One speed tires. It’s technically a gravel tire, but I look at it as a no-limits road tire for those days you aren’t riding gravel, per se, but when you pass a gravel road and might want to see what’s down the lane. They are great every day tires - and PERFECT for chip seal and beyond.

Less than 80psi on all of these recs.

Good luck!

I second the bike fit suggestion. Wider tires are also a good idea. On top of that, you might want to try double wrapping your bars with bar tape. I usually run a cork tape underneath the Lizard Skins tape. I like the feel of the Lizard Skins tape and it’s on all of my road and cross bikes now (4 total). It does get a little pricey as far as tape goes, especially since you have to spend money on two sets of bar tape for one bike. But that’s why I usually just use a cheap cork tape on the bottom. It makes the handlebars a little thicker, which opens up your hands and increases blood flow. Also try relaxing your grip as much as you can. I remember in one of the first crits I ever competed in my hands repeatedly went numb because I had a death grip on the handlebars.

Higher volume tire at lower pressure will be the best way. This cuts vibration out at the source (the tire/road interface) vs relying on more “upstream” solutions like handle bars, tape, gloves, etc. (which also help, but tire pressure probably a bigger impact).

This podcast is a worthwhile listen if you have the time.


Thanks for the responses everyone; I’ll start with the tires. I was planning on swapping out the stock Spesh Turbos anyway.

Its probably more weight than you want, but I love the Redshift Shockstop stem on my gravel bike. It actual works really well on the gravel buzz, not just the big stuff.


Also endorse the ShockStop. Have one on my gravel bike and love it