Arm Pump Market Research , Have Your Say! - University of Strathclyde, Design Engineering Project

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Arm Pump Market Research , Have Your Say! - University of Strathclyde, Design Engineering Project
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Posted: Nov 20, 2019 at 3:39 Quote
Hi all

I'm Currently at the start of a year-long design engineering project, studying at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. The problem area for this project is the age old problem of 'arm pump' in Enduro and Downhill MTB disciplines; the aim of which is to develop and prototype an effective design solution which looks to combat its' crippling effects. Surprisingly, this is a subject which has seen very little academic attention within a two wheeled context other than numerous studies which focus on surgical treatment solutions in motocross riders(a luxury most cannot afford). For the market research phase of my design process I must therefore seek to gather as much of my own data from the mountain biking community as possible, this will help me to establish the prevalence of the problem and the demand for a solution; as well as gathering invaluable feedback from my potential market group.

It would therefore be a great help if you, the community, could spare a few minutes to complete my market research survey. This survey is aimed at riders of all abilities who take part in Enduro or Downhill MTB. The broader the range of riders reached, the better; whether you race or just ride for the fun of it, get involved!!!

If you have any additional comments or thoughts regarding arm pump, the survey or my project in general, feel free to discuss.

SURVEY LINK BELOW

https://stratheng.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1KPO4mAm1DTvQhf

Thanks,
Will

Posted: Nov 20, 2019 at 12:31 Quote
Best thing to stop arm pump is good brakes. I’d bet the majority of arm pump cases are from having the tendons in your forearm pulled tight from pulling the brakes. Good powerful brakes where you only need to put minimal effort in means you can keep your arms more relaxed, more fingers wrapped round the bars rather than stretched out to the brake levers and your arms then cope far better with the hits as not tensed. I’ve always run biggest rotors and the strongest brakes I can and NEVER had arm pump riding my own bike, I have hired bikes with lesser brakes and been almost crippled by arm pump at the end of a day. Worse ever was out with Freeride Madeira - riding a Specialized Enduro on Yari forks and I set them same as my own I had at the time so no difference there. The difference was I was used to 203mm rotors with Zee’s and metal pads, easy 1 finger braking and the Enduro had basic Guides on 180mm rotors, by the end of the day I was having to use 2 fingers to brake and could hardly hold on the bars. Good brakes = world of difference.

Posted: Nov 20, 2019 at 21:04 Quote
Done. Though as an engineer myself I feel you didn't ask as many questions about peoples' brakes and grips as you could have.

I agree with Stevie above about good brakes, but I'd further argue the following: I spent the latter part of this summer and fall renting multiple downhill bikes on successive weekends at Whistler Bike Park while riding with my son and his friend, the former who also rented until taking over my new enduro and the latter whom had serious arm pump problems until I solved it. What we found was the brake engagement point was an absolutely key issue to the point where a half turn of the little lever knob in the wrong direction could cause pain in one lap, but once you got it dialed you could ride all day with no problem. It was interesting to go through this with with the rental bikes for both me and the kid as it seemed you couldn't get it right without experimenting for a couple of laps. In my son's friend's case, the poor kid had his levers to far outboard and engagement too far away so he was braking with middle fingers, and he was on an all mountain that got rattled pretty badly on the braking bumps to the point where he had to quit early one day and was generally suffering. I think I subconsciously left responsibility for this problem to his parents but finally had an epiphany on a subsequent ride and fixed it in five minutes with an on-mountain multi-tool. Another issue may be grip diameter and glove thickness; you need to have a pretty small overall grip diameter relative to your hand size, an issue we just dealt with with my nephew. Other than that the stutter bumps are a problem if you don't have suspension up to the task. But if your brakes are good I think the stutter bumps will get your entire upper body as much as just your forearms. As someone who has had serious arm pump issues in the past in long ago DH races as well as waterskiing, I am actually amazed at the extent to which it doesn't seem to be an issue in a place like Whistler. Which is why I am convinced that critical lever adjustment and grip diameter are key.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 at 11:24 Quote
Best thing to stop arm pump is getting in shape.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 at 15:14 Quote
StevieJB wrote:
Best thing to stop arm pump is good brakes. I’d bet the majority of arm pump cases are from having the tendons in your forearm pulled tight from pulling the brakes. Good powerful brakes where you only need to put minimal effort in means you can keep your arms more relaxed, more fingers wrapped round the bars rather than stretched out to the brake levers and your arms then cope far better with the hits as not tensed. I’ve always run biggest rotors and the strongest brakes I can and NEVER had arm pump riding my own bike, I have hired bikes with lesser brakes and been almost crippled by arm pump at the end of a day. Worse ever was out with Freeride Madeira - riding a Specialized Enduro on Yari forks and I set them same as my own I had at the time so no difference there. The difference was I was used to 203mm rotors with Zee’s and metal pads, easy 1 finger braking and the Enduro had basic Guides on 180mm rotors, by the end of the day I was having to use 2 fingers to brake and could hardly hold on the bars. Good brakes = world of difference.

This 100%

I once rented a DH bike with GUIDES????? and had arm pump about an hour and a half in. My trail bike has Shimano MT520 (Essentially Deore-level 4-pots meant for E-bikes and uses Zee pads with ceramic pistons), and I threw on some metal pads and a 203 front/ 180 rear rotor combo and it stops like a dream (and it also helps that I don't weigh too much). I also paired that with fairly thick grips (ODI Rogues), and I think the combination of both of those is the reason I don't get much arm pump (I'll rarely get it near the end of a long day, especially when I try out sketchy trails for the first time and have a death grip on my bars)

Posted: Nov 26, 2019 at 7:00 Quote
Ohiomtbwannab wrote:
Best thing to stop arm pump is getting in shape.

This x100. You can mess with grips, handlebars, brakes and get the perfect setup, but there is a huge amount of benefit from working out especially if you are experiencing arm pump and have no background in weight resistance training.

Hard to say which is more valuable your cockpit setup or being physically fit, but I think having a strong foundation is the first step and after is dialing in your component choice/setup.

To me arm pump is fatigued muscles and an incorrect cockpit set up might exaggerate symptoms, but there is only one way to make weak muscles stronger.

Posted: Nov 26, 2019 at 10:42 Quote
It’s my belief the best way to fight armpump successfully is to purposefully ride a moto/dirt bike on a track while pushing your forearms physical limits. Doing such will get your forearms in shape incredibly fast, and it’s more akin to the shape you need for mtb downhill which I think would be kind of hard to train for in the gym. You don’t need a big thesis medical paper to explain lactic acid buildups effects and the cause of arm pump.

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