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I have been dealing with crippling elbow pain these last couple months which has been keeping me off the bike. I have super long legs and a short torso, riding a Large Orbea Rise mountain bike, 780mm carbon bars with very slight rise and sweep.

I’m wondering if there is some sort of adjustment you can see to help me. If I ride with my hands centered on the handlebar like a road biker, the pain mostly goes away. Also putting my palms up rather than down helps.

My next step is to try a more aggressive rise/sweep, say 20 degree sweep to get my hands not quite so straight.

Really anything helps I love to mountain bike and this is really keeping me from enjoying it as much. Thanks!

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    Is the bike the cause or is it exacerbating existing damage? Are you able to do a safe test ride with your hands much closer to centerline (meaning off the brakes) and see if that helps ?
    – Criggie
    Sep 17, 2022 at 21:55
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    +1 for the riding partner !
    – Criggie
    Sep 17, 2022 at 21:55
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    Nice photo setup! Can you get another pic with you in attack position with the dropper down--I presume the pain occurs when descending and not when pedaling while seated? And also how tall are you? The bike looks a little small perhaps, although that may be an artifact of your unusual body proportions.
    – MaplePanda
    Sep 18, 2022 at 19:24
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    What size is large? I've seen the word applied to a 50 cm frame by the manufacturer, which is definitely not "large"
    – Criggie
    Sep 19, 2022 at 1:33
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    Check your fork suspension settings. Is your sag around 20% which is a "plush" setting for a fork. Some like it up to 25%. If you have compression adjuster(s) on the fork, what are they set at? If you're riding in "Trail", Medium or closed mode, try the open mode (adjuster to far left). Suspension settings can definitely influence how your arms and hands feel during a ride, and you may need utilize a more open, plush mode for your riding.
    – Jeff
    Sep 21, 2022 at 22:50

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I'm not a bike fitter, so take this as my personal observations rather than a statement of fact.

To me your arms look very straight with elbows locked = every bump the impact is being transmitted through the joint. If you instead ride with elbows bent and arms relaxed, then your arms work like shock absorbers and you feel much less of the impacts.

I suspect this is why riding with your hands near the middle of the bar helps. Moving the hands in like this generally makes the distance to the bar shorter and the elbows will naturally want to bend outwards slightly.

Before buying any new components or changing position i'd A) consult a doctor/physio about the elbow pain, and B) If given the OK to ride, then try to focus on riding with soft elbows and supporting more weight through your core.

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  • Thanks! It definitely helps having inward rotation (outward?) via more swept back bars and straight bars hurt the most. I will try and keep elbows soft but I can handle the weight on handlebars more easily with a narrower grip and/or outward rotation. Was just curious if there was something really egregiously off with my posture. Thank you!
    – DevDevDev
    Sep 28, 2022 at 21:57

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