Riding with dislocatable shoulders

Hi Lee, 

I recently dislocated my left shoulder for the 4th time (at age 30) mountain biking and am going through the process of looking into surgery or rehabilitation. 

I can across your blog post discussing handlebar width and could immediately sympathize with the issues you spoke about.

I was wondering if there was a follow up post relating to this research as I couldn’t track it down? I’m riding 800mm bars on both my bikes even though I’m only 5 foot 8.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I’m happy for you to post this on your blog and reply I just didn’t want to ask something which may have already been written about.

Cheers and keep up the good work, 



Thanks for reaching out.

I’m sorry about your shoulder. That’s tough. You’re still very young with a lot of shred in your legs.

Some thoughts:

800mm bars are way too wide for you. They limit your bike control, and they are very harmful for your shoulders.

About 750mm would be your RideLogic sweet spot width. Try that wide or even narrower.

Speaking of bars, try a bar with extra backsweep (15-16° vs. the standard 8-9°). This puts your shoulders in a more neutral, strong, safe position. I ride SQlab 30X and FL-X bars. A cheaper option is the Origin8 Trail Sweeper.

Find a great doctor and PT. Listen to them. But know that surgeons like to cut. Based on my surgical experience, I’d heavily favor rehab vs. chopping. But talk to your doctor. And your PT.

You need to make your shoulders massively strong. That means doing PT religiously (find a great PT like REVO Physiotherapy and Sports Performance) and building overall strength in the shoulder girdle. Part of this is learning how to “pack” your shoulders — and how to ride with them packed. This is a big deal.

This is where I have to tell you the RipRow is insanely effective at strengthening and teaching your shoulders. My RipRow routine has saved me from shoulder replacement surgery — and it has me riding pretty darn well. Today I pounded through some nasty braking bumps without pain! 

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask followup questions.


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