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Saddle height vs Handlebars

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Saddle height vs Handlebars

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Old 10-15-18, 09:40 AM
  #26  
McMitchell
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I don't think that anyone is suggesting to raise your saddle in order to get more drop to the handlebars, nor for reach! We should set saddle height in relation to leg length, and adjust reach with the stem. When you raise the saddle it does place you slightly further back (due to the ST angle).
Right Wphamilton,

I probably should have mentioned stems and spacers vs saddle height. The original point being the relationship between saddle height vs bar height is why I may have worded it backwards. I think there is still some adjustment, mostly level vs pointing the front of the saddle down that effect things. I had my saddle placed with a slight negative angle to the front. I may have had the saddle too far forward on the support posts too. I have been playing with that adjustment as well, which is more what I was thinking about. I do not typically fool around with the saddle height, although on this bike I switched to 170mm crank arms, vs the 175mm cranks on my MTN bike, so I have made minor adjustments.
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Old 10-15-18, 10:28 AM
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The information in this link isn't new but it's pretty much what I go by. The info you're looking for is D.

Strawberry Cyclesport: Hinault/Genzling Frame Sizing Method
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Old 10-24-18, 08:09 AM
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When it comes to measuring saddle to bar drop, the relevant place to measure is where your hands rest, most of the time. On road bikes, that's at the brake hoods. The handlebar angle can make a significant difference.
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Old 10-24-18, 11:11 AM
  #29  
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I agree with lowering bars more for speed and comfort

When my handlebar was only 1-2 cm lower than my saddle on my long distance bike on long rides my two fingers on each hand would go numb. I think it was easier for my body to be rested on the hands to pinch nerves in my hands because of too much pressure.
I was aware of the issue, but it was hard to use my core mussels and not rest on the handlebars when I was tired after long rides (600+ km) . Raising the bar would make things worse. I would lean ("rest") even more on the bars plus my neck would hurt also.

To fix it , I lowered the handlebar even more ~10 cm and used a -17 degree stem to be more stretched. It forces my core mussels to work more and hold my body and not "rest" on the hands as much.

I do not have the problems with numb hands on my other "race" bike, since the bar is ~12 cm lower that the saddle. I do not rest on the bars as much, my hands just rest on the bars with very slight pressure.
My core mussels work more on my "race" bike, but I have no pain in my hands. I am trying to set up my "long distance" bike almost like my "race" bike, but the headtube is too tall. Have not done a 600km ride since the -17 stem was installed on the long distance bike, but so far so good.
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Old 10-24-18, 11:43 AM
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I haven't read through this and won't get tome until later but as I have posted a few times, I have a theory that I have put into practice for myself; that once a proper handlebar location is found, yo an vary it, changing both the height and forward location as long as it stays on a certain line.

So: visualize the bike looking from the side. You are on the bike, holding the handlebars comfortably with your arms bent a little. This locates your shoulders (specifically the center of the socket). Now draw an arc with its center, your shoulder socket and going through the handlebar. Now draw a line through the handlebar that best approximates that arc for 6" either side of the handelbar. (For me, it is a line about 30 degrees from horizontal, rising as it goes forward. In fact. it is very conveniently exactly one cm of spacers up and 2 cm or horizontal stem forward. So a 140 quill stem gives my the same position, power and comfort as a 120 set 1 cm lower.)

This approach means I can make a lot of bikes fit very well. I locate that "line" in relation to the bottom bracket on a drawing, then figure out what stem and stem height I need to bet the HBs on the line. Now you can quickly see that seat-handlebar drop means very little with this scheme. That number is just a result, not a target.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 10-24-18 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 10-25-18, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I have a theory that I have put into practice for myself.
+1
(great minds think alike)
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Old 11-04-18, 06:55 AM
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Good thoughts. I am in Milton, GA with my Cyclocross bike, but most of my bike tools are in North, GA. Frustrating!

I am anxious to try the -17, 110mm stem but my tools and bike stand are not here.

I was interested to read 79pmoomey’s post above. I think there may be a position on bikes that adjusts the body to a complimentary position to the frame of the bike, which does not relate to the height of the saddle or handlebar height? I am having a little trouble decoding his comments but I think this may be what he was alluding too?
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Old 12-20-18, 07:22 PM
  #33  
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Iím gonna give this one a bump, was sitting around trying to make sense of the experiences Iíve had with my bikes and various bar reaches and heights. I seem to have had a consistent experience that bars need to move out a little as I move them up to a certain point, maybe somewhere around level with the saddle or a little above, then they need to start coming back. For me it felt like there was no point to drop bars once they were more than about an inch above saddle height, the position was upright enough that there was basically no weight on my hands so a flat bar was good enough and no aero benefit from being in the drops when only 3Ē below saddle, and horizontal reach with bars that high requires a pretty hunched over posture.
For a year, about 4K miles, I rode a bike with bars about 8cm below saddle. I switched to a different bike a month ago, 300 or so miles, same frame size with 10mm longer top tube and bars 2cm below saddle and needed a longer stem to achieve comfort with the bars higher. Iím using the bars from the old bike on the new one. I mention the mileage only to give an idea that these have been gradual changes over long periods and have taken a lot of time and fine adjustments. But I think I see a trend. My overall average speed has decreased about 2mph since switching bikes, but Iím using wider, heavier tires, the new bike is about 10 lbs heavier, thereís a loaded pannier out in the wind, and Iím spinning more than mashing. In addition to being more upright. The reach is long enough that Iím still pretty well stretched in the drops, and the drops are low enough to make a nice difference in a 15 mph headwind.
But I was wondering how that sort of handlebar arc would look, was having a hard time visualizing it. I actually took the time and used the search function, patting myself on the back. Good boy.
Maybe somebody with superior graphic arts skills would take a stab at it.
Edit - all commuting miles, around the same effort. Not scientific by any standard.

Last edited by Phamilton; 12-20-18 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 12-21-18, 09:49 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by McMitchell View Post
I am wondering if there is a constant relationship between how high the saddle should be in relation to the handlebars? It seems that many road bikes with drop bars have the handlebars lower than the saddle. On the other hand many MTN bikes have the handlebars, typically flat bars or risers, proportionally higher as compared to the saddle.

It appears that this ratio is more noticeable with those who race, particularly those who ride rode bikes where ďaeroĒ becomes an increasingly important factor. It seems that older people, who may be past their racing days, often raise the height of their handlebars, as ďaeroĒ becomes less important. Later in life flexibility often decreases and simple exercise and fun become more important.

It could also be that the relationship has more to do with personal physical features and physical challenges? I have been experimenting with different angles and lengths of bike stems. I just turned 69 and I am much more interested in exercise and comfort than speed. I did figure out it is easier to climb hills on a lighter bike, with tires that weigh less. I have been ď hybridizingĒ a Cyclocross bike for the paved/gravel roads I frequently ride on.
I don't think the assignation of these bike configurations to certain demographics is correct, and I fail to see any benefit in trying to do so. I've been riding drop bar frames since about 1970, and rarely have I set my bars more than 2 cm below the saddle height. I would not try to explain the situation before I could describe the situation with some confidence.

Why are you trying to generalize this aspect of bike setup, i.e. why is it important? I feel like it is important for me to establish, perhaps to write down, what I do. It is not important to me to try to find a universal viewpoint, even for the set of all 65 yo road bike riders. Not even for the much smaller set of BF50+ 65 yo road bike riders.

If it comfortable for you, and allows you to control, ride, train, and progress, then it is a good position.
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Old 12-24-18, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
I don't think the assignation of these bike configurations to certain demographics is correct, and I fail to see any benefit in trying to do so. I've been riding drop bar frames since about 1970, and rarely have I set my bars more than 2 cm below the saddle height. I would not try to explain the situation before I could describe the situation with some confidence.

Why are you trying to generalize this aspect of bike setup, i.e. why is it important? I feel like it is important for me to establish, perhaps to write down, what I do. It is not important to me to try to find a universal viewpoint, even for the set of all 65 yo road bike riders. Not even for the much smaller set of BF50+ 65 yo road bike riders.

If it comfortable for you, and allows you to control, ride, train, and progress, then it is a good position.
Not sure what Road Fan is taking exception to here? Certainly age or natural variations in leg, arm, trunk length......should be considered in relation to bike fit? I believe downhill racers typically orient their weight differently than those who ride more uphill or flater trails.....

At some point some aspect of bike geometry has to be discussed in regard to bike fit if we want to discuss bike fit. Arguably the relationship between handlebar and seat height is as good a place to start as any. Certainly such things as crank length are more controversial. If we throw crank length into this equation, maintaining the same saddle height & handlebar height will change even if we want the same distances. I understand that these subjects are interrelated which is why I elected to start with the fairly simple relationship between handlebar and seat height.

Last edited by McMitchell; 12-24-18 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 12-24-18, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by McMitchell View Post


Not sure what Road Fan is taking exception to here? Certainly age or natural variations in leg, arm, trunk length......should be considered in relation to bike fit? I believe downhill racers typically orient their weight differently than those who ride more uphill or flater trails.....

At some point some aspect of bike geometry has to be discussed in regard to bike fit if we want to discuss bike fit. Arguably the relationship between handlebar and seat height is as good a place to start as any. Certainly such things as crank length are more controversial. If we throw crank length into this equation, maintaining the same saddle height & handlebar height will change even if we want the same distances. I understand that these subjects are interrelated which is why I elected to start with the fairly simple relationship between handlebar and seat height.
My response was based on that you might be trying to define a stereotype of older riders. Calculating the average height of American males to be for example 5'10" does not imply that all American males are 5'10". All trousers must be fit to the man. There may be some value for fitters to understand the trends of aging, but each person's fit and the issues that must be considered is an individual portrait. I and several other senior citizen riders have told the thread how we are at a similar bar-saddle drop to where we were when we were young man cyclists. That should be enough to demonstrate my point.

Age and other aspects may affect my current cycling ability, but I want my fitter to fit me according to what MY body actually needs, not to give me certain fit characteristics based on how, for example, older riders are assumed to be different from younger riders. I can agree that natural variations in body proportions should be considered in relation to individual bike fit, but age? If the fitter has assessed for example my flexibility, he/she should fit me according to my flexibility, not according to my age. In other words, fit me to my actual functional needs and abilities, not according to assumptions of averages related to "older riders." And fit yourself similarly, being driven by what you actually need for your health as a cyclist. Focus on what is known about fitting, not what is assumed about older cyclists.

I think there may be a logical order in which it is best to address the design of a frame. I think one of the most fundamental constraints is saddle position: seat tube length, seatpost height, its angle, and the resulting saddle setback which affects leg geometry and balance. One should also consider how the saddle setback may affect the effective saddle height, using the mathematics of a right triangle. But I'm not trying to design or fit bicycles, beyond our own.

Last edited by Road Fan; 12-25-18 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 12-25-18, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I don't think that anyone is suggesting to raise your saddle in order to get more drop to the handlebars, nor for reach! We should set saddle height in relation to leg length, and adjust reach with the stem. When you raise the saddle it does place you slightly further back (due to the ST angle).

My comment here is mainly to the OP, not to wphamilton. I want to emphasize the key point, for the OP's benefit.

Been reading back to better understand some of this thread, and I want to comment on this point. Everything I've read about fitting has it that you set the saddle height for the comfort, health, power, and longevity of your legs and of the pedaling motion. There are types of injury that become more likely if you injudiciously raise or lower your saddle too much. Experts such as Lennard Zinn and Eddy Merckx adjusted their saddles in 1 to 2 mm increments and allowed a few days of pro-level riding to acclimate to the change and evaluate its effect. As you gain experience you might find a better "truth," but still make changes with awareness of what could go wrong.

If you need the bars higher or lower than the saddle, adjust the bars. There are some really good and effective ways to set the saddle height and to a degree the setback, and these do not directly involve moving the handlebars.

Last edited by Road Fan; 12-25-18 at 08:40 AM.
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