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Ideal Handlebar drop?

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Ideal Handlebar drop?

Old 09-25-21, 12:07 AM
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Ideal Handlebar drop?

Ideally I like to have a roughly 5 or 6 cm handlebar to saddle drop on my bikes, even if they are just designed for cruising. Otherwise I tend to use wildly long stems and something closer to being level with my saddle which ends up needing quite a high stack.

Even for my hybrid upright type cruiser bike, I have the stem mounted pretty low compared to the saddle and I am comfortable this way.

so how do you determine a comfortable drop, from a general perspective?

For example, my Felt Doctrine came stock with a 90mm stem, 7° rise, 69.5° head tube with no sag. With the stem mounted @ -7°, the "effective" length felt good, but the bars were too low for longer distance riding. Flipping to +7° put the bars in a more comfortable height while still being relatively aggressive.. now the stem felt a bit too short.

So I tried a 110mm stem with a +10° angle i took off my ill fitting Trek FX and I think I got things pretty bang on as far as bar positioning goes.

to be more specific with stem angles/lengths and what not. What would be some good ways to find an ideal balance between your "effective" stem length and stem rise? (Plus stack height, head tube angle, etc..)
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Old 09-26-21, 09:36 PM
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In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, I'll say that the right amount of bar drop is what keeps my hands from clutching empty air when riding.
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Old 09-27-21, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
There is no specific number, the more handlebar drop you use, the more aerodynamic you become (while keeping 90 degree bend at the elbows for least air resistance) up to a point where your back becomes almost horizontal.

However, the more horizontal your back becomes, you might start experiencing discomfort or soreness in the lower back area, shoulders, and the neck and your p. You may end up having lower average power output as well.

Those who are "comfortable" in large handlebar drop tend to have strong lower back muscles and high average power output. The position will cause additional pressure on your arms unless you have high average power which can offset that pressure. Definitely useful for racers but not for receational riders.
Youre 100% right.

To add to this, it makes most sense from an efficiency perspective to keep your weight in the saddle and ride upright when pedalling at a relaxed power output.

As you start to put more weight into the cranks, out of the saddle, and spin at higher cadences, you'll want to get pretty lower to offset weight transfer like you said.
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Old 09-27-21, 08:58 AM
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Here's how I am riding so far. 110mm stem on this frame feels very long.
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Old 09-27-21, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
MTBs have longer reach than road frames. If you're holding the bar extensions most of the time, you can probably go for shorter stem.
The stock stem was 90. I needed something with a higher rise and longer. Unless the stem is +9 or 10°long, i would need to go for 100mm.

If I had a higher stack or longer steer tube and was able to mount the stem higher, 90mm, -7° rise just like stock would likely work fine.

I only use the bars sometimes because the neutral position is more comfortable for my arms. The current handlebar position feels perfect.

Road bikes and mountain bikes don't actually have much different effective reach figures when factoring in the added length of the drop bars.
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Old 10-03-21, 05:54 PM
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If you favor more bar drop and are thin enough to ride in that position comfortably you could try a shorter stem, like an inch shorter and an inch lower. That would put more weight on the front wheel, lower your position and center of gravity, but not have much effect on overall reach. That's how I like my MTB setup. Try running different numbers on this stem calculator https://www.yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/stem.php You'll see that as the stem is lowered you'll require it being shorter to maintain the same reach. Tall people tend to favor lots of bar drop, and I can see you're tall. As you lower the bars tilt your saddle nose down a bit too.

Last edited by Clem von Jones; 10-03-21 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 10-06-21, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
If you favor more bar drop and are thin enough to ride in that position comfortably you could try a shorter stem, like an inch shorter and an inch lower. That would put more weight on the front wheel, lower your position and center of gravity, but not have much effect on overall reach. That's how I like my MTB setup. Try running different numbers on this stem calculator https://www.yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/stem.php You'll see that as the stem is lowered you'll require it being shorter to maintain the same reach. Tall people tend to favor lots of bar drop, and I can see you're tall. As you lower the bars tilt your saddle nose down a bit too.
I find my personal experiences to coincide perfectly with yours.

The relatively shorter stem, low stack tactic is exactly what Felt was going for with this bike. I trust them as being practically masters with bike setup.

Its 22" frame with a long top tube, relatively short reach, long top tube and longer than average stem.

I'll split the difference between stock 90, current 110mm stem and go for a slightly lower degree.

I have issues finding an ideal balance between centre of gravity concerning saddle height while maintaining enough leg extension. I can have my seat considerably higher, still maintain normal leg extension, but gravity will outweigh. any benefits.

I'll need to cut the bars down to somewhere between 54 and 58cm (personal preferenc) before confirming my ideal stem length. In this case I think current setup will be perfect. I am pretty skinny, but muscular. my back can't take any more of a bar drop than current for longer rides.
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Old 10-06-21, 09:14 PM
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Clem von Jones ,

Ideally, i like to have my handlebars just slightly lower than the saddle (I have very long arms and longer than average legs,) , and quite a long stem. But the race bike calls for more bar drop.
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Old 10-09-21, 06:14 PM
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It really depends on what type of riding you are doing and what is in the range of comfort for you. Generally a velodrome racer (the most extreme handlebar drop) is going to have a lot of handlebar drop, because they want the most power that a low position will let their glute muscles deliver the most power and track races tend to be short. A bicycle tourist (generally the most upright), will tend to be upright, because they are looking for all day riding comfort. Are you road racing? doing criteriums? , Sport riding, doing timed centuries. Competitive events of some type?
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Old 10-20-21, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
It really depends on what type of riding you are doing and what is in the range of comfort for you. Generally a velodrome racer (the most extreme handlebar drop) is going to have a lot of handlebar drop, because they want the most power that a low position will let their glute muscles deliver the most power and track races tend to be short. A bicycle tourist (generally the most upright), will tend to be upright, because they are looking for all day riding comfort. Are you road racing? doing criteriums? , Sport riding, doing timed centuries. Competitive events of some type?
with this bike in specific, mostly fast blast type of riding, but there are times where long distance comfort (relatively) will be important too.

I realized that my current setup doesn't give me quite enough handlebar drop to be aggressive enough for the general short distance quick rides I do with the bike. The stem length is good, and ill appreciate the extra rise for longer distance rides, so I'll stay for now. I dont use the bar ends anymore.
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Old 10-23-21, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Looks fine to me but I've noticed your saddle seem adjusted all the way back. If the frame is correctly sized to you, and you like your saddle adjustment for pedaling efficiency, you might need shorter stem. It will begin to matter in longer rides
I think youre right. I will move the saddle just a little bit more forward. As for the stem, its hard to say. Between 90-110 works well for me depending on degree/rise, etc. I will likely try out a 100mm stem in the near future.
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Old 10-23-21, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Don't do it just yet, or prepare to meet the consequences like numb hands but you can get used to it after a while.

I like moving forward if the ride is going to involve lots of climbs but if lots of flats, I think the large saddle setback is more comfortable.
I make small adjustments to saddle setback as well as height on a near regular regular basis. If I set it too far back, it puts extra stress on my lower back. Never had an issue witu numb hands though..
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Old 11-04-21, 02:34 AM
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Finally got a chance to really put this bike to the test on some narrow singletrack trails.. its been raining here for days. Much of the trail is littered with rocks and roots so it's not the easiest especially with the wet surfaces.

- 29" wheels are too big most of the time, at least on such narrow trails.
- the bike feels so perfectly balanced front to rear, if the front tire is loaded into the turn properly, the rear comes very spirited without ever feeling difficult to control or sloppy.

- the frame is stiff as heck. Zero compliance.
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Old 11-05-21, 07:59 PM
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I mounted the 110mm stem -10° now for a more aggressive handlebar drop. The handling and power trasnfer of the bike has dramatically improved
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Old 11-07-21, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
That gives you more drop than my current setup. I have 5cm drop which seems to be very common for road bikes.
I didn't ride anywhere far, but this setup seems much more in line with the way the bike intends to be ridden. It changed the handling by altering weight distribution while getting lower, quite dramatically. I'll be sure to take a picture tommorow.

The 110mm stem certainly is quite long (i just have very long arms ) , honestly, i can still go a bit lower and longer on steep descents without a dropper post but this current setup is serving me quite well so far. I'm not sure the current stem angle is quite right for my needs.

Its amazing how much my riding position has changed merely in just one year... if you look at pictures of the way I rode my GT or Norco, lol.

For me, chainstay length is a good indication of how much weight the bike intends to have over the front axle. If you feel like you flip backwards too easily, it's an indication that either you're not low enough or that the bike is just too aggressive for the riders intentions. It feels almost perfect now. I wanted to ask your opinion on getting a stem with even more drop, maybe at 100mm to get even lower. I dont ride this bike long distances so I guess i can get away with it. I'll have to ride this way a few more times to see.
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Old 11-07-21, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I remember you telling how ridiculous our little 5 cm handlebar drop was couple of months back. Glad you gave it thought and tried and found out yourself it's good.

It's a great setup with proper recruitment of leg muscles, otherwise, it's just pain on the hands and back.
lmao, please excuse my ignorance.

Until I fell below a specific body fat percentage and gradually adapted to riding with a specific handlebar drop, i just couldn't do it. I felt very endo-prone and uncomfortable.
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Old 11-07-21, 11:57 AM
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cubewheels have you checked out the geometry of your ride in comparison to a size medium gravel bike would be like? If you've made any changes to your bike, show us!
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Old 11-17-21, 08:21 PM
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Thought you might find this interesting, it’s one of several blog posts Dave Moulton has on bike fit, and emphasizes 1) proper saddle height and 2) ensuring that the arms are positioned and working in opposition to legs as the two basic priorities for fit.

Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - Riding Position Simplified

The upshot is that there is a good reason to have a fair amount of bar drop for a road bike and to adjust reach to produce a similar arm angle if you want to ride more upright.

If you go to his section on bike fit you can also find a post about the relationship of recommended bar drop to frame size for road bikes.

https://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com...ebar-drop.html

Otto

Last edited by ofajen; 11-17-21 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 11-26-21, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Thought you might find this interesting, it’s one of several blog posts Dave Moulton has on bike fit, and emphasizes 1) proper saddle height and 2) ensuring that the arms are positioned and working in opposition to legs as the two basic priorities for fit.

Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - Riding Position Simplified

The upshot is that there is a good reason to have a fair amount of bar drop for a road bike and to adjust reach to produce a similar arm angle if you want to ride more upright.

If you go to his section on bike fit you can also find a post about the relationship of recommended bar drop to frame size for road bikes.

Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - Handlebar Drop

Otto
Thank you!
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Old 11-26-21, 08:15 AM
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cubewheels I'm thinking of trying a 110 or possibly 120mm stem, -14 or -17° on the felt? I feel like I want to get lower.

Should I try one?
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Old 11-26-21, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
cubewheels I'm thinking of trying a 110 or possibly 120mm stem, -14 or -17° on the felt? I feel like I want to get lower.

Should I try one?
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Old 11-27-21, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I thought you already have 110 -14 stem? Can't say if it's going to be good for you as people don't usually get lower for the sake of comfort but to sacrifice comfort for very small increase in speed.

You'll immediately feel the increased pressure on your arms if you increase drop. It will then take a few days to a week for you to adapt or maybe even longer or maybe never.

Nowadays I only have 2cm drop, reduced from previous setup due to reduced flexibility, I stopped doing flexibility exercises due to lack of time.
Mine is currently -10. I'm trying out a 110mm -7mm which mounts lower onto the steerer tube
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Old 11-29-21, 06:57 PM
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@cubewheels

Id say this is just about the perfect riding position for me
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