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How much difference in seat to handlebars height?(6 posts)

How much difference in seat to handlebars height?Groucho Marx
Apr 2, 2001 12:41 PM
How much is too much. I have about a 4 inch (10cm) difference in height from seat to handlebars, and I am thinking of switching stems. I'm wondering if switching to a stem with a steeper angle in stem is too much for comfort. Right now I'm pretty comfy. Would a drop of about an inch or two be too much? (It's a giant adjustable stem, angled at about 100degrees, and I want to switch to cinelli altar which is at 80)
re: How much difference in seat to handlebars height?DaveG
Apr 2, 2001 1:38 PM
First, if you are comfortable with your setup why are you switching? 10 cm sounds like a lot to me, but your flexibility is a major factor. About 2 inches seems to be the current wisdom, but everybody is different (mine is about 7cm) and many folks go much lower. Typically, larger riders seem to go with larger deltas. If you are comfortable with it that's fine; nobody here can answer the question of whether YOU will be comfortable going lower.
Mine are about even, but if you're comfortable, why change?Cory
Apr 2, 2001 4:51 PM
After I read Grant Petersen's take on this whole issue (which comes up here every few days...), I raised the bars so they're even with the saddle on all my bikes but one. Made a huge difference in comfort, didn't slow me down, and my d*** doesn't fall asleep anymore. But if you're comfortable the way you are, I'd stay with it.
You can see what grant has to say at
but isn't "even" often impossible?ET
Apr 3, 2001 5:02 AM
First of all, I hope we're all measuring consistently. Eyeballing is tricky, as is measuring down to top of top tube, given the slant of the seat tube. The best way is to measure from seat to floor and handlebars to floor and take the difference. I got a diff of 0.8" less doing it this way instead of the other way. Also, what part of seat is to be used? The dip or the tip? I use the dip.

Measurements aside, my main point is this: how can you even get to "even", especially now, what with threadless and limited spacers? Is everyone using very steep-(and many would say ugly) angled stems? As an example, I have a 2001 Lemond Zurich, size 57 c-c. I have about 1.4 inches of standover clearance, and my feeling is that this is less clearance than what most of the people on this board have. It has 4 cms of spacers. That's how it came in the LBS, that's how it appears in the photos. Can't blame them for putting in the max, because you can always cut the steerer later but not add to it. Anyway, given the longer top tubes on the Lemonds, that's fine with me, at least for now. But with the max amount of recommended spacers put in and the stock stem (which is close to horizontal), there is already a 2-inch differential between seat and handlebars; most having my size bike have even larger inseams, and hence will have even more differential after adjusting their seat. So how are you all getting to even? (Note: Something I've mentioned ad nauseum here, but relevant now, I think this is especially a problem with Trek OCLV, where their sizing is misleading. The seat tube is much shorter when measured more traditionally, so those who sized based on top tube end up with a tremendous drop to handelbars. They realize only later that they made a mistake.)
re: How much difference in seat to handlebars height?LBS guy
Apr 2, 2001 5:43 PM
whatever is comfortable to you, it could be 12cm if its comfortable, just make sure your personals aren't to neglected and dont go numb or u might become an uno like Lance even though he is the man, but try it see what works for you,
uno isnt bad...john de
Apr 2, 2001 6:02 PM
i heard you can replace the lost one with one of similar size in a choice of carbon, ti, or the old classic iron...weight isnt the only factor, each has different handling characteristics and it depends on who is handling....thats not what happends anyway from numbness in the saddle, you go limp...