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seat/stack height(6 posts)

seat/stack heightjaybird
Mar 11, 2002 12:18 PM
what is the rule of thumb for the distance between the bottom of the seat and the top of the stem. I know that stack height should usually not exceed 30mm...
So how's the rest of the bike fit? nmSpoke Wrench
Mar 11, 2002 12:39 PM
So how's the rest of the bike fit? nmjaybird
Mar 11, 2002 12:57 PM
Mine fits fine, I think I have about 2-3 inches of drop from the seat to the top of the stem on my bike. I was just wondering if there is a rule of thumb out there for this measurement. There has to be a guideline for example when a custom bike is made. right? I have seen a lot of variation out there so I was just curious...
Nope, just the opposite.Spoke Wrench
Mar 11, 2002 1:16 PM
The definition of a stock bike is one that has somebody's idea of "average" geometry. Most stock road bikes are going to result in a handlebar that is 2" to 4" below the top of the saddle.

The reason you buy a custom geometry frame is to avoid these rules of thumb. Generally a custom builder will measure your body porportions and then apply some sort of fudge factor to adjust for flexability etc.
Personal preferenceKerry
Mar 11, 2002 5:13 PM
First of all, the measurement is usually from the top of the saddle to the top of the bars (the two contact points between your body and the bike). It's pretty hard to define "the bottom of the seat" and with all the different stem angles today, it's handlebar position that counts. Anyway, once you have that, you still don't have anything. People's flexibility, size, relative body proportions, and personal comfort have a huge influence on "handle bar drop" and so there is no rule of thumb. As a general rule, tourists and recreational riders tend to have higher bars, racers lower, and very experienced racers, lower yet. Drops range from zero or even bars above the saddle, to as much as 9-10 cm in larger bikes with flexible riders.
whatever works for youbianchi
Mar 12, 2002 6:16 AM
Years ago, the recommended drop from saddle to handlebar was 1" or even. (If you don't believe me, look in some old cycling books, magazines or catalogues.) With the increased emphasis on aerodynamics and the use of threadless stems (which can't be adjusted up and down as easily), the amount of drop has increased more and more -- which is not necessarily a good thing.

I rode an old Bianchi for many years with about 1" of drop with no problems. Got a new bike with about 3" of drop and developed all sorts of problems with numbness in my hands, sore neck, etc. Problems didn't go away until I raised my handlebar to about 1" below height of the saddle. My brother had serious lower back and butt pains that wouldn't go away using all sorts of different saddles, etc., until he raised his handlebars.

Anyway, despite what some cyclists and bike shops will tell you, handlebar height is purely a matter of personal preference and comfort. Sure, lower bars will be more aerodynamic and faster. But at what price? If low bars make you uncomfortable and cause injuries, then it's not worth any amount of speed gain in my book. If you race, that might be another matter.