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Poll: Bar/Saddle Height....(7 posts)

Poll: Bar/Saddle Height....asphalt assault
Mar 11, 2003 8:09 AM
Just wondering what everyone elses setup is with regards to bar height with relation to your saddle height... 1" below saddle?...2" below?... level with saddle?

I'm at that critical step in the bike building process and prefer my bars to be the same height from the floor as my saddle. It looks like it's going to take about 50mm of headset spacers and a riser stem to get my bars up where I want them. Another option is a Serotta headtube extender that someone here mentioned last week.

So what's your setup guys? Does anyone have any suggestions/considerations that will assist me in finding the "perfect" (read: comfy) ride position?
Larger frame, shorter TT, higher head tube. Or a hybrid. nmSpunout
Mar 11, 2003 8:11 AM
Rivendell has some good information on this...retro
Mar 11, 2003 8:43 AM
I rode in the "correct" butt-high, hands-low position for about 20 years, and never could get completely comfortable. When I built my last bike, I ordered a tall Nitto stem (quill type, probably won't work for you) from Rivendell to get the bars roughly even with the saddle. It's made a huge difference in comfort. Based on that and changes to another bike, I'd say do what you have to do to make it work, even if it looks funny.
9-10cm...C-40
Mar 11, 2003 9:05 AM
What does it matter what other folks ride?

If you don't have the fitness to handle a racing setup which would typically place the bars 8-12cm below the saddle, you will either have to work on your abdominal and back strength and flexibilty, or ride what you can tolerate.

I have no problem with bars 9-10cm below the saddle, but I do a lot of abdominal strengthing exercises and I can place the palms of my hands flat on the floor.
re: Poll: Bar/Saddle Height....tarwheel
Mar 11, 2003 9:09 AM
The "proper" drop from saddle to handlebar depends on a lot of things -- your flexibility, length of arms, strength of back and stomach muscles, etc. A 1 or 2" drop might be too much for some cyclists and not enough for others. What's unfortunate is that bike manufacturers have made it so difficult to cyclists to adjust bars at a height with less drop. My bikes are set up with a 1" drop and that works for me. If I drop my bars any lower, I have problems with hand numbness and neck pain. With my bars raised enough, I can see the road ahead without cramping my neck and can ride in the drops forever.

With my two bikes, I have had to use much different setups to achieve the 1" drop. My Gios has a threadless fork/stem, so I've had to use about 4-5cm of spacers and a 105 riser stem to raise the bars high enough. I'm not crazy about the way it looks, but it fits me just right. When it comes time to replace the headset, I will probably install a Serotta extender and eliminate some of the spacers. My other bike is a Merckx with a threaded fork/stem, and it was much simpler raising the bars enough. I'm using a 90-degree Profile H2O stem, which has a relatively long quill, and had no problem raising the handlebar high enough. It looks much better to me than the threadless setup.

My advice: If you prefer higher handlebars, ignore the stem police and set up your bike that way. I guarantee you will be more comfortable. If you haven't bought a frame yet, you might consider some of the models that have extended headtubes -- like Pegorettis and the new Litespeeds. Another option is to order a custom frame with an extended headtube. If those options are too expensive, the Serotta extender is a great idea. Unfortunately, it is very hard finding new frames these days with quill (threaded) forks -- which is the simplest solution. Since virtually all new frames are now spec'd with threadless forks, you will probably have to go that route. Don't worry about using a riser stem either. Although I still prefer the look of a traditional "L" stem, I am getting used to riser stems and they function just as well as the traditional styles. Comfort and fit are more important than style, in this case.
re: Poll: Bar/Saddle Height....oui19
Mar 11, 2003 9:16 AM
I ride with my bars 3.5" lower than my seat height. My seat height from floor to top of seat is 99cm and my bars are 90cm. I mostly do Criterium racing so I am okay with it. I will try and attach a photo, however, my pictures usually do not go through.......if this happens any suggestions with the photo end????
re: Poll: Bar/Saddle Height....JimP
Mar 11, 2003 1:09 PM
Whatever you are comfortable with. I ride with folks whose bars are level or higher than their seats and folks the other way. I raced triathlons for a number of years and I am still comfortable with the bars 13-15cm below my seat. Don't worry about what other people think, the more comfortable YOU are, the more you will ride and enjoy.
Jim