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  1. #1
    Senior Member Allen55's Avatar
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    Handlebar height...

    How much difference does the height make? I find myself leaning forward a bit more than I like, but this is the way I bought the bike. The guys at the LBS said that I could adjust them. What difference would adjusting them up mean to me?
    Allen
    Riding since 09-16-2011
    TREK 7000

  2. #2
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Looking at the picture on your blog, it looks like your bar height is a bit over saddle height. Raising bars further will take weight off hands and place it on your rear. This isn't necessarily a good thing. I'd suggest a good pair of gloves if you don't already have them and give yourself time to get into better shape unless it is causing serious issues.

    When I returned to cycling a few years ago after a 30 year hiatus, I felt the same thing, too much weight on hands. But the more I rode and the more I got in condition, the less of an issue it was. Now, even my vintage MTB has a significant saddle to bar drop.

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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen55 View Post
    How much difference does the height make? I find myself leaning forward a bit more than I like, but this is the way I bought the bike. The guys at the LBS said that I could adjust them. What difference would adjusting them up mean to me?
    Lots of stuff going on here.

    If you're learning forward too much, it sounds like a fit issue, although it might also be to do with core strength. I saw a pic of you with the bike on your blog, but not of you on the bike. One of those would help, or you might be able to get the opinion of someone at the shop?

    Moving the bars around can make lots of different kinds of difference. It changes your posture, and, if you care, your aerodynamics. Lower bars are faster, but it doesn't look like you're trying to race.

    You can move the bars up or down by changing the stem, or by adding and removing spacers. It's a five minute job, and probably won't cost more than about $40 - that's if you bought an adjustable stem. I'm not a fan of these, because they aren't very stiff and make me nervous when I stand on the pedals to climb a steep hill. But a lot of people (including yours truly) use an adjustable stem to figure out where the bars should be, then get a normal stem once they figure that out.

    In case you haven't encountered them yet, this is what I mean by "adjustable stem:"

    Don't believe everything you think.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    I think it depends on a number of things. I used to be thin, and had no problem with bars significantly lower than my seat. I'm not thin now, not by a long shot, and find that low bars make it tough to breathe. Raising my bars a couple of inches, and bringing them closer to me, has already made a big difference in stamina, hill-climbing ability, how winded I feel. So, for me, raising them was definitely a good thing.

    If you ride in town a lot, higher bars make it easier to see what's going on, and to see who'd behind you - like when you need to get over to the left to make a turn. If you ride long distances, lower bars, and having the weight more evenly distributed among the seat and the hands is probably better.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Allen55's Avatar
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    Well, I think my bars are adjustable anyway. At least that is what the guy at the LBS told me that I just needed to loosen the Hex nut and I could pull them towards me and also upward. He said that they are at their lowest as they are, both ways.
    Allen
    Riding since 09-16-2011
    TREK 7000

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Experiment and see what's comfortable.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen55 View Post
    Well, I think my bars are adjustable anyway. At least that is what the guy at the LBS told me that I just needed to loosen the Hex nut and I could pull them towards me and also upward. He said that they are at their lowest as they are, both ways.
    Well, then it's a 2 minute fix, and for no money. Can you post a photo of the stem?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  8. #8
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    I like my bars lower than my saddle, a couple of years ago the bars were higher than the saddle, but as I ride more, the bars dropped and the saddle went up.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

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    Senior Member Allen55's Avatar
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    Found a pic of my bike on the trek site - http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...on/hybrid/7000
    Allen
    Riding since 09-16-2011
    TREK 7000

  10. #10
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Looks like an adjustable stem to me. Loosen the screw in the middle of the joint, pull the bars upward, then tighten it back down. You'll probably have to loosen the front of the stem after that, and rotate your bars back to the way you like them. It's very, very easy.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Allen55's Avatar
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    Now another question...will the bars being more upright, will that change the feel of the ride? Make it harder, easier? Me being more upright should make some sort of difference, right?
    Allen
    Riding since 09-16-2011
    TREK 7000

  12. #12
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    It will make a difference but doubt it will be dramatic as you haven't been riding long and are probably still getting acclimated to being in the saddle. But, as it is a $0 change, go for it and see if it is better. You can always go back if you don't like it.

  13. #13
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen55 View Post
    Now another question...will the bars being more upright, will that change the feel of the ride? Make it harder, easier? Me being more upright should make some sort of difference, right?
    Like I said, experiment and you'll find out. Obviously if you are more upright your air resistance will increase, but if you're more comfortable you may be able to put out more effort. The only way to know, is to try it.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen55 View Post
    Now another question...will the bars being more upright, will that change the feel of the ride? Make it harder, easier? Me being more upright should make some sort of difference, right?
    Your steering will change very, very slightly - enough that you probably won't notice it. You'll adjust for it without realizing anything.

    Being more upright means you'll present more frontal area to the wind. Going 20+ mph will be a bit harder; 15 mph should be imperceptibly different. If it makes you more comfortable, it's a good trade off. It's not like you're on a time trial bike competing in races.

    Measure the distance from your handlebars to the ground with the bike upright, and the distance from the nose of the saddle to the bars, before you change anything. Write these down. If you don't like the change, you'll be able to put things back exactly.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  15. #15
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Allen, the tilt of the saddle can also affect the pressure on your hands. If you tilt the saddle so the nose is a bit higher, it will take some of the weight off your hands. I couldn't tell how you're set up now from the photo.

    An extra hand position can be helpful, too. You can add bar ends for a cheap and easy fix. Then, you have to remember to change positions rather frequently, and that can help.

    As others said, weight loss and core strength make it easier on the hands in the long run. Good luck.
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

  16. #16
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen55 View Post
    Now another question...will the bars being more upright, will that change the feel of the ride? Make it harder, easier? Me being more upright should make some sort of difference, right?
    The more upright you are the easier it is to ride in a transportation/utility/causal ride since your body is able to breath easier while your weight is on your sit bones and off or your hands and arms.

    Not so good for the racer boys since you become a brick to shove though the air.

    Ain't nobody gonna convince me that riding folded in half on drops is comfortable. No sir.....nobody !!
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  17. #17
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    A higher handlebar height for me is harder on my back, believe it or not. If I've got some amount of forward lean, bumps from the road make my torso "rock" in place; if I'm sitting bolt-upright, bumps shoot straight up my spine. If I were to ride a bike like my wife's Electra Townie very often, I'd spend a lot of effort choosing a saddle and/or seatpost to reduce those shocks. I'm not ten years old anymore.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    A higher handlebar height for me is harder on my back, believe it or not. If I've got some amount of forward lean, bumps from the road make my torso "rock" in place; if I'm sitting bolt-upright, bumps shoot straight up my spine.
    In addition to this factor, there is weight distribution. I found I'm more comfortable with the bars somewhat lower. Before, I had them even, and would get pain in my lower back after long rides. Turns out I was leaning forward to the typical ~45 degree back angle, had my arms excessively bent, and not much weight on my hands. So what was keeping my torso in position? My back muscles. Now, about an inch or two lower, and I'm able to use my hands instead of my back.

    It seems very counter-intuitive, as everyone seems to say to raise the bars if you have back pain. Guess that's what took me so long to figure it out.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    A higher handlebar height for me is harder on my back, believe it or not.
    I've come to the same conclusion.
    Don't believe everything you think.

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