I continue to experiment and adjust my position often. Weird thing with me, is if the reach or drop is just 5 - 10 mm too much, my power output drops 20% - 30%. (And I have a meter on my indoor trainer, so, yes, it IS that much!) On my most recent experiment, I discovered that, with a 53 cm reach (tip-of-saddle to bar), I can get the bar 7 cm below the saddle before my power drops. If I raise the bar to a 5 cm drop, I can get the reach to 57 cm. (At 6 cm drop, its still about a 53 cm reach.) Any idea which is better? It appears I may be able to eek out a bit more power at 53/7. I do seem to get a minor low-back ache on longer rides. The longer reach is better on my back, but is definitely more uncomfortable on the rear/crotch. (I do know my torso is roughly 5 - 7 cm shorter than normal, compared to my inseam, so I'm leaning towards the 53/7. Not sure how my arm length compares to normal.)
Last edited by pakossa; 09-27-14 at 03:44 PM.
Reason: added info
Are you adjusting reach by moving the saddle? If so, that might explain a lot. Saddle setback needs to be set for optimal power production and weight distribution. Reach should only be adjusted through stem changes.
That's an interesting experiment you've done. Good job. My theory is the longer reach higher bar is better for steep climbs and the shorter reach lower bar is better for longer flat rides. The former setup allows you stand on really steep sections, the latter setup gives you an aerodynamic advantage.
Not sure that BF can answer your question of which is better.
What caught my attention is that both setups could give you trouble (one with back, other with saddle). Have you considered seeing whether something in between (55cm reach, 5 or 6 cm drop) avoids saddle and back pains and still allows you to maintain power?
Yes, that was by changing just the stem, not the saddle position. But after some more experimenting -- this time on my MTB, in which the bar is no more than a cm below the saddle -- it now appears the 53 cm reach is STILL the max, without losing power/speed. (Can also handle the technical stuff a lot better with the 53 reach.)