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  1. #1
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Bar height opinions for comfort? AND.. Riser or bar change?

    This would be more for casual riding.. I commute a few miles to work each day and also like to take rides on the weekend, mostly on some great, paved bike trails we have here on the coast. I have a Specialized Sirrus and the other day I added a adapter that raised my flat bars up about 3" .. I'm amazed at how much more comfortable it is to ride. More and more I stand while going up steep hills, so the bar height doesn't seem to matter that much for that and I don't need to really ride fast so being down low isn't important either.

    The guy at the bike shop put the riser on to let me see if I like the change, which I do. I now have the choice of keeping the riser with my flat bars or changing the bars to ones that curve up more.. what is the difference? (I seem to have enough cable length to do either)

    Any thoughts or comments?

  2. #2
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    I almost always find it more convenient to sit in an upright position. The only time that I feel the need to be in a lower and more aerodynamic position, is when I'm trying to beat a light before it goes red, when being chased by a slow dog, when trying to quickly get home before dusk, or when trying to streak through a questionable or dodgy area.

    When riding my road bike, I'm mostly holding the tops of the hoods, mimicking my hybrid flatbar position. When forced to ride quickly on the hybrid, I either stand while accelerating, or I lean down to assume a more aerodynamic position.

    Ninety percent of the time, I'm in the upright hybrid position, but I all too often find myself mounted upon my sweetheart, the Nishiki Sebring road bike, with my hands on the hood of the drop handlebar.

    So, I guess what I'm really saying here is that, I prefer drop handlebars!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 01-25-12 at 06:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Riser bars tend to be significantly wider because they have to provide space for your hand controls etc. outboard of the upward bend. Because they're wider, they also sweep back more which changes your hand position. I don't like them.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Different strokes. My rides are generally 30 miles or more at a fairly good clip and I find I'm much more comfortable with lower drop bars, particularly my back. The tops of my bars are are 10 cm below the top of my saddle.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Rise + the angle of the grips can be a lot different.

    OOdles of different bends out in the market.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    I prefer swept back North Road bars for my commuter. They place your hands in a comfortable position, both higher and with a closer reach than flat bars. You do need a good saddle though for an upright position, preferably sprung otherwise road shocks will go straight up your spine.
    I've got a bike, you can ride if you like it's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good- Pink Floyd, 1967

  7. #7
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Riser bars tend to be significantly wider because they have to provide space for your hand controls etc. outboard of the upward bend. Because they're wider, they also sweep back more which changes your hand position. I don't like them.
    Good point, I hadn't thought of that and I have a flashlight holder and a cup holder that just fit on my stock straight bar and may not on a curved bar. It's probably less expensive for labor and a new handle bar to just use the riser post to get my stock bar up the couple of inches. The bike shop guy said it would affect the steering feeling a bit, but if anything, I think it feels better.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Pete View Post
    I prefer swept back North Road bars for my commuter. They place your hands in a comfortable position, both higher and with a closer reach than flat bars. You do need a good saddle though for an upright position, preferably sprung otherwise road shocks will go straight up your spine.
    Thanks, I haven't noticed any difference in the seat in the more upright position, but could just be my bike, or me. I have the stock Specialized saddle which I really like. When I bought the bike I had a Brooks Flyer (sprung B17) from my earlier bike that I had saved and I put it on the new Sirrus bike to try it for a few weeks.. it was OK, but I honestly found that I like the stock seat better and it's a lot lighter.. the Brooks seat weighs a lot and doesn't hold up to water even though it looks very cool.

  9. #9
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Jeff Wills

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doane View Post
    Thanks, I haven't noticed any difference in the seat in the more upright position, but could just be my bike, or me.
    I suppose it depends on how upright you sit. On mine I'm not far off bolt-upright, so with a hard saddle you really feel the bumps in the road. If you back is a bit more bent, it's not so bad. As always, ride whatever you're comfortable with
    I've got a bike, you can ride if you like it's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good- Pink Floyd, 1967

  11. #11
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone... Jeff, I'm afraid my voice might go up a couple of octaves trying to mount or dismount that thing!

  12. #12
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    The difference is felt in your legs and butt. Being upright you loose some power, but given your rides it may make little difference. It also shifts your weight distribution to the rear of your pelvic bones, which means you'll need a wide saddle and your sit time maybe be an issue. Over four hours on an upright bike, it can be tough duty down there. Ideally, you have mutliple hand positions so you can rotate forward and down some, relieve the pressure on your back and butt. Standing is also a good break, but how long can you stand....

    Lots of postives, I think the best is being able to look around and take in the ride. My complaint about riding in a more aero position is the tendency to lock road vision directly ahead, you don't much sightseeing out of the ride.

    The real answer is multiple bikes set up differently, +1 ~
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 01-26-12 at 10:28 AM.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    afraid my voice might go up a couple of octaves trying to mount or dismount that thing!
    You must have a new strange way to mount a bike, Doane, rather than swing a leg over the back wheel.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    You must have a new strange way to mount a bike, Doane, rather than swing a leg over the back wheel.
    Wow, so you're not supposed to swing a leg over the bars? ..that's what I've been doing wrong.. no wonder!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doane View Post
    Wow, so you're not supposed to swing a leg over the bars? ..that's what I've been doing wrong.. no wonder!
    It's situational.

    If you captain a tandem and try to swing your leg over your saddle, you'll catch your foot on the stoker handlebar and fall over. Then your stoker will laugh at you. Don't ask how I know.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    It's situational.

    If you captain a tandem and try to swing your leg over your saddle, you'll catch your foot on the stoker handlebar and fall over. Then your stoker will laugh at you. Don't ask how I know.
    The few times I've ridden a tandem bike the "stoker" rider was laughing at me even after I managed to get on the bike.. it seemed like I could never get her to do her part!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doane View Post
    The few times I've ridden a tandem bike the "stoker" rider was laughing at me even after I managed to get on the bike.. it seemed like I could never get her to do her part!
    You're not doing it right.

    "Captain" is just a title they use to give us the illusion of control. In reality, the stoker is totally in charge. Once you figure that out, and go with it, the rest is easy.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Just keep the keel-side down and don't run aground, Captain.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    You're not doing it right.

    "Captain" is just a title they use to give us the illusion of control. In reality, the stoker is totally in charge. Once you figure that out, and go with it, the rest is easy.
    Uhh.... ya, I figured that out in our marriage.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doane View Post
    Thanks, I haven't noticed any difference in the seat in the more upright position, but could just be my bike, or me. I have the stock Specialized saddle which I really like. When I bought the bike I had a Brooks Flyer (sprung B17) from my earlier bike that I had saved and I put it on the new Sirrus bike to try it for a few weeks.. it was OK, but I honestly found that I like the stock seat better and it's a lot lighter.. the Brooks seat weighs a lot and doesn't hold up to water even though it looks very cool.
    Not to turn this into a Brooks debate, but Brooks saddles are fine in the rain especially after being treated with proofide. I've seen a coworker just leave it outside in the rain for hours, no cover or anything. No problem!

  21. #21
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Different strokes. My rides are generally 30 miles or more at a fairly good clip and I find I'm much more comfortable with lower drop bars, particularly my back. The tops of my bars are are 10 cm below the top of my saddle.
    How do you ride in the drops with your bar so low?? I prefer drop bars for long distances; however, every time I tried to ride the drops when I need a more aero position I manage to knee myself in the gut. My road bikes are 47 cm frames which puts the drops about 3 inches below the crossbar and the tops of the handlebars level with the saddle.
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurlyLaika View Post
    Not to turn this into a Brooks debate, but Brooks saddles are fine in the rain especially after being treated with proofide. I've seen a coworker just leave it outside in the rain for hours, no cover or anything. No problem!
    I don't want to change this discussion either and didn't mean to slight Brooks. My experience is only after owning the Brooks Flyer (B17 with springs) for over a year and using it on two bikes. Brooks very specifically warns against getting them wet and even encourages the use of a rain cover that they sell, irregardless of using the Proofide, which I applied following the directions. Mine got wet once and stained my light colored pants, another drawback. And the saddle, at almost two pounds (860g) is over twice the weight of my 14 oz Specialized Sonoma saddle which I've found to be just as comfortable even though it has no springs. I don't know how a B17 (without the springs) would compare in comfort, it is lighter, at 18oz, then the Flyer, but still 1/4 pound heaver then my Sonoma saddle. What I do miss about the Brooks is the very cool retro look, it's really beautiful and I'm sure that with proper care it will last for a very long time, but it's also about four times the price of my Specialized Sonoma saddle.

  23. #23
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Handle bar height...mine vary depending on the bike. My city bike they are way up there, think sitting in a dining room chair with your arms about 8" above the table , on my touring bike the handlebars are drop bars and are just slightly above saddle level, this is an allowance for my advancing years. My other bikes all fall somewhere in between. Most are towards the upright end of the spectrum, think Raleigh Sports.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Handle bar height...mine vary depending on the bike. ..snip
    Aaron
    Thanks, Aaron: Went on a long ride today with a friend. Toro Park is inland from here and is about 5,000 acres full of about 30 miles of trails, most of which are bike accessible, but are compacted, rocky dirt, which gave us a very rough ride. My Specialized Sirrus commuter is not made for this type of terrain. We managed to get up to the top of a ridge, much to the surprise of other bikers on mountain bikes, but we were going a lot slower and I wouldn't attempt it again as the bike just isn't made for it. But, the interesting thing was that my raised flat bars felt very comfortable in this riding situation as well. I'll have to check and see what the relation is to the saddle height, I hadn't thought of checking that.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Finally got around to measuring mine, wanted to ride it for awhile with the bar tube extension and I'm still feeling very comfortable with the height. Anyway, my seat measures 39-1/2" and the tops of the grips are 45-1/2" so they are 6" higher then the bars.

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