Trek 7100 Hybrid & Cycle Force Tour De France Road Bike
Seats set high
Ok so Iam watching USA Pro Challenge .I need an answer to something I dont understand.
When I was fitted for my road bike my seat was set at about the same level as my handlebar stem and was told this is the standard setup .
Here is my question watching the pros why are their seats at least a foot higher than handlebars ?
That's surely what Paul meant, but the way he asked "Seats set high" put me in mind of some of the wrong reasons for funny seat settings I see.
Literally, the pros have their seats set high for the maximum sustained power. The handlebars are set low for aerodynamic purposes. Also, it looks like a lot more because the top tube slopes down.
At a given bar height, raising the seat a little doesn't improve the aerodynamics much, because the rider's frontal area doesn't change much. If he has a skinny torso and largish upper legs that is. You're decreasing one and increasing the other, as viewed from the front. With a big torso he'd see some change, but most of these cyclists are big legs and small upper bodies, right?
The seats are not set high. It's the bars that are set low. Yes, lower bars make you more aero up to the point where your back is horizontal and your torso presents the minimum frontal area. Aero bars on TT bikes help riders achieve and maintain that position. That said, my wife and I are both pushing 60 and find that lower bars work better for our backs. The top of my bars is 10cm below the top of my saddle (only ~4", not a foot). I'm mentioning this because it works for us and seems counter to the conventional wisdom. It certainly won't work for everybody depending on the physiology, conditioning, back pathology, ...
Schwinn S25 "department store crap" FS MTB, home-made CF 26" hybrid, CF road bike with straight bar, various wierd frankenbikes
It is a big mistake to set the seat for the handlebars. You set the seat for the proper relationship to the pedals. Parameters for this are pretty tight. If seat/pedal spacing is wrong then, at the very least, you will lose efficiency big time. Once the seat is set, parameters for handlebar height are much looser and depend on personal taste, riding style. fitness of core, presence or absence of back problems etc. Notice how many types of handlebars offer different positions and reach depending on type of riding or even just to give you a break.