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  1. #1
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    Handlebar Height

    I have spent the last couple months making adjustments and switching out parts to make my Giant Escape 0 more comfortable and fun to ride. Ergon grips, platform pedals, and Brooks B17 saddle have all worked in my favor.
    I have the saddle height, pitch, and set back dialed in the way I want. What I am still fussing with is handlebar height. I am presently riding with the handlebars a half inch higher than the saddle. This is measured with a carpenter's level across the seat to the top of the stem.
    This set up with the handlebars a half inch higher than the saddle makes for efficient peddling, good climbing, and relatively descent wind resistance.....for a hybrid at least. My problem is I get pain in the neck and upper back and sense a little too much weight on my hands with this set up. When I had the seat lower and the handlebars were 2" above the saddle I was really comfortable but the peddle stroke was not as eficient.
    I would like to think with more and more riding I would get comfortable with my present setup, but I doubt it. I'm old, in pretty good condition, and switched to a performance hybrid because I could no longer deal with the discomfort of being bent over on a road bike.
    So, I'm thinking I need to raise my handlebars to get comfortable. What would be the best way to do that? My Escape has a threadless headset. Also, I would be interested in hearing how others have their handlebar height set. Helpful suggestions would be appreciated.
    "If life were logical, men would ride sidesaddle."
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  2. #2
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    Get a stem riser... this raises the threadless steerer height by 3 to 4". It puts your bars up at or above saddle level, ensuring a comfortable riding position. $40 but you can't put a price on comfort.

  3. #3
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    I would just get 25* or 35* angled stem and call it a day.
    Trek Valencia, 2010
    Marin Highway One, 2010

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    This is a neat tool that will show you the difference between stem length, height and angle. Getting a high angled stem like a 35-40degree won't get you much height. .5 to 1" or so for most setups.

    TTBIKEFIT.COM - Stem Calculator

    another tool

    Stem Chart

  6. #6
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I would go with a higher angled stem like mentioned above, and possibly a riser bar to get a little extra.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
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  7. #7
    Junior Member dadman50's Avatar
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    This is some great advise. Thanks. I too have been tweeking the stem height and rise on my bike. I am also considering riser bars of some sort, (maybe not apes). Possibly a stem riser? Have also thought about an adjustable stem.
    I Can't Complain, But Sometimes I Still Do.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Thanks for all the above comments.
    A trip to my LBS yesterday and viewed the possibilities of:
    .....A different angled stem
    .....A hinged multiangled stem
    .....A stem riser

    I'm leaning toward the stem riser as it offers various possibilities and appears I could dial in just the height needed.
    After finally getting my saddle height, angle, and fore and aft position set, I was shocked at how my peddling efficiency improved. So, once I get the handlebar tweeked, I'm anticipating a more comfortable ride.
    "If life were logical, men would ride sidesaddle."
    Rita Mae Brown

  9. #9
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    I think it would depend on how much height you want to add. If it is a lot, then a stem riser makes sense. If it is a little more, than the angled stem is better--it decreases reach more than just the height increase.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy Wags View Post
    Thanks for all the above comments.
    A trip to my LBS yesterday and viewed the possibilities of:
    .....A different angled stem
    .....A hinged multiangled stem
    .....A stem riser

    I'm leaning toward the stem riser as it offers various possibilities and appears I could dial in just the height needed.
    After finally getting my saddle height, angle, and fore and aft position set, I was shocked at how my peddling efficiency improved. So, once I get the handlebar tweeked, I'm anticipating a more comfortable ride.
    A stem riser will do what adding more spacers won't do... get the bars up to where they should be. I have one on all my bikes. If that's not enough an adjustable stem to dial in the fit may be the next step. You will have a comfortable ride once you're done.

  11. #11
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    I'm thinking of doing the same on my Giant Escape 3. Been getting lower back problems as well as pain in the wrists lately, especially on long rides. Figured a riser may be worth trying.

    When I asked my LBS about a riser they said the bike needs to be re-cabled. Has anyone had to do this on the Giant bikes when installing a riser?

    Also curious if the OP is around, did it solve his problems or not?

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