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  1. #1
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    How high should my hands be? Not sure If I should get a longer steer tube...

    Hi.. ok sooo I'm building up a couple old Rocky Mountain bikes and I have determined that I am good with a 19.5 frame...

    I have an 18.5 frame and might be picking up a 20" frame...

    I was just fitting myself to the 19.5 frame and it seems like the handle bars are too low, but I'm used to road bikes so not sure?

    Is there a rule of thumb of how high the bars should be off the ground?

    I can get a new steer tube put into the forks (all my forks are rigid or old school Manitou)... before I do that I wanted to know how high off the ground they should be...

    I will not be doing super aggressive riding... just through the trails and up and down some hills...

    before you say "just get a long angled up stem or steer tube extender" I don't like the way they look... I only want a clean look...


    Thanks!!
    .

  2. #2
    Senior Member YamiRider1316's Avatar
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    Bar heigth is kind of a personel preferance. What works great for one person not so much for another. Personally I run a 1" riser bar with a zero rise stem and i find that to be perfect.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks, but I meant off the ground... I'm using some OLD frames... specifically one for 1984 so the geometry is quite different...

    How high off the ground should the handle bars actually be?

    thanks!!

  4. #4
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    It's all relative. How high off the ground the bars are depends on how tall your frame is & what handlebar position feels best to you. In other words: If your frame fits you, position the bars where they feel most comfortable. The dimensions are irrelevant so long as it feels right.



    just a n00b with an ego

  5. #5
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    I think bar height relative to saddle height is more a more appropriate measurement. Different frames have different bottom bracket heights, which in turn changes how high your body is off the ground, assuming you usually keep the pedal spindle-to-saddle height about the same.
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    I like to go about the same height as the seat. I've seen a lot of others on the trail with that height, and a lot of others on the trail with the seat 3" above the bar height, and a lot of others on the trail with the bars a couple inches above the seat. Obviously if you're bombing down steep hills you aren't going to want the seat 6" above the bar height, or the seat really low if you're always on flats or climbing. As others have said, whatever feels comfortable to you and allows you to be in control of the bike is good to go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scyclops View Post
    Oh yeah, sure, what if everyone thought that way? Then internet forums would merely be places where rational people exchange useful information and ideas - instead of the chaotic, emotionally-charged circuses that they are.

  7. #7
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    I have my MTB saddle 2-3" above the bars, mainly because the frame is a bit too small for me, and the shock fork steer tube doesn't have enough length for any spacers. So the stem is slammed down to the top of the headset. If I put the saddle any lower it messes with my knees. I've grown accustomed to it and actually like it now.
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  8. #8
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    As it looks like you've discovered, it comes down to preference. Fitting mountain bikes is more of an art than a science, and depends on everything from the type of bike to the riding style to rider preferences. In general, the more XC race-y the bike, the lower the bars are in proportion to the saddle, and the more gravity oriented the bike, the higher the bars are in proportion to the saddle. From there, just try it a few ways and see what feels comfortable.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    before you say "just get a long angled up stem or steer tube extender" I don't like the way they look... I only want a clean look...
    You could run risers if you need 'em higher. Up to 3" risers are pretty widely available.

    Me? I like low bars. Not as low as when I was a kid, though. I actually used to run a flipped 10 stem on this when I was a yute. Now even this 0 seems a tad low. She's getting a 6 unflipped here pretty soon.


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  10. #10
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    I set my Dirt Drops so the tops are level with my saddle. If I am running risers or flats, then 2"-3" below the saddle. The trend with newer bikes seems to be to have them higher than I like, but that may have to do with the longer travel forks.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  11. #11
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    That's crazy, Lester. Much credit for riding that thing anywhere but flat road. I wouldn't feel comfortable riding that quickly at all on a bumpy off-road trail down hill. I've been thinking about taking my road bike to the trail once(riding carefully) just for the adventure, but that seat-to-bar drop makes me feel like wuss for even thinking the road bike would be an adventure...
    90 Miyata 914 with full Dura-Ace
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    Quote Originally Posted by scyclops View Post
    Oh yeah, sure, what if everyone thought that way? Then internet forums would merely be places where rational people exchange useful information and ideas - instead of the chaotic, emotionally-charged circuses that they are.

  12. #12
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    My KHS looks about like Lester's in terms of saddle/bar drop, but I also have front suspension, which takes the edge off bumpy stuff.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  13. #13
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    I think bar height relative to saddle height is more a more appropriate measurement. Different frames have different bottom bracket heights, which in turn changes how high your body is off the ground, assuming you usually keep the pedal spindle-to-saddle height about the same.
    good point, but even then BB height doesn't vary *that* much. maybe 2" max on either end, 12" - 14".

    arm length and rider flexibility matters a lot. torso length matters a lot for reach, which is not exactly bar *height* but it is bar placement.

    my bike looks like lester's, the bars are 2-2.5" below the saddle. I have tried a lot of stems to get the fit just right. your body knows. if you ride somewhere windy like I do, it's very important to be able to get low comfortably, instead of sitting upright pedaling into the wind using your torso as a sail. so, I'm extremely picky about bar reach and height.

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