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  1. #1
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    Changing seat >> handlebar distance

    Ok, so here's the deal. Searching for a dual-purpose bike; purpose 1 is around town with big tires (32 mm) and panniers in decent weather. Purpose 2 is a sporty winter road bike- fenders and 28mm tires, probably, to deal with the winter road debris I encounter. I'm older (48) and like to ride 35-50 miles so the bike needs to fit.

    I am also trying to keep it cheap because I already have a good road bike.

    One I'm looking at closely is a Novara Strada from REI:

    http://m.rei.com/product/857586/novara-strada-bike-2014

    In theory, I should be able to nab one in a couple weeks for ~$800 new with 105. It's got long-reach brakes and tons of frame clearance. It's a nice looking bike, which doesn't hurt. But here's my question. Though they are both nominally 61 cm bikes, my 2014 Roubaix measures almost an inch longer from the line of the seatpost extended, to the center of the horizontal top part of the handlebars. I can certainly feel this (took it for a short spin the other day).

    I know this can be addressed via moving the seat back and/or using a longer stem. However, the devil is in the details... and I lack a clear understanding of the ergonomic effects of doing either. For instance, moving the seat back that much fixes the cockpit length but changes the position relative to the cranks- which seems important! A longer stem likely has bike handling effects- but what are they?

    A quick primer from the forum formerly known as the 41 on this would be very much appreciated!
    Last edited by Long Tom; 03-14-14 at 10:12 PM.
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  2. #2
    Farmer tan f4rrest's Avatar
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    Seat first, relative to crank. Then stem to finish reach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
    Seat first, relative to crank. Then stem to finish reach.
    How is that properly measured- drop a plumb line from some nominal spot on the seat and measure from the line to the CL of the cranks?
    Every time that wheel turn 'round,
    Bound to cover just a little more ground!

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    Farmer tan f4rrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Long Tom View Post
    How is that properly measured- drop a plumb line from some nominal spot on the seat and measure from the line to the CL of the cranks?
    I normally hop on and ride, stop and adjust. You can pretty much tell if your seat is too far forward or back by coasting while standing on the pedals, getting your center of balance, and then touching down onto the seat.

    Otherwise, people use a partner to drop a plumb line from kneecap while the they're clipped in with pedal is at 9 o'clock and adjust seat until it hangs over the pedal spindle.

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    L-I-V-I-N dtrain's Avatar
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    Long Tom - if you are still considering used, two XL bikes posted this evening:
    61cm Specialized S-Works TriCross
    Windsor Tourist 64cm w/ upgrades
    "The older you do get, the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin', man, L-I-V-I-N." - Wooderson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Long Tom View Post
    How is that properly measured- drop a plumb line from some nominal spot on the seat and measure from the line to the CL of the cranks?
    First, I recommend having the exact same saddle on both bikes before you do anything else.

    Now use a plumb bob on your roubaix while holding your bike upright. Also use a straight edge to get a horizontal line from the bottom bracket. Mark the center of the bottom bracket and the intersection of the plumb bob line. Measure the distance between the two marks. This is your setback for the saddle.


    On the new bike, set the saddle height and setback. Once you have the saddle set. Measure the distance on your roubaix from the nose of the saddle to a string tied to both brifters (I usually just circle the brifters a couple times and get the line taut). Now use the same method to measure the distance from the nose of the saddle on the new bike to the brifter line. The difference between the two measurements is going to be the length you need to add or subtract from the stem length on the new bike. Note that the saddle nose to handlebar drop also plays a role in this. But this should get you on the ball park. Leonard Zinn has his own method of transferring measurements, but I am used to doing it my way.

    Alternately, if you have a 3D scanner and some reference dots, you can use those to compare the two bikes on the computer and adjust virtually. I wish I had the cash to afford a 3D scanner and reference dots.
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    Tom, do I remember correctly that you are very tall but ride a very small (relatively) frame? Very tall seat post showing, very high spacer stack? Short top tube? If I am right, I think your problem is easily solved just by going to a larger frame. That will give you the extra reach you are looking for. I concur with others above that saddle set back is not where reach is adjusted. It is true that you may wish to have different set backs on different bikes due to different riding styles and purposes. With different amount of bend in your torso on a different bike, different leg muscles come into play. So a cross bike or hybrid for example won't necessarily work best with the same set back as an aggressive roadie. Nevertheless, saddle setback is just about the legs and hips and not about the reach of the torso and arms. That is taken care of with top tube length, head tube height, spacers, handlebar dimensions and stem length. Some of these are the add ons, but some are part of the frame size. That is the first place you should start.
    Robert

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    Robert, I'm just shy of 6'-4". The problem is, for many bikes (like my Roubaix, or this one) there isn't a bigger frame available! For 2014 I think there was an S-Works Roubaix in 64cm but that was it. And actually, I suspect that might be bigger than I'd prefer anyway.

    Not a great picture but this is my Roubaix all ready to go on a long rural ride. Yeah yeah the top tube bag is Fredlike <grin>.



    The seat height and setback is where I need it for knee happiness. The stem height and angle etc. are untouched from where the LBS's guy set them. I do know this setup works fine (is comfortable) for rides in the 50 mile range with lots of climbing. Beyond that I don't really know squat about this stuff and I appreciate the help from you guys!

    It terms of the bike at REI, it's possible that frame is just too small. Proceeding forward with exploring it as an option, however, it has a zero-setback seatpost on it now, and the seat is midway on it's rails, so there's lots of leeway to be had right there. When I rode it, as is suggested above, I naturally wanted to settle down behind where the seat was positioned so that tells me to look for at least some of my "missing inch" there. Or get a different bike, haha. This one is a smoking deal by the time I use the coupon (presumably) and my dividend. By the time I sell my other bike (my winter bike, not the Roubaix) I'll have performed a major upgrade at the position for ~$300 or so... I'll have a much better winter bike AND a bike for my light cargo around-town needs, which my current winter bike essentially cannot do due to carbon seatpost, no rack eyelets, etc. The long reach 105 brakes and ton of frame clearance and 105 shifters make the REI bike quite attractive- it's pretty much perfect, and the price is pretty perfect as well!

    But I can't let that sway me into too small a frameset, certainly.

    Thanks guys. Really.
    Every time that wheel turn 'round,
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtrain View Post
    Long Tom - if you are still considering used, two XL bikes posted this evening:
    61cm Specialized S-Works TriCross
    Windsor Tourist 64cm w/ upgrades
    Thanks! Wow, that S-Works Tricross is an interesting setup. I like the price. I'd have to make some serious drivetrain changes though. Hmmm.
    Every time that wheel turn 'round,
    Bound to cover just a little more ground!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Long Tom View Post
    Robert, I'm just shy of 6'-4". The problem is, for many bikes (like my Roubaix, or this one) there isn't a bigger frame available! For 2014 I think there was an S-Works Roubaix in 64cm but that was it. And actually, I suspect that might be bigger than I'd prefer anyway.

    Not a great picture but this is my Roubaix all ready to go on a long rural ride. Yeah yeah the top tube bag is Fredlike <grin>.



    The seat height and setback is where I need it for knee happiness. The stem height and angle etc. are untouched from where the LBS's guy set them. I do know this setup works fine (is comfortable) for rides in the 50 mile range with lots of climbing. Beyond that I don't really know squat about this stuff and I appreciate the help from you guys!

    It terms of the bike at REI, it's possible that frame is just too small. Proceeding forward with exploring it as an option, however, it has a zero-setback seatpost on it now, and the seat is midway on it's rails, so there's lots of leeway to be had right there. When I rode it, as is suggested above, I naturally wanted to settle down behind where the seat was positioned so that tells me to look for at least some of my "missing inch" there. Or get a different bike, haha. This one is a smoking deal by the time I use the coupon (presumably) and my dividend. By the time I sell my other bike (my winter bike, not the Roubaix) I'll have performed a major upgrade at the position for ~$300 or so... I'll have a much better winter bike AND a bike for my light cargo around-town needs, which my current winter bike essentially cannot do due to carbon seatpost, no rack eyelets, etc. The long reach 105 brakes and ton of frame clearance and 105 shifters make the REI bike quite attractive- it's pretty much perfect, and the price is pretty perfect as well!

    But I can't let that sway me into too small a frameset, certainly.

    Thanks guys. Really.
    Exactly. BTW I apologize. I must have been thinking of someone else with a hugely ong post and very tall spacer stack. Your doesn't look out of li e to me. Sorry. Sounds like you have it under control. You shouldn't use the seat to get reach, but you also don't decide how much reach you need until the seat is in the right place. Sounds weird, but it makes sense if you think about it. Keep us posted.
    Robert

    My hero: "Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nuthin'..." (Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus")

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    Quote Originally Posted by Long Tom View Post
    Ok, so here's the deal. Searching for a dual-purpose bike; purpose 1 is around town with big tires (32 mm) and panniers in decent weather. Purpose 2 is a sporty winter road bike- fenders and 28mm tires, probably, to deal with the winter road debris I encounter. I'm older (48) and like to ride 35-50 miles so the bike needs to fit.

    I am also trying to keep it cheap because I already have a good road bike.
    Something else to consider is a cyclo-cross bike. There are good sales this time of year on them as well.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

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    Stan, yes, that's an option for sure. The Tricross caught my eye. They are considerably more money- even for Sora... part of the appeal of the Novarra is the 105 at the ~$800 price point. There's a Tricross up in Washington in my size for $1000 for a 2013. Sora shifters etc but it does have disc brakes.
    Every time that wheel turn 'round,
    Bound to cover just a little more ground!

  13. #13
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    Only thing I can tell you is...this distance is critical and honestly at 6'4" you could probably stand to be even more stretched out.
    I am 6'1" and ride 600mm from saddle tip to handlebar center. Many pro's ride 625mm for my size and even more stretched out.

    Measure your current bike and let me know what it measures....mm's or inches.

    Don't settle for a bike you can't set up to generate power. Comfort actually comes for many by getting leaned over a bit, rotating pelvis forward and stetching out. Also good posture on the bike which is a function of proper pelvis tilt requires more reach. Riding cramped is no good for power or comfort.
    Don't settle for a bike that doesn't fit perfectly. 2 hours + in the same position...its pretty important to get your balance and contact pts points right.
    Last edited by Campag4life; 03-15-14 at 05:40 PM.

  14. #14
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    Interesting. I'm 578 mm from tip of saddle to center of bars on my 61 cm Roubaix SL4.
    Every time that wheel turn 'round,
    Bound to cover just a little more ground!

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