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  1. #1
    nun
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    How does the amount of seat stem showing affect ride.

    I like to have as little seat stem showing above the seat tube as possible, maybe 2 or 3". I look at bikes like the Thorn Exxp etc and wonder just what having so much seat stem showing does to the ride.
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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    The amount of stem showing does virtually nothing for ride comfort or handling. The bike pictured is designed with a sloping top tube for 26" wheels. This makes for a more compact frame (saves a bit of weight) but needs a longer seatpost for a given rider than a traditional frame with a level top tube and 700C wheels.

    The longer seatpost might flex a bit more and reduce road shock a tiny bit, but the effect would almost certainly be negligible.

  3. #3
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom View Post
    The amount of stem showing does virtually nothing for ride comfort or handling. The bike pictured is designed with a sloping top tube for 26" wheels. This makes for a more compact frame (saves a bit of weight) but needs a longer seatpost for a given rider than a traditional frame with a level top tube and 700C wheels.

    The longer seatpost might flex a bit more and reduce road shock a tiny bit, but the effect would almost certainly be negligible.
    +1 - I have very little seatpost showing on my LHT and a ton on my Thorn Sherpa - both bikes are setup with nearly the same cockpit dimensions. The only practical difference is I have a lot more stand over clearance on the Thorn.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom View Post
    The longer seatpost might flex a bit more and reduce road shock a tiny bit, but the effect would almost certainly be negligible.
    I agree that it would be negligible. If that was not the case you wouldn't see racers with so much seat tube showing. They need a stiff frame that doesn't deflect under pedaling stresses and they seem to universally go for a small frame with a sloping top tube.

    I prefer a smallish frame and an aggressive riding position much like that of a road racer for touring, so I may be a bit out of sync with much of the touring community.

  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I like to have as little seat stem showing above the seat tube as possible, maybe 2 or 3". I look at bikes like the Thorn Exxp etc and wonder just what having so much seat stem showing does to the ride.
    Lots of seat post showing is only a problem with smaller diameter posts.

    I would say that having only 2" or 3" post showing indicates to me a frame that is too large for the rider. All of mine have at least 6" of post showing. Mountain bikes, of course, have more.









    The saddle, by the way, is supposed to support you but it shouldn't be like a chair that you sit on.
    Stuart Black
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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Nice looking bikes cyccommute.

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    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Lots of seat post showing is only a problem with smaller diameter posts.

    I would say that having only 2" or 3" post showing indicates to me a frame that is too large for the rider. All of mine have at least 6" of post showing. Mountain bikes, of course, have more.









    The saddle, by the way, is supposed to support you but it shouldn't be like a chair that you sit on.
    I like the racks on the Cannondale.
    What make are they?
    Steel or aluminum?

  8. #8
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I like to have as little seat stem showing above the seat tube as possible, maybe 2 or 3". I look at bikes like the Thorn Exxp etc and wonder just what having so much seat stem showing does to the ride.
    What you should be concerned about proper height of the saddle above the bottom bracket for correct leg extension.
    The distance between the top tube and the saddle isn't something to worry about (other than strength of seatpost).

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

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    Some might look at the flip side of the coin and claim that lots of seat post showing is indicative of a bike that's too small.

    In the old days (70's), they used to say that a properly fitted road bike would have a "fistful" of seatpost showing, but hey, if your fist is 6", the women must love ya!

    I noticed in the pics that the handlebars were also considerably below seat level on some of those bikes. Perhaps you just prefer a lower, more aggressive riding position? Most tourers like to have the bars level with or above the seat height. I know I do, and I'm showing about 4" of post.
    Last edited by theranman; 12-20-07 at 02:33 PM.

  10. #10
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theranman View Post
    Some might look at the flip side of the coin and claim that lots of seat post showing is indicative of a bike that's too small.
    The bike is only too small if the distance req'd between the saddle and bars cannot be achieved without a stem longer than 110-120mm and/or a set back seat post. In general terms the only thing lots of seat post demonstrates is that you've got a lot of stand over clearance - the frame could be too small, too big or just right, having a lot of seat post isn't going to be the determining factor.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theranman View Post
    Some might look at the flip side of the coin and claim that lots of seat post showing is indicative of a bike that's too small.
    Undoubtedly some would, but I wouldn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by theranman View Post
    I noticed in the pics that the handlebars were also considerably below seat level on some of those bikes. Perhaps you just prefer a lower, more aggressive riding position? Most tourers like to have the bars level with or above the seat height. I know I do, and I'm showing about 4" of post.
    Just a bit of a point of reference...
    If you look at the bikes on the "Fully Loaded Touring Bicycles - On Tour" web page you will find that a not insignificant portion of folks there have the same preference. They aren't the majority, but they aren't a completely insignificant percentage either.

    I think that if you are used to riding in an aggressive position and comfortable with it, then it makes sense to have your touring bike setup that way. It is efficient and comfortable unless you either aren't flexible enough or just haven't been conditioned to riding in that position.

    Different strokes though...

    http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/fullyloaded

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricohman View Post
    I like the racks on the Cannondale.
    What make are they?
    Steel or aluminum?
    Steel. Tubus Cargo on back, Tubus Tara on the front.
    Stuart Black
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  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theranman View Post
    Some might look at the flip side of the coin and claim that lots of seat post showing is indicative of a bike that's too small.

    In the old days (70's), they used to say that a properly fitted road bike would have a "fistful" of seatpost showing, but hey, if your fist is 6", the women must love ya!

    I noticed in the pics that the handlebars were also considerably below seat level on some of those bikes. Perhaps you just prefer a lower, more aggressive riding position? Most tourers like to have the bars level with or above the seat height. I know I do, and I'm showing about 4" of post.
    I fit my road bikes like I always have...standover height on a road bike is about an inch. Mountain bikes have about 3". The saddles are set so that my leg has a slight bend to it. I can't...and never have been able to...put my foot on the ground from the saddle. If I ride with my saddle that low, my knees hurt!


    I think my bars are set kind of high. I use to run them lower but I just can't bend like that anymore.
    Stuart Black
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    Nice bikes. Which Salsa model is that. Did you build it up or buy it complete?

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    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    My new Sherpa has lots of post showing.
    But it also has a sloping top tube. If your bike has a straight acroos top tube you will have 2 inches less of post visible over the sloping bikes.

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    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Steel. Tubus Cargo on back, Tubus Tara on the front.
    Those are the racks for my new bike then.
    I will begin the search!

  17. #17
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricohman View Post
    Those are the racks for my new bike then.
    I will begin the search!
    Search no further
    Stuart Black
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  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    Nice bikes. Which Salsa model is that. Did you build it up or buy it complete?
    Las Cruces. I built it up. I didn't buy it because it was a cross bike but because it was orange...i.e. not black or white
    Stuart Black
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    cycco, two questions:
    1. Do you find the "dale" at all uncomfortable or rough when she's not loaded down? I almost bought one in the late 90's but it beat me up so badly when not fully loaded, I decided against it. I was told that the ride has been improved upon over the last several years. And yes, I understand it is a dedicated tourer and it should be stiffer than other bikes when unloaded.

    2. How much clearance do you have on that third bottle, is that a standard or full length bottle because it appears it could clip that front tire with a good bump? Or is a 1/2" as good as a mile?

    BTW, nice stable of steeds

  20. #20
    nun
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    OK it should have been 3 or 4 inches showing, not 2 or 3. But I still have to say that 6" plus unrestrained lever arm seems as if it would vibrate like a tubing fork and apart form that the bike looks too small and, well, ugly- all out of proporton, but each to his own, the wonderful thing about cycling is that you can do it your own way.

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    Once you've got the proper seat height and reach (position you're most comfortable in) dialed in, it really doesn't matter how much post is showing. As long as you have enough standover clearance, ride and enjoy.

  22. #22
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    OK it should have been 3 or 4 inches showing, not 2 or 3. But I still have to say that 6" plus unrestrained lever arm seems as if it would vibrate like a tubing fork and apart form that the bike looks too small and, well, ugly- all out of proporton, but each to his own, the wonderful thing about cycling is that you can do it your own way.


    I just got a Bike Friday Tikit so I'm not afraid of a little seat post showing....

    Besides mtn bikers have had tons of exposed seat post for years and I have never heard of tuning fork like problems...

    I've got bikes with next to no seat post showing to 7" on my Thorn to - well a lot on my Tikit...there is no noticeable difference once you are on the bike pedaling.

    If you prefer the look of less seat post cool, but let's not make up problems that don't exist...
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  23. #23
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    OK it should have been 3 or 4 inches showing, not 2 or 3. But I still have to say that 6" plus unrestrained lever arm seems as if it would vibrate like a tubing fork and apart form that the bike looks too small and, well, ugly- all out of proporton, but each to his own, the wonderful thing about cycling is that you can do it your own way.
    Obviously aesthetics are subjective, but I think the opposite. When I see a bike with 3" of seat post showing I think of either some old guy with a tweed jacket with suede patches on the elbows or of old fading pictures from 1976 of smiling young people riding Bike Centennial.

    Maybe it is because I was involved in racing before I was in touring. The better performance riders that I have ridden with/against all seemed to have what looked like a foot of seat tube showing and that may have affected my sense of aesthetics.

    Now if we ignore aesthetics...
    1. I think that small frames are stiffer.
    2. You could never get the bars low enough to suit me with a frame as large as you prefer, but you can always get the bars higher with a different stem.

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    Three things are important for comfort on a bike: saddle height, bar drop, and cockpit length. If those three things are dialed in with precision, the bike will be comfortable.

    The best fitting road bikes for me have a saddle height of 30 inches (bottom bracket bolt to top of saddle), and a bar drop of one inch, and a cockpit length (from the back edge of the saddle to the front of the stem) of 31 1/2 inches.

    So, all of my road bikes provide precisely the same fit and riding position, although on the size 56 there is about five or six inches of seat post showing, and on my size 62, there is only about two inches of seat post showing.

    What does NOT work is the modern style of buying frames that are two, or three sizes too small, which results in having eight or nine inches of post showing, and a bar drop of four or five inches. That fit results in a "pretend racer" riding position that shifts the rider's weight forward onto the hands, resulting in pain in the hands, wrists, neck and shoulders.

    Especially for touring, the riding position should be the cyclist's head up, to see surrounding traffic, and enjoy the scenery. For a touring cyclist to ride with his nose down against the front tire would be to miss the point of touring.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
    Three things are important for comfort on a bike: saddle height, bar drop, and cockpit length. If those three things are dialed in with precision, the bike will be comfortable.

    The best fitting road bikes for me have a saddle height of 30 inches (bottom bracket bolt to top of saddle), and a bar drop of one inch, and a cockpit length (from the back edge of the saddle to the front of the stem) of 31 1/2 inches.

    So, all of my road bikes provide precisely the same fit and riding position, although on the size 56 there is about five or six inches of seat post showing, and on my size 62, there is only about two inches of seat post showing.

    What does NOT work is the modern style of buying frames that are two, or three sizes too small, which results in having eight or nine inches of post showing, and a bar drop of four or five inches. That fit results in a "pretend racer" riding position that shifts the rider's weight forward onto the hands, resulting in pain in the hands, wrists, neck and shoulders.

    Especially for touring, the riding position should be the cyclist's head up, to see surrounding traffic, and enjoy the scenery. For a touring cyclist to ride with his nose down against the front tire would be to miss the point of touring.
    Wow I just rode 4,244 miles across the country in 73 days and didn't even know that I had "hands, wrists, and neck pain" or that my bike setup didn't work. I was deluded enough to think I was comfortable and having a wonderful time. I will know better next time

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