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Upright commute position

Old 07-17-13, 04:57 PM
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Upright commute position

I had a chance to ride a simple old beach cruiser last weekend, and I enjoyed the riding position it offered in terms of being very upright and comfortable. I have been riding in a more downward position with a back-pack, and have not really been enjoying it. I was thinking of looking into something that will offer me (tall, 6'4", typically riding a 61cm bike) a more relaxed position and that will accommodate a rack so I can get rid of the backpack. We don't have any covered bike parking, so it would also be outside a lot, and therefore I don't want to spend a fortune on it. Any suggestions on what I might look into?
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Old 07-17-13, 05:05 PM
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Upright is good but the bikes of that style I've ridden long distances on tend to be not very efficient - your center of mass if well rearward of the bottom bracket. What worked best for me is a bike with a tall stem so that the bars can be at or above seat level, with multiple hand positions. A trekking bar or a traditional road bike bar has lots of positions and if you can get one of those placed high enough you may want to do that instead of a traditional omafiets or beach cruiser type bike. For me anyway it's a lot more comfortable, especially into a headwind.
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Old 07-17-13, 05:54 PM
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Me and the Mrs. have had this debate a few times. She rides a beach cruiser, and our last outing was pretty one sided with me on my Voyageur. We don't try to set any speed records, but it was obvious that she was doing a lot more work than I was, and in the long run the comfort you gain from seating position is more than offset by the extra effort you put into hill climbing and fighting wind. That said, I am looking into a more upright stem, but I think the seating position of a road bike will give you the leg leverage advantage, and a taller bar height/rise will improve the comfort level. You should be able to find a good compromise between the two.
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Old 07-17-13, 07:16 PM
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I do like the upright position on my Allant, but it is torture in a head wind.
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Old 07-17-13, 07:23 PM
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Well, maybe the better idea would be a taller stem to get me more upright, and perhaps a change in bars. There will be, on the ride to work, a headwind of some sort nearly every day as its a river channel coming right off the ocean. The other issue I have is none of my bikes have eyelets for racks. I did see a bike at Costco (I know, the horror) that was pretty inexpensive but was essentially a MTB hybrid with eyelets.
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Old 07-17-13, 07:42 PM
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Just popped in from C&V looking for upright ideas. Here is what I just finished and works well for my recreational riding. It's an '84 Schwinn World Sport.

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Old 07-17-13, 08:02 PM
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Upright is easier on your back and neck and provides a great view of surrounding traffic, but it is less efficient, particularly when fighting headwinds. It can be a great choice for some commutes, depending on your conditions.
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Old 07-17-13, 08:39 PM
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What you want is a recumbent. Faster than road bikes but with the upright position.

See forum here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php/37-Recumbent
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Old 07-18-13, 08:01 AM
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If your just recreational riding or commuting to work, the more upright position will be best for you. Unless your racing or in a hurry to get from point A to B then you do not need to be bent over which is harder on your neck and arms. Myself, I prefer an inbetween position so I ride a mountain bike frame all built up like a road bike. It is fast and efficient enough and my riding position is very adjustable for comfort on a 1 hour commute or a longer 4 hour weekend ride. The key is to have enough stem height to get those bars up and then your saddle will need to be selected with much care because you will be balancing more of your weight on the seat. The important thing to remember is cushy and padded saddles do not provide more comfort for the long runs. Support is the key. It needs to be firm yet wide enough to support your sit bones and have a short nose. Forget about those comfort bike saddles as they will not give you the support you need because you will just sink into them and chaffing and discomfort will soon develop. Also stay away from road bike and racing type saddles as those are meant for just leaning on while in the aero position and are not designed to support any of your weight.
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Old 07-18-13, 08:09 AM
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I'd be careful about making a decision like that based on a weekend ride on the cruiser. You can achieve fairly comfortable upright positions on hybrids or relaxed flat-bar road bikes without the extreme of going to a cruiser and that would likely be more effective for a commute.
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Old 07-18-13, 08:44 AM
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I've been using this exclusively for commuting since November -



Upright, fast, efficient...and electric.
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Old 07-18-13, 08:44 AM
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I agree with the direction of the thread, a high rise quill, bars, or Satori stem extender can get you upright without committing to a bike that is a one-trick beach cruiser. Upright riding in traffic, sight seeing, joy rides,- great; but you don't want the weight, bulk, huge tires, and hi-ten & low-end components that usually come with those bikes. I have a lightweight 90s MTB that I've converted to an upright rider with a stem extender, trekking bars, slicks. But, I could convert it back to a legit MTB in a hour.
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Old 07-18-13, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by G1nko View Post
I've been using this exclusively for commuting since November -



Upright, fast, efficient...and electric.
And lots of hand positions, a big basket on the front..very nice!
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Old 07-18-13, 01:40 PM
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Both of my bikes are fairly upright (by which I mean the handlebars are 2-3" above the seat), and I'm very comfortable riding that way. Even upright as I am, I don't find headwinds to be much of an issue, tbh.
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Old 07-18-13, 01:42 PM
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Ok, so perhaps you all can help me sort out how to equip a frame I have lying around. It will accomodate 32c tires, and doesn't stretch me out too much so I think all I need would be quill stem and bars, plus a rack that uses the QR on the front or back. Plenty of threads on the rack, so I just need to find something in my budget. I have a set of flat-bar shifters and brake levers, so all I really need is the right stem and bar combo. I have a 9 speed set-up to fit the bike with, too, so your advice and thoughts on the cockpit have been and continue to be HUGELY appreciated.
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Old 07-18-13, 02:50 PM
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I am a big fan of bullhorn bars. You have the upright position up close, and you can put your controls on the end of the bullhorns. I opted for a front brake on one and a bar end shifter on the other. Or you can put two brake levers and have downtube shifters.

I like this arrangement better than flatbars with bar ends because on flatbars, the relaxed position has access to the controls, not the leaned over position. When I'm leaned over that means I'm going faster, and that's when I want quick access to the brakes.

The advantage bullhorns have over regular road bars to me is that the position I spend 90% of my time in, on the hoods, does not have a good grip on the bars - I cannot wrap my hands around as as securely as I can with bullhorns in the same posture, if that makes sense. On roadbars my hands are ON the drops; on bullhorns my hands are AROUND the bars. I've got scars all over my body from getting bounced off the hoods once.

EDIT: picture worth a thousand words.




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Old 07-18-13, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by droy45 View Post
...The key is to have enough stem height to get those bars up and then your saddle will need to be selected with much care because you will be balancing more of your weight on the seat. The important thing to remember is cushy and padded saddles do not provide more comfort for the long runs. Support is the key. It needs to be firm yet wide enough to support your sit bones and have a short nose. Forget about those comfort bike saddles as they will not give you the support you need because you will just sink into them and chaffing and discomfort will soon develop. Also stay away from road bike and racing type saddles as those are meant for just leaning on while in the aero position and are not designed to support any of your weight.
+1 on that. Getting the right seat is an ongoing challenge for me. I have a micro adjusting seat post coming that should let me fine tune the seat tilt. I tried a wide seat that was very well reviewed (Amazon) but it put way too much pressure on my backside. The short nose worked for me though. Somewhere there is a Goldilocks seat for me.
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Old 07-18-13, 06:44 PM
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I was looking around at seats as well. I was thinking of trying a Selle AnAtomica Titanico. I have a Brooks on another bike and like it a lot too.
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Old 07-18-13, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jdriver View Post
I am a big fan of bullhorn bars. You have the upright position up close, and you can put your controls on the end of the bullhorns. I opted for a front brake on one and a bar end shifter on the other.
Do you only have one brake?
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Old 07-18-13, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by P4D View Post
Well, maybe the better idea would be a taller stem to get me more upright, and perhaps a change in bars. There will be, on the ride to work, a headwind of some sort nearly every day as its a river channel coming right off the ocean. The other issue I have is none of my bikes have eyelets for racks. I did see a bike at Costco (I know, the horror) that was pretty inexpensive but was essentially a MTB hybrid with eyelets.
You could consider a seat-post mounted rack. They work best on a bike with a sloping top tube as that means more of the seat post is exposed and the rack can be a bit lower. If the bike has a level top tube the seat post rack may ride a bit too close to the bottom of the saddle. You can also attach rack struts to the seat stays with P-clips if you don't have eyelets.
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Old 07-18-13, 09:50 PM
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How far is your commute?
I started commuting last year with an old rigid steel mtn bike that I upgraded to 9 speed. My commute is 12 miles each way. After a while I realized the lack of different hand and seating positions was taking it's toll for a ride that long, so I bought another old mtn bike and outfitted it with road bars. I used a Nitto Periscopa stem ($50), which got the flats of the bars slightly above seat level, while the drops are below. I used a Nitto Randonneur bar ($35) with Shimano bar end shifters ($100) and added Soma Cross Levers ($30) to the flats to add another set of brake handles for moving around in traffic, and I'm so glad I added those. But all in all, I bought the bike for $125 and am now at $1000, so you'll need to do some pricing to see if it's in your range for a bike that will spend a lot of time outside.
If you go to the Rivendell bike website (rivbike.com), and go to the section on stems, they give a good comparison of the available riser stems and how high each one will raise your bars.
You definitely give up some of the slow speed agility with drop bars since they are narrower, but there is a range of sizes.
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Old 07-18-13, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Do you only have one brake?
Yes..I had a Casseroll frame and moved to a rainy area..instead of trading it in for a disc brake frame I figured I could swap the fork to get one that is disc compatible. Instead of trying to retrofit a disc to the rear triangle I opted to forgo a rear brake, setup shifting for a 1x10 setup, thus requiring only one shifter to go along with the one brake
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Old 07-18-13, 10:48 PM
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The classic .. https://www.pedersen-bike.dk/
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Old 07-18-13, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by P4D View Post
I had a chance to ride a simple old beach cruiser last weekend, and I enjoyed the riding position it offered in terms of being very upright and comfortable. I have been riding in a more downward position with a back-pack, and have not really been enjoying it. I was thinking of looking into something that will offer me (tall, 6'4", typically riding a 61cm bike) a more relaxed position and that will accommodate a rack so I can get rid of the backpack. We don't have any covered bike parking, so it would also be outside a lot, and therefore I don't want to spend a fortune on it. Any suggestions on what I might look into?
Unless you are in a race when you commute or trying to impress bicycling aficionados, what is the matter with using the simple old beach cruiser? You enjoyed riding it, you don't enjoy riding your current bike in a more downward position with a back-pack. Also answers the mail for your expenses and covered parking concerns.

Given that you provided no details about your commuting distance, hills encountered, wind concerns, traffic conditions, etc., most of the other posters on this thread provided information about what would work for their commute which may or may not be anything like your own.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 07-19-13 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 07-19-13, 11:28 AM
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jdriver, thanks for posting the pics of the bullhorns. I may have to do that modification to my Trek. How low do you get when in the fully-forward position?
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