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Reach and Type of Riding

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Reach and Type of Riding

Old 07-24-22, 05:26 AM
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Noonievut
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Reach and Type of Riding

I think a lot about bike fit, I find it a very interesting topic.

My latest thinking is that *almost* regardless of bike (e.g., road, all-road/gravel, touring, bike packing) most of us have a saddle height range that works for our leg length (and butts).

But reach and handlebar drop from saddle can vary widely. Some roadies have a big handlebar drop and often this helps ease any back, neck or arm discomfort they previously experienced; and they may ride very long distances this way. Many bike tourers on drop bars have the saddle set closer to level and ride long distances day after day. And many bike packers (drop or flat bar) have a more upright position.

In the end, of the goal is comfort riding over long distances, I figure whatever floats your boat!

But I am curious on how one person can be comfortable with huge drop on a 100 mile road ride, and another equally comfortable with bars and saddle level. Is it different bodies, time to adjust, etc?
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Old 07-24-22, 07:19 AM
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Some riders have a disease and can no longer tolerate lots of reach and drop.

Age
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Old 07-24-22, 12:43 PM
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Iride01 
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Age is part of the issue. However for some, I think they never get use to aero position or "race" position because it feels odd to them when they try it and then they won't try it again often enough to simply get use to it.

I like a lot of drop.
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Old 07-24-22, 03:25 PM
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Firstly, reach and drop are not the same thing, as the OP indicates.
Drop: I like enough drop so that when my forearms are horizontal, my thighs clear my chest by some small amount. IOW as aero as I can get and still breathe comfortably.. .
Reach: I like plenty of reach. I think it unloads my hands and is more comfortable on rough roads. With horizontal forearms on the hoods, my knees are very close to my elbows. This lets me flatten my back while still using my upper arms as struts.

I've always had about the same position, hasn't changed with age. I do all sorts of stuff to keep it that way. But I think some people have various back disorders which prevent them from bending in the lumbar area. And many more people simply aren't in good enough shape to be comfortable like that. It takes constant attention. One of the very best exercises is simply walking for a few miles at as fast a pace as one can manage. Super for the lower back. A low back makes it so much easier to be fast on the flats and false flats. Torso weight is in the right spot and the swept rectangle is smaller.
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Old 07-25-22, 04:46 AM
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Endurance and gravel bikes tend to be designed with shorter reach and more stack (less drop) than full on road racing bikes. I'm 75 inches tall and based on a recent fit, my current bike's reach of 396 mm requires 150 mm stem. I would prefer an endurance frame but all the ones of interest have short reaches. Few bikes have say 410 mm reach. Anyway, I would say gravel and endurance frames inherently put a rider in a more upright position with less reach and less drop.

A more upright position puts the torso in a less cantilevered angle, which puts less demand on the stabilizing muscles of the trunk or core and also a lot less stress on neck muscles and less pressure overall on the upper neck/shoulders. That is just physics. A lot of riders aren't positioned optimally on the bike. Often the saddle is too high with chafed butt resulting and/or knee issues.

When I was young and flexible and strong, it was easy to ride with a long reach and drop because making more power on the pedals meant the legs support a lot of the weight and being skinnier meant less weight to support. A stronger core also made it relatively easier to ride with a flat back and horizontal forearms. Saddle fore and aft come into play as well. As the saddle is pushed more forward or as seat tube angles increase, more weight is shifted to the hands. A cm one way of the other can make a big difference. It is somewhat rare to see an older rider with a flat back and horizontal forearms. It is also hard to tell the age of a rider just seeing them on the road. Is someone 60 or 40? There is a world of difference between the two ages statistically WRT riding position

Bike fits are very expensive and may or may not be worth exploring.......
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Old 07-25-22, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
I think a lot about bike fit, I find it a very interesting topic.
My latest thinking is that *almost* regardless of bike (e.g., road, all-road/gravel, touring, bike packing) most of us have a saddle height range that works for our leg length (and butts).
But reach and handlebar drop from saddle can vary widely. Some roadies have a big handlebar drop and often this helps ease any back, neck or arm discomfort they previously experienced; and they may ride very long distances this way. Many bike tourers on drop bars have the saddle set closer to level and ride long distances day after day. And many bike packers (drop or flat bar) have a more upright position.
In the end, >if< the goal is comfort riding over long distances, I figure whatever floats your boat!
But I am curious on how one person can be comfortable with huge drop on a 100 mile road ride, and another equally comfortable with bars and saddle level. Is it different bodies, time to adjust, etc?
Well, it's all of that and more. Certainly we all start from the 'body' we have, then we make consideration for what the primary considerations are for our 'cycling'.
IF the Goal is 'Comfort', then everything done seems to set our orbit around that 'Sun'= Comfort, with the fact that certain, that there are nudges from the other more minor considerations/Planets which will affect that/our orbit.
But 'Comfort', as our Sun, is also affect by the gravity of the surrounding considerations. IE One could do a century in a highly comfortable way. That might include no serious efforts on any segments, frequent stops, doing all the tings which might never make you 'uncomfortable'. Is the end result, in fact, the kind of 'comfort' one wants? Because lets say doing a century in 5 1/2 hrs would require some serious effort, many 'uncomfortable moments, less stops and those being shorter. Or is 6 1.2 or 7 hour of saddle time, and still needing to push in the final miles... Would that be our 'comfortable'?
Which, really is 'Comfortable?
There's so much more to consider... but lets leave it at this point. What is the Balance of the 'gravitational fields', of speed, position/posture, effort, and what are the elements of comfort?
Likely this dynamic balance of each rider's 'solar system' may not be set, or may not be really determined, recognized for the effect of each active 'planet'.
Maybe, in order to NOT have mto march thru a 7 hour century, some other 'less' comfortable options might need more emphasis - or maybe need to be incorporated and thru work, become more 'comfortable'?
Ride On
Yuri

Last edited by cyclezen; 07-25-22 at 05:59 PM.
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