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Question about Handlebar to Saddle Height

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Question about Handlebar to Saddle Height

Old 03-16-17, 05:20 PM
  #1  
aod43254
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Question about Handlebar to Saddle Height

Hey I have a question I had posted a picture of my bike on another site when I first purchased it and received a comment stating "I always have a fondness for bikes I see with handlebars higher than the saddle." I had responded asking if the way my bike is currently set up is unusual as I had just left it as it was purchased since the bike shop I took it to after purchasing said everything looked good and that the saddle height is correct (they had me sit on the saddle and see if I could reach the ground with my feet, which I could just barely do with my toes and they said that was correct) they only thing they changed at the shop was they loosened the brake levers.

So I was wondering is the way my bike set up out of the ordinary or something that should be changed?
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Old 03-16-17, 05:48 PM
  #2  
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I would say yes, but a pic could result in a different answer.
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Old 03-16-17, 06:20 PM
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Could be. Might be. Or might not be.

Saddle height should be set in relation to the feet on the pedals, not the ground. Generally, there should be a slight bend in your knee with the pedal at six o'clock.

Once saddle height is determined, then worry about handlebar height and reach.
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Old 03-16-17, 06:22 PM
  #4  
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If the bike is comfortable and you enjoy riding it, there's really no problem.

However, that way of adjusting the saddle height, and (it appears) no adjustment of the bar height to your specific body is not a very professional way of setting up a bike. But again, don't worry about it if you are comfortable.

It can also depend on the type of bike and riding you do - you don't specify either. Pics and more information will get you more advice than you ever wanted!
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Old 03-16-17, 06:51 PM
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Depends on the bike. A road bike will be 'bar lower than saddle' almost every time; MTB usually defaults to saddle/bar level. Hybrids/city bikes generally have the higher bar.

But the point was well made -- are you comfortable on the bike, and does it work for you? If the answer is yes, screw the rest of it.
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Old 03-16-17, 07:10 PM
  #6  
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i often see many casual users riding with the saddle too low. a main reason for this is that many people feel a need to have both feet squarely planted on the ground when sitting on the saddle. too low a saddle prevent full leg extension and leverage, and robs you of the power that comes from that.
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Old 03-16-17, 07:25 PM
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aod43254
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The bike has been comfortable so far, I had tried to include a picture of the bike as its currently set up but I seem to be unable at this time due to my limited post count. So once I get up to the minimum posts I'll have to return to this thread to add a picture.
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Old 03-16-17, 08:57 PM
  #8  
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Here's a photo of my bike as it's currently configured.
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Old 03-16-17, 09:37 PM
  #9  
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Check out the heel-to-pedal method on this page: https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/tec...road-bike.html
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Old 03-16-17, 09:50 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by aod43254 View Post
Here's a photo of my bike as it's currently configured.
You do have quite a few spacers uner the handle bars, and the stem is flipped up. This gives you a fairly relaxed position. If it's comfortable, leave it. Just one thing, however. If you have an all carbon steerer tube, the manufacturer often recommends a maximum number of spacers.

Also, with the bars that high, I would have the saddle level. it it now tilted down. This would put more weight on the rear of the saddle and make it more comfortable.
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Old 03-16-17, 10:07 PM
  #11  
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I think there was a time when having the bar in that position would be considered "typical" for other than someone racing, but styles have changed and now you are expected to flip that stem and remove all the spacers. Part of it I think is that BITD it was more typical to ride in the drops (made for easier shifting among other things) whereas now riding the hoods is the thing.

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Old 03-17-17, 03:49 AM
  #12  
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If you ride with no pain then that matters more than anything else. A high bar position does put more pressure on your spine and sitbones (because more weight is shifted to the rear) which could become an issue if you start doing really long rides.
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Old 03-17-17, 04:04 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Saddle height should be set in relation to the feet on the pedals, not the ground. Generally, there should be a slight bend in your knee with the pedal at six o'clock.

+1


About the only bikes that offers decent pedaling efficiency/comfort while simultaneously letting the rider reach the ground flat-footed are pedal-forward and (semi) recumbent bikes.


Ony reaching with your toes, or even only reaching with the toes of one foot is quite common.
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Old 03-17-17, 04:20 AM
  #14  
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I will tack a divergent tack, and say this is not about comfort at all. Your bar height could be lower and you could still be comfy.

The issue is one of choice.

A high bar position relative to the saddle will generally put the rider in a less aerodynamic position, where as lowering the bar can accrue aero benefits.

Which do you choose?

If you're a casual rider, not being aero is fine, but if you've sporting ambition and want to ride as fast as you can carry yourself, you'll want the aerdynamic advantage of a lower riding position.

Testing to see if you can comfortably go lower is easy, and the first step would be to flip the stem over. Just unbolt the bars then loosen the steerer clamp bolts, remove top cap, remove and flip upside the stem, then reinstall. Be mindful to load headset bearings properly; you can watch a video on this.

If that feels fine, try lower by removing a spacer from underneath the stem and replacing it above the stem, allowing the stem to lower. Remove as many spacers as necessary.

Remember that you want to be able to comfortably use all hand positions, tops, .hoods, and drops.

If you find lowering the stem is what you want to do, have a shop trim the fork steerer so that you can remove the above-stem spacer(s). It's a cosmetic thing.
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Old 03-17-17, 07:46 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by bikepro View Post
Also, with the bars that high, I would have the saddle level. it it now tilted down. This would put more weight on the rear of the saddle and make it more comfortable.
+1.

My road bikes are set up similar, fairly even saddle/bar height. I prefer just the slightest bit of nose-up on my saddles. I've got a bit of a gut, this position is much more comfortable for riding for me than the good flat-back aero pose often seen on road bikes.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:23 AM
  #16  
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Old 03-17-17, 09:25 AM
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Old 03-17-17, 09:29 AM
  #18  
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Old 03-17-17, 09:44 AM
  #19  
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Every bicycle has just one purpose - to utterly delight just one person in the entire universe.

A hard core road or track racer will have a different opinion than Grant Peterson on the topic of saddle vs. handlebar height. They're both right but for different users. If you solicit enough opinions you are going to have people telling you that you are wrong no matter what you do. Don't listen to them. It's your bicycle. Set it up so that it makes you happy because that's the only opinion that matters. If you decide for any reason that you don't like it, you can always change.
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Old 03-17-17, 10:41 AM
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I like to tinker with my bikes so you are likely see my bars one height for a while and then, just to see whether or not I like it, I will lower them for a while. If you are a tinkerer, move those things around and see what you like.
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Old 03-17-17, 10:51 AM
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The Retrogrouch: Changing Positions: Bike Fit Then and Now
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Old 03-17-17, 08:52 PM
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Thanks for all of the information everyone, I think I'll check the height of the saddle with my feet of the pedals and see if any change needs to be done than as I ride a little more possibly tinker with the handlebars as some have mentioned, since after looking I found I do have 3 spacers under the stem I'll play around with different configurations and see what works/feels best.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:03 PM
  #23  
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Seems like an odd way to determine if saddle height is correct. As mentioned, heel on pedal(not toe) and extend. Then when you have the ball of your feet on the pedal, there is a slight bend when extended which is best.
Feet touching the ground might get the same result?...not sure, but i dont know of that menthod.

As also mentioned, if you are comfortable, have at it. That setup wouldnt be good for me, but each body is different.
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Old 03-19-17, 10:07 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by aod43254 View Post
Thanks for all of the information everyone, I think I'll check the height of the saddle with my feet of the pedals and see if any change needs to be done than as I ride a little more possibly tinker with the handlebars as some have mentioned, since after looking I found I do have 3 spacers under the stem I'll play around with different configurations and see what works/feels best.
Once you start playing around with it, update this thread if you don't mind. I am just kinda curious.
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