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Evolution in saddle to bar drop?

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Evolution in saddle to bar drop?

Old 09-24-09, 07:06 AM
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WalksOn2Wheels
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Evolution in saddle to bar drop?

Yes, I'm sorry everyone. It's yet ANOTHER bike fit thread. I apologize.

But after extensive searching, I'm left with a few questions. I'm in the market for a new bike which will also be my first carbon bike which will also be my only road bike for the foreseeable future, maybe 4 or 5 years, so I really want to get it right.

But what I've come to is an interesting point of saddle to bar drop. It seems that the predominant setup these days is a saddle nearly level with the bars, or a minimal drop, but in the recent past, it was common to run a significant amount of drop. I even saw one chart on here stating that I "should" be running a 10-13 cm drop at 6'2".

Look at these two links:

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=21758

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...45823&eid=4352

The new base model Roubaix elite is virtually the same frame as the '06Roubaix. But if you look at the pictures, you'll see that there is much more saddle to bar drop on the '06 than the '10.

Without getting into my whole debacle of searching for the right fit, can someone shed some light on to why this has changed over the past few years?
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Old 09-24-09, 07:11 AM
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1. what the 'predminant setup" is, is irrelevant.

2. look around in your area. find a qualified fitter.

3. have them do a fit session (preferably at a LBS that has a wide range of bikes, so you can then deduct the cost of the fitting when you biuy your bke)

4. buy the bike that fits you.

5. enjoy.
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Old 09-24-09, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
It seems that the predominant setup these days is a saddle nearly level with the bars, or a minimal drop,
Since when? I'm pretty sure the predominant setup is still to have some drop
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Old 09-24-09, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
Yes, I'm sorry everyone. It's yet ANOTHER bike fit thread. I apologize.

But after extensive searching, I'm left with a few questions. I'm in the market for a new bike which will also be my first carbon bike which will also be my only road bike for the foreseeable future, maybe 4 or 5 years, so I really want to get it right.

But what I've come to is an interesting point of saddle to bar drop. It seems that the predominant setup these days is a saddle nearly level with the bars, or a minimal drop, but in the recent past, it was common to run a significant amount of drop. I even saw one chart on here stating that I "should" be running a 10-13 cm drop at 6'2".

Look at these two links:

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=21758

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...45823&eid=4352

The new base model Roubaix elite is virtually the same frame as the '06Roubaix. But if you look at the pictures, you'll see that there is much more saddle to bar drop on the '06 than the '10.

Without getting into my whole debacle of searching for the right fit, can someone shed some light on to why this has changed over the past few years?

It's probably just to make it easier to sell bikes to out of shape middle aged guys.
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Old 09-24-09, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
Without getting into my whole debacle of searching for the right fit, can someone shed some light on to why this has changed over the past few years?
My guess:
Target market getting older and larger...
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Old 09-24-09, 07:16 AM
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They lower the saddle to bar drop in advertisements to appeal to a broader audience who would look at that 06' ad and say no way I can ride one of those bikes.
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Old 09-24-09, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
1. what the 'predminant setup" is, is irrelevant.

2. look around in your area. find a qualified fitter.

3. have them do a fit session (preferably at a LBS that has a wide range of bikes, so you can then deduct the cost of the fitting when you biuy your bke)

4. buy the bike that fits you.

5. enjoy.
Botto, I hear you on all points, unfortunately, I'm a poor bastard and will most likely not be able to afford new. Therefore, I want to waste as little of the local shop's time as possible. I've already let a good shop know that I'm looking for used and will be coming in at some point for shoes, pedals (still riding with cages) and a proper fit.

However, the shop in question is super friendly and one salesman recommended a 56 and another said 58 and this is what set me into fits of insanity trying to decipher everything. I have a feeling the guy who recommended the 58 is going for the nearly level bar-saddle drop (comfort driven, probably because I was focusing on the Roubaix) and the guy who recommended the 56 is probably thinking I would want a little bit of a drop.

As a point of habit, I tend to ride on top of the bars, not in the drops, and use the drops for "sprinting" or just a more aero position into a headwind. This is why I think I would prefer more drop. I also tend to notice other people on roadbikes riding in the drops constantly. Maybe I'm doing it wrong?

For background purposes: I'm 27, slightly fit (only been on the bike for 3 or 4 months after a break of 3 or 4 years), 6'2" with a cycling inseam of 34 inches (measured up to the crotch, in socks, down to the ground with feet slightly apart).
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Old 09-24-09, 07:46 AM
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you could fit a 58 or 56 with your measurements, i have pretty much the same measurements and i ride a 58 but i could easily ride a 56 (a 56 might actually fit a tad better for my style).
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Old 09-24-09, 08:15 AM
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One question re fit for all you experienced riders -- has your fit remained the same over time? I would imagine that as one gains experience and gets more used to being aero, etc. one's fit preferences might change..?

I know when I got my first road bike, I fit on - and rode quite happily - a 60cm Trek with an ETT of 586. Now I am on a 56cm Streetfire with an ETT of 565 and a much larger saddle-to-handlebar drop.

OP - if it helps, I am 6'0" with a 35.4" PBH, so not that far off from you. Either will fit you, and you can always tweak a little by altering the stem.

V.

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Old 09-24-09, 08:40 AM
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What you're seeing in those two pics is the difference in rotation of the handlebars, there appears to be more headset spacers on the 2010, and a bit more seat post int he 2006. All combined it means absolutely nothing, either bike could be fitted to you. These are stock setups intended and expected to be changed and fitted to the owner.
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Old 09-24-09, 08:54 AM
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Khatfull, I understand your point about stock setups that are intended to be changed, but the the saddle to bar drop is, to me, rather significant from picture to picture.

Yes, the bars are rotated more forward on the '06, but ignore the bars and just look at the seats in relation to the stems. Also, there may be one or two more spacers on the '10, but not enough to count for the huge difference in saddle height.

I'm just curious as to how things went from point A to point B. The fact that the "stock" setup in each picture has changed so much indicates to me that Specialized currently, in general, tends to target the minimal drop fit.
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Old 09-24-09, 08:58 AM
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+1 what botto said.

It's a moving target. What you find to be comfortable is likely to change over the next few years. Your riding style is likely to change. Your riding goals are likely to change. So your fit is likely to change as well.

As for the pictures the frames are the same, one has the saddle set higher. It doesn't mean anything.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
Khatfull, I understand your point about stock setups that are intended to be changed, but the the saddle to bar drop is, to me, rather significant from picture to picture.

Yes, the bars are rotated more forward on the '06, but ignore the bars and just look at the seats in relation to the stems. Also, there may be one or two more spacers on the '10, but not enough to count for the huge difference in saddle height.

I'm just curious as to how things went from point A to point B. The fact that the "stock" setup in each picture has changed so much indicates to me that Specialized currently, in general, tends to target the minimal drop fit.
You can't pick two pictures at random and assume that each are representative of their times. If you want to try to make a trend out of it you need more than 2 data points.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
One question re fit for all you experienced riders -- has your fit remained the same over time? I would imagine that as one gains experience and gets more used to being aero, etc. one's fit preferences might change..?
fit changes not only over the years but during the year. One of the beefs with threadless headsets when they came in was that you couldn't raise your bars at the start of the season if you laid off too long in winter.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I'm just curious as to how things went from point A to point B. The fact that the "stock" setup in each picture has changed so much indicates to me that Specialized currently, in general, tends to target the minimal drop fit.
Wrong assumption to make. Any manufacturer wants the buyer to be comfortable and satisfied with the ride. For a given frame, several adjustments can be made - saddle height, saddle position (angle and fore/aft), stem, and bar height (may be limited after initial buyer has fork cut). All they did is show different saddle heights. The ideal fit for the same rider remains the same.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:19 AM
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>I also tend to notice other people on roadbikes riding in the drops constantly. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? <

You have actually taken time to quantify and record this observation? I don't think so.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:19 AM
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fit changes not only over the years but during the year. One of the beefs with threadless headsets when they came in was that you couldn't raise your bars at the start of the season if you laid off too long in winter.
I actually keep a stem-extender around specifically for that purpose. I start out the year a bit higher (I'm not allowed to have a trainer in my apartment, so winters have long down-times thanks to the poorly maintained roads) using the extender, drop it over the first month down to the bottom, and then remove it after that to have it at regular height. Bike through the fall... wait for first snow... then start the cycle all over again after I wait 3 weeks for the town to plow anything.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rog View Post
It's probably just to make it easier to sell bikes to out of shape middle aged guys.
Yeah... just like "relaxed fit" jeans.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rog View Post
It's probably just to make it easier to sell bikes to out of shape middle aged guys.
+1

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Old 09-24-09, 09:24 AM
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Here are the two bikes in question overlayed.

The 2006 has a higher saddle and the bars are tilted more. Big deal. That's just how they were setup for picture. Could have been the preference of the guy who took the picture. Those are probably the first two things you adjust when you get a bike anyways.

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Old 09-24-09, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
You can't pick two pictures at random and assume that each are representative of their times. If you want to try to make a trend out of it you need more than 2 data points.
Obviously if I grabbed a pic of an '02 cannondale and a '10 Trek, I'd be stretching it, but I'm looking at the same bike from the same company with a 4 year gap. All the Roubaixs on the '06 page have a similar setup vs. all the Roubaixs on the '10 model page. If you look at the Tarmacs, they are a lot closer, but the '06 models show more drop as well.

I'm thinking it has more to do with Specialized than anything else.

Hell, it could just be two different photographers.

I'm just trying to decipher why one salesman would say a 56 is fine and then another insist on a 58. I'm leaning towards the fact that the fit "trend" for the Roubaix is minimal drop for a comfort position intended for tourers and "older" folks. I'm thinking I want to run with a bit of a drop. Hence my leaning towards the 56, but I'm hesitant to go against the shop's advice.

I guess I'm just conflicted.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by timster View Post
Here are the two bikes in question overlayed.

The 2006 has a higher saddle and the bars are tilted more. Big deal. That's just how they were setup for picture. Could have been the preference of the guy who took the picture. Those are probably the first two things you adjust when you get a bike anyways.
Beat me to it.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:35 AM
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I'm 5'10" with a PBH of 33.8. I ride a 58cm Tricross with the bars level with the seat. I can ride a 56 or a 58 but prefer the 58 for the higher bars. As khatfull pointed out either can be fitted to you. I shortened the stem from the stock 110 to 100 to shorten the reach. It makes a difference to me because I like to be more heads up in traffic. I also like the more upright position when riding fire roads in Colorado.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:38 AM
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I think what I am seeing has a lot more to do with the Roubaix being introduced as more of a performance bike for rough roads that has slowly evolved into a sporty touring bike.
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Old 09-24-09, 09:42 AM
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by Bob Gordon

A flat back is one of the hallmarks of an experienced cyclist, particularly a racer, and over the years I have seen the prevailing attitudes towards rider positioning devolve to the point where if you don't cycle with your back parallel to the ground, you're cast off as a beginner.

But like many other concepts recreational riders adopt, the low back originated in the professional ranks after extensive research in aerodynamics proved this would help the fast go faster. Competitive athletes routinely sacrifice both their short and long term health for the express purpose of winning, but you may have a different agenda.

Lower back disc problems peak the ages of 30 and 50. There are many causes, but if your back pain is exacerbated by riding, it's a good bet the cause is bouncing around on your bike while your lower spine is extensively flexed (loss of lower back arch). A low, forward torso causes the inner portion of the disc (the nucleus purposes) to press back against the outer restraining fibers (the annulus fibroses). This pressure eventually causes the disc to bulge or herniate. The nearby nerves get squeezed, and the next thing you know, someone like me is telling you you have sciatica.

Cycling mitigates some of the problems of a habitually flexed lumbar spine because of the "bridge effect" that's created by resting some of your weight on your hands. But the lumbar region and its soft tissues are still at risk just by being continuously hyper flexed, and if you sit all day at your job, the danger is compounded.

On the flip side, cycling entirely upright does not solve the problem either. True, the inter-vertebral discs and spinal ligaments are in a more neutral position and absorb shock better, but the load is now transmitted axially, which is fatiguing and jarring. Also, in a bolt-upright position you can't use your gluteus or hamstrings to great advantage, which means your thighs (quadriceps) get overworked, you lose a lot of power, the unused hamstrings and gluteal muscles go flabby, and you catch all that wind. It's hard to be happy about all that, racer or no.

There is, however, a position that allows good performance while minimizing risk of lower back injury. I like a stem height and length that puts your back about 50 degrees from horizontal, while your arms and legs bend slightly at the elbows, as shown in figure 2 up there. To achieve this, you'll probably have to raise your bars, and assuming you want to keep the same bar style (as opposed to riding with stingray bars or something), that usually means getting another stem, one with a taller quill or a steep rise to it. If you hit the sweet spot, a photo of you from the side will reveal a nice pyramid composed of top tube, torso and arms.'
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