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Toe touch test to determine bar drop?

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Toe touch test to determine bar drop?

Old 12-08-10, 06:08 PM
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hobkirk
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Toe touch test to determine bar drop?

My LBS fitter uses the Specialized fit system. According to him, the bar drop is determined by how far the body can bend over, i.e., can you touch your toes and hold that position with your knees locked.
  • No = bars higher than seat
  • Yes = bars level with seat
  • Palms flat on floor = bars lower than seat
What's the BF take on this? Sadly it seems to apply to me but I wonder about others.

PS - I'm riding a Specialized Roubaix (2200 miles since I got it in September).
  1. I "transferred" the measurements from my previous bike. Riding in the drops wasn't comfortable but it was doable, thanks to the bike's "old man" geometry. I went to the drops most of the time when I was over 18 MPH.
  2. Last week I raised me seat 1/2" (it seemed like my leg should be more stretched out - I checked my old bike and it was 1/2" higher). And I moved the spacers (20 mm total) from below my stem to above my stem. [I've ridden 4,500 miles since June - I was hoping that would have improved my core strength or flexibility enough that I could go lower.]
  3. Riding in the drops became uncomfortable.
  4. I put the spacers back underneath and riding in the drops is still uncomfortable. The top of the bars is even with the seat. Boo! I guess I can't go lower after all.
  5. I will experiment with the seat height - maybe the lower position wasn't so bad.
My bottom two vertebrae are fused - I've never been able to touch my toes unless I "bounce" when I stretch down.
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Old 12-08-10, 06:10 PM
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I think your fitter doesn't take into account arm length with that. I can't touch my toes with my knees locked. Yet I'm really happy with about 2 inches of drop.
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Old 12-08-10, 06:15 PM
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That seems pretty conservative compared with many of the bikes I see.
I can just about get my palms flat, but I've only got about two inches of drop. Seems like everyone I know has a lot more drop than I do, (but they don't appear to spend as much time as I do in the hooks.)

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Old 12-08-10, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by hobkirk View Post
[I've ridden 4,500 miles since June - I was hoping that would have improved my core strength
Riding isn't going to do that
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Old 12-08-10, 06:32 PM
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There are many factors that go into what the right bar height is. How far you can bend is only one of them. When I was last fitted, they recommend that I try raising the bars a little because they said I was cutting off my air. I tried it and they were right. But I think it's a pretty safe bet that anyone who can put their palms on the floor will do just fine with the bars somewhere below their seat.
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Old 12-08-10, 06:41 PM
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So do you touch your toes when you're not fully stretched? Because I can't touch mine when I wake up in the morning. Then once I do some stretching and high kicks, I can touch the floor with my second knuckle. I can almost do a full and side splits and I still can't touch the floor with my palm. I know people who has less flexibility than me, but can do "floor-palm". I think I need to lose this gut so I can do it like they can. However, I still have a bad neck to worry about so it doesn't matter for me... I guess. <_<
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Old 12-08-10, 06:42 PM
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i bet most people cannot touch their toes knees locked yet i don't see many road bikes with bars above saddle. i think your fitter is full of it.
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Old 12-08-10, 06:56 PM
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That seems rather wonky advice. I don't see many road bikes with bars higher than the seat. Even the "relaxed" geo bikes I test road had bars lower than seat on the stock setup. Hybrid bikes might be different but I didn't test any. Of course, I'm taller with longer arms so maybe it's different for shorter people. Anyway, I have fairly limited flexibility and my setup with all spacers and stem not flipped I still have 2-3 in (didn't actually measure) drop.
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Old 12-08-10, 07:02 PM
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Doesn't work for me. I can't touch my toes with knees locked, and I never could (long legs). I have about a 2 inch saddle-to-bar drop on my Roubaix, but it feels a bit high to me so I'm going to tweak the bar position a little lower.
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Old 12-08-10, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
There are many factors that go into what the right bar height is. How far you can bend is only one of them .
Correct........ Hip Flexion, Neck Flexion, Beer muscle size.....etc...etc....
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Old 12-08-10, 07:11 PM
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I'm sure there is some formula that is similar to the one mentioned by your fitter, but more accurate. I'd say most people that can touch their toes would be fine with at least a couple inches of drop. Of course, some people may be flexible enough to run more drop, but choose not to.

Did you have the same amount of setback on the old bike? Maybe your new saddle is further back than the old one, meaning you would either need to bring the new one forward or lower it a bit.
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Old 12-08-10, 07:12 PM
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Yeah I don't think that theory holds true. I can't touch the ground with my palms but ride with my bars quite a bit lower than my seat and am very comfortable in the drops. I've never been extremely flexible but I do have good hip rotation on the bike allowing me to have my bars lower than my seat. I also have a very strong core ie flat stomach and six pack so I'm sure that plays to my advantage. If you want to lower your bars from there current position I suggest doing so in small increments. U said u stuck all 20mm of spacers above the stem when before they were all above try just moving one at a time and ridding with that till it feels comfortable then move another and repeat till all are above and stem is flipped or you have achieved the riding position you desire. I worked for quite some time before achieving the flat back I was after.
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Old 12-08-10, 07:25 PM
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I'm predicting this thread will go at least 10 pages.
Well maybe not since "the banning"
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Old 12-08-10, 07:27 PM
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What shop is this? Pedal Power?
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Old 12-08-10, 07:29 PM
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Could be Cycleloft
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Old 12-08-10, 07:32 PM
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This would not take into account the issue with arm vs. leg length, nor does it take into account the top tube length, stem length etc...

While this might be a general rule, and a rough approximation, it is a poor tool to actually determine where the bars should be located.
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Old 12-08-10, 07:37 PM
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That system is effin idiotic. At least the "rule" you posted.

I can not get anywhere near my toes when I bend over. Like not even within 3-4 inches.

Yet I do fine with 3 inches of saddle to bar drop. And I should probably do even more.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:04 PM
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Nope. At least it doesn't apply to me.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:05 PM
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I can touch my palms to the ground.... yet my gut won't allow for anything near a 2-3" drop. I guess I'm just pretty flexible for a fat guy.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:07 PM
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I don't think the toe test means anything.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
I don't think the toe test means anything.
I agree with this.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:34 PM
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Doesn't apply to me.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:48 PM
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silly rule. too many factors.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:52 PM
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I think you're obsessing a little bit too much over how low your bars are or whether you're in the drops. Stick with what's comfy, because that's what will make you want to ride more.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:55 PM
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Bollocks.
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