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  1. #1
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    Seat to Handlebar Virtical Drop Distance

    I just won from Ebay a barely used Madone 5.2 for $2200 (including shipping), so you will probably see me on RBR a lot gaining bike set up information.

    I set up my last bike with a seat to handlebar vertical drop that was too big, so I spent a lot of time on the hoods or higher on the tops of the bars. I set it so low because I wanted a position were I could get a flat back for aerodynamics. I would only go into the drops if I wanted to get really aerodynamic or I needed more force on the brake levers while bombing down hill.

    So what is a good seat to bar vertical drop distance? I know the distance is relative to size, so quote your size too. I'm a 5'6" on a 52 cm.

  2. #2
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    Its personal preference. Depends on your riding style and how limber you are. Mine are about an inch below the saddle.
    Life is better in the big ring.

    http://theclemencyblog.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    good?

    Saddle to bar drop not only varies with size, but also with rider fitness and saddle fore/aft position. If your saddle if too far forward, it places too much weight on the hands and makes a large drop uncomfortable.

    I'm 5'-6" tall and no spring chicken at age, 55, but I can tolerate a 12cm drop. I used a 9-10cm drop for many years, but when I moved my saddle further back this year, I decided to try more drop, just to see how it felt. I was surprised that I had no problem after increasing the drop by 2.5cm. I ride in the mountains and ride the hooks for at least 20 minutes at a stretch on technical descents.

    You're the only one who can figure out how much drop to use. If you know how much is too much, start higher and work your way down, a little at a time. Keep the saddle fore/aft effect in mind.
    Last edited by C-40; 11-24-2008 at 08:23 AM.

  4. #4
    jains89
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    I run 17cm of drop on a 54cm frame. I'm 5-10/5-11 and pretty flexible. I can still stay in the drops for the full course of a crit (about an hour), but prefer to spend most of my time training on my hoods.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jains89
    I run 17cm of drop on a 54cm frame. I'm 5-10/5-11 and pretty flexible. I can still stay in the drops for the full course of a crit (about an hour), but prefer to spend most of my time training on my hoods.
    17 CENTIMETERS? Holy crap. I'm not even sure I could SEE the bars if they were that low.
    As a practical matter, though, you don't lose much in ordinary riding by setting the bars wherever they're comfortable for you. Even before the neck problem I mentioned in another post, I had my bars around level with the saddle or just a fraction lower. Whatever I lost in aero drag (not much, at my customary speeds) I got back in increased comfort and the ability to stay on the bike much longer.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jains89
    I run 17cm of drop on a 54cm frame. I'm 5-10/5-11 and pretty flexible. I can still stay in the drops for the full course of a crit (about an hour), but prefer to spend most of my time training on my hoods.
    Just to make it clear, the distance that we are talking about is from the flat part of the saddle vertically down to the top of the handle bars. I use a strait edge and small level to measure the vertical distance. I would use a big level if I had one.

    My old bike is a drop of 8.3-8.9 cm, which is too much for me even though I can touch my bare toes with my knuckles.

    My Madone with all of the steer tube spacers removed and a 7 deg (83 deg) drop 90 mm stem is about 5.1-5.7 cm. I will try that today on a ride.

  7. #7
    Number 2 on the course.
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    It depends on several factors. I have 10cm of saddle-to-bar drop on my CX bike. My road bike has more, but I don't have it handy. I am not particularly flexible (can't even touch my toes). My back is far from flat when I am riding. I am tall and what one might describe as "lanky".

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    ... I would only go into the drops if I wanted to get really aerodynamic or I needed more force on the brake levers while bombing down hill.
    What my differential is doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I use the same criteria for adjustment. Do that, and ride what's comfortable. As others have noted, the saddle to handlebar distance does have an affect. I read on here somewhere that you never know what's enough until you find what's too much, or words to that effect. Pretty true words IMO.

  9. #9
    jains89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    Just to make it clear, the distance that we are talking about is from the flat part of the saddle vertically down to the top of the handle bars. I use a strait edge and small level to measure the vertical distance. I would use a big level if I had one.

    My old bike is a drop of 8.3-8.9 cm, which is too much for me even though I can touch my bare toes with my knuckles.

    My Madone with all of the steer tube spacers removed and a 7 deg (83 deg) drop 90 mm stem is about 5.1-5.7 cm. I will try that today on a ride.

    yep. 16 cm from top of saddle to top of bars. I "should" be on a size 56 but went down to a 54 to get more drop and now run a 120 stem and am thinking about a 130. When I'm stretching I can put my palms flat on the floor.

    This is an old pick and I have since moved the saddle up about 1cm and taken out the two spacers below the stem.

  10. #10
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    Shrink/swell

    Quote Originally Posted by jains89
    I'm 5-10/5-11 and pretty flexible.
    So, does your height vary by an inch during the day, or is there a special time of the month when you are taller/shorter? Most of us actually know how tall we are

  11. #11
    jains89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    So, does your height vary by an inch during the day, or is there a special time of the month when you are taller/shorter? Most of us actually know how tall we are
    Something like that. It's actually 5'10" 1/2, but it can vary depending on who's measuring me.

  12. #12
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    14cm here, my criteria is that i have a flat back and can still go hard in the drops. I can touch my toes but can't palm the ground...

  13. #13
    toomanybikes
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    I never ceased to be amazed by the spelling on RBR.

  14. #14
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    Have the bike set up with a lot of spacers (isn't this bike built already?) You can have the steerer tube cut after you decide what you want you bar-to-saddle-drop to be. Personal preference, flexibility and how much time you spend in the drops is the deciding factor. Your stem length and rise have to be factored in there somewhere also. Ride it awhile then decide.

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    Google toobar

    Quote Originally Posted by toomanybikes
    I never ceased to be amazed by the spelling on RBR.
    I've noticed the same thing. Google toolbar comes with a spell check. It's free to download.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by toomanybikes
    I never ceased to be amazed by the spelling on RBR.
    Sorry, you can't edit the title. But, thanks for posting.

  17. #17
    cmg
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    i'm in the size range you've listed, 50-51 frame. My drop is anywhere between 4cm to 10cm max. depending on what i'm riding. Can't tolerate a level bar and saddle height. Put your hands on the tops then while going at a decent pace let go of the bars and if you tend to fall forward move the seat back until you can let go and not fall forward. Should get you in the ball park. It's about balance. Read some Steve Hogg stuff on positioning http://www.cyclefitcentre.com/pdf%20...u_aug_2004.pdf Of course none this means anything if your not comfortable or incapable of making power.

  18. #18
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    I ride 59cm and have 8cm drop. I wanted to go down further, but cutting the cables and finding the spacer and cutting the headtube just seemed like a royal pain. The next bike will have 9cm drop.
    Unfortunately, I don't have spellcheck on the blackberry for goofing around on the forums.

  19. #19
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    I ride 59cm and have 8cm drop. I wanted to go down further, but cutting the cables and finding the spacer and cutting the headtube just seemed like a royal pain. The next bike will have 9cm drop.
    Unfortunately, I don't have spellcheck on the blackberry for goofing around on the forums.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by toomanybikes
    I never ceased to be amazed by the spelling on RBR.



    RBR never ceases to amaze me with regard to spelling ?

    I never ceased
    to be amazed
    by the spelling
    on RBR ? .............................WHAT ?
    The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.
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  21. #21
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    set it at a distance that you can sustain efforts in the drops for minutes on end, where you can breath comfortably and put down power. this is after you adjust saddle height properly of course, and that your bike is sized right.

    I get about 14-15cm, but i'm in early 20s and more flexible than most. Im not sure exactly what it is, I don't measure it any more, I just go by the above guideline.

    Well Grammar, Toomanybikes ;)

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