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  1. #1
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    What's the right difference between saddle height and handlebars?

    I try to figure out what will be the better position between the height of the saddle vs the handlebars. I tried all kinds of combinations but I didn't get a solid understanding of what will be the best one. In most of them I felt pretty the same in terms of comfort. Anyone there would know to tell what the common range of different between the two?

  2. #2
    Steaming piles of opinion
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudigrinfeld View Post
    I try to figure out what will be the better position between the height of the saddle vs the handlebars. I tried all kinds of combinations but I didn't get a solid understanding of what will be the best one. In most of them I felt pretty the same in terms of comfort. Anyone there would know to tell what the common range of different between the two?
    With a complete set of your physical measurements, some measured estimates of your flexibility, and an understanding of your goals and preferred style of riding (oh, yeah, and any physical limitations you might have), a knowledgeable fitter would be able to give you a reasonable 'starting point' estimate.

    Anything else will just be noise. You'll hear wise old men accustomed to fully using deep drops often and hoods only occasionally say that about level, or a couple of cm's drop is about right. You'll hear reasonably fast crit racers yammer on about double-digit drops. And you'll hear a lot of fashionista morons proclaiming that as long as it's a -17 deg stem and there are no spacers beneath it, it must be right - comfort or ergonomic efficiency be damned. None of it will be helpful to you and your specific needs.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  3. #3
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    OP, Are you doing just 'around the block' type rides to test? The reason I ask is it's hard to imagine everything feels about the same. Granted I'm more anal than most but just the slightest move I really notice.
    Anyway, Dan has the correct answer(s).
    if you don t want to go to fitter try starting with something that seems about right and plan on doing a very long ride and bring a wrench. The first goal should be comfort then once you nail that assuming you are riding a decent amount you're flexibility should improve and you can tinker further to see if you can get more aero (assuming you care about that) while maintaining comfort.

    A fitter is probably a good idea because it's not as simple as just moving the bars. When you do that it has a ripple effect and changes everything else.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    OP, Are you doing just 'around the block' type rides to test? The reason I ask is it's hard to imagine everything feels about the same. Granted I'm more anal than most but just the slightest move I really notice.
    Anyway, Dan has the correct answer(s).
    if you don t want to go to fitter try starting with something that seems about right and plan on doing a very long ride and bring a wrench. The first goal should be comfort then once you nail that assuming you are riding a decent amount you're flexibility should improve and you can tinker further to see if you can get more aero (assuming you care about that) while maintaining comfort.

    A fitter is probably a good idea because it's not as simple as just moving the bars. When you do that it has a ripple effect and changes everything else.
    No I'm not just riding around the block I do more than that, I don't race but do sportives and can ride sometimes 500-700km a month. Anyhow I have to say that for longer rides I can feel pain but it is in any longer ride, no matter what the differences in position since you put power and climbing and out of the saddle ect... So pain vs comfort always is noticeable. And yes I'm more to the aerodynamic position with the balance of comfort. The reason I'm asking is because I ride ISP and I'm considering to cut the fork cause I don't like the spacers remaining on top but I don't cut it as I'm not sure yet. I slightly ride a frame which is bigger a bit than what I suppose too..

  5. #5
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    You're probably have to experiment a bit. I put my saddle where it feels best then I messed with different stem angles and moved some spacers around. My saddle to stem drop is around 3 1/2 cm, but what will work for you is no telling. I'm old and lack flexibility, I seldom ride in the drops. You might also consider having a knowledgeable fitter help you.
    Last edited by Dinosaur; 03-18-2012 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Ommission

  6. #6
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    For me it was a matter of finding the right balance between comfort and aerodynamics. I kept lowering the bars (over 6 month period) until I found the balance I wanted. In a fast pace group ride or really windy day, I can stay in the drops for nearly the entire ride. Some riders have a lot more drop but stay on the hoods the entire ride. As stated above, depends on your goals as a rider.

    One important exception..........

    If you take a photo of your bike to post on the internets, be sure to raise your saddle a least 10cm higher than your actual ride height...........like everyone else.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matador-IV View Post
    For me it was a matter of finding the right balance between comfort and aerodynamics. I kept lowering the bars (over 6 month period) until I found the balance I wanted. In a fast pace group ride or really windy day, I can stay in the drops for nearly the entire ride. Some riders have a lot more drop but stay on the hoods the entire ride. As stated above, depends on your goals as a rider.

    One important exception..........

    If you take a photo of your bike to post on the internets, be sure to raise your saddle a least 10cm higher than your actual ride height...........like everyone else.
    So here how it looks without the last exemption:

    I usually ride with lower handle bar but as I said I don't like the over spacers so I'm considering cutting the fork
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What's the right difference between saddle height and handlebars?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1332101727.238526.jpg  
    Last edited by dudigrinfeld; 03-18-2012 at 01:22 PM.

  8. #8
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    Here better one
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What's the right difference between saddle height and handlebars?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1332102450.937439.jpg  

  9. #9
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    you're doing it all wrong. this is how it should look.

    There's sometimes a buggy.
    How many drivers does a buggy have?

    One.

    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekiIMh4ZkM

  10. #10
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    Bikerjulio
    I'm already holding the Allen key

  11. #11
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    you do know that you can play with the height without cutting the steerer? just take spacers from below and put them on top of the stem. ok until you get the height right. try taking 2 cm out. it will at least look better.
    There's sometimes a buggy.
    How many drivers does a buggy have?

    One.

    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekiIMh4ZkM

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjulio View Post
    you do know that you can play with the height without cutting the steerer? just take spacers from below and put them on top of the stem. ok until you get the height right. try taking 2 cm out. it will at least look better.
    That's exactly right I said I don't like the spacer above the stem.

  13. #13
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    your pics are so crappy I didn't realize there was a difference. anyway my comment was related to the second photo. keep going.
    There's sometimes a buggy.
    How many drivers does a buggy have?

    One.

    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekiIMh4ZkM

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjulio View Post
    your pics are so crappy I didn't realize there was a difference. anyway my comment was related to the second photo. keep going.
    Yea not difference in height position but difference in picture quality. The second one is the one to look t more clearly.

  15. #15
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    what he meant was...

    Quote Originally Posted by dudigrinfeld View Post
    That's exactly right I said I don't like the spacer above the stem.
    You can pull out spacers and put them on top of the stem until you find out how high you want your bars, then you can cut your steerer.

    One of the LBS's in my town charges $50 for a "dynamic bike fit" saddle height, saddle fore-aft, and handlebar position. Money well spent. I have a truck load of stems I've tried over the years until I found what worked.

    Anyway-nice bike!

  16. #16
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    D;
    I too have an ISP and had the exact same issue like yourself.
    I was fitted professionally and so I know my saddle height is spot on. Then we moved to the cockpit and played up front for a bit since there's more forgiveness up front depending on basic measurements and personal flexibility and comfort.
    I ended up riding for a while with 20mm in spacers under the stem as my starting point. This position was fine at the beginning of the year. With more mileage and fitness over the summer; I lowered my stem (a spacer at a time) as the year went on until I eventually had all my spacers above the stem.
    I felt very good with that setup and no physiological issues for the rest of the year.
    At the end of two years like that; I pulled the trigger and cut my steerer down so that the only spacer I had left was a 3mm above the stem.
    This method worked for me; and it won't be for everyone. Give it some time and try riding in a position for a longer time because it will take some time for your body to start talking to you in terms of tightness and any pain. But do make sure your saddle is set correctly first.
    Good luck; and nice bike!

  17. #17
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    Go with what is work for you

    Yes, I have gone through the same process to lower the handle over the years. I just brought back this new 2012 Giant TCR Advance 0, the picture below shows what the factory setting is like. It has 5 spacers of different sizes so that I can take away any one or ones to get the position I am looking for.

  18. #18
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    To find out, get a fit by a pro.
    It can be kind of spendy, but it's worth it, esp if you're having issues (numbness, soreness, pain).

    Don't ask here - you'll get a thousand answers, and none will be specific for you.
    “The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it.”
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by murbike View Post
    To find out, get a fit by a pro.
    It can be kind of spendy, but it's worth it, esp if you're having issues (numbness, soreness, pain).

    Don't ask here - you'll get a thousand answers, and none will be specific for you.
    So true!
    My fit was $100 and included a LOOK KEOFIT pedal fit with the bike fit. Took about an hour and a half overall.
    This was by far the best money I have ever spent on my bike!
    It even enabled me to squeeze a bit more efficient power out of my wobbly legs ;-).

  20. #20
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    So, I had a pro fit, and it feels good. I have ~4 cm from seat to bars, however I have the stem in "rise" and spacers below.

    Should I keep it this way for a while, then remove a space and see how it feels over a period of time? Would this improve my ability to have more drop? My positioning is based on my hip angle. Is that something that can be improved, or is it a physiological thing that stays pretty consistent?

  21. #21
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    you could get 5 'pro' fittings done and you'd end up w/ 5 different set-ups. 5 different saddle heights, 5 different set-back measurements, 5 different reach measurements, and 5 different drops. it's SUBJECTIVE...there is no ONE right fit. and, whatever you end up settling on, over time it will change.
    i work for some bike racers...
    2013 Trek Madone 5.9 w/ '12 SRAM Red
    2010 Cervelo T1 sprint bike
    Ruger 10-22TD
    Smith&Wesson M&P 15-22
    Smith&Wesson M&P 9
    oh, those belong in another forum

  22. #22
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    How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

    There is no "ideal" distance.
    It all depends on
    1)How flexible you are
    2)Do you ride in the drops often
    3)Do you ride solo, or in packs
    4)Age
    5)Fitness
    6) Years riding.

    In my case, I'm old as dirt, ride a 60cm frame, use a 13cm stem with minimal rise, and have a 10cm drop. I only use the drops when 1) I'm at the front of the pack, when the pack speed is over 27mph, when it's real windy, and on the bell lap.
    .
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    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY View Post
    How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

    There is no "ideal" distance.
    It all depends on
    1)How flexible you are
    2)Do you ride in the drops often
    3)Do you ride solo, or in packs
    4)Age
    5)Fitness
    6) Years riding.

    In my case, I'm old as dirt, ride a 60cm frame, use a 13cm stem with minimal rise, and have a 10cm drop. I only use the drops when 1) I'm at the front of the pack, when the pack speed is over 27mph, when it's real windy, and on the bell lap.
    .
    .
    .
    Man you are a fast chicken, still racing. I'm proud!

  24. #24
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    danl1 (among others) is right.

    But since you asked for a range and nobody has offered one - I'm going to throw out there that the majority of road cyclists I know have the top of their bars somewhere between 4-10 cm lower than their seat. I'm guessing now, but would bet that 90% of folks fall in this range. I'm at about 6 cm difference, but care more about comfort than aerodynamics. Reach is of course just as much a factor.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudigrinfeld View Post
    I try to figure out what will be the better position between the height of the saddle vs the handlebars. I tried all kinds of combinations but I didn't get a solid understanding of what will be the best one. In most of them I felt pretty the same in terms of comfort. Anyone there would know to tell what the common range of different between the two?
    longer than your thumb and less than your dick.

    16cm.

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