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  1. #1
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    Seat to handlebar height relationship

    I've got a 09 Cannondale Rize 5 and lately I've been taking my riding a little more seriously so I've been bringing tools with me on the trails and making adjustments (seat position and height mostly) as I go as so I can get the bike set up just right for me.

    I swapped out the stem for a 40mm Truvative Hussefelt and I think i'm getting used to it, initially I didn't like it but after a good long ride today, I think i'm sold. I lowered my seat about a half inch as well and I feel really comfortable on it but i'm curious about the relationship between the seat and handlebar. Right now the seat is slightly higher, maybe an inch or so and i'm wondering if it would be even more comfortable if they were even? I got to looking at the matching handlebars on Truvativ's site and they offer 20, 30 and 40mm rise so I have some choices (I know there are a zillion other bars out there, I just like sticking to the same brands, OCD I guess). I first need to figure out what my current bars are and then decide if I want or need to change it. What do you guys prefer when riding?

  2. #2
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    Ok, I measured and it looks like my bars are around 660mm width and best I can figure about a 20mm rise.

  3. #3
    usually cranky
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    as close as you can get to equal height is good i think. my seat is an inch or two above my bars.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    as close as you can get to equal height is good i think. my seat is an inch or two above my bars.
    Same here. I don't like the aggressive (XC like lower bars/higher saddle) position, but more close to even, or an inch or two higher.

  5. #5
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    40mm stem and 660mm bars must feel twitchy as hell. Bump up to at least a 710mm bar and you'll be able to take advantage of the short stem.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    40mm stem and 660mm bars must feel twitchy as hell. Bump up to at least a 710mm bar and you'll be able to take advantage of the short stem.
    Yes, with a 70mm and more so with shorter stems, a 710mm would be better for a medium sized rider, 750 to 800mm for taller trail-AM riders. Narrower bars with short stems feel twitchy or the wheel feels floppy when turning, and unstable overall, especially when the the trail is rough and rocky.

  7. #7
    Huffy Rider
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    One to two inches above for pedaling and climbing, slammed for descending. Your bars are WAY TOO NARROW!!!! GET NEW ONES!!! Minimum 725 for that setup. I set up my MTB for full leg extension, then drop it just a tad for easier maneuverability. Too high and you will jack up your crotch, too low and you will jack up your knees..... give it a few weeks once you get your new bars and stop tweaking so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    as close as you can get to equal height is good i think. my seat is an inch or two above my bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by motochick View Post
    One to two inches above for pedaling and climbing.
    I wonder how I manage to ride at all given the above...

    The saddle/bar height relationship depends upon many factors but limb length has the biggest impact. Lowering your saddle to reach some arbitrary "one to two inches above" metric is silly if it compromises an efficient riding position for climbing.

    Equally silly would be to raise the bars a whole bunch to achieve this "one to two inches above" metric.

  9. #9
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    I run my seat around 5-6 inches above the bar height, for me that's just where it feels comfortable with a very long inseam and average length arms.

    For the DH orientated riding I drop the saddle to bar height or a little lower to make getting behind the seat and jumping easier.

    I don't think there are any hard and fast rules about the height difference, it's just what feels right depending on the frame and anthropometric's.

  10. #10
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    The seat to bar height means nothing essentially, person to person, bike to bike, style of riding. Guys with longer legs have seats higher in the climbing or xc position. This is beauty of the dropper post. Climbing effeciently is about leg extension, being leaned forward enough to help with leverage, and by forwarding your center of gravity. This same position is not optimal for descending. rather lowering and getting your center further back; while getting more behind the bars than atop of them.

    there isnt one position that is perfect for all situations imo. For me theres atleast 3. Climbing=post way up. normal riding= about an inch down from climbing. down hill= about another inch or two down from normal. Jumping = all the way down.

    xc guys posts are usually all the way up because the most significant time separating yourself from the field is done climbing.

    If i were to pick one setting and not fuss with it . ..... it would be just below the climbing position: high enough to pedal well, but just low enough to slide my hips off the side of seat comfortably when leaning into turns. Jmo

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uphill=sad View Post
    I run my seat around 5-6 inches above the bar height, for me that's just where it feels comfortable with a very long inseam and average length arms.

    For the DH orientated riding I drop the saddle to bar height or a little lower to make getting behind the seat and jumping easier.

    I don't think there are any hard and fast rules about the height difference, it's just what feels right depending on the frame and anthropometric's.
    a bike with a shorter ETT would help level out your proportions. For example, Santa Cruz have over an inch shorter top tube on their Nomad or BLT, compared to say Yeti. buying a bike based on geometry first is key.

  12. #12
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    I porefer to have my bar a little lower than the saddle, but nothing more than about 1.5" if I can get it there, up to about level - whatever feels comfortable enough and allows me to climb the steep stuff without having to stupidly be all the way taking the saddle up the taint too badly.

    As to the width thing, definitely if you're on a 40mm stem you should be on a much wider bar as others said, somewhere north of 711mm for sure, even wider than 740mm might not be bad, depends on preference. I'm 6'2" and run 750/760/785 bars on my bikes with 65-90mm stems.
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  13. #13
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    I'm 5'9" tall with a 31" inseam. My saddle is 2" lower than where my hands are on the bars. But the only thing relevant is what works for you.

  14. #14
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    Ive always set my seat height for my climbing position based on the amount of leg extension i want to have, which usuallly means a position in which my knees are only slighly bent on the full extension. This usually equates to having the seat at about the same height as the highest of my seat tube spacers.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by paradigm shifter View Post
    I wonder how I manage to ride at all given the above...

    The saddle/bar height relationship depends upon many factors but limb length has the biggest impact. Lowering your saddle to reach some arbitrary "one to two inches above" metric is silly if it compromises an efficient riding position for climbing.

    Equally silly would be to raise the bars a whole bunch to achieve this "one to two inches above" metric.
    no one said anything above not getting proper leg extension or raising your bars a ton. if you have a proper fitting frame with "new school" trail geo your bars and seat should naturally fall more or less in line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    no one said anything above not getting proper leg extension or raising your bars a ton. if you have a proper fitting frame with "new school" trail geo your bars and seat should naturally fall more or less in line.
    Incorrect.

    You are ignoring the fact that folks come in a bunch of different sizes.

    On my properly fitting frame with "new school" trail geo my bars and saddle are no where near being "in line" when I am climbing. The same applies to many other folks as well.

  17. #17
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    Dont listen to what other people say.

    FIT IS VERY PERSONAL

    So even if somone has the exact same dimensions they may not have the same riding style



    ADJUST TILL YOU LIKE IT AND LEAVE IT THERE

  18. #18
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    Just get a dropper post

  19. #19
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    The most important thing in determining saddle height is pedal stroke, as some others have mentioned. You can hurt your knees if it's too low, or at the very least be pedaling inefficiently. Here's what I normally do when I get a new bike, as it pertains to the saddle position.

    1. Saddle height: leg extension at the bottom of pedal stroke should be slightly bent but almost fully extended. Exactly how much is personal preference.
    2. Saddle fore/aft position: a pendulum hung straight from under the kneecap with the cranks at a 90 degree angle should point right at the pedal spindle
    3. Saddle tilt: a matter of personal preference, reach, body type, etc. I like mine exactly flat, so I'm not drifting forward and the nose isn't crushing my junk.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    The most important thing in determining saddle height is pedal stroke, as some others have mentioned. You can hurt your knees if it's too low, or at the very least be pedaling inefficiently. Here's what I normally do when I get a new bike, as it pertains to the saddle position.

    1. Saddle height: leg extension at the bottom of pedal stroke should be slightly bent but almost fully extended. Exactly how much is personal preference.
    2. Saddle fore/aft position: a pendulum hung straight from under the kneecap with the cranks at a 90 degree angle should point right at the pedal spindle
    3. Saddle tilt: a matter of personal preference, reach, body type, etc. I like mine exactly flat, so I'm not drifting forward and the nose isn't crushing my junk.
    Thats assuming he wont be going steep down hill. Its a personal thing. The only people that have seats that high up are XC racers i dont even mex mine out for xc racing i like a good inch and a half under full extenshion. But thats me everyone is diffent ... as long as you can pedal your seat is the right height. Adjust untill you find your happy spot.....

    Some thiings you have to ride your bike to find out. People on the internet can do everything for you. Like tell you how high to put your saddle. And those on this site that think they can tell you how high to put your seat think too highly of themselves

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    The only people that have seats that high up are XC racers
    Incorrect. Many folks out on the trails on properly fitted bikes use the steps that THB posted above. It's bike fitting 101.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    And those on this site that think they can tell you how high to put your seat think too highly of themselves
    Hmmm...isn't that what you just did?

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  22. #22
    usually cranky
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    Quote Originally Posted by paradigm shifter View Post
    "in line"
    what would you consider "in line" or close to it?

  23. #23
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    I'm not taking the trollbait this time, Fuglio.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    what would you consider "in line" or close to it?
    I was using your definition of "more or less in line" which is close to equal in height.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    I'm not taking the trollbait this time, Fuglio.
    Well maybe next time
    Either way the most important thing to consider for saddle height is riding style not leg extension

    And none of us know his riding style...

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