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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldZaskar's Avatar
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    Oct 2007

    Fit Question: Replicating Road Bike Numbers?

    How much are you guys - who have been fitted on a road bike and ride the road a good bit - replicating the fit numbers. Clearly this is only/mostly relevant for the saddle height and set-back. Typically, I try to match the set-back but keep the saddle a bit lower - maybe 2-2.5cm.

    Wondering if I'm giving up too much power (via the lower saddle) for increased stability/control. I'm slowly bumping the saddle up... with the goal of matching the road bike.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: WR304's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    This is something I was discussing with a friend the other week. He has his mountain bike setup exactly the same as his road bike.

    My overall saddle height is slightly lower than it would be on a road bike. Only about 1cm though.

    The big difference with my mountain bike setup is that I increasingly prefer to have the saddle positioned forwards on the rails. I moved my saddle a full 1.5 cm forwards at the start of the year. For me that change has been worth an additional 10 watts power output approx I'd guess. It's a bit better for pushing big gears as you use different muscle groups. More like a time trial position than a road position which seems to suit my riding style.

    Having the saddle forwards is slightly more comfortable on seated steep offroad climbs too. You don't end up having to perch right on the saddle nose to the extent that you do when the saddle is slammed backwards. It also means that when you do sit right on the nose of the saddle your weight distribution is further forward, helping to keep the front wheel down.

    Going for identical reach and drop to a road bike position doesn't work at all for me offroad. I had my first mountain bike setup like that many years ago and the handling with the front end that low when descending was horrible. I have much less saddle to bar drop than on a road bike and the position isn't as stretched out either.

    Handlebar width is something that I've been increasing over time. The additional width of a 660mm bar really helps with control compared to a narrower 580mm width bar.

    The picture below is of my bike from earlier this year with the saddle moved forwards.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fit Question: Replicating Road Bike Numbers?-2010_epic_fox_terralogic2c.jpg  

  3. #3
    pk1 is offline
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    Mar 2010
    yeah its a good starting point - taking into account likely different seat tube angles, replicate the saddle-BB relative positions from your road bike. from there likely drop the saddle slightly to allow for descending control and often slide it forwards slightly to assist in both getting over the front on steep climbs and getting off the back on steep descents. pretty much ignore road bike setup when it comes to the saddle-bars on the mtb.

    i currentky have my mtb saddle about 2cm lower than the roadie but am thinking of raising it as i found in my last race the quads were really suffering which tends to be a result of too low a seated peddaling position.
    i actually find that i am better able to clear the saddle and lean the bike on the road than the mtb... doesn't make sense when the roadie is higher so i suspect it might be more the confidence of predictable smooth corners - something to work on!

    i just swapped road shoes and was amazed how much of a difference it made - the new ones are clearly lower profile sole and i can really feel it in the pedal stroke. i suspect mtb shoes will generally tend to have thicker soles than road shoes so this can be a factor in your relative fits too.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2007
    I set my mtb about 1/8" further setback than the road since you lose that when the fork sags (assuming you are running a suspension fork) on a hardtail. On a full suspension bike I'd set them the same. Most road pedals have less stack and so do road shoes so I'm not sure why such big variations with regards to road saddle height to the mtb from some of the posters. I set my mountain saddle and CX saddle in the same position (height and setback).

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Apr 2005
    your cx saddle setback should match the rd not the mtb as there is no sag. rd saddle is a little lower then mtb as the pedals/shoes sit lwr. i run the same saddle on all bikes, and get the q factor very similar on all bikes.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    Sep 2008
    I've got the pretty much the same fit on both the mountain and road bikes. The seat height is the same on both bikes, as it seems my stack height is the same (shimano road shoe with LOOK cleat is the same as shimano MTB shoe with SPD cleat). The seat on the road bike is a bit further forward, as the seat angle on the mountain bike is a little less slack (road bike = 73.5, mountain bike = 75) once I account for sag. The reach is just a bit longer on the road bike, so I'm a little bit more stretched out and leaning foward. Mountain bike has 810mm from seat middle to grips, where as the road bike has around 830mm from seat middle to hoods.


  7. #7
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    Aug 2008
    The Road bike is all about power and efficiency, the mountain bike is all about control. so I fit my bikes to work that way. I typically use a little higher seat for riding road, and am pretty close to level for seat to bar height, however on my mtb my seat is lower and further forward, handle bars are lower then the seat and much wider. Top tube length is much different on the two bikes as well, I am not sure what the measurements are but I know I am much more upright on the mountain bike, and I prefer to be nice and low in the front it makes me feel more stable and better control.

    My opinion is that they are different beasts, with different purposes, if they were meant to be the same then we would just change gearing and wheels from a road to mountain bike not everything.
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