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  1. #1
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    Dumb Question-Indulge Me

    I know your seat is supposed to be set high enough to straighten your legs on the downstroke of the pedal. Where do your bars need to be? I have noticed lately my back has been hurting after longer rides, I am guessing from leaning too far forward-bars to low. I have room to raise the bars. Is there some sort of rule that they need to be level with the seat? Or is it just a comfort issue that drives the adjustment? Thanks.

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    No rules, put your saddle and bars at whatever height is most comfortable for you and the way you ride. There is no "supposed to be..." height. You might like to sit upright or forward. You might want your saddle high enough for the most pedaling efficiency, or you might like it lower to move around easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robmc7759
    I know your seat is supposed to be set high enough to straighten your legs on the downstroke of the pedal. Where do your bars need to be? I have noticed lately my back has been hurting after longer rides, I am guessing from leaning too far forward-bars to low. I have room to raise the bars. Is there some sort of rule that they need to be level with the seat? Or is it just a comfort issue that drives the adjustment? Thanks.

    Leg straight with the heel pushed down, pedal at 6 oclock...

    Seat fore and aft controls the weight on the arms...back more weight on the arms forward less weight...

    normally you want the knee over the pedal spindle at 6 oclock...

    make sure your brake levers and shifters allow you to ride with your wrist pretty straight...

    Then set the bars so you feel comfortable...trick loosen stem clamp a hair and adjust bars while on a safe test ride...then clamp up...readjust levers....

    Then if you still have too much weight on the bars reduce the stem length...

    Then finally when every thing is set...go up or down one notch on the bar height.

    Normally an old guy might be a couple of notches above seat height, young guy a couple below seat height...

    Really just depends on how flexible you are.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Then set the bars so you feel comfortable...trick loosen stem clamp a hair and adjust bars while on a safe test ride...then clamp up...readjust levers....
    That might just be the most dangerous thing I think I have seen any one suggest. You do realize if he loosen and adjusts his "stem clamp" he will need to add spacers? I am going to hope that you mean he should loosen and adjust handle bar clamp?
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    That might just be the most dangerous thing I think I have seen any one suggest. You do realize if he loosen and adjusts his "stem clamp" he will need to add spacers? I am going to hope that you mean he should loosen and adjust handle bar clamp?

    Yessssss

    Just to get the angle of the bars right, can't really take the bars off while you are riding.

  7. #7
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    lots of missinformation in this thread.

    Seat height greatly impacts the longevity of your knees, back, and wrists. If you lower it too low then the front of your knee will start hurting and if you raise it too high the back of the knee will start hurting.

    Have fun with knee problems listening to "its just how flexibile you are" opinions.

    Get a proper fit dude.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OVOleg
    lots of missinformation in this thread.

    Seat height greatly impacts the longevity of your knees, back, and wrists. If you lower it too low then the front of your knee will start hurting and if you raise it too high the back of the knee will start hurting.

    Have fun with knee problems listening to "its just how flexibile you are" opinions.

    Get a proper fit dude.
    Yeah that applies to the forward lean not the seat height...

    Oh BTW you can and should be able to ride at quite a large range of seat heights, it does take time to stretch the legs to accomodate lower than normal seat heights, and if it is too high you will know immediately...

    Been to several bike fitters, and they all have different answers, fundementally it is all up to the rider.

  9. #9
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    I use this rule of thumb when setting my seat height. I sit on the saddle and let my leg dangle. There should be about 3 inches or so of space between the bottom of your foot and the ground. You should not be straightening your leg 100%, there should be a slight bend when you have the pedal all the way down. Leg Should be straight in line with the cranks when the crank is all the way down. Handlebar height is personal preference. Different people can handle different positioning, at the very least your arms should have small bends in them.

    I just changed the fork on my bike and I purposely did not cut the steerer tube so I could fine tune the stem height...even on the trail if I wanted too. I have about 3 spacers I can move from above my stem to below my stem, and 4 below if I want to go in the other direction.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Yeah that applies to the forward lean not the seat height...

    Oh BTW you can and should be able to ride at quite a large range of seat heights, it does take time to stretch the legs to accomodate lower than normal seat heights, and if it is too high you will know immediately...

    Been to several bike fitters, and they all have different answers, fundementally it is all up to the rider.
    um no.

    If your seat is too low and you push or pull on the pedals it will cause very sevear stress on the front of your knee which can damage the knee. It is not up to the rider. Proper fit and form is essential in all sports.

    Go to the gym and start doing deadlifts with an arched back and get back to me how you feel. Very similar comparison. Theres a right way of doing something and the dangerous/wrong way.

  11. #11
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    FWIW , to set seat height , leg straight with heel on pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke . This is the highest seat position , most people lower the seat up to one inch from this point . Once you find your seat position try handle bars at or up to one inch below seat height . Bar height is subjective , there is no one correct height . Good luck .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by OVOleg
    um no.

    If your seat is too low and you push or pull on the pedals it will cause very sevear stress on the front of your knee which can damage the knee. It is not up to the rider. Proper fit and form is essential in all sports.

    Go to the gym and start doing deadlifts with an arched back and get back to me how you feel. Very similar comparison. Theres a right way of doing something and the dangerous/wrong way.

    BS there is no one correct seat height, there are many, and yes you can streatch your legs out and make it work without damage.

    I would say a leeway of 1 to 1.5 inches is easily doable.

    I certainly vary within that range without problems.

  13. #13
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    I think there is 1 correct seat height for every person. I can totally feel it my seat post slips down, or when I a shorter persons bike.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

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    Quote Originally Posted by OVOleg
    um no.

    If your seat is too low and you push or pull on the pedals it will cause very sevear stress on the front of your knee which can damage the knee. It is not up to the rider. Proper fit and form is essential in all sports.

    Go to the gym and start doing deadlifts with an arched back and get back to me how you feel. Very similar comparison. Theres a right way of doing something and the dangerous/wrong way.
    Thanks for all of the information. I am not trying to start a verbal jab session or anything. I think all the information is useful. I am just a 'weekend warrior', I will take responsibility for my own joint damage. It is ultimately up to me to get it right.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    I think there is 1 correct seat height for every person. I can totally feel it my seat post slips down, or when I a shorter persons bike.

    Right and because you can tell the difference that makes it wrong?

    Hey what says yours is the right height....oh yah you...

    And there is only one correct height cause you have decided that.

    Let see 60 miles of flat road riding demands the same set-up as 30 km straight up switch backs then down the other side?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Right and because you can tell the difference that makes it wrong?

    Hey what says yours is the right height....oh yah you...

    And there is only one correct height cause you have decided that.

    Let see 60 miles of flat road riding demands the same set-up as 30 km straight up switch backs then down the other side?
    straight up switchbacks require an even better fit and seat height than 60 miles of flat road riding.

    When you're climbing you exert more force(typically) than flats riding.

    have fun with knee problems if you dont think seat height is crucial.

  17. #17
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    I love how everybody throws out the "get a fitting" line, but offers no info.....

    ....noob, yes, but I found this:

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    other stuff on Shelton Brown's site too, but I saw no formulas....with as many frame sizes and variations, crank lengths, etc there obviously can't be rigid mathematics to this.....otherwise the only way to ride would be to have all the parts made for your body...


    please tell me if I'm wrong, cuz I'd like to see if my current ride actually fits me....

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by smb_600
    I love how everybody throws out the "get a fitting" line, but offers no info.....

    ....noob, yes, but I found this:

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    other stuff on Shelton Brown's site too, but I saw no formulas....with as many frame sizes and variations, crank lengths, etc there obviously can't be rigid mathematics to this.....otherwise the only way to ride would be to have all the parts made for your body...


    please tell me if I'm wrong, cuz I'd like to see if my current ride actually fits me....

    Your absolutely correct , so many variable that the best info is just a starting point . One sure way to tell if it is wrong is pain , back pain , knee pain etc.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by OVOleg
    straight up switchbacks require an even better fit and seat height than 60 miles of flat road riding. not better different

    When you're climbing you exert more force(typically) than flats riding.really even when you sprint

    have fun with knee problems if you dont think seat height is crucial.

    Well I got knee problems No ACL at all, and no fibula as well.....neither happened riding...

    Yet guess what I took up riding to get away from knee pain so 35,000 km later here I am knee pain free.

    There is no one correct saddle position.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    That might just be the most dangerous thing I think I have seen any one suggest. You do realize if he loosen and adjusts his "stem clamp" he will need to add spacers? I am going to hope that you mean he should loosen and adjust handle bar clamp?
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Yessssss

    Just to get the angle of the bars right, can't really take the bars off while you are riding.
    Dremer03, why would loosening your steerer clamp necessitate adding spacers rather than simply rearranging the stack? How could you add any?

    Sure you can change bar rotation or stem position during a ride, just need a 4 or 5mm allen wrench, in most cases. You just need to tighten the bolts between changing positions is all. As long as your housings/hoses are long enough if you're raising them...

    Jeff, as for your comment that your knee should be over the spindle at 6 o'clock for KOPS method....you might want to try that yourself. I think you meant 9 o'clock....
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikinfoolferlife
    Dremer03, why would loosening your steerer clamp necessitate adding spacers rather than simply rearranging the stack? How could you add any?

    Sure you can change bar rotation or stem position during a ride, just need a 4 or 5mm allen wrench, in most cases. You just need to tighten the bolts between changing positions is all. As long as your housings/hoses are long enough if you're raising them...

    Jeff, as for your comment that your knee should be over the spindle at 6 o'clock for KOPS method....you might want to try that yourself. I think you meant 9 o'clock....

    Yes you are right at 9 oclock not 6 well maybe 3 oclock??? anyway crank flat to the ground pedal in front of the bb....

    There is alot of talk about moving the cleat back to the end of the meta tarasal bones (arch of the foot). I wonder where the knee should be for that cleat set up????

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikinfoolferlife
    Dremer03, why would loosening your steerer clamp necessitate adding spacers rather than simply rearranging the stack? How could you add any?
    No matter hw you stack your spacers you cant add... He could only subtract spacers, unless he was running spacers on top and bottom like I did. Either way the jeffscott did not specify that he would nee to rearrange or add. He simply said "Then set the bars so you feel comfortable...trick loosen stem clamp a hair and adjust bars while on a safe test ride...then clamp up...readjust levers...." no mention of removing, rearranging or adding.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    No matter hw you stack your spacers you cant add... He could only subtract spacers, unless he was running spacers on top and bottom like I did. Either way the jeffscott did not specify that he would nee to rearrange or add. He simply said "Then set the bars so you feel comfortable...trick loosen stem clamp a hair and adjust bars while on a safe test ride...then clamp up...readjust levers...." no mention of removing, rearranging or adding.
    You mentioned the adding of a spacer...not Jeff. You can't "subtract" a spacer normally, either. All you can generally do is rearrange them, if you even have spacers (and if you had all your spacers under the stem already, that of course would only allow lowering of the bar which doesn't sound like what the OP wanted to do anyways). Jeff simply used the wrong term about which clamp, and you didn't do much better in trying to correct him (in that a threadless type stem has two clamps, a handlebar clamp and a steerer clamp, the "stem clamp" I suppose could be either one).

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Yes you are right at 9 oclock not 6 well maybe 3 oclock??? anyway crank flat to the ground pedal in front of the bb....

    There is alot of talk about moving the cleat back to the end of the meta tarasal bones (arch of the foot). I wonder where the knee should be for that cleat set up????
    28 Minutes Ago 02:16 PM
    How would that work at 3 o'clock? You have one of those reverse clocks or reverse knees?

    I haven't heard "a lot of talk" about moving the cleat back, but then I don't look for a conversation like that. I know where I like my cleat. You might like this article discussing the validity of KOPS, though http://www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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  24. #24
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    On my road bikes I have the seat height set a little higher than on my mountain bike. Probably a mistake on my part, but I'm off the saddle more on the mountain bike and slide off the back when going down hill ... I find it a little easier if my saddle is a little bit lower.

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    My road bike's saddle is a little bit higher than my mountain bike as well. I'm off quite a bit on the mountain bike and rarely stand up on the road bike. I go with what is more comfortable for my riding style, I don't get pain in my knees, back, hands, or groin when I ride either bike, so I must be doing something right.

    Dremer's advice about feet being 3" above the ground when straddling the saddle does not compensate for different BB heights. Meaning, if I had 2 bikes where the length from the saddle to the pedal with the crank at 6:00 were the same, my feet would be different heights off of the ground.

    Also if there were one correct saddle height for each individual, why are gravity droppers so popular? Obviously there are plenty of people who prefer different saddle heights for different applications.
    Last edited by emtnate; 12-01-2009 at 08:44 PM.

  26. #26
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    Seems to me that there's a few in this thread that take this WAY to serious, even to the point of arguing like little girls.

    Give the guy a few "rules of thumb" and let him figure out what he likes best and stop telling everyone how your way is the "right" way.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunerinaz
    Give the guy a few "rules of thumb" and let him figure out what he likes best and stop telling everyone how your way is the "right" way.
    Ok.


    A fitter can probably get everything set within 10mm +/-, but the guy on the bike has to figure the rest of it out for himself.

    Saddle height- for ease of explanation, sit on your saddle and weight your butt. Put your heel on the pedal spindle. When your knee is locked straight, that's probably fairly close to the correct height for climbing. +/- 10mm or so.

    Bar height, XC/trail bike- leave the saddle where you just set it. Stand the bike up against the garage. Set the bars so the bars are 20mm below the saddle. That's probably fairly close, +/- 15mm or so. Bar height is a handling thing. Too high and you don't put power down as effectively, the front end washes out downhill, and lifts uphill, too low and you feel OTB.

    Saddle fore/aft adjustment- sit on your bike with the cranks at 3 o'clock. Run a plumb-bob from your knee, or have a friend eyeball you from 15 feet away. When the front of your knee is over the pedal spindle, you're in the right spot. +/- 10mm.

    Reach, top tube + stem- Get measured. +/- 10mm.

    Back pain can come from lots of things- seat too high/low, reach too short/far, seat angle too steep/slack (or relative to bar height), raising the bars is what everyone wants to do, but it's rarely the culprit. Sometimes it will fix a problem, but it's a mask.

    Playing with fit is the major way bike designers get a bike to handle the way they want. If we were completely inflexible regarding fit, all bikes would handle almost the same. Along those lines, we compromise our own fit by setting up the bike to handle the way we want. We buy cockpit components and make adjustments that change our fit on the bike.
    Last edited by scottzg; 12-01-2009 at 11:56 PM.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    That might just be the most dangerous thing I think I have seen any one suggest. You do realize if he loosen and adjusts his "stem clamp" he will need to add spacers? I am going to hope that you mean he should loosen and adjust handle bar clamp?
    Lets use some common sense here.
    Why would anybody want their stem anything other than perfectly inline with the front wheel.
    I'm pretty sure his advise pertains to the position of the bar inside of the stem.
    Rotating the bar in the stem to the perfect angle is important. Otherwise the sweep of the bar can put the wrists in a bad angle and cause issues.
    I had mine rotated a bit too far forward, and was getting pain in my hands......rotated the bar more towards me and the pain was gone.
    Sometimes I can't believe the lack of common sense I see around here.
    Look, whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

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