Stem and Bar height advice- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    JRuss1524
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    Stem and Bar height advice

    I recent picked up a 2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy R.
    So far I love the bike, but am trying to work one thing out.
    When seated, the bike feels great (though maybe a little too much weight on the bars), but when I am standing I feel that my weight is too far forward. It is killing my wrists, and itís to the point that I went over the bars and into a tree going downhill today.
    I am thinking either a shorter stem, or some riser bars would do the trick? What say you?
    Any advice would be awesome!

  2. #2
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    I got issue that I did not feel comfortable with riding positon because I felt like I was too forward, most of my weight to bars. And also my lower back hurt. I have changed the stem for shorter one from 80 to 70 mm and with 30į angle up. There are also 3 washers (spacers) so my bars are quite high up (I will probably remove one of the spacer). Now my bars ale closer to me and weight is more back. But of course I can feel it on the saddle and on my sitting bones.. But you can try.

  3. #3
    Trail Ninja
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    Too much weight on the bars is cause your back is angled a bit too much forward, and is "falling" downward, and your back isn't helping to straighten it. Propping the weight up with your arms leads to wrist and hand pressure.

    If you're gonna angle your back forward, you tend to have to angle so much that it can't be angled any more. XC riders do this with lower bars and dropping their elbows.

    Beware to not go too overboard with an upright position, cause then your weight is going to be on your ass.
    "The challenge is not in developing new ideas, but in escaping old ideas."

  4. #4
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    Try raising the stem with the stem spacers first. This will move the bars up and back.

  5. #5
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Try raising the stem with the stem spacers first. This will move the bars up and back.
    The stem is already at the top of the tube.. that being said, I canít go any higher, correct?

  6. #6
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Too much weight on the bars is cause your back is angled a bit too much forward, and is "falling" downward, and your back isn't helping to straighten it. Propping the weight up with your arms leads to wrist and hand pressure.

    If you're gonna angle your back forward, you tend to have to angle so much that it can't be angled any more. XC riders do this with lower bars and dropping their elbows.

    Beware to not go too overboard with an upright position, cause then your weight is going to be on your ass.
    I figured as much.. I just wasnít sure if the right way to approach this was through a shorter stem, or bars with a bit of rise!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jruss1524 View Post
    The stem is already at the top of the tube.. that being said, I canít go any higher, correct?
    Correct. How tall are you and what size frame?

  8. #8
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Correct. How tall are you and what size frame?
    I am 5í8Ē with 31Ē inseam. The frame size is a medium

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jruss1524 View Post
    I am 5í8Ē with 31Ē inseam. The frame size is a medium
    Being at the upper end of the range for that size I'd be more inclined to try a riser bar than a shorter stem.

  10. #10
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Being at the upper end of the range for that size I'd be more inclined to try a riser bar than a shorter stem.
    Thanks for the advice man. Where would be a good place to start in terms of rise? Itís a pretty expensive guessing game with no way of trying different bars!

  11. #11
    Trail Ninja
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    I'm a little shorter than you at 5' 7". I like to have my bars about level with my saddle at full height.

    As a side bonus, my knees pads don't smash into the shifter when I pedal around tight switchbacks on climbs, nor does the shifter hit the top tube when the bar spins around, with the bar higher.

    Don't forget that you can adjust the height and reach by rolling the higher rise bars.
    "The challenge is not in developing new ideas, but in escaping old ideas."

  12. #12
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    I'm a little shorter than you at 5' 7". I like to have my bars about level with my saddle at full height.

    As a side bonus, my knees pads don't smash into the shifter when I pedal around tight switchbacks on climbs, nor does the shifter hit the top tube when the bar spins around, with the bar higher.

    Don't forget that you can adjust the height and reach by rolling the higher rise bars.
    Thanks for the advice!
    While seated on the bike itís not too bad, itís when standing and in an aggressive riding position that I really feel all my weight on my hands. I am thinking I want to go 10-20mm higher than my current bars, but I canít find any info on them online(race face ride 35x760) so I have no reference point

  13. #13
    Trail Ninja
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    Stem and Bar height advice-hb208a07-black.jpg
    ^ 35mm rise

    Stem and Bar height advice-hb208a06-black.jpg
    ^ 20mm rise
    "The challenge is not in developing new ideas, but in escaping old ideas."

  14. #14
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post

    ^ 35mm rise


    ^ 20mm rise

    These look somewhere between flat and 20mm, no?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Stem and Bar height advice-f19e1b21-92e1-4202-a250-1658890a246a.jpg  


  15. #15
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    Looks like 20mm rise. Also, it's more common for a bike to come with a 20mm rise bar than 30mm+. SC's carbon bar is 20mm.

  16. #16
    LCW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jruss1524 View Post

    These look somewhere between flat and 20mm, no?
    Looks flattish because you have your bar rolled back way too much. Itís definitely a 20mm Rose, not flat.

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCW View Post
    Looks flattish because you have your bar rolled back way too much. Itís definitely a 20mm Rose, not flat.
    Agreed, roll those bars forwards! A good setup we used to use at the shop was if you were standing at the side of the bike and looking at your handlebars the grips should be level/parallel to the ground or positive angled up towards the rider a smidge.
    Silly bike things happening.

  18. #18
    since 4/10/2009
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    I think there would be some benefit to you posting pics of yourself on the bike in both seated and standing positions (especially the position you say feels uncomfortable).

    You're about the same height as me, but you have a shorter inseam (and therefore a longer torso).

    What's your arm length like? I have long arms, and while I can ride medium SC bikes comfortably enough, large SC frames feel just a bit better for me because there's more space for my arms to stretch out more comfortably. But on most other bikes, mediums are better. Go figure, huh?

    It's certainly possible that you need more room to reach out, instead of scrunching up with your arms straight down.

  19. #19
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCW View Post
    Looks flattish because you have your bar rolled back way too much. Itís definitely a 20mm Rose, not flat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Redlands R&C View Post
    Agreed, roll those bars forwards! A good setup we used to use at the shop was if you were standing at the side of the bike and looking at your handlebars the grips should be level/parallel to the ground or positive angled up towards the rider a smidge.
    Thatís too funny, I actually had them rolled much further forward, and I angled the bars back towards me before taking the picture. I wanted to see if having them a little closer would help.

    If you look closely at the picture, the center line on the bar/race face logo is centered on the stem. Is that irrelevant when setting them up?

  20. #20
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    Having the bar rolled too far back can drop your wrists and make the bike feel unstable. There are numerous videos and articles online that will show you how to set your bar up in a neutral starting position.

    Here is one,

    https://www.vitalmtb.com/features/Vi...it-Set-Up,1490

  21. #21
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    Having the bar rolled too far back can drop your wrists and make the bike feel unstable. There are numerous videos and articles online that will show you how to set your bar up in a neutral starting position.

    Here is one,

    https://www.vitalmtb.com/features/Vi...it-Set-Up,1490
    Thanks! This is great!
    It is crazy that I have been riding my whole life and never really tinkered all that much.

  22. #22
    Trail Ninja
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    Hopefully people read the caption under the brake lever positioning thing in that article, as I like that "too horizontal" position too.

    With sweep angling, I used to just try to let the bar rotate loose and see how it naturally aligned, but I've adapted to a wide variety of sweeps. I actually feel like I like that much roll, to make the backsweep turn into downsweep.
    "The challenge is not in developing new ideas, but in escaping old ideas."

  23. #23
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Hopefully people read the caption under the brake lever positioning thing in that article, as I like that "too horizontal" position too.

    With sweep angling, I used to just try to let the bar rotate loose and see how it naturally aligned, but I've adapted to a wide variety of sweeps. I actually feel like I like that much roll, to make the backsweep turn into downsweep.
    I see what your saying. I must say the bike felt a little better with the bars rolled back a little bit as shown in the picture. I took it for a ride this AM. I think it may have to do with the fact that it brought the bars in a little closer to me. That being said, maybe a little shorter stem would be the right idea?
    I ordered a 32mm stem before I posted this thread, but I feel that may be a little bit overkill.

  24. #24
    LCW
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    Donít be afraid to slide your saddle a bit forward (assuming itís not already slammed forward) to allow your bar angle back to a wrist friendly position and feeling comfortable on the bike. There are lots of adjustments you can do before swapping bars and stems.

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  25. #25
    JRuss1524
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCW View Post
    Donít be afraid to slide your saddle a bit forward (assuming itís not already slammed forward) to allow your bar angle back to a wrist friendly position and feeling comfortable on the bike. There are lots of adjustments you can do before swapping bars and stems.
    The issues is mostly when standing. The bike feels much better when seated

  26. #26
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    Sounds like you are on the right track. Keep experimenting with adjustments before pulling the trigger. A new bike can take awhile to get used to. I'm 6'4" and decided to change bars on my Kona because there were no other options. Steerer tube came pre-cut and stem is very short so bars were the only way to get more rise. Stock bars were 20mm rise...I went with Renthal Fat Bars in a 40mm rise. Helped a lot.

    Stem and Bar height advice-konafatbars_0319.jpg
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...:thumbsup:

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jruss1524 View Post
    Thatís too funny, I actually had them rolled much further forward, and I angled the bars back towards me before taking the picture. I wanted to see if having them a little closer would help.

    If you look closely at the picture, the center line on the bar/race face logo is centered on the stem. Is that irrelevant when setting them up?
    That is funny! It is good to experiment, and I applaud you for doing it. How else are you going to figure out what works and what doesn't? I wouldn't worry too much about lining up those markings, all those other variables, like headtube angle/stem angle/blah blah blah make keeping things "lined up/centered" almost impossible, plus it is just a graphic.
    Once (side note only here) one of my coworkers bought a very nice ENVE DH bar, 800mm, width. He mounted it centered on the hash-marks, and said something felt weird. We measured and sure enough, it was placed offcenter by about 15mm. He could have complained, but he just trimmed 15mm off the one side so it was "even" again.
    Silly bike things happening.

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