Rigid SS and handle bar height vs seat.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Rigid SS and handle bar height vs seat.

    I have noticed I can ride loose with little weight on the front best when the bars are 1-2 inches higher than the saddle. I don't need all the weight on the front for climbing since I am standing for most steep climbs. Is this normal?
    2011 Kona unit with some carbon.

  2. #2
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    I don't know if it is normal or not but it seems to be the way alot of folks have their bikes set up now days. Personally, I feel awkward when the bars are higher than the seat, especially when climbing. Maybe it is just my years of being a roadie that cause this but my seat is about 2" higher than my bars.

  3. #3
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    I'm pretty sure it's an "age" thing.

    SPP
    Rigid.

  4. #4
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    The place where you like your bars best is the right place for them to be.

  5. #5
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    If it's for stand and mash scenario, what matters is the bar height vs the BB height. Since you're standing, the saddle height doesn't matter, right? As for general riding, I too prefered to have the saddle lower than the handlebar, but it's more like having the saddle lower so I can have more body english. Therefore I'm using a dropper post. Best of both worlds.

  6. #6
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    Age thing...

    I have noticed that if I ride my SS with the bars too high, I am very uncomfortable switching back to the road bike. I do like the bars at least 1" higher than the saddle on the SS--makes it much easier to loft the front wheel, which I do a lot. I am chalking it up to "age" as I am 49, and not as limber as I used to be. I will be lowering my bars to the same height as my geared 29er and see how that works out so I feel roughly the same muscle recruitment from bike to bike. I like being about 1/2-1" lower than the saddle on the geared bike with front suspension so I can really stick that wheel in the ground on the turns. Love how you can do that on a 29er. Hope I can get the pounding off the arms, wrists, and hands in that lower position.

  7. #7
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    Since Im one of those old geezers you refer to, I too like my bars about 1-1 higher than the seat.

    One of the most important things I notice is that it makes for a much easier and smoother transition from standing and sitting, and visa, versa. It feels much more natural on the upper body position.

    JM2C

    Mojo

  8. #8
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    Yes I'm in my forties also and I love the handling when the bar is lower than the seat but I find I have too much weight on the bars and the ride get ruff. If I go higher than 1-2 inches above the seat I find it hard to hover over the back seat in the bumps and get the same problem there.
    2011 Kona unit with some carbon.

  9. #9
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    Well I don't know where I fit in as far as age goes (41) bit I definitely think my riding with my bars lower is a direct result of coming from a roadie background. I raced road bikes for many years and back in the early 90's when I got a mountain bike I simply kept the geometry close to that of my road bike. That has stood the test of time for me.

    I don't like it when my bars are even even with the seat on a road bike or a mtb. For me it just feels too tall when riding out of the saddle. I also like the seat a tad higher in general to help promote leg extension. Granted there is a bit of a compromise on the mtb in that it is a tad lower than it is on my road bike. If I run them at the same height then getting behind the saddle when going over things or bunny hopping. I definitely don't have any problem lofting the front tire with this set up.

    None the less, I really don't think that age has much to do with it. If you cross train, eat right, exercise on a regular basis and have a good stretching routine you should be fine. To me "age" is just a damn excuse. You folks that use that as an excuse need to just HTFU! I know and have seen many of guys out there older than me rolling on lower bars.

    I'm not going to lie and it may offend many people. I agree that your bars should be where they are comfortable for you. That truly makes the most sense to me. If it helps you to loft the front end, great. If it helps ease the pressure on you lower back, great! There really isn't a "right" place for them to be other than what works for you. Now my opinion however is this:

    When the mountain bike boom really started to hit in the early 90's the geo was still similar to road bikes. Many of the folks that were crossing over to mtb were roadies and so the bike set up was simply a mirror image of what they were used to riding. Then "hybrids" came out in the mid 90's. At the shop we called them neighborhood bikes. They had gears and highend ones had cheap shocks on them. But they didn't have fat tires and the body position was alot more up right. The majority of the folks that were buying them were getting them to tool around on paved paths or to ride with their kids around the "neighborhoods". A lot of these folks were not athletic in the least and probably could barely bend over to tire their damn shoes. Yet, this got them out on a bike so as far as I was concerned, it was great. But that body position movement stuck and it started shifting over more and more into the MTB scene. People talked about how much better the handling was and I tried it a couple of times (largely because of a broken stem or different fork set up--taller forks bug the hell out of me as well) and it just didn't work for me. I never saw any sort of benefit from it. This goes for my road bikes as well. It simply felt awkward and handling seemed to go right out the window for me.

    I think as the years went on and the sport continued to grow you started seeing more and more folks coming directly into mtb riding. There wasn't as much of an influx of riders coming off road bikes if you will. So for the new folks coming in that probably hadn't ridden a bike since they were 10 I think the body position of having the seat lower than the bars providing for a more upright riding position appealed to them. They could hop right on the bike and go. Nothing wrong with that at all really. Fore me though, it always reminds me of the "hybrid" riders of old. Don't get me wrong, I have ridden with plenty of guys that have this sort of set up and been whipped on by a few of them as well. As I said, to each his own. To me though, it just looks funny.

  10. #10
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    I think he was joking about the age thing. I know the bars below the seat is mostly an aerodynamics thing. Something like 30% less wind resistance with the bars below the seat. I still run a long (110mm) stem (bars higher but not shorter) so I an stretched out but the bars move better in my hands
    when I am not leaning in them.
    2011 Kona unit with some carbon.

  11. #11
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    No, I'm sure he was joking which is fine. I have heard a lot of people say that though.

    I don't do a lot of racing any more so I'm really not concerned about aerodynamics. I also don't think aerodynamics play as big a roll in mtb as they do on the road so that excuse doesn't work for me either. In my case, just like those that have them high and feel comfortable, I like them low. I think that is the best way to describe it.

  12. #12
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    I gave up on handlebars and use a single flight-stick type yoke pointed strait up. No front brake, just rear and only uses a single grip so it saves money in the long run. Plus I never snag trees or branches anymore!

  13. #13
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    Regardless of whether you like the bar high or low, too much weight on the handlebar is a fit problem. And it has nothing to do with the bar height. If you feel like you're leaning too hard against your bar, move your seat backwards. Really.

    As for singlespeed, I second the comments that the relative height of the bar and seat is mostly irrelevant. I stand so much both climbing and bombing that the relative position of the bar and crank is all that matters to me. If I position the bar relative to the seat, it's only because the seat is a good reference since it is very carefully positioned wrt the crank first.
    It never gets easier, you just go faster. -Greg LeMond
    I'm not as fast as I think I am. -JeffL

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fryed_1 View Post
    I gave up on handlebars and use a single flight-stick type yoke pointed strait up. No front brake, just rear and only uses a single grip so it saves money in the long run. Plus I never snag trees or branches anymore!

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