Setback vs regular seat post stupid question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Setback vs regular seat post stupid question

    Is there any really advantage to have a seat post setback or it is just the look? Is it really more forgiven on the trails especially for those of us on hard tails? I am looking to upgrade my heavy post with a thomson seat post and want to know if the setbacks are more forgiven. Thanks

  2. #2
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    uhhhh, i don't know from personal experience, but this is what i've gathered.

    the laid back only soaks up any amount of bumpage if its titanium. the main purpose of it, i would assume, is to make more room in the cockpit. some people are behemoths and need more room... instead of getting a bigger bike, they can just do it this way.
    Ibis Tranny 29


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjaraica
    Is there any really advantage to have a seat post setback or it is just the look? Is it really more forgiven on the trails especially for those of us on hard tails? I am looking to upgrade my heavy post with a thomson seat post and want to know if the setbacks are more forgiven. Thanks
    The point of a setback post is to move your saddle back farther.

  4. #4
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    As others have posted, the value of the setback is obvious... it allows you to set the seat back further, stretching out the cockpit. For someone like me with long arms but rest of body fitting a medium frame, it gives me a much better fit, avoiding extending the bar further forward (and thus screwing up my weight distribution, etc).

  5. #5
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    As others have said...

    ...a setback (specific) post will position the saddle farther back, but keep in mind that posts like Thomson's setback only put the saddle back as far as most "regular" seatposts. Most seatposts already have about a half-inch of setback built in...the rail clamps are positioned behind the post, so the saddle ends up "set back" already. Thomson's setback uses a bend in the post (but retains their original nonsetback clamp) to accomplish this. The original Thomson Elite has no setback; the post meets the rail clamps roughly at their center point.

    If you already have a post that has an offset (e.g, offerings from Easton, Raceface, Ritchey, etc.), a Thomson likely won't give you any additional setback advantage.

    And when it comes to seatposts, it's the material that determines the "give" of the post. But really, beyond suspension (if you have it) and the wheelset and frame, the saddle design and saddle rails take up most of the beating, anyway...more than the post.
    Last edited by iconoclaSSt; 01-09-2008 at 09:59 AM.
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  6. #6
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    I had an Eriksen Ti straight post on my steel hardtail but I didn't like having the saddle pushed all the way back. I bought a Blacksheep Ti set-back to achieve the correct cockpit fit and was blown away at the difference it made. The set-back Ti post feels like an extra 1/4" of suspension. Definitely makes a noticeable difference on a hard tail.

    Paulie

  7. #7
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    All these guys are completely wrong...Set back seat posts are for people who have improperly sized the frame.

  8. #8
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    My current HT bike has a pretty steep seat tube and my thighs are longer than my short shins... So I installed a set back post to get my backside and knees where I need them to be. My next frame has a slacker seat tube and I am putting a straight Thomson in it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    All these guys are completely wrong...Set back seat posts are for people who have improperly sized the frame.
    Wrong.

    People don't all come in the same proportions and some people need more offset between the bb and seat than is available in just moving the seat on it's rails. If it's all about the frame size, then why even have seats be adjustable front to back? Setback posts are a valuable fitting tool.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    People don't all come in the same proportions and some people need more offset between the bb and seat than is available in just moving the seat on it's rails. If it's all about the frame size, then why even have seats be adjustable front to back? Setback posts are a valuable fitting tool.
    Finally, Someone that has a clue.
    You should only be moving your saddle fore and aft relative to the cranks/BB. If you have a longer femur you will need more setback. Look up "KOPS".
    If your bars are too close, this can be done by going with a longer stem, to a point.
    Either you need a post with setback, or you don't. Many riders can use either. The seat will be the same distance behind the crank, in either case. I don't know that the ride feel will be noticable different, with the saddle properly positioned.
    Todd............. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32seventeen
    Finally, Someone that has a clue.
    I try.

  12. #12
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    Warning: bike fit geek ahead...

    Quote Originally Posted by 32seventeen
    Finally, Someone that has a clue.
    You should only be moving your saddle fore and aft relative to the cranks/BB. If you have a longer femur you will need more setback. Look up "KOPS".
    If your bars are too close, this can be done by going with a longer stem, to a point.
    Either you need a post with setback, or you don't. Many riders can use either. The seat will be the same distance behind the crank, in either case. I don't know that the ride feel will be noticable different, with the saddle properly positioned.
    Having had several bikes fits on both road and mtb from some pretty waesome folks and learned a few things - that said a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing so I'll toss in some fodder. Yes this is probably just too much tech weenie crap for many - but I have felt some big improvements with fit adjustments... so here goes:


    I agree 100% with 32seventeen regarding movement relative to BB... and will add that the position of saddle dictates the angles through which the leg applies pressure to the pedals - when seated. Now, applying pressure from further back (i.e. with a setback seatpost, or the saddle slid back in the rails) uses different muscles (more hamstring and less quad) than with the saddle forward... It is often thought that if ones top tube is short you can compensate by sliding the saddle back and/or using a longer stem... while this can be true it also changes the muscles used to push on the pedals.. in SS we tend to move around lots and get out of the saddle and I think this may be less of an issue than say on a road bike where the rider (poor sod) is seated and repetitively spinning for hours at a time in the same position... Very often roadies who move the saddle too far back or forward often end up with knee/hip problems because they're not using their leg's muscle groups effectively and are overloading the quads or the hamstrings...

    Saddle position is also relative to comfort and flexibility... too far back and climbing steeps will be harder - IN THE SADDLE - as you can't as easliy recruit the quads - so you'll need to stand up ... since standing up is just what we do most folks don't think twice about it - but I would venture that saddle position plays a role in how frequenlty we stand up - too far back and we'll stand sooner...

    I know some folks who seem to be able to climb steeper stuff while sitting and I'd venture that their flexibility is probably a factor in that... folks who have greater flexibilty are usually able to utilize more muscles in a wider range of positions and therefore can probably climb better both in and out of the saddle...
    All that biomechanical stuff is helpful to some and others just say get on a bike - adjust a few things untuil it's relatively comfy and just go ride - and more than likely the body will adapt... both are probably true.

    More than my .02 ...
    "You know how they make aluminum bike frames? They take steel and suck out all the soul..."

  13. #13
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    And besides......

    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    I try.
    ......it's not that often that we're actually on the seat!

  14. #14
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    True 'nuff ...

    but that probably depends on the terrain and type of riding ... my buddy who races 50 & 100 mile events speds a LOT of time in the saddle... I will do some climbs that last 30+ minutes and I'll get out of the saddle for some parts of 'em but I just sit and (slowly) grind up most of it... but them again perhaps my saddle's too far forward

    Yeah a tend to agree, we do spend lots more time out of the saddle and that's why I think it probably is less of an issue for SSers...

    S
    "You know how they make aluminum bike frames? They take steel and suck out all the soul..."

  15. #15
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    There are very interesting observations here to consider. Once, I was told by pro-xc rider “geared” that when it comes to MTB, a rider should ride the smaller frame possible without compromising comfort. If this is the case, oldmanhouse should expand more on his point about everyone with a set back has the wrong frame. So, now the issue is: will you rather adjust the stem and the seat post to fit the “wrong bike frame” or will you rather ride the ideal perfect frame for you. I would love the idea of riding the smaller frame that I can afford/fit and use the stem and the seat post to adjust the posture. This way, I do not have carry extra weight from a larger frame that I do not need. In addition, I do not have the budget to have custom frame.

  16. #16
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    I used a setback when I had a geared bike. The bike had a short Effective TT, and needed to be stretched out a bit on it. A bike fit at UC Davis Sports Med confirmed that. My SS on the other hand, has a straight post.
    I take a bit of offense at oldmanhouse's suggestion that I didn't choose the correct frame for me. I have a long torso, shorter legs and finding a frame that fits really well is not always easy, especially the seat/ BB relation.
    Also, in regards to adjusting the cockpit, I would much rather run a shorter stem than a longer, so if setting my post back can still give me the same geometry from the waist down, I am stoked, b/c then I can still run a 90-100 mm stem for the twitchy steering I like.
    When I started riding (early 90's) the rage was a small frame, long stem, flat bars and lotsa seatpost. I raced 1 17" Ibis Mojo. The other night I heard some guys in the shop mention that they like to ride a larger frame and shorter point of attachment (post, stem, riser bars.) Any body else?
    Also, I sold my geared Full Suss rig just to SS for a few years, and don't think the setback post geometry is nearly as important for us as the gearies, as we're more likely to stand up instead of stay seated and push through something which could cause long term knee damage and pain...
    my .02.

  17. #17
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    What I noticed once I got my Thomson post in hand was that the clamp was right on top of the post, limited the rear adjustment, but improving forward. So look at the clamp on your current seatpost, if it is offset to the rear, look at your saddle position. If it is more towards the rear, you may want to consider a setback based on how far back it is. I have the seat slammed all the way to the rear with the straight post. I almost need a setback.

  18. #18
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    I'll make this easy:

    Power & Efficiency comes 1st by adjusting saddle height, angle, fore and aft, along with the cleats on your shoe.

    Comfort comes 2nd by getting a stem with the optimal length and rise/drop (assuming the TT is in the ballpark of fitting your torso).

    As long as you or somebody helping you has a general idea of how to fit you on a bike, you can start with a ballpark fit, and fine tune as you ride till you get it spot on.

    I've fitted hundreds of people on bikes while on a trainer to get a base line. True "fit" comes with real world riding because you tend to move around on the saddle when you're climbing, decending and even getting tired and I have found that is is likely necessary to make a minor adjustment here and there that will better acomodate those situations while not affecting your neutral position (position that you're normally in on a flat road).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritzaholic
    I used a setback when I had a geared bike. The bike had a short Effective TT, and needed to be stretched out a bit on it. A bike fit at UC Davis Sports Med confirmed that. My SS on the other hand, has a straight post.
    I take a bit of offense at oldmanhouse's suggestion that I didn't choose the correct frame for me. I have a long torso, shorter legs and finding a frame that fits really well is not always easy, especially the seat/ BB relation.
    Also, in regards to adjusting the cockpit, I would much rather run a shorter stem than a longer, so if setting my post back can still give me the same geometry from the waist down, I am stoked, b/c then I can still run a 90-100 mm stem for the twitchy steering I like.
    When I started riding (early 90's) the rage was a small frame, long stem, flat bars and lotsa seatpost. I raced 1 17" Ibis Mojo. The other night I heard some guys in the shop mention that they like to ride a larger frame and shorter point of attachment (post, stem, riser bars.) Any body else?
    Also, I sold my geared Full Suss rig just to SS for a few years, and don't think the setback post geometry is nearly as important for us as the gearies, as we're more likely to stand up instead of stay seated and push through something which could cause long term knee damage and pain...
    my .02.
    This is exactly how NOT to fit a bike properly!
    If you have short legs, long torso, and you like to run stems that are short. You should be shopping for frames with the longest top tubes you can find.
    When fitting a bike you always start with the saddle relative to the BB/crank. Your stem length will then be a function of the TT length. If the TT is short then you need to compensate with a longer stem.
    I think you could really benefit from professional fit from a qualified shop/coach.
    Todd............. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

  20. #20
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    I think people always hear toptube mentioned over and over, and just assume that their comfort determines if a frame fits properly or not. The stem and bars are ALWAYS the last thing you "fit" on the bike after everything else is set up.

    And if you have to get a set-back post to make up for TT length, and it moves you out of you're optimal position over the BB, your frame does NOT FIT.

    By "My Definition", Proper frame fit is achieved when your COG (Center of Gravity) is properly positioned over the BB and the toptube's length is where you can fit a 120mm stem (for 6' ers) and the rise depends on the bars and you're preference. If you're under 6', you could use a 110 stem, and if you're around 6'3"+ you might consider a 130mm stem.

    Stem length is really determined by arm length and torso length in relation to the TT's length, but there are always a lot of gray areas. The stem's length affects how a bike handels BIG TIME. If you have a short TT and a long stem, you will have a slow handeling bike. If you have a long TT and a short stem, (where the total length is equal to the above sceniero), you will have an unstable, twitchy handeling bike.

    Having a professional bike fitting is well worth the money, and you can always take it with you to use as a baseline on your next bikes. You will be amazed what a difference it makes in your power transfer to the pedals and your comfort.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32seventeen
    This is exactly how NOT to fit a bike properly!
    If you have short legs, long torso, and you like to run stems that are short. You should be shopping for frames with the longest top tubes you can find.
    When fitting a bike you always start with the saddle relative to the BB/crank. Your stem length will then be a function of the TT length. If the TT is short then you need to compensate with a longer stem.
    I think you could really benefit from professional fit from a qualified shop/coach.
    32x17-
    I think you and I are referring to the same thing.
    I did get a bike fit at UC Davis, A highly qualified outfit... and ended up ditching that rig about 4 mos later b/c it wasn't working for me.
    I think TT is a fairly effective way to just a bike's fit. You and I disagree maybe. I think Seat- tube length / Angle can get you really close to where you need to be, but you've got some play with Setback posts, and Saddle adjustment. If it still doesn't work, you've gotta let it the thing go. (it had gears anyway, no tears after the divorce)
    As far as shopping for a long top tube, my SS is a custom 7, so I'm pretty sure we got it nailed. I've been on it for 5 years now, and really only get back pains after 6-8 hrs of ride/ race time.
    I'm hoping to break it later this year, just so I can get a new one.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritzaholic
    32x17-
    I think you and I are referring to the same thing.
    I did get a bike fit at UC Davis, A highly qualified outfit... and ended up ditching that rig about 4 mos later b/c it wasn't working for me.
    I think TT is a fairly effective way to just a bike's fit. You and I disagree maybe. I think Seat- tube length / Angle can get you really close to where you need to be, but you've got some play with Setback posts, and Saddle adjustment. If it still doesn't work, you've gotta let it the thing go. (it had gears anyway, no tears after the divorce)
    As far as shopping for a long top tube, my SS is a custom 7, so I'm pretty sure we got it nailed. I've been on it for 5 years now, and really only get back pains after 6-8 hrs of ride/ race time.
    I'm hoping to break it later this year, just so I can get a new one.
    You look at TT length when buying the bike, but when getting fitted on it you look at seat vs BB position first then fine tune your reach with the proper stem length.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treybiker
    You look at TT length when buying the bike, but when getting fitted on it you look at seat vs BB position first then fine tune your reach with the proper stem length.
    Exactly I don't think that fritzaholic understands the basics about bike fit. If he has a custom seven, the frame should be a good fit, but if he has the saddle in the wrong position, he wasted his money going custom.
    Todd............. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

  24. #24
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    32x17.
    I've been racing bikes for over 15 years. To put it politely I wouldnt be able to spend that kinda time in the saddle for such a long duration if I didn't have some sort of semblance of how to set a bike up for myself. I'm not gonna list my palmares here, but I have been around bikes for a LONG time.
    The custom Ti was set up around a specific seat/ seatpost and stem length. Maybe I wasted my money in your opinion.
    The only change I've made in it is that since I've started doing endurance races, I put on a short rise bar...
    I've got a frame that I can ride for hours without knee or back pain.
    You tell me?

  25. #25
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    Heh.....

    Quote Originally Posted by stevereeneo
    Yeah a tend to agree, we do spend lots more time out of the saddle and that's why I think it probably is less of an issue for SSers...

    S
    ....FTR, I was just generalizing. But you're right, oftentimes you can get a steady tempo in the saddle on the SS, depending on the pitch of course.
    I noticed you run a PipeDream. A buddy had a Ti one built up to match his Jericho's geometry.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritzaholic
    32x17.
    I've been racing bikes for over 15 years. To put it politely I wouldnt be able to spend that kinda time in the saddle for such a long duration if I didn't have some sort of semblance of how to set a bike up for myself. I'm not gonna list my palmares here, but I have been around bikes for a LONG time.
    The custom Ti was set up around a specific seat/ seatpost and stem length. Maybe I wasted my money in your opinion.
    The only change I've made in it is that since I've started doing endurance races, I put on a short rise bar...
    I've got a frame that I can ride for hours without knee or back pain.
    You tell me?
    Your bike probably fits perfect because you had a good builder. "In general", if a frame is properly sized, the stem's length will be in proportion to the rider (I ride a 120 mm stem on about every mountain bike I've ver had)

    BUT, we're talking about someone getting sized on a production frame. Though the TT measurement is important, its sole purpose is to provide comfort, not performance. When someone shops for a bike, they should find something that has a TT length that is in the ballpark of fitting them. Then once they're ready to be fitted the first adjustment on the bike is going to be the saddle position. Once that is set, then they look and see how well you're positioned and will change out the stem length to fine tune your position. Moving you're saddle out of it's optimal position to get the proper length over the TT is WRONG! Now in most instances, if you buy a frame that is close to fitting one day, and another one a few years later that fits, you will most likley still use the same stem length.

    And I raced for only 12 years, but have worked in the bike industry off and on for the past 18 years, have fitted 100's of people on bikes, have attended multiple seminars on bike fit, have a background in Bio mechanics (BS & MA in Fitness and human performance), and am about to have my 4th custom frame built.

    Here's a great artical on bike fit that supports my methods. Worth reading.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html

  27. #27
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    Trey,

    Couldn't agree more about moving the seat in order to get your TT / Cockpit length to fit right. That was the impetus behind me getting a custom bike made. I hate stems that are too long.
    The most important part of the fit is the lower half of the body (legs/ butt/ knees/ feet/ shoes etc) so if you can get that right, and it takes a setback post to get there, or close, you're in. I don't think I need the lecture here, I did go check out Sheldon Brown's article (that guy has wriiten insightful comentary on everything!)
    You've got enought years on the bikes and in the business of riding to know that you couldn't do this year in year out without knowing how to make it work.

  28. #28
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    New bike????.....

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzaholic
    Trey,

    Couldn't agree more about moving the seat in order to get your TT / Cockpit length to fit right. That was the impetus behind me getting a custom bike made. I hate stems that are too long.
    The most important part of the fit is the lower half of the body (legs/ butt/ knees/ feet/ shoes etc) so if you can get that right, and it takes a setback post to get there, or close, you're in. I don't think I need the lecture here, I did go check out Sheldon Brown's article (that guy has wriiten insightful comentary on everything!)
    You've got enought years on the bikes and in the business of riding to know that you couldn't do this year in year out without knowing how to make it work.
    What new bike?........guess I need to get back in the game so I'm current. I was trying to follow who you were bantering with but gave up.

    And what the he!! is an impetus? Sounds like something you should have a Doc check out...

  29. #29
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    Jmac, hey buddy.
    Yeah, I sold the Rocky, but still have the SS Seven. That ain't going anywhere... till I break her, then I'm back to steel, this light bike crap is for the birds... with deep pockets and no mortgage.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritzaholic
    Trey,Couldn't agree more about moving the seat in order to get your TT / Cockpit length to fit right.
    He never said that.....
    I give up What do I know?, I have only fit thousands over my 25+ years in the bike industry.
    People ride improperly sized/fit bikes for years and years with out complaint. Does it make their fit correct ???
    Todd............. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

  31. #31
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    Moving you're saddle out of it's optimal position to get the proper length over the TT is WRONG!-- direct quote. 2nd paragraph...

    I actually agree with you, both of you. I just rely on TT length a bit more, and don't see it as an afterthought... (oh, the height fits (seat tube/ angle) let's see if someone makes a stem that will let your back stay in a comfy spot)- I know that's a bit of a dramatization. I'm just picky about stem length.

    So what do you think about EBB's?- Personally I think it's a crummy idea, not just that they don't always hold up well over time either.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritzaholic
    Moving you're saddle out of it's optimal position to get the proper length over the TT is WRONG!-- direct quote. 2nd paragraph...

    I actually agree with you, both of you. I just rely on TT length a bit more, and don't see it as an afterthought... (oh, the height fits (seat tube/ angle) let's see if someone makes a stem that will let your back stay in a comfy spot)- I know that's a bit of a dramatization. I'm just picky about stem length.

    So what do you think about EBB's?- Personally I think it's a crummy idea, not just that they don't always hold up well over time either.
    Ahh, I read it wrong too. He agrees that I said it is WRONG to move your saddle to get the right reach to your stem.

    EBB's have their place for some, but I don't like having to change my saddle height and fore and aft every time I re-gear (when you have trails everywhere with varying levels of elevation change you re-gear often), to get it back to the optimal position (not to mention it'll take time to get it right). I'm looking at having a frame built with the Paragon Sliders. That seems to be the best choice when using disc brakes and you can use a QR wheel and not have to adjust anything in regards to body position when re-gearing.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treybiker
    You look at TT length when buying the bike, but when getting fitted on it you look at seat vs BB position first then fine tune your reach with the proper stem length.
    And be aware that with the saddle in the same position relative to the BB, a frame with a steeper STA will have a shorter top tube than a frame with a more relaxed STA.

    To bring this back closer to the original question, for the same riding position, a frame designed for a offset post will have a steeper seat tube angle and shorter top tube than one designed to use a straight post.
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  34. #34
    breathing helium
    Reputation: cocheese's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,094
    I've got an Eriksen layback post on my hardtail and really like it. Highly recommended.

  35. #35
    Shocks?, Pegs?... Lucky!
    Reputation: fritzaholic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    799
    I like the Paragon sliding drops, my CX rig has something like it, except they have a der. hanger, so if'n I want I can out gears on (for longer rally/ epic days) It also has discs, which is sweet on cx bikes.
    I'm definitely getting the sliding drops on my next SS.

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