Correct handlebar height ?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Ross.A, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. Ross.A

    Ross.A Guest

    Hi can any of you guys give me bit of advice on handlebar height . Ive just bought a new Dawes Audax
    and after setting the right saddle adjustment the top of the stem is about 2 inches below the tip of
    my saddle i know this tends to be a preferential thing but is this to low (it does seem a bit lower
    then my Giant OCR) its an ahead stem . Do i need this a bit higher ill be doing audax events and
    general commuting .

    tia Ross
     
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  2. It's not a right or wrong thing. It's what's comfortable. 2 inches below is usually fine. Some
    racing cyclists will have it 4 and in Eddy Merckx's time it used to be about level. There's fashion
    there too.

    I do a lot of bike touring and I like it fairly high, almost or at handlebar level, but the reach is
    CRITICAL for comfort and the normal recommended reach has always been too long for my comfort. You
    know it's too long if you get pain between your shoulderblades on long spins, and too short and your
    hands and arms will not be happy.
     
  3. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    My handlebars are 5 inches below the saddle!

    It is common now to have the same position on all of your bikes (unless you mix MTB DH, BMX, speedway and sprinting with your endurance activities) so just set up the bike the same as your giant (taking into acount the effects of different shoes/pedals and the effect of straight/drop bars on position).

    Given that training is specific and that changes in position might lead to injury; set up all of your bike the same.

    Even people who ride the road, MTB XC and cyclo cross set all their bikes up the same now even though this wasn't the case 5 or 6 years ago.
     
  4. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 24/2/04 9:10 am, in article [email protected],
    "2LAP" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Ross.A wrote:
    >> Hi can any of you guys give me bit of advice on handlebar height . Ive just bought a new Dawes
    >> Audax and after setting the right saddle adjustment the top of the stem is about 2 inches below
    >> the tip of my saddle i know this tends to be a preferential thing but is this to low (it does
    >> seem a bit lower then my Giant OCR) its an ahead stem . Do i need this a bit higher ill be doing
    >> audax events and general commuting . tia Ross
    >
    >
    > My handlebars are 5 inches below the saddle!
    >
    > It is common now to have the same position on all of your bikes (unless you mix MTB DH, BMX,
    > speedway and sprinting with your endurance activities) so just set up the bike the same as your
    > giant (taking into acount the effects of different shoes/pedals and the effect of straight/drop
    > bars on position).
    >
    > Given that training is specific and that changes in position might lead to injury; set up all of
    > your bike the same.
    >
    > Even people who ride the road, MTB XC and cyclo cross set all their bikes up the same now even
    > though this wasn't the case 5 or 6 years ago.

    I'll throw a note of dissent in here. My bikes serve different purposes. On the commuter I want a
    fairly upright position for good visibility. This is too upright and too short for real flat out
    cycling but it is ideal for touring, commuting, riding with the kids etc. When I am trying to gwt it
    to go no quite so slowly I sometimes end up stretched out with my elbows on the handlebars..
    Handlebar height an inch or two below the saddle.

    The sit-up-and-beg is really upright, sedate and quite elegant. It is designed to be ridden in an
    upright position and has the handlebars higher than the saddle.

    The road bike used to have the handlebars a really long way down but I am older and fatter and not
    so flexible now. They are about 4 inches below the saddle (guesssed, could be up to 6). I could
    probably do with them up another half inch or an inch and half an inch longer on the stem but there
    isn't the flexibility in the current setup for that.

    Each of these are set up appropriately for the task. You do not need your bikes all set up the same.
    You are using them differently so set them up appropriately.

    If you want to specifically 'train' for a particular event or style then there is merit in having
    everything the same, otherwise have each as comfortable as possible for the task it performs.

    ..d
     
  5. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    2LAP wrote:

    > activities) so just set up the bike the same as your giant (taking into acount the effects of
    > different shoes/pedals and the effect of straight/drop bars on position).

    And the rest of the bike geometry and by the time you've done that they're not the same at all! Plus
    different uses for the bikes beyond going as fast as possible. Horses == Courses.

    > Given that training is specific and that changes in position might lead to injury; set up all of
    > your bike the same.
    >
    > Even people who ride the road, MTB XC and cyclo cross set all their bikes up the same now even
    > though this wasn't the case 5 or 6 years ago.

    This strikes me as being very competition oriented, where the original post said commuting and
    Audax. I don't actually do Audaxes but its the sort of thing I might well do (I like longish day
    rides), and the commuting is utility cycling which is what I do a lot of. And I've never trained
    for anything, and even if I *could* set my bikes up the same I wouldn't because they do
    different things.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  6. MSeries

    MSeries Guest

    2LAP wrote:
    > Ross.A wrote:
    > > Hi can any of you guys give me bit of advice on handlebar height
    > . Ive > just bought a new Dawes Audax and after setting the right saddle > adjustment the top of
    > the stem is about 2 inches below the tip of my > saddle i know this tends to be a preferential
    > thing but is this to low > (it does seem a bit lower then my Giant OCR) its an ahead stem . Do
    > i > need this a bit higher ill be doing audax events and general commuting . > tia Ross
    >
    >
    > My handlebars are 5 inches below the saddle!
    >
    > It is common now to have the same position on all of your bikes (unless you mix MTB DH, BMX,
    > speedway and sprinting with your endurance activities) so just set up the bike the same as your
    > giant (taking into acount the effects of different shoes/pedals and the effect of straight/drop
    > bars on position).
    >

    My bikes are set up differently as I want a different feeling from them. They all are comfortable
    for what they are used for.

    --
    The Reply & From email addresses are checked rarely. http://www.mseries.freeserve.co.uk
     
  7. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

    Joined:
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    @ David.

    I agree 100%. Of course your position might be different when safety is important or when geometry dictates position as in your example. I think that if he is happy with his Giant position and wants to ride the Audaxes in comfort and with some speed then he should adopt a similar position (why wouldn't he?). I have no idea where he commutes; I live in the country and visability is not an issue for me when commuting so a standard road position is suitable.

    @ Peter.

    Why does it matter if it was competition orientated? Your post assumes that all commuters ride in inner cities and all audaxers want to go slowly and suffer as much as they can for the distance!!! Also read my post again, the advice is not competition orientated given that I suggested he used the same position as his Giant (which he is happy with) which means raising the handlebars and perhaps adopting a less aerodynamic/competitive position.

    What advice would you give? Perhaps you would tell him to have a different position on every bike and don't use a position you have been happy with in the past? I'll await your specific advice to the post!

    Most Audax rider's like to ride in comfort and with some speed (as thats what is required to complete the events which are 60 to 1000km+); so the same rules apply to audaxers as other 'cyclists'. The same rules apply to lots of commuters that don't commute in cities or over short distances (my commute is 20 miles each way). If there are specific needs then the position should be adapted appropriatly.

    Its really sad that you have never trained for anything, its really great when you acheive new performance goals (be that a new PB in a TT, getting up a hill for the first time, finishing your first 600 km audax or being fit enough to ride to work two days in a row). You have missed out on a whole world of success and enjoyment. (By the way... I have never met any audaxers that don't train and know many commuters that have had to build up to (i.e. train) for the distances they ride to work!).

    @Mseries

    As it should be!!!!
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    "2LAP" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Its really sad that you have never trained for anything, its really great when you acheive new
    > performance goals (be that a new PB in a TT, getting up a hill for the first time, finishing your
    > first 600 km audax or being fit enough to ride to work two days in a row).

    You confused man are. You don't need to explicitly train to achieve performance goals, if you set
    them appropriately.

    For example, doing a weeks 50mpd touring in a hilly area will probably leave most people fitter and
    faster at the end than the beginning - yet there's no training involved.

    clive
     
  9. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    2LAP wrote:

    > Why does it matter if it was competition orientated?

    It doesn't particularly: I'm not saying you're wrong, just warning that the advice seems to come
    from someone with a perspective centred on being in a Big Hurry. If the OP's in a Big Hurry too then
    it's quite possibly good advice, but if the OP isn't then it's not necessarily that relevant.

    > that all commuters ride in inner cities and all audaxers want to go slowly and suffer as much as
    > they can for the distance!!!

    It assumes nothing of the sort. Many commute cyclists, wherever they're riding, prefer to cycle in
    Normal Clothes and not to need a shower when they arrive. That's nothing to do with being in a city
    or not. Audax involves a fair pace in many cases, but that is often *very* different from going as
    fast as possible.

    > What advice would you give? Perhaps you would tell him to have a different position on every bike
    > and don't use a position you have been happy with in the past? I'll await your specific advice to
    > the post!

    My advice was to say that your post shouldn't necessarily be taken as gospel because it came from
    certain perspective which the OP *may* not share. That's all I was saying.

    > Its really sad that you have never trained for anything, its really great when you acheive new
    > performance goals (be that a new PB in a TT, getting up a hill for the first time, finishing your
    > first 600 km audax or being fit enough to ride to work two days in a row). You have missed out on
    > a whole world of success and enjoyment. (By the way... I have never met any audaxers that don't
    > train and know many commuters that have had to build up to (i.e. train) for the distances they
    > ride to work!).

    I ride for pleasure. My performance goals are things that give me pleasure, and they don't involve
    stop watches or particular map measurements. If yours do I don't have a problem with that, but why
    do you have a problem believing mine don't? I can get on my bike and lead a local CTC group tour of
    100 km over hills from the front just about all the way, but I don't train to be able to do that
    beyond just getting about on a bike (I can do it because I do it, not because I set it as a goal and
    worked at it), and it wouldn't bother me if it was 20 km and/or I was at the back. My "performance
    goals" are being in great places with good people under my own steam. If measuring things bothered
    me that much I'd ride faster bikes. Or ski heavier skis down steeper runs, or paddle a faster kayak,
    or climb harder grades, or read books on Chess and Go strategy, and so on, but I don't do any of
    those either.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  10. chris French

    chris French Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, 2LAP <[email protected]> writes
    >@ David.

    >I agree 100%. Of course your position might be different when safety is important or when geometry
    >dictates position as in your example. I think that if he is happy with his Giant position and wants
    >to ride the Audaxes in comfort and with some speed then he should adopt a similar position
    <snip.

    >What advice would you give? Perhaps you would tell him to have a different position on every bike
    >and don't use a position you have been
    happy with in the past? I'll await your specific advice to the post!

    I'd suggest having a position on each bike that is comfortable and suits the purpose. This may or
    may not be the same sort of position, depending on the bikes/rider. You were suggesting heavily in
    your first post that setting bikes up the same was the way to go, (though you seem to have modified
    /clarified that view since).

    I can't say I know what 'is common' in terms of setting up bikes/position myself, never paying much
    attention to it TBH, if my bikes are comfortable etc. for me that's what matters.

    I do know that I prefer a bit of a more upright position on my straight handle barred 'utility bike'
    as opposed to my drop barred tourer say. I suspect that if I had a road bike, then I would have the
    handlebars a bit lower, and have a more stretched position than on the tourer.

    Its really sad that you have never trained for anything, its really great when you acheive new
    performance goals

    'Training' and achieving goals are not necessarily the same thing.....

    Anyway, I'm not sure where this came form in the context of the OP. Though I do dispute your
    claim that varying the position of the bikes will cause injury (in general). I don't believe that
    having the handlebars a couple of inches lower on one bike from another is going to cause most
    people a problem.

    --
    Chris French, Leeds
     
  11. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    2LAP <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > Its really sad that you have never trained for anything, its really great when you acheive new
    > performance goals (be that a new PB in a TT, getting up a hill for the first time, finishing your
    > first 600 km audax or being fit enough to ride to work two days in a row). You have missed out on
    > a whole world of success and enjoyment. (By the way... I have never met any audaxers that don't
    > train and know many commuters that have had to build up to (i.e. train) for the distances they
    > ride to work!).

    I disagree fundamentally with this attitude. If you want to race of course you need to train. If you
    are riding for fun or utility, or both, you don't. That is to say you do not need to undertake a
    special activity that is in any way different from your normal riding. Peter cycles more than most -
    he even transports fridges by cycle FFS. The riding he does is its own training and there's nothing
    else at all he needs to do.

    I remember an interview with Stephane Grapelli in which he said that he never practised. On the face
    of it this is astounding. How could he play at such an extraordinarily high level without
    practising? Of course he didn't mean he never played; he played all the time. However, unlike a
    classical player he didn't need to practise scales, play to the metronome, or endlessly repeat the
    same piece. The playing he did for his own enjoyment was all he needed to do.

    --
    Dave...
     
  12. Ross.A

    Ross.A Guest

    "MSeries" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > 2LAP wrote:
    > > Ross.A wrote:
    > >> My bikes are set up differently as I want a different feeling from
    them.
    > They all are comfortable for what they are used for.

    Ok thanks guys

    think it seems its more to do with what is more comfortable to the individual concerned rather than
    an exact science as such , anyway had the bike out for the first time today on a hilly 15 miles
    around West Fife today felt quite comfortable certainly more so than the Giant , i suppose the acid
    test will come with longer distances im not planning on doing my first Audax until late April early
    May so i have a bit of time to tweak things around a bit .

    RossA
     
  13. Sandy Morton

    Sandy Morton Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, chris French
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I do know that I prefer a bit of a more upright position on my straight handle barred 'utility
    > bike' as opposed to my drop barred tourer say. I suspect that if I had a road bike, then I would
    > have the handlebars a bit lower, and have a more stretched position than on the tourer.

    The vast majority of my customers prefer the "sit up and beg" style of bike - my problem is trying
    to buy some!

    --
    A T (Sandy) Morton on the Bicycle Island In the Global Village http://www.millport.net
     
  14. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Ross.A wrote:
    > can any of you guys give me bit of advice on handlebar height . Ive just bought a new Dawes Audax
    > and after setting the right saddle adjustment the top of the stem is about 2 inches below the tip
    > of my saddle i know this tends to be a preferential thing but is this to low (it does seem a bit
    > lower then my Giant OCR) its an ahead stem .

    That'll probably be about right.

    Reach is a factor. Low bars tend to work better when leaning well forward, shorter reach tends to
    need the bars up higher. It will be well worth experimenting with different positions or stems if
    long rides aren't comfortable for back/neck/hands.

    ~PB
     
  15. Hi Ross,

    The correct height for the hanbdlebar in your bike, is the lowest that lets you cycle comfortably
    for as long as you like.

    Having more that one alternative for holding the handlebar helps too - as with road bikes'
    handlebar, or using bar extenders in flat MTB handlebars.

    It's that easy! The gloves you use can affect that too - specially in terms of hand numbness.

    Regards,

    Jose B. Ruivo
     
  16. On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 05:06:19 -0000, Ross.A wrote:

    > Hi can any of you guys give me bit of advice on handlebar height . Ive just bought a new Dawes
    > Audax and after setting the right saddle adjustment the top of the stem is about 2 inches below
    > the tip of my saddle i know this tends to be a preferential thing but is this to low (it does seem
    > a bit lower then my Giant OCR) its an ahead stem . Do i need this a bit higher ill be doing audax
    > events and general commuting .
    >
    > tia Ross

    You should set it up so that the bars are in the same position relative to the saddle as on the OCR.
    This means adjusting the reach as well as the height.
    --
    Michael MacClancy Random putdown - "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader
    to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway) www.macclancy.demon.co.uk
    www.macclancy.co.uk
     
  17. On Wed, 25 Feb 2004 16:13:48 +0000, Michael MacClancy
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >the saddle as on the OCR. This means adjusting the reach as well as the height.

    Naturally the reach should also be adjusted for confort. In my case, as long as I can strectch
    enough, without feeling pain at in the kidneys area after a "long" ride.

    I trust experiencing more than any formula for adjustments, although you can use them as a start
    point for adjusting your specific bike to your unique body - 2 people may have the same measures,
    and one of them worse blood circulation, which might increase hand numbness, in which case you have
    to forget the "correct" formula for adjustment, (if your body isn't just "correct").

    Regards,

    Jose B. Ruivo
     
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