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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I started to mess about the bike mechanically because it needed some things fixed (the steering was out of alignment and brakes were out due to a crash) and decided to play around with the seat and handle bar heights.

I decided to bump the seat up a bit, and "accidentally" put the handle bars down a bit. I also adjusted the seat's angle so it dips down towards the front a bit. I found this to be a bit more comfortable on my butt and more importantly my knees (which were hurting from the lower seat height), but also was a tiny wee bit painful on my back.

My question is, is there some guide/general rule to how the bars and seat should be matched?
 

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Um, there are lots of rules... but the overriding one is "what works for you"

And the other one is "make small changes, like a millimeter or two, then ride for a while to get used to it before you make another change"
- this one can be violated sometimes if it's obvious that a major change is in order, but assuming the bike basically fits you already, you probably are just tweaking stuff.

If you went too far in your adjustments yesterday, I bet you'll get sore neck/wrists and lower back on your next ride. The neck/wrists are because you have more weight on the front, and the back is because you're bent/stretched out more. You may be able to adapt or live with these, maybe not.

Careful with seat height, if your knee is sore under the kneecap that's frequently because it's too low, if the tendons behind your knee get sore it may be too high. Sometimes a sore lower back can also result from seat too high, because you have to reach with your hips for the pedals at the bottom.

On a road bike, most folks have the tops of the bars anywhere from level with the seat to several inches below. Where you end up in that range depends on youth, flexibility, aggressiveness, and personal comfort.
 

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Too late now, but it is always a good idea to take measurements of the old setup before you change it. That way if you decide the change is worse, you can go back to what worked.

Tipping the seat down is generally a bad idea- you wind up having to push back on the bars all the time to keep from sliding forward. If you are having numbness issues then try a different seat instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the help! Today I went and adjusted the handlebars up a bit (and accidently unscrewed it out of the expanding nut in the process which resulted in spending a good 35 minutes finding out that there was that expanding thingy in the first place) and it felt much better.

Creakyknees said:
Careful with seat height, if your knee is sore under the kneecap that's frequently because it's too low[...]
This is exactly how it felt! In the old position, my knees felt like they were coming up and bending way too much and never getting close to full extension.
 

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jsedlak said:
Thanks for the help! Today I went and adjusted the handlebars up a bit (and accidently unscrewed it out of the expanding nut in the process which resulted in spending a good 35 minutes finding out that there was that expanding thingy in the first place) and it felt much better.
we talked this in another forum. if you want to adjust and forget it,
just take a tri-tool on your next ride. don't touch anything until a few
minutes into it.

then stop every block if you have to, to get the right spots. twenty minutes
into the ride, you'll know where everything should be.
 
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