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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm currently setting my new frame and wondering how do I decide the saddle to bar drop? How does flexibility relate to saddle to bar drop?

How much saddle to bar drop do you have on your bikes? Thanks
 

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duh...
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teddysaur said:
Hi,
I'm currently setting my new frame and wondering how do I decide the saddle to bar drop? How does flexibility relate to saddle to bar drop?

How much saddle to bar drop do you have on your bikes? Thanks

Simply put, go with what's comfortable. Too low and you will feel it after longer rides, too high and less aero. Yes, flexibility allows you to go lower. Where is a good place to start? bars even or slightly lower than saddle, and adjust down from there. Or start lower and work up to a pain-free position. Jusr remember that once you cut the steerer there's no going back, and 1cm can be a big difference when it comes to bike fit.
 

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Varies greatly, but...

there are some obvious limitations. Stem spacers are usually limited to 3-4cm and more than 2cm looks pretty ugly. After that, you have stem rise to chose from. A 84 degree stem is probably the best option out there. If you can tolerate a 7-9cm height difference, then the 84 degree will probably do the job. If less height difference is needed, flipping the stem will raise it nearly 2cm.

What very few people have figured out is that stem length and height changes have a similar effect. A rider using only a 5cm drop might be able to tolerate a 10-30mm longer stem than someone using an 8-10cm drop.

Even as a small rider, I've always used 8-9cm.
 

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Flexibility plays a lot - I've got a bad back and notoriously tight hamstrings, so I have a 4.0 cm drop from my seat to my bar. Before I started stretching every day again I was at a 2.25 cm drop.
 

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"standard" for performance-road bikes is like 5 to 10 cm. Crazy pros use more, and flexibilty, as others have said, plays a role -- nearly level isn't so bad for many.
 

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You can always use the drops

teddysaur said:
Hi,
I'm currently setting my new frame and wondering how do I decide the saddle to bar drop? How does flexibility relate to saddle to bar drop?
If your bars are higher, you can always ride all the way down in the drops. If your bars are too low, you are in big trouble on a longer ride.

What do you do on your current bike, how does that feel?
 

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Flexibility is often brought up in these discussions of bar drop height, but I haven't heard of any way to measure this flexibility. Are we talking about the ability to bend the torso down toward the thighs? How do you know if you have good flexibility or not as a biker?


bsaunder said:
Flexibility plays a lot - I've got a bad back and notoriously tight hamstrings, so I have a 4.0 cm drop from my seat to my bar. Before I started stretching every day again I was at a 2.25 cm drop.
 

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A number of issues

The typical saddle to bar drop depends on a number of things. Firstly smaller riders tend to have less drop simply because the parameters for the drop distance are smaller when it comes to small frames. This is not necessarily the case with a medium sized rider on a small frame for example, but generally the smaller the frame the less the drop. Also, a lot of riders drop their stem height during the course of the season and this is because they tend to spend more time in the saddle, their flexibility increases and so too does their tolerance for a slightly more extreme position. What's also important is where you like to hold on your bars. Some riders only like to ride in the drops when they are sprinting and cornering, which means that they tend to spend most of their time on the tops or the hoods. Conversely, some riders spend a lot of time in the drops – that’s a personal thing. I fall into the former category and therefore the 12-13 cm drop (depending on which bike I ride) is comfortable for me, regardless of distance. In fact my commuter bike has only got a drop of 10cm and I often find it a bit uncomfortable. C40's right about stem length though; I think many small riders use too short a stem. This is especially inhibiting when out of the saddle.
 

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Measuring

GaryJaz said:
Flexibility is often brought up in these discussions of bar drop height, but I haven't heard of any way to measure this flexibility. Are we talking about the ability to bend the torso down toward the thighs? How do you know if you have good flexibility or not as a biker?
There are many ways to measure flexibility, ranging from simple tests like bending over to touching the floor (or not) with your fingers to more complicated procedures involving a physical therapist and a protractor. However, they don't translate directly to comfort and control on the bike, so it's back to personal preference. You can't really predict position based on any particular measurement.
 

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BrooklynVelo
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teddysaur said:
Hi,
I'm currently setting my new frame and wondering how do I decide the saddle to bar drop? How does flexibility relate to saddle to bar drop?

How much saddle to bar drop do you have on your bikes? Thanks
Just to give an illustration to. I'm 5'6" and ride a 49cm / 53.5cm TT custom? Raleigh (still trying to determine the exact heritage of the frame), 31.5" inseam (true inseam not pants size).

I have 10cm of drop from saddle to bar and am fairly flexible but certainly could be more so (palms flat on the ground when bent over, but I also have long arms).

Of course this is totally individualized and really means nothing in terms of how to set yours up. Don't worry about "looking right" worry about being comfortable. If you have 1cm of drop or 14 it doesn't matter, as long as you're comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
another question here. I'm fairly comfortable with a 6cm drop from my previous road bike and measurement from the front tip to edge of the handlebar is approx 50.4cm. However, I wanted for a lower drop but my old frame won't allow it. I'm trying to keep my "front tip to edge of the handlebar" constant but having a larger saddle to bar drop. Do you think that's recommended?
 

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that's what I do...

I take a diagonal measurement from the saddle tip to the center of the bars and try to keep it in the 52-52.5cm range. Any more and I know I'll feel too stretched out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
C-40 said:
I take a diagonal measurement from the saddle tip to the center of the bars and try to keep it in the 52-52.5cm range. Any more and I know I'll feel too stretched out.
I think we probably might have the same body geometry. I'm 5ft 6" too and 50.4cm from tip of saddle to the near edge of handlebar is the optimum distance. I got a eff top tube frame of 51.8cm and using a 10cm stem -7degree right now. I might need to get a 9cm stem if I were to go down any further.
 
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