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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I ride, I am in the drops 95% of the time I'm on a flat. I'm also there if I can feel wind pretty much at all, or if I'm sprinting over a small rolling hill. One reason for this is that I feel like a paper mache doll in the wind compared to other riders. The other reason is that I actually find it to be more comfortable on my hands than the hoods - possibly because the grip is more comfortable (less concentrated between thumb and forefinger) and possibly because the drops are actually closer in a horizontal sense.

I feel like most people default to the hoods when riding, so I feel like I'm not normal here, and that it might be better to make my bars lower so that the hoods give me the position I have now in the drops, and the drops provide an even more aerodynamic position for descents and stuff. And maybe it would open up the possibility of a non-compact handlebar.

Here is my current setup. As you can see (hopefully - if I uploaded the file correctly), my stem is slammed all the way down, and there's a pretty good drop - about 10cm. The stem is already in the position that provides the least rise. Should I get a stem with a steeper angle so I can make it lower? If I do that, should I also make it 1cm shorter at the same time?

Thanks!
 

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Diesel Engine
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Easy enough to try, especially if you have a buddy with a spare stem in the right length/rise or your LBS has one you can try (or better yet a box of take-off stems from new bikes). Once you find the right drop/length you can look for a fancier one.
 

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Hucken The Fard Up !
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nice !

check out this graph, it will give you an idea about the kind of change the stem will give you.

 

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FatTireFred said:
how about a zero setback post?
Kind of agree with that. Your saddle-to-bar drop says "experienced rider," but your way forward saddle says "really bad fit." Something's not right here. How long you've been riding?
 

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Some of us here have the same problem you do.

I would suggest trying a -17 degree stem. This way if it's a bit to low you can add a spacer if needed to get the right fit. As for your seat post...a zero degree would probably be a bit to far forward, but a 1.5cm offset would probably be a better fit for you (looks like you are running a 2.5cm offset). I would also suggest using the same length stem unless you find your reach is a bit long....or you are adjusting your seat forward to compensate for the longer stem.

Myself...on stock frames, even those with short head tubes I had to run -17 degree stems with deeper drop bars. I finally switched back to a custom frame so I could get the steeper STA and shorter head tube (with longer top tube). My total stack height is 14cm including the headset and gives me a saddle to bar drop of a little over 13.5cm. I also use bars with 138mm of drop in them and when it comes to crits I spend the entire race in the drops, and in road races spend about 90% of the time in the drops, even when climbing.
 

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I'm with Wim on this one. Unless you can give us a compelling reason why your saddle is full forward, I think you should reevaluate your position. If the seat were more rearward after checking your knee position, you'd likely want your bars higher.

My personal opinion is the "low bar thang" has gotten out of hand, and if I had your bike I'd have the bars at their highest position. You'd still have the ability to get very aero by merely bending your elbows, but you'd be much more comfortable yet still efficient on long rides.
 

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ok
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I agree with wim 100%. The distance to the drops is shorter than the one to the hoods, that's probably why you're more comfortable on the drops. If I had to guess, I'd say you are pretty stretched, maybe the frame is too big.
 

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John Cobb recommends a tip of saddle to center of bar reach equal to the length of your forearm and hand (rear of elbow to middle finger, extended).

A saddle height of x .889 of inseam, measured from center of bottom bracket to center top of saddle.

And, then a drop (depending on experience/flexibility) of 10-18cm.

Granted, few riders likely get much lower than 15cm even in time, but w/ his set up guidelines many are very surprised at how comfortable (not to mention faster) they are verses what they were running with before (a typical shop "pro fit") - and, it often looks a whole lot like your set up, Greg, unless a zero set back post is employed.

It took me a long time to try and then quickly embrace his stance since it goes against "non pro level" thinking, but you seem to be in a similar spot and could make great use of the additional drop.

My 2 cents.
 

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Peter P. said:
I'm with Wim on this one. Unless you can give us a compelling reason why your saddle is full forward, I think you should reevaluate your position. If the seat were more rearward after checking your knee position, you'd likely want your bars higher.
No compelling reason that I see.

The seat isn't all the way forward from the pic, looks like there is still about 1cm of forward adjustment left in the saddle. Also, the seat post has a fair amount of setback, which could dictate a more forward saddle position.

Also the rider may have shorter femurs needing a more forward placement of the saddle.

People love to jump to conclusions considering bike fit on this site...and tend to want to see bikes set up like thier bike and not what works for the person asking the questions.

I see this a lot on this site...somebody asks a question about one part of their bike set up and everybody else focuses on a different aspect...with no knowledge of the rider and their physical make up...they just want to see a bike set up more like they would set up their own bike IMO.

My personal opinion is the "low bar thang" has gotten out of hand, and if I had your bike I'd have the bars at their highest position. You'd still have the ability to get very aero by merely bending your elbows, but you'd be much more comfortable yet still efficient on long rides.
Why? Some people need a low bar set up.

As I stated...I have a 13.5+ saddle to bar drop and when I'm on the hoods I'm still more upright than many other people I ride with that have much less saddle to bar drop. Even with the large drop I'm perfectly comfortable on the hoods or the drops and can ride extended periods (2+ hours in either).

Again...just because you think it's "Gotten out of hand" doesn't mean squat other than it's your opinion and not what others may actually need. If I set my bars up as high as others did and "Bent" my elbows to compensate my arms would be worn out quickly as the would be at 90 degree angles the whole ride. I might as well just ride in the drops the whole ride since I'd never use the hoods in that set up.

You just have to love the internet...Nobody has seen the rider on their bike, nor in motion on their bike....but they sure have a lot of suggestions about things the rider never even asked about :thumbsup: :mad2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Seat isn't making up for reach

wim said:
Kind of agree with that. Your saddle-to-bar drop says "experienced rider," but your way forward saddle says "really bad fit." Something's not right here. How long you've been riding?
Ok. First off, as someone else suggested, I already have a Thomson setback in the mail (which is 16mm setback, which is almost exactly what they suggested). That should pretty much center it. My old bike had a Thomson no setback.

Second, the saddle is where it is because it's where my legs feel the best. I have long legs/short torso, and unlike a lot of people with long legs, most of the length is from the knee down. Short femurs. The seat isn't forward to make up for reach. I can center it on the current post and be comfortable, I just don't feel like I can spin as well.

So, the only thing that would solve the setback issue would be to increase the seat angle (the seat angle on this 58cm frame is 73). But for Masi, the seat angle doesn't get steeper until 53cm. For Pinarello, it doesn't get steeper than 73 until 48cm. So, it's basically custom, or what I'm doing here.

I will concede that I could see myself on a 56cm and that reach was a problem on my older, similarly-sized bike, and I wasn't able to compare this to a 56cm side-by-side. But it's always been way more comfortable than my old bike, and the stem measures 120mm so I think I could easily solve the reach problem that way if I needed to.

Anyway I've been cycling at this level for 8 years, which I guess sounds like a lot, but a lot of those years I was suffering with position problems and to this day I am still (obviously) tweaking my position. So I appreciate the advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Peter P. said:
If the seat were more rearward after checking your knee position, you'd likely want your bars higher.
I don't understand the relationship between how far back the seat is and how high I want my bars.
 

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What the what???
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Ahhh...another member of the Short Femur Club! Welcome. We're having shirts made :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
alexb618 said:
could try a deeper bar like a 3T rotundo if you dont want to change the stem
I could, but that wouldn't change my situation with the hoods, and it would risk screwing up the one position I already do like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wookiebiker said:
You just have to love the internet...Nobody has seen the rider on their bike, nor in motion on their bike....but they sure have a lot of suggestions about things the rider never even asked about :thumbsup: :mad2:
Hey, I was expecting to take flak from the position of my quick release levers. I got off easy. Anyway, Wookie, it sounds like you have maybe already gone through what I'm going through. Did you have any reach problems with stock frames? Also, as I said in another reply, I've already taken your advice on the post setback. You are correct that the current one is 25mm. Thanks.
 

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Greg Smalter said:
I don't understand the relationship between how far back the seat is and how high I want my bars.
i think i get what he is saying here

your hoods are significantly further forward than the drops on that setup

ie, you cant reach the hoods comfortably, even with the seat as far forward as it will go?

if that is the case then i would say your TT is too long
 

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Greg Smalter said:
Anyway, Wookie, it sounds like you have maybe already gone through what I'm going through. Did you have any reach problems with stock frames?
Yea, I've been there...done that...and continue to deal with it :D

I've had several "debates" with people on these forums about bike fit, especially when it comes to people with shorter femurs, seat tube angles, etc. Sometimes, once you get your point across it's best to just leave it at that :)

As for reach on stock frames, I had to run longer stems...which creates it's own issues. I found I was so far over the front end of the bike that I had stability issues during high speed sprints (my shoulders were over the front hub).

I ended up going with a custom frame...which in the end can be the best way to go.

The difference between us may be the fact that I don't have particularly long legs, but do have short femurs. I'm around 5' 11" tall with a 32.5" inseam but much of that is in the lower part of my legs and I have the same problem with my upper arms...though my arms are long which dictates the larger drop with the saddle to bar drop.

My custom frame has these basic dimensions:

STA: 74 degrees
TT Length: 57cm
HT Length: 11.2cm (14cm including the head set stack height)

This gives me a longer front center, but allows my saddle to be in a better position for my shorter femurs (and I still run a zero degree post and 170mm cranks). My custom frame is much more stable during high speed sprints and has much more room to move around on, especially when climbing. I find with a good fitting bike I tend to climb out of the saddle a little more.

In your situation it sounds like you can fit on a stock frame OK, though I would suggest you stick to the larger frames to keep the longer front center. Try and find frames that have shorter Head Tubes and steeper STA's...you can find bikes with a 73.5 degree STA in a 58cm but they are harder to find. It limits the bikes you look at and that fit properly, but in the end it's well worth it.
 

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With Wookie, Opus, and Greg on this one...

IMO, Greg's takes on what should be changed as well as his fit are completely "fair game" - largely because I'm suspect to the same issues they're running into.

Every time I guessed on looking for more drop, I seemed to be right: going from compact bends to traditional, from 6 to 10 degrees, and now I'm anxious for that 17 degree stem to come in the mail. On top of that, I'm about to be "2-for-2" for adjusting stem length. Said stem in the mail will be 20mm longer (120mm).

Fore/aft saddle position is also something. I'm pretty fore compared to most, seeking a zero-offset post. Has nothing to do with reach, and played with a myriad of lower+aft settings to find nothing feeling better. Of course, there was a point where I found things too forward, so it's not some type of limitless function for me.

Other than what the UCI dictates, there's no real rules to this stuff. The best answer comes through instinct followed by trial and error over a long period of time.
 

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I don't know about bars but you MUST move your seat back. It's not a mountain bike, you know.
 
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