Handlebar height

For discussions about bikes and equipment.

How are your handlebars positioned in relation to your saddle?

Handlebars lower than saddle
17
35%
Handlebars level with saddle
23
47%
Handlebars higher than saddle
9
18%
 
Total votes: 49

cycle tramp
Posts: 3713
Joined: 5 Aug 2009, 7:22pm

Re: Handlebar height

Post by cycle tramp »

peetee wrote: 2 Apr 2024, 11:06pm The flip side of this is being content to re-wire my brain to discard the 'give it some stick' approach to every ride and instead adopt a 'sit up and enjoy the view' attitude.
My handlebars are now some three inches above my saddle and I've shrunk my cockpit to such an extent that if my handlebars weren't as high as they were, I'd bang my knees when i was turning sharp corners...
This means when I ride my upper body is totally relaxed apart from my trunk muscles... I've not suffered a migraine for three weeks, my posture off the bike has improved....
...critics will say that being stuck in one position will tire out your muscles and you'll get numb... my response to that is, try it... because I found that by keeping my upper body flexible, it responds more naturally to the angle of the road.. when i'm going up hill and into a wind, I lean forward and I can feel my back muscles engaging more, equally with the wind behind me i'm sitting more or less upright, and my body is a sail...
I wouldn't recommend the position of any sort of timed event nor if you were touring with an itinerary of more than 60 miles per day... however for general riding I'm enjoying the experience more...
...People will point out that the bent over the 'bars position is more efficient and faster.... however in usual traffic conditions, getting stick behind a red light might reduce these gains.
..if you take a train ride, you look out of window at the view, like wise if you took a ferry crossing or boat trip you'll look at the view. If you go for a walk, you look at the view.. cycling? Well, you're not encouraged to do that.. because if you were then suddenly all the performance based goods wouldn't have any meaning..
Just before Christmas I took a ride along a canal, and caught sight of my first ever kingfisher... it still makes me smile.
Obtaing a more comfortable riding position https://www.rivbike.com/blogs/news/how- ... p-bar-bike
Nearholmer
Posts: 4241
Joined: 26 Mar 2022, 7:13am

Re: Handlebar height

Post by Nearholmer »

^^^

What you say about shortening the cockpit if using a very upright stance really resonates with me, as does the knee-bar interface problem.

My seemingly endless experiments in search of a comfortable hand/arm/neck position on flat bars have taken me to a nearly bolt upright stance, using Jones bars, and I now “get” why he designs his bikes with incredibly short top-tubes. The designers of old roadsters and Dutch bikes knew a lot about this, which I’d certainly not got my head around before ….. you have to sort of “unlearn” drop-bar thinking and modern-convention MTB thinking.
cycle tramp
Posts: 3713
Joined: 5 Aug 2009, 7:22pm

Re: Handlebar height

Post by cycle tramp »

Nearholmer wrote: 15 Apr 2024, 9:43pm ^^^
My seemingly endless experiments in search of a comfortable hand/arm/neck position on flat bars have taken me to a nearly bolt upright stance, using Jones bars, and I now “get” why he designs his bikes with incredibly short top-tubes.….. you have to sort of “unlearn” drop-bar thinking and modern-convention MTB thinking.
I think the industry is gradually 'unlearning' to design bikes with long reach, especially with new mountain bike geometry, but we're still going to be influenced by designs from the 1980's and 1990's for some time (130 mm stem anyone?) I don't think the UCI was particularly helpful either, having banned Mr G Obree's record breaking aero tuck position after he had set the record, rather than asking themselves what could the industry do to make the position more road worthy.
Obtaing a more comfortable riding position https://www.rivbike.com/blogs/news/how- ... p-bar-bike
Jezrant
Posts: 902
Joined: 14 Dec 2007, 8:11pm

Re: Handlebar height

Post by Jezrant »

I think the industry doesn't have a clue.
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531colin
Posts: 16235
Joined: 4 Dec 2009, 6:56pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Handlebar height

Post by 531colin »

Duplicate post
Last edited by 531colin on 16 Apr 2024, 8:57am, edited 1 time in total.
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531colin
Posts: 16235
Joined: 4 Dec 2009, 6:56pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Handlebar height

Post by 531colin »

Nearholmer wrote: 15 Apr 2024, 9:43pm ….,.
My seemingly endless experiments in search of a comfortable hand/arm/neck position on flat bars have taken me to a nearly bolt upright stance, using Jones bars, and I now “get” why he designs his bikes with incredibly short top-tubes. The designers of old roadsters and Dutch bikes knew a lot about this, which I’d certainly not got my head around before ….. you have to sort of “unlearn” drop-bar thinking and modern-convention MTB thinking.
I can’t pedal efficiently with a short reach… how do you get on?
Cyclothesist
Posts: 315
Joined: 7 Oct 2023, 11:34am
Location: Scotland

Re: Handlebar height

Post by Cyclothesist »

cycle tramp wrote: 15 Apr 2024, 6:08pm
peetee wrote: 2 Apr 2024, 11:06pm The flip side of this is being content to re-wire my brain to discard the 'give it some stick' approach to every ride and instead adopt a 'sit up and enjoy the view' attitude.
My handlebars are now some three inches above my saddle and I've shrunk my cockpit...
This means when I ride my upper body is totally relaxed apart from my trunk muscles... I've not suffered a migraine for three weeks, my posture off the bike has improved....
..if you take a train ride, you look out of window at the view, like wise if you took a ferry crossing or boat trip you'll look at the view. If you go for a walk, you look at the view.. cycling? Well, you're not encouraged to do that.. because if you were then suddenly all the performance based goods wouldn't have any meaning..
Just before Christmas I took a ride along a canal, and caught sight of my first ever kingfisher... it still makes me smile.
You've beautifully described the joy that is cycling. It's a mindfulness thing where you're in the moment paying attention to your surroundings. The connection with nature out in the countryside resonates with me. Having a bike that is above all else comfortable to ride means you're not distracted by aches or restricted to gazing at your front tyre.
My vintage 1990s MTB has the long low stretched out geometry of that time. Back in the 90s I had the flexibility of youth to ride it in relative comfort. I still ride it now but the 120mm 6° stem is replaced with a 70mm 45° and the straight bars with risers that save my neck and shoulders and allow me to appreciate the view.
Nearholmer
Posts: 4241
Joined: 26 Mar 2022, 7:13am

Re: Handlebar height

Post by Nearholmer »

These things are why I like to have one drop-bar bike rigged for energetic rides, and one flattish-bar, ride sitting-up bike, for family rides, utility use, and “pootling along enjoying the world” rides.

Maybe one day I’ll actually get the latter truly comfortable!
Geoff_F
Posts: 14
Joined: 27 Nov 2023, 11:08pm

Re: Handlebar height

Post by Geoff_F »

I have spent more time experimenting with cockpit configurations over the years than I care to admit. After 30 years, I have finally found something that suits me (almost) perfectly.

Nitto albatross with 1 1/2" extensions which gives about 9 inches of total bar length. The bars are angled back about 80 degrees, so wider at the back - see my post Lightweight Pashley Roadster for picture. This set-up allows relatively upright and wider position on the bars for general pootling but on the forward portion, a narrower and lower position for pressing-on.

In general, I have found that for me, a longer reach and higher bars are more comfortable and do not feel cramped which lower bars and shorter reach do.

The compact frame fashion makes having bars about level with the saddle only possible with an inelegant - indeed, goofy looking stem.

A fist-full of seatpost was in my opinion, the best bike fit wisdom ever, Now forgotten of course!
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