Bar/saddle height relation

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  • Bar/saddle height relation
  • Premier Icon captaindanger
    Subscriber

    I know everone’s different and all that, but just trying to gauge an average. Are your bars higher or lower than your saddle for normal off road trail riding (i.e. flattish singletrack) and by how much.

    I’ve been messing around with bar and saddle heights and lengths for some time now and only just getting to grips with it, and how important it is to have oyour weight centred in the setup.

    Premier Icon captaindanger
    Subscriber

    wow, what a response! How busy everyyone must be.

    hugor
    Member

    Mine are even. Going by pics I see I get the impression that most XC/trail bikes have their saddle slightly higher.

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    Too many variables to give an answer as the set-up is different on all my bikes. My old Kona has bars about 3″ lower than the saddle as it’s a lightweight xc build, whereas my Stuff and Maverick has bars about 1″ higher than saddle when on the bike as they are more ‘heavily built’.

    You’ve said it yourself, you just need to experiment so that it feels right for you and the type of riding/terrain – same with weight distribution, too far back/high and you’ll have the front wheel too light or lifting when climbing. If you still can’t get a set-up you’re happy with, it might be worth going for a proper fitting to make sure your frame is the right size.

    GW
    Member

    Bars higher when my saddles slammed, lower when it’s fully extended. 😉

    set-up your bar height to be best for when when it matters – ie. when you are not seated
    set-up your saddle height* for the job in hand – ie. slammed for jumping, ‘lil higher for DH, fully extended for climbing.

    * slightly lower if you’re using flats than clipped in

    your COG and weight bias should be changing all the time as you ride, too stretched a position (and too cramped to some extent) can be detrimental to this.

    Slam your saddle completely for a while, never sit on it and you’ll get a feel for where your bars feel best

    Ps. “normal” off road riding is not dull boring flat singletrack – unless you are in a hurry to get to a destination look around for more interesting lines

    hugor
    Member

    * slightly lower if you’re using flats than clipped in

    Why? is this just because of the sole/pedal thickness or some other reason?

    I ask because I recently went from clips to flats and didn’t adjust my saddle at all.

    Because with clips you can get away with the saddle unweighting your feet because you’re clipped in whilst with flats there’s nothing holding you onto the pedals, bar good technique and gravity.

    here is mine

    STATO
    Member

    Ps. “normal” off road riding is not dull boring flat singletrack – unless you are in a hurry to get to a destination look around for more interesting lines

    I apologise on the behalf of everyone else for us not living somewhere as ‘gnar’ as you, truly you must be the bestest bicyclist about.

    set-up your bar height to be best for when when it matters – ie. when you are not seated

    What if you spend most of your time sat down??

    for me saddle always a lot higher than bars.

    GW
    Member

    then IMHO shep, you’re missing out big time. 🙁

    no need to appologise STATO (other than the li’l dig 😉 ), how you ride can have nothing at all to do with where you live.

    Hugor – Chief touched on why fairly well, you also need to be able to pre-load the bike through the pedals in anticipation of what’s coming up with flats more than wihen clipped in. I actually ride with a slightly lower saddle now even if (on the rare occasion) I’m clipped in as I’ll still ride like I’m not (if that makes sense to you)

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    set-up your bar height to be best for when when it matters – ie. when you are not seated

    😯

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Remember rear shock sag on full suss when comparing to hardtail too – on a 140mm rear suspension bike your saddle might be 4-5cm lower with you sat on it than when it is in the shed.

    STATO
    Member

    no need to appologise STATO (other than the li’l dig ), how you ride can have nothing at all to do with where you live.

    and how you set your bike up has everything to do with how you ride.

    What your saying applies roughly to my 6″ travel bike, however if all you have (or what you do) is long straight paths or flowing singletrack and generally stay seated (thats why i also have a FS XC bike) then why would i compromise comfort for 95% of the time. My DH bike has 28″ wide bars and is great for descending but im not going to fit those to any bike i want to pedal uphill, so why would i do the same for my bar/seat height. As with everything, personal preference is only applicable to that person :0)

    Handlebar level with saddle…which is why I have an inverted stem on my 29er.

    GW
    Member

    STATO – I know…

    I would always compromise comfort for handling
    FS for me is predominantly for grip not sat down comfort.
    just as well we’re not all the same, eh?

    BTW if you read the OP he actually asked about OUR bar/saddle heights and OUR set-up’s. I’m not particularly interested in how YOU set-up your FS bike for towpaths or what width bars YOU run on your DH bike but maybe he wanted more than one opinion. ;P

    Bars lower, the amount varies a bit from bike to bike but they are always lower

    Seat higher than bars by a good couple of inches.

    FS for me is predominantly for grip not sat down comfort.

    I totally agree. But one of the great things about an XC-FS bike is that you can sit and continuously flat-out pedal on level but bumpy trails. On a HT you have to sprint-freewheel-sprint-freewheel which is more tiring, and probably slower. I think this is the point he is making.

    Not that it makes any real difference about saddle-bar setup.

    Premier Icon 10
    Subscriber

    Bars lower. Probably by a couple of inches.

    DickBarton
    Member

    Bars lower by a fair few inches…6 at least…

    GW
    Member

    it isn’t black and white, you can for instance also stand and sprint choosing faster lines, pump, manual and jump to gain speed.. but let’s not turn this into an FS V HT thread 😉

    I happen to like sprinting and freewheeling and know (from timing both) it is faster for me than sitting down an pedalling whatever bike I’m on unless it’s uphill.

    STATO
    Member

    I would always compromise comfort for handling
    FS for me is predominantly for grip not sat down comfort.
    just as well we’re not all the same, eh?

    BTW if you read the OP he actually asked about OUR bar/saddle heights and OUR set-up’s. I’m not particularly interested in how YOU set-up your FS bike for towpaths or what width bars YOU run on your DH bike but maybe he wanted more than one opinion. ;P

    I assume by towpaths your going for a sly dig 😆 as i said, i appologise i cant live with a mountain on my back door, and my XC bike only has 80mm travel so not really what id call ‘comfort travel’ like all these 150mm travel bike 😉 (tho i do have one of those). Oh, and the OP asked for set-ups on ‘flattish singletrack’ so by your own admission your not qualified to comment LOL!

    GW
    Member

    Where did I make that “admission”? 😕 I actually live in one of the flattest areas in the country.

    Premier Icon cheers_drive
    Subscriber

    Mt bars are all a good few inches lower whether its a rigid SS, a 29er or a full suss. Steering / grip is compromised if the bars are too high in relation to your height (standing or on saddle).

    STATO
    Member

    “normal” off road riding is not dull boring flat singletrack

    Sorry, i mis-read the above. Apologies.

    don simon
    Member

    Nobody needs anymore than a 100mm travel hardtail and I bet the saddle is higher than the bars, admittedly this one has silly wheels but….

    😀

    skywalker
    Member

    Where do you live GW?

    GW
    Member

    stop apologising..

    if you read the whole sentence (that you were happy enough to quote in full earlier) my point was that no flat singletrack need to be boring, there are always interesting/fun lines to ride if you simply look around, even on the simplest of sections.

    mjsmke
    Member

    For me… xc and trails.. i have the seat about 2cm higher than the bars. but your seat to saddle hight depends entirerly on your riding style and leg to upper body ratio. Shorter arms would mean higher bars than someone with longer arms for the same bike and riding style. theres no real right or wrong answer, it’s just what works best for you. i set my saddle high for efficiency then my bars for controll and comfort.

    hugor
    Member

    Love that pic. Prefer this clip.
    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl5w5oK9Tr8&feature=related[/video]

    GW
    Member

    SE Scotland Skywalker, I’d be more precise but weren’t you asking my height the other day too? 😯

    don simon
    Member

    Love that pic. Prefer this clip.

    Respect.

    Saddle 1.5″ higher when up, 2.5″ lower when dropped (default position). In an ideal world I’d like more saddle drop. Sitting down is really overrated!

    Why do you have to sprint/freewheel/sprint on a hardtail? Just keep pedalling and stand up / unweight / sit as the terrain demands. If the bumps are a useful size then stop pedalling to pump them. I ride a lot of flattish but twisty singletrack and you will flow so much better if you drop the saddle and move around the bike. It’s near impossible to properly lean a MTB into a corner with the saddle up. And with practice (I sometimes manage this when I’m having a good day but I really want to get it happening most of the time come the slippery winter) you can pump the corners too – push your bike so hard into the ground that you’re effectively doubling your bodyweight at the apex and you can corner 40% faster.

    skywalker
    Member

    SE Scotland

    If you think that’s flat, you should come to the south east of England!

    GW
    Member

    holy shit, you’re inviting me over now?

    *imagines Skywalker tucking his junk away and doing a weird butterfly dance*

    I have been and ridden in the SE of England already, believe me it’s very flat here too..

    STATO
    Member

    if you read the whole sentence (that you were happy enough to quote in full earlier) my point was that no flat singletrack need to be boring, there are always interesting/fun lines to ride if you simply look around, even on the simplest of sections.

    My last post wasnt meant to be sarky in any way, just an admission that i had mis read your original post and originally assumed you live somewhere hilly. It is easy to make flat singletrack more interesting, but not all of us find it boring in the first place, hence why lots of people set-up bars based on saddle height.

    Anyway, the OP needs to decide what/how he is riding and let that steer him based on the suggestions we and others have made, as you say he might enjoy trying it with his saddle down and out the way for a bit, i know i tried that a good few years ago and helped my sort out where i am now.

    don simon
    Member

    I have been and ridden in the SE of England already,

    You are leaving yourself open for that kind of attention aren’t you?

    GW
    Member

    😀

    wow, what a response! How busy everyyone must be.

    patience 😉

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