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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been playing with my bike fit for the past couple months. I'm 5' 10.5" with a 34" inseam without shoes. so I think I have a pretty short torso. is handlebar height determined by torso length or just flexibility? I originally had my bars 2" higher and I've been slowly lowering them. they are half inch lower than the saddle now and I like it better than before.

I'm just curious for someone with my height and inseam what would the typical setup be? how far would the bars be from the saddle and how much drop? I know you want to have a even amount of weight on your saddle and your bars. if my torso is shorter than most would my bars be lower(relative to saddle) than others that have a longer torso or is that not the case?
 

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The saddle height and setback (or lack thereof) will be determined by your legs and getting the knee aligned correctly over the spindle. From there...it's based a lot on flexibility and comfort. You can get a professional fit to get you in the "optimum" angles for your hips and arms, but I usually find it's easier to just do what's comfortable. I find that for me I can get more power when I'm bent further over and engaging larger muscles in my hips. Luckily I am fairly flexible, so I have a few inch drop from saddle to handlebar. For stem length...you don't want to have to stretch to reach the bar because your arms will lock out and it will be harder to absorb bumps in the trail. I'd say just keep you saddle position where it's at (assuming it was set up properly) and keep trying different bar heights until you find what you're most comfortable with.
 

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Having your handlebar slightly lower than seat is a typical XC setup. You probably want to run a Large size bike rather than a medium.

With your long legs, if you ran a medium then the seat would be lots higher than handlebar. A large bike would bring that front end up and a shorter stem would make it reachable.

You'd have to play with stem lengths, stem flips, and/or spacers, and find what feels right. Depends on your local riding terrain and trail obstacles really. If you have lots of Moab type drops then a shorter cockpit with slightly more upright position could be better, for example. Super steep climbs with no technical, then a longer cockpit. Maybe.
 

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When it comes to rider weight distribution whilst sitting down something along the lines of 70 rear / 30 front is more what I've heard of.

If you have a short torso and short arms then you'd be looking at a setup with a shorter reach (the distance from saddle to handlebars) when compared to a rider with a longer torso. On a road bike a low stretched position gives improved aerodynamics. Because aerodynamics makes less difference at lower speeds it's not as critical on a mountain bike. The amount of reach you'd use on a mountain bike depends on how flexible you are but also on your handling preferences for the bike.

A good example of this is Jose Hermida. He has quite a short upright riding position which clearly works for how he rides.



If you have a longer stem length this slows the steering and makes the bike more stable in a straight line. If you have a shorter stem length this speeds up the steering but also makes the bike less stable.

If you have the handlebars higher (by adding extra spacers underneath the stem) this lightens the front end, making it less likely to go over the bars on steep descents and easier to lift the front wheel over obstacles. It also has the effect that the front wheel is more likely to lift riding up steep climbs and with less weight on the front wheel makes the bike more likely to understeer or wash out whilst cornering.

If you have the handlebars lower (by removing some spacers from underneath the stem) this adds weight onto the front end, making it trickier on steep descents and requiring more effort to lift the front wheel over obstacles. It also has the effect that the front wheel is less likely to lift riding up steep climbs and more weight over the front wheel makes the bike less likely to understeer whilst cornering.

(I might edit this a bit).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks. I do know about the bike handling differences. I ordered the cheapest 35 degree stem I could find so I can try my bars lower. I already flipped my 6 degree stem and took out the spacers weeks ago. I'm using 20mm riser bars, but a stem is cheaper than new bars, plus I can try more than 20mm lower.
 
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