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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newish 29er rider here. At 6'1" with a lot of height in the legs, all of my 26ers were at max seat post extension and a ton of drop from saddle to handlebars (even with a riser bar). Now, with a flat bar, I have about 1 inch drop to my handlebar. It's comfortable so far, but I wonder who has played around with different bar heights and come to any conclusions?

I know this is all about personal preference, but I wonder if there is a trend in other 29er riders? A lot of guys I see are running negative rise stems but they are shorter riders on smaller frames.
 

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Depends how you ride. I ride cross country and am also 6'1". I prefer the bars slightly lower than my saddle to keep the front down on climbs. Of course an AM rider is going to want higher bars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm exclusively an XC rider

onlycrimson said:
Depends how you ride. I ride cross country and am also 6'1". I prefer the bars slightly lower than my saddle to keep the front down on climbs. Of course an AM rider is going to want higher bars.
I'm thrilled right now with the complete lack of "oh $hit I'm going over the bars" feeling. I have not noted the bars coming up on climbs so far.

I'm really comfortable with a 2 inch drop on my road bike, though, so I may try to duplicate that.

Does anyone know how far the handlebar will drop if you flip from +5% to -5%?
 

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I actually walked over to my Vassago to look at it's current setting to see what it's at (I change seat height all the time). Right now it's at even, and that's with a riser bar and a 10 degree rise stem. That's perfect for riding to the corner store to get a beer for the water bottle holder. If I was trying to go over some jumps or ride down some really gnarly drops, I'd lower the seatpost to about 2" below bar height. Then if I'm going for a really long flat ride, I'd raise it up to about 2" above bar height.

So...there's 3 situations and 3 different settings relative to the handlebar. Too many guys ride around with their seatpost maxed out all the time. That's fine for road bikes, but mtn bikes have quick releases for a reason - you gotta make adjustments for the situation (it's not merely to aid in seat theft).
 

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I have about a 1" drop without sag. Consider that on a hardtail especially most of the time when you're riding this will be increased as the fork sags. Some days, on fast rides, I think I should drop the bars more. But this seems to be a good balance. Similar to what I had on my 26er, and on my road and cross bikes I run closer to 2 inches, probably. All just guesses though.

I have similar proportions to the OP. Just under 6 foot and long legs.

And of course it's pretty subjective as other elements of fit all come in to play with how much drop I end up with on a bike. I tend to think of it as a side effect, not a way of fitting myself to the bike,if that makes sense.
 

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You won't glean much from your question other than saddle to bar drop on mountain bikes is just like road bikes among racers and recreational riders alike, i.e. all over the map.
Look no further than contrasting Lance Armstrong with Dave Weins at the Leadville race which is really a road race on dirt. Weins who is no pup at 45 years old and looks 30 who is very tall runs a very BIG drop...the stuff of road racers on road bikes. Lance by contrast has what looks like a pedestrian set up. He rides a 19.5" Trek with 120mm stem with bars even with the saddle. I have to say, this is almost hard to believe but true. Yes he is stretched out with this set up because that is still substantial reach for a guy his size on a size Large Trek mountain bike with 625mm top tube but no drop from a guy who is a champion road racer? Incredible. Contrast the bikes below. The take away is...each rider has preference which trumps what conventional wisdom would suggest. No doubt Lance likes descending on that bike but how about flats and climbing?
Tall guys many times have long arms which match their long legs and another reason why Weins runs what he does but still the contrast is striking.
For what its worth, I am 6'1" with 35" cycling inseam and run a 1 inch drop on my mountain bike and 2" drop on my road bike. This is very average stuff.
Last word is...and this is key really. There are two components that comprise overall reach which begets torso angle in profile when riding. Horizontal and vertical (drop). On road bikes, there is generally less horizontal reach (shorter top tube) and greater drop. If your arms emanate from your body perpendicular to your torso which is 45 deg or standard riding position for many, than horizontal and vertical components of reach have equal weighting. This is why saddle to bar drop should only be considered with companion horizontal reach which is a function of top tube and stem length and even seat tube angle.
 

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trail rat
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I'm built like an ape, specifically, an orangutan, all arms and legs, short torso


(I don't spear fish however ;) )

My bars are always about 3-4 inches lower than my saddle, and I buy smaller frames for the VTT that fits my upper body, saddle high, bars low. Yet, my riding position looks normal.







 

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For my heavy-duty trail build (DW Sultan), my bars are about level with my saddle with the Gravity Dropper post in the 1" down position, which I use downhill and for most techy sections.
 

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I may be the only one who feels this way, but I think there is a dead spot in where I position my bars. At certain kinda level heights, I have too much weight on my hands, and the large muscles (if I have any) aren't being asked to do enough work.

If I get the bars low enough, I like the stretched out feel, and if my saddle set back is enough my back helps take weight off my hands without hurting.

However, I'm going back up with my bars. 1" or more higher than my saddle. I'm doing this so when I ride my SS I can have my back straighter which keeps me fresher, since standing is how I spend my energy when I'm on my SS. I'm also NOT built like slocaus above. I have a fairly short inseam for my torso.
 

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gthcarolina said:
Newish 29er rider here. At 6'1" with a lot of height in the legs, all of my 26ers were at max seat post extension and a ton of drop from saddle to handlebars (even with a riser bar). Now, with a flat bar, I have about 1 inch drop to my handlebar. It's comfortable so far, but I wonder who has played around with different bar heights and come to any conclusions?

I know this is all about personal preference, but I wonder if there is a trend in other 29er riders? A lot of guys I see are running negative rise stems but they are shorter riders on smaller frames.
You may as well take a poll of shoe sizes for 29ers.

FWIW, I don't find that 29er vs 26er has any effect on my bar height preference.
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
I may be the only one who feels this way, but I think there is a dead spot in where I position my bars. At certain kinda level heights, I have too much weight on my hands, and the large muscles (if I have any) aren't being asked to do enough work.

If I get the bars low enough, I like the stretched out feel, and if my saddle set back is enough my back helps take weight off my hands without hurting.

However, I'm going back up with my bars. 1" or more higher than my saddle. I'm doing this so when I ride my SS I can have my back straighter which keeps me fresher, since standing is how I spend my energy when I'm on my SS. I'm also NOT built like slocaus above. I have a fairly short inseam for my torso.
You aren't the only one to be sure who feels this way. You simply have the ability to articulate what what some suspect. This is my experience as well. The dead spot you speak of it bad news for me. Most have an optimal torso angle for riding. If your bars are set just above this spot, your arms are holding up your torso. At the sweet spot your back and pelvis support the torso and if your bars are low enough, this takes the arms out of compression. Saddle setback is big also for taking weight off the hands.
 

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Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mx
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I have been struggling with bar height since I started biking again, what finally worked for me was to look at my old position and my old racing buddies, and sure enough, its more a matter of saddle seatback, as soon as I was balanced on my bike (With about 8 cm seat back) it was easy to find the right reach and height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To me the 29er allows higher bars

kapusta said:
You may as well take a poll of shoe sizes for 29ers.

FWIW, I don't find that 29er vs 26er has any effect on my bar height preference.
#1 That would be true if I asked for "preferred shoe size.":)

#2 I never found a 26er that allowed the bars anywhere near the seat height. The "large" sizes were too short and the "XL" gave me no standover. They may be out there but I never found the in-between size I needed.
 

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It is as important as the car you haul yer 29" wheel'd bike in/on/around.
 
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