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Bite Me.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How high or low are people running their stems on the Sultan? When I bought the bike it was set up for 6'1" rider - I'm 6'. There are about 1.5" of spacers under the stem - the bar is a low rise Monkey Lite. At first the set up seemed just right, my bar and saddle position were about even, and I sat on the bike very much like I did on the Spot - a bit more up-right than I used to ride on the Burner and my other XC oriented rigs. Yesterday I moved two of the spacers above the stem, and things sort of felt more dialed in. I'm thinking about trying the stem even lower, which would drop my bars below the saddle about an inch - like my XC bikes, and it feels like I'm more in control of the cockpit instead of perched over it. Being new to the 29er thing I'm wondering what most people are finding is the best set up for the stem/bar saddle arrangement - I'm riding this bike like the Spot (i.e. more AM style than XC), but the lower position seems to help the overall steeering and stability of the ride without being too stretched out or flat backed - ideas/advice? A shot of the original set up is attached with the old Spot's saddle behind it for reference - thanks!
 

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Pixie Dust Addict
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I've gone down a similar path. Mine came with about 1-1/4" of spacers under the stem, a Thomson 90mm 10 degree rise stem and I added Easton Motolite-XC low rise bars. That put the bars at about level with the saddle and handling was great, especially in tight/techie stuff. For an XC race I did a couple of weeks ago I put on a 100mm stem and flipped it to give a -6 degree rise to make it a little more comfortable for going uphill quickly. That brought the bars to about an inch below the saddle. So far, that's been a good balance between comfortable for long rides and still being in a good climbing position. Haven't had a chance to do anything that may show limitations in descending with that setup yet. The other permutation I want to try is to flip the Thomson over. That will be a shorter reach, but lower bars.
 

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I have settled, like you on the bars about 1-2 inches below the saddle, but with a very short cockpit on my bikes.

Caveat is that my legs are proportionally long, and my saddle is really high. Even with a 1-2 inch differential, I am running 20mm of spacers and 1" risers.

When I run the bars higher, the handling feels off on the downhills. Difficult to weight the front end. Spot on with the bars at their current height.

On the climbs, the lower bars don't annoy because the angle of the hill puts them up to a comfy level.

There are no flats here, but I can pedal an hour or so on flats without any discomfort. Shortening the cockpit with a shorter stem and wider bars helped here as well.

Positioning is individual in a lot of ways, so experiment.

I personally think that ideal bar height for handling is related to a person's overall height, and is relatively static for persons of similar height. This is different than saddle to bar differential which is more related to individual leg vs torso length, and can vary dramatically between individuals of the same height.

A good example would be JNC and me. We are about the same height, our bars are about the same height, but his bar is an inch or so above the saddle, whereas mine is 2 inches below. Both are optimized for our bodies and riding styles.
 

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Bite Me.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree it's a very rider specific set up - I am running the cockpit length almost exactly the same as the Spot, but the slightly lower bar /stem height on the Sultan seems to feel more controlled than when the bars are level with the saddle. I just wasn't sure if that was an observation that people had made generally on 29ers where the front end/overall rider position seems higher compared to the Spot. I'm going to ride it for a while lower and see how it feels. When the 120mm fork goes on I'll have to tweak it again no doubt to find the sweet spot.
 

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cutthroat said:
I just wasn't sure if that was an observation that people had made generally on 29ers where the front end/overall rider position seems higher compared to the Spot.
I'm not sure that generally 29"ers require/favor different positioning than one usually would have, but I've been on them exclusively for so long I am of no help to you here.

Interested in other's input.
 

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Expert Crasher
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I've always preferred a hand position a little bit below saddle height. I might be a bit long legged b/c my ETTs have been 24.5" for a few years (both my K2 and Sultan had 24.5" ETTs).

As Enel mentioned - it's pretty specific to body geometry. I broke my back in 2000 and after banging out a ton of miles in 07 on an aluminum HT, my back had enough. Part of what I need to do to spread the impact from my spine to the muscles is stretch out more - this is why I went to a 110mm stem (from 90) and flatbar. Back is getting better and this fall, I'll move up to an XL size front triangle to continue stretching/healing my back.

I'm toying with the idea of moving to a Monkey Lite XC low rise carbon bar - it'll add a little height to my position, my goal with this is to allow a bit more aggressive 'attack position' by bringing the bars up a tad. I may drop a 2.5mm spacer at the same time depending on the rise.

My old K2 Lithium 4.0, the rear tire is jacked up a bit in the rack in this pic


 

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Bodhisattva
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I reckon choice of fork will influence hand position as well.

Me:
5'10" with average proportions. Medium sultan.
Handlebars even with the saddle at climbing position.
F135 fork, Thomson 90x0 stem, Syntace Vector 31.8 12° sweep bar
 

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The Squeaky Wheel said:
I reckon choice of fork will influence hand position as well.

Me:
5'10" with average proportions. Medium sultan.
Handlebars even with the saddle at climbing position.
F135 fork, Thomson 90x0 stem, Syntace Vector 31.8 12° sweep bar
How many spacers and rise or no rise bar? (photo is worth a thousand words).

How will fork choice influence hand position? Accounting for sag, I think they would be identical. In the unsagged position the longer fork has the bars higher?
 

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Bodhisattva
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Enel said:
How many spacers and rise or no rise bar? (photo is worth a thousand words).

How will fork choice influence hand position? Accounting for sag, I think they would be identical. In the unsagged position the longer fork has the bars higher?
1 cm spacer only.

Fork changes the handling characteristics of the bike which thus influences choice of hand position.

In the end, it's all personal preference.
 

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Here are some lateral views.



Rigid SS drops about 2.5 inches. I would like the bars a little higher, but cut the fork too short, so I deal with it.



Short travel FS The front travel is a little bit more than the rear (4"/3") Saddle to bar drop is slightly less than 2 inches



5" front and rear FS: slightly over 2" of drop.

Note that on all three despite being significantly lower than the saddle, the bars are still a bit higher than Squeaky's in absolute terms.

Personal preference.
 

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miles e said:
I'm not sure if you're the poster child for Gravity Droppers or for those who shun them. Probably the latter. :p
Laugh if you want, they've been great for me. Makes my bars 2" above the saddle on descents.

I actually find myself reaching for a lever on my commuter at times.:eek:

I agree they mess up the aesthetics....tough.

To put it into perspective: if I had to choose having either normal length chainstays or the gravity dropper, the chainstays would go.
 

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Pixie Dust Addict
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Took the "XC" (100mm stem, flipped to -6 degrees, Easton low-rise carbon bar) configuration down some tasty chunk yesterday and had no sense that I was going to endo at all. That position feels good for climbing, too. It was easier to engage my hamstrings in order to make power all the way around (similar to my road bike). This may be a keeper for a while.
 
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