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back cycling after 10 years - handlebar height?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by adunn01, 12 May 2008.

  1. adunn01

    adunn01 New Member

    Hi all,

    Decided to get back into cycling after a 10 year break, mainly due to a house move taking me just beyond a comfortable walk to work.

    Not wanting to throw money at a bike incase this was a passing fad for me, I bought a "used twice then put in the spare room" Ridgeback MX4 from a friend for £140 and have been cycling a fair bit on it over the last fortnight. Loving the commute to work after initial worries that a shower would be required after every trip to the office in the morning turned out to be unfounded!

    Yesterday I cycled around Glasgow, then along to Paisley and back. Prob around 30 miles in total and by the end my right shoulder was pretty sore. I could alleviate the pain by cycling more upright using my fingertips on the handles which got me thinking that maybe I should have the handlebars higher (currently got the saddle about 3 inches higher than the bars and it feels pretty natural normally but yesterday got me thinking).

    So...is there a recommended height for bars v saddle or is it all personal preference on these things?
  2. Gerry Attrick

    Gerry Attrick Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant

    Welcome to the forum adunn01. I'm no expert, particularly with regard to mountain bikes, but if your saddle is 3 inches higher than the bars on that bike, I reckon it could be far too small for you. That would put the reach (seat to bars) too short and all your top half body weight will be on your arms. Give us some details of your height and the bottom bracket spindle to top of seat tube measurements and someone will advise you further.
  3. adunn01

    adunn01 New Member

    hello! I'm Ally by the way, just realised that my usual username for websites is rubbish for forums!

    Don't think the bike itself is too small for me, 21" frame (I'm 6'2" though). When I got the bike the handlebars and saddle were both as low into the frame as they could be, I've left the handlebars unadjusted but raised the saddle so it's the few inches higher i mentioned. Thinking I should either raise the bars or lower the seat (feet can't touch the ground when I'm in the saddle). I'm not ignoring your mention of actual measurements btw, all my belongings are packed ahead of the house move!
  4. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    Saddle height - quick rule of thumb. sit on bike as normal (maybe lean against a ball) - make sure you are sat straight. Hith the pedal at it's lowest position, try and place your heal (bear foot) on the pedal axel with a straight leg. If you just touch, then that's a good starting point. Foot to floor isn't a good measure.

    Handle bar height is personal really, and you will get used to it, but to start with raise it a little at first.
  5. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

  6. adunn01

    adunn01 New Member

    hi all, thanks for the advice. From fossyant's post the saddle is at the perfect height, reading the article from peter white suggests that the handlebars are probably where people with mountain bikes would 'normally' have them, but i think i'll raise mine a little and see how it goes. once i can find those allen keys that is!