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Typical range for saddle to handlebar drop?

Posted June 29, 2016 10:51PM by Skye in the Cycling Forum

Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   5880115
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 7 years ago   Posts: 539

Feeling inspired by the slightly more relaxed geometry of the endurance bike I just tested, I'm messing around with the reach and drop to my handlebars again. I'm currently pretty stretched out, back angle is almost 45 degrees on the tops.

Before I spend money on another stem, I thought I'd get as close as possible with what I've got by simply flipping and slamming my current +-17 deg 100mm stem (removing a 10mm spacer on the steerer tube). Seat/saddle stayed in the same position.

The result of flipping and lower my stem?

Saddle tip to center of handlebar tops = down 1cm (handlebars closer)
Drop (height difference) from top of saddle to top of bars = down 4cm (handlebars raised)

Now the front axle is just peeking out in front of the bar tops when I'm on the tops, the axle is just behind when on the hoods, and well behind in the drops, which is closer to ideal, although that's a big change in the saddle to bars drop.

I was curious what a "normal" vs "pro" saddle to handlebar drop height would be, so I did some searching.

Here are a sample of the answers I found... a wide variety of opinion:

Typical range for saddle to handlebar drop - Survey
-2 to -8 inches (-5 cm to -20 cm)
level with the saddle for recreational riding (zero)
level or slightly below the saddle, and use the drops more
-10 cm typical (max?)
-5 to -10cm for fast non-pros
whatever is optimal for TT power delivery in the drops (hip angle)
-6 inches (-15cm) for the super flexible, even more for pros
Lemond fit system rule of thumb max 3" (8 cm)

My saddle to handlebar drop went from -11cm to -7cm when I flipped the stem, my ideal is probably somewhere in that range - time on the road will certainly tell. While I do like the look of a horizontal slammed stem, there's also the fact to consider that you can actually bend your elbows in the drops if you want to get more aero (like in the old days) and that I could stand to do a lot more stretching (also true)

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