[CR]RE: Frame size/saddle-height/handlebar height

From: Andrew & Merilee Gillis <apgmaa@earthlink.net>
To: "classicrendezvous@bikelist.org" <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 22:01:04 -0800
Encoding: 48 TEXT
Subject: [CR]RE: Frame size/saddle-height/handlebar height

To all CR's:

I want to thank Tom Dalton for his thorough and well reasoned coverage of the issue of modern vs retro saddle height (and handlebar height). I only want to add a few items to his list (IMHO):

1. My copy of Bernard Hinault's (& Claude Genzling's) book "Road Racing Technique and Training" comments on pg 101 (Climbing, seated back) :

"The position for flat riding that we described earlier is also good for climbing, especially because the saddle is high. If road riders used to feel they had to raise their saddles for mountain passes, it was because they were often too low by ergonomic standards."

2. Besides all of the modern road and technology improvements which have increased bicycle speed and necessitated a powerful and aerodynamic position, I think that the increase in high dollar/high stakes racing sponsorship promotes a trend towards "perfect" body types. Those whose physiologies aren't skeletally perfect just don't cut it.

3. Modern arched cycling shoes allow for a higher seat position due to the alignment of the foot. Old style flat-soled shoes (I'm virtually certain) promoted a flatter angle of the foot and consequently a lower seat height.

4. A too-low handlebar position is verifiably hard on the body. I have some mild bone spurs in the back of my neck due to 20 years of straining to raise my head up. I've solved this problem by using an extended steering tube (added a 13mm headset washer) and a higher stem.

The Nitto "Pearl 12" stem is the same horizontal size as a 13 cm Cinelli, but is vertically 4mm higher than a Cinelli 1A, and 6mm higher than a Cinelli XA, relative to their maximum heights

I'm also glad to have the option of installing a 3T "Morphe" handlebar if I ever need to go higher (about 13mm higher than 1997 Cinelli Eubios).

5. I was indirectly reminded of the non-correlation of my bicycle design and posture to modern "professional" machines thru an article in European Car magazine: A comparison between the VW 1.8 turbo engine and a Formula 1 engine showed that the two designs are so task-specific that there is virtually no similarity!


Andrew Gillis (warming up in Long Beach, CA)