Re: [CR]Bikers self-abuse and handlebar height/reach

(Example: Racing)

From: "ternst" <>
To: <>, "Bianca Pratorius" <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Bikers self-abuse and handlebar height/reach
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005 10:18:40 -0700

Having done bike fittings in my shop for about 45 years, I think Carlos Laborde has a very close handle on the essence of a bike fit. I subtly differ in several areas but that's good as we then try various approaches and learn from one another. Charles Nighbors post from the other day was very detailed but started getting lost in the details. Much of fitting is in the look and instinct of rider and fitter working together as a team, and the cold, anatomical, medical analysis doesn't consider the individuality of us all and can be misleading all too often. By the way, bike fitting is another book. Ted Ernst Palos Verdes Estates, CA

----- Original Message -----
From: Bianca Pratorius
Sent: Saturday, April 16, 2005 6:09 AM
Subject: [CR]Bikers self-abuse and handlebar height/reach

>I am continuously amazed at the ability of list members to find and post
>fascinating and relevant information about our beloved bikes. The most
>recent posting re: handlebar height/reach was one of the most interesting
>works bringing sanity to an area of freewheeling self abuse. As a long time
>student of physiology, a former dancer and yoga instructor, I find the
>practice of keeping the bars 6 to 8 cm's lower than the seat absurd. I also
>find GP's of Rivendell, practice of keeping the bars at the same level of
>the seat or higher usually unnecessary or overly cautious. This is
>precisely what I have gathered through my own readings and experiments.
>Here are the points that I use to describe my theory to my road buddies,
>should they be willing to listen. (Because I use non-indexed dt shifters
>and use a heavy (20.5 lb) bike, they are often shocked that I am even
>willing to offer an opinion, and even more shocked that I more often than
>not seem to make sense.)
> The classic recommendation to keep the bars about an inch lower than the
> seat is a good rule of thumb, but is really only a starting point.
> Lemond's idea that the elbows while in the drops should come within an
> inch or two of the knees and the elbows are well bent is another good
> starting point.
> Carlos Laborde's (local velodrome coach) idea is good that one should
> continuously practice looking over the left shoulder and the right while
> do cycling practice helps the rider to learn to pull his/ her shoulders
> back toward their sacrum, lengthen the neck and lessen the tendency to
> strain the area.
> When in the drops with the arms well bent, the elbows should come close to
> forming a 90 degree angle, but the stem length should be long enough that
> the elbows are a little bit more open in angle so that 100 degrees or 120
> is still acceptable.
> Seat position is determined before stem length, as the hips will naturally
> "look for the proper distance from the pedal axle when the cranks are
> brought up level. Never adjust reach before seat forward- rearward
> position is first optimized and crank length is selected.
> The spine should always feel that it is lengthening and not rounding as
> flexibility is developed by bending at the hips not the waist. Assistance
> excercises such as yoga can brought to play that feature length from the
> hips not bringing the head to touch the knees in a forward bend, but
> trying to bring the head to feet. This will result in bringing the pubic
> bone more in contact with the seat as the hips tilt forward rather than
> rounding the spine. A proper saddle will have a hollow for the pubic bone
> or a softer landing spot, such as an old Concour style or a (gasp!)
> channel style modern saddle.
> The head does not simply reach up to let the rider see, while in the
> drops, but instead he/she reaches forward and up as the head initiates the
> pulling lengthening sensation that leads all the way back to the hips.
> When the bars are properly set up high enough, riding the drops is
> naturally encouraged rather than used occasionally as so many riders do
> today with their super low bars, super high seat torture bike arrangement.
> The net effect of raising the bars is to let the rider spend more time in
> the aero position (and power position) not less. If the livingroom is so
> perfect that I don't actually spend any time in it, what's the point?
> The classic approach to frame size selection is still the sanest with
> frames offered in every cm (54,55,56 etc), and not the compact frame (s,
> m, l,) hit and miss approach. If you need a 55 but use a 54, then you will
> need a swan type stem to bring the bars up to the right height as normal
> stems don't allow enough height adjustment. (By the way those huge
> threadless headsets and upangled stem contraptions are less modern/aero
> than the humble 1" threaded headsets of yore).
> Modern "strapless" XXXX type pedals worsen the situation by requiring you
> to raise the seat over where you would normally have put it with pedals
> with straps and cages. (There may be one brand of these modern devices
> that doesn't cause the seat to be raised, but we won't be discussing them
> here on the CR list).
> Garth Libre in Miami Shores, Fl.