Levi's bikes and MTB set-up

Mar 14, 2011
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Hi,
I was wondering about the accuracy of the riders bikes in the Pro bike review. The specs of Levi Leipheimer's Leadville winning MTB opposed to his Discovery Channel Road bike from 2007 are confusing. His height 5'6 to 5'7 changed by an inch his saddle height changed by a huge 3 cm. I understand his weight change by 2kg that is totally possible.

When I compared Lance's MTB to roadie they seemed well within the normal limits. I couple of mm in saddle height difference, saddle to bars maybe 1.5 cm difference all logical. So i'm guessing someone has got one of Levi's bikes wrong.

The main reason for my interest is I am doing more MTB these days and I am trying to establish a good position from my road bike to transfer over. The local riders I talk to who started as MTB riders have positions that would have me riding my MTB 3-4 cm shorter than my roadie. Lance and Levi seem not to have gone this way but 1-2 cm longer?? Any thoughts would be appreciated as i'm looking at more enduro riding.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Maybe you should talk to the people at your local bike shop instead of trying to match your bike to a couple of doped up pros, especially since one is a midget and the other has a crook back.
 
Mar 14, 2011
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Bro Deal I work at a bike-shop and I am king of road bike set-up, but when it comes to MTB i'm not experienced. The guys I work with are full MTB'ers so they think a big frame with an 80mm stem is the go. I have decided to try to work things out for myself as a big frame makes me feel really sketchy. Currently I'm experimenting with a 100 and 110 mm stem as I run a 120mm on my roadie.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Mozza11 said:
Bro Deal I work at a bike-shop and I am king of road bike set-up, but when it comes to MTB i'm not experienced. The guys I work with are full MTB'ers so they think a big frame with an 80mm stem is the go. I have decided to try to work things out for myself as a big frame makes me feel really sketchy. Currently I'm experimenting with a 100 and 110 mm stem as I run a 120mm on my roadie.
The more technical the terrain, the more I lower the saddle. But since I am not into techy stuff where I could get injured, my saddle is not that far off from my road position. It might be a couple of cm. Position is more upright, so the saddle to bar distance is shorter.

The best thing for enduro riding that you could do is ride for eight hours and see how you hold up. Tweak from there. I also think the typical terrain you ride makes a big difference.
 
Jan 13, 2010
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BroDeal said:
Maybe you should talk to the people at your local bike shop instead of trying to match your bike to a couple of doped up pros, especially since one is a midget and the other has a crook back.
Modeling my setup after pros who share my proportions always worked for me, and I don't see what their pharmaceuticals have to do with how they sit on a bike.

Lance's hump limits his reach. If he could straighten it, he could add a centimeter to his stem length and take out a spacer. This is why the tables used by the shop fit kits and the calculations used by the online fit guides need to be taken only as guidelines.
 
Jul 17, 2009
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BroDeal said:
Maybe you should talk to the people at your local bike shop instead of trying to match your bike to a couple of doped up pros, especially since one is a midget and the other has a crook back.
I just wee'd myself
 
Jul 17, 2009
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for what it is worth I run my mtn bike saddle height a bit lower than my raodie and my reach is shorter too.

about 3mm saddle ironically. not sure why it just feels better climbing because I move fore and aft quite a bit on a mtn bike

the shorter/taller reach on a mtn bike has to do with steering and handling for me. I don't like to push the front cornering on a mountain bike and when climbing slow tech I don't like the front end to move side to side.

Roadie I am stretched out reach and lower bars, higher saddled for too many reasons to list
 
Jul 17, 2009
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The best thing for a mtn bike enduro set upsince index shifting is an adjustable on the fly seatpost like a reverb fyi
 
Jun 10, 2009
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Boeing said:
The best thing for a mtn bike enduro set upsince index shifting is an adjustable on the fly seatpost like a reverb fyi
Even though I don't use an adjustable post (yet), I wholly agree with the reasoning behing this.

"What's the best saddle height for MTB?" is a question that just doesn't make sense. Unless you're a flat-out non-technical XC-only racer who is prepared to make handling compromises in order to extract the last bit of efficiency from your legs (in which case your effective seat height will be the same as on your roadie), or a trials rider (as low as it goes) there is no "one true position".

It might be fair to say that your roadie effective seat height is the maximum height which you will use on non-technical terrain, but as the terrain gets more technical and the downhills steeper, you'll be better off with a lower seat height.

Apart from going for an adjustable seatpost, the other option is to pick a compromise position somewhat lower than your full road height. Where that compromise lies is an individual preference, and will also depend on the rest of your bike geometry (reach, bar height) and your technical skill. That this compromise for Bottle on his leadville bike was 3cm sounds like a reasonable proposition (but does this include differences in saddle design, pedal and shoe stack height, and if so, who on earth cares that much that they bothered doing the comparison?).

FWIW, on consistent easy ground I usually run my seat at what feels like a couple of cm lower than on my roadie. If the ground is consistently moderately technical, and I don't feel like stopping to adjust, I may run it a few cm lower again. For steep and technical descents, I'll drop it all the way. IMO, if you need to ask what height is "right", it's unlikely that setting it to the mm is going to be very important...there's no substitute for riding and working out for yourself what feels right.

As soon as the weight gain (in grams) and cost (in AU$) of an adjustable seatpost add up to less than 400, I'm getting one!
 
Jun 10, 2009
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OT - risk perception

BroDeal said:
The more technical the terrain, the more I lower the saddle. But since I am not into techy stuff where I could get injured...
OT, but I think that my serious injury risk on 'XC' tracks is at least as high as on really steep and nasty terrain that I ride with saddle down. When in my XC terrain comfort zone I'll ride at warp speed on twisty tree-lined trails, yet as soon as it tilts down and gets sketchy I'll slow way down and "ride like a big girl!" (no offense intended to anyone of the female persuasion - my wife rides harder than I do).

For some reason "ooh, that's a pointy looking rock, that would hurt" worries my mind more than...well, I can't think of an example that I even thought about before I took myself out! It's pure luck that (real examples) times where I've wiped out on a slippery log at speed, I've crashed into a soft wall of gorse and blackberry (ouch - UK, 2008) or tumbled down a gravelly slope through shrub-height hakea bushes (ouch - Aus, 2007) instead of the solid tree trunks immediately adjacent in both cases. The difference between "comedy gold" and "paraplegia or worse" was about 30cm in my favour:eek:
 
Mar 18, 2009
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dsut4392 said:
OT, but I think that my serious injury risk on 'XC' tracks is at least as high as on really steep and nasty terrain that I ride with saddle down. When in my XC terrain comfort zone I'll ride at warp speed on twisty tree-lined trails, yet as soon as it tilts down and gets sketchy I'll slow way down and "ride like a big girl!" (no offense intended to anyone of the female persuasion - my wife rides harder than I do).

For some reason "ooh, that's a pointy looking rock, that would hurt" worries my mind more than...well, I can't think of an example that I even thought about before I took myself out! It's pure luck that (real examples) times where I've wiped out on a slippery log at speed, I've crashed into a soft wall of gorse and blackberry (ouch - UK, 2008) or tumbled down a gravelly slope through shrub-height hakea bushes (ouch - Aus, 2007) instead of the solid tree trunks immediately adjacent in both cases. The difference between "comedy gold" and "paraplegia or worse" was about 30cm in my favour:eek:
These days I tend to think in terms of price of failure. This leads to overcoming techy stuff by thinking, "Oh, F that sh!t. I'm walkin'."
 
Mar 14, 2011
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I really tend not to worry about saddle height as most riders tend to have their MTB and roadie saddle heights within 5mm of each other. Having a low saddle can cause knee trouble for someone doing 400km + a week. I fear knee trouble so I don't mess with saddle height.

My main issue is saddle to bar reach. I tried a 120mm stem instead of the 100mm I was running and I felt fine, maybe even faster over a moderate XC course. The 120mm resembled my road set-up a lot more. As for technical descents I tend to walk. I do this as a recreational sport, not a wreck my body sport.
 

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