In an article published in the Eurobike Show Daily (and re-published at BikeBiz), Mark Sanders (designer of the Strida folding bike) makes the case for bicycles designed to place the rider in a perfectly upright posture, not unlike how a person would sit behind the wheel of a car, or in an ergonomic chair at a computer. From the article:
Although more upright than racing bikes, mountain bikes and hybrid bikes do not give good posture for everyday, and around town use; the lean forward posture, still strains the back, neck and wrists. Only the upright posture is really suitable for a pleasant journey by bicycle.
I’ve owned everything from hi-racer recumbents with steeply inclined seats, to diamond frame racing bikes with dramatic drops from the saddle to the bars. On diamond frames, I’ve found handlebar positions that distribute the rider’s weight somewhat equally between the saddle, pedals, and handlebars to be the most comfortable. For short rides, say under 5 miles, the bolt upright position works well (to be fair, at those distances, almost anything works OK). But, for longer rides, carrying all of my weight on my derrier eventually becomes uncomfortable, and I do better with a slightly stretched out position that takes at least some of my weight off of the saddle and places it forward on the bars and pedals.
How about you? Do you prefer to sit perfectly upright, or does a more stretched out position provide more comfort?