How to find the right seat height for your bike

Heel method

This method is used by bike sellers and trainers in the gym.

Among the features, we note:

  • To begin with, the heel of the foot is placed on the pedal.
  • The height of the seat should be such that the leg is fully extended at the knee.
  • The pelvis should remain horizontal.

Tilt angle adjustment

The standard, generally accepted and correct position of the seat in the horizontal plane is parallel to the road. Manufacturers recommend leaving this position and not resorting to slopes unnecessarily. Actually, from the illustration, it is clear that the saddle cannot be deflected at a large angle.

In the first case, the load on the arms increases, the cyclist hunches down and can slide forward. Tilting the seat back adds fatigue to the legs and impairs handling by extending the arms.

However, within reasonable limits, the tilt adjustment can be carried out individually. Most often this is required by the specific conditions of mountain biking. On uneven areas, where the arms are bouncing even with a good shock absorber, the load on them can be leveled by tilting the saddle back. When a low seating position is required (overcoming the wind, for example), it makes sense to tilt the seat forward. The recommended tilt range is no more than 10 degrees in each direction.

How to measure and adjust the seat height on a bicycle?

The problem under consideration has become very widespread. That is why various methods of measuring height were invented, all of them are characterized by their own specific features.

The following methods are most widely used:

Correctly adjusted seat height allows you to develop a sufficiently high speed on the road.

Height is the most important parameter, when you need to consider the following:

  • The pin must not be extended beyond the maximum mark. This is due to the fact that the reliability of the fastening is significantly reduced.
  • The saddle must fit securely. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to avoid injury.
  • The front end should always face forward. This is due to the fact that the surface is made taking into account the anatomical features of the person.

In most cases, you can make adjustments to the seating position yourself.

  • The fastener must be loosened. It is a tightening nut or a special eccentric.
  • Holding the main part changes the seating position. In this case, you have to apply some effort.
  • Without releasing the structure, the main part is fastened. When tightening the fasteners, it should be borne in mind that the applied force should not be too high.
  • The reliability of the fastening is checked with light blows. If the seat is slightly lowered, then the procedure will have to be repeated.

Horizontal adjustment

Adjusting the saddle in relation to the handlebars allows you to set the position according to the length of the arms. Correct centering has a positive effect on bike speed and handling.

The work should be performed in the following sequence:

  • Loosen the screw securing the pin to the seat.
  • Move the seat.
  • Lock the mount.
  • Sit on the bike and check the knee position. It should be located strictly vertically with the pedal axis. The foot is checked on the pedal at the lowest point. If the knee protrudes noticeably forward, re-adjust.

This type of setting is only done after adjusting the height.

The combination of correctly set saddle parameters, taking into account the physiological characteristics of the cyclist, will help to avoid excessive fatigue of the arms and legs, will allow you to be in motion for as long as possible and will have a positive effect on the comfort of control.

Seating a cyclist on a saddle.

First of all, let’s define how we sit. The main body weight is distributed between the two ischial tubercles (ischial bones). they are the supports for the body, and not soft tissues, as many believe. Just if the seat is too narrow, then the entire body weight will not be on the ischial bones, but on soft tissues. In this case, the blood vessels in the perineum will be squeezed, the blood supply will be disrupted, and you will get a lot of unpleasant sensations after a few kilometers of the trip. In this illustration, the red arrows show the seat and bumps, which account for approximately 70-75% of the load.

In the figure below, the red circles show the areas for the support of the ischial tuberosities. Note that they must be long enough to provide a slight back and forth movement when riding. The sides of the spout should not protrude, and the spout itself should be sufficiently long and narrow.

Turning the pedals on a seat that is too wide will rub the crotch and inner thighs, which will not add pleasure on a long trip, especially in hot summer.

If you are going to ride a bicycle slowly and imposingly through the park with your girlfriend or boyfriend, then a wide seat will suit you. Very often they are installed on urban models. If you are going to make long and long trips on your iron horse, pay attention to the narrower saddle. They are almost always put on mountain or high-speed models.

find, right, seat, height

Separately, I would like to dwell on women’s seats. The fact is that the pelvic bones of women are, according to the constitution, wider than those of men. If for adolescents and men it is on average 90.120 mm, then for the beautiful half of humanity it is 130-132 mm. Differences in the structure of the male and female pelvis are also shown in the following figure.

So not every girl or woman will be able to ride a narrow male seat for a long time. On such a trip, it will create discomfort, and in the worst case, it can come to pain. On average, a classic women’s seat is wider than a men’s one, they have a shorter nose, for a comfortable ride in a skirt, and more original colors.

Holmes method

Using a bike with the wrong seat height is often the reason people get injured if they fall. The considered method is used to significantly reduce the number of injuries.

  • When measuring, a special device is used, which is called a goniometer. It determines the angle of the knee joint at the bottom of the pedal travel.
  • The recommended angle is 25-30 degrees. If there are knee problems, then the recommended reading is closer to 25 degrees.

Tilt angle adjustment

Continuing to figure out how to properly adjust the bike for yourself, you should pay attention to the seat tilt. In most cases, the user is quite comfortable when it is strictly parallel to the ground. If the saddle is tilted towards the handlebars, the load on the arms and hands increases, the back humps, and the butt slides forward. Leaning back leads to rapid leg fatigue and poor bike control.

However, sometimes you need to slightly change the position angle. For example, on difficult terrain with a lot of obstacles, the arms will bounce even with a good shock absorber. To reduce the load, you can tilt the seat back slightly. To better handle the wind when you need to tilt the body, tilt the saddle wisely. It is recommended to make angle changes within 10 °.

How to adjust the height of the bike seat

Lemond method

This variation of the 109% method was developed based on the athlete Lemond’s own observations.

The changes made are characterized by the following features:

  • The distance between the perineum and the feet is used as a basis.
  • Sizing required 88.3%.
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Seat angle adjustment

When adjusting the bike seat, you should also pay attention to the angle of inclination. In most cases, the seat should be parallel to the road. It is not recommended to resort to slope unnecessarily.

This recommendation can be linked to the following:

  • When leaning towards the handlebars, the cyclist can hunch over a lot. At the same time, he slides forward a little, due to which the load on the arms increases.
  • Leaning too far backwards becomes the reason for the deterioration of control and increased load on the legs.

The importance of tuning

There are three parameters for seat adjustment on a bicycle:

  • height above the pedals;
  • horizontal tilt;
  • offset relative to the steering wheel (closer, further).

Important! The main and most important is the height adjustment. If the saddle is too low, it leads to excessive bending of the legs, in turn, the muscles quickly fatigue, and the pedaling efficiency is low. In addition, the knee joint performs amplitude cyclical oscillations that are not characteristic of the body. If the rider pedals in a low position, it can be compared to constantly walking on bent legs.

A correctly adjusted seat position eliminates any negative effects of cycling on the body. The person will not get tired quickly, the legs will work normally, and in the event of an unexpected stop, it will be possible to quickly reach the ground. To ensure a proper fit, the setting must be combined with the height and tilt of the bike‘s handlebars.

The horizontal tilt determines the level of stress on the arms and lower back. The standard position is parallel to the ground, however some cyclists need to tilt the seat 3-5mm to feel more comfortable in a two-wheeler.

Good to know! The offset of the saddle determines its distance from the handlebars. It all depends on the length of the arms: if it’s hard to reach the steering wheel, the seat moves closer and vice versa. On long trips, the parameter can be periodically adjusted based on the travel conditions.

In addition to the adjustments mentioned above, you need to take care of the comfort of the fifth point even at the stage of buying a bike. The optimum seat width is different for men and women. You can calculate the parameter by the ischial tubercles. To do this, you need to sit in the sand and measure the distance between the two deepest points.

With an indicator of 10 cm, a saddle with a width of 13-14 cm should be selected. If the distance between the grooves is 12 cm, then the seat should also be 3-4 cm wider. The universal saddle is 14-14.5 cm wide. it can be used by all riders without exception. However, maximum convenience is achieved by personal selection.

How To Get The Correct Saddle Height | Bike Sizing | Tredz Bikes

Why adjust your bike saddle

The bike seat can be adjusted in three directions:

  • height above pedal level;
  • angle of inclination in the horizontal plane;
  • bias.

Let’s consider what the correct adjustment of each parameter gives.

The height determines the position of the legs when driving and the efficiency of pedaling. A low saddle contributes to strong bending of the legs, their rapid fatigue and low pedaling efficiency. Too much height will impair the grip of the shoe and the handling.

The position of the saddle corresponding to the height eliminates all negative consequences, makes it possible to rotate the pedals for a long time without significant fatigue and loss of energy, and allows you to quickly reach the ground with your foot in parking lots and in emergency situations. And when combined with the adjusted handlebar position, the seat height will ensure the rider is properly seated.

The horizontal tilt determines the load on the body parts. The forward position will increase the stress on the arms and move the body towards the handlebars. The tilted seat back will raise the upper body, shifting the force center towards the lower back and abdomen.

On some bicycles, the saddles also adjust horizontally in relation to the center of the seatpost. When choosing the right position, the length of the arms plays an important role. If it’s hard to reach the steering wheel, the seat cushion moves forward a little. With constant hand fatigue, it is worth moving back. On long mountain bike rides, this parameter can be adjusted several times depending on the riding conditions.

Correct tuning rests on three pillars: comfort, efficiency and reduced steering fatigue.

Tilt angle adjustment

The standard, generally accepted and correct position of the seat in the horizontal plane is parallel to the road. Manufacturers recommend leaving this position and not resorting to slopes unnecessarily. Actually, from the illustration, it is clear that the saddle cannot be deflected at a large angle.

In the first case, the load on the arms increases, the cyclist hunches down and can slide forward. Tilting the seat back adds fatigue to the legs and impairs handling by extending the arms.

However, within reasonable limits, the tilt adjustment can be carried out individually. Most often this is required by the specific conditions of mountain biking. On uneven areas, where the arms are bouncing even with a good shock absorber, the load on them can be leveled by tilting the saddle back. When a low seating position is required (overcoming the wind, for example), it makes sense to tilt the seat forward. The recommended tilt range is no more than 10 degrees in each direction.

Method “109%”

Measurements can be made with a minimum error using the “109%” method. It was first used back in 1967.

Its key features are the following:

  • Long-term studies were carried out to develop the method.
  • Research indicates that the ideal saddle position was 109% of the crotch to rung distance.
  • To determine this size, a person must face the wall, and a thick book acts as a saddle. This marks the position of the book.

How comfortable should a bike seat be?

You need to understand that a bicycle saddle is not a chair or a stool. The saddle only takes up a fraction of the rider’s weight. The remaining load is on the pedals and steering wheel. The exception is soft, spring-loaded saddles with a short nose. They are found on walking, folding models or exercise bikes. They are just as comfortable to sit on as a chair (the wide shape allows for a straight fit), but they are not designed for sporty riding; the saddles are designed to absorb shock, shock and vibration. For this, manufacturers come up with various tricks. For example, riding saddles have a thick layer of soft cushioning material. Some models have springs, special frames made of various alloys (titanium and magnesium, chrome-vanadium steel) are also well cushioned, elastomers are used in the places where the frame is attached to the saddle.

Seat position adjustment

If the saddle height is universal on all types of bicycles, then its position may differ.

Let’s discuss the tilt angle first. For normal riding, it is best to use a horizontal saddle position.

This is especially true for men, because physiologically, the seat tilt can block blood circulation and pinch important organs.

In terms of seat types, there are special saddles for men with a notch in the center. They are usually narrower than the female variants. Therefore, consider this factor when choosing a bike.

If you are climbing uphill, it is better to tilt the seat with the front part down. This will provide a more comfortable climb and reduce energy loss. When performing tricks, the saddle must be tilted back.

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Many modern seats have rails in the design, with the help of which the saddle can be moved horizontally.

Before determining the optimal outreach, you need to understand the peculiarities of the rider’s landing on different types of bike.

On mountain bikes, the rider’s body should be tilted 45 degrees, and on road units, the rider “lays down” the body almost 90 degrees.

It is important to take this into account when adjusting the seat overhang. A combination of handlebar and seat adjustment provides the driver with a comfortable seating position, so don’t be content with just adjusting the saddle

It is important to remember that if the seat is pushed too far back, the weight is shifted to the rear wheel. This shift in the center of gravity relieves the front shock and can create the potential for an accident or rollover.

This shift in the center of gravity relieves the front shock and can create the potential for an accident or rollover.

How To Find The Right Saddle Height On Your Road Bike

Therefore, adjust the reach wisely based on your height, shape and riding habits.

Experiment! Set the saddle position and make several trips. If you feel uncomfortable, keep changing the settings.

Setting up the optimal fit of the cyclist begins with the correct alignment of the saddle, and after that they adjust (or select new ones) the stem and the handlebar itself (taking into account its rise, width and bend).

This process involves not only the seat itself, but also the seatpost, and, if necessary, change the connecting rods. The position of the saddle is changed to obtain the correct position for the movement of the legs. The most important thing here is the knees. If set up incorrectly, the load on them will be too strong, which will lead to quick fatigue and pain.

One of the main mistakes beginner cyclists make is trying to set the saddle too low, mistakenly believing that if they fall, they will have time to get back to their feet. In this position, they rotate the pedals as if they were constantly squatting. At the same time, not only the legs, but also the knees experience much greater stress than is necessary for normal riding.

Often the cause of quick fatigue and pain in the pelvic and groin area is improper seat height and tilt adjustment.

Saddle adjustment

First of all, you need to adjust the height, angle of inclination and distance of the saddle to the physiological characteristics of the passenger.

Many different methods have been developed to determine the correct saddle height. The most common and accessible to the average person is the heel method. To determine the saddle height using this technique, the following manipulations must be performed:

  • Place your foot in the shoe with your heel on the pedal. The pedal must be in the down position and parallel to the floor.
  • Set the height of the seat so that in the sitting position the leg standing on the pedal is almost completely straight at the knee, but at the same time the pelvis takes a horizontal position without distortion

Correct distance from saddle to pedals

That is, if the leg does not reach the pedal, then the saddle must be lowered, and vice versa, if it is strongly bent at the knee, then it must be raised. The bicycle seat height adjustment is adjusted after loosening the seat bolt.

It is imperative to remember that on the seatpost of any bike there is a mark for the maximum possible saddle extension, above which you should not raise the seat, as this is fraught with breakdowns for the bike and possible injuries for the passenger.

Seat tilt. Usually the seat is installed either parallel to the ground, or slightly lifting the front or back of it up, depending on the individual characteristics of the cyclist. It should be borne in mind that if the saddle is pulled up strongly with the front end, then the passenger will roll back when moving, therefore, in order to maintain balance, he will have to use his arms and press.

As a result of such a trip, pain in the muscles of the arms and abdomen may occur. Conversely, if you raise the rear of the saddle, the passenger will begin to roll forward onto the bike frame, which will also increase the load on the arms and add the possibility of unpleasant sensations in the crotch.

Adjust the distance of the saddle from the handlebar as follows:

  • It is necessary to loosen the seatpost
  • Move the bike saddle forward or backward so that the knee joint is exactly over the pedal axis. In this case, the pedal must be in a position parallel to the ground.
  • Secure the seatpost

Correct adjustment of the saddle in height, angle and distance is very important, as incorrect and inappropriate position for the rider has a significant impact on both the speed and well-being of the cyclist.

Interesting: How to return to training after a break

So, when adjusting the saddle, it is necessary to take into account the individual characteristics of the anatomy of the passenger.

But you should also take into account the riding style, for example, when driving at high speed, a lower saddle position will be justified than when driving quietly on the highway.

Soft seat

A big mistake people make when buying a soft saddle for a road or touring bike. For a mountain bike, a “pillow” is also not suitable. In general, any bike that you will be pedaling for a long time or quickly should not be equipped with a gel, finger-squeeze seat. These seats are usually bought by inexperienced cyclists, because they are convenient for short trips.

On a soft saddle at first you feel comfortable, but after an hour of travel, clothes begin to get wet from sweat and the skin of the crotch becomes numb.

The position of the steering wheel also changes your seating position.

As for the hands? Correct fit is achieved with a 45 degree angle. Those. the cyclist should be at a slight incline, not less than 45 degrees, forward. The bicycle handlebars can be raised or lowered as needed. The width of the handlebars should be the same width as the rider’s shoulders. The 45 degree angle can change with increasing speed. Quite often this can be seen in bicycle races, where the cyclist practically lies on the bicycle. If you are into fast riding, you may just need to find a different type of bike. As you can see, the angle of inclination can vary. And the landing of a person’s body will be influenced, among other things, by the speed with which he travels. Rides slowly. the position of the body changes towards the vertical seat (as on a road bike), begins to gain momentum. the position changes towards the horizontal position of the body in space, such a landing is typical when riding a road bike, as well as on high-speed racing bicycles.

Road (city) bicycles are made in such a way that the entire load of the human body falls on the saddle. Therefore, the position of the body is almost impossible to change. If you have a road bike and you feel uncomfortable, you can try to lower the handlebars slightly, as a result, there will be a slight forward tilt and body position will tend to the correct one. The chest is then released and breathing becomes easier.

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Seating a cyclist on a saddle.

First of all, let’s define how we sit. The main body weight is distributed between the two ischial tubercles (ischial bones). they are the supports for the body, and not soft tissues, as many believe. Just if the seat is too narrow, then the entire body weight will not be on the ischial bones, but on soft tissues. In this case, the blood vessels in the perineum will be squeezed, the blood supply will be disrupted, and you will get a lot of unpleasant sensations after a few kilometers of the trip. In this illustration, the red arrows show the seat and bumps, which account for approximately 70-75% of the load.

In the figure below, the red circles show the areas for the support of the ischial tuberosities. Note that they must be long enough to provide a slight back and forth movement when riding. The sides of the spout should not protrude, and the spout itself should be sufficiently long and narrow.

Turning the pedals on a seat that is too wide will rub the crotch and inner thighs, which will not add pleasure on a long trip, especially in hot summer.

If you are going to ride a bike slowly and imposingly through the park with a friend or friend, then a wide seat will suit you

Very often they are installed on urban models. If you are going to make long and long trips on your iron horse, pay attention to the narrower saddle. They are almost always put on mountain or high-speed models.

Separately, I would like to dwell on women’s seats. The fact is that the pelvic bones of women are, according to the constitution, wider than those of men. If in adolescents and men it is on average 90.120 mm, then in the beautiful half of humanity it is 130-132 mm. Differences in the structure of the male and female pelvis are also shown in the following figure.

So not every girl or woman will be able to ride a narrow male seat for a long time. On such a trip, it will create discomfort, and in the worst case, it can come to pain. On average, a classic women’s seat is wider than a men’s one, they have a shorter nose, for a comfortable ride in a skirt, and more original colors.

How to find the right seat height for your bike

Setting the correct seat height on a bike is seemingly such a simple thing that you might think that the authors of this article would describe the best method and trick for you, but that was not the case.!

How To Set Your Road Bike’s Saddle Height. Tips For Getting Your Saddle Position Right

On the one hand, all experts agree that if you adjust the seat height incorrectly, the consequences can be dire. Research shows that lower seating levels can shorten the onset of fatigue by as much as 12 percent.

Consequently, cyclists with limited time can actually get more out of a shorter workout by setting the sitting level to a non-optimal level and thus putting additional stress on themselves.

This is an interesting theory, but even if you do this, you still need to know how this “correct” height is determined in order to know which way to complicate. Read on to find out exactly how to do this

Despite this, there is little or no scientific evidence to prove this method is correct, and this often results in an underestimated saddle height.

Mississippi Women’s University professor Will Palever, who has written several articles comparing methods for finding the best seat level, states: “The main problem is that this method does not account for individual differences in hip, lower leg, and leg length.”

A more reliable method was developed by Hamley and Thomas in a 1967 article.They experimented with different levels of saddle height and found that the ideal position was when the saddle was at 109% of your leg length, measured from the pedal axis (in the lower position ) to the top of the seat.

In this case, measurements should be taken on the inside of your legs (standing on the floor) from the foot to the level of the perineum. To do this, stand facing the wall and place a rather thick book between your legs as if it were a saddle. Stand straight with your heels on the floor and the top of the book touching the wall.

The distance from the floor to the top of the book is the desired value. It is best to measure it several times and calculate the average.

This method has proven to be extremely popular and is recommended by many top-level trainers. However, a recent study by Professor Palever found this method to be inferior to the Holmes method (see below).

This is a popular option based on the 109% method. It was first applied by triple Tour de France winner Greg Lemond. Also, using leg length as a guideline, this formula calculates 88.3% of your leg length (calculated using the 109% method) and uses it to measure the distance from the center of the carriage to the top edge of the seat.

Paliver writes that this method often results in different seat heights compared to the 109% method, and while it works for many people, it may not be ideal for people with above average thigh lengths.

This method was originally developed to reduce cycling injuries and takes a completely different approach than the three above. He uses a device called a goniometer to measure the angle of the knee joint at the bottom of the pedal travel. Holmes recommends an angle between 25 and 35 degrees and closer to 25 for those with patellar tendinitis.

This method may seem tricky to you. If you think so, then feel free to use the previous three. If not, you can get a goniometer for 15-20. for example on ebay.

Research by prof. Plevers have shown that setting the seat height based on a 25-degree knee angle outperforms all other methods (including a 35-degree angle). “Using a goniometer and a 25 degree angle is definitely the method I would recommend,” he says.

Don’t rely on the “feel comfortable” method. “If you’ve already pedaled with a saddle level lower than optimal, you may not feel very familiar at first,” says Palever.

“However, as your body adapts (usually in two to three weeks), in a new position you will not only feel comfortable, but you will also be able to increase performance on long bike trips (bike tours around Crimea).”

Of course, if you still feel uncomfortable after a few weeks, then you will need to make adjustments. It is best to use a 25 degree knee angle as a starting point. Get someone to watch from behind to ensure that your hips do not swing back and forth across the saddle when the pedal reaches its lowest point. If this is your case, then for comfort, the angle should be adjusted upward.

“When I finish adjusting the level of a saddle on someone’s bike, their knee angle fluctuates, typically somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees, but much closer to 25 in most cases,” says Palever.