To practically every cyclist out there...

prj45
prj45 Posts: 2,208
edited September 2009 in Commuting chat
YOUR SADDLE'S TOO LOW!

"You never know what is enough until you know what is too much."
I suggest gradually raising your saddle, perhaps half an inch (1 cm) at a time. Each time you raise it, ride the bike. If it doesn't feel noticeably worse to ride, ride it for at least a couple of miles/km.
If it had been too low before, your bike will feel lighter and faster with the new riding position. If raising the saddle improved things, raise it again, and ride it some more. Keep doing this until you reach the point where the saddle is finally too high, then lower it just a bit.



http://www.sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html#height
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Comments

  • pastryboy
    pastryboy Posts: 1,385
    A fair comment - almost everyone I see is guilty of this.

    I was guilty of this myself and only when I started doing long distances and getting knee pain did I start thinking about the right position, it's now several inches higher than it was before and far more comfortable. I think people assume their fee should comfortably reach the floor.
  • itboffin
    itboffin Posts: 20,061
    So i've often wondered about seat height for example when I first started out my handlebars and seat height was level and still I had lower back pain after any reasonable distance then gradually I raised my saddle to 73.5cm which is where it stayed until last week, whilst out on a social ride with Attica I had to stop and raise my saddle 1cm I think this was due to swapping from SPD to Look pedals anyway I'm now thinking perhaps I should start to slowly raise my seat post and lower the angle of my stem for a more racy position aka Attica et al

    I've noticed that generally noob riders like myself have a much more relaxed set up, could this be limiting my/our potential?
    Rule #5 // Harden The Feck Up.
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  • suzyb
    suzyb Posts: 3,449
    I've always assumed my saddle had to be as low as possible because I'm so short however I recently increased it and found it helped.
  • I rented a bicycle for a day while on holiday. They set it up for me, I tried it for size then said "I ride a bike every day - I think the saddle's a bit low" - cue saddle being raised at least 3 inches :lol:
    Misguided Idealist
  • A lady asked me today "how do you get your leg over?" She was talking about my saddle :( I quoted Sheldon Brown.

    It seems that as a newcomer to cycling I have been able to raise the saddle as my confidence increases and my shape changes. When i first had the road bike any time spent on the drops was short and breathless. now I am able to choose the drops whenever need arises. So there appears to be a requirement to adjust the "fit" of the bike regularly to take into account your development as a cyclist. You also need to check bolts regularly too, or you could get "that sinking feeling" of a seat post descending :oops:
    The older I get the faster I was
  • AndyManc
    AndyManc Posts: 1,393
    If you have it too high you will 'jar' the knee joint causing serious damage :?


    "There are lots of formulas for saddle height, most based on multiplying leg length by some fudge factor."

    I don't like fudge :roll: , but I'll try raising my seat anyway 8)


    .
    Specialized Hardrock Pro/Trek FX 7.3 Hybrid/Specialized Enduro/Specialized Tri-Cross Sport
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  • sarajoy
    sarajoy Posts: 1,675
    I realised it was too high (and subsequently suspect I have one leg shorter than the other) when the, uh, groin-tendon (if there is such a thing) began to ache. Have lowered the saddle and this evening I pointed the nose ever to slightly to the suspected-short-leg side to see if it helps - Sheldon said I could do it, so it must be OK.... :D
    4537512329_a78cc710e6_o.gif4537512331_ec1ef42fea_o.gif
  • I keep getting knee pains with the Tricross at the moment and am constantly trying to find the right height... however with the Madone I haven't changed it from when I picked it up in the shop. I kid you not: they just set the saddle at some level and it is the perfect height for me :shock:

    My right knee, which is the indicator has been absolutely perfect, not a twinge. How funky is that?
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • AndyManc
    AndyManc Posts: 1,393
    I keep getting knee pains with the Tricross at the moment and am constantly trying to find the right height...?

    Me too, I had zero problems until I got my tri-cross .... I blame you :shock:


    .
    Specialized Hardrock Pro/Trek FX 7.3 Hybrid/Specialized Enduro/Specialized Tri-Cross Sport
    URBAN_MANC.png
  • freehub
    freehub Posts: 4,257
    If anything mine is too high but I expect it to be bang on right now.
  • AndyManc wrote:
    I keep getting knee pains with the Tricross at the moment and am constantly trying to find the right height...?

    Me too, I had zero problems until I got my tri-cross .... I blame you :shock:


    .

    Well, no problems with my knee on Mary Doll, just need to fir her with some water wings....
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • My husband cringes whenever i raise my saddle, he thinks I should be able to reach the floor easily, rather than the ballet toes at the moment.

    Most of the people I see on bikes look like they have borrowed their kids bike and not raised the saddle. Its a rarity to see someone with a reasonable saddle height round here.
  • Oddjob62
    Oddjob62 Posts: 1,056
    My husband cringes whenever i raise my saddle, he thinks I should be able to reach the floor easily, rather than the ballet toes at the moment.

    I can't even touch the floor when I'm sitting back on my saddle.
    As yet unnamed (Dolan Seta)
    Joelle (Focus Expert SRAM)
  • Dudu
    Dudu Posts: 4,637
    prj45 wrote:
    YOUR SADDLE'S TOO LOW!

    Not guilty
    ___________________________________________
    People need to be told what to do so badly they'll listen to anyone
  • Oddjob62 wrote:
    My husband cringes whenever i raise my saddle, he thinks I should be able to reach the floor easily, rather than the ballet toes at the moment.

    I can't even touch the floor when I'm sitting back on my saddle.

    +1,

    and since this combo seems to work, i get no back knee etc, grumlings and will clock up 70+ miles with out issue.
  • sarajoy wrote:
    I realised it was too high (and subsequently suspect I have one leg shorter than the other) when the, uh, groin-tendon (if there is such a thing) began to ache. Have lowered the saddle and this evening I pointed the nose ever to slightly to the suspected-short-leg side to see if it helps - Sheldon said I could do it, so it must be OK.... :D

    Have also been having slight twinges in the adductor region since raising mine to the point where only one foot on tip-toes reaches the ground so have decided to back off by 5mm.
  • _Brun_
    _Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    When I got back on the road bike having ridden fixed exclusively for six weeks, the saddle height was like sitting on a kid's bike. After raising it about an inch and half, the fixed suddenly felt too low, so I raised that a bit too.

    Feels somewhat like straightening a table by sawing a bit off the longest leg. I'm worried where it will end. :?
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    My husband cringes whenever i raise my saddle, he thinks I should be able to reach the floor easily, rather than the ballet toes at the moment.

    Most of the people I see on bikes look like they have borrowed their kids bike and not raised the saddle. Its a rarity to see someone with a reasonable saddle height round here.
    +1

    When we were younger the TDF on World Of Sport was our guide, and if they had saddles 20 feet in the air so did we. Whenever I see someone bimbling around on a nice bike with bent knees the urge to pull them in and harangue them is sometimes overwhelming.

    The requirement to reach the floor easily is a nonsense anyway. How much time do you spend sitting on the saddle pedalling, compared to time stood still? When you stop, slide off the saddle if needs be, or - hey - lean to one side. Set the bike up for riding, not standing at the lights.
  • Harry B
    Harry B Posts: 1,239
    I read somewhere that if you pedal is at its lowest point and you place you heel on the pedal you leg should them be straight.

    Mind is set up so that when I clipped in and with the pedal at its lowest point my keg is very slightly bent. I find this pretty comfortable and have no back pains.

    There's no way I can touch the floor though whilst in the saddle. I simply unclip my right foot and gracefully sway to the right (always the right) an put my unclipped foot on the floor. One day I'll lose my balance and fall to the left but hopefully not yet and certainly mot in the middle of Marble Arch on my way home :shock:
  • R_T_A
    R_T_A Posts: 488
    Oddjob62 wrote:
    My husband cringes whenever i raise my saddle, he thinks I should be able to reach the floor easily, rather than the ballet toes at the moment.

    I can't even touch the floor when I'm sitting back on my saddle.

    +1,

    and since this combo seems to work, i get no back knee etc, grumlings and will clock up 70+ miles with out issue.

    And I thought it was just me that fell over to one side at traffic lights :lol:
    Giant Escape R1
    FCN 8
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    - Terry Pratchett.
  • The Lemond formula happily coincides with where I ended up putting my saddle:

    Saddle height = inseam x 0.883.

    Inseam to be measure with a book, a wall, and a close personal friend. Saddle height is BB to saddle surface, measured along the seat tube.
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • Mike400
    Mike400 Posts: 226
    Mine is as high as it can (safely) go, and I reckon I could still do with another inch or so...

    Problem is I dont know if its 27mm or 27.2mm as its not stated on the post, and the calipers I have aren't digital and not accurate beyond 1mm....

    I need to buy a longer post, and want a black one - wiggle have a 400mm cheapo seat post, but I want a black one and they only have 27mm in black, the 27.2mm is in polished silver which wont match my bikes colour scheme lol
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  • jonginge
    jonginge Posts: 5,945
    Greg66 wrote:
    The Lemond formula happily coincides with where I ended up putting my saddle:

    Saddle height = inseam x 0.883.

    Inseam to be measure with a book, a wall, and a close personal friend. Saddle height is BB to saddle surface, measured along the seat tube.
    Same works for me. Obv. slight adjustment is required if you have non-standard crank lengths or the stack height of the pedal/shoe combo differs wildly. (I think Lemond was on the original Time shoes/pedals when the formula was devised.)
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
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  • Rich158
    Rich158 Posts: 2,348
    Greg66 wrote:
    The Lemond formula happily coincides with where I ended up putting my saddle:

    Saddle height = inseam x 0.883.

    Inseam to be measure with a book, a wall, and a close personal friend. Saddle height is BB to saddle surface, measured along the seat tube.

    +1 to the LeMond method, it's always worked for me to within 5mm or so as you need to take into account crank length, pedals etc

    I always double ckeck this with the 109% method (saddle to pedal axel) to make sure I'm in the right ballpark, and then get a friend to ride behind me and make sure I don't rock my hips as I pedal - a sure fire way to tell your saddle is to high.

    I don't hold with this keep raising it until it feels right method. ime what may feel right at any given time is too dependant upon how your body is feeling at that moment, to be of any use. For instance do your quads feel a bit tight, are your hamstrings fully stretched, does you back feel a bit stiff today etc. It'll all affect how the saddle height feels and how you ride on any given day.
    pain is temporary, the glory of beating your mates to the top of the hill lasts forever.....................

    Revised FCN - 2
  • cjcp
    cjcp Posts: 13,345
    My saddle height is based on what feels right/doesn't feel funny for the knees and knackers. Saddle angle is based on whether the blood supply is being cut off to the knackers. The position of the saddle on the rails is based on whether the back and shoulders feel funny. This is why I don't post much in the "Road" section of the forum. :oops:

    OT, but why are they called seat posts and seat tubes, when the "seat" is referred to as a "saddle"?
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • I find I can comfortably sit a little forward for pootling and then when I want to push I slip back an inch or so and then my legs feel perfect for powering. I've got a big frame so the saddle looks too low given I'm not a goliath like some of you freaks :D
    Le Cannon [98 Cannondale M400] [FCN: 8]
    The Mad Monkey [2013 Hoy 003] [FCN: 4]
  • suzyb
    suzyb Posts: 3,449
    Oddjob62 wrote:
    My husband cringes whenever i raise my saddle, he thinks I should be able to reach the floor easily, rather than the ballet toes at the moment.

    I can't even touch the floor when I'm sitting back on my saddle.
    I can't even touch the floor when I'm straddling the top tube :oops:

    And now, like Brun whenever I ride my old bike to the shops (less chance of the heap being nicked) it feels like I'm riding a kids bike.
  • Rich158
    Rich158 Posts: 2,348
    I find I can comfortably sit a little forward for pootling and then when I want to push I slip back an inch or so and then my legs feel perfect for powering. I've got a big frame so the saddle looks too low given I'm not a goliath like some of you freaks :D

    I'm the opposite, if I'm really pushing I find I slip forward until the saddle nose is close to dispearing :shock: . There's a reason for that old phrase 'sittng on the rusty rivet'

    Mind you I do ride a very small frame (52cm), with what looks like a very high saddle
    pain is temporary, the glory of beating your mates to the top of the hill lasts forever.....................

    Revised FCN - 2
  • Hmmph... yes, I've been gradually raising my saddle over the last few months. I'd love to do it some more.......

    Went to do it a few weeks ago and found it is literally welded stuck.

    I started googling and only then did I find out just how much carbon & aluminium hate each other. :x

    Seat is nearly the right height, but I want to raise it a few more mm as you definitely get more power!!!

    Really gutted :-( don't want to risk damaging the frame by cutting the crappy post out, but I guess I'll have to at some point. apparantly a hacksaw blade is the best way, but takes a while to do.
  • lardboy
    lardboy Posts: 343
    snellgrove wrote:
    Hmmph... yes, I've been gradually raising my saddle over the last few months. I'd love to do it some more.......

    Went to do it a few weeks ago and found it is literally welded stuck.

    I started googling and only then did I find out just how much carbon & aluminium hate each other. :x

    Seat is nearly the right height, but I want to raise it a few more mm as you definitely get more power!!!

    Really gutted :-( don't want to risk damaging the frame by cutting the crappy post out, but I guess I'll have to at some point. apparantly a hacksaw blade is the best way, but takes a while to do.

    I have almost the same problem on my rattly hybrid (Kona Smoke). My seat post and saddle got nicked a year ago, and Luciano Cycles popped in a new seat post which was slightly too big for the tube, with the intention of it being difficult to remove if someone decided they wanted it. This now means that I can't move it either! It's a good inch too low and I'd like to raise it, but I'll probably have to buy a new post and get the old one cut out as it's completely solid in there now. I shouldn't have accepted it at the time, but I was so p*ssed off about the theft, I wasn't really thinking straight. I think Pinheads are the way forward on seat clamps. That and a nice mains current running through the whole frame.
    Bike/Train commuter: Brompton S2L - "Machete"
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