Learn why adjusting your saddle height matters and how it can be done
Many people don’t realize that adjusting your saddle height by a few millimeters can make a huge difference in how they feel on their bike. If you feel like you are not making gains or if you have pain after riding, you may want to try adjusting your saddle height. Properly adjusting your saddle height could help you improve these 5 bike handling skills.
Saddle height explained
Saddle height is the distance between the heart of the pedal axle and the top of the saddle. It is set by adjusting the seat post to an ideal height that balances comfort and power on the bike. Remember, adjusting your saddle height is important like making sure your helmet always fits!
Reasons to change
Saddle height is arguably the single most important adjustment on your bicycle. Incorrect saddle height can contribute to saddle discomfort and anterior and posterior knee pain. The poor leverage can also limit your power production.
Adjusting your saddle height
There are many methods and formulas to find your “proper” saddle height. One of the best approaches is to establish it based on the rider’s individual ride characteristics and flexibility. If you are looking for recommendations, visit Josh at Jack & Adam’s Fredericksburg or with the crew over at Mellow Johnny’s. A bike fit specialist can explain your individual characteristics. They can also highlight what equipment may be contributing to any performance or biomechanical limitations. If you can’t make it to a bike fit there is still a solution.
At home fix
Before your next ride, experiment at home with the “heel to pedal method.” This will get you in the ballpark range before you can see a professional. First, mark the current height. Then, put your bike on the trainer. Pedal around to make sure you are in the position you normally ride in. Place your heel on the pedal and pedal backward to reach the six o’clock position. Your knee should be completely straight. If your heel has trouble making contact with the pedal, the seat is too high. If your knee is bent it is too low. Make very small adjustments, in millimeters, until your leg is straight with the heel on the pedal.
Adapting to your new saddle height
When you’re done adjusting your saddle height, wrap a strip of electrical tape around the base of the post where it meets the seat clamp. Take measurements and keep them for future reference. Make the first few rides with your new saddle height short and sweet. It can take a few rides before your body fully adapts. It is good to get your bike fit looked at at least every few years or if you get new equipment such as new shoes or pedals. Pro tip: when you’re ready for longer rides, check out these 3 cyclist-friendly routes in Austin.