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What a difference raised saddle height can make!

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Danny251, 15 Jun 2011.

  1. Danny251

    Danny251 Active Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    I have been riding for 2 weeks and I am a born again cyclist lol but I have always
    had severe front knee pain that I knew shouldn't happen.

    After playing around with saddle height I have stumbled upon the correct configuration and I can't believe the difference.
    Hills are so much easier now and my knees don't suffer that level of agony any more :biggrin:

    I think I just underestimated how high I needed the saddle.
  2. Wankelschrauben

    Wankelschrauben New Member

    Location:
    Maidstone
    Advert
    Same here, being a noob I set my saddle quite low originally, set up so I could touch the floor just about without leaning.

    Now I have it quite a bit taller and am finding it a lot less stress on the knees.
  3. lulubel

    lulubel Über Member

    Location:
    Malaga, Spain
    I started out with the saddle low enough to touch the ground. It took me a lot of time, effort and practice to learn to get off the saddle when I stopped, but the difference it made when I had the saddle higher was amazing.

    I'm getting a little bit of knee pain on and off now, but I know it's because I'm increasing my mileage quite drastically at the moment, and it settles down after an easy (small hills) day or a total rest day.
  4. Bicycle

    Bicycle Guest

    I had to move the other way.

    Years ago I wanted my leg as straight as I could get it at the bottom of the stroke and had the saddle absurdly high.

    My hips were swaying away and I was convinced I was ttransmitting pure, undiluted power to the tarmac.

    I am now lower and (slightly) wiser.

    I'm still quite staggered by what a difference even the slightest change in saddle height can make.

    A small part of my brain still wants to shout "That leg should be straight!".
  5. Danny251

    Danny251 Active Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    The thing is the LBS fitted the saddle height for me so that is why I took their word for it originally being an amateur.

    With a little bit of experience and research though I have realised that it wasn't the correct height after all.

    I also fell off the bike for the first time when mucking about with the height because of my SPD pedals :sad:
  6. MarkF

    MarkF Veteran

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I regularly see people cycling on the Leeds/Liverpool canal nearly kneeing themselves in the chops. After many daily nods with one guy, I politely pointed out to him that he'd find riding easier with the saddle higher, he said "What the f***s it got to do with you", he had a point I suppose. I don't bother saying anything now. :biggrin:
  7. Danny251

    Danny251 Active Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    Cheeky bugger it was just some friendly advice lol.
  8. lulubel

    lulubel Über Member

    Location:
    Malaga, Spain
    Mine did the same. I wonder if a lot of them put it a bit low so you can't blame them if you topple over because you're trying to put your foot down and can't reach the ground!

    I hired a mountain bike in the New Forest a couple of years ago, and the bloke bought a pretty pink bike out of the shed and positioned the saddle so I could sit astride it like a motorbike. I pointed out that I needed it several inches higher, so he had to get me a man's bike because they didn't have any ladies MTBs with a long enough seat post. It was fine as long as I stepped down over the top tube very carefully!
  9. Shanks

    Shanks Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chichester
    okay so is there some simple rule of thumb about this then? I have always worked on the impression that you should have the ball of both feet comfortably on the floor when sitting in the saddle. Am I miles out, and could this explain my knee pains and why I am so slow on the hills. I feel a light bulb moment coming on.

    Cheers
  10. gds58

    gds58 Active Member

    The saddle height should not ever have anything to do with how easily or not you can reach the floor with the balls of your feet. This is a VERY rough guide. The saddle height is determined by the amount of leg extension you have when the pedal is at the bottom of it's stroke with the crank inline with the seat tube (I hope that makes sense!!)

    With your foot as close to horizontal (level) as you can determine, you should have a small amount of bend at the knee without feeling any tightness behind the knee or a need to lift your heel up/point your toes down. Once you have established the ideal height then make a note of the measurement from centre of Bottom Bracket to top of saddle along the seat tube. This can then be transferred to other bikes or after maintenance. Please note that different crank lengths will alter the saddle height. For example if you decide to fit longer cranks, i.e. 175mm instead of 170mm then you will need to LOWER the saddle by the same amount as the pedal spindle will be further down at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

    The reason I say that it has nothing to do with reaching the floor is that if you then transferred this measurement onto your mountain bike, you will be much higher off the floor as an MTB has a higher bottom bracket to give better ground clearance.

    Sorry to waffle on a bit but this is possibly THE most important measurement setting on your bike.

    Once you have found your setting, go out and ride a bit and you may find that with improved suppleness and flexibility that you can in fact raise it slightly after a while.

    Hope this is of some help to you.

    Graham
  11. Shanks

    Shanks Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chichester
    Graham, thank you so much for the information [​IMG][​IMG]. I had wondered if was off the mark a bit, that seems to be the understatement of the year now. Off to find a tape measure and see how far out I was.

    Cheers again, Mike
  12. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It! Staff Member

    Location:
    South Manchester
    What Graham said above. I can just touch the floor on my MTB - it's way from ideal for off road, but as a roadie, I've always had it set up to be the same as my road bikes. I have my fixed a mm or two lower for spinning (on recommendation of my LBS who rides both and is ex. National standard).

    My bikes are set up by the Bernard Hinault's book 'Racing and Training' - shame I've lost it, but I have bikes to reference it off. ! PS it was very calculated, and you always take time to adjust, so no big seat post movements - a couple of mm at a time (unless you've messed it up completely).
  13. mog35

    mog35 Active Member

    Location:
    Thanet
    I raised my saddle slightly earlier this evening by about an inch. It's really made a difference - there seems to be a lot more power coming from each leg stroke now. There's a long hill that I have to cycle up when riding home which seemed effortless tonight