Fitting a saddle

Charlie Crocker

New Member
I got a new bike for Christmas but the saddle was too low when I got it (I didn't get a fitting when I brought the bike - but it is the right size). The saddle is still too low and I keep putting it up by half an inch at the end of every ride. I don't know what the required height is for the saddle (i.e. how will I know when it is too high?) It is a Trek Navigator T10 (a hybrid).

Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
For a basic guide, sit on the saddle and put your heel on the pedal. Your leg should be not quite dead straight. One thing to beware of is how long the seatpost is. Take it out and you will find a marker indicating the maximum amount you can safely have showing above the frame, exceed that and you risk damaging the frame due to excess leverage on the seat-tube. If the seatpost has no marking i would recommend that at least one third of it should be inside the tube.
Or you could go all technical :wacko::

"Saddle height
There are quite a few methods for setting saddle height but, to avoid confusion, I will give just the one that I have found most reliable. Measure your inside leg and multiply this by 1.09 for men 1.08 for women (if you have small feet multiply by 1.07) then with the cranks in line with the seat tube measure from the surface of the lowest pedal, along the line of the seat tube to the top of the saddle.

Knee pains usually mean that the saddle is too low, hamstring and groin pains usually mean it is too high.

If your saddle height is wrong adjust it by about 5mm per week until it is at the correct height. Too large an adjustment all at once can result in injury."

The saddle should be level or very slightly tilted forward.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
Not to be flippant, but you are sure the clamp is done up tight? It's not slipping down each time you ride?

You'll know when it's too high if you feel stretched out reaching for the pedal I guess... And like Smokin Joe says, watch ou that you have enough seatpost in for safety, if you find you haven't, you might need to get a longer seatpost (Bike shop should be able to help you with this)

Oh, and Hello!

John Ponting

Smokin Joe said:
For a basic guide, sit on the saddle and put your heel on the pedal. Your leg should be not quite dead straight. .
works for most people - but SJ missed out the most important part ... the pedal should be at the lowest point.:becool:


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
The heal one is probably one of the best starting points (shoes off please). All gets very technical when you have more than one bike and have them all set up as close as possible. Don't adjust it too much at once

Keith Oates

Penarth, Wales
I also agree that the heel on the pedal is a good starting point but usually find that the seat has to be adjusted upwards once I've been out riding for a while. Do this in small increments until the pedalling feels comfortable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Charlie Crocker

New Member
I have not ridden the bike since I last put the saddle up (on Tuesday). My knees are hurting (my right knee is especially painful). Should I see a doctor or will the pain disappear?


New Member
Bury, Lancashire
In my experience GPs are not the best people to deal with sporting injuries or related pain. They tend to tell you not to cycle. As a result, the pain goes, but of course returns when you resume cycling. Sports physios are better for treating sport injuries, although you'll have to pay a fee.

How new are you to cycling though? If very new, check you are not pedaling a too-big gear. Your cadence (how fast you turn the pedals) should be a good indicator as to gear size - a big gear will be hard to turn fast, a medium gear will feel easier to turn. You should be able to turn the pedals fairly fast (about 60 revolutions per minute or more) and easily, in a medium gear. Pedaling slowly in a large gear will hurt your knees more.
Too low a saddle height can also hurt your knees so it is worth adjusting the saddle to the height where you can almost straighten your leg, with just a very little knee-bend, when the pedal is at it's lowest point.


Just to stress:
If you are going to ride and you've knee pain take it gently. Absolutely don't push hard, change down gears until you find one you can gently tick round at 60-90 rpm. Don't worry about your speed, you'll get faster as you get more experiance. As your rpm gets faster, then you can go up a gear. Remember to change back down before stopping so that you can start without pushing hard!


Legendary Member
Charlie Crocker said:
I have not ridden the bike since I last put the saddle up (on Tuesday). My knees are hurting (my right knee is especially painful). Should I see a doctor or will the pain disappear?
I would be very wary about talking to my GP on sports injuries. 20 years ago I had severe problems in my right ankle for about 18 months. My GP diagnosed ligament damage on at least 2 occassions. When I played squash the ankle would collapse underneath me, sometimes if I tripped in a small pot hole (2cm or so deep) the same would happen. Eventually my wife forced me to give up squash and the problem slowly went away.

March last year I had a fall on a Saturday morning and suspected broken ankle. After x-rays I was put in plaster, sent home and told to come back and see a consultant on the Tuesday. The consultant explained my ankle wasn't broken and the casualty staff had been looking at the "old" break in the x-ray. I told him I'd never broken my ankle, after fixing me wqith a steely glare he replied "You have, at least twice!"

So in my early thirties I spent nearly two years walking around on a broken ankle, every time it collapsed it was the bone breaking again, and again....etc. The pain was excruciating.

Don't trust a GP on sports injuries!
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