If my knees get sore, is my saddle too high or too low?

Bike Boomer

Regular
Location
Michigan
A while back I read somewhere if you experience sore knees from riding that you need to adjust the seat height. At least I believe I read it somewhere. So I am wondering if the seat might be too low or too high. I have not been putting much mileage on my bike, just in and around the small town that I live in, but yesterday I rode for about 8 to 10 miles (sorry I don't know the conversion to metrics) and my knees were getting sore. It was kind of cold out (about 24 degrees with the wind chill ~ sorry again about metrics). I rested on a bench for about 10 mins and drank some water. After that I was fine the rest of the way back home which was about 2 more miles.
 

Shut Up Legs

Down Under Member
Most likely the saddle is a bit low, and so your knees are under more stress due to being bent more while pedaling. There are various bike fitting techniques, but one commonly used is to put the saddle at just the right height so that when
  • pedal is fully down (i.e. the "6 o'clock" position) and
  • foot is centred on the pedal,
  • your knee is only slightly bent.
In other words, with your leg at its fullest extension, your knee should only be slightly bent (e.g. about 10° ?).
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
24 degrees? That must below freezing? Cold is an enemy of knees, so could be the cause.

Also as above posts, a too low saddle, coupled with riding a high gear, but usually these cause knee problems over continued use. If you were out for only 10 miles, not sure if you would get the knee problems that quickly, unless it's a follow on from previous days riding. I sometimes suffer from knee problems from all of the above reasons. I find just "soft peddling " for a while, seems to give me recovery time and the pain eases.

Hope your knees recover
Keith
 
OP
Bike Boomer

Bike Boomer

Regular
Location
Michigan
24 degrees? That must below freezing? Cold is an enemy of knees, so could be the cause.

Also as above posts, a too low saddle, coupled with riding a high gear, but usually these cause knee problems over continued use. If you were out for only 10 miles, not sure if you would get the knee problems that quickly, unless it's a follow on from previous days riding. I sometimes suffer from knee problems from all of the above reasons. I find just "soft peddling " for a while, seems to give me recovery time and the pain eases.

Hope your knees recover
Keith
Thanks Keith. It was cold and I think I will try light peddling next time I experience it. Tomorrow I am going to check the height using Victor's method.
 

cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
If its cold enough for sleeves its cold enough for knees is what I remember.
It could well be the cold or saddle height,was the pain at the front or the back of the knee?
Front=low
Back=high
Or could just be the cold,pushing to hard.
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
It could be nothing to do with your saddle height or naturally selected cadence. There are many things that can cause knee pain. Try the above, if it persists, see someone who can look at you while you cycle and make an educated comment (a sports therapist, physio or bike fitter with a suitable background - i.e. a sports injury or physiotherapy background, not a shop monkey with a Retul rig)
 
OP
Bike Boomer

Bike Boomer

Regular
Location
Michigan
If its cold enough for sleeves its cold enough for knees is what I remember.

Front=low
Back=high
Or could just be the cold,pushing to hard.
I think it did have a lot to do with the cold. I did a check today and if anything I think I have a little less than 10 degrees on my knee bend when I am on the saddle with the peddle in the 6:00 o'clock position.
 
OP
Bike Boomer

Bike Boomer

Regular
Location
Michigan
Do you push a low gear?, struggling along instead of spinning ?
That'd cause sore knees, if so, try a higher cadence. It takes a tremendous amount of stress off the knees.
I think I might have been struggling a bit. Today I tried to be conscientious with higher cadence and it was quite mild today as well and I did not have any knee pain.
 
OP
Bike Boomer

Bike Boomer

Regular
Location
Michigan
It could be nothing to do with your saddle height or naturally selected cadence. or bike fitter with a suitable background - i.e. a sports injury or physiotherapy background, not a shop monkey with a Retul rig)
I like that advice. If I get the opportunity I will ask.
 

Levo-Lon

Guru
Cleat position caused me a bit of knee pain,I had them too straight, so I used the sit on a table and dangle your legs to see where your feet point..slight turn in of the heal or toe out in car terms and hey presto ..
this weather I Always wear leg warmers..cold joints and muscles= pain..
 

Spinney

Bimbleur extraordinaire
Location
Under the Edge
I think it did have a lot to do with the cold. I did a check today and if anything I think I have a little less than 10 degrees on my knee bend when I am on the saddle with the peddle in the 6:00 o'clock position.
A slightly easier way of assessing this is to adjust your saddle so that with your heel on the pedal your leg is completely straight with the pedal at 6 o'clock. This will give you about the right amount of knee bend when you cycle with the ball of your foot on the pedal.
 
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