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seat height question(11 posts)

seat height questiongsxrawd
Nov 3, 2001 8:16 PM
I know there is a formula that will give me a general seat height. I read that it is your inseam x .883 and you get an answer. Is the answer the distance from the bottom bracket to the top of the seat or the middle of the seat or the seat rail or...?
re: seat height questionAkirasho
Nov 4, 2001 12:58 AM
With the right frame size, you’ll be able to set your correct saddle height, which will be within a centimeter of .883 x inseam length, measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the low point of the top of your saddle. This allows full leg extension, with a slight bend in the leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

This is from Colorado Cyclist's website.

Remember that in sizing, these formulas are an approximation... a place to start... adjust as necessary for safety and comfort (all bodies different).

We abide.

Remain In Light.
formula not needed....C-40
Nov 4, 2001 6:01 AM
The .883 formula was developed in the days of toe clips, but it's still a decent ballpark value. The pedal/shoe combo being used can change the height by a centimeter or more.

The preferred angle of the foot at the bottom of the stroke also affects saddle height.

I make an initial setting by making sure that my heel drops slightly below horizontal with my leg locked at the bottom of the stroke. During normal pedaling this places my foot about horizontal with a slight bend in the knee. Fine tuning is always required over the course of several rides. I've often stopped mid-ride to make a change to see how it feels.

Once you've got it set, some type of reliable reference point needs to be measured. Eyeballing the low point of the saddle isn't very accurate. Some folks put a piece of tape on the seatpost, which is OK, unless you want to lower the saddle later. To lower the saddle, remove the tape and move it up the by the amount of the desired change, before loosening the post.

Also remember that moving the saddle up also moves the saddle back by the cosine of the seat tube angle. For a 73 degree STA, the amount is about .3cm for each 1cm of height. A fore-aft correction should be made if a significant height change is made.
. . . but patience is.jacques
Nov 4, 2001 6:47 AM
When you think you have your saddle height pretty much dialed in, give your body time to adapt. It's very tempting to make saddle height changes in response to a bad ride or race, but you're forcing the body to start adapting all over again.

Constant, obsessive fiddling with saddle height will keep you from ever becoming efficient and smooth.
Constant, obsessive fiddling with saddle height...TJeanloz
Nov 4, 2001 9:08 AM
Um, Eddy Merckx was renowned for his "Constant, obsessive fiddling with saddle height"- typically adjusting before and during every race- yet he was pretty efficient and smooth...
Constant, obsessive fiddling with saddle height...Cliff Oates
Nov 4, 2001 12:36 PM
I also remember reading an anecdote about Davis Phinney (I think it was he) being out for a ride with Merckx and Merckx was relentlessly urging him to make an adjustment to his saddle height. Phinney finally gave in and they stopped and Phinney pretended to make the change, but really left things alone. They started out again and Merckx remarked how much his pedal stroke had improved.

Nothing like a good placebo.
That's just wonderful for Eddy Merckx. . . .9WorCP
Nov 4, 2001 2:19 PM
who could have pedaled a tricycle over the Pyrenees, but constantly dickling w/ you seat height is not gonna help anyone find form. Adjust, adjust, and re-adjust until you find the height your body responds to and stick w/ it, Says I.
Eddy's saddle heightKerry Irons
Nov 4, 2001 6:24 PM
Merckx's fiddling with saddle height during races started after he had a horific crash while following a derny on the track. His back was so badly injured that many thought he would never ride again. It was his bad back that pushed him to move the saddle up and down during races.
. . . but patience is.DINOSAUR
Nov 4, 2001 1:48 PM
I've fiddled with my saddle height about a zillion times over the past three seasons. Finally got it dialed in and I thought I would raise it just a tad (about 1mm). When I did I started to experience lower back pain. I lowered it and the pain went away. I was forced to take 11 days off when waiting for a replacement rim to be shipped. When I got back on my bike, it felt too high. I didn't lower it but I leveled it out. I tried it for two days and didn't like it and went back to a slightly backward tilt. Now it feels fine. I think the old body goes through changes as the season progresses. I'm seriously thinking about going with a flip lock seat post binder bolt. I think messing with your set up is common for most of us. Always looking for that perfect position. Actually I just need a perfect body. On the other side of the coin I think about just welding the damn seat binder shut so I can't fuss with it anymore...
I'm like the princess and the pea...tirider
Nov 4, 2001 2:18 PM
...when it comes to my saddle position. It's comforting to know that there are a few others afflicted with this same curse. My buddies as standard proceedure refuse to ride with me on the first few shakedown rides after I get a new bike because of my incessant fiddling. I'm aware it's undoubtedly psychosomatic but I swear at times I notice adjustments made by only a few milimeters. When I get a bike dialed in, the saddle position seems to be lower and further back than most fitters recommend which I assume is because my femur is disproportionately long.
that's what I was told by a fitter tookenyee
Nov 4, 2001 5:27 PM
Your "ideal" fit changes as the season goes on because you can stretch better...