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SEAT HEIGHT AND INSEAM - how high is too high ...(9 posts)

SEAT HEIGHT AND INSEAM - how high is too high
Mar 12, 2002 9:22 AM

I am about 6-2 with an inseam between 33.5 and 34.5 depending how high up I push the measuring tape (any suggestions on how to get an accurate inseam???). I used a formula that requires multiplying inseam by .883 and then using this number as the distance from top seat height to middle crank. I generally have the seat slightly higher than this #. As a general rule I can barely touch the ground with my toes when sitting on the seat.

My question is, is there a limit when you may loose speed or cause injury from too high a saddle. My hips don't rock until about 120rpm's so my usual cadence is relatively smooth (sometimes i do bounce around 125 or more but i figure im new and that may be technique??). My legs do have a bend when extended but I can straighten them when I push my heel back all the way. IM sure some will say do what feels comfortable but I'm pretty sure I can adapt to several different height ranges within reason. So, with speed in mind (triathlon coming up) are there any sure ways to get the right height. I have heard so much about how I can loose speed by going to low that I may be up too high.
Thanks a lot!
To get an accurate inseam..Lone Gunman
Mar 12, 2002 9:30 AM
Get a carpenters level and jam it between your legs until it is uncomfortable and level, make sure you are in stocking feet, mark the wall and measure.

Seat height is something that is so variable, I don't even try to attach a formula to it, I fiddle with height after getting the heel to seat top position correct at 6&12 oclock in relation to the seat tube angle.
Saddle height ideasCima Coppi
Mar 12, 2002 9:32 AM
I am about the same height as you with the same inseam (87 cm). I too find the .883xinseam length to be too short for comfort. When I had my sizing done for my bike, I was told to have the saddle at a height that produces a 30 degree bend in my leg at the knee when the crank arm is in the 6 o'clock position. For me, this equates to a saddle height that is 80 cm in length when measured from the center of the B/B to the top of the saddle. Of course this can vary a bit when using different pedal systems. I use Time pedals on my road bike.

Same position...DINOSAUR
Mar 12, 2002 7:39 PM
That's my inseam length (87cm) and I have my saddle 80cm from the center of the B/B. I've found the .883 inseam formula much too low. I just messed with my saddle for a long time until I found that magic spot and measured so I could duplicate the setting. I did the same thing with my KNOP, never knew where it was until I had someone check me, 2cm back. I think the KNOP has a lot to do about your STA, my Klein has a 74 and I need to get back so I feel comfortable.....
re: SEAT HEIGHT AND INSEAM - how high is too high ...StewK
Mar 12, 2002 10:51 AM
There's another formula floating around that says your seat height should 110% of your inseam. I'm actually pretty close to that.

The important thing is that you do what's comfortable. If you play around with height you'll get to what works best for you. I don't think you lose power if you go too high (within reason), but if the back of your knee starts hurting then you're probably too high. Vice versa if the front of your knee starts hurting.
Lemond MethodB2
Mar 12, 2002 11:25 AM
Coincidentally I read that part of Greg Lemond's book last night for the first time. Since he puts a great emphasis on saddle heights that are set too low, I was curious how my saddle height compared.

My inseam is 84.5 and my seat height is currently set at 75.3cm above the center of the BB. Lemond's formula gets you 74.6cm. All that worrying about low saddle height - I'm actually 0.6cm (~1/4") higher. Boy am I relieved :-).

Bottom line is I'm in the ballpark and it works very well for me where it is. If I were to lower it the 1/4" to match Lemond's formula, my knees would start hurting. That's why I have it set at the height it is.

Forget measuring inseam, try this:Spoke Wrench
Mar 12, 2002 12:58 PM
Get a competant friend to go for a "set up" ride with you. After you warm up, have them ride behind you and observe your hips. If your hips are rocking from side to side, your seat is too high. Now have them ride alongside you and observe your feet. If your heels droop below the pedals at the bottom of the stroke, your seat is too low.

If you don't have a friend, you can set up a camcorder on a tripod and watch yourself on TV. If you want to get real fancy, paint a dot of white out on your kneecap and videotape yourself from the front. Now you can use a dri-marker to trace the path your kneecap takes on the TV screen. If your cleats are set up right, it should be a vertical line.
to get REAL fancycolker
Mar 12, 2002 1:50 PM
would be to hire a camera crew to follow you on a (camera) car and then analise results on a rented cinema!
NEVER disappointed. SW, you da man!...JS Haiku Shop
Mar 13, 2002 1:50 PM
i've been wondering if part of my knee problem is setup. i've searched this and the racing forums, checked the way-back posts, and also looked a few other places on the 'net. NOWHERE can i find anything about your foot position relative to pedal stroke. i've been wondering about that heel-below-the-pedal thing. seems my SS has a saddle too low. hmm...wonder if that's the culprit. saddle too low and pushing hard?

NOW, what say you about KNOP?