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Correct seat height?(7 posts)

Correct seat height?wernma
Apr 27, 2002 3:58 PM
How high should my seat be for optimal riding position. Somebody suggested that it should be adjusted so that my legs are fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. However, it feels more comfortable for me when my knees are slightly bent at the bottom of my pedal stroke. What is the correct height? I am new to the sport and want to learn proper technique.

Many thanks.
That's bad adviseelviento
Apr 27, 2002 4:09 PM
Slightly bent is good.
Take a look at this for a good startJekyll
Apr 27, 2002 4:47 PM
http://www.coloradocyclist.com/bikefit/ - not gospel but will get you started.
Like the above reply, fully extended is bad advice. Your gut feeling about slightly bent knee is much closer to reality for most people.
I've been thinking about this very critically myself. I wasbill
Apr 27, 2002 6:41 PM
told to go as high as possible without my hips rocking, which is, if not full extension, damn close to it. Then I read some other stuff, including the formulas that, if they are to believed, are telling me to lower the saddle a good 3-4 cm from just below where my hips start rocking. I also found that I was sliding forward on the saddle, which is, according to Sheldon Brown, a sign that my saddle is too high (or, could be; other fit factors could cause it). I just lowered my saddle a bit (although still higher than the Colorado Cyclist formula by 2 cm or so), and I think that it's better.
There's not a whole lot of consistency in advice, and some of it is directly contradictory. Some say err on the side of higher, because you can hurt yourself (Sheldon Brown). Others say, err on the side of lower, because (you guessed it), you can hurt yourself.
I'd be curious to know what kind of knee angle people have at the bottom of their stroke. I had very little bend for awhile, but I've lowered my saddle, and I think that I'm getting more power through the bottom of the stroke. Just looking at films/photo's of pros shows that there is not a lot of consistency of experience either -- people's knees are all over the map.
re: Correct seat height?mwood
Apr 27, 2002 7:55 PM
Of course, seat position fore/aft must be thrown into the mix as well.
When I went to a very highly regarded local "guru" for a fitting on my bike, he started with an approximation of where the saddle ended up heightwise, then started working on the fore/aft setting, moving the saddle at least 2cm forward from where I thought it should be. Another look at the knee bend at the bottom of the crank throw (which is pretty pronounced, nowhere near full extension), then a final adjustment of fore/aft so that the bone that sticks out, below the knee, was directly over the ball of my foot when the cranks are parallel to the ground (if you follow...). Then he went into bar height, stem length etc.
Immediately following his work, I took a good ride up a mountain near here...no more lower back tightness, better breathing when on the hoods, just an incredible difference in overall "feel" and comfort.
Best $$ I've spent on my road bike BY FAR!
Another referenceKerry
Apr 28, 2002 6:05 AM
Along with the good comments made in the other posts, you will find that most people will have a proper seat height if it is set at 108-110% of the inseam. This is the distance from the center of the pedal spindle to the top of the saddle, referenced to a "true" inseam. "True" inseam is taken by standing against a wall, no shoes, feet 15 cm/6" apart, and a dowel the size of your top tube pulled firmly up into your crotch, horizontal with the ground. Measure from the ground to the top of the horizontal dowel. You'll note that even this formula has a range of a couple cm in length, and of course there's the uncertainty in what exactly represents the top of the saddle. The reason for this variation is that we are not all the same, and the process of dialing in your fit can take at least a season, if not several years as you adapt to riding the bike. Leg straight at the bottom of the stroke is wrong, wrong, wrong. This probably comes from another guide, which says leg straight with your heel on the pedal, or leg straight with your arch on the pedal. More variation to consider there.
I've always been under the impressionMel Erickson
Apr 28, 2002 6:41 AM
that the "straight leg when at the bottom of the stroke" advice was intended to be with your heal on the pedal. Also, as others have said, your hips should not be rocking. The KOP advice is also a good starting point but may vary depending on your preferred pedaling style, back flexibility and a host of other variables. Seat height is highly individualized and dependant on numerous factors. Using formulas, or even a fitting, is a good way to start but I don't know anyone who ended up in the exact position they started from, using these guides.