Sit better, ride better - saddle height adjustment made easy!
Now you may have been sitting for weeks choosing your new bike, comparing wheelsets, gear groups and now it's finally just around the corner. One last time you should get yourself up, one last adjustment, so that nothing stands in the way of your riding fun, success and comfort: The saddle height needs to be adjusted. But don't worry, in this post we'll show you exactly how:
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, optimal saddle height not only increases pedaling efficiency and comfort, but also reduces the risk of injury. If you find your hips constantly rocking back and forth while pedaling or your knees are too compressed and painful, adjusting the saddle height is more than necessary.
The methods we present in this post can be done comfortably at home and help you to achieve a good and optimal starting position, which you can further optimize at any time. However, if you want THE perfect and most accurate setting, we recommend you to make a professional bike fitting.
It's best to note the distance between the center of your crank and the top of your saddle before adjusting. So you can, if you are not satisfied with your new position, return to the old.
1. the heel-to-pedal method
Sit on your bike and assume a stable, straight position with it - as if you were riding. This can be done either on the exercise bike or hold on to a table/wall.
Place your heel on the pedal and pedal backwards until the crank points to 6 o'clock. At this point, your knee should be fully extended and your heel still on the pedal. If your knee is still bent, increase the saddle height in small increments until it is no longer bent. When your heel loses contact with the pedal, lower the saddle.
2. the LeMond method
One of the most popular - it involves measuring your stride length. Take off your shoes and put a flat object, such as a book, between your legs. Then stand up straight and measure the distance from your crotch, the top of the book to the floor. You may need help from a:r bike buddy or you may mark the height on a wall and measure to the floor.
Now take this length and multiply it by 0.883. According to LeMond, this gives you your ideal saddle height. Now measure on your bike from the center of the crank axle to the top centerline of your saddle and adjust your saddle height according to this calculated length. Since this method does not take into account the lack of flexibility, pedal stack, and shoe thickness, we recommend that you set the height 5mm lower than calculated and make small adjustments from there. Check the height again using the heel-to-pedal method.
3. saddle position
Once you've found a comfortable height, you can adjust the saddle fore and aft to avoid further knee problems. When you pedal with the crank in a 3 o'clock position, your knee should ideally be in line with the pedal axis. You can check this by dropping a plumb line from the bottom of your knee. Move the saddle forward or backward accordingly until the plumb line is exactly in front of the pedal axle.
4. saddle angle
Last but not least, the saddle angle. To support you even better while riding, we recommend that you set the saddle either parallel to the ground or very slightly tilted downwards at the front.
We recommend that you do not make all of these adjustments at once, but rather incorporate them into your cycling routine gradually. There are many factors that can affect the fit of the bike. So for your first few rides, take a Multitool so you can make fine adjustments along the way.
How to adjust your saddle height | buycycle
Joy and sorrow are often close together. This saying is probably confirmed by anyone who has ever been on a bike tour in an uncomfortable sitting position. After all, the weekend excursion over the bike paths of the surroundings only remains positively in the memory if neither buttocks nor knee or back pain follow. For successful riding fun, the bike should therefore meet the anatomy of the rider. Regardless of whether you are riding a mountain bike, trekking bike, road bike, gravel bike or e-bike , the seating position must be right. As a cyclist, you have three points of contact with the bike components: Handlebars, pedals and saddle. The trio influences the seating position. By changing the handlebar stem and height or the saddle position, even the wrong bike frame can be compensated for. Here you can learn how to adjust your saddle to suit you best. The methods shown can all be done at home. This does not replace a professional bike fitting, but you can easily and quickly optimize your riding life and power transmission.
When do I need to readjust my saddle?
For more pedaling efficiency and more comfort - Anyone who buys a new or used bike should think about this: In which position must my saddle? So it's best to deal with the issue before the first physical complaints arise due to poor posture when riding a bike. But not only the purchase of a new bike requires the correct adjustment of the seat post. Also, if your knees are too compressed during the ride and start to hurt, or you get back problems, it is high time to try something with the height of your saddle. You may also notice an incorrect posture on your bike after a while, for example when you use your bike for the first time on a longer tour. Also a too small or too big frame height can be compensated by the right saddle adjustment. So if you buy a new bike, or if you complain of physical ailments after a tour, it is worthwhile to readjust the saddle height. This way you minimize your risk of injury. To properly adjust the bicycle saddle and adjust the seat tube, you need an Allen wrench or a multi-tool for some bikes. Here you will learn the appropriate methods for this.
How high must the saddle be set?
To set your saddle in the optimal starting position at the right height, we show you some methods here. Before you adjust the saddle height on your bike , measure the distance from the center of the crank to the top of the saddle before making any adjustments and note the value. This way you can always adjust the saddle to the old saddle height if you are unhappy with the new position. A first clue to the correct saddle height brings the heel method. To do this, put on your usual cycling clothes. If you regularly wear certain cycling shoes or padded pants, put them on. Then mount the bike on a trainer and sit on it, alternatively you can hold onto a table or wall for a stable position once you are on the saddle. Now put your heels, not the balls of your feet, on the pedals and pedal backwards until the crank points to six o'clock. Your one leg should be extended straight down while the other is bent. If your knee is still bent despite this pedal position, then increase the saddle height in small increments. At the same time, check whether the knee is extended from the saddle height. The saddle height is too high when the heel loses contact with the pedal. The heel method brings you to a good base height. You can further refine your posture by trial and error.
How to calculate the saddle height?
If you want to calculate as precisely as possible at home what your ideal saddle height is, the so-called LeMond method is worthwhile. Its name is derived from the former road cyclist Greg LeMond and is one of the most popular methods for determining the seat height. To do this, it is necessary to calculate your stride length. To do this, take off your shoes and clamp a book or a spirit level between your legs. While keeping your posture upright, measure the distance between the top of the book and the floor. It is best to have a second person help you with this. The measurement you get, i.e. your stride length X, is then multiplied by 0.883. This gives your ideal saddle height. This gives your ideal saddle height. To set it, measure from the center of the bottom bracket to the upper center line of your saddle and adjust the bicycle saddle accordingly. Unfortunately, this method ignores other interfering factors such as the thickness of your shoe soles, so you should set the height 5mm lower than calculated. Here, too, you should then try out the newly set height on a test ride and readjust it. Once a comfortable height has been found, the saddle can be adjusted forwards or backwards. This adjustment is also relevant for preventing knee problems. The best way to do this is to sit on your bike again and move the crank to a 3 o'clock position. Your knee should ideally be in line with the pedal axis. You can check your knee angle by holding a plumb line or ruler from the bottom of your knee. Move the saddle forward or backward accordingly until the plumb line or ruler is directly in front of the pedal axis. Finally, a tip on saddle tilt: It's best to keep the saddle completely level with the ground, or tilt the front of the saddle slightly downward. This should not be too strong, because otherwise follows annoying slide forward during the ride. After the saddle position and tilt have been adjusted, you should check the height again, as it may have changed. These steps are the best you can do on your own from home from your seating position based on the saddle. These changes are many at once. So on your next bike ride, keep a multi-tool handy to make more fine adjustments and pedal comfortably on all sides. A multi-tool is generally essential for any longer bike trip.
Which saddle height for which stride length?
It is not possible to say across the board which inside leg length fits which saddle height. A combination of the heel method and the LeMond method will give you a good starting height from which you can make further adjustments. If you need help calculating your inseam, visit your local bike shop. He will certainly be able to help you. If you want to adjust your bike for competition or regularly ride long distances, we recommend a professional bike fitting.
What is the Hügi formula?
Again and again one hears in connection with the saddle height the so-called Hügi method. It is named after Wilfried Hügi, who developed the method. This is the same principle as the LeMond method, which has already been presented. With the help of the stride length a value can be calculated, which calls from the center of the bottom bracket the ideal distance up to the saddle, in order to prevent knee pain. However, the stride length is multiplied by another value, namely 0.885.
If you have questions about your saddle height, please contact the buycycle team.