Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups




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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Saddle height for general trail riding?

    I've always set my mountain bike saddle the same as a roadie position, but I've been reading some posts where folks set theirs somewhat lower. Do most people do this? I tried it and felt like it might have improved cornering a bit due to lower center of gravity and made it a little easier to get the weight back for steep descents, but it also felt less friendly to the knees.

    So, for a general mix of trail riding on flats, climbs, descents, and small to moderate obstacles, should seat height be normal roadie height or something less? (I'm not talking about serious downhill or freeriding.)

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: denjen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Like anything else its something you have to play with. You need to find the perfect height where you can climb with out hurting your knees, but still be able to get back off the saddle when needed. I run mine so that my knee is slightly bent when the crank is down and my foot is flat with the ground. I will also run it different heights sometimes depending on where I ride. My local trails are pretty smooth with no big descents, so I put the saddle pretty high. When I head to the mountains I will drop it slightly to help on the downhill sections.

  3. #3
    Reputation: have2ride2day's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Most people change their saddle height with either a qr seatpost clamp or an adjustable seatpost as the terrain dictates. My trails are rollling with some steep climbs and some steep descents. I've gone to an adjustable seatpost and love it. When I got a pro fit for my bike they set me up with my knee bent about 30 degrees at the down pedal postion. Most people will say 25 to 30 degrees. If you do a lot of climbing don't do it with the saddle low, it will rob your power and wreck you knees.

    Also, I think some guys are pedaling in a standing postion more often now days instead of the traditionally seated position. That may account for some of the lower saddle heights you see.
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  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Thor Lord of Thunder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    I'm lazy....I run my seat low for just about everything. I'm not setting any land speed records going uphill on an AM/FR bike anyway. Guess I've gotten used to a lower center of gravity and make it work even for the climbs.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 2clue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    I use to run my saddle a half inch lower on the mtn bike, but now that I have a dropper post I run them identical to one another.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    I run an adjustable post for the reason that when climbing long streches, I like a higher position. Then I can drop it some or all the way down as comfort dictates. best money I've spent so far on any upgrade.

  7. #7
    Rabid Lana fan
    Reputation: net wurker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    For trail riding, there is no "one perfect position". For climbing and all-out hauling ass on the flat sections, a saddle that is at a height where you get the most leg extension is optimum.

    For descending, and going over obstacles, and sketchy-gnar sections, the lower the seat, the better.

    This is why the O-T-F adjustable seat post market is booming.

    By the way, I would estimate that 98% of all seat posts ARE adjustable. It's just that most of them require you to stop and get off of your bike to do so. An on-the-fly adjustable seat post lets you do it while you're riding along.
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  8. #8
    I'm with stupid
    Reputation: hitechredneck's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    I switched to a seat remote adjust seat post on one bike then found myself unable to really ride the other bikes the same without otb or knee pain a worry. Wish i would have switched earlier, now i have gone threw ans adjustable seat posted even my 100mm hardtail.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    I still adjust mine a lot on the trail. I have a 34/36 inseam and it puts me so far above the frame ( Yeti 575 ) it's ridiculous! It's like being removed from the action! Obviously cornering sucks as well as anything sketchy... I don't want any handle bar mounted doo-hickies, but may look into an adjustable ( on the fly ) post soon.

  10. #10
    I do what I want
    Reputation: Guy.Ford's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    adjustable post, set to "roadie height". I pedal (climbing) standing up and use flat pedals.

    My inseam is 35", saddle height set to 31.75-32 (depending on pedals & shoes) from center of BB to top of saddle.

  11. #11
    No Pavement, No Problem!
    Reputation: Tripp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    I always drop my seat on the trails. I'm a hardtail rider and having that seat come up for any reason is not a pleasant experience. But also it just gets in my way during anything technical or where I need my focus. I lower it to where on the flats I can sit in a relaxed way and still pedal fine, but during anything else I don't ever use my seat.

  12. #12
    bike rider
    Reputation: Lelandjt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Full road height on climbs and smooth flats, a touch lower for rough flats, a little lower when speeds pick up for sweet cornering, even lower for rough descents/jumping, ect. Get a drop post.
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  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: anvil_den's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Adjustable seatpost! even then I find that a lot of time...I leave it 1-2 inches lower and don't really bother to move it up or down for general trailing that doesnt have extended climbs or scary steep drops. Easier to shift the weight around or use different part of the foot on the pedal to reduce knee problems on the climb...more centered (results in using more inner thigh and hamstring muscle) instead of pressing down mainly on the front (that uses more of the quad muscle which when fatigued-- tendency is to let the knee take over the job) .

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    I ride with the kind shock adjustable.... Best money ever spent.

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