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Thread: Saddle height?

  1. #1
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    Saddle height?

    Seems like everyone I see has their saddle up almost as high as it can go.. it's nice for riding easy level terrain, but I have always dropped my saddle all the way down for more maneuverability when I get on the hills or big obstacles (I grew up on a BMX, so maybe it's just out of habit). I can't decide if I like having the seat high all the time (and I have endoed from this..) or if anyone else lowers theirs at times? Does anyone change their saddle height as they ride? I know a lot of people much better at XC than I am with high saddles, I want to know what their motto is.

    thanks

    Chris

  2. #2
    Moooo!!!
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    I'm very curious about this as well. I started out with mine low but found that my legs were cramping due to not stretching them out. I raised my seat up a ways so my legs were alot straight as I hit the bottom of the pedal. I like this alot more for easy riding however I have yet to hit the trail like this.

  3. #3
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    For optimum pedaling your saddle needs to be at the correct height and in the correct position relative to your pedals. You usually get best results by having your legs almost fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. BMX bikes aren't a good model for this since they weren't really made for sitting and pedaling. Try reading this for starters http://www.sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html

    Another gadget you can use is a seat post that can adjust height like the Gravity Dropper (and a few others), that way you get the best of both climbing and descending positions without having to stop and adjust saddle height.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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  4. #4
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    I prefer mine pretty high. I can almost lock out my knee at the bottom of the stroke while still being seated. Probably 85-90% extension. They say that the perfect saddle height for pedaling efficiency lets your knee fully extend with your foot level, or the heel slightly higher than the ball of the foot when the cranks are at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock. This position allows you to get the most out of your biggest muscles, the quads. Personally, I lose too much control on technical stuff to ride with my saddle quite that high. I like to get about 3-4 inches of crotch space when I stand on the pedals. I find it REALLY helps when sitting and pedaling up long hills. Down hill it actually helps to have it a good bit lower so you can easily get behind the saddle for weight and balancing purposes without it being too much of an impedance to your body. I've found that 3-4 inches below my standing height on the pedals at 3 and 9 o'clock is a good middle ground that works well for me.

  5. #5
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    I used to agonize over saddle height, and tried to follow all the rigorous advice. I've given up on all of that. Now I just wing it. I generally run my saddle lower than other riders whom I know around town. I'm trading away some pedaling efficiency for ease of maneuvering in technical sections, and for more confidence when blasting down hills, and I'm ok with that tradeoff.

    For a road ride, or a long ride on a flat trail, I'll sometimes run the saddle up high for efficiency--depending upon my mood.

  6. #6
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    As a road rider, I've spent quite a bit of time trying to dial in the perfect saddle height. Generally fifteen degrees of bend at full extension is a good starting point, although mine run higher than that. Too low underuses your leg muscles and puts more strain on your knees (right above your kneecap), too high can give you pain in the back of your knee. I've never really had a problem getting behind the seat on my Rig, although the Hardrock I borrowed over the winter had a terrible huge seat that got in the way. I would set it right and learn to get around it or get a GravityDropper or similar device.

  7. #7
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    you need to set up your seat height correctly or you will tear up you knees. It's not something that you might feel immediatly and it can happen over a long perion of time, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months etc. see this link.
    http://www.bikenow.com.au/u-fit/saddle_height.htm

    Other than that, I use my gravity dropper for descents and then pop it back up when contuing to pedal.

    Proper measurement is imperitive. Small adjustements after that + or - if needed. How the seat looks and to a certain extent how it feels will not give you proper seat height unless you already started with the directions provided on the linke above.

    You should do some searches on the "knee" and see what I'm talking about.

    happy riding.
    If I'm not climbing, I'm not riding.

  8. #8
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    Beginners like their seats lower since it gives a more secure feeling of center of gravity.

    Here are the pros and cons as I see it:

    Lower seat = easier to get behind saddle on steep descents, less likely to endo
    Higher seat = better on knees, more effecient pedaling

    Lower seat = better for jumping (saddle can hit you in the ass)
    Higher seat = encourages seated riding which is supposed to encourage better riding habits

    Lower seat = less pressure between the saddle and your ass, hits to the rear tire are not transmitted to your ass as harshly

    I like the seatpost clamp so I can change the height during a ride, I tend to ride too low, so if tire of this, I can raise it for more efficiency. Typically, I mess around with it for the first hour or so, then settle on a height and finish the ride with that height (normally just slightly above the handlebars). Also play with the saddle angle and position on the seatpost (before the ride, of course), you may find the position can reduce endo fears and improve comfort.

  9. #9
    Ride the dream
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    Good advice - but just needs to be mentioned (as some might not be aware).


    If youre running your saddle alot higher than you have before, make sure the post is still long enough.
    That means youre past the minimum insertion for the post, and you still have a good amount left in the frame (below the toptube welds, roughly speaking) - just being beyond the minimum POST insertion, doesnt mean youre far enough in to prevent damaging the frame.

  10. #10
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    .84 x inseam height measure from the top of the seat to the middle of the BB
    this is good for speed & distance and general xc type riding
    lower for DH, jumps , etc.
    best bet is either a qr seat post clamp or gravity dropper/ maverick/ crank bros type release

    if you ride with the seat too high you can hyper extend your knee (very painfull)
    too low only matters if youre pedalling, but it can mess up your knees if you allways ride low

  11. #11
    Chillin the Most
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan0
    .84 x inseam height measure from the top of the seat to the middle of the BB
    this is good for speed & distance and general xc type riding
    Curious??? Where did you come up with this equation? I've read in many articles and books saying to use .883 x inseam, which is an equation developed by LeMond.

    Not saying either on is right or wrong, I just know the Lemond system has worked for most people I ride with including myself. With your equation, my saddle height would be far too low for me to pedal with any real power over for any worthy length of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeMond System
    SEAT HEIGHT (cm) = Inseam (cm) x .883
    This formula assumes that at the bottom of the pedal stroke, the knees should be slghtly bent, about 15 degrees. Riders who pedal slightly toe-down will find the resulting number a bit short. Riders with reduced flexibility or other special considerations want the saddle slightly lower to start (This tends to change as the rider gains experience).
    In general, the resulting number will be within a cm or two of "correct". So, use this as a starting point. Many riders may never need to alter this setting. For the rest, make small adjustments as needed. Use the FitStik to track changes so you can return to a previous setting if need be.

  12. #12
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    For downhilling on my old rigid frame, I would stand on the pegs and move my weight rearward over the back tire. I would sometimes lower the seat a little bit, depending on the downhill section, but I still wanted it fairly high. The reason is that I would kind of grab the saddle between my thighs while standing on the pegs for better control over the frame. But you have to be careful to quickly get back away from the saddle if there is a drop or bump so as not to ruin your chances to father children in the future...

    I have taken drops so hard that my butt hit my back tire before

  13. #13
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    I found this on this site, and I used it as a guide when adjusting any bike seat

    Seat height
    - The seat should be low enough so that you can just touch the ground with both feet
    - At the bottom of your stroke, you leg should be straight, bent slightly, not locked

    Rail adjustment
    - This is a comfort adjustment, give different positions a try
    - The further forward your seat is, the more your front wheel grips the ground

    Tilt
    - Once again, this is a comfort adjustment, depending on whether you prefer the seat tilted backwards or forwards
    - Make sure you adjust the seat so that you are seated comfortably

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the info, I didn't think of tearing my knees up. I will have to look into a gravity dropper.. Until then I will keep doing what iam doing now.. Dropping the seat when I come to DH or tough terrain. It helps a ton if I drop the seat all the way on DH and what not - the increased manueverability has saved me a few times . But I will make sure to set a mark for the level to ride long distance that is most efficient and ok on my knees.
    Last edited by n16ht5; 08-25-2008 at 01:40 PM.

  15. #15
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by n16ht5
    Shouldn't you go off your height?
    Seat height needs to be in proportion to how long your legs are.

    The size of your head and length of your back have little to do with how much standover clearance you have either.

    ...you can go behind the seat even with the seat pretty high. A pic from the Olympics, via bikeradar.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RED5
    Curious??? Where did you come up with this equation? I've read in many articles and books saying to use .883 x inseam, which is an equation developed by LeMond.

    Not saying either on is right or wrong, I just know the Lemond system has worked for most people I ride with including myself. With your equation, my saddle height would be far too low for me to pedal with any real power over for any worthy length of time.
    youre right , I was half asleep when I posted

    I actually am closer to .9 for xc, but I have sensitive knees, for more technical riding I go lower but 99% of the time .9

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=perttime]Seat height needs to be in proportion to how long your legs are.

    The size of your head and length of your back have little to do with how much standover clearance you have either.

    ...you can go behind the seat even with the seat pretty high. A pic from the Olympics, via bikeradar.
    [QUOTE]


    oh man.. I was half asleep then.. i read his post wrong. youre right about that.


    yeah i go behind the seat a lot, but theres a big risk of whackin your chinakas if you wreck (been there done that)

    although it does make me feel more comfortable to see the seats kept high in that picture.






    look where his seat is ... he doesnt even use one - seeing these guys ride is one reason why I thought I should be lowering my seat?


    does anyone here do trials?











    I think one of these is the best option? who uses one?
    Last edited by n16ht5; 08-25-2008 at 01:57 PM.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=n16ht5]
    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    I think one of these is the best option? who uses one?

    I use the remote controlled GP Turbo model. Read all about it in a thread I started. Scroll down for some pictures.

    All Mountain Post vs. Gravity Dropper Turbo
    If I'm not climbing, I'm not riding.

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=oscarc]
    Quote Originally Posted by n16ht5


    I use the remote controlled GP Turbo model. Read all about it in a thread I started. Scroll down for some pictures.

    All Mountain Post vs. Gravity Dropper Turbo

    I used to untill I broke 2
    it sucks to ride 5 miles without a seat
    plus theyre heavy and no setback options

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