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  1. #1
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    Is seat height a standard thing or more of a preference?

    While I haven't really gotten to ride any trials yet I've been riding mtn bikes for years. I've always had my seat pretty low and I tend to find myself standing a lot just because it feels more comfortable and fun to me. The guys and the lbs had my seat up where it typically should be when I bought the bike but it just feels awkward and uncomfortable to me. I know you can get more power to your wheels when you have the proper seat height but typically if I needed a lot of power i just pop up. So I guess what I'm getting at is should I try to get used to riding with my seat in a higher position or is it really just a matter of preference?

  2. #2
    vbx
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    More of a safety thing. Both feet should be planted on the ground while seated.

    As for me, I'm on my tippy toes when sitting on a 26". My bike is way to big for me.

    But my 24" diamondback is perfect.

  3. #3
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    Most people find they're most efficient at peddling when the bottom of the pedal stroke has their leg at an inch or 2 from its fully extended length (just slightly bent IOW). Most people find they're more comfortable on technical terrain at an inch or so lower than that because its easier to maneuver over and around the saddle and easier to get your feed down. For downhilling or very steep descents most people like it down low enough so that when you're standing with the peddles leveled the saddle is at a height where you can pinch it between your thighs a couple inches above the top of your knee caps. At this height you should be able to comfortable take your butt back so that its actually over the rear tire, then shift your weight clear back over the bike without contacting the saddle.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by vbx View Post
    More of a safety thing. Both feet should be planted on the ground while seated.
    I disagree, though you have not given much context to your post.

    For trail riding that does not involve any significant air time / jumping, I suggest having a saddle height that is significantly higher than your suggestion of "Both feet planted on the ground while seated."

    There is a saddle position for optimum power (see road and XC racers.) However, for some who ride really steep or technical trails, a lower saddle height may be preferred.

    And of course, downhill and freeride are rather different disciplines of riding, that require a lower saddle height than less extreme trail riding.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  5. #5
    AZ
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    Try starting with the pedal at the bottom of the stroke and your leg extended with your heel over the pedal spindle while seated. This will result in a slight bend in the knee when your feet are in the normal position on the pedal. Slight adjustments up or down to personal preference would be normal.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by vbx View Post
    More of a safety thing. Both feet should be planted on the ground while seated.
    <object width="640" height="510"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/WrjwaqZfjIY?version=3&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/WrjwaqZfjIY?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="510" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  7. #7
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    Best of both world put one of this on your bike

  8. #8
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    LOL mimi.

    Depends on what your doing. I'll take a long shot and say your not doing any gnarly DH or dirt jumps. Your seatpost should be around parallel with your bars with a fully extended or just the slightest bend in your knee. Anything less and you will be doing a disservice to yourself as it way less efficient to ride with out the full extension.
    ------__o
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  9. #9
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    IMO, high seat position is only good for climbing which is the most important position. It prevent/reduce all kinds of pain and injury from pedaling. Unfortunately there's no in between when it comes to optimal climbing position, you need that maximum leverage position or you are just wasting your energy standing. I stand all the time on my singlespeed but I have no choice.

    The rest of the time lower position is better thru rolling singletrack or descend you don't need high position you can ride faster and better when you have more range of body movement. Given only one fix position the high seat position is better than low seat position for XC or trail riding.

  10. #10
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    I think seat hight is a good thng to have checked out,BUT,I also think that some of the muscle soreness that some people will experience is your core getting worked to the max,jumping side 2 side

  11. #11
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    If you can stand that much during a ride more power to you. Some of us are old and lazy and prefer the seat up high so we can get as much power as possible while seated. I do my share of popping up but I like to save it for when I need it.

    I have nothing but respect for the guys that can stand and mash full out for 30 miles of Colorado single track. I just can't do it.

    I will stop and lower my seat if I am going to do some jumping or difficult (for me) downhill.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by vbx View Post
    More of a safety thing. Both feet should be planted on the ground while seated.
    .

    Is it just me or do the experienced riders out there get frustrated when a noob or inexperienced rider tries to give advice based on little or no real knowledge of the subject under discussion?
    This answer is so wrong I wont even begin to go in to detail.
    If any one really wants to know how to set their saddle height then there are ENDLESS well informed, accurate posts and sites dedicated to this one issue.
    Google is your friend people.

    Having said that.
    You will find in almost ALL cases if your MTB is properly sized and your saddle [not seat people, its called a SADDLE] is set at the correct height for general XC riding you WILL NOT be able to put both feet flat on the ground while sitting on the saddle.
    Or even toes from both feet
    It is likely that you will not even be able to get a single toe from one foot on the ground with any comfort.
    Have a look at a photo of any group of MTB riders stopped, 99% will be stopped standing over the top tube, hence discussions regarding standover height in regard to frame specs.
    The only time you will be able to sit on the bike comfortably whilst it is stopped is when you something raised on the trail beside the bike to put you foot on [log, termite nest etc]

    If MTB's were designed to allow you to sit on the saddle and place both feet on the ground while the seat height is adjusted correctly for your leg length the bottom bracket would be so low that the bike would not be able to be pedaled without striking the cranks on the ground even second revolution

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffgre_6163 View Post
    [not seat people, its called a SADDLE]
    Why does a saddle attach to a seat post?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffgre_6163 View Post
    [not seat people, its called a SADDLE]
    Yes, it's called a saddle.
    Its rails are clamped by the seatpost, which is inserted in the seat tube of the frame, and secured by the seatpost clamp.
    I always liked that one.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bclagge View Post
    Why does a saddle attach to a seat post?
    lol, beat me by a minute.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bclagge View Post
    Why does a saddle attach to a seat post?
    A good and fair question.
    No idea
    But I stand by the fact that they are called "saddles" not seats
    In fact if you look at a major Irish based on line cycle store you will not find a listing for "Seats" but you will find listings for "Saddles"

    Conversely you will find listings for "Seat posts" but not "Saddle posts"

    Go figure

  17. #17
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    [not seat people, its called a SADDLE]
    Ahh, so that's what the voice of authority sounds like.

    Well, the terms are interchangeable as far as I'm concerned, but that's all beside the point. To the OP, please do ignore the "safety, feet on the ground" reply, it's way off base.

    As some have mentioned, a generally accepted starting point is to set the saddle so your heel just reaches the pedal when at the 6 o'clock position. That height is good for max power and knee welfare. But when the going gets technical, you may want to drop your set a bit and trade some power for a lower center of gravity and to get the saddle out of your way as you dance to stay balanced. And for descending, lower still may be a good thing. Experiment and find what works for you.

    If you don't have a quick release seat post collar, consider getting one. I change my saddle height several times on most rides.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  18. #18
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    why does your sister ask me to lube her 'bottom bracket'?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air View Post
    If you don't have a quick release seat post collar, consider getting one. I change my saddle height several times on most rides.
    ^ Just goes to show how different people's riding styles are. I have never adjusted the saddle height on my MTB since I dialed it in initially. I don't live in a mountainous area, but we have some short steeps.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  20. #20
    AZ
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    You sit on a saddle, you sit in a seat.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__ View Post
    lol, beat me by a minute.
    But you did a better job .

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffgre_6163 View Post
    A good and fair question.
    No idea
    But I stand by the fact that they are called "saddles" not seats
    In fact if you look at a major Irish based on line cycle store you will not find a listing for "Seats" but you will find listings for "Saddles"

    Conversely you will find listings for "Seat posts" but not "Saddle posts"

    Go figure
    Oh I agree the proper term is saddle. I would just rather pick on the guy for something other than semantics. Like how he gives 26" as the size of his bike while doling out advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    You sit on a saddle, you sit in a seat.
    Don't you tell ME what to do!

  22. #22
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    OP - sounds like you're coming from a whole different approach.

    The generally accepted XC and road approach, which you can take or leave of course, is to sit on the saddle and pedal at relatively high cadence, like 80-90 rpm, at the relatively low gear that makes that possible. Most people can get peak power hammering out of the saddle, but probably get their best power for longer periods, like a minute, five minutes, and more, when they're spinning.

    This can be problematic for mountain bikers for all sorts of reasons. The common objection is that if the saddle is too high, it gets in the way of moving around on the bike. I think that mountain bikers actually tend to put their saddles too high when they think they're setting up their bikes for best power output. A person with good pedaling technique, using secure pedals, needs to be sitting low enough to keep putting force on the pedal when it's at the bottom of the stroke. Actually, this is a mistake I made for years myself. So if the pedal feels like it's pulling your foot through that part of the stroke, you may be up too high. It's actually really hard to pedal with good technique on flat pedals, though, which I think probably reinforces the really high for climbing/really low for descending idea that the flat pedal crowd frequently like. For best power output on a flat pedal, IME, the saddle needs to be a little higher. I'm not sure if that's really healthy or not, but whatever...

    It really does come down to preference eventually. But I think if you mark this saddle position and try riding the bike this way, emphasizing pedaling circles at high rpm, for a week or two, at least when you're doing non-technical rides, you'll like it. You can always switch back if you don't.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__ View Post
    ^ Just goes to show how different people's riding styles are. I have never adjusted the saddle height on my MTB since I dialed it in initially. I don't live in a mountainous area, but we have some short steeps.
    True 'nuf. I should have added that I ride in Central CT, land of roots, rock and hills. If the OP rides on smoother terrain, then there would be little need for changing saddle height during rides.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  24. #24
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    good stuff.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__ View Post
    Yes, it's called a saddle.
    Its rails are clamped by the seatpost, which is inserted in the seat tube of the frame, and secured by the seatpost clamp.
    I always liked that one.
    so are they saddle rails?

  26. #26
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    This is how I see it, buy itself I call it saddle, I don't shop for a seat I shop for a saddle to sit on the bike.


    Once it's installed to a seatclamp on the seatpost and insert into a seat tube on a bike it can be called either seat or saddle.It serve almost the same purpose, though I do more sitting on a seat, but more like resting on a saddle while riding. Like I said earlier you can have flat foot on the ground and optimum climbing height by just add one of these

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffgre_6163 View Post

    Is it just me or do the experienced riders out there get frustrated when a noob or inexperienced rider tries to give advice based on little or no real knowledge of the subject under discussion?
    This answer is so wrong I wont even begin to go in to detail.
    If any one really wants to know how to set their saddle height then there are ENDLESS well informed, accurate posts and sites dedicated to this one issue.
    Google is your friend people.

    Having said that.
    You will find in almost ALL cases if your MTB is properly sized and your saddle [not seat people, its called a SADDLE] is set at the correct height for general XC riding you WILL NOT be able to put both feet flat on the ground while sitting on the saddle.
    Or even toes from both feet
    It is likely that you will not even be able to get a single toe from one foot on the ground with any comfort.
    Have a look at a photo of any group of MTB riders stopped, 99% will be stopped standing over the top tube, hence discussions regarding standover height in regard to frame specs.
    The only time you will be able to sit on the bike comfortably whilst it is stopped is when you something raised on the trail beside the bike to put you foot on [log, termite nest etc]

    If MTB's were designed to allow you to sit on the saddle and place both feet on the ground while the seat height is adjusted correctly for your leg length the bottom bracket would be so low that the bike would not be able to be pedaled without striking the cranks on the ground even second revolution
    I like everything about this post. It kills me to see people with their seat low. You are just doing a disservice to yourself by riding that low.

  28. #28
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    care to chime back in vbx?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  29. #29
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    [QUOTE=mimi1885;8205249]Best of both world put one of this on your bike

    Best thing I've added to my bike. Worth every penny!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    why does your sister ask me to lube her 'bottom bracket'?
    Not that I would know, but maybe your crankset looks a bit rusty

    OTOH, that reminds me of the (very off color) joke about how your mom knows when your it's your sister's TOTM. . . . .

  31. #31
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    Trying to pedal with your seat bmx style will ruin your knees. Causes a ton of stress to the patellar tendon. Your can walk without an acl, though it sucks, you can't walk without a patellar tendon.
    Good enough reason to me.

    Another good measure of proper saddle height is if your knees do not come up past your hips at the top of the stroke. If you're high stepping thats doing knee damage on the power portion of the stroke.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Fluid View Post
    I like everything about this post. It kills me to see people with their seat low. You are just doing a disservice to yourself by riding that low.
    True enough, wish I could make my wife understand that, though!

  33. #33
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    I understand what everyone is saying about having the seat height at max extension but it sounds like the OP doesn't just sit and spin. I am the same way and I keep my seat lower for downhills and comfort. But I also ride a single speed so I wouldn't be able to sit down on some of the hills even if my seat was at the optium ride height. If the OP's riding style is to stand and mash I don't see why he needs his seat so high if he is just going to stand when ever he needs power.

    And with your riding style you might want to consider trying out a single speed. I think you might like it.

    oh and saddle/seat same thing to me. Kinda like fork/forks etc. Everyone knows what you mean.

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