BB-to-Saddle Height Question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    BB-to-Saddle Height Question

    I need some help from the collective MTBR brain trust. My inseam is 35" and using Competitive Cyclist's fit calculator, the BB-to-Saddle height is between 32.04" and 32.63". Right now, the height on my 29er ride is about 31" and I have two questions:

    1 - How accurate is CC's calculator?

    2 - How critical is the correct height?

    Last week, while riding Green Mountain here in Denver, towards the top of the uphill climb, I started experiencing knee pain but only in the right knee. Some of the uphill involved hike-a-bike as pedaling up steep, loose rock-covered hills is beyond my capabilities right now. Additionally, two days prior, while riding a local MTB park and going across a log, I lost control and ended up with trail rash on my right knee and shin.

    So, I'm wondering if the incorrect height might be the cause of the pain. Or maybe it was the earlier tumble and banging up my knee that is the root cause.

    My apologies for asking - need some help from the more experienced folks here.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    You want your knee to remain very slightly bent when at the bottom of your stroke. If you are too low you will not be using the maximum stroke. It isnt an issue for short rides but on a long ride or over several short rides you can cause issues.

    when you're seated on your saddle you should be able to drop your heel bellow your pedal spindle by a mm. Not way down, which would put you in that danger zone. If your saddle is too high you will be forced to slide your junk back and forth across your saddle every pedal rotation.

    While proper saddle height is important, making sure your "turning circles" with your legs is as important. Have you ever come back from a ride and had a bit of soreness in your shins? chances are your dipping your toe a bit and stabbing downward.

    Mark your seat post and ride at different heights to find the one that gives you the best feeling knees.

    Good luck
    count your blessings

  3. #3
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    An age old ballpark starting point is with your cycling shoes on, you should have a straight leg when your heel is over the pedal spindle. This will give you a slight bend in the knee when clipped in. As said, this is a starting point.

    Cleat location fore/aft, can also make a difference in how happy your knees are as well as seat location fore/aft.

    The old rule of thumb there is that a plumb bob hanging off the bony protuberance on the outside of your knee should bisect the pedal spindle with your crank parallel to the ground.

  4. #4
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    You don't need to calculate your seat height. Just get it so that your knee is slightly bent when your leg is at maximum extension. It's that simple.

    Your crash might be the reason your knee hurts, or you could have twisted it hiking your bike, or maybe you've been trying to pedal up hills seated with too hard of a gear. Who knows?

  5. #5
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    My seat of the shorts experience is that I can notice a 2-3mm change in saddle height in my climbing ability. I agree with the others that the heel should just touch the pedal with your leg straight without straining. On a long and steep climb I really notice a loss of power if it lower than this. For flatter trails it is not as critical and sometimes I'll lower it 5mm so I have better control if there are lots of rock and roots. I use a dropper post these days so I can have the saddle all the way up when needed. I set up my saddle so my knee is over the pedal axle but I have moved my cleats back so my feet are positioned more mid-foot. This helped me a lot going down hill and I haven't noticed a change in climbing ability.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for “I suck at brake control.” Here’s a free tip: get better."

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info and education, everyone. I'll make the adjustments.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KR65 View Post
    ...the collective MTBR brain trust...
    Haw haw haw!!!
    tRump is SCUM.

    Hogan Lake blog. A section of Hogan Lake trails here.

  8. #8
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    Another rule of thumb, if the knee hurts in the front, raise the seat. If it hurts in the back, or you are getting saddle sores, lower the seat. Fore/aft and cleats matter also.

    your mileage may vary.
    HBSURFDAD
    2014 Stumpjumper FSR 29er evo. XXL. :thumbsup:

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBSURFDAD View Post
    Another rule of thumb, if the knee hurts in the front, raise the seat. If it hurts in the back, or you are getting saddle sores, lower the seat. Fore/aft and cleats matter also.

    your mileage may vary.
    Thanks - I'm using Answer FR Rove flats. No clipped-in for me.

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