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You may be searching google right now trying to figure out where you should adjust your saddle to on a bike you’ve borrowed or never ridden before, wondering where the right place to have it is.
Well, you’ ha’ve come to the right place. Without confusing jargon or condescending opinions about what you should or shouldn’t do, we can offer some solid advice on what you may find comfortable and suitable for your own personal needs.
Does Bike Seat Height Matter?
The height of your saddle is so important when it comes to riding a bike. This is because if a saddle is too high, then you may not be able to adequately pedal, nor be able to control the bike very well.
The latter issue of course is a safety concern, as no one wants to feel out of control or crash their bike. Therefore it’s important for your own safety to know the correct saddle height for you.
Having a suitable height will also help to improve your comfort levels while riding. Given that bicycle saddles are known for not always being the comfiest, this is very important for your enjoyment.
Having your saddle at the correct height for you will also mean that you get the most out of your power. This may or may not be something you’re concerned about, but overall it’s important that you’re more efficient while riding your bike, as it arguably helps you to pedal further, for longer.
Bike Seat Height [Rule of Thumb]
If you’re in a rush and panicking because you don’t have a tape measure on you, but need to adjust a saddle height (maybe you’re hiring a bike to get around a city) then don’t panic.
Yes a tape measure would be useful! However, there are other ways to can figure out a suitable saddle height for your bike.
Should Your Bike Seat Be at Your Hip?
As many people have heard throughout the years, having your saddle height roughly in line with your hip, while standing next to your bike with your feet flat on the floor, is a pretty standard estimate.
Does it work? Arguably, yes. It’s a good enough way to try to determine how high you need your saddle. However, it’s important to note that some bikes have a higher bottom bracket (where your crank fits into).
This higher bottom bracket can mean that this method can put your saddle height too low, as the higher bottom bracket means you need a slightly higher than your hip saddle.
But, by all means try it out as it may be something that works for you. If you’re in a rush and need a rough guide or starting point, then this tip can be a solid one to follow.
How to Tell if Bike Seat is Too High
If your saddle on your bike is too high for you, you may notice at first that you can’t pedal very well once the pedal or crank arm is at its lowest position while turning. If you find at this point you can’t put your foot on the pedal, then your saddle is too high.
As well as not being able to reach the pedals while in this position, you may also notice that your hips ‘rock’ while riding along. This is due to your saddle being too high, thus your hips move side to side to try to reach your pedals.
If you’ve been riding the bike for a while and you are unsure, sometimes lower back pain can also be an indicator that your saddle is too high. Also, you may notice soreness from your saddle due to the way a higher saddle positions you.
How to Tell if Bike Seat is Too Low
If you want to tell if your saddle is too low, a good starting point is if you can be sat on your saddle and have your feet flat on the floor at the same time. If this is the case, your saddle is too low.
Another tell tale sign that your saddle is too low is you may feel a little cramped on your bike. You may not realise that this cramped feeling is your saddle height, but if you feel the need to stretch out your legs while pedalling, then it could be a sign the saddle is too low.
Additionally, you may also find you have knee pain from constantly having your knee very bent while riding your bike.
Another sign is that you don’t feel like you’re fully utilising your power. You may feel that with every pedal stroke you could put out more power and feel something is restricted. This can be due to needing to pull your seat post up.
Bike Seat Height Chart
If you do happen to have a little more time and a tape measure to hand, then there are more effective ways to work out the correct saddle height for you.
The best way would be to measure your inseam (inside of your leg) and then matching your inseam measurement roughly to the recommended saddle height, measured from the middle of your crank to the top of the saddle.
Here’s the table: