What is Saddle Height?
The saddle height is the distance between the heart of the pedal axle and the top of the saddle.
Saddle height is set by adjusting the seat post to an ideal height that balances comfort and power on the bike.
Saddle height is arguably the single most important adjustment on your bicycle. Incorrect saddle height can contribute to saddle discomfort, anterior and posterior knee pain, poor leverage, and ultimately limiting power production.
How to Set Saddle Height
There are many methods and formulas to derive at “proper” saddle height, but it is most important to state that one of the best approaches is to establish saddle height with the rider’s individual ride characteristics and flexibility.
Today’s technological influences impact shoe, cleat, and pedal contact points so dramatically that it is important to have your saddle height evaluated by a knowledgeable and qualified bike fit specialist.
A bike fit specialist can detail in what way your individual characteristics and equipment may be contributing to any performance or biomechanical limitations.
If you can’t make it to a bike fit before your next ride and want to experiment with changing your saddle height at home you can follow the “heel to pedal method”. This will get you in the ballpark range before you can see a professional.
First, mark the current height.
Then, put your bike on the trainer. Pedal around to make sure you are in the position you normally ride in. Place your heel on the pedal and pedal backward to reach the six o’clock position. Your knee should be completely straight.
If you are having trouble making contact with your pedal with your heel – the seat is too high. If your knee is bent – it is too low.
Make very small adjustments, in millimeters until your leg is straight with the heel on the pedal.
Adapting to Your New Saddle Height
Once a proper height is found, wrap a strip of electrical tape around the base of the post where it meets the seat clamp,
record in a safe location for future reference and happy riding.
If you experience any new pains be sure to follow up with the person who did your bike fit. Do not ride through the pain.
It is good to get your bike fit looked at at least every few years or if you get new equipment such as new shoes or pedals.