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Thread: Saddle Height

  1. #1
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    Saddle Height

    I had some work done on my bike a few weeks ago at a LBS after a crash I was involved in, caused by some pitbulls chasing our ride group and a newbie riding in front of me that didn't know you are not supposed to come to a complete stop at the bottom of a hill when someone is riding right behind you without warning them first..

    Anyway, they (the LBS) moved my saddle to make room to clamp my bike in the stand to work on the bike, but they forgot to put the saddle back in the same position. I was riding tonight and when I was in the drops, it put some strain on my upper back. I was not comfortable, and I can usually ride in the drops for an extended period and feel pretty good.

    So my question is : Saddle too high or too low? I don't know enough about proper bike fit to answer my own question, so any input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    It is fantastic. voltman's Avatar
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    Pics of you on the bike?

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    NorCal Climbing Freak
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    I'm not sure what back strain would indicate, but have you tried your inseam in cm X .883? That gets me really close to where I need to be.

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    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grebletie
    I'm not sure what back strain would indicate, but have you tried your inseam in cm X .883? That gets me really close to where I need to be.
    That would be measured from the center of the bottom bracket axle to the top of the saddle following the seat tube. The measurement works in inches, too, not just centimeters. (See below about accurately and properly measuring your inseam.)

    Other ways to find the correct height for you are: measure your inseam by standing in stocking feet with feet about eight inches apart and pull something like a 1 x 4 board held horizontally up against your crotch as tightly as possible. Measure from the top edge of the board to the floor for your inseam measurement. (It is not the same as what is listed as the inseam of your trousers.) Then multiply your inseam figure by 109% and measure from the top surface of your downmost pedal (with the cranks in line with your seat tube) to the top of your saddle following the line of the seat tube.

    Some like to get on the bike and raise the saddle until their heel passes over the pedal at the bottom of its stroke with about a quarter inch of space to spare. This would be with your leg fully extended. This provides "room" for you to ankle when riding and still not have your leg extended straight out, but retain a little bend in the leg, as recommended.

    Regardless which of these methods you choose, try altering the seat height about a quarter inch and riding on it for a few days to find what you most like. I find raising the seat gives me more power, but too much height makes it harder to apply power from the 11 o'clock pedal position on over the top, and a seat position too high tends to cause chafing in my groin area. The fabric on my pants lies differently when the seat is a bit high and introduces stresses even without my hips rocking. So, the correct seat post height is a compromise between power and preventing chafing, at least for me.

    I also record my preferred seat height so I can duplicate it later. And, my carbon seat post creeps downward even when the collar is properly torqued. So, I moved the mounting collar for the seat post reflector down to the seat post collar and it not only stops the creeping, but provides a marker for the height of my seat post.

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    Senior Member WCroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grebletie
    I'm not sure what back strain would indicate, but have you tried your inseam in cm X .883? That gets me really close to where I need to be.
    Interesting, where exactly are you measuring from and to? Right now my saddle is at 70cm and according to the calculation I should be at 67.2.

  6. #6
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCroadie
    Interesting, where exactly are you measuring from and to? Right now my saddle is at 70cm and according to the calculation I should be at 67.2.
    Please read what I had already posted just above your post. All of the details are there.

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    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    FWIW,there are many opinions on how to achieve optimal saddle height. Dr Andy Pruitt, probably the most famous bike fitter in America, has some interesting comments on the .883 formula. He says it was derived by Greg Lemond's coach for him years ago. Pruitt goes on to say, however, that Lemond has very long thighs compared to the rest of his leg and that the formula will work well for you only if you have similarly proportioned legs/thighs. Pruitt prefers the method of being on the bike, pedaling backwards with heel of cycling shoe on the pedal so that it just touches the pedal. He goes on to say that you should have an observer to insure that your hips are not rocking back and forth. If they are, the saddle is too high. Most importlantly, he concludes by saying that most riders have unique body structures and his recommendation is a professional bike fit if a) you are having problems b)can afford it. If not try the method he recommends and adjust from there.

  8. #8
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    If you take that measurement from the BB spindle does that not negate your crank arm length? I thought that the Lemond formula was measured from the pedal spindle or am I thinking of Zinn?

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grebletie
    I'm not sure what back strain would indicate, but have you tried your inseam in cm X .883? That gets me really close to where I need to be.
    That doesn't take into account crankarm-length. I prefer the heels on the pedals and pedaling backwards technique better. On my track bike, it's about 1/4" higher than this. If you calculate the saddle-height using 3-4 of the popular methods, they're all within about 1/2" of each other anyway, I prefer being on the high end of the range.

  10. #10
    Senior Member WCroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobikes
    Please read what I had already posted just above your post. All of the details are there.
    Yeah I was typing as you were posting, thanks.

  11. #11
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCroadie
    Yeah I was typing as you were posting, thanks.
    Great minds think alike! Thanks.

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