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Old 05-11-08, 11:13 AM   #1
jim p
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How do I tell when my seat is high enough but not too low?

This is probably a question that cannot be answered. I have been riding for about 3 years and the seat always felt like it was adjusted perfectly. About 4 months ago I started doing yoga and it seems that I now have longer ham strings and calf muscles. It is now making my seat feel like it is too high. I am guessing that my feet are flatter on the pedals and maybe in the past I was pedaling with my toes a little down which gave the feeling of a well adjusted seat. So what do I need to do as far as adjusting the seat and what problems are going to jump out and get me when I start with the adjustments? I already have the seat back as far as it will go and moving it down is going to move it forward a little. I have the bars as high as they will go and lowering the seat will help some more. Oh what to do?
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Old 05-11-08, 11:17 AM   #2
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Quick and dirty starting point. Adjust the seat height so your leg is fully extended with your heel on the pedal at the bottom of the stroke.

Now, when you put the ball of your foot on the pedal to ride, the knee will be slightly bent at full pedal stroke.

That's it...................
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Old 05-11-08, 11:21 AM   #3
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take a few measurements before you do anything...that way you can get back to how it was if you don't like the new position. a few good places to measure are:

1. from bottom bracket to top of the saddle.
2. from the tip of the saddle to the stem.

write those down and between them, you can always know how high and how forward\back you were. a piece of electrical tape on the seat post can be used to mark the height as well.

next, just make small adjustments, and then ride the bike. keep in mind it may feel good for a short ride but start to bother you on longer rides. it's a fine tuning process and may take a week or two to figure out. good luck.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:31 AM   #4
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I never move my seat 2 directions at once. Either i move it up or down or I move it forward or back, but never both. I also never move it more than about 1/4 inch in any direction and then I ride on it a while. I moved my handlebars up a couple of months ago and I think I just got my seat readjusted to fit a coupld of days ago. Marking where it is now was good advice too. No matter what you do you can always go back to where you started.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:48 AM   #5
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I still like the old school ways.

Go for a ride with somebody that you trust. Take an allen wrench with you. Wait until you've been out for a half hour or so to warm up. From the back if your friend can see your hips rocking side-to-side, your saddle is too high. If, from the side your heels droop below the pedals at the bottom of the stroke, your saddle is too low.

Unless your saddle height is way off, the height adjustments that you'll be making won't affect the handlebar-to-seat distance enough to notice.
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Old 05-11-08, 12:15 PM   #6
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As mentioned before, you leg should be slightly bent at the knee at the bottom of your peddle stroke.

Any adjustments you make should be in very small increments. Even a mm makes a noticeable difference (for me at least). I usually take my put my allen wrenches in my jersey pocket. I ride a bit then I adjust a little. Then I ride some more and adjust some more until it feels "right". By the way, there is a rule to never adjust anything the day of a long ride such as a century (not that anyone would do such a thing).

You can google bike fit for a to get some of the more subtle approaches to this.

I have heard that for maximum performance, you want to have things adjusted on the long side. I know that the ultramarathon cyclists I know tend to ride with things adjusted on the short side. Having a shorter reach makes things easier on the rear and for long rides, that is a good thing.
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Old 05-11-08, 12:38 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the advise. I am going to start making small adjustments. Maybe I will start with thicker socks. I think the saddle is almost perfect but my increased flexibility is making it feel like the saddle is too high at the beginning of the ride. I am going to pay close attention to how things feel after a good warm up. Maybe all will be right after I get all warmed up.

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 05-11-08, 12:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jim p View Post
This is probably a question that cannot be answered. I have been riding for about 3 years and the seat always felt like it was adjusted perfectly. About 4 months ago I started doing yoga and it seems that I now have longer ham strings and calf muscles. It is now making my seat feel like it is too high. I am guessing that my feet are flatter on the pedals and maybe in the past I was pedaling with my toes a little down which gave the feeling of a well adjusted seat. So what do I need to do as far as adjusting the seat and what problems are going to jump out and get me when I start with the adjustments? I already have the seat back as far as it will go and moving it down is going to move it forward a little. I have the bars as high as they will go and lowering the seat will help some more. Oh what to do?
Are you having any knee or leg pains in its current position?
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Old 05-11-08, 03:33 PM   #9
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If it feels too high, it probably is. Just experiment by lowering it half a cm at a time. My method is that anything between the .883 formula and the heel on pedal method is probably going to be Ok, but you have to go with how it feels. Pedaling with the foot flat as opposed to pointing down makes a big difference in saddle height (easily a couple of cm or more). Personally, I think flat is better. Toes down for me means I'm just compensating for the saddle being too high for me.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jim p View Post
This is probably a question that cannot be answered. I have been riding for about 3 years and the seat always felt like it was adjusted perfectly. About 4 months ago I started doing yoga and it seems that I now have longer ham strings and calf muscles. It is now making my seat feel like it is too high. I am guessing that my feet are flatter on the pedals and maybe in the past I was pedaling with my toes a little down which gave the feeling of a well adjusted seat. So what do I need to do as far as adjusting the seat and what problems are going to jump out and get me when I start with the adjustments? I already have the seat back as far as it will go and moving it down is going to move it forward a little. I have the bars as high as they will go and lowering the seat will help some more. Oh what to do?

First, make the measurements as recommended in the thread, that's really good advice. If you get to feel "lost" or like the sense of progress is gone, you can at least go back and start over.

I find several discomfort points I look at. If I feel stress or pain after the ride in the front of my knees, I think I lowered the saddle too much. If I have hamstring discomfort (I don't do yoga but I should) teh saddle is too high. Rocking of hips leading to perineal or thigh-top chafing (inner thigh-top) is to me a sign of a saddle too high.

I had my saddle height set in a fitting. The fitter set it so my leg angle at my knee was 30 degrees with my foot at the bottom dead center, after a good warm-up. He also used KOPS as a knee-position criterion. I can't say it's right in any absolute sense, but it works for me. I've transferred these positionings to other bikes, with good success. I find I am balanced well on the bike when teh seat is right, being able to ride in the tops or some in the drops, and to stand with reasonable ease.

I tend to make adjustments in very small increments, 2 mm or so. Remember the saddle front-back changes when you raise the saddle.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:14 PM   #11
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In addition to the above advice search the fourm! There are lots of posts on bike fitting and saddle position.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:06 PM   #12
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Thanks again for the comments. I am not having any knee pain or hamstring pain so maybe the saddle is the correct heigth. I went for a ride today and after I got warmed up everything felt pretty good. I tried to pay close attention to my feet and they seemed level at the bottom of pedal stroke and I was able to stand and get out of the saddle fairly well but I did have to be careful getting back into the saddle especially if one foot was at the bottom of the pedal stroke. I also moved around on the seat a little and found a sweet spot where everything feels great. So I think that I will give it another week or so before I move anything.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-13-08, 01:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
Quick and dirty starting point. Adjust the seat height so your leg is fully extended with your heel on the pedal at the bottom of the stroke.

Now, when you put the ball of your foot on the pedal to ride, the knee will be slightly bent at full pedal stroke.

That's it...................
Excellent advice, specific, to the point, and, will work.
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Old 05-14-08, 06:36 AM   #14
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What if your knee is always slightly bent while riding, but if you coast with a leg straight down you can lock your knee?

Plus, my toe points down. That was OK last year, but this year it bugs me. I think I'll lower my seat.
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Old 05-14-08, 07:45 AM   #15
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Timturro,

Are you in better shape this year than before? Warming up gets the body ready for excersize and relaxes the muscles to prepare for extended activity. Think about how a golf swing feels as you warm up before playing. If the bike fit is comfortable, after you are warmed up, then the fit is probably good. You don't say what kind of bike you ride. If you are a roadie the yoga program will have strengthened your core muscles and that will cause you to feel different while riding. With stronger core muscles you could even lower the bar to be more areo and get more power into your stroke.
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