i have been riding for 6 years now. and the question of how i am suppose to have my seat adjusted always comes as a pain in the ass. i've read stuff that said you get most power out of your stride when your legs are the most extented, and then i read that your suppose to sit on the back most part of your bottom as you can. and i cant seem to get the most out ot my stride and sit on my butt bone at the same time.. being 6 3 probably doesn't help. but i have honestly probably tried every seat adjustment i can do on my bike. could it be the seat itself that makes me uncomfortable. i either have no power (from a low seat), and correct placement, or ful power (raised seat) and uncomfortable after say an hour of riding. i thought about getting a vented seat, but haven't yet. thats my next step. could some please tell me how to setup my seat, and not get fatigue from either a sore butt, or sore legs...
I have found that for speed that I have to sit forward on my seat. For cruising I sit at the back part of the seat. As to the height of the seat I keep my seat adjusted so that my knee is just short of locked straight.
thats how i have my seat adjusted, but it still gives me problems. it is also a 6 year old seat... do seats cushions get worn out? sense im gonna try the vented seat idea anyone got any favorites that should have me look into. remember im on a kaitai mountain bike. so i dont need a road racing vented seat.
My understanding (and it works best for me) is that you should be sitting on your sit bones, not your butt bone. If the saddle height is right, that will put you with the longest leg position, in which your knee should be slightly bent (just shy of straight).
I find my pedaling is most powerful when my sit bones are firmly positioned square in the biggest part of the saddle and my butt is hanging over the back a bit (I suppose this depends on butt size... I'm about 30 lbs over weight, so your mileage will vary). It feels odd and because my saddle doesn't fit me well (a new one is winging to me in the mail as we speak) I don't stay in that position very easily. But it is where I'm most powerful and have the least soft tissue pain.
In general, seat height, seat tilt and the reach to your handlebars should be established based on a "best fit" relative to your body size.
As you ride on different terrain you do as GeorgeSnatcher suggests with regard to power...
Climbing: You slide your butt further back on the saddle -- behind the neutral postion and further back of the bottom bracket -- to bring your quadriceps more into play.
Fast, flats: You slide your butt forward on the saddle -- in front of the neutral position and above the bottom bracket -- to leverage your hamstrings.
Regarding seats, the foundation materials used in most modern saddles will tend to break down if they were somewhat thick to begin with. In a word, thick padding on saddles is a "bad" thing. The older they get the worse they are as they let and more weight move onto the soft tissues where nerves and blood vessels can end up being restricted leading to all kinds of discomfort. A firm saddle is a good thing.
Anotomic cut-outs are also not necessarily bad things if they are part of a firm saddle for a variety of reasons but they're not for everyone. I've found that I like them relative to pressure relief on the "tweeners" and for the free air conditioning. It's amazing how much cooler a cut-out saddle is on a hot day vs a solid model.
Can't say much about the gel saddles. I've got some on my single bikes w/out the anotomic cut-out and my biggest issue is they're too soft and the coverings seem to wear out fairly fast.