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Thread: Saddle Height

  1. #1
    Senior Member apollored's Avatar
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    Saddle Height

    Have always been curious as to why some cyclists have their saddles way higher than the handlebars.

    What benefits does this have and why do you do it?


    Like on this Giant Anthem. How can having a saddle this high be comfortable and doesnt it cause back strain etc?
    Last edited by apollored; 09-25-12 at 01:37 PM.
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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Aerodynamics for more speed.

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    Senior Member Aeolis's Avatar
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    More aero positioning. My seats like 2inches above my handlebars. Some people prefer more, some less
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    For what it's worth, I rode like that for about 25 years, up to 5000 miles a year, because that's how the real riders do it. I was always uncomfortable and never very fast. A few years ago I raised the bars so they're about level with the saddle. I'm still not fast (though I'm no slower), but I can ride 25 percent longer before I seize up. Some of the techniques and setups we borrow from the pros aren't always right for a recreational rider who does a few hours a week.

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    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Comfortable riding position for me.
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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Proper saddle height has nothing to do with the handlebars. Are you asking why someone would want low handlebars?
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    Way more comfortable position on my road bike. Higher saddle to bars means I put less weight on my butt, and more on my hands and feet.

    I finally got my stem slammed down, and I'll probably be looking into negative degree stems soon. With my back straight, my pelvis tipped forward, and my weight on the front part of my sit bones, I feel pretty damn comfy for hours.

    This isn't a position that originally came natural to me. I worked on it over a long period of time, and with lots of experimentation.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    What benefits does this have and why do you do it?
    I dont, because I'm not in a race.. I aged out of that years ago..

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    Proper saddle height has nothing to do with the handlebars. Are you asking why someone would want low handlebars?
    +1

    It isn't that the saddle is high ... the saddle absolutely needs to be the right height. It is that the handlbars are low. Handlebars can be various heights depending how the rider likes to ride.

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    I agree with Matchka, begin with the saddle. A good guide to start, is to set the height so your heel can just rest on the pedal and the front of the saddle about 3 inches behind a plumb line up from the centre of the bottom bracket. The height and reach to the bars is a matter of preference, but the higher they are the more weight you will put on your backside.

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    you dont want the seatpost too high or it can cause the frame to bend or crack.

    if you have to raise the seatpost really high just to get comfortable then the frame might be too small for your body.

  12. #12
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    That anthem probably has bars about even with saddle but perspective makes them look lower.

    Lower bars help even out weight distribution and make you more aero.

    Somehow this frame has endured this seatpost for 16 years now.


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  13. #13
    Senior Member Jim Kukula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernlights View Post
    you dont want the seatpost too high or it can cause the frame to bend or crack.

    if you have to raise the seatpost really high just to get comfortable then the frame might be too small for your body.
    The key variable is not the amount of seatpost that is showing, but how much is hidden, i.e. how much is clamped down inside the seat tube, inside the frame. You want at least a couple inches of seatpost down in the frame. Otherwise the leverage of the seat can wiggle the seatpost too much inside the frame and cause damage.

    Lots of bikes these days have sloping top tubes which makes for short seat tubes and long seatposts. As long as enough of the seatpost is left in the frame, no problem.

    But yeah, the distance from saddle to bottom bracket has to fit your leg length quite precisely. The handlebars can go up or down or back and forth quite a large range - what's best depends on how and where you ride.

  14. #14
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Another good rule of thumb I've read that seems reasonable is that the seatpost should go at least a little bit past the bottom of the top tube.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  15. #15
    Senior Member Jim Kukula's Avatar
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    I have quite a bit of seatpost exposed too:




    but the seat is pretty much level with the handlebars so this is actually quite relaxed:
    Last edited by Jim Kukula; 09-26-12 at 08:06 PM.

  16. #16
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I ran this setup for a few days this summer. Frame definitely too small for me
    Still had 3.5" of seatpost in the tube so it seemed safe enough to me but saddle was still a little low.


    2012-07-07_10-41-35_205.jpg by Lester Of Puppets, on Flickr
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  17. #17
    Fast for a sloth miwoodar's Avatar
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    My back hurts when I sit too upright.

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