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  1. #1
    Junior Member joshsr102912's Avatar
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    question about proper seat height/tilt

    Hey everyone im still learning about how to set my bike up for my best comfort. I went on a 13 mile bike ride which for me was very long. It hurt really bad towards the end on my butt that's the main reason I had to slow down and head on in. My question is could it be the height/tilt of my seat ? I got it recently as a gift and have only replaced the tires/ cables and breaks but haven't touched my seat.



    The above picture is one I got from the internet but its almost exactly the same except my handle bars are straight. Currently I have my seat completely straight and even with my handle bars.

    I've tried looking around for the proper ways to set my bike up properly for me but some of the information just changes from one person to anothers opinion.


    Any info I can get on this would be great or any links that would be a good way to go about it.

    Thanks everyone!
    He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
    Muhammad Ali

  2. #2
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    Butt pain is normal for a 13 mile ride if you haven't yet acclimated to the saddle and mileage. Give it a couple days to heal if you have to. If I take a couple months off the bike it usually takes me about 3 to 5 good rides before my posterior gets used to the saddle and don't suffer anymore.

    Saddle height should be such that your knee should only be slightly bent when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Don't point your foot or anything, just use a natural motion. Basically you want to be able to properly extend the leg for maximum power without over-extending, which will cause the hips to rock from side to side. If you can feel your hips rocking then lower the saddle a bit, etc.

    Saddle tilt should be be such that you don't slide forward or backward, and you don't feel parts digging into your ...junk and stuff. Starting from level, you might want to tilt the nose up slightly to keep from sliding forward. Very small adjustments can feel very noticeable so take it a tiny bit at a time.

    If your saddle has a lot of padding you might notice that it pushes into the soft tissue and makes your junk numb. This is bad. You only really want pressure and padding on the "sit bone" region where the majority of your sitting weight is supported on the bike. You *may* need a new saddle at some point but wait until you've got more miles and saddle time to see how you adjust first. However, if you're not getting numb or abrasion sores you'll probably be OK. For now at least.

  3. #3
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    Oh yes, and welcome to the forum!

  4. #4
    Junior Member joshsr102912's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. Koto View Post
    Butt pain is normal for a 13 mile ride if you haven't yet acclimated to the saddle and mileage. Give it a couple days to heal if you have to. If I take a couple months off the bike it usually takes me about 3 to 5 good rides before my posterior gets used to the saddle and don't suffer anymore.

    Saddle height should be such that your knee should only be slightly bent when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Don't point your foot or anything, just use a natural motion. Basically you want to be able to properly extend the leg for maximum power without over-extending, which will cause the hips to rock from side to side. If you can feel your hips rocking then lower the saddle a bit, etc.

    Saddle tilt should be be such that you don't slide forward or backward, and you don't feel parts digging into your ...junk and stuff. Starting from level, you might want to tilt the nose up slightly to keep from sliding forward. Very small adjustments can feel very noticeable so take it a tiny bit at a time.

    If your saddle has a lot of padding you might notice that it pushes into the soft tissue and makes your junk numb. This is bad. You only really want pressure and padding on the "sit bone" region where the majority of your sitting weight is supported on the bike. You *may* need a new saddle at some point but wait until you've got more miles and saddle time to see how you adjust first. However, if you're not getting numb or abrasion sores you'll probably be OK. For now at least.

    Ok cool thanks for the reply I'll try to check those things you mentioned and see if anything is off . OK cool I will just keep going and see how it goes my next planned ride is tomorrow but my butt is still pretty sore lol. One more thing do I noticed mild hand pain by the end of my ride where I had to keep shaking my hands to get the pain down a little.is this normal? I lift weights often so I don't think my hands are weak


    And thank you I'm glad to be here!
    Last edited by joshsr102912; 04-25-14 at 08:31 PM. Reason: quote
    He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
    Muhammad Ali

  5. #5
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    Hand pain is not good. It can be because of just doing a new activity and it might get better with more practice or it could be something worse. I can't ride a flat-bar bike more than a couple miles because of nerve entrapment, and it's not a matter of strength but hand position. My hands will literally cease to function. Most people don't have this problem though.

    Hopefully in your case it's just a matter of getting used to holding the handlebars for extended lengths of time. It's not like lifting where you only gotta hold the bar for a minute or so at a time and really hold on tight. With the bike a loose-ish grip is better. Also, it's better to use your core strength to support your body rather than leaning on the handlebars.

    Padded gloves are relatively cheap and seem to help a lot of people, and ergon grips or bar-ends are nice because they give you choices for hand positions. It's important to stop and shake out the hands if they start feeling painful or numb though, and if it becomes a persistent problem you should look into a better set of handlebars or those ergon grips that offer more hand position choices.
    Last edited by J.C. Koto; 04-25-14 at 08:50 PM.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Go ride a bit, and in a place where you can coast, put your heel on the pedal. You should have a slight bend in your knee. If you have quite a significant bend, you'll want to raise the saddle. If your leg is fully extended, you'll want to lower the saddle.

    As for tilt, if it feels fine, leave it, but you might want to consider making it level.

    And yes, it is normal to feel pain for the first few rides. After half a dozen rides, however, you should be used to it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    I have tried several saddle positions and found for me height setting at 5 inches above pants inseam length to be perfect. Measure your top middle of saddle to the pedal shaft in the lowest position. set your seat height at your inseam + 5 inches.
    For saddle tilt put the part your sit bones rest on level to the ground. If it rubs up front tilt it down if you slide forward tilt it back. Make all adjustments in as small of an increment as possible.
    Get some good padded gloves for your hand pain and get padded riding shorts !!!
    Ride a few times between adjustments. More riding time helps more than anything.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
    I have tried several saddle positions and found for me height setting at 5 inches above pants inseam length to be perfect.
    I never thought about it that way but, FWIW, that's exactly what the saddle height on my conventional bikes works out to be.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  9. #9
    Junior Member joshsr102912's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
    I have tried several saddle positions and found for me height setting at 5 inches above pants inseam length to be perfect. Measure your top middle of saddle to the pedal shaft in the lowest position. set your seat height at your inseam + 5 inches.
    For saddle tilt put the part your sit bones rest on level to the ground. If it rubs up front tilt it down if you slide forward tilt it back. Make all adjustments in as small of an increment as possible.
    Get some good padded gloves for your hand pain and get padded riding shorts !!!
    Ride a few times between adjustments. More riding time helps more than anything.
    Hey guys cool thanks for the replys I went on another ride yesterday went 25 miles total my first real ride was only 13 miles when I got off my bike at home my legs just went completely like jello lol I'm feeling it bad but on the upside I had no hand pain at all. I had very little. Butt pain almost non but its sore today. I adjusted my seat a little and I have a bend in my knee but not sure if its toooo much.

    One more question guys how long will it take to see gains in endurance riding every other day? My goal is to keep a steady pace for a long ride the trail I do is I think 14 miles ( just over 14) one way I got so close to finishing it yesterday but it was getting dark and my legs were getting to weak . I want to be able to do the whole trail at a decent pace and then slowly improve my ride time after that right now my avg speed is only 12 mph
    He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
    Muhammad Ali

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