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Thread: Seat height.

  1. #1
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Seat height.

    I want to experiment with seat height. If I raise the seat to the 'ideal' height that is almost straight leg when pedalling, I find that a bit precarious/uncomfortable off-road as my c.o.g feels much higher, etc, etc. Do any of you lower your seat height off-road? I'm probably going to trade some pedalling efficiency for an a$$ that is closer to the ground. Comments?
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    I have my seat significantly lower than "ideal" on my mountain bike. One really good reason is that it lets me "float" the rear end of the bike, even while pedalling. And if I do need more leg extension I can slide back on the saddle, which has that effect.

    One of those areas where theory gives way to what actually works well, I guess.

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    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I don't understand why quick release seat post collars have fallen out of favor with manufacturers.

    A quick release is one of the first modifications I make to any new bike purchase.

    I always ride with my seat significantly lower than "optimum" for pedaling efficiency. It allows me to get OFF the back of the saddle. It also keeps my c.o.g. lower as you mentioned, and makes wheelies a lot easier. Oh yeah, when jumping it doesn't get in the way.

    I have my saddle probably 3 to 4 inches lower than optimum. a.k.a. BMX style.

    Now, when I'm riding a trail that has a lot of flat pedaling sections w/o a lot of technical, I'll raise the saddle.

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    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    a2psyklnut, I like your thinking on this subject, and it's the same as what I'm looking at. Some technical rides, where speed is maybe not so important do require a lower seat height. I was looking for reasons other than c.o.g and reduced pedalling efficiency to justify it. Getting behind the saddle will be easier when it's lower and getting a foot down in a hurry will be easier as well. Setting the post height is probably a pain in the butt if you have to do it often, but if I'm confronted by a long climb, I'd raise it. Inbetween, I'd probably leave it where it is, and risk a bit of leg burnout - I could always get off and push!

    Right now, I tend to ride on tracks that need a bit of caution, so the lower seat will help. I've found a lovely forest near where I live and it's full of rocks, and branches, and wet leaves, and cunningly disguised ruts, and I'm still developing my reaction balance to those conditions - something I never needed to worry about when I was a roadie. The lower seat is the way to go.

    Thanks for your perspective. I learn more and more from these forums every single day.
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  5. #5
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Lower seat all the way. Protects the dangly bits on hard rides and allows for easier stand over as well as those steep sections or drops you can more easily stick your butt out over the rear axle. Again I do agree on pure xc with no technical I raise the seat to 'optimum' level.

  6. #6
    pnj
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    I ride my seat really low for inner city riding. (i live in the concrete jungle)

    my inner city riding constists of wheelies, curb jumps, stairs, banks (angled cement) and zero riding in the street.
    I'm never going from point A to point B. or if I am, i'm doing all of the stuff mentioned above.

    when I go XC riding I pull my seat up. but it's still WAY lower than the rest of the folks i ride with. the only place it gets me is on the uphills that I need my weight on the back tire for traction.

    I don't mind walking up a short steep gravely/muddy hill if I can manuver over all the logs, roots and other items i come across in the trails.
    4130

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    Even though I'm only 30 years old, I suffer of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I necessarily have to ride my bike at the recommended seat (straight leg) height, otherwise my knees swell like crazy.

    I think that whenever any person rides at a lower seat height, knee damage happens, they just don't notice. My knees let me know for sure!

    And the opposite, if my knees are swollen, riding my bike at recommended seat height disappears the swelling.

    I definitely agree, though, that for technical downhills it would be great to bring the seat down.

    A seat quick release will be on my shopping list!

  8. #8
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Even though I'm only 30 years old, I suffer of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
    OfRoading347, sorry to hear about your problems with this. It must be quite a wrench to have to restrict yourself that way. It sounds like you've found the thing that works for you, so here's hoping you have no more trouble.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

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    higher the seat when you need pedaling leverage for climbs and such, lower it on down hill descends to shift weight to rear. gotta love quick release

  10. #10
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    yes, quick-release is a must...

    for downhills more than say 20% grade or large drops will stop and lower the seat all the way down. the lowered center of gravity and ability to get back behind the rear wheel plus not injuring myself on the seat in drops/jumps is a major plus.

    i have had knee problems in the past so for a long climbing section i raise the seat extra high to save my knees.

    here in the Alps, for most rides i can start with the seat extra high for flats and climbing, and then drop it all the way for the long steep downhills typical of the Alps. unfortunately then i cannot pedal much and/or have to stand to pedal. after the downhill i then raise to one of the other levels depending on how much technical i expect.

    sometimes it's a pain to stop and change the seat height, but it really helps my downhilling and technical riding. i used to always ride with the seat low, but that made my knee problems worse...

    i have 4 heights marked on my seat-post tube:
    1) extra high for climbing (i have knee problems) -- maybe 1/2 to 1" high
    2) optimum pedalling
    3) slightly-less than optimal pedaling (for all XC or XC races where i don't change the height but still have some technical/downhill) -- about 1/2" low
    4) all the way down for technical and exteme downhill -- about 5" low
    why drive when you can ride?
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  11. #11
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    i have 4 heights marked on my seat-post tube:
    How did you mark the seat tube? Permanent scratch marks or something temporary/removable?

    I like the idea of separate marks to make it quicker to adjust the height, but if you want to change it later and make that the new height, you could have more marks on the tube and that could make it a bit confusing if you have lots of them over time.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

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    Dont mark the seatpost with a scratch, esp with ultra-light components. You will generate a stress raiser and the post could crack.

  13. #13
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Dont mark the seatpost with a scratch, esp with ultra-light components. You will generate a stress raiser and the post could crack
    How would you do it? It needs to be something marked, for something like a bit of tape would not make it into the seat tube?

    I suppose a light-coloured permanent marker pen might do it?
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

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    i know tape wont work for sure. maybe marker?

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    Senior Member MtnBikerChk's Avatar
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    nail polish!
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    Come ride the Monkey.

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    Senior Member Alan Perkins's Avatar
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    I guess I'm the odd duck here. I NEVER change my seat post height, and all my bikes are within 1 cm of each other. Basically, I measure it out, taking into consideration my crank length, shoes and pedals, and pretty leave it alone. For me, this includes the moutain bike.

  17. #17
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    nail polish!
    Excellent idea!

    I was wondering how long it would take someone to mention nail polish, honest...
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  18. #18
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    hmm... nail polish is a decent idea.

    i have used some markers in the past, but some don't last too long. i have been planning to get some of those paint markers (a friend used them and it worked well). currently i have a big tape-reflector marking the lowest setting (so i CAN'T lower the post and hurt my air-shock) and then VERY LIGHT scratches for 2 other settings and then a marker line for the optimal one...

    yeah, the scratches aren't the best idea and i made sure to keep them REALLY light... some time here i will use a paint marker or try nail polish. b/c of the breakage danger i can't recommend the scratch method although i personally don't know how dangerous it is (mine are not super-light although the oval kind)
    why drive when you can ride?
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    I keep my seat at the optimum pedal efficiency height.

    Where I live its mainly pretty flat offroad trails and some gravelly sections thrown in, so its all pretty fast riding but a pain in the arse if I need too put my feet down in a hurry, which ussually happens on gravel as I just cant resist going around corners sidewards even though it shags my tires and doesnt exactly help outright speed.

  20. #20
    Senior Member firebolt's Avatar
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    I use the seat-post reflector clamp to mark the absolute lowest seat-post height that I would ever ride with. Then I use my fingers as the guideline in raising the seatpost. For me, +3 fingers is my optimum pedalling position. +2 fingers for comfort ride. +1 or 0 for technical ride. Works great for me

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