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Calculating proper seat height

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Calculating proper seat height

Old 07-21-10, 09:29 AM
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Calculating proper seat height

Hello road cyclists,

I thought you all might be the best group to ask this to. I am trying to get my seat height just right on my new to me used road bike. The Internet has seemingly millions of opinions on adjusting it, yet most seem more like opinion than some type of fact or actual method. However, I read about the method that Rivendell recommends (PBH - 10 to 10.5cm = SH or PBH x 0.883= SH) and have been using it. It seems to be working ok but I would like to really get the seat tight just right. My right knee is somewhat sketchy, all the time not just biking, so I am worried that incorrect adjustment could further its problems without me realizing it. So, does the Rivendell method work well, or is there some other method I should use.

Also, I have adjusted the seat fore and aft after doing the seat height to be sure I am correctly over the pedal spindles. And, I am using old style road pedals with toe clips and straps.

Thanks for any input you all may have.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:34 AM
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There are so many different ways to do it. Not any one way is correct.

A good starting point for me is to adjust the saddle height so that when I'm sitting on it, my heel is right above the pedal when it's parallel with the seat tube. To do this sit on your bike with no shoes, get the crank parallel with the seat tube, then fully extend one leg (don't lean over) and it should be hovering about an inch above the pedal. I noticed if I'm using clipless pedal that inch may be a little more.

From there make small adjustments after you've ridden a few miles.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:11 AM
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Methods based on leg length or heel position are guaranteed to be inaccurate because they do not take into consideration your cleat position, shoe thickness, pedal type, etc. The only method that I recommend to others is the 30 degree knee angle when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

A quick-and-dirty method that works for some people is to set your saddle somewhat low, then gradually raise it in small increments. After each change go for a short ride and have someone watch you from behind. When your hips stop rocking, you have the correct saddle height.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:19 AM
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Any calculation used is merely a starting point and they all get you close enough. Then you adjust during or after rides to fine tune the height until it feels right. If you don't know how to get to the right height recruit someone who does so you don't end up in the extremes of too high or too low.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:20 AM
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Simple reality check is to put your heel on the pedal. Your leg should be fully extended in this fashion at the bottom of the stroke. Works remarkably well. Then you can tweak from there.
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