Author Topic: Saddle height  (Read 1740 times)

ourclarioncall

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Saddle height
« on: April 15, 2021, 05:31:28 PM »
Does everyone go in for recommended saddle height where your leg is almost straight ?

Or in other words, crank the saddle up ridiculously high so that you wobble left and right when you cycle and your knees lock out .... then slowly start dropping the saddle height down till the wobbling stops and your legs feel good , but your still really high up. Well, much higher than you normally would be and much higher than 99% of the population

I had fun experimenting with this and was amazed how much more power I had. I remember doing this on my sons bike (a smaller 18Ē frame hybrid bike) and thought wow as I blasted up slight hills with ease in comparison to how I normally struggled up.

The disadvantage is the bars are normally cut low for a sporty position so when the seat goes really high , the bars feel super low. But Iíd be really interesting to know how it feels on a Thorn bike where the bars can be lifted higher

I also wonder when ordering a Thorn bike if they take your chosen saddle height into consideration or if itís just taken for granted everyone will adopt the most efficient riding position and thatís factored into the frame size they recommended for you, or if saddle height is not so important and you have a bit of wiggle room .it doesnít take big adjustments to make big differences with saddle height I have found

Iíve now settled on a lower saddle height as a compromise but really want to get it back up

Danneaux

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2021, 06:30:36 PM »
Riding with a saddle that is too high can cause the pelvis to rock side to side, causing some serious chafing of the crotch and inner thighs.

That said, if it is your preference and you've had good luck with it, then go for it. Everyone is different and has their own desired fit.

I know a number of people who actually prefer to ride frames so much too large for them, they have less than the required standover and must mount and dismount from the side, draping a thigh over the top tube when getting on and off the bicycle. Not to my taste but "normal" for someone who might have ridden "too big" bikes as a kid and grew up used to the feel. They generally mount the bike by placing a foot on the near-side pedal, push off and then swing a leg over as the bike as it accelerates forward. I know a number of my randonneuring friends in Japan prefer tall frames with horizontal top tubes and less than a fistful of seatpost visible.

I prefer to set my saddle position in relation to the bottom bracket first, then adjust my reach to the handlebars secondary to that with back angle in mind. I like to center my knee over the pedal spindle (KOPS -- Knee Over Pedal Spindle) and have a slight bend to my knee when the pedal is at the bottom of its downward stroke. One quick way to home in on the right  bend for me is to place my heel on the pedal so my leg is fully extended. That way, when my foot is on the pedal (remembering KOPS), my knee is close to the right amount of bend. Everything that follows is down to simple fine tuning in a matter of millimeters. I'm real sensitive to saddle position and especially height and I find I must extend my seatpost a bit over time as my Brooks saddle's leather cover begins to shape and sag a little -- 3-5mm can make or break the fit for me.

Handlebar height and reach are determined after I get my saddle placement correct. I prefer the tops of my drop handlebars the same height as my saddle-top or no more than 50mm lower with stem reach being whatever gives me a 45į back angle with my hands atop the brake hoods.

Overall, my bike fitting methods are close to how I position my driver's seat in a car: Fore-aft so I can fully depress the clutch and accelerator pedals, then tilt the seatback until my arms are locked-out with my hands at the 12 o'clock position. That way, when I drive in my preferred 9-and-3 o'clock hand positions, my arms have enough bend to fully turn the wheel without locking out my elbows or over-stretching my arms.

As with all things, "your mileage may vary".

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 07:13:42 PM by Danneaux »

JohnR

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2021, 06:59:52 PM »
My saddle height is that which lets me put the front part of my left foot on the ground when stopped without moving off the saddle. I recall that the Mercury BB is about 1cm lower than the previous bike which means that the legs get slightly straighter when pedalling. I know that if the seat post slips down then I can feel that the saddle position is less efficient. I haven't tried anything higher which fails my toes on ground test.

ourclarioncall

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2021, 07:12:42 PM »
Dan

Sorry for the confusion , what I meant was , if you want to find your parameters or boundaries, then itís an idea to start just outside of them in a position that you know is wrong (rocking pelvis)

Then you can slowly drop the post till you get back within your boundary line as it were.

If someone were to ask , what is the highest I can possibly raise my seat while still feeling comfortable then that could be a way to do it.

Then I would encourage dropping he seat lower and lower increasingly till you find where itís just too low , then have a much greater understanding of potential positions and how they effect performance

Danneaux

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2021, 07:15:34 PM »
Quote
Sorry for the confusion , what I meant was... 
Thanks!  :) I understand now.

Best,

Dan.

martinf

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2021, 07:59:18 PM »
One quick way to home in on the right  bend for me is to place my heel on the pedal so my leg is fully extended. That way, when my foot is on the pedal (remembering KOPS), my knee is close to the right amount of bend. Everything that follows is down to simple fine tuning in a matter of millimeters. I'm real sensitive to saddle position and especially height and I find I must extend my seatpost a bit over time as my Brooks saddle's leather cover begins to shape and sag a little -- 3-5mm can make or break the fit for me.

For saddle height I use the same method. Perhaps a bit less precise than Dan, but (allowing for the springs when present) measured saddle height is within a range of a few mm for all my bikes.

The angle of the saddle is quite critical for me. With a Brooks B17 I have the nose of the saddle about 20 mm lower than the highest part of the rear of the saddle. I measure this on level ground with a straight edge and a spirit level.

Handlebar height is less critical for me, with drop bars I set the highest part a bit lower than the highest part of the saddle, again using a straight edge and a spirit level. The bars are currently set about 30 mm lower than saddle on my fast day bike, and about 18 mm lower on my loaded tourer. The position of the brake levers is also a factor, as most of the time I ride with my hands on the brake lever hoods.

And on most of my bikes I have left sufficient adjustment to easily raise the bars if I need to as I get older.

leftpoole

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2021, 09:49:22 AM »
Does everyone go in for recommended saddle height where your leg is almost straight ?

Or in other words, crank the saddle up ridiculously high so that you wobble left and right when you cycle and your knees lock out .... then slowly start dropping the saddle height down till the wobbling stops and your legs feel good , but your still really high up. Well, much higher than you normally would be and much higher than 99% of the population

I had fun experimenting with this and was amazed how much more power I had. I remember doing this on my sons bike (a smaller 18Ē frame hybrid bike) and thought wow as I blasted up slight hills with ease in comparison to how I normally struggled up.

The disadvantage is the bars are normally cut low for a sporty position so when the seat goes really high , the bars feel super low. But Iíd be really interesting to know how it feels on a Thorn bike where the bars can be lifted higher

I also wonder when ordering a Thorn bike if they take your chosen saddle height into consideration or if itís just taken for granted everyone will adopt the most efficient riding position and thatís factored into the frame size they recommended for you, or if saddle height is not so important and you have a bit of wiggle room .it doesnít take big adjustments to make big differences with saddle height I have found

Iíve now settled on a lower saddle height as a compromise but really want to get it back up

Yes, my way and it has worked perfectly for me over many many years without fail. Talk of having knee bend etc is in my opinion nonsense!

Aleman

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2021, 10:31:37 AM »
When I got my road bike, I was having various issues with hand pain and numbness, so too the advice to have a pro bike fit. The chap recommended used to be a mechanic with British Cycling and really knows his stuff. I have a set of measurements that transfer pretty much from bike to bike ... assuming the frame size is appropriate ;) ... There is a little variance and a bit of trial and error involved in getting it spot on, but having a baseline to work with helps a lot!

As for setting the post too high NOOOO!!!! Ideally you should have a 6 degree bend in the knee when the leg is at the bottom of the stroke, although this tends to be a compromise if like most people, you have one leg longer than the other.

PH

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2021, 11:15:23 AM »
Bike fit questions are a tough one.  Everyone thinks they're an expert and usually they are at best only an expert about their own fit.  Everything is related (How does the song go "Your knee bone is connected to you thigh bone...") and making one change without an understanding of how it impacts the others may lead you to wrong conclusions, good or bad. In addition to that, people do have different sensitivities to different positions.  Some people are convinced they can tell the difference a few mm makes to their riding, maybe some can, but a lot of it is hocus pocus.  If it wasn't no one would ride a bike with an EBB, or ever wear different shoes or shorts without also changing he saddle height. I had a professional fit about twenty years ago, it was included in the cost of a bike otherwise it would have been £75 even back then.  They made quite a few changes, a few mm here a few there, but also a considerable longer reach and higher bars.  It felt wrong at first, I'd never have made those changes myself, but after a while I preferred it and have stuck with that fit since. I was happy with my riding position before, I've been a bit happier with it since, it was beneficial but it wasn't life changing.  I'm convinced that for most of us, bike fit is a range rather than a specific.  I'm even more convinced that the more you ride the less it matters, I have no evidence for that, but it's certainly my experience.

martinf

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2021, 05:29:27 PM »
If it wasn't no one would ride a bike with an EBB, or ever wear different shoes or shorts without also changing he saddle height.

Most of the time I use very similar cycling shoes with rather thin soles, so saddle height is set for them. I did raise the saddle height for a long tour for which I used a different model of cycling shoes with rather thick soles.

But I never bother for rides with non-cycling footwear, which are generally wellies or hiking boots, most of the time for short dstances.


ourclarioncall

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2021, 06:22:07 PM »
Anyone done any real work experiments with pedals to see if your x amount of percent faster?

If I could do 100 miles in the time it normal takes to do 85 that would be interesting

PH

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2021, 11:48:48 PM »
Anyone done any real work experiments with pedals to see if your x amount of percent faster?

If I could do 100 miles in the time it normal takes to do 85 that would be interesting
Plenty of research, much of it contradictory, for example recent studies show the advantages of being clipped in have been previously overestimated. 
But you're not going to get a 15% increas by doing anything, unless the starting point was truly dreadful. 
Primary concern is being comfortable enough to complete you objective, if that's long touring days, then it has to be very comfortable, it becomes pretty much the only consideration.

JohnR

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Re: Saddle height
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2021, 10:53:20 AM »
Primary concern is being comfortable enough to complete your objective, if that's long touring days, then it has to be very comfortable, it becomes pretty much the only consideration.
Well said.  :) For example, if, after a couple of hours riding, I have to consciously think about whether or not the leather saddle is getting more comfortable then I know it is.

One also has to remember that the other variables affecting each ride, most notably wind, make it difficult to use time and overall speed as a measure of whether an adjustment is for better or worse so comfort becomes an important indicator.