What is the correct Saddle Height while riding a cycle.

Date: 2022-01-18 Posted by: Yogesh Chauhan, Co-Founder & CEO, Beetle Bikes

What is the correct Saddle Height while riding a cycle.

Adjusting the saddle height correctly is one of the easiest, but one of the most overlooked aspect of riding a bike – both for adults as well as for children.

I get a lot questions of friends/acquaintances, who bought a new cycles since the pandemic began, and had to quit within the first 2 weeks because they suffered from aches and pains in their knees or their buttocks after cycling. The first thing I ask them is to show me an image of them riding their bike.

And in most cases, I find that the saddle has been positioned incorrectly – either too high, or, more frequently, too low.

Even when you look around, a majority of people who are into leisure cycling, have their saddle heights set incorrectly.

So what is the correct saddle height?

Before we get there, the assumption is that you have bought a cycle that is suitable for your height; i.e., it is not too large or too small. If the frame/wheel size combination itself is not as per your height, the saddle position wont be able to help much as there is only about 6-10 cm of movement available for the Saddle. With an incorrect sized bike, saddle adjustment will not be able to compensate for the bike size mismatch.

To choose a bike size correctly, read some of our other blogs. You must know how to choose the right bike size, irrespective of if you are buying the bike online or from a retail store. 

Now for adjusting the Saddle height.

In most cases, I find that the user wants to adjust the saddle to a position so that they can rest their foot on the ground while sitting on the saddle.

This is the wrong position. The saddle is too low.

When riding a bike, you should NOT be able to reach the ground with your feet. If this position is kept, your knees will be in a continuous bent position – even when the pedal is at the bottom position.

The ideal saddle position is such that while seated on the saddle, when your foot is at the bottom position while pedaling, the knee should be ‘almost’ straight. If the knee bends fully/partially when the pedal is at the bottom position, you need to raise the saddle height till you reach this position. 

Essentially what we are trying to do is to let the knee alternate between bending and straightening. With a low saddle, the knee does not get to recover since it remains in a bent position continuously.

Applying the same logic on a saddle that is too high, if you find that you have to stretch your leg fully to reach the bottom of the pedal, or have to bend your foot at the ankle to reach the pedal, the saddle height is too high and needs to be lowered. In this case, while your knee will get its recovery, there is a high chance of pain in the buttocks due to over stretching of the legs.

Apart from height, modern saddles also allow a slight lateral movement(front to back) and a rotational movement that allows the saddle nose to remain flat, point upwards or downwards. 

In almost cases, the best case is to leave the saddle level flat. Any downward or upward pointing of the saddle nose will lead to the rider sliding back or forwards, and will cause pressure on the arms while you try and balance your position.

Lateral movement helps in moving the saddle closer to the handlebar by a little bit, and can improve ride position – especially useful in the case of long rides(100 km and above).

The riding experience can change phenomenally if the saddle position is correctly adjusted. Check your ride position today and correct it if required; it will go a long way in ensuring that you enjoy cycling much more in case it was not correct earlier.

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