Getting Your Saddle Height…Right!!
Why Is Saddle Height So Tricky!?
It’s a constant source of confusion and frustration…what should your saddle height be?
I experimented mainly within about a 10mm range for most of the time, up and down from around the 78cm mark (measured from the centre of the BB to the top of the saddle along the line of the seat tube).
I did occasionally stray even higher. Now I’m a bike fitter I cringe at a few. photos and videos with me using seat heights around 80-81cm…WAY too high for me.
For reference…I’m now pretty dialled in and I use 7.5mm shorter cranks and my seat is at 76.8cm!! So roughly 1.2cm lower than my average used and that’s with 165mm cranks instead of the 172.5’s.
So why is it so hard to figure out! I’ll try and explain what I’ve learned over the years and how to avoid the big mistakes.
Why are Most People Setting it Too High?
The reason I decided to write this post is that I’m constantly seeing people posting/asking for bike fit and aero fit advice on Facebook and the overwhelming majority have a seat that is not just a bit high, but WAY too high!
There seems to be a thought that a higher saddle means more power. I definitely fell into that trap. When you think about it, that makes no sense!! The most power will come from having your saddle at the correct height for you.
I think some of the issue comes from the mistaken belief that you’ll get more power from your glutes if you are higher…or maybe more that people think if you are too low, you can’t take advantage of your glutes…either way, it’s a mistake.
Don’t Just Ride EASY!!
It winds me up when people post videos online asking for bike fit advice and they are clearly doing about 30 Watts!!! Unless that’s all you can do and is what you will ride and train at…you need to go harder…A LOT HARDER!!!
Kinematics change as you ride harder, so you need to have a look at some different intensities. To start with I’d say it makes sense to ride at an endurance pace and get close to what you think is a good saddle height. Then you need to start ramping it up to get it closer and make sure your position holds up as you ride harder. If it doesn’t, make very small adjustments now and see how it goes. If you have a power meter you can be fairly objective about the riding intensity, which helps.
I’m a bike fitter, so it’s no surprise I think a bike fit is a good idea. But there are some simple things you can do to make sure you don’t get yourself into too much trouble with injuries. Trial and error, combined with a methodical approach will get you a long way and you will learn a lot, so can be valuable in the long run.
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