Adjusting your saddle height is one of the simplest adjustments to your bike. Finding your optimum saddle height can increase your pedaling efficiency, improve comfort and, most importantly, help prevent long-term injuries. It is therefore important to find your optimum saddle height, and there are a number of methods for doing this. There are easy ways to find your saddle height, these are described in this article. If you have recurring aches and pains, even after manually determining your saddle height, it might be an idea to look at professional bike fitting.
How do you know your saddle height is wrong?
There are three common methods to find your ideal saddle height yourself. But how do you know that your saddle is at the wrong height? First of all, the wrong saddle height is the source of many knee problems. If you are bothered by your knee during or after cycling, it is likely that you will have to change something with the height of your saddle. You have your saddle too high when your hips move up and down a lot while cycling. You must have seen one of these peopel on you local group ride. The hips go in all directions, it’s obvious when you ride behind this person. Your saddle is too low if your legs are not almost stretched during the revolutions.
You currently have a saddle height. It may turn out that after changing your saddle height it appears that you still want to return to your old saddle height. Then stick a piece of insulation tape around your seat post at the height where your seat post now enters the frame. If necessary, you can always go back to your old saddle height.
1. Heel / Pedal method
The most common way is the heel-to-pedal method, and although it does not include all factors, it will come close to your ideal saddle height. For the heel / pedal method you need a few acrobatic arts. The idea is that you sit on your bike that is standing still. The easiest way is when the bike is on your turbo trainer, but you can also ask if you can lean on someone or use a wall as support. Place your heel on the pedal and kick backwards to reach the six o’clock position. Your knee must be completely straight. If your knee is still bent then slightly raise your saddle. If your heel can no longer make contact with the pedal, your saddle is too high.
2. Inseem method (Lemond method)
The heel / pedal method comes close, but a slightly more accurate way of measuring is using your inner leg length and multiplying this by 0.883. This is also called the Lemond method, because Greg Lemond was the first to use this method of determining his saddle height. You measure your inseam by standing against a wall without your shoes on with a book in your hand. Place your legs about 15 cm apart and press the book firmly between your crotch. This shouldn’t be uncomfortable, but you can feel it. Then measure the distance between the floor and the top of the book. This your inseam. Multiply this number by 0.883 and you have measured your saddle height from the middle of your bottom bracket.
3. 109% method
A variant of the above method is the 109% method. You measure inside leg length, but multiply this number by 1.09. The number that comes out is the distance between the pedal and the saddle.
There is a tendency to raise the saddle in the spring or winter, because many endurance training rides are done with the hands on the handlebars. In the summer you can get into trouble when you ride more in the drops. So the trick is to find a saddle height that suits you throughout the year and with every training or race. Do you want to be sure that you are on the bike in a perfect way? Then do a dynamic bike fitting. During a dynamic bike fitting you will be properly put on your bike!