Getting your saddle height right is crucial for any cyclist and it is probably the easiest adjustment to make on your bike. A correctly set saddle height is one of the main factors that will be considered in any professional bike fitting.
Avoiding discomfort and offering economy during your ride are two important themes but this is not the only issues that may arise from having your saddle height wrong. Too low or too high are both bad and finding the sweet spot is the key. Optimum positioning finds the sweet spot and will allow you to pedal efficiently whilst preventing any discomfort or indeed any long-term injury.
If you look at it this way.. your body will pedal whatever the position you put yourself into, however, some positions are more comfortable, efficient and offer smoother power delivery. All of these factors give you better endurance on your bike or simply more power allowing you to cover more distance for the same energy expenditure.
A professional bike fit will look at saddle height as only one of a number of factors as you need to take into account your flexibility, fore and aft placement, cleat position, knee position, handlebar height and type ….. I could go on!
Research suggests that you only need to be a centimeter out on your optimal position and you will have a noticeable difference. Finding your optimum cycling position, which includes your saddle height, will see a decrease in your overall energy expenditure for a given power output. Less work for the same power! A comprehensive professional bike fit can address the issues you may have and will usually take around two hours to complete.
• Which pedals and cleats should I choose?
• How do I set up my cleats and pedals?
Can saddle height effect the knees?
Flexible joints of the leg rely on tendons, ligaments and muscles to keep them in the correct orientation. Greg says that he commonly sees riders with knee pain who have come for a professional bike fit at Doctor Sprockets Cycle Workshop on The Wirral near Liverpool.
Knee pain when cycling can be caused by many factors but saddle height is a major contributor in most cases. Correct setting with an open leg angle near to 150 degrees ( for many riders) can remove the pains and aches but more importantly prevent any long term damage.If you consider how many revolutions your knees make in a ride of an hour at 70 rpm ( 4200 times) it is easy to understand on a decent ride you can easily cause yourself pain or damage from repetitive strain. The Iliotibial Band ( ITB) can be a major cause of knee pain in cyclists and this is commonly over exerted from a poor saddle height.
• Adjust your saddle height in small stages not all at once. Ride and adjust again if needed.
•Make this an ongoing process, keep assessing your saddle height as your flexibility improves.
• Stretching vastly improves your riding comfort
• Check as Crank lengths can be different if you ride more than one bike.
• Suffer in silence! Your position should not cause you pain.
• Try to be a Pro rider. They do this day in day out and can get into extreme positions! Set yourself up for comfort when you begin and dial in the power as you progress.
• After you make any adjustment check your saddle is in line dead ahead and you torque up the bolts to the right spec.
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Doctor Sprockets Cycle Workshop is a trading style for Doctor Sprocket Ltd. Company Reg no 10757920.