saddle height & speed?

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by ron19, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. ron19

    ron19 New Member

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    :eek: Hi, I am relatively new to cycling at the age of 56 but am now getting more into it. I did 800 miles last year and have been doing 80 to 100 miles a week this summer. Scenario : when I was a kid, I was taught that you should always be able to put your feet down whilst sitting. I bought a cheapish road bike from Decathlon and I had to set it up myself - so I dropped the seat so I could touch the ground. Having watched some local races I see that the serious guys have the seats well higher than this.
    Question ???? How much speed am I losing because of poor aerodynamics - and because i'm chicken ?

    Thanks in advance for any comments and advice
    Ron
    :eek: :eek: sorry this shouldn't be in mountain biking :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
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  2. AzzaC

    AzzaC New Member

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    I wouldn't be concerned at all about 'poor aerodynamics' riding with your seat too low as it results in minimal gain.

    I would be MUCH more concerned on overall pedalling efficiency, both physiologically and especially biomechanically. With the seat too low, you basically are limiting your range of motion at the knee and ankle joint. This limits the output of your leg muscles, so the force that they are generating is being wasted as they are being applied in the wrong direction.

    In the long term, riding with the seat drastically low (as I can imagine given your description of being able to put the foot down whilst still standing) will lead to knee injury due to the poor biomechanics associated with it.

    HTH.
     
  3. eric_the_red

    eric_the_red New Member

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    Like AzzaC said you'll find it a lot easier to ride, and a lot easier on your knees, if you raise the seat to the correct height. There's a whole bunch of formulae and theories about correct seat height, just search on the net. One easy way is to raise your seat until your hips start rocking from side to side when pedalling, that means it's too high. Drop it down a bit from there.

    You won't be able to touch the ground while sitting, but you'll get used to it quickly. Just slide forward off the seat when stopping.
     
  4. ron19

    ron19 New Member

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    Thanks Azzac & Eric. Good advice. I've found a formula in the user guide !! It says 88% of Inside leg measurement - between the underside of the seat and the centre of the pedals . That's taken the seat up about 3 inches.

    I've been round the block and it's a bit strange at first but I guess i'll get the hang of it

    Thanks again
    Ron
     
  5. AzzaC

    AzzaC New Member

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    Yes, it will feel strange at first. 3 inches is a lot. May I suggest that you take a 'smaller' step when increasing your seat height. Try perhaps raising it 1.5-2 inches maximum. The reason being, your muscles will have adapted to riding with the seat too low and the likelihood is that they will not be used to that much stretch during the pedalling action that is associated with the sudden 3" rise. You may end up feeling VERY sore the next day.

    So maybe raise the seat 1.5"-2" and do a 45min-1hr ride (not just around the block!!). See how you feel during the ride, and most importantly how you feel after your ride and the next morning. If it feels alright, either do another ride at same height, or raise it 5-10mm, gradually working your way up to the height indicated previously. From there, you can make fine adjustments until you find the height that suits you. As previously mentioned, there is no guaranteed formula for calculating seat height.

    You may think it is a funny thing, but even a 1mm increase in saddle height is enough to cause pain and injury to the rider who rides/trains everyday.

    HTH
     
  6. ron19

    ron19 New Member

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    Thanks again AzzaC
    I've taken your advice and gone back to + 1.5 ins. I must admit that 3 inches made my legs feel very long and thats starting from 6ft1 !!
    My initial verdict after a 45 min ride is IMPRESSIVE especially on climbs where I managed bigger gears and good cadence without any extra effort. Felt as tho my upper legs were doing more without being uncomfortable.
    I'll try this position, on a longer run tomorrow and if that goes well I'll go up another 0.5in or so.
    Merci beaucoup as we say in France !!
    Best wishes
    Ron :)
     
  7. penguinonabike

    penguinonabike New Member

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    some say this works..

    extend leg till at bottom of stroke and should be slight bend in knee...

    i use this one tho..

    at rest place feet on pedals and move till foot at front of travel before going downwards... your knee joint and pedal should line up vertically this is the ideal position for me stopped my knee pain anyway..

    general way to go is what is comfortable to you not the norm..
    :D
     
  8. benkoostra

    benkoostra New Member

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    I had a hell of a time maintaining any decent speed on my MTB until I got the seat height right. It was a bit higher than I was used to running it, but the effect was pretty dramatic, even though it was only around 1cm difference.
     
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