seat position/ seat height



cazorp

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Jan 29, 2007
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ok guys ... i have a 2005 felt f80 ... my question is when a bike is fir correctly how close should your feet be to the ground when they are off your pedals?? mine always dangle quite a bit and im wondering if i should lower my stem a bit or if that is how it should be

also how do you find out which seat position i.e. farthe back or farther up to put the seat in???

im new to cycling so im just looking for tricks of the trade for these types of things

thanks
Zach
 

gclark8

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Apr 13, 2004
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Seat : pedals
as top tube : ground

Seat does not relate to the ground.
 

cazorp

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Jan 29, 2007
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gclark8 said:
Seat : pedals
as top tube : ground

Seat does not relate to the ground.
so you are saying that if i was to sit on the bar then my feet should touch the ground?? is that correct??

thanks for the replies
Zach
 

gclark8

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Apr 13, 2004
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Not quite, but close.
When you stand on the ground (both feet) your genitals should clear the bar by 1". :D
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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gclark8 said:
Not quite, but close.
When you stand on the ground (both feet) your genitals should clear the bar by 1". :D
More if it's a compact frame.
 

FishMan473

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Jan 12, 2004
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this is the most critical part of bicycling fit, so it's not something that should just be eye-balled. The rule of thumb I tell people that at least gets them close is that you should set up your seatpost so that your leg is completely straight, but not over-extended when you foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, then drop it 1". This will put you a little low for road riding, so maybe just drop it 15 mm.

A more accurate way to figure it out is is that the distance from the center of your bottom bracket to the top of your saddle should be:

(.883*y)-3mm

y being the length of your inseam measured in stocking feet, while standing against a wall with a book stuck up under your junk aligned with the wall. measure from the top of the book to the floor.

try a google search for "bicycle saddle height" or "bicycle saddle position" and get edumocated
 

bigpedaler

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Feb 10, 2007
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cazorp said:
ok guys ... i have a 2005 felt f80 ... my question is when a bike is fir correctly how close should your feet be to the ground when they are off your pedals?? mine always dangle quite a bit and im wondering if i should lower my stem a bit or if that is how it should be

also how do you find out which seat position i.e. farthe back or farther up to put the seat in???

im new to cycling so im just looking for tricks of the trade for these types of things

thanks
Zach
correct fit starts like this -- sitting on seat, one pedal all the way down, heel on pedal, leg should be straight. next -- sitting on seat, one pedal all the way forward, dangle a plumb bob (bolt tied w/ 1 meter of twine will work) from that kneecap, string should pass pedal axle or slightly behind it. oh -- make sure bike is on level surface for the string test. from there, adjust only small amounts for personal comfort.
 

otherself

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Feb 15, 2007
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It depends because each bike has a differential bottom bracket height. For instance, a mountain bike as a higher bottom bracket than a road bike (for better rock/shrub clearance etc), so your legs seem further off the ground. 0.83 x your inseem (in cm) will give you the correct saddle height (measured from centre of bottom bracket to top of saddle)....give or take 1cm depending on your footwears sole thickness.
 

j.r.hawkins

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Jan 13, 2007
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Go with bigpedaler's suggestion. While mine's an MTB I had it adjusted by the LBS to suit road work (I'm a commuter). It wasn;t quite perfect so I fiddled with it a few mm at a time until I was happy. I have had knee surgery so protecting my knees from new injury is a focus I have.

Guess what?

Bigpedaler's suggestion would have saved me a lot of messing about becasue that's EXACTLy where I ended up positioning the seat.

Go figger...
 

djk202020

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Jul 24, 2006
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My feet are nowhere near the ground in order to get in the saddle I have to clip one foot in and stand on that pedal to get up on the seat. Same thing when I dismount, and I never swing my legs over my seat, too high when I get off the bike I swing over my handle bars which are a few inches lower.

Where did you get the bike? if you got it at a LBS they should have fit you before you left. If you have not been fit on the bike find a place that will fit you. It isn’t that big of an investment and you will learn a lot about how to set up your bike. You will be riding more efficiently and more comfortably
 

j.r.hawkins

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Jan 13, 2007
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djk202020 said:
My feet are nowhere near the ground in order to get in the saddle I have to clip one foot in and stand on that pedal to get up on the seat. Same thing when I dismount, and I never swing my legs over my seat, too high when I get off the bike I swing over my handle bars which are a few inches lower.
You can't lean your bike over a bit more? Works for me.
 

Dirtcoach

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Apr 7, 2004
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cazorp, assuming this is for XC all mountain type of riding

To get the most out of what is currently on your bike, follow these simple steps:
1) Measure and record everything: This step is very useful when your bike is disassembled and then put back together.
a. Saddle height from center of the pedal spindle or center of the crank to the center and top of the saddle in line with the center of seat post (some bike have odd bends in the seat tubes) so there is a difference between actual and effective seat tube angles.
b. Fore aft measurement, I measure from the center of my handlebar to the nose of the saddle
c. Tilt is generally measured in degrees, simplified is method is to measure from top of the tube to bottom of the saddle nose.
2) Make small changes about 1 cm or less unless it is very obvious the saddle position is way off.
3) Ride with each change for at least a couple km if it doesn’t feel worse, if the bike feels better with the change do it again until it does feel worse then back off to the place it was before the last change.
4) Be aware that a change in fore aft will effect the saddle height aft makes it higher fore makes it lower. But resist the urge to change both at the same time unless you have already.

What your body is telling you about your saddle and overall bike position. These are suggestions, though some symptoms can be from over use and under rest or other biomechanical reasons and you may need to be evaluated by a qualified sports medicine professional.

Hips should remain somewhat level when pedaling on the saddle if they rock high to low then the saddle is most likely too high and will lead to low back and hip pain if not already. You may also notice that you pedal on your tippy toes like a ballerina to compensate.

Heels should flat at the bottom of the stroke, like scraping mud from your shoes at the bottom of the stroke. More on this in how to pedal effectively. If your heals are really low at the bottom of the stroke you may need to raise the saddle height.

Back of knee pain could indicate a to high saddle or to much aft position.

Front of knee pain could mean a to low or too much fore position, sometimes too long of a crank.
 

cPritch67

New Member
Apr 12, 2004
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Dirtcoach said:
cazorp, assuming this is for XC all mountain type of riding

To get the most out of what is currently on your bike, follow these simple steps:
1) Measure and record everything: This step is very useful when your bike is disassembled and then put back together.
a. Saddle height from center of the pedal spindle or center of the crank to the center and top of the saddle in line with the center of seat post (some bike have odd bends in the seat tubes) so there is a difference between actual and effective seat tube angles.
b. Fore aft measurement, I measure from the center of my handlebar to the nose of the saddle
c. Tilt is generally measured in degrees, simplified is method is to measure from top of the tube to bottom of the saddle nose.
2) Make small changes about 1 cm or less unless it is very obvious the saddle position is way off.
3) Ride with each change for at least a couple km if it doesn’t feel worse, if the bike feels better with the change do it again until it does feel worse then back off to the place it was before the last change.
4) Be aware that a change in fore aft will effect the saddle height aft makes it higher fore makes it lower. But resist the urge to change both at the same time unless you have already.

What your body is telling you about your saddle and overall bike position. These are suggestions, though some symptoms can be from over use and under rest or other biomechanical reasons and you may need to be evaluated by a qualified sports medicine professional.

Hips should remain somewhat level when pedaling on the saddle if they rock high to low then the saddle is most likely too high and will lead to low back and hip pain if not already. You may also notice that you pedal on your tippy toes like a ballerina to compensate.

Heels should flat at the bottom of the stroke, like scraping mud from your shoes at the bottom of the stroke. More on this in how to pedal effectively. If your heals are really low at the bottom of the stroke you may need to raise the saddle height.

Back of knee pain could indicate a to high saddle or to much aft position.

Front of knee pain could mean a to low or too much fore position, sometimes too long of a crank.

Dirtcoach
I have recently swapped road shoes (same brand and size) and was weary about using the painted lines as gospel for aligning the cleats to the new shoes. Since, I've noticed that I am getting some pain in the upper calve and a little achiles tenderness. Is that a typical symptom of saddle hieght or fore/aft position? Possibly the cleat a little farther back (measures a little farther back - just behind ball of foot)?
 

Dirtcoach

New Member
Apr 7, 2004
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I hate changing cleats let alone shoes. The lines are there for reference and I try to set the cleats up the same way, by measuring point to point on the lines is a good place to start. It is also not uncommon for one side to be a little different than the other, as mine are. If you have cleats on the shoes exactly as the old shoes that should be close but as the shoes wear and age they flex more and the shoe deforms some, so if all possible still use the old shoes and slowly introduce the new ones to your training I recommend this approach to runners with new shoes as well, shorter workouts to longer then wearing them most of the time, this of course you need new cleats as well the new shoes. This gives your body some time to adjust to the minor differences. Other suggestions make sure the rest of your bike setup is the same as it was before measure and record it. Also any new activities you have just added or done recently can also explain those sort of pains, my first day of one leg drills I had some pain behind the knee that lasted a few days. Most of the time it isn’t just one thing it is the sum of everything else that is going on and how they interact and affect your body.

cPritch67 said:
Dirtcoach
I have recently swapped road shoes (same brand and size) and was weary about using the painted lines as gospel for aligning the cleats to the new shoes. Since, I've noticed that I am getting some pain in the upper calve and a little achiles tenderness. Is that a typical symptom of saddle hieght or fore/aft position? Possibly the cleat a little farther back (measures a little farther back - just behind ball of foot)?
 

Dirtcoach

New Member
Apr 7, 2004
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Back to cazorp orginal question I forgot to say, your saddle hieght isn't set by how far you feet are from ground when seated. It depends on the bike and type of riding. My Road Bike, Trail Bike, DH Bike, Free Ride Bike and DirtJumper are all different. For example my DH bike Im almost flat footed on the ground, the DJ flat footed both for better control when riding tricky stuff and usally pedaling hard & standing, road and trail bike can't touch the ground unless I dismount the sadlle, up for more power since your pedaling a lot more. My free ride bike some were in the middle of those extremes. Hope that helps.
 

cPritch67

New Member
Apr 12, 2004
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Dirtcoach said:
I hate changing cleats let alone shoes. The lines are there for reference and I try to set the cleats up the same way, by measuring point to point on the lines is a good place to start. It is also not uncommon for one side to be a little different than the other, as mine are. If you have cleats on the shoes exactly as the old shoes that should be close but as the shoes wear and age they flex more and the shoe deforms some, so if all possible still use the old shoes and slowly introduce the new ones to your training I recommend this approach to runners with new shoes as well, shorter workouts to longer then wearing them most of the time, this of course you need new cleats as well the new shoes. This gives your body some time to adjust to the minor differences. Other suggestions make sure the rest of your bike setup is the same as it was before measure and record it. Also any new activities you have just added or done recently can also explain those sort of pains, my first day of one leg drills I had some pain behind the knee that lasted a few days. Most of the time it isn’t just one thing it is the sum of everything else that is going on and how they interact and affect your body.

Yeah, I'm paying the piper now. I had an interval workout the other day and did it after placing my cleat a little farther back (too far) - wow, I'm sore, my right calve all the way down to the achilles on one leg is super tender, including the ankle joint. I've corrected the cleat (slid it forward a bit).

I really should know better; always one adjustment at a time and small adjustments during an easier workout - to let the body adapt. Lesson learned.
Also, I am going to see a chiro, I think my hip is rotating -cause some days the same position feels completely perfect, then the next day it feels like my knees aren't tracking straight, and that I'm pedalling squares. Very awkward trying to adjust for it constantly.

Thanks
 

DNAtsol

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Sep 5, 2007
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gclark8 said:
Not quite, but close.
When you stand on the ground (both feet) your genitals should clear the bar by 1". :D
I a slightly different note. I've been wondering if my saddle is too far forward. I'm just starting out but I find that when I'm spinning or giving that little extra push to keep up my cadence on a small incline I tend to push myself backwards in the saddle and use the saddle as a lever or support for my legs. Is there a good rule of thumb for the distance between the grips to the front/back of the saddle as well as the seat height?

Thanks
 

Dirtcoach

New Member
Apr 7, 2004
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A good starting point for your saddle fore/aft position is related to your knee position over the peddle spindle. To start have have the peddles parallel with the ground and use a weighted plum line hung from the front of the knee, this is usally set even or just slightly behind. It is also affected by your crank length. Depending on the type of riding you are doing when I triathlete I was set just even now I do more DH a free ride it is set back 3-6mm from tyhe spindle on my road and trail bikes, the DH free ride it is less important I feel and haven't really measured it though I use the same shoe cleat but a shorter crank. Hope that helps