Is Your Saddle at the Correct Height?

trackIf your saddle is set to the wrong height, at best you will fatigue more quickly, at worst you can damage yourself. Saddle height is one of the most important adjustments for comfort and yet there is still no simple way to achieve the optimum height. There are a few methods that will get you in the right area, but from there it can be simply a matter of trial and error to get the best position. However, the following will make sure you aren’t too far off your ideal setting.

The Heel Method

This is a very common method as it’s very easy to check. While sitting on your saddle, you should be able to just place the heel of your foot on the pedal when it is in the lowest position. This method can tend to leave the saddle a little low though as it doesn’t account for natural variations in cyclists’ leg and foot length.

The 109% method

A more scientific method and generally more accurate way of determining the correct height is to measure your inseam length and then multiple by 1.09. That then should be the distance between the centre of your pedal axle to the top of the saddle taken in a straight line along the seat tube.

To measure your inseam, with bare feet, stand against a wall and take a thick-ish book or spirit level and push up into your crotch with a similar amount of force that the saddle exerts when seated and measure from the floor to the top of the book/spirit level. Keep the book level and take a few measurements to get an average. You may find it helpful to have someone assist you.

The Lemond Method

Very similar to the 109% method, but takes 88.3% of your inseam length and measures from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle.

 

You can use these methods to make sure you are in the right area and make fine adjustments afterwards. You should feel that you are pedaling in smooth circles and your hips shouldn’t be rocking, nor should you feel like you are stomping on the pedals.

2 comments

  • NeBo

    What’s the difference between the centre of the pedal axle (as mentioned in the 109% method) and the centre of the bottom bracket, (as referred to in the Lemond Method)?

  • The Lemond method won’t account for crank length. I have two bikes with different crank lengths so I use pedal axle to saddle distance for keeping the leg extension the same on both bikes.

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