How To Set Your Road Bike’s Saddle Height – Tips For Getting Your Saddle Position Right

– [Simon] Despite the trend in recent
years of people spending loads of money getting a bike fit, if all you want to do
is get your saddle in the right place, that’s not actually necessary. Here are a
few simple steps that will mean that you can get your saddle position
in the right place. Now, at the end of the video, I’ll also
compare it to my current saddle height and position, and then we’ll see whether
or not these methods have actually got me close to where I need to be. We start by adjusting the saddle height.
Now, a great way of doing this is to put your bike on an indoor trainer, but you
can actually do it out on the road as well. Just be careful. So jump on your
bike. You want to put the heel of your foot on the pedal, and at this point your
leg should be locked out. But we’re also now going to actually try
and pedal to make sure that your pelvis isn’t rocking from side to side.
It’s remarkably difficult. So you can see that my leg isn’t quite
locked out at the bottom of the stroke, so I perhaps need to put my seat
up a little bit. I think that’s ballpark. Right, with the saddle height roughly
ballpark, we’re now going to look at how fore or aft your seat is. Now, to do that,
the adjustment is normally made by just loosening one or two bolts on the seat
post here, depending on the design of it. And before we actually start, I’ve got
to stress that the bike must be completely level, so we’ve already
been at it with a spirit level to make sure that this is going to work.
Then it’s a case of using a plumb line. Hmm. With your feet
in normal riding position now, you want to have your
cranks horizontal, and then you need to drop your plumb line from the bony
bit at the back of your kneecap. That should bisect your pedal axle. So this is called the Kops method,
and it does have its critics. We’d be the first to admit, in fact, that
it’s got its limitations, so you will need to fine-tune, kind of depending on what
sort of rider you are. If you ride in quite a
stretched-out position, then you’ll probably find you need to move the
saddle forward slightly. Whereas, if you ride in a very relaxed
position with upright handlebars and a shorter stem, then you may need
to go backwards. Next, it’s really important to make sure
your saddle is level. If it’s tilted up slightly, it can put a
little bit too much pressure on some rather sensitive areas. And if it’s
pointed too far down, then it puts a lot more weight through your hands, and you’ll
find yourself constantly sliding forward on the saddle. So we think that horizontal
is best. If you’re racing, the UCI tell you you have to have it
horizontally anyway, and to check, all it is is a case of getting your trusty
spirit level out again, making sure your bike is on level ground,
and then adjusting it accordingly. So we need to pull that slightly
nose-down. Once you’ve performed those three
measurements, you then need to jump back on your bike and go through it all again,
because obviously, if you’ve adjusted your saddle height after you’ve done the
forward and backward, then that will have a bearing on where the seat is placed. If
you can, get someone to film you whilst you’re riding on the turbo trainer,
and then you can get a real idea of how you look when you ride. You particularly
want to pay close attention to your pelvis. You don’t want that
rocking at all, because that can get really quite uncomfortable. Now, we do also have to say that to get
your really personal bike fit, then you do have to take into account a
number of other different factors, like your flexibility, for example,
or, perhaps more importantly, whether you pedal with your toe
down or your heel down. That has quite a significant bearing on your saddle height,
for example. So, once you’ve got it ballpark, then you
can fine-tune it to make sure that you are comfortable and powerful. Powerful! As we said at the very beginning, there is
some debate as to how you find the exact saddle height for you. But here are a
couple of other methods that you might want to try to see whether you can get it
a bit more fine-tuned. Now, first of all, do you have a
goniometer? No, no, I didn’t think so. Neither do we, in fact. But you can pick
them up for not too much money. And if you get one, then what it does
is it allows you to do the Holmes method. Now, essentially, it allows you to measure
the angle of your shin bone in relation to your thigh bone. Holmes worked out,
through quite a lot of research, that the optimum angle for this bit here
was 25 to 30 degrees when you’re at the bottom of your pedal stroke. Another method is to measure your
inside leg. And I’m going to apologize at this point. We’ve tried to think
of a way of doing this without it looking so weird, but we can’t. So the
best way is get a long spirit level, to put it between your legs, nestle it
snugly to mimic the sensation of a saddle, and then measure the distance
from the end of your spirit level… I’m not joking…to the floor.
Now, I will take my shoes off first, because I don’t want them to alter
the value of my inseam, but I’ll need to find a willing
accomplice to measure this. Anyone? Anyone want
to measure it? – [Man] No. – I’m going to have to find a wall
or something? Take a note of that. Right. According
to this, my inseam is… well, 875 millimeters. Then, the
next thing you do is you take away 10 centimeters from that, and that gives you
your saddle height value when measured from the center of the bottom bracket
axle to the top of the saddle, inline with your seat post.
Complicated. So there we have three methods
for calculating your saddle height, and one of calculating how forward
or backward it needs to be. But we said at the beginning of the video
that I’d test it to see how it relates to my own personal position that I’ve
honed over the years. So first things first. This is currently
set up for the heel method, and I’ll measure from the center
of the bottom bracket up to the top of the saddle,
and it comes out at 760 millimeters. Now that is a quite significant 15
millimeters below where I think I should be, which is 775
millimeters. But interestingly, the final method of measuring my
inseam actually gave me exactly that figure, 775 millimeters. Now, that
doesn’t really mean anything for the general population, but perhaps,
in this instance for me, the inseam method was better.
However, I do have to say, neither of them take into account the
length of my cranks. So in this instance I’m riding 172.5s,
but I normally ride 175s. But then what happens if I was on 167.5s?
It’s a fairly big variation there. And also, it doesn’t take into account
the stack height, both of my shoe and of the pedal, which can be a quite
significant value there. So the lesson from all of this is that all
these methods will get you ballpark, but you have to fine-tune it for yourself
to find which is most comfortable and most powerful. Make any adjustments to your position,
then do so gradually, because actually, you can end up injuring yourself more
by changing to the correct position than you would do if you kept with your
old position. And it’s always a good idea to make a note of where you started
so that you can always go back to the original position. So take a measurement
from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle, and from the
nose of the saddle to the handlebars. And that pretty much tells you your rough
parameters. To look at another aspect of your bike
fit, which is how high and how far away your handlebars need to be, why not click
up there and watch a video specifically about that? Then, to adjust your cleats
on your shoes, we’ve got a video about that. Just click down there,
and you can go straight through and watch it. Finally, to never
miss another GCN video, which I’m sure you don’t want to do, why don’t you
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