Changing saddle height is one of the important adjustments you can make to your riding comfort. When the saddle is at the correct height, with the correct fore/aft position and incline, you will have a comfortable and efficient ride. If this is not the case, discomfort and even injury may result. Many types of pain caused by cycling are related to incorrect saddle height.
In this guide, we’ll share how to find the right saddle height on your bike, which is primarily focused on road bikes, but it also applies to mountain bikes, gravel bikes, and more.
How to set bicycle seat height?
Before making any changes, record the original seat cushion height so that you can quickly adjust it back later if you find that the changes you made are not suitable.
Measure the seat height.
Measure the length of the cushion from front to back, find the midpoint, and mark this location on the cushion. Then use a tape measure to measure the distance from the midpoint of the saddle along a straight line to the center of the bottom bracket.
Measure the seat angle.
Since the seat cushions are not flat, you can place a wooden board on the seat cushion before measuring the angle, and then use a smartphone or inclinometer to measure the overall inclination of the seat.
The "heel method" measures seat height.
This is a relatively quick method, and the process can be done against a wall or, if possible, placed on a riding platform. Then sit on the ebike, place the soles of your feet on the pedals, and slowly pedal forward or backward. If the seat cushion is too high, you will not be able to pedal smoothly, your body may sway from side to side, and your back may feel uncomfortable. At this time, you can move the seat cushion downward one to two centimeters until you can pedal smoothly.
A generally accepted range is 30 to 40 degrees of knee flexion (knee at five o'clock) when fully extended. If the knee angle is less than 30 degrees, the seat height may be a bit low, which may cause serious damage to the knees. You can try moving the seat cushion up a few centimeters until your legs can be stretched out for pedaling.
How do I tell if my seat cushion height is correct?
1. The foot is level and the heel does not move downward or upward too much.
2. The pelvis is stable and does not sway from side to side.
3. Smooth pedal stroke, no feeling of losing contact with the pedal at the bottom of the stroke
Of course, if you pursue competition, you can go to a car shop for more advanced fitting, which will help you calculate more accurate values so that you can get a more professional seat height and angle.