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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I need some advice on how to find out my optimum saddle height.
I have heard that there is a calculation based on inseam length.
Is this correct, and more importantly, does it work?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
 

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Could be faster
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whether or not those calculations work depends on how comfortable you feel on the saddle at the suggested height. perhaps you may wish to use them as a starting point and then move the saddle up or down depending on whether you feel any knee discomfort after a ride. personally, i did not use the calculations to set my saddle height but by sheer coincidence they did match quite close to the saddle height i am currently riding at.

boon
 

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try this....

Most formulas were developed before the days of clipless pedals. Both pedal and shoes were thicker in those days, so the formulas need to be adjusted accordingly. Add to that, the fact that most people under measure their inseam, failing to apply saddle-like crotch pressure and you don't get much accuracy. FWIW, the formula suggests .883 times inseam.

The goal is to produce approximately a 30 degree included angle between the upper and lower leg, at the bottom of the stroke. One of the biggest obstacles to doing this is the fact that foot angle changes the leg extension. A rider whose natural foot angle is more heels up will have a taller saddle than someone with the same inseam pedaling with a more level foot.

As a starting point, try adjusting the saddle so the foot is horizontal at the bottom of the stroke, with the leg locked straight. From this point, raising the heel only 2-3cm will produce the desired 30 degree angle. I pedal without much rise to the heel, so I set my saddle a little lower. A heels up rider might want the saddle a bit higher.
 

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Or try this

Three other possible techniques to get you started:
- leg straight when your arch is on the pedal (bottom of the stroke)
- leg straight when your heel is on the pedal (same)
- saddle at 108-110% of cycling inseam as measured from pedal axle to saddle top

The key take away here is that there is no one best height, just starting points. There is a lot of personal physiology, flexibility, and riding style coming into play. Your best bet is to pick a starting point, ride some serious distance (several 100 miles) to get completely used to it, and then slightly raise or lower the saddle. Ride some distance to adapt to the new position and then see whether you like it better. If yes, raise or lower a bit more. If no, go in the opposite direction. Repeat until you're happy.
 

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Eddy Merckx style

Kerry Irons said:
Three other possible techniques to get you started:
- leg straight when your arch is on the pedal (bottom of the stroke)
- leg straight when your heel is on the pedal (same)
- saddle at 108-110% of cycling inseam as measured from pedal axle to saddle top

The key take away here is that there is no one best height, just starting points. There is a lot of personal physiology, flexibility, and riding style coming into play. Your best bet is to pick a starting point, ride some serious distance (several 100 miles) to get completely used to it, and then slightly raise or lower the saddle. Ride some distance to adapt to the new position and then see whether you like it better. If yes, raise or lower a bit more. If no, go in the opposite direction. Repeat until you're happy.
Or repeat until you have a toolbox full of broken binder bolts and seat tube clamps! Eddy Merckx used to adjust his saddle VERY frequently after his bad crash on the velodrome at Blois in 1969. He claims he never felt "right" on his bike again and he was always in search of comfort. Rumor has it he actually carried spare binder bolts on training rides.

Adjustments are fine, but they should be done in small amounts and the body has to be given enough time to adjust to changes before another adjustment is made. I have ridden and raced with many guys who make saddle adjustments on a DAILY basis. There is a major "latest greatest" thing with that - inevitably after the adjustment the rider thinks he has found nirvana, but then the next day that saddle is being moved again.

I agree that the formulas are just formulas and they do not take into account flexibility, shoe/pedal combos, and other variables. I agree with C-40 that the best place to start is by approximating the 30 degree angle. For the original poster, here is a link to a thread in the Bike/Frames/Forks from a few weeks ago, I think we all had some useful comments in there:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=55568
 
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