Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there

Im having some questions about my saddle height.
Every source of info says "Your heel should touch the pedal with your leg straight"

If i do this the saddle is pretty low,i feel to loose power and the front of knee distrurbs me a little.

If i put it a bit higher feels a lot better,ive done 3.000 km effortlessly at this height,yet i can barely touch the pedal with my heel,even if i tilt my pelvis enough( though it mustnt),nor i can touch the ground seated,as many cyclists ive seen doing.


Nevertheless i cannot sustain really great distances max 80km per ride with my current setup.(Frame spece'd according competitive cyclist fitting program)

Are these normal?Am i missing smthng?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
I'm new to road cycling so I'm still working with my seat height. However from your description your seat height sounds fine. You'll probably need to make some small adjustments as you put in more miles.

At first I set my saddle height by using the .883 x inseam length method. This gave me a 69.5cm saddle height but it was just to low and made my thighs feel fatigued without working my glutes and ham strings. I slowly raised my seat little by little until I made it up to 73cm which felt to high. I settled back to 72.5cm which feels perfect.

At 3,000km you've put in a lot more riding than I have. I have been finding that diet and pacing yourself makes a huge different for endurance riding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,935 Posts
Its a starting point not an absolute. How much you ankle / you are toe down at the bottom of the stroke when riding obviously makes a difference in how well that heel touching the pedal at the bottom will predict saddle height.

There's a narrow range of knee angle at the full extension point of the pedal stroke around 145 degrees but some will like it + or - a few degrees. If you just made a significant height change you will feel it for a little while until your body adjusts to the new fit.

Maybe you should get a bike fit done so you know?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,378 Posts
After you ride a while, you'll probably want to start easing it back down to where you had it. Your knees & thights will get stronger, and you can spin easier if your lower.
If someone is sitting on the seat and stopped, and they are using more foot than their tip toes, their seat is too low.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OTOH many pros seem to hop on the bike with tip toes and then clip.Im surely not a pro,but i take their fitting and stance as the "best" example,and i got confused by this, cause on my bike its impossible to hop on and tip toe touch down.

If i copy that height -putting the seat to the persumable "right" height- it'll feel as if my legs dont extend nicely,but "being limited",very likely as if im riding a kids bike.couldnt describe it better sorry.Power output at this point is really weak though i can say im an experienced and strong rider to some extent.
Should i put the cleats further back?theyre around the middle now,working some calf muscle too.

Ive read and copied many stuff for many times nearly every possible article around the internet about fitting,yet i cant say im 100% satisfied.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
470 Posts
Listen to your body. If the lower saddle bothers your knee, then that is not a good saddle height for you. FWIW, I can't stand over my saddle. I stand infront of the saddle.

What makes you think that the saddle height is what is limiting you to 80km? I've never done more than 70.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Its a starting point not an absolute. How much you ankle / you are toe down at the bottom of the stroke when riding obviously makes a difference in how well that heel touching the pedal at the bottom will predict saddle height.
This. Online systems/recommendations/other published formulas for saddle height put mine too low, because I have relatively long feet and pedal toe down. Don't feel as strong, and results in pain in front of kneecap with increasing distance. No pain, and feel stronger, when saddle a few millimeters higher.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,449 Posts
If i put it a bit higher feels a lot better,ive done 3.000 km effortlessly at this height,yet i can barely touch the pedal with my heel,even if i tilt my pelvis enough( though it mustnt),nor i can touch the ground seated,as many cyclists ive seen doing.

Nevertheless i cannot sustain really great distances max 80km per ride with my current setup.(Frame spece'd according competitive cyclist fitting program)
Not to be snarky, but when you are riding why does it matter whether you can touch the pedal with your heel or touch the ground when seated?

I cannot touch the ground with much more than my tip toe - probably only on one side at a time at best. You just slide your butt forward and off the seat when you are stopping.

Outside of normal fatigue, is there pain associated with not being able to ride more than 80km?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,767 Posts
Should i put the cleats further back?theyre around the middle now,working some calf muscle too.
reading about fit and having a good understanding puts you ahead of 95% of the beginners. This is good. If your bike isn't being used as a garage ornament or clothes dryer in a year then you would have learned a very solid fundamental of this sport. Once you can visualize how things fit based on seat tube angles and head tube angles and how that affects stack/reach, etc, you will have done well.

There is another dimension to saddle height that is every bit as important and that is saddle fore aft, and to a lesser extend if within reason, seat tilt. A seat that is positioned further back on the rails will recruit more glutes and hamstrings. More forward? More quad usage. Rearward? Your hip angle closes which may make your hip flexors sore sooner rather than later.

Seat fore aft also affects overall height from the center of the crank (dead center of your chain ring). When you push a 76cm seat height two notches back and re tighten the clamp, you now effectively moved an imaginary point on that seat further away from center of the crank and effectively higher even though it's still only 76cm.

Changing seat tilt will change the balance of weight (ass/hands) and also increase/decrease your height away from center of crank. Tilting the seat back will have the effect of slightly decreasing the distance of the hip pivot and the center of the crank, but this relationship isn't as easy to describe.

I prefer to ride with a flat foot at the bottom of the stroke, as opposed to a high seat and dipping toes at the bottom. I see people riding with their toes dipped, seats high and it works for them. I like to scrape through with the heel flat with my sole/toes. I find that when I have my seat high and my toes dip at the bottom of the stroke I have more instant power, but that comes at the expense of efficiency and smooth pedal stroke. I'm really just stepping on the pedals like a stairmaster, as opposed to windmilling in a smooth motion.

Also, a good starting point for cleats is to have the center line of the cleat (should see it on the cleat somewhere) halfway between the bony bump on the outside of your foot and the base of your big toe. the bony bump will make the rear limit, the ball base of big toe will make the top, center clear between there. There are many methods of cleat placement, some guys even modify their shoes and do mid-foot, but research has shown this to be a good starting spot. Incorrect cleat placement will manifest itself through hot spots foot/sole and or calf fatigue or lack of flex or range of movement of the ankle.


IMO, a high seat puts more pressure on my palms and feels quite uncomfortable for which I think many people compensate with higher bars... but what the hell do I know I'm just a fat accountant. When the height is just right - and maybe it's because I'm mindful of it, but this range is quite small and literally no more than 2mm's - I find that it [the seat] disappears under my ass, core muscles are able to relax and I can reach/stretch much further. Anything less = knee pain, anything more = sit bone pain, rocking, decrease in ability to reach bars.

experimenting is good stuff. I used to ride with a hex tool, make changes and get instant feedback. At some point though - when the wife refuses to hold the laser level or take videos - you're gonna have to go get a fit. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,683 Posts
Best thing I ever did was to get a professional fitting at a good bike shop. They adjusted everything, right down to the position of my cleats. The only thing I had figured out correctly before that was that I was a tad bow legged and needed to find the right sized washers to get a wider Q factor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
yes steve hog site seems like the prototype every other source copies from.
The only thing ive not tried yet is tilt wedges for the left foot cause it goes a bit sore on the front outer side after 1hour or so.

reading about fit and having a good understanding puts you ahead of 95% of the beginners. This is good. If your bike isn't being used as a garage ornament or clothes dryer in a year then you would have learned a very solid fundamental of this sport. Once you can visualize how things fit based on seat tube angles and head tube angles and how that affects stack/reach, etc, you will have done well.

There is another dimension to saddle height that is every bit as important and that is saddle fore aft, and to a lesser extend if within reason, seat tilt. A seat that is positioned further back on the rails will recruit more glutes and hamstrings. More forward? More quad usage. Rearward? Your hip angle closes which may make your hip flexors sore sooner rather than later.

Seat fore aft also affects overall height from the center of the crank (dead center of your chain ring). When you push a 76cm seat height two notches back and re tighten the clamp, you now effectively moved an imaginary point on that seat further away from center of the crank and effectively higher even though it's still only 76cm.

Changing seat tilt will change the balance of weight (ass/hands) and also increase/decrease your height away from center of crank. Tilting the seat back will have the effect of slightly decreasing the distance of the hip pivot and the center of the crank, but this relationship isn't as easy to describe.

I prefer to ride with a flat foot at the bottom of the stroke, as opposed to a high seat and dipping toes at the bottom. I see people riding with their toes dipped, seats high and it works for them. I like to scrape through with the heel flat with my sole/toes. I find that when I have my seat high and my toes dip at the bottom of the stroke I have more instant power, but that comes at the expense of efficiency and smooth pedal stroke. I'm really just stepping on the pedals like a stairmaster, as opposed to windmilling in a smooth motion.

Also, a good starting point for cleats is to have the center line of the cleat (should see it on the cleat somewhere) halfway between the bony bump on the outside of your foot and the base of your big toe. the bony bump will make the rear limit, the ball base of big toe will make the top, center clear between there. There are many methods of cleat placement, some guys even modify their shoes and do mid-foot, but research has shown this to be a good starting spot. Incorrect cleat placement will manifest itself through hot spots foot/sole and or calf fatigue or lack of flex or range of movement of the ankle.


IMO, a high seat puts more pressure on my palms and feels quite uncomfortable for which I think many people compensate with higher bars... but what the hell do I know I'm just a fat accountant. When the height is just right - and maybe it's because I'm mindful of it, but this range is quite small and literally no more than 2mm's - I find that it [the seat] disappears under my ass, core muscles are able to relax and I can reach/stretch much further. Anything less = knee pain, anything more = sit bone pain, rocking, decrease in ability to reach bars.

experimenting is good stuff. I used to ride with a hex tool, make changes and get instant feedback. At some point though - when the wife refuses to hold the laser level or take videos - you're gonna have to go get a fit. :)
Very comprehensive answer.As a matter of fact,i ride with a hex tool also,but the most tuning ive done was on my trainer,though it doesnt copy exactly the road situations (speed inertia,weight front and back,difficult to level the bike 100% etc) but with general results.

Another factor may be the seat itself cause it doesnt have square flat surface but a wavy one,with lower spot in the middle where my ass seem to stay at that point,forbiding to seat more at the front for an aero-like hard pedaling or further back for hill climbing.Nevertheless i leveled it with a level through the outer points (front back) and feels "Acceptable".

Im ready to go for a fit,but here at my place there isnt some well reputated professional one,and those who are,have heard distant opinions about them (one guy got a fit and his seat was lowered 2cm,so when he got out of the shop he instantly rised it up to get back home :lol::lol:.)

Not to be snarky, but when you are riding why does it matter whether you can touch the pedal with your heel or touch the ground when seated?
Outside of normal fatigue, is there pain associated with not being able to ride more than 80km?
I took it as a general rule of somthng i miss,cause every rider hops on this way.Of course its useless on the riding,or stoping,as i too slide front and put one leg out.
Sore pains on the outside of the left foot usually "indicate me" that the ride is over.General discomfort as time flies by.
As a matter of fact,riding my road bike feels as a "sportive" experience with minimal comfort.This is not bearable after 3 hours.Yet i dont have the best bib short or saddle rather cheap one but do your bikes,or a bike after fit,becomes some sort of sofa-comfort like?

This. Online systems/recommendations/other published formulas for saddle height put mine too low, because I have relatively long feet and pedal toe down. Don't feel as strong, and results in pain in front of kneecap with increasing distance. No pain, and feel stronger, when saddle a few millimeters higher.
These are exactly my conclusions too.
 

·
Banned Sock Puppet
Joined
·
14,411 Posts
Listen to your body. If the lower saddle bothers your knee, then that is not a good saddle height for you. FWIW, I can't stand over my saddle. I stand infront of the saddle.

What makes you think that the saddle height is what is limiting you to 80km? I've never done more than 70.

^^^This^^^

Listen to your body. If your saddle feels too low, it probably is. One very general starting point is a 20% bend in your knee. You are better off being too high, than too low. If your hips rock when you are pedaling, you are too high.

If I were you, I would find a reputable local bike shop and have them dial in your fit. If you didn't buy the bike from them, expect to pay them $100-200 for it. It is well worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,284 Posts
Every source of info says "Your heel should touch the pedal with your leg straight"
As already mentioned by other/s, that's just a generalized starting point. It would vary depending on individual's shoes size and cleat position.

If i do this the saddle is pretty low,i feel to loose power and the front of knee distrurbs me a little.
At the end of the day, only you can tell what the best fit is for you. It's the one that lets you maintain the highest speed for the longest duration with the least amount of discomfort. For that to happen, trial & error is needed and lots of time on the saddle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
To the OP, best advice I can give you is to set the saddle height where you are pain free and feel strong. Sounds like you know where that is - nothing else really matters. Then leave it alone unless and until you can find a really good professional fit. Everyone here has great ideas, but fundamentally you can't get a good, truly individualized fit over the Internet. Doesn't matter what pros or anyone else look like on bike - the folks who make it onto TV or into magazines have been fitted to the millimeter with all kinds of fancy gadgets. Plus some of them ride in positions that are pretty awful by any objective standard, but happen to work really well for them individually. Bottom line - don't mess with something that's working fine.
 

·
Banned Sock Puppet
Joined
·
14,411 Posts
Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do that.

Doctor: Then don't do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,378 Posts
If you go to a good shop, you'll probably end up changing:
Seat, cleat position, stem, and possibly seat post. All things you can't do over the internet. You will be more comfortable after that happens, or you can just keep messing around and really not get too far as far as comfort is concerned.
And you'll need some good shorts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well,i tried once again to copy the recomendations that competitive cyclist suggests.Not that i bought my bike from there..just used their tool.
In fact i moved the seat 1,5 cm front,and leveled the bars so the top part is level to the ground,as the transition to the brifters too.Previously ive put it in such a way that the drops were nearly parallel to the ground cause that was easy to me as i was on there.

Conclusion,10 bpm's less on average (140) and significantly easier and relaxing to ride than before,yet bike now feels less aggressive,and more unstable due to the uprighter position i suppose.Nevertheless i could do some nice all in sprints and take some PRs on strava.

As it seems fitting never ends on a bike.I wish we could change positions on the fly,sport,relax,etc..
Many thanks to everyone who commented.
 

·
Banned Sock Puppet
Joined
·
14,411 Posts
Well,i tried once again to copy the recomendations that competitive cyclist suggests.Not that i bought my bike from there..just used their tool.
In fact i moved the seat 1,5 cm front,and leveled the bars so the top part is level to the ground,as the transition to the brifters too.Previously ive put it in such a way that the drops were nearly parallel to the ground cause that was easy to me as i was on there.

Conclusion,10 bpm's less on average (140) and significantly easier and relaxing to ride than before,yet bike now feels less aggressive,and more unstable due to the uprighter position i suppose.Nevertheless i could do some nice all in sprints and take some PRs on strava.

As it seems fitting never ends on a bike.I wish we could change positions on the fly,sport,relax,etc..
Many thanks to everyone who commented.

Be careful about moving your saddle forward. You could possibly introduce more knee strain that way.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top