Posted on: Friday, January 4th, 2008 at 5:24 pm by: Terra L. Fletcher
The seat post of your bike attaches the frame to the saddle. It is a tube that can be adjusted by sliding it in or out of the frame. The proper height will allow better comfort, efficiency, and even joint health. In one hour of riding at a moderate pace, you will bend and straighten your legs, knees, and hips over 5,000 times. Save your joints by finding the correct saddle height. Your bike seat should allow for full-leg extension, with your knees bending slightly at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
To find the correct height, start with your inseam measurement. Stand barefoot with feet 15cm apart. Measure from where the saddle would sit to the floor. You may need to enlist the help of a friend. Multiply your inseam length by .883. Measure on your bike from the center of the bottom bracket to the low point of your seat’s top.
Another recommendation to find the right height is quite simple. Adjust your bike seat until your knee bend is 25 to 30 degrees at the bottom of a pedal stroke. Use mirrors and a stationary trainer to figure this one out.
So how do you make the adjustment? Many high-quality seat posts now come with a quick release to allow easy adjustments based on riding conditions. A rocky terrain may call for a lower seat placement for safety and agility. You can mark the post at your usual height and quickly return it to “normal.”
Not all of us have this option. However, it is still not difficult to adjust your bike seat by yourself. Simply loosen the clamp, move the post and tighten.
To adjust the forward/back position of the seat, loosen the bolts that aim upward into the seat clamp of the seat post. Slide the rails forward or back, then retighten. You should be able to readily stand up without pushing off of or pulling down on the handlebars.
The bike seat angle or tilt will also affect your ride. If it is tilting too far forward you will feel as if you slide off when you pedal. The front of the seat should be ever so slightly higher than the back. Take a look at your bike while it is upright with both wheels on the ground. On some bikes, you make this adjustment by tightening the front bolt and loosening the back bolt (or vice versa). On many bikes, you will find a bolt that controls the angle adjustment. Loosen the bolt until the components come apart. Reset the angle then tighten.
Remember to never adjust a part too high. Heed the limit markers on your seat post. Make adjustments gradually to give your body time to acclimate. Check again as your flexibility and strength improves.
All you need to adjust your bike seat is a wrench, an Allen wrench, and/or just the strength of your own hands. In a few minutes, you can adjust your seat post and you’ll be sitting pretty.