Some tips to get the correct saddle height

Its spring time again and not since the 80’s when the Irish legendary cyclists Stephen Roche and Sean Kelly were winning huge races, including the Tour de France and World Championships, have so many people taken to their bikes.

With the help of the Bike to Work scheme, thousands more are now enjoying the freedom and fresh air that cycling allows.  Cycling challenges such as the An Post Meath Heritage Cycle and the Race Around Ireland, have introduced more reasons for people to get out with friends and socialise, while gaining fitness and losing weight.

With this in mind, I thought it might be good to give you some tips on how to get the best out of your cycling and your bike.  So where to start?  I am not going to start with a lecture on wearing helmets other than to say WEAR your helmet!  You wouldn’t drive your car without wearing a seatbelt.  Helmets are designed these days to give good breathability and lightness and do save lives.

Now for the next important thing – making sure you are comfortable on the bike.  Correct saddle height is something that a lot of people struggle with, but when you get it right it will make you more efficient on the bike and better still, help prevent knee pain or injury.

There are various ways of making sure you have the correct saddle height, but the easiest is to follow the following steps:

  • Put on the shoes you wear for your cycling
  • Sit on the bike.  Stabilise yourself by placing one hand on a table or fence
  • Swing the pedals around so your right foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke
  • Place your heel on the pedal
  • Adjust the saddle height so that when your heel is on the pedal, your leg is perfectly straight – this insures that when the ball of the foot is on the pedal you have the right amount of bend in the knee
  • Test the height.  Put your feet on the pedals so that the balls of your feet are centred on the pedals, and pedal backward.  Your hips should stay steady.  If they rock from side to side the seat is too high.  On the other hand, if you feel cramped, it is probably too low
  • Go for a spin.  If you don’t have a quick-release seat, bring a 5-mm Allen key with you
  • Fine-tune the saddle height during the ride.  Experiment a bit, and go with what feels most comfortable