Proper bike setup is critical to your cycling comfort and efficiency, and no
aspect of bike fit is more important than seat position. Though there are
several different schools of thought about how to find the right seat height
down to the millimeter, here's an easy, old-world positioning method that should
put your saddle close to the ideal position.
--For any rider there is a range of acceptable saddle height, but you've got
to get it within this range to prevent injury and maximize efficiency. For a
good starting point, sit on your rig somewhere that you can lean up against
something and let your feet dangle with your shoes off. Now, with your heels on
the pedals, spin your legs slowly as if pedaling backwards, or if you have your
bike mounted level on a stationary trainer, pedal normally at a slow speed.
Ideally you should be able to pedal lightly with your heels (NOT your toes or
the ball of your foot) with minimal hip movement. Adjust the saddle until your
heel can contact the pedals at the bottom of the pedal stroke without rocking
your hips. Don't make a huge change in height if you've been riding with your
current position for months already. Instead, gradually adjust your position--a
few millimeters a week--until you reach your new height in a month.
This is a ballpark pedal height estimate---you may want to experiment to find
a height close to this that works best for you. Tests have shown that within the
range of each rider's acceptable saddle height, there's an ideal height that
maximizes muscle power and oxygen consumption. But opinions on finding this
sweet spot vary greatly. We'll be contacting some of the world's top cycling
coaches to offer several more sophisticated and precise saddle height