Sunday, 15 April 2012

Correct Saddle Height for your Road Bike

Ideal Knee Angle for Optimal Seat Height
Getting your saddle height right is one of the first things you should consider when taking delivery of your first bike.  If you don't you, you may lose energy through an efficient downstroke or uncomfortableness or injury by being too high or too low.

It's a common mistake to put the saddle up too high.  You can spot someone that is too high as their hips rock from side to side when they are cycling, by being too high you are not optimising the strength in your legs to get maximum power.

There's lots of ways which people may recommend to get the correct saddle height like 88.3% of your inseam or just straightening your leg out and putting your heel on your pedal.  All have their ups and downs.

One of the most reliable ways to figure it out is to get the old protractor out to look at the angle of your leg from your knee.

I'd recommend using this quick on-line calculator to get your initial seat height as a starting point, it should be pretty close.  When you've got that done, position the protractor on the knobbly bit of your knee and see what angle your knee joint is at the bottom of the downstroke.  Normally, around 155 degrees is where it should be at for the optimum to stop your hips rocking.

Ready, Set, Go

It will feel very different at first if you have been running your saddle too high.  In fact, you'll feel very strange and you'll be tempted to put it back up again - don't.   You'll find very quickly that you'll adjust to the new position.  In the beginning, you'll start to feel your quads really come into play.

Your quads are the muscle set above your knee which are one of the most important muscle groups for cyclists.  By bringing your saddle down, you'll be using your quads a lot more to push the pedals and you'll develop more leg strength.  So, stick with it and it and you'll really begin to get some benefit as your muscle group develops. As usual, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, consult a professional.


  1. This is useful for me. I recently started getting a bit of joint ache in my knees after cycling and I am thinking the saddle may be slightly too high.

  2. I really like to read.Hope to learn a lot and have a nice experience here! my best regards guys!
    Road bike controls