Here’s why cyclists keep their seats so high – A high seat helps you ride faster and save energy by straightening your leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Most road bikes also have very low handlebars and “compact geometry” which make the seat look even higher than it is.
What happens if your bicycle seat is too high?
How to tell if your bike saddle height is too high – A saddle that is too high will cause the hips to rock back and forth. Not only does this detract from pedalling efficiency, but it can also be extremely uncomfortable. Discomfort can show up in your lower back or as knee pain (especially in the back of the knee).
- Have someone watch you ride from behind, whether out on the road or on a stationary trainer.
- The hip wobble should be easy for them to see, and you’ll want to bring your seat down a little.
- Or, if you bring your foot to the bottom of the pedal stroke, your heel should barely be able to touch at the bottom when your leg is fully extended (see photo above).
If you can’t touch the pedal at all, then lower the seat.
Why are road bike handlebars so low?
Advertisements WE MAY GET COMMISSIONS FOR PURCHASES MADE THROUGH LINKS IN THIS POST. THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT! Bike handlebars are low because the design allows you to lean forward. This is called an aerodynamic position and will make you much more efficient when you ride your bike. Lower handlebars typically allow the hands to be closer to the rider’s body, but it also decreases the mechanical advantage of the rider’s arms over the front wheel. While some cyclists prefer lower handlebars for greater power output and stability, there are many myths about this, and it is not the best solution for many riders.
How tall are pro cyclists?
Is there an ideal height for male cyclists? The height difference between someone like Chris Froome (6’1″) and Egan Bernal (5’7″) would suggest there’s room for quite a range of heights in the peloton. A 2017 study by Pro Cycling Stats found that the average height of a WorldTour cyclist was 5’9″.
The study also found that climbers were, on average, more than half an inch shorter than sprinters and that the average height of time trial specialists was half an inch more than other WorldTour cyclist. Pro Cycling Stats didn’t mention the mean or median height, numbers that may have better taken into account outliers in the peloton.
While the UCI doesn’t keep track of the shortest riders, the organization does maintain a list of the tallest cyclists competing at a professional level —and there are a surprisingly large number of very tall cyclists (though some, such as Ryder Hesjedal, are now retired).
Two riders top the list at almost 2m tall (6’5″): 22-year-old American cyclist Andrew Levitt and Belgian rider Stijn Vandenbergh, who races for AG2R La Mondiale. Other notable (non-retired) tall club members include Deceuninck – Quick Step’s Kasper Asgreen (6’3″) and Tim Declercq (6’2″), Sunweb’s Tiesj Benoot (6’2″) and Cees Bol (6’3″) and Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert (6’2″).
Canadian cyclists Matteo Dal-Cin (6’3″), Antoine Duchesne (6’2″) and Brendan Armstrong (6’3″) also find themselves on the Tall Cyclist List. Why does the UCI keep this very specific document? The answer has to do with time trial bikes.
How do I know if my saddle height is too high?
How to use an app to determine your saddle height – Leave the ‘heel method’ in the rear-view mirror and try putting your foot on the pedal as you would when riding. If this means clipping into clipless pedals, then go for it. If you prefer to ride with flat pedals, then put about 1/3 of your foot in front of the pedal axle, and 2/3 behind.
- At this point, a stationary trainer is pretty much a necessity if you want to give a proper evaluation of your seat height.
- If you don’t have one, it’s still certainly possible, but requires help from a friend and some fancy smartphone camera action.
- With the bike in a trainer, it’s time to snap a few photos/videos.
I recommend downloading any one of a number of free apps for capturing and analysing motion. The app I prefer is Hudl Technique, but there are plenty to choose from. Any app that can create still images from action will suffice. As a starting point for fore/aft adjustment of the seat, the centre of knee rotation is vertically above the pedal axle – experiment from there to find what feels best. Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media Ride your bike for a few minutes, as you would on any daily rides, adjusting your position on the seat until it feels comfortable.
- Once in position, you can begin capturing some imagery.
- The goal is to be able to quantify how much bend is in the knee throughout the pedal stroke, and to the approximate location of the centre of your knee.
- Generally speaking, at full extension (which is not 6 o’clock – more like 5 o’clock) 30 to 40 degrees of knee bend is the generally accepted range.
If you’re feeling tension at the front of the knee or a large amount of work only from your quads, the seat height is a bit low. If you feel a dull ache at your low back, or you can feel your hips rocking a bit, the saddle is likely too high. Using the same images track to a point where the crank arm is forward-horizontal and look to the knee. Determining seat height should be an active process – use ‘Technique’ or other motion capture apps to estimate your leg angle at maximum extension. Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media Approximate the centre of your knee, or the point where it appears to hinge.
How do I know if my road bike saddle is too high?
How to know if your saddle height is correct – A correctly placed saddle should result in: – A stable pelvis with your sit bones supported – tilting of the pelvis from side to side may indicate the saddle is too high. – A stable foot – there should not be excessive toe down or heel down.
– A smooth pedal stroke – a “dead spot” or a feeling of losing contact at the bottom of the pedal stroke may mean the saddle is too high. – Not continually moving on saddle – we often move forward or back on the saddle to find ideal knee extension. – Balanced recruitment of muscles with an even load and tension through the muscle groups eg.
not quad dominant – Minimal discomfort, particularly in the knee (front, back or side) The repetitive nature of cycling means it is important to have the correct saddle height to help prevent injury, Common issues resulting from an inappropriate saddle height include knee pain, saddle discomfort (pressure, numbness, sores), hip pain/impingement, hamstrings tendiopathy, back pain, achilles issues, neck pain, and hand and wrist pain /numbness.
How far should seat be from handlebars?
Setting the handlebar height – Setting the right height for the handlebars is probably the one adjustment that relies more on what’s comfortable than any specific technique or formula. It should also be noted that while a good number of hybrids come with adjustable stems for changing the height of the handlebars, many bikes do not.
If your bike has a fixed (non-adjustable) stem, you may have to buy one with a different rise to set the handlebars at the desired height. When shopping for a new bike, ask about swapping the standard stem for something more to your liking. (Note that fixed stems are far more solid than the adjustable type.) The general rule for adjusting handlebars is that they should be set above the height of the seat for a more upright and comfortable riding position, and below the height of the seat for a more forwarding-leaning, performance oriented position.
How much will depend on your preference and what you are comfortable with. Road racing pros sometimes have their handlebars set 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) below the height of their seats, while people who want a totally upright riding position may have the handlebars set 2 to 3 inches higher than their seats.
Should the saddle be higher than the handlebars MTB?
I often tell students that their handlebars are too high when they are obviously 20-60mm too high, but now I know I need to stress experimenting with bar height more for all my students, If 10mm can make a huge difference in body position, confidence and control imagine what 15-60mm could do.
- All of that contributes to putting us in an upright and slightly back of center position: not quite in balance, not neutral, and ultimately a defensive position.
- IN SHORT – experiment with your handlebar height.
- Go as low as you can go with your current bars.
- Many riders (those under 5’10 riding 29ers and under 5’8″ on 27.5 bikes) should try a bar with no rise.
Your handlebar height should help you achieve the hinged-at-the-hips-flat-back riding position like Amaury Pierron pictured below. Amaury Pierron hinged-at-the-hips-flat-back riding position I wish there was a simple formula for bar height. For me, it is when my bars are about 3″ above my knee when standing and coasting with pedals level.
For shorter people, it can be as high as their belly button when they are standing on the pedals. Again, the goal is to have your bars low enough for climbing and to put you in an athletic, hinged at the hips position when standing and descending. Too low and it may hurt your back and make it hard to look ahead.
Too high and you may struggle with keeping your front wheel on the ground during steep climbs and/or find yourself hanging off the back of your bike while descending. The old rule of thumb that your handlebars should be level with your seat (at full climbing height) to 3 inches below your seat (at full climbing height) is a great place to start.
In general, the taller you are the more drop from seat-height to bar-height you will have. At 6’3″ my bars are about 2.5″ lower than my seat. Many riders who are under 5’6″ will find it hard to even get the handlebars level with the seat on a 29r. Pro XC racer, Chloe Woodruff who at 5’2″, runs a negative rise stem to get her bars lower (as do many riders under 5’6″, especially if they ride 29er’s).
Many/most mountain bikes are sold with the handlebars as high as the steerer tube will allow. This is usually the most comfortable position for seated riding (allows a straighter back, less hinging at the hips) and it leaves four or five 5mm spacers under the stem.
- This gives you 20-25mm of adjustment.
- Often, I suggest a student remove all the spacers from below their stem and put them on top (lowering their bars 20-50mm) and they love it.
- All of my bike setup suggestions are based on performance, not comfort! Comfort is important though – if your bike isn’t comfortable you are less likely to want to ride it.
If you find lowering your handlebars to be uncomfortable, give it 4-5 rides to see if your body adapts. You may be forced to choose between comfort and performance (or work on your core strength and mobility). Lower bars will always help in climbing too, as it is easier to keep enough weight over the front wheel.
Is it better to get a bigger or smaller bike frame?
2. Check your Ape Index – Another way to decide which bike to go for is to look at your ape index. Your ape index is a comparison between your arm span and your height. If your arm span is longer than your height, go for a bigger frame. If it’s shorter, get the smaller one.