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Best Saddle Angle

author
Bob Roberts
• Wednesday, 25 November, 2020
• 8 min read

When a new cyclist buys a bike they may take the advice of the shop staff when it comes to setting the saddle height, but that’s about it. In order to get an experts view of how to adjust your saddle angle not only for comfort, but also for maximum efficiency, we spoke to two professional bike fitters: Nigel Maratha of Bespoke Cycling and Simon Jackson from Cadence Performance.

height saddle cycling ideal bike position knee seat proper bicycle road mtb mountain aft fore tilt bicycling angle determine pain
(Source: www.ilovebicycling.com)

Contents

Saddle angle is crucial to comfort“The saddle is intended to support the rider to varying degrees and its angle is critical to that,” says Jackson. According to Maratha, a level saddle gives the rider the best chance of enjoying a comfortable ride.

“If the nose of the saddle is pointing too far upwards it can cause poor pedaling technique and bad posture,” he says. On the other hand, having the rear of the saddle raised and the front tipped forward can place too much weight on your arms, wrists and hands, while also placing more pressure on your delicate parts by sliding forward onto the narrow, supportive part of the saddle.

The key from there, he says, is finding a position where the sit bones support the majority of the rider’s weight on the saddle. The remaining pressure, which will be very slight, is supported by the soft tissue immediately forward of the sit bones, on the central, narrower part of the saddle.

“With the correct width, the rider gets adequate support to keep in a central position, and that results in a better pedaling style.” Related Articles Newsletter Terms & Conditions Please enter your email, so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers.

the plane passing through the highest points at the front and rear of the saddle can have a maximum angle of nine degrees from horizontal. If you compete in Union Cyclists Internationale (UCI)-sanctioned or regulated races, as of January 1st, 2016, you are allowed a maximum saddle angle of 9° (±1°).

height saddle ideal
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Or to phrase it more simply, tilting your saddle down is more comfortable and easier on your back and groin in certain riding conditions: Of all the modifications that can be made to a bike, the pedal has received the most attention, since it’s the link between the rider and machine, and how we transfer our energy into motion.

Uphill bicycling, however, remains one of the least examined, mainly because inclines add a bunch of complexities to the research methodology. Then add in saddle angle to the mix, which until recently was a non-factor in elite competition, and what you get is “limited” valid research.

Changing your saddle angle will improve your climbing ability and comfort when hills become steep, frequent, or are long in distance. Steep hills (12°slope, minimum), modify the timing and duration of muscle activation, especially your quads and hamstrings.

A mountain biker needs to control and balance their MTB while navigating uneven and narrow terrain, all while simultaneously: This is why mountain bikes usually have a more slack seat tube angle (Pedal Chile article on STA) which places more weight over the rear tire and makes technical sections easier.

Altering the angle of the saddle, to coincide with the steepness of the hill will offset nearly all of your muscular and pedal stroke changes The steeper the slope the more you change your posture and lean forward, which decreases the area of the seat you are actually sitting on.

bike knee saddle position aft fore height pedal cycling right pain seat forward plumb sitting getting road handlebars method posture
(Source: ilovebicycling.com)

This means your saddle loses all of its ergonomic characteristics, causing you to experience discomfort. Aligning the saddle with the slope will bring back the ergonomic benefits and comfort to that of flat riding.

This compresses the front perineum and will cause pain in the groin area for both men and women. take home message: Low back pain is common among cyclists, regardless of age, gender, or type of bicycle.

If you plan on tilting your seat, find a saddle that is designed to be angled by more than just a few degrees. The perfect saddle not only goes up and down but also tilts forward and back (plus lightweight & durable).

Matching your saddle angle to the terrain is key to improving comfort, enjoyment, and performance. For example, if you are tackling a long climb to ride epic single track, start by tilting your saddle down 5 to 15 degrees.

“Factors Associated with Lumbo-Pelvic Pain in Recreational Cyclists.” South African Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. Salad, M., et al. “Effect of Changing the Saddle Angle on the Incidence of Low Back Pain in Recreational Bicyclists.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol.

angle adjuster saddle cycling riding bicycle tradekorea
(Source: www.tradekorea.com)

You can have any of the best road bike saddles in the world, but it must be set up correctly assure maximum comfort and efficiency. This simple method is easy to do on your own and it’s based on your actual leg length, not just random numbers.

While many of our team have used this method to set saddle height successfully for decades, for some riders it will just be a useful ballpark starting point. Writing down the measurements and the tweaks you try as you go along will also help you track the process in case you need to rewind if subsequent adjustments give worse results.

Definitely write down the dimensions and angles once you find your sweet spot too so you can easily restore them if something slips or you need to pull the bike apart for travelling. A long mirror or friend to check your position can be a big help and a cheap ‘stunt’ seat post can also be useful if you don’t want to mark your expensive one.

(Image credit: Mick Kirkman) Setting your saddle height is simple but take your time to get the best results. More traditional bikes use a separate collar around the top of the seat tube of the frame to clamp the post in place.

Aero bikes increasingly use internal wedge clamps tightened from above or below the seat tube though. Raise or lower it so the saddle is roughly at hip height while you’re standing next to the bike and then retighten the clamp.

saddle position english correctly horse equineink panels seat correct fitting horses tack equine does courbette
(Source: www.horseforum.com)

(Image credit: Mick Kirkman) Now rotate the cranks until one pedal is at the point of the stroke furthest from you. For the ideal starter position, your leg should be dead straight at full extension with your barefoot heel on the pedal.

Take the tape measure, check the distance between the center of the crank axle and the top of the saddle and write it down for future reference. If you like to test your limits off-road, a slightly lower saddle height can make a big difference to stability and safety so just leave it where it is for now.

Cheaper road shoes will often also use a thicker sole too as the materials they use need more depth to give suitable stiffness and cleats so make sure you consider this when refining your saddle height. (Image credit: Mick Kirkman) If you’re running a short nose saddle, often ride in an extreme ‘right-angled elbow’ position to get low out of the wind or you use a bolt-on ‘tribal’ or ‘aero bar’ extensions you might want to lower the seat about 1 cm.

This stops your back from being overstretched and lets your pelvis roll forward, opening up the angle between your legs and your body for easier breathing. (Image credit: Mick Kirkman) As well as the height and angle of your saddle you need to dial in your position in relation to the cranks.

Once you’re happy with the height, tilt and fore/aft position double-check that the saddle is aligned exactly with the top tube and the seat clamp is secure. With that in mind be sure to take your tools with you too and remember the methods here are a suggestion to where to start, not a solid guarantee of optimum position, so never be afraid to have a play around to find your own personal sweet spot.

saddle height seat correct crank distance pedal center tube axle determine measured line mantel centre
(Source: www.mantel.com)

There is a risk to safety if the operation described in the instructions is not carried out with the appropriate equipment, skill and diligence and therefore you may wish to consult a bike mechanic. Future Publishing Limited provides the information for this project in good faith and makes no representations as to its completeness or accuracy.

Symptoms: A saddle angled downwards can cause knee pain and sore wrists and forearms. With the nose slanted forwards, your pelvis tilts meaning your hips will slide to the front of the saddle.

The forward position means you exert more pressure on the pedals to compensate for not having the correct weight on the saddle. You’re compensating for the discomfort of sitting on the narrow section by taking the weight through your arms and hands.

If sliding off the front of your saddle was bad enough, having the nose pointing skywards can cause just as many problems. The rear of the saddle is where your bottom will rest if the nose is in the air, as the sloping will have pushed you backwards.

The tilt means your pelvis is angled backwards, so all the pressure of sitting on the saddle will be focused on your lower back, causing great discomfort. This stretched position can lead to some cricked necks and shoulder pain, so take care.

saddle mtb positioning chart tool drop bob aft level park fore parktool
(Source: www.parktool.com)

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