A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

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A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby TomBikes » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:49 pm

I've just come returned from a ride with a beastly head wind and noticed something. Whilst riding, along side a river, there was a mighty head wind so I went to the drops to get some more efficiency. I reached a bend where it goes down hill and there are some pylons and bushes to shield the wind. As i was in the drops, I was unable/forgot to change into a higher gear (I have those thumb levers to go up), as a result I really started to hammer it. When my cadence went up, I found my legs extending a little more (not straight). I started to move up and down with each stroke and ended up with a rather sore lower end. Should I possible raise my seat and maybe put it a smidge further back?

Also another quick question, what will lowering my bars do? In terms of my posture and comfort vs power/speed/other? I would try but I'm a little inexperienced so I would prefer to know before I try incase I muddle something up and have to go to the LBS to get it fixed up.

Thanks.
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by BNA » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:23 pm

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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby greyhoundtom » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:23 pm

A lot of riders when they really put the hammer down in a sprint tend to move forward on the seat a fraction, and tip the toe down a fraction as it is easier to reach a higher cadence with that body positioning, and it brings the body weight forward allowing a slight increase in power.

Because of the saddle to bottom bracket rule you often see time trial riders sitting on the nose of the saddle in an aero forward position.

By moving forward and tipping the toes down it will appear that the saddle is too low, compared to a riders normal more relaxed riding style.

If you are happy and comfortable with your current bike fit I see no reason to lift the seat because of that single incident.

Lowering the handle bars will do little else other than make your body positioning more aero, on the down side it may just be a little more uncomfortable.

Bike body positioning has a lot to do with the type of riding you do. If for instance most of your rides are over longer distances a more relaxed upright body position is more comfortable, on the other hand if you are more into crits and racing the more aero the better.
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby TomBikes » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:32 pm

Great response. Thank you very much!
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby RonK » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:16 pm

Bouncing on the saddle at high cadence indicates you have a poor pedalling technique. You need to practice at increasingly higher cadences to smooth out your pedalling to a circular motion rather than up-and-down.
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby Philipthelam » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:38 pm

I don't think that bouncing will mean that your saddle height is too low.

Too check your saddle height you take a look at this http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/blo ... can-it-be/
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby TomBikes » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:53 pm

I know, my pedaling technique is rather poor. :oops:
I currently don't use shoes (little strapped for cash) just old bag straps with buckles I can tighten :lol: . So I should be aiming to have a flat sole? Parallel to the ground? Toes up or down? I've tried to read some stuff but I can't seem to absorb it. It just seems to go through my head.

Back to seat height, I know its all rather complex but as a rule of thumb I want my leg to be 95% extended? Little more/less? I've got a liquid paper mark of the height i was 'fitted' at but I think i might play with a few cm and see how I go on a few block rides. After all, wouldn't that be the best way to tell?
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby grantw » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:03 pm

RonK wrote:Bouncing on the saddle at high cadence indicates you have a poor pedalling technique. You need to practice at increasingly higher cadences to smooth out your pedalling to a circular motion rather than up-and-down.



This! And it doesnt matter how you are attached, you want to be smooth and efficient. Balance your effort, don't thrash your legs.
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby TomBikes » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:12 pm

Sure, I understand that i must put more effort into circular motions not up and down, but should i point toes down? or up? or neither? or is that sort of thing depend on whether your going downhill or climbing.
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby Derny Driver » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:45 pm

TomBikes wrote:Sure, I understand that i must put more effort into circular motions not up and down, but should i point toes down? or up? or neither? or is that sort of thing depend on whether your going downhill or climbing.

The angle of your feet is not important, whatever is comfortable is okay. Previous poster detailed how Time triallers and riders making an effort often sit forward on the seat and point the toes slightly. Conversely at slow cadence going uphill in the seat some riders slide their bums back on their saddle and drop the heels. When riding normally just relax your ankles and allow the ankle joint to extend, heel down slightly on the push and heel up slightly on the pull. Dont push or pull in a deliberate way, just let your ankle kind of roll in a relaxed natural way.
Dont deliberately try to pedal with your heel first, or your toes. Dont lock your ankle into a straight flat position either. Its best described as a relaxed neutral position.

A rough test for seat height is to sit on your seat and put one pedal at the bottom 6 o'clock position. Drop your heel and your leg should be straight.
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby Philipthelam » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:52 pm

TomBikes wrote:Sure, I understand that i must put more effort into circular motions not up and down, but should i point toes down? or up? or neither? or is that sort of thing depend on whether your going downhill or climbing.

http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/blo ... t-is-best/
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby thearthurdog » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:34 am

TomBikes wrote:I know, my pedaling technique is rather poor. :oops:
I currently don't use shoes (little strapped for cash) just old bag straps with buckles I can tighten :lol: . So I should be aiming to have a flat sole? Parallel to the ground? Toes up or down? I've tried to read some stuff but I can't seem to absorb it. It just seems to go through my head.

Back to seat height, I know its all rather complex but as a rule of thumb I want my leg to be 95% extended? Little more/less? I've got a liquid paper mark of the height i was 'fitted' at but I think i might play with a few cm and see how I go on a few block rides. After all, wouldn't that be the best way to tell?


A few cm is a LOT. If you are going to muck around with your seat height do it it in little steps. I would guess 5mm maximum at a time.
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Re: A sign that my seat needs to be higher?

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:29 am

First thing Tom, any testing or measuring MUST be done in the kit you usually ride in. No good wearing 501s and Docs if you ride in lycra and Volleys.

My saddle height check is: pedal at 6 O'Clock, put the heel on the pedal and your leg should be straight but not locked. I recommend doing this on both sides to get an averager if your pins aren't symmetrical.

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