How do you know if you have your bike seat at the proper height? (ex. should your feet be touching the ground?, should your feet be about 1 inch off the ground?) Thanks
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1. When seating on saddle, foot on pedal at the bottom of the stroke, there should be a slight bend in the leg. OR, heel on pedal on bottom of the stroke, leg should be straight.
2. If someone following you or watching you from behind observe that your hips are rocking, you're still too high. If thighs become sore after a ride, saddle may be too low. If calves are sore after a ride, saddle may be too high.
3. Make adjustments in small increments then ride. You'll hone in on the sweet spot after a couple of tries.
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Be able to sit on seat and have feet comfortably flat footed.
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Your seat should be high enough so your knee is just slightly bent when the pedal is at the downstroke. You should only be able to stand flatfooted when you are straddling the top tube.
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Road bike set up: Your heel should maintain contact with the pedal at the bottom of the stroke, without locking out your knee. Nose of the seat should be within a couple degrees of flat ( I run mine tilted up slightly - the bubble on the level just touching the line). Fore and Aft: Pedals parallel to ground, drop a plumb line from your forward knee, line should be pointing at the pedal spindle. It helps to have the bike in a trainer, and have someone assist you when making the measurements and adjustments. It may be worth it to have the bike fitted to you by the pro at the bike shop. Expect to pay $20 - $50 for this service.
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When sitting on the saddle and a foot on the pedal at the bottom of the stroke your knee should be very slightly bent. Raise or lower the saddle until this condition is achieved.
This will likely cause you to be able to just touch the ground with your tippy toes... the only time you should be sitting on the saddle is when you are in motion, otherwise you should be standing on the ground over the top tube- between handlebars and seat.
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it should be about up to the handle bars for a mountain bike
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Depends on your type of riding. Ideally, the seat should be at a position where your leg is almost straight (10-15 degree bend) when one pedal is all the way at the bottom of the stroke. This would be with the ball of your foot in the middle of the pedal. This will give you the best position for maximum pedaling efficiency.
However, if you are riding off-road, you might want to lower the seat a little. This makes it easier to dab a foot down if you are about to fall. When I'm really cruising through the woods on twisty single-track (narrow trail), I like my seat fairly low. Low enough to easily stand flat footed while seated (with the knees bent). This enables you to pump bermed turns and down small hills with ease since you won't actually be seated anyways. This position also makes it easier to get back further when going down a steep section. If you like to get air, it's much easier to move the bike under you when the seat is out of the way.
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