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Finding that Saddle Height Sweet Spot by Juliet Elliott

By Juliet Elliott

When it comes to comfort, efficiency and injury prevention, the importance of setting the correct saddle height on your bicycle cannot be overstated. Along with other key considerations such as cleat position and stem length and height, it’s the most important adjustment to really dial in.

There are several methods you can use to get your saddle in the right position but let’s look at our two favourites.

First up, the ‘heel on pedal’ method. This is a very straightforward way to get your saddle in roughly the right place, but not the most accurate. Consider using this method as a starting point or if you’re short of time.

Begin by placing your bike on a stationary trainer or positioning it near a wall or in a doorway.

Mount the bike and sit the way you normally would; both feet on the pedals, weight in the saddle and hands on the bars. Support yourself against the wall if need be.

Rotate the pedals until one leg is as far as it can be. This will not be in the ‘six o’clock’ position but when your foot and crank arm are in line with your seat tube.

Place your heel on the pedal in this position and adjust the seat height until your leg is totally straight. This is roughly the correct saddle height; when you pedal properly with the ball of the foot on your pedal, you’ll discover you have a slight bend in your leg. Experiment with small adjustments and test rides to find the sweet spot.

The second method is known as the ‘LeMond method’, named after Greg LeMond who popularised it in the eighties.

LeMond’s method involves measuring the inseam and applying a formula: multiply your inseam length (in centimetres) by 0.883 to determine the proper saddle height from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle.

For a demonstration of how to accurately measure your inseam and set your saddle height using this method, watch our video.