How Can I Adjust Bike Seat Position
Minor Seat Adjustments Can Make a World Of Difference
Take a look around the next time you go for a ride and notice how many different variations of seat height there are on people’s bikes. The majority of people that buy bikes really have no idea how much difference a properly adjusted seat can make to the comfort of their ride.
Let’s answer the question of how can I adjust my bike seat so that when all your other friends are making bike repairs because of an improperly fitted bike, you can be out riding and enjoying the great outdoors.
Bike maintenance and repair is one of passions; go to my Where It All Began page to find out why.
3 Points of Contact
When you mount your bike, you will notice that there are 3 points of contact between your body and your bike. The points of contact are through your hands, feet and of course your rear. Weight is distributed between these 3 points but the majority of the weight will be found where your butt hits the “saddle” (cycling term given to your bike seat because you are riding on it not just sitting on it).
Your goal when riding a bike is to be as comfortable as possible so that you are best able to enjoy your ride. To get the most comfort though you will need a properly adjusted seat. Let’s get down to work!
3 Different Axis’
In order to maximize comfort on your bike, you will need to ensure that the following 3 axis’ are correctly adjusted for your body size. These are:
How Can I Adjust My Bike Seat – Tilt
If you look under your seat you will notice either a clamp or bolt that can be loosened to allow your seat to be adjusted (See picture below).
The typical bike rider will want to have their seat level with the ground. This procedure is as simple as taking a level or even a small straight ruler and placing it on top of your seat. With ruler in place, you can visually adjust your seat’s tilt angle.
Looking under your seat also gives you a chance to make any bike repairs that may be required as a result of normal usage (i.e. bolts loosening) and wear and tear. Now that your seat angle is correct let’s make sure that the seat height is also correct for your body size. The picture below shows the proper angle for your seat.
How Can I Adjust My Bike Seat – Height
An improperly adjusted seat height can lead to injury if not corrected. A seat that is set too low will put a lot of unnecessary stress on your knees whereas a seat that is too high will force you to rock back and forth in order to pedal. This rocking is hard on your hips and can potentially lead to chaffing and blisters at your seat contact (also known as saddle sores – Ouch!). In order for you to adjust your seat height you will need to loosen your seat post (as shown in the picture below).
To adjust your seat you will need to climb onto your bike while balancing yourself with a wall. Place your feet on the pedals with your pedal position at 12 and 6 o’clock. Move your 6 o’clock foot forward so that your heel is now centered on the pedal. Your leg should be straight with no bend at the knee. It your leg is bent then you will need to move your seat up. If you are having a difficult time reaching the pedal than your seat is too high. A properly adjusted seat should look like this.
How Can I Adjust My Bike Seat – Fore and Aft Position
Now that our seats are at the correct angle and height, we will now need to ensure that they are in the proper fore/aft position as well. In order to maximize the leverage you put on your pedals as well as minimize the amount of potential strain that you place on your lower back region, your seat needs to be properly adjusted fore and aft.
To do this you will need to climb back onto your bike and place your pedals at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. Take a piece of string and tie some sort of weight to the end (i.e. a wrench or a washer). Hold the string at the knee of your 3 o’clock leg and let it dangle down towards your foot. The string should cut through the centre of your pedal. Simply loosen the bolt (same procedure for the seat tilt) and adjust your seat either forward or back so that the string becomes centered.
It May Feel Weird at First
Discovering the answer to “how can I adjust my bike seat” will not only remove any undue stresses on your body, but it will also allow you to enjoy your riding more. Bike repairs like the ones above, may cause your bike to feel a bit weird on the first ride back. This is a normal feeling and will take a bit of time for your body to adjust.
It won’t take long though and once adjusted, you will find that riding your bike will actually become easier than it had previously. Your body will also be much happier because you have now managed to reduce a lot of the stress that you used to place on it.