How To Adjust Bike Seat – 2 Methods
So you’ve just bought your next bike from a friend and the first thing you want to do is to take it for a good long ride. You know that your friend always looked after his bikes and knew all about proper cycle maintenance. You just need to make sure that the bike now gets adjusted to your body size.
The first thing you notice once you get on the bike is that the seat just feels way too low. You know you need to raise it but aren’t all that sure just how much.
I too had run into this very scenario when I decided to do a bit of “digging” to find out how the bike shops would do it. My searching led me to the article Adjust Your Bike Seat. One of the first things that struck me was just how easy it was to determine the proper height for your bike seat; and no need to estimate or guess.
The 2 Methods for Determining Proper Seat Height
Method 1 – Measuring Your Instep
You may want to get another set of hands for this method but basically all you are doing is measuring from the bottom of your foot up to your crotch area (with legs straight). With this measurement (in inches) in hand, simply multiply the measurement by a factor of 1.09. This factor gives you a close estimation of the proper height of your seat. Your proper seat height distance will be measured from the top of your seat to the axle of your bike pedal.
Method 2 – Heel on Pedal Method
This is the method that I have always used for getting my seats to their proper heights. First thing that you need to do is to put the shoes that you would normally ride in on and sit on your bike seat. Place your heels on the pedals (while holding you bike up). This is easiest if you put your bike in a bike stand or if no stand is available you can just balance yourself against the wall. Your proper seat height is the height that allows you to straighten your legs with your heels still touching the pedal.
To test this, pedal backwards with each of your heels on the pedals and pay attention to your hips. Are they rocking back and forth? If so then your seat is too high. Lower it until you can pedal and keep your hips on a level plane (i.e. no rocking while pedaling).
Adjust Your Seat Height (Using Either of the 2 Methods Above)
Whether you will use the instep measurement technique or the heel on pedal technique will merely come down to preference. Now all you need to do is to get your seat properly adjusted. To do this, you need to loosen the mechanism that secures your seat post to your bike frame. Typically, the locking mechanism will be either a quick release lever (see a picture of a quick release here) or a bolt that uses Allen keys for loosening and tightening.
Simply loosen the seat post just enough that it slides up and down easily. Get your seat to the proper height and then lock it back into position again. Before locking the seat post, make sure that your bike seat is pointed straight forward and not skewed in any other direction (a seat that isn’t straight can cause injury over time).
Your Seat is Now Properly Adjusted
That is all there is to properly measuring and calculating your optimal bike seat height. While this process is not considered cycle maintenance by the strictest definition of the term, it still requires re-positioning a working item on your bike. For that very reason, this process falls under cycle maintenance in my books.
Have you been riding a bike that has not had its seat properly adjusted for your body size? Now that you’ve read this article you should now be able to move the seat to the height that it should be. Let me know if you’ve recently had to adjust your bike seat. Which method did you use and how did it feel afterwards. Post a comment and let me know. Ride safe!