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What exactly is a "level saddle?"

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What exactly is a "level saddle?"

Old 05-13-16, 05:51 PM
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Regulatori
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What exactly is a "level saddle?"

I just angle my seat based on what's comfortable...but holy crap, the amount of "OMG, level your saddle!" posts in every bike forum picture thread just get tiring after awhile (tied with "tighten up your chain!").

I'm just curious what this specifically means.




I was recently reading a book by Chris Hoy/Chris Boardman about bike fit and it mentioned how UCI requires a level saddle. It's one of those rules set in stone and they only give you like an 1/8" of leeway.



So what exactly is considered a level saddle?



Is it making the longest section of the saddle (the main area where you sit on) level and ignoring the raised rear section?












Or is it making a ruler level while resting on each ends of the saddle?













Now what about a sloping top tube?





Level the saddle based on the top tube angle.....






Disregard top tube angle....



Last edited by Regulatori; 05-13-16 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 05-13-16, 06:01 PM
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Leveling based on top tube angle would be about the dumbest thing. It's the second one you describe. Those saddles above don't have raised sections, they have contoured dips that you're supposed to sit in.
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Old 05-13-16, 06:12 PM
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The angle at which the longest straight cross section of the saddle is parallel to the imaginary line drawn from one dropout to the other (aka the wheelbase line)
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Old 05-13-16, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
Leveling based on top tube angle would be about the dumbest thing. It's the second one you describe. Those saddles above don't have raised sections, they have contoured dips that you're supposed to sit in.
I've heard a lot of people say that if you're riding a pursuit frame, you angle the saddle downward.
Even on mild angled top tubes like CDale tracks or GT GTB/Pulse, it's like a 50/50 split...people either angle the seat based on the top tube or they ignore it.

I understand the contoured dips...but that's my question, a saddle like a Flight has that center valley that extends flat to the nose. Only the rear angles upward. Do you measure both ends or just the flatter valley section where you sit?


A more extreme example would be a Concor Supercorsa Sprint saddle. Do you go off the main flat area or include the upward rear section? If you include the rear section, the nose is going to angle upwards.


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Old 05-13-16, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori View Post
Or is it making a ruler level while resting on each ends of the saddle?






This.
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Old 05-13-16, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori View Post
I've heard a lot of people say that if you're riding a pursuit frame, you angle the saddle downward.
Even on mild angled top tubes like CDale tracks or GT GTB/Pulse, it's like a 50/50 split...people either angle the seat based on the top tube or they ignore it.

I understand the contoured dips...but that's my question, a saddle like a Flight has that center valley that extends flat to the nose. Only the rear angles upward. Do you measure both ends or just the flatter valley section where you sit?


A more extreme example would be a Concor Supercorsa Sprint saddle. Do you go off the main flat area or include the upward rear section? If you include the rear section, the nose is going to angle upwards.


I could understand angling your seat down a bit for a pursuit frame on the track, just like many TT bikes have a saddle with the a short nose...this is because you're bent over more. Same with the sprint saddle, it's designed for sprinting, so the back part is supposed to keep you on your saddle when you're pushing a harder effort.

For normal everyday riding tho, you're not in an aero tuck the entire ride, nor are you really needing a special sprint saddle.
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Old 05-13-16, 06:35 PM
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Yeah, I currently have my Flite leveled like that with the upturned nose.

With my Sakae seatpost, it's actually maxxed on the adjustment and it's still not perfect.
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Old 05-13-16, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori View Post
I've heard a lot of people say that if you're riding a pursuit frame, you angle the saddle downward.
Even on mild angled top tubes like CDale tracks or GT GTB/Pulse, it's like a 50/50 split...people either angle the seat based on the top tube or they ignore it.

I understand the contoured dips...but that's my question, a saddle like a Flight has that center valley that extends flat to the nose. Only the rear angles upward. Do you measure both ends or just the flatter valley section where you sit?


A more extreme example would be a Concor Supercorsa Sprint saddle. Do you go off the main flat area or include the upward rear section? If you include the rear section, the nose is going to angle upwards.


The thing about pursuit frames is dumb. Might have had some relevance when pursuit frames with downward sloping top tubes and dropped front ends were still manufactured and used, but it's completely moot now. The Flite you posted doesn't have a flat section. That Supercorsa Sprint was designed in the era of crazy aero experimentation and is now race illegal and irrelevant.
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Old 05-13-16, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
I could understand angling your seat down a bit for a pursuit frame on the track, just like many TT bikes have a saddle with the a short nose...this is because you're bent over more. Same with the sprint saddle, it's designed for sprinting, so the back part is supposed to keep you on your saddle when you're pushing a harder effort.

For normal everyday riding tho, you're not in an aero tuck the entire ride, nor are you really needing a special sprint saddle.
I get what you're saying. That's what got me curious when I read the Hoy/Boardman book and they talked about the strict UCI rule. They mentioned that track sprinters usually only use the very nose of the saddle and it would be a huge advantage if the saddles could be turned slightly nose down.

So if you tried to use that saddle sprint saddle in a UCI even, would they require the nose to be pointing upwards to compensate for the high raised rear section?
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Old 05-13-16, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
The thing about pursuit frames is dumb. Might have had some relevance when pursuit frames with downward sloping top tubes and dropped front ends were still manufactured and used, but it's completely moot now. The Flite you posted doesn't have a flat section. That Supercorsa Sprint was designed in the era of crazy aero experimentation and is now race illegal and irrelevant.
Ahh..that makes sense. Didn't know that saddle was illegal.
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Old 05-13-16, 06:40 PM
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I "level" my bike saddle so the main part I am sitting on is level. On a Brooks, this often means that the nose is pointed up.

One consideration is that if the saddle is installed nose down, you will have the tendency to slide forward. This requires you to push yourself back with your arms, which will become tiring in a relatively short time.
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Old 05-13-16, 06:55 PM
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I level my saddle to the ground/axles, like others said, if you have a forward angle you are going to slide forward and you'll have numb hands in no time.

Last edited by Siu Blue Wind; 05-15-16 at 09:48 AM. Reason: clean up
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Old 05-13-16, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori View Post
I've heard a lot of people say that if you're riding a pursuit frame, you angle the saddle downward.
Copying track racers for a road bike is stupid. Track racers are pushing so hard that they hardly have weight on the saddle or they might be riding the nose of the saddle, things that don't work for long duration riding. As for the UCI, ignore them also because they come up with all kinds of stupid **** just because they can.

IME people riding with extreme saddle angles typically have a bad saddle height, usually too high.

Last edited by hairnet; 05-13-16 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 05-13-16, 11:22 PM
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Wow! My take on seat tilt? The right tilt is based on my seat, my butt and my riding position. Your thoughts about it never enter into the picture. The idea of changing my seat tilt from the most comfortable to please you or other riders never crosses my mind. All my bikes have nose down seats to varying degrees. Yes, I ride with weight on my hands (except when I am riding hard). It requires a little strength and a little conditioning. Is that bad? Since no work is done, energy is not burned by the weight on my hands and since I can ride a more aero position, less energy is burned by my legs. That sounds and feels like a net gain. (When I hear that weight on the hands is bad and tiring, I think "Man up! Grow some muscle!")

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Old 05-14-16, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
This.


looking at that saddle, and the way it sits on the bike, I'd hate to ride 100 miles at a fast pace. Looks like the nose of the saddle will grind your nuts when you are on the hoods or in the drops
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Old 05-14-16, 03:54 AM
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Yeah because that bike definitely looks like it was built for riding 100 miles at a fast pace.

Basically, you eventually realize that no one actually cares that much about your bike, and then you learn to not care about what no one thinks about your bike.
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Old 05-14-16, 05:39 AM
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To me, only the first two look "level" to me. You have to ignore the back part...and if the nose swoops down, you have to ignore that too. There's going to be some level of rise in the back of just about every saddle to differing extents.
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Old 05-14-16, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
To me, only the first two look "level" to me. You have to ignore the back part...and if the nose swoops down, you have to ignore that too. There's going to be some level of rise in the back of just about every saddle to differing extents.
Why would you ignore a full third of your saddle? Seems silly to me.
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Old 05-14-16, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Huffandstuff View Post
I had to choose between brown rice or quinoa in my burrito today, I chose quinoa cause I felt like Internet nerds would be less upset about it.
We made enchiladas with red quinoa and black beans the other night. Not too bad.
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Old 05-14-16, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
BFSSFG - 96.4% overthinking stupid things, 3.6% bike riding.
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Old 05-14-16, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Wendell F View Post
Why would you ignore a full third of your saddle? Seems silly to me.
You don't like putting the weight of your entire upper body directly on your nutsack?
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Old 05-14-16, 01:07 PM
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If it's UCI's rule you're wondering about, here's what they say (Article 1.3.014):

“checks on the horizontality of saddles will be conducted at WorldTour events, World Cup events and World Championships for the road, the track and the cyclo-cross by measuring the angle of incline of the saddle, considering the plane passing through the highest points at the front and rear of the saddle. This angle must be less than 2.5 degrees with an error tolerance of 0.5 degree.”

https://www.uci.ch/mm/Document/News/R...NG_English.PDF

But as noted above, only people competing in UCI sanctioned events should feel bound by this rule. For the rest of us, a level saddle is a starting point only, and can be adjusted as needed for rider comfort or preference.
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Old 05-14-16, 04:30 PM
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Whatever you're still comfortable with after riding a metric century.
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Old 05-14-16, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Wendell F View Post
Why would you ignore a full third of your saddle? Seems silly to me.

Because that's where I put my weight -- on my sit bones, not my balls or the rear of my butt cheeks.
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Old 05-15-16, 07:44 AM
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I've always wondered this, what exactly is the reason for having a level seat?
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