Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fitting Your Bike
Reload this Page >

What portion of the saddle determines height?

Notices
Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

What portion of the saddle determines height?

Old 11-19-22, 02:59 PM
  #1  
Jerry1957
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What portion of the saddle determines height?

A friend of mine and I had a discussion on saddle height. He points out many people measure it from the bottom bracket up the seat post to the top of the saddle and that is your height. Some measure from the bottom bracket to where the saddle clamps are because of set back. He made a point it should be where the sit bones make contact on the saddle which generally is the widest portion of the saddle and emphasized that it becomes more critical if the rear portion of the saddle rakes up like many do and if there is a tilt, that effects the measurement. He has a good valid point, what would be your takes on this?
Jerry1957 is offline  
Old 11-19-22, 04:04 PM
  #2  
Iride01 
more daylight today!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 12,490

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5119 Post(s)
Liked 3,612 Times in 2,509 Posts
When talking in general and it's not stated, I will expect and think that most measure from the BB center to the top of the saddle about where your sit bones go. I'm not going to worry about precision, because once I've got the saddle set by that measurement I'll tweak it up and down over several rides till it is where I want it by what I feel and not by what some formula or other thing says it should be.

My preference though is to measure from the top of the saddle where the sit bones go to the top of the pedal when it is furthest away. That lets me know a measurement I can quickly set any saddle on any road bike to and takes into account the length of the crank arm. This works well for me when I'm shopping for a bike as I like a 165mm crank, but most bikes my sizes have a 172.5 - 175 mm crank on them. So it gets my saddle more correct for that longer crank arm when trying out a bike.

Many other times I hear someone say anything about saddle height along with a measurement, I just confirm with them where they are measuring from. Doesn't hurt to ask just to be certain.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 11-19-22, 06:04 PM
  #3  
zandoval 
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 3,676

Bikes: Univega, Peu P6, Peu PR-10, Ted Williams, Peu UO-8, Peu UO-18 Mixte, Peu Dolomites

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 649 Post(s)
Liked 1,029 Times in 662 Posts
My old arthritic guy inability to adapt, has caused me to set up my bikes as close to each other as possible. Because of this I measure what I call the Working Distance of Seat to Pedal, instead of Seat to Center of Crank.



https://www.mantel.com/blog/en/how-t...-saddle-height
__________________
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
zandoval is offline  
Likes For zandoval:
Old 11-21-22, 12:50 PM
  #4  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 5,018
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2543 Post(s)
Liked 2,719 Times in 1,717 Posts
For simplicity I measure from BB centre to top of the saddle at its centre point.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 11-21-22, 05:55 PM
  #5  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,877

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3580 Post(s)
Liked 1,573 Times in 1,149 Posts
I measure with my legs, getting my knee bend right. I use the heel-on-pedal method to start with and then fine tune by feel. I get one bike right, then use the same method of measurement to transfer that to other bikes, usually measuring right up the seatpost.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:
Old 11-22-22, 05:44 AM
  #6  
nomadmax 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 2,180
Mentioned: 93 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1003 Post(s)
Liked 1,504 Times in 725 Posts
I measure the OD of the BB shell, divide by 1/2 and put the metal straight edge on the top of the BB shell with the measuring scale dead center. Most of my bikes are vintage steel so the BB shells are typically 40mm/4cm in diameter. By placing the straight edge dead center in the middle/on top of the BB I only need to add 20mm/2cm to whatever measurement I get. Very, repeatable with no eyeballing.

I stopped using the seatpost cradle as an upper guide point a went to the center of the saddle length, ie 1/2 of total length. When determining total length, I do not take into account any part of the saddle that I can't sit on, ala Toupe or Pro Stealth plastic tail sections. I use a second straight edge laying on top of the saddle at mid point, then measure to the bottom and add 2cm or whatever 1/2 OD of the BB shell is. I should note that all my rigs use the same crank length, pedals, shoes, insoles and cleats. Some have different saddles but most are Pro Stealths.

I also use the center point of the saddle for set back measurements as well. That allows me to get the same saddle height and set back regardless of what saddle I use (or as nearly as I can before making small tweaks). At one point I bought into the "measure at xxmm wide part of the saddle" but given all the different saddles out there, I never found it to work reliably, hence the change to mid point reference, middle is always the middle.
__________________
nomadmax is offline  
Old 11-22-22, 10:10 AM
  #7  
Jerry1957
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I am amazed but not surprised at the varied methods that individuals use to determine saddle height, This tells me that it is subjective because of set back or design of saddle. When I had a bike fit one time the bike fitter told me he raised me up 4mm to which I asked him to show me how he determines saddle height which was different from another bike fit person that I know.
Jerry1957 is offline  
Old 11-22-22, 10:32 AM
  #8  
Iride01 
more daylight today!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 12,490

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5119 Post(s)
Liked 3,612 Times in 2,509 Posts
Now you are sorta talking two different things. We were only talking about how to measure saddle height originally.

Now you seem to be talking about how one determines their proper saddle height. That's going to have even more different ways to be described. And for fine tuning that height, there are many different tells that a fitter or even oneself should consider for that final few millimeters.
Iride01 is offline  
Likes For Iride01:
Old 11-22-22, 01:09 PM
  #9  
Jerry1957
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Now you are sorta talking two different things. We were only talking about how to measure saddle height originally.


Now you seem to be talking about how one determines their proper saddle height. That's going to have even more different ways to be described. And for fine tuning that height, there are many different tells that a fitter or even oneself should consider for that final few millimeters.
I have come away with the belief that measuring saddle height is subjective. Example: if I measure to the middle of the saddle from the BB where I know how one of my friends does it, he gets a particular reading, but if he measures from the BB to where the sit bones might be which is more to the rear of the saddle around the widest portion, he gets a different reading because as you know, its a longer distance. Riders or bike fitters choose their way of measuring to what particular section of the saddle they are targeting.


When I had my bike fit, he told me my saddle height was 74.6 cm, I asked him what area of the saddle was he targeting to get that number and he replied to on the top of the saddle above where the saddle rail clamps are and he pointed to the area of the saddle where he eyeballed it with a tape measurer. I asked him because I wanted to use his reference points as a way to replicate it to my other bicycle. I know a guy who doesn't involve the saddle at all, he does the heel to pedal method, marks a point on the seat post from the bottom bracket and makes his adjustments up or down by making marks on the seat post. Any saddle movement fore and aft is simply where he wants his knees to fall in relation to the pedal spindle and tilt for his comfort.
Jerry1957 is offline  
Old 11-28-22, 04:05 PM
  #10  
ucdcrush
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 4

Bikes: Look 585

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
On youtube there's a guy named Kinetic cycle coaching. One of his videos (I think on saddle setback) said he measures 12cm from the back of the saddle, as that's roughly where people sit. And obviously since it's from the back, it is not bothered by short-nosed saddles.

On my saddles, I put a little grey mark underneath on the saddle shell, at that 12cm from the back point. Then when measuring saddle height, I am measuring vertical from that point (i.e, to the surface above that point).

I won't say the 12cm is perfect between various brands and designs of saddles, in terms of where a person would sit. So marking 12cm, or anywhere really, if nothing else, is a good way to be able to reproduce the preferred saddle height using that saddle, regardless if you move the setback around.

Having spent way too much time figuring out what the saddle height should be, where I seem to be comfortable is to get into the saddle, clip in, pedal for a bit to where I'm sitting comfortably in the saddle. Then staying there, unclip and do the heel on pedal, which I choose to do on my left side as I know my left leg doesn't extend down quite as far.. so I set the SH based on that. I find that if the heel of my cycling shoe just grazes the pedal surface (using look keo pedals) then it's about right.
ucdcrush is offline  
Old 11-29-22, 02:05 PM
  #11  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,678
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 535 Post(s)
Liked 867 Times in 549 Posts
If something is new, I start with the saddle set so that it is just (1/8”) below 32” from BB center to the top of the saddle on line with the center of the seat tube.

But that is just for an initial setting. Adjusting to optimize the height on the same frame, saddle and post, I measure the distance of the exposed seatpost from where it leaves the frame to where the seatpost tube joins the top seatpost hardware, because that is easy to measure precisely.

Otto
ofajen is offline  
Old 11-29-22, 04:05 PM
  #12  
79pmooney
Senior Member
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,503

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3992 Post(s)
Liked 2,881 Times in 1,873 Posts
I don't really care because I'm always going to do final tuning out on the road. But to set the saddle up initially and get it close, I put a piece of tape halfway between the nose and back. (And because I do the final tuning on the road, I hate single bolt seatposts where I may lose all reference once I loosen that one bolt.)
79pmooney is offline  
Old 12-08-22, 12:00 PM
  #13  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 5,018
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2543 Post(s)
Liked 2,719 Times in 1,717 Posts
Originally Posted by Jerry1957 View Post
I have come away with the belief that measuring saddle height is subjective. Example: if I measure to the middle of the saddle from the BB where I know how one of my friends does it, he gets a particular reading, but if he measures from the BB to where the sit bones might be which is more to the rear of the saddle around the widest portion, he gets a different reading because as you know, its a longer distance. Riders or bike fitters choose their way of measuring to what particular section of the saddle they are targeting.


When I had my bike fit, he told me my saddle height was 74.6 cm, I asked him what area of the saddle was he targeting to get that number and he replied to on the top of the saddle above where the saddle rail clamps are and he pointed to the area of the saddle where he eyeballed it with a tape measurer. I asked him because I wanted to use his reference points as a way to replicate it to my other bicycle. I know a guy who doesn't involve the saddle at all, he does the heel to pedal method, marks a point on the seat post from the bottom bracket and makes his adjustments up or down by making marks on the seat post. Any saddle movement fore and aft is simply where he wants his knees to fall in relation to the pedal spindle and tilt for his comfort.
The only important thing with saddle height measurement is consistency. Whatever method you use just has to be repeatable.
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:
Old 12-09-22, 12:16 PM
  #14  
blacknbluebikes 
Senior Member
 
blacknbluebikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 1,057

Bikes: two blacks, a blue and a white.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 367 Post(s)
Liked 609 Times in 296 Posts
What I measure on one bike doesn't necessarily transfer to another bike. Just 'cause the A-bike measures XX cm from bottom bracket center to (pick your landmark) doesn't result in the B-bike feeling dialed in. Yes, a good start, but I usually find that I'll make more fine-tuning adjustments as I ride the first time. All my seatposts have a small square of blue tape where the post meets the seat-tube, much easier.
blacknbluebikes is offline  
Old 12-13-22, 05:31 AM
  #15  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 5,018
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2543 Post(s)
Liked 2,719 Times in 1,717 Posts
Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
What I measure on one bike doesn't necessarily transfer to another bike. Just 'cause the A-bike measures XX cm from bottom bracket center to (pick your landmark) doesn't result in the B-bike feeling dialed in. Yes, a good start, but I usually find that I'll make more fine-tuning adjustments as I ride the first time. All my seatposts have a small square of blue tape where the post meets the seat-tube, much easier.
That's because saddle height alone (however you measure it) doesn't take into account saddle setback. You need both measurements to replicate the same saddle position on different bikes i.e. height and setback. Even then it only works perfectly if both bikes are using the same saddle and crank lengths etc. If they have different saddles it is harder to find a common reference point for measurement.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 12-19-22, 12:04 PM
  #16  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,405
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2100 Post(s)
Liked 493 Times in 359 Posts
When I measure seat height I usually start at the bottom bracket and the most natural path for the tape measure is up the seat tube centerline and whatever part of the TOP of the saddle it hits is where I do the calculation. Some measure to the top of the pedal surface and that's fine. It takes differences in crank length into account but since you are going to test ride the measurement you took and do further adjustments based on how things feel, I don't think its necessary to measure to pedal surface. The fixed points of BB center and saddle surface are easy to locate and bam, you're good to go.
Leisesturm is offline  
Old 12-24-22, 06:24 PM
  #17  
DaveSSS 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Loveland, CO
Posts: 6,990

Bikes: Cinelli superstar disc, two Yoeleo R12

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 941 Post(s)
Liked 491 Times in 395 Posts
I have three bikes. I use the same saddle and crank arm length on all three and set the saddle tip the same distance behind the center of the BB. Once I'm satisfied with the height, based on riding adjustments, I measure from the center of the crank to the same point on the saddle, on all three bikes. It's a lot more difficult if different saddles are being used.
DaveSSS is offline  
Old 12-24-22, 07:13 PM
  #18  
Chuck M 
Happy With My Bike
 
Chuck M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,465

Bikes: Hi-Ten bike boomers, a Trek Domane and some projects

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 553 Post(s)
Liked 1,394 Times in 681 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I measure with my legs, getting my knee bend right. I use the heel-on-pedal method to start with and then fine tune by feel. I get one bike right, then use the same method of measurement to transfer that to other bikes, usually measuring right up the seatpost.
This is pretty much how I have done it since some time in the early 80s except I don't try to replicate it on other bikes. This, that and the other thing I think are enough of a difference that I don't think that always works well. But heel on pedal or knee slightly bent on the down stroke is close enough that it isn't hard to dial in from there.
__________________
"It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels." -- Heinz Stücke

Chuck M is offline  
Likes For Chuck M:
Old 12-24-22, 07:31 PM
  #19  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,877

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3580 Post(s)
Liked 1,573 Times in 1,149 Posts
Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
This is pretty much how I have done it since some time in the early 80s except I don't try to replicate it on other bikes. This, that and the other thing I think are enough of a difference that I don't think that always works well. But heel on pedal or knee slightly bent on the down stroke is close enough that it isn't hard to dial in from there.
Yes, that takes out all the variables one encounters with trying to measure: type of saddle, saddle offset, saddle tilt, type of shoe, type of pedal, length of crank . . .there are probably others.

When we pedal, we measure with out legs every stroke. A little bit off adds up after 20,000 pedal strokes. Always seemed to me therefore that we should measure with our legs when setting up a saddle. I do use numbers when transferring from one bike to another after the first one's set up, as long as saddle and tilt are the same.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.