Adjusting the Saddle Fore, Aft, and Height

Adjustments to the saddle can make a big difference in comfort when you ride whether it is a long or even short trip. After all, most of your weight is being supported by the saddle.

In this section, we tell you how to adjust the angle, fore and aft, and height of your saddle. Take the time to adjust your saddle properly, and you’ll feel the benefits on your next ride.

Angling for the right angle

If your saddle is tilted slightly downward in the front, your weight is going to be slid forward, putting extra pressure on your arms and shoulders. On the other hand, if the saddle is sloped upward in the front, you may feel extra pressure on the groin area. In general, the recommendation is to keep the saddle flat.


Place a level on top of your saddle to help you set it flat.

To adjust the angle of your saddle, follow these steps:

1. Loosen the saddle clamp bolt a few turns.

2. Work the saddle up and down with your hand, jimmying the saddle into the position you want.

3. Retighten the clamp bolt.

Fore and aft, to and fro

If your seat is too far forward, you won’t be using your leg muscles efficiently and your knees can get sore. If your seat is too far to the rear, you’ll be stretch­ing to reach the handlebars, which will put strain on your back and knees.

In Chapter 18, we tell you how to use a weighted string to find the fore-and-aft position that’s right for you. After you have the position, follow these steps to adjust the saddle backward or forward:

1. Unloosen the saddle clamp bolt one turn (as shown in Figure 9-8).

2. Tap the saddle with your hand to move it forward or backward.

3. Retighten the clamp bolt.

Adjusting the Saddle Fore, Aft, and Height

Figure 9-8:

Adjusting the saddle

152 Part II: Basic Bike Repairs

Height matters

The proper saddle height is as important as, if not more important than, the angle and fore and aft of the saddle. When your saddle is at the right height for your body, you can efficiently transfer force to the pedals. If you set the height too low, you risk injury by putting undue stress on your knees. Set the height too high, and you’ll be bouncing around on the seat, giving the nerves in your butt a Swedish massage.

Follow the instructions in Chapter 18 to find the proper height for your saddle. Then follow these steps to set the height:

1. Loosen the seat-post bolt or the quick-release binder that’s holding the seat post in place.

If you don’t have a quick release on the seat post, you’ll probably have a bolt that can be loosened with an Allen wrench (as shown in Figure 9-9).

Adjusting the Saddle Fore, Aft, and Height

Figure 9-9:

If you don’t have a quick — release on your seat post, you’ll need to loosen the clamp bolt.

After loosening the seat post, you should be able to slide the seat post up and down. If the post is difficult to move, try rotating the seat back and forth while pulling up on the seat. This is usually enough to pry it free.

Adjusting the Saddle Fore, Aft, and Height

If the post still won’t move for you, you can try dripping some oil or penetrating lubricant on the seat post and letting it work its way down between the frame and the seat post. Another last-ditch trick is to use a screwdriver and pry apart the clamp or lug pinching the post together.

2. If you used oil or penetrating lubricant to loosen the post, use a degreaser afterwards to clean it off.

You’ll want it clean so that, when you apply grease to prevent corrosion, the grease will adhere to the post.


Adjusting the Saddle Fore, Aft, and Height

Before installing the post, apply grease to its shaft to prevent corrosion.

Don’t use grease if you have a carbon frame or seat post. Grease can cause a chemical reaction that can attack the carbon frame and/or carbon seat post.

3. Set the saddle and seat post to the proper height while tightening the bolt or quick-release clamp.

Make sure the saddle is aligned straight.

4. Give the bike a test drive to confirm that the saddle is at the right height.

When you’re comfortable with the height, use a file or other tool with a sharp edge to mark the correct height of the post. If you have an expen­sive or stylish seat post that you don’t want to mar, you can also use a piece of electrical tape to mark the seat post. This marking will allow you to reset the height if the post loosens for some reason.