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Watch: How to set and change your saddle height

Correct saddle height is the foundation of any bike-fit

With a knock-on effect on every aspect of how your body fits to the bicycle, getting your saddle in the correct spot is crucial for comfortable and efficient riding. Reams of sports science research papers have been written on how to work out exactly where best to perch your bum.

However, many cyclists are happy enough to make a rough guess and hope for the best, which is silly when getting it spot on needn’t be tricky or time consuming.

• Time taken: 10 minutes
• Money saved: Tons on physio bills
• You will need: Grease; 4mm/5mm allen key; torque wrench; a book and a tape measure

‘A saddle set up slightly too low is less likely to cause problems than one that’s too high.’

How to change your saddle height in six steps

1. Measure your inseam

Take your shoes off and grab a book. Next, line yourself up against a wall. Pop the book spine upwards between your legs. Give it a good squish.

With the book level, make a mark on the wall at the top of the book. Now measure the distance between the mark and the floor. This is your inseam.

2. Get out the calculator

There are numerous formulae for working out correct saddle height. One of the most commonly used is the LeMond method, named after the American Tour de France champ.

Take your inseam measurement and multiply it by 0.883. For example, 860mm x 0.883 = 759.38mm.

3. Measure from the bottom bracket centre to saddle top

Work out exactly where your sit bones (the bony bits of your backside) rest on the saddle. Next, find the centre point of your cranks and measure the distance between the two points.

Compare the number with the one the equation gave you in step 2. If it’s significantly different you’ll need to adjust your saddle.

4. Clean and re-grease your seatpost

Adjusting your saddle height is a good excuse to clean your seatpost. Loosen the seatpost clamp and remove the seatpost. Wipe it down with a rag and clean the inside of the seat tube using silicone spray or a light solvent.

If it is a metal seatpost in a metal frame, apply a fresh smear of grease or anti-seize. If it’s a carbon seatpost in a carbon frame, leave it bare.

5. Adjust your seatpost

Return the seatpost to the frame and push it in until the distance from the centre of the cranks to the top of the saddle matches the number you calculated in step 2.

It may help if you ask someone else to hold the tape measure while you adjust the seatpost height and tighten the clamp.

6. Torque

Tightening to the right torque setting (which should be marked on the frame or seatpost clamp) is especially important with carbon parts. And it’s absolutely essential if your bike uses a wedge-type tensioner to hold the post in place.

It’s well worth investing in a torque wrench to do the job properly.