Beginners: How to set your saddle height - Total Women's Cycling

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Beginners: How to set your saddle height

Daunted by the scientific equations for calculating seat height? Don’t be. With these tips, we’ll help boost your comfort and power, to get you in to saddle heaven in no time.

Get your saddle height right and you’ll reap the rewards every time you jump on your bike.

If you ride in a certain pair of shoes, pop them on when you’re setting your saddle height. Different depths of sole can affect where you set your saddle more than you think.

Get someone to hold you steady on the bike or balance in a doorway.

With your cycling shoes on, jump in the saddle. Hold the handlebars to assume the riding position, and then let your legs dangle straight down.

Pedal backwards until your right pedal is at its lowest position.

Position your right heel onto the pedal. What has happened?


Struggling to reach the pedal and keep your hips steady? It’s time to lower your saddle.

If you had to slide your bum over one side of the saddle, you’ve set your saddle too high.

Try to get someone to watch you from behind to see if your hips are rocking from side to side as you pedal.

A saddle that is too high will make you reach for the pedals, creating a rocking movement. Even a small ‘rock’ can create a huge amount of discomfort.


Low saddles are a common sight on beginner bikes, be brave and push it up.

The most likely scenario is that your saddle is set too low. When you rest your right heel on the pedal, you may find a bend in your knee.

Constantly bent knees when pedalling means you are rotating your legs in a squat position, which can cause havoc with your knees and stop you from getting the most out of your pedal stroke.

Set saddle height, when your leg is straight with heel resting on pedal.


If your saddle height is correct, you should have a very slight bend in your knee. The angle should be 25-35° from straight.

Once your saddle has been set with the heel method, when you place the ball of your foot on the pedal there should be a very slight bend in your leg.

When you turn the pedals, there should be no stretching or reaching, pointing your toe or rocking hips.

Trust us, you really shouldn’t be able to touch the floor with both of your feet when you’re sitting on the saddle. This is an all too common myth and will stop you from getting the most out of your bike.

You can watch videos on how to adjust your saddle height here. 

Headline image by Tychay.

Like this? You’ll find these useful too: 

How to Choose the Perfect Saddle

Beginners: Setting the Angle of Your Saddle

Buyers Guide: Women’s Saddles


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