How to determine the correct bike seat position

Learn how to set the perfect bike seat position for more efficient and enjoyable rides.

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Bikes have 3 points of contact with the body: the handlebar (where your hands are), the saddle (where you sit), and the pedals (your feet).

In this article, we will go over the details of saddle positioning and correct bike seat position, such as bike seat height, saddle tilt and fore/aft saddle position.

While getting a comfortable and supportive saddle is vital, keep in mind that the saddle’s height, angle, and fore-and-aft position will have a significant impact on your riding comfort and how well the bike fits your body.

Once you’ve got the proper bike saddle height, you’ll feel more relaxed and efficient riding your bike.

Here’s a quick and easy method to determine your bike seat height.

Finding the right saddle height

A slight bend of about 25–30o (source:

A seat at the correct height allows for even and comfortable pedal strokes.

You know your seat is at the correct height if your hips are stable on the saddle and do not rock from side to side with every pedal stroke.

Also, when your foot is at the lowest point while pedaling, your knee should have a slight bend of about 25–30 degrees. 

When adjusting the seat height manually, remember to keep your hips square when riding and your knees slightly bent for comfort.

You shouldn’t be able to place more than your toe on the ground when seated on the bike. The seat is too low if you can put your entire foot on it.

Now mount your bike with the ball of your foot on the pedal spindle. Put the pedal crank at its lowest point in the rotation, and watch your knee. You want to see a slight bend in your knee. 

If there is too much bend in your knee, then your seat height is too low and should be increased. And if your knee is locked in, then your seat height is too high and should be reduced. 

If you get pain at the front of your knee when riding, raise the saddle just a little bit. And slightly lower the saddle if the back of your knee hurts. To prevent leg and knee pain, adjust the saddle height by 2 mm increments.

Using LeMond’s Method

If you are using clipless pedals, you can also use a math formula to determine your correct seat height. To do this, stand barefoot on a hard floor with your back to a wall, and a book tucked up between your legs. 

Have someone measure from the floor to the top of the book, this measurement gives your leg inseam length. 

To get your correct seat height, multiply your leg inseam length by 0.883. You can check this on your bike, it’s the distance between the middle of the crank axle and the top of the saddle, measured along the seat tube.

Setting the saddle height

Bike saddle height can be adjusted from the point where the seat post meets the bike frame. 

Some bikes have a quick-release lever at the base of the seat post to enable easy height adjustments. While other bikes will have a small bracket with a screw. If your bike has a screw, you will need a wrench or Allen key to loosen the bolt and adjust the seat height.

To achieve your ideal measurement, gently slide the seat post up or down. It can help to mark the post at the proper height, so you can find it again if the seat shifts.

After the adjustment, tighten the bolts or return the quick-release lever to its locked position to secure your bike seat at the correct height for you. 

Finding the right saddle fore/aft position

Knee Over Pedal Spindle (source:

To find your saddle fore/aft position, get on your bike saddle and put the pedals in the 3 0’clock and 9 0’clock position, so your pedal cranks are horizontal to the ground.

Drop a plumb bob from your knee cap and watch the position of the plumb line on the pedal. 

The right position is when the plumb line goes through the center of the pedal. This position is also called KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle).

There are two rails along the bottom of bike seats that allow for a 2-inch forward or backward adjustment. Making this adjustment will have a big impact on how your weight is distributed when riding, which will affect your balance, comfort, and pedaling efficiency.

Setting the fore/aft saddle position

To change the forward/backward seat position, loosen the bolt underneath the seat (also called the seat fixing bolt).

Move the seat slightly forward or backward as needed, check the position again with the plumb bob. Tighten the bolt once you get the desired position.  

Remember that if your reach to the handlebar is wrong, correct it by adjusting the stem length rather than fore/aft saddle position.

Your “reach” is determined by the combination of top tube and stem length, and has nothing to do with the saddle.

Saddle tilt: should it point up or down?

Your saddle should be perfectly straight or parallel to the ground, and you can check this by placing a straightedge or spirit level on the saddle.

A level saddle is best for beginner cyclists, it’s best to get a feel of the saddle at this position before changing the angle or tilt. 

A slight downwards tilt may be good if you’re adopting a very forward and aerodynamic stance. Many women like their saddle angled a degree or two down, while most men prefer their saddle nose titled one or two degrees up.

Be careful when tilting your saddle too much in any direction because this can have negative effects.

Tilting your saddle too much will cause you to slide off the saddle with every pedal stroke, this will put too much pressure on your wrists, knees and lower back. 

If you feel the need to always change your saddle angle for more comfort, then you may need to adjust the saddle height or find a different saddle. 

How to set your bike seat position

Selecting a great saddle 

The perfect saddle for you should be wide enough to support your sit bones. When riding a bike, your weight should be supported by your sit bones and not your soft tissues.

There are gender-specific saddles to account for the structural distinctions between men and women. However, there are many unisex saddles that both men and women find comfortable. 

Since each of us is unique, many saddles come in a variety of sizes and forms to support your sit bones.

Fortunately, almost all saddle manufacturers have their own unique fit systems that make it easier to pick the ideal saddle from their selection.

This is typically done in conjunction with tests to measure flexibility and the width of your sit bones.

And the majority of bike shops have a way of measuring the space between your sit bones. This method often involves sitting on a gel or memory foam pad, which leaves an impression that can be measured.

If you have the opportunity to take a test ride on a saddle before purchase, make sure there is no pressure on your soft tissues. The saddle should be very comfortable so that you don’t feel it at all. 

Getting back in the saddle

Go for a test ride to check how comfortable you are in the new saddle position. If you still don’t feel truly comfortable after all the adjustments, feel free to make some new changes. It’s great to keep track of your adjustments and how your body is responding.

We recommend making only slight adjustments to your bike seat position because this will make it easier to determine how any changes affect your comfort and efficiency on the bike. 

How you sit on and pedal a bike is influenced by many things, including how you move while riding, and the recommendations above are only a helpful place to start when adjusting your bike seat. 

If you can’t find comfort within a few cm of your starting position, it’s probably time to visit a bike shop to have your seat’s form and width examined.

And finally …

Listen to your body instead of what has previously worked for others. Try something new when something hurts. And when you find a good position, leave it alone!

You can also check out our article on bike fitting guide for more information on fitting a bike.

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