It doesn’t matter whether you spend a long time or a short time on your bike seat, either way when you do sit on that seat it should be comfortable. You need to find your bike seat “sweet spot”.  A saddle position that will help support your comfort. 

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
bike pants - recreation

There are a variety of adjustments to the position your saddle is set in that you can make to help support comfort when you ride.   These include Alignment, Height, Tilt and Reach. Some, like alignment are defined, others are more individual.  You will need to try and understand what position supports your comfort in the best way.

Alignment.

You need to align your bike saddle so that it sits perfectly in the ‘middle”.  This means that when you look down at your bike seat the middle of the nose of the saddle should be in the middle of the top tube of your bike frame.

How should it feel? You should be able to sit on your seat and not feel pressure on one side more than the other.  You should feel like you are sitting evenly on both sides of the seat.

Deviation from this alignment, even very slight, will increase pressure on tissues and structures that aren’t supposed to be taking pressure. It is very easy to bump your saddle out of alignment and, if you have a slightly stronger side, pedalling can pull your saddle out of alignment.  You will need to regularly check alignment… before you go for a ride or if you are feeling an overload of pressure on one side.

Saddle Height.

You are looking for a height where you have a slight bend in your knee. If you are a numbers type of girl you are going for a 25 to 35 degree bend from a straight leg i.e when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. A good trick is to set the height of your seat so that your leg is perfectly straight when the heel of your foot is on the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke. When you then position your foot on the pedal as you would normally to ride (that is the ball of your foot on the pedal) – this should have created a slight bend in your leg and a comfortable height to ride at.

How should it feel? You should be stable and comfortable in your seat when pedalling – no rocking your hips from side to side – and your leg should be “nearing” straight at the bottom of your pedal stroke. Trial a new height and see if it makes a difference to your comfort.

Note: It is also a myth that you should be able to touch the ground with both feet while seated on the bike but with that said some people prefer to be able to do this and most children need and want to be able to do this.  Read our story about getting up off your seat to help you with the idea of raising your seat height.

Tilt of the Saddle.

You are looking for a tilt that is neutral (horizontal) or slightly nose down. Women tend to find comfort with a 2-3 degree forward tilt. The tilt of your seat affects where your body makes contact with the seat so you want to feel as though the majority of your body weight is going down through your sit bones (the bones you can feel when you sit on your hands) and not through your pubic bone, soft genital area or onto your handlebars.

How should it feel? You should be stable and comfortable in your seat and not feel like you are pushed to the back or onto the front of the seat. There should be no feelings of compression in your genital region and any tenderness from a long ride should be felt on your bones. Do you feel like your hips are in a position that your body can maintain with ease? Remember we don’t want constant shifting around. Trial a different tilt and see if it makes any difference to your comfort.

Reach to the Handlebars.

Underneath your seat are seat rails and you can move your seat forward or back along these rails. This moves the seat closer or further away from the handlebars therefore affecting your reach.  It also affects the angle your leg drops down – the relationship between your hip and your ankle.

How should it feel? You are looking for a placement that feels right for your body shape (length of your back) and the type of riding that you enjoy doing (competitive vs cruising).  You want to feel like your leg is over your pedal and giving you good power.  Please read Chi Riding – Pedaling 

When your seat reach is not right it is fairly obvious as you will have the sensation of over-stretching (handlebars too far away) or being cramped (handlebars too close). If these sensations are not fixed with the small adjustments that you can make to your saddle, you may have to look into your bike frame size or your handlebar stem (these are bike fit issues).

 

The height, tilt and reach set up of your bike saddle will affect how the weight of your body is transferred down through the bike when in your riding position. So if this weight is not going down through the body parts that are designed for this – your sit bones and your feet you can get uncomfortable. Now we all have different bodies that have totally different histories of use. You may or may not have good movement in your lower back, hips, hamstrings or knee joints.  You may have a strong dominate side.  These are all things that influence the perfect saddle position, so a set up that is comfortable for one person may not be for someone else.

 

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

Smile when you ride

Be Comfortable on your Bike Seat

Riding in Cooler Weather

Riding in Wet Conditions

Be Visible on the Bike

'Fun Up' the Kids Bike/Biking

Clothing & Bags

Padded Bike Pants & Underwear

Bike Tops and Jackets

Headbands & Neck Warmers for Biking

Bags, Baskets & Panniers for Biking

Rider Safety & Protection

Bike Helmets

Mountain Bike Helmets

Bike Gloves

Bike Lights

Bike Bells

First Aid & Personal Care

Hydration

Bike Tow Ropes

Bike Parts & Care

Bike Saddles

Handlebar Grips

Bike Locks

Bike Carriers

Bike & Chain Cleaning

Bike Tools & Tool Kits to Carry

Kids Bike Seats & Bikes

Full Range Kids Bike Seats - Attached or Towed

Rear Kids Bike Seats

Mid Kids Bike Seats

Front Kids Bike Seats

Towing Kids who ride their own Bike

Bike Trailers for Kids

Kids Balance Bikes

goUnders

Buying Guides

Ride more places

NZ Made

Solution Finder

Kids & Youth

Padded Bike Underwear

Bike Helmets

Mountain Bike Helmets

Riding Clothing

Jackets for Biking/Outdoors

Protective Padding

Bike Gloves

Bike Bells

Handlebar Grips

Bike Locks

Hydration

Women

Padded Bike Pants & Underwear

Bike Saddles

Bike Helmets

Mountain Bike Helmets

Bike Tops & Jackets

Bike Gloves

Bike Bells

Hydration

Handlebar Grips

Family 

Riding with - 1 year old

Riding with - 2 year old

Riding with - 3 year old

Riding with - 4/5 year old

Riding with - 6+ year old

Ride More Places with Kids

Full Range Kids Bike Seats - Attached or Towed

Men

Bike Helmets

Mountain Bike Helmets

Bike Saddle

Bike Gloves

Handlebar Grips

Bike Bell

Smile when you ride

Be Comfortable on your Bike Seat

Riding in Cooler Weather

Riding in Wet Conditions

Be Visible on the Bike

'Fun Up' the Kids Bike/Biking

goUnders

Buying Guides

Ride more places

NZ Made

Solution Finder

Bikepath Riding

Beginner to Fitness

Commuting

Multiday

Multiday with Kids

Kids Attached or Towed on Bikepaths

Grow & Improve your Bikepath Riding

Ride more Bikepaths

Mountain Biking

Women Beginner to Intermediate

Kids Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking with Kids Attached or Towed

Ride more Mountain Bike Trails

Riding in Traffic

Kids Attached or Towed in Traffic

Family Riding

Multiday Bikepath Riding with Kids

Kids Mountain Biking

Ride More Places with Kids

Full Range Kids Bike Seats - Attached or Towed

E-biking

Successfully Ride an E-Bike

goUnders

Buying Guides

Ride more places

NZ Made

Solution Finder

Kids Attached or Towed Buying Guides

Rear Kids Bike Seat

Mid Mount Kids Bike Seat

Front Kids Bike Seat 

Towing Kids who ride their own bikes

Kids Bike Trailers

Kids & Youth Buying Guides

Kids Bike Helmets

Kids Riding Clothing

Kids Padded Bike Pants

Kids Padded Protection

Kids Handlebar Grips 

Kids Balance Bike

Comfort on the Bike Buying Guides 

Bike Saddle

Padded Bike Pants

Bike Jackets

Carrying Gear 

Handlebar Grip

Hydration

Rider Safety and Protection Buying Guides

Bike Helmet

Mountain Bike Helmet

Be Visible 

Bike Glove

Bike Light 

Mountain Bike Light

First Aid & Personal Care 

Gear & Care for Bikes Buying Guides

Bike Carriers

Bike Cleaning

Chain Cleaning and Lube

Women & Families Learning

Comfort on your Bike Seat

Improve your Riding

Carrying Gear

Ride More Places

Ride more Bikepaths

Ride more NZ Cycle Trails

Ride more Mountain Bike Trails

Ride more Places with Kids

Riding Gear

Bike Helmets

Padded Bike Underwear & Pants

Bike Gloves

Bike Jackets

Bike Locks

Bike Tools to Carry

Handlebar Grips

Kids Bike Seats

Front Kids Bike Seats

Mid Mount Kids Bike Seats

Rear Kids Bike Seats

Kids Bike Seats - Attached

Types of Riding

Bikepath Riding