How to make your bike seat comfortable for you – 3 bike seat adjustments – height / tilt / reach

We all have a place – our very own, very individual bike seat “Sweet Spot” and we should all be able to get our own seats into that place. So lets understand how you can adjust your bike seat for comfort.

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Welcome. To follow are 3 simple bike seat adjustments that should help you get your bike seat into the right position for you. (Please read Bike Seat “Sweet Spot” before making these adjustments so that you understand what type of adjustment is best for you).
 
Adjusting your seat is just one of the options to find riding comfort on your saddle. There are other tools such as having the right saddle, padded pants, chamois cream, riding well ( chi riding)  supporting your comfort.
 
If you are experiencing discomfort it is likely that there may not be a single solution, you may need to work through making a number of changes…but it will be worth it.

What tools will you need.

The tools you require will depend on how your seat is attached to your seat post and its clamping system. Most likely tools required are variable sized allen keys to loosen hex bolts. 

Bike Seat Adjustments.

HEIGHT

How to change your seat height: You will need a bit of common sense and perhaps an allen key. Your seat goes into the bike frame via your seat post. It is fixed there by the seat post clamp which is held in place by a hex bolt or a quick release mechanism.

Hex bolt – you will need the correct sized allen key. Righty tighty, lefty loosey so move the allen key in a anti clockwise direction to unscrew. This will undo the seat post clamp and now the seat post will slide up or down in the tube. Make your adjustment and securely tighten the seat post clamp by tightening the hex bolt (righty tighty – in a clockwise direction).

Quick release mechanism – move your quick release to the open position. This will undo the seat post clamp and now the seat post will slide up or down in the tube. Make your adjustment and securely tighten the seat post clamp by closing the quick release mechanism.

It’s a good idea to mark your ideal seat height once you’ve found it. You can do this by either scratching a line onto your seat post or applying some tape.

NOTE: seat height is a personnel preference see Bike Seat “Sweet Spot” for more information about finding a height that is right for you.

Adjusting the height of your seat using a quick release lever

Adjusting the height of your seat using a allen key to loosen and tighten a hex bolt.

TILT

The tilt of your bike seat is really important if you want to maintain and be comfortable in your “A” riding position, see Chi Riding Tip One – Riding Position. Having the correct tilt will mean avoiding genital compression/numbness which we have talked through in Bike Seat “Sweet Spot”.

How to change your seat tilt: You will need a level or a long handled broom and an allen key. The first thing you need to establish is where your seat is currently at, whether you have a neutral, perfectly horizontal seat, or a front or back tilt. To do this you need to place a level or one end of the broom handle on the seat. If the bubble in the level is not sitting between the lines you have a tilt. If you are using a broom the far end of the broom handle will be pointing slightly towards the floor, the ceiling or it will be neutral, see photos below. Please make sure that your bike is on perfectly flat ground e.g concrete in your garage or the living room floor! Some women find a slight, 2 to 3 degree, front tilt helps with genital soft tissue pressure (see Bike Seat “Sweet Spot” for more information).

So if you have decided to make an adjustment you will need to loosen the clamp or clip holding your seat in place. This can be a bit fiddly so just go slowly and be patient. Allow yourself some time…

Your seat is fixed to the seat post by either;

  1. clamp and allen screw so you will need an allen key to loosen it, see photo
  2. clip and double bolt so a wrench is needed

Righty tighty, lefty loosey applies to both these tools. Once you have loosened the clamp or clip, make your adjustment to your seat and tighten it all back up. If you like check the new tilt with the level or broom. I find the best test is to get on your bike and see what it feels like.

Neutral . Flat seat position..

Slight downward tilt seat position. Most often the most comfortable saddle position. 

Upward tilt seat position

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Smile when you ride with the right seat tilt for you.

REACH

Still trying to push yourself forward or back to get comfortable? Well you may need to move your seat forward or back.

How to change your seat reach: You will need an allen key or a wrench. Your seat will slide back and forward along the seat rails once the seat clip/clamp is loosened, same clip/clamp as above for tilt. You have 5 to 8cm to play with here but only a slight adjustment should be necessary. Ideally your seat should be clamped in the “middle” of the length of your rails.

If you feel like you need to position your seat at the very end of the rails – close to where it begins to curve at either the front or back – you may need to look at a different method of adjustment (see Bike Seat “Sweet Spot”) as clamping your rails at the ends is not recommended by seat manufacturers as it can lead to wearing and breakage. Please keep an eye on your rails if your seat is clamped like this.

Just as we did for the height and tilt adjustment, make your change, then tighten it back up. Now its time to test it, so goRide.

Hopefully with these 3 adjustments – height, tilt and reach – we have provided you with a way to get your seat into a position that is right for you.

 

Adjusting the seat to get the right reach for you.

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