The seat (aka saddle
) on your bicycle
is responsible for carrying your weight and allowing your legs to concentrate on propelling you onward. This seemingly innocuous piece of equipment can make or break your bicycling experience as it can cause you great pain & agony
in your nether regions
, knees and legs and even impotence
, gentlemen, if adjusted improperly. Your cycling efficency can also go to poo if that seat ain't right.
By and large, most stock bicycle seats are pieces of shit
. If the simple guidelines below don't soothe your backside and help you from losing that lovin' feeling
, replace it. Remember, though - you want to put the pressure on the sit bones in your ass, not
the soft tissue such as the taint
. Skip the one with Sooper X-Tra Thick Padding and give the Funny Anotomical Seat With The Split Down The Center a try.
To Adjust Your Bicycle Seat
You Will Need:
- one 6mm Allen wrench
- one 4mm Allen wrench
- one framing level
- rags or newspaper (trade show t-shirts work great)
- some variety of pumice soap (like Lava or Fast Orange)
- Vaseline or anti-seize compound (optional)
- one six-pack of your favorite beer (not optional)
- your bicycle helmet (not optional)
Aight, now that you've got all the shit, head out onto the front porch. Crack open a brew. Take a few puffs off your favorite substance to smoke if you're so inclined. Put on a Bad Religion CD. Relax. Now then, the seat on a bicycle has four degrees of freedom. We shall gently adjust these into line one by one.
First, the angle of the seat shall be adjusted. Basically, you want it to be roughly parallel to the ground, aka "level". Stand the bicycle upright and take a gander at the seat from the side. Check it with the framing level. If you have one of the fancy seats with a drop or cutout for your taint, lay a book across the seat. i prefer using my prob/stat book, since i haven't found any other use for it yet. Loosen the seat clamp binding bolt with the 6mm Allen wrench, adjust to level up the seat. Snugly tighten the binding bolt.
While you are dealing with the seat clamp, you might as well adjust the fore-to-aft position of the seat. This one is fairly easy to do. Sit on the seat and with the pedals horizonal, sit on the seat. When it is adjusted properly, your kneecap should be directly over the pedal spindle (axle) of the forward pedal. Adjust and torque the poop out of the bolt. Not so much you strip the threads, Hercules. Drink some more beer.
The seat angle adjustment has a great deal with how your nether regions will feel on a ride. Some people prefer a slight upward or backward tilt. Level is the best place to start and will be most comfortable for most people. The fore-to-aft position (in conjunction with the height adjustment, below) helps with making sure you get maximum efficency and protect your knees from nasty grindy sounds.
Now then, adjusting the seat height. Loosen the seatpost collar binding bolt with the 4mm Allen wrench (or just loosen the quick release lever) and remove the seatpost. That's right, grab the seat and take that entire fucker out. You will notice what a tight fit the seatpost has in the seatpost tube and how gritty it feels coming out. Wipe the seatpost clean with the rag or newspaper. NOW IS TIME TO GET DIRTY (so drink the rest of that beer and have another smoke before proceeding). With the vaseline or
astroglide anti-sieze compound, grease up the bottom quarter of the seatpost. Spread it around if you're so inclined. Reinsert the seatpost into the seat tube and put the seat back to its previous height. Tighten up the seatpost binding bolt. Go wash your hands, you filthy pervert. Get another beer and continue.
To find out what the proper seat height is for you, sit on the bike seat while remaining stationary (having a wall or couch or friend nearby is helpful). Try to wear the shoes and funny bike shorts you'll be wearing when riding the most. Put the heel of one foot on the center of a pedal and rotate it backward to the bottom of it's excursion. When the seat height is adjusted properly, your leg will be straight when your heel is on the center of the pedal. Got it? Good. Adjust the seat up and/or down until this is the case. Torque the poop out of this bolt as well.
Some of you may be thinking "But jbo, this seat seems awfully goddamn high! I can't touch the ground while on the seat." There is a reason for that, Gentle Reader. It's because you're not supposed to be able to touch the ground while on the seat. If you have adjusted the seat height as described above, you will get the maximum pedaling efficency when the ball of your foot is on the center of the pedal. This also helps your knees. Pay attention to them; They will tell you if the seat needs to move up or down. If your knees hurt in the front, raise the seat. If your knees hurt in the back, lower the seat. If your lower back hurts, find a member of the appropriate sex to rub it. By this point, you should be about halfway through your six pack. If not, play catch up. NOW, son!
One last thing to check - the seat alignment. Sight down the seat, in line with the back wheel. Would a line drawn through the fore-aft axis of the bicycle also be coplanar with the seat down its respective axis? If not, just bang on the seat from the side with the palm of your hand until it is. Don't bother with loosening the seatpost collar binding bolt.
Time for the moment of truth - finish the beer you're currently drinking, put on your helmet and take it for a test ride. Some fine-tuning and tweaking may be necessary, but you should be very close to the optimum seat position for your unique body geometry and bicycle.
Go hit the streets. Ride to work. Ride to the store. Ride to your friends' houses. Ride to school. Ride Out There and Back. Ride Ride Ride.
Now please realize that your mileage may vary. Albert Herring
promises me that all his seatpost binding bolts are a whole millimeter
larger than what i specified here. i would speak of a vast left-wing conspiracy headed up by the British, but instead i'm going to get another beer.