Have questions or want to discuss cycling? Join Now or Sign In to participate in the BikeRide community.

New: Take part in the August Giveaway for a brand new Street Bicycle Core Line fixed gear bike


Saddle Height
#1
When I got back into cycling about five years ago, I went to a bike shop to buy a bike. The mechanic instructed me about the saddle height. While sitting on the saddle, hips level, my heels should rest on the pedals at the very bottom, and my legs should be straight, in line with the seat tube. I found this works well. Of course, I don't ride with my heels on the pedals.

Recently, I was looking online at the manual for the Electra cruiser I bought this year. It instructs the rider to have the seat at a level where both feet can just about sit flat on the pavement. This feels awfully low to me, and it seems to be a less efficient way for riding.

There are a lot of bikes in Florida and I noticed most riders - often on mountain bikes - have their saddles at the lowest point, so their knees are up in the air.

I was wondering why this 'feet on the ground' applies to cruisers and not other bikes.
If I knew how to ride a bike properly, I'd do it every time.
  Reply
#2
(07-01-2020, 07:41 AM)CharleyFarley Wrote:  When I got back into cycling about five years ago, I went to a bike shop to buy a bike. The mechanic instructed me about the saddle height. While sitting on the saddle, hips level, my heels should rest on the pedals at the very bottom, and my legs should be straight, in line with the seat tube. I found this works well. Of course, I don't ride with my heels on the pedals.

Recently, I was looking online at the manual for the Electra cruiser I bought this year. It instructs the rider to have the seat at a level where both feet can just about sit flat on the pavement. This feels awfully low to me, and it seems to be a less efficient way for riding.

There are a lot of bikes in Florida and I noticed most riders - often on mountain bikes - have their saddles at the lowest point, so their knees are up in the air.

I was wondering why this 'feet on the ground' applies to cruisers and not other bikes.

Hey Charley,
I'm more inclined to go with the first recommendation. I really only ride road bikes, so in that riding posture I attempt to have my leg when at the bottom of the pedal stroke not quite straight, knee slightly bent. If I did the heel thing and straight leg set-up, l don't know if it would give me the same position due to the use if my racing shoes, but it would probably be close. When I ride on my old Raleigh 3 speed in an upright posture l still have the saddle height about the same, but it's the saddle position that l change (angle, and front to rear). The higher your knee comes up on a stroke, the less power you produce. Easy to demonstrate just by doing a knee bend from standing, even more so on one leg. The lower you go, the harder it is to straighten up. The only thing you really need to take into consideration other than having too much knee bend is comfort. If you are feeling pain in the knee or ankle you may have to adjust the saddle height and/or front to rear position for comfort. I see people all the time riding with their knees coming up far too high, not really sure what to make of it, but they could never ride hard and long in that manner with any real level of efficiency. You definitely should not be "reaching" with your toes for the pedal either. That generally creates ankle/foot problems. Of course, to each his own.

Take care,
Jesper
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#3
(07-01-2020, 07:09 PM)Jesper Wrote:  [quote='CharleyFarley' pid='38961' dateline='1593603714']
When I got back into cycling about five years ago, I went to a bike shop to buy a bike. The mechanic instructed me about the saddle height. While sitting on the saddle, hips level, my heels should rest on the pedals at the very bottom, and my legs should be straight, in line with the seat tube. I found this works well. Of course, I don't ride with my heels on the pedals.

Recently, I was looking online at the manual for the Electra cruiser I bought this year. It instructs the rider to have the seat at a level where both feet can just about sit flat on the pavement. This feels awfully low to me, and it seems to be a less efficient way for riding.

There are a lot of bikes in Florida and I noticed most riders - often on mountain bikes - have their saddles at the lowest point, so their knees are up in the air.

I was wondering why this 'feet on the ground' applies to cruisers and not other bikes.

Quote:When I ride on my old Raleigh 3 speed in an upright posture l still have the saddle height about the same, but it's the saddle position that l change (angle, and front to rear).

I had two bikes on which I put 2-bolt seat posts for fine adjustment. I have realized how critical the seat angle can be. The bike shop advised me to adjust it so the nose is level with the back. That seems to be a starting point but found I prefer a slight nose-up position on my fat bike. I know that wouldn't work on a road bike where you are bending lower.

Quote: The higher your knee comes up on a stroke, the less power you produce.

That's the way I see it. And that's why, when I lowered the saddle to Electra's way, I didn't like it. I've always been one to want to know the reasoning for any kind of advice, and Electra's doesn't make sense to me, unless it's a 'fashion before comfort' kind of thing. But who rides for fashion?

Quote:Easy to demonstrate just by doing a knee bend from standing, even more so on one leg. The lower you go, the harder it is to straighten up. The only thing you really need to take into consideration other than having too much knee bend is comfort. If you are feeling pain in the knee or ankle you may have to adjust the saddle height and/or front to rear position for comfort. I see people all the time riding with their knees coming up far too high, not really sure what to make of it, but they could never ride hard and long in that manner with any real level of efficiency. You definitely should not be "reaching" with your toes for the pedal either. That generally creates ankle/foot problems. Of course, to each his own.

I have wondered about all the cyclists I see with saddles as low as they'll go, if they are not aware that riding would be more efficient with a proper saddle height.

I know, as we age (I'm soon to be 74) that our joints don't work as well as they did when we were young, and we need to take care of such things by not over-stressing our joints. I don't want to do damage that would stop me from my daily rides.

Thanks for your input, Jesper.
All the best to you.
If I knew how to ride a bike properly, I'd do it every time.
  Reply
#4
(07-01-2020, 07:41 AM)CharleyFarley Wrote:  .....have the seat at a level where both feet can just about sit flat on the pavement....
I was wondering why this 'feet on the ground' applies to cruisers and not other bikes.
I forgot to add insight to this part of your query.
I believe that this "feet on the ground" stems from the general consensus that someone on a "cruiser" bike is travelling at a slower speed (thus, low physical stress), is not riding any great distance, in general, without having to make many stops (maybe a couple miles at most) and is subject to many stops (whether voluntary or involuntary); and thus, never really has to "dismount" or stand/lean while stopped. This makes cruising (l guess) more fun since you never do anything other than to put your feet on, or take them off the pedals; staying put put on the saddle all the while. It makes me think of my sister who, upon buying her first motorcycle (Japanese "cafe" racer), had to lean the bike over during a stop because she could only touch on her tippytoes otherwise, thus having to "manhandle" the bike a bit. She could have bought a cruiser type of motorcycle and put her feet down at stops without leaning and sliding off the bike to be stable. I am the same way on my race bikes (l tend to ride a little bit larger frame than would be recommended), making starts/stops a wee bit more difficult than when l ride my smaller frame and can straddle the top tube without "testicle concerns"! Of course, while on a race bike l am much less inclined to stop ( even when l should, sorry!), and generally ride where there are not many, if any, stops required except at the end of the ride.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread
Author
Replies
Views
Last Post
 
837
08-26-2019, 03:41 PM
Last Post: Joe_W

Forum Jump:

[-]
10 Latest Posts
Traveling to texas
Today 03:56 PM
Hey everyone
Today 03:22 PM
Pain from bike saddle.
Today 11:46 AM
Primary care
Today 11:04 AM
electric trikes- advice
Today 08:17 AM
2020 road cycling season
Yesterday 08:39 PM
State Bicycle Core Line | August 2020
Yesterday 09:32 AM
New member - qery
08-07-2020 01:15 PM
Freewheel hub wiggling in place + Chain ...
08-07-2020 09:26 AM
clicking new chain
08-07-2020 09:13 AM

[-]
Top 5 Posters This Month
no avatar 1. Jesper
54 posts
no avatar 2. Painkiller
15 posts
no avatar 3. CharleyFarley
9 posts
no avatar 4. Papa Dom
8 posts
no avatar 5. mtnbikeracer76
6 posts