Mountain bikes need to be the correct fit for the rider. Setting the bike parts in the wrong position can make cycling uncomfortable.
One of the important parts to check for correct adjustment is the saddle. Fortunately, you can adjust the saddle to the perfect height for you.
However, the standard height for a saddle on a mountain bike can be confusing. Well, this article will help you clear your confusion.
The height for your saddle on a mountain bike should be the one you find comfortable. The height should give you leverage and control. It should make you feel no discomfort in any part of your body while riding. The saddle shouldn’t be too low or high because both levels can be uncomfortable, so you need the perfect height.
In this article, I will explain how high the saddle on your mountain bike should be, how you know if it is too high, and if the saddle should be higher than the handlebars on a mountain bike.
By the end, you’ll also know what happens if your mountain bike saddle is too high or too low.
How High Should the Saddle Be on a Mountain Bike?
There is no standard saddle height, but the height should make the mountain bike comfortable for the rider.
Every rider can measure and adjust the height as they prefer. However, the saddle height should be easy to maintain during a ride.
Riding through different terrains should be comfortable without causing injuries or body ache.
You can use some methods to achieve the proper saddle height on your mountain bike. These methods will help you avoid errors while adjusting the saddle.
Here are the ways to achieve accurate saddle height on a mountain bike.
#1. Measure From the Hip
The fastest and easiest way to achieve accurate saddle height is to stand next to your bike and adjust the saddle to the same level as the top of your hip bone.
However, it is essential to wear normal biking shoes when making this adjustment. The shoes will help you get accurate measurements from the saddle to the pedal.
Although this method is quite helpful, it may only work with some bike models because of the bottom bracket height difference.
#2. Use Your Inseam Measurement
You can use your inseam measurement to achieve an accurate saddle height. All you have to do is to multiply it by 0.883 and subtract 4 mm to arrive at a rough estimate of the height.
0.883 is constant, which is the measurement from the middle of the bottom bracket to the edge of the bike saddle.
However, the final result after the calculation may need to be corrected because it is only a rough estimate.
Therefore, it is best to go for a test ride after the adjustment to know if you have achieved the proper saddle height.
#3. Consider the Minimum Seatpost Insertion
Every bike has a minimum insertion line indicated towards the base of the post. However, it can get covered with dirt or cleaned off over time.
It is essential to consider this line when finding the perfect saddle height. In addition, it will help you know the minimum Seatpost insertion into your bike frame.
Most seat post insertions always have at least a three to four inches distance to avoid damaging the frame.
Hence, the seat post should have enough extension underneath where the seat tube joins the top tube.
You may need a longer seat post to adjust the seat height properly. On the other hand, you may have to cut off some excesses if it is too long.
You can cut it from the base, allowing the seat post to go lower into the bike frame. However, only a few bike materials, like carbon and alloy, allow this.
#4. Set the Saddle Position
Setting the saddle position works together with setting the accurate seat height. First, sit comfortably in the center of the bike saddle to get the perfect saddle position.
Make sure your cranks are horizontal while doing this. Then, drop a plumb line yourself or get a friend to drop it from the front of your forward knee to the crank.
This position allows you to get a saddle position that aligns with your bike frame. Next, loosen the bike’s seat post clamp and adjust the saddle on its rails to the perfect position.
It is best to set the saddle according to your riding terrain. For example, you may have to set the plumb line a little behind the crank if you frequently do climbing or time trials.
It will give you more advantage when riding in larger gears. However, you may have to move the saddle forward if you ride in short or track races.
This position will give you more leg speed. Finally, put a spirit level alongside your saddle to reach the perfect level.
How Do I Know if My Mountain Bike Saddle is Too High?
You will feel pain and discomfort at the back of your knee if your mountain bike saddle is too high. The pain in that area should be your cue to reduce your saddle height.
The proper saddle height will make your knees bend slightly at the base of the pedal stroke. Also, your hips won’t rock as you pedal.
A high saddle will make it stressful to pedal, and you will feel exhausted easily. In addition, riding long distances will become a problem for you.
Getting accurate saddle height is essential to preserve your knee health.
Should the Saddle Be Higher Than the Handlebars on a Mountain Bike?
No, the top of the handlebars should be higher than the saddle. However, if you like riding fast as a sport, you can reduce the height.
As a rule of thumb, the handlebars should be higher, but you can raise and lower it depending on your needs.
Although, you can experience discomfort while riding if you use the wrong adjustment. Both higher and lower handlebar positions can cause discomfort.
When the handlebar is lower than the saddle, it can cause discomfort and pain around the ankle, hand, and back.
At the same time, you will experience discomfort around the buttock area when you have higher handlebars and lower saddles.
So, you have to raise your handlebars with respect to your saddle. However, there are advantages to every handlebar height.
The table below outlines the advantages of raising your handlebars lower and higher.
|Higher Handlebars Than Saddle||Lower Handlebar Than Saddle|
|It increases control and leverage.||You get an optimal aerodynamic position.|
|You get better vision and improved posture.||It gives the rider a better grip on flat trails.|
|It reduces tiredness in your arm.||You get more control of the pedal.|
|You get an upright and relaxed position.||It helps to increase flat-out pedal speed.|
|It increases pedaling efficiency.|
What Happens if Your Mountain Bike Saddle is Too High?
A mountain bike saddle that is too high will make your hips rock back and forth. It also reduces your pedaling efficiency and makes pedaling uncomfortable.
In addition, the rider will feel pain in the lower back region or back of the knee. The saddle height will make you over-extend your ankle because you can’t reach the pedal.
You will have to keep wiggling to make up for the difference in the distance. Unfortunately, this situation causes injuries like muscle strain, tendonitis, or spinal nerve irritation.
Furthermore, you will be unable to ride as efficiently as you can. It will reduce your output and cause fatigue after riding short distances.
What Happens if Your Mountain Bike Saddle is Too Low?
You can get tendonitis of the patella or quadriceps if the bike saddle is too low. Due to this, you will feel pain in the front region of your knee.
Although, a low bike saddle is a common mistake for beginners because they leave it at that level to get on and off the bike easily.
But the pain in your kneecap while riding indicates that your saddle is too low. So, you have to adjust your saddle height and position.
In addition, it is difficult to pedal when your saddle is too low. Your hip will keep going left and right, putting pressure on the spinal discs in the lumbar area.
Pedaling with difficulty causes pain in the back and knee. The pain can last for a very long time, even after riding.
It is essential to always adjust your mountain bike saddle to the correct position to protect yourself and your knee health.
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