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How to Set the Saddle Height on Your Indoor Bike

A bicycle seat, often called a saddle, is one of the main contact points on your stationary bike. If your stationary bike seat position isn’t set to the proper height, you’re likely to be pretty uncomfortable while you ride, and keeping up with your cycling routine won’t be very enjoyable.

Fortunately, adjusting your stationary bike seat position to the correct height is an easy fix you can do at home! If you’re unsure how to set the saddle height on your stationary bike seat, these tips will help.

Why does the stationary bike seat position matter?

Close up on a woman riding an indoor bike with a emphasis on the center of the bike and its handles/saddle.

Adjusting the stationary bike seat position may not seem all that important, but it’s essential for a good bike fit. Finding the right stationary bike seat position can take some time (and tinkering), but ultimately, it’s worth the effort.

Your saddle’s height measurement is the distance between the bottom bracket’s center and the saddle’s middle. Before you get on a stationary bike to cycle, you should always take the time to adjust the stationary bike seat position to ensure a comfortable and safe fit.

When you adjust your stationary bike seat position to the correct height, it will be more comfortable, improve your performance, and help prevent injuries.1

Although you can always opt to have your stationary bike seat position professionally fitted to your body, it’s not necessary if you prefer not to cough up the cash. Instead, you can find a correct and comfortable fit at home with the right guidance.

How high should your seat position be on a stationary bike?

Woman ridng her indoor bike in the dark.

The correct stationary bike seat position will vary from person to person, so what’s suitable for a biking buddy may not be right for you. Unfortunately, that means you’ll have to experiment to figure out the correct stationary bike seat position, but it shouldn’t take too much time.

If you recently purchased a new indoor bike, you’ll need to adjust the stationary bike seat position before you ride it for the first time. Similarly, if you ever replace your bike seat, you’ll likely need to re-adjust it to find the proper stationary bike seat position and fit before you start cycling again.

Adjusting a stationary bike seat position at a gym can be a bit more of a pain because you’re probably going to be unfamiliar with how to change the stationary bike seat position, but it’s still worth the time to find the right fit. That way, you don’t walk away with soreness or knee pain after your workout.

How do I set the saddle height on my stationary bike seat?

An older couple smiling while riding an indoor bike.

Getting the right stationary bike seat position may take a little time and patience, but here’s how you can determine what’s best for you and your bike:

  1. Stand directly next to the stationary bike seat and lift your inner leg (the one closest to the saddle) up to a 90-degree angle.
  2. Adjust the saddle so that the top of it lines up with the top of your thigh.
  3. Hop on the bike and test it out. At the proper stationary bike seat position, you should have a slight bend in your knee (25 to 35-degree) at the bottom of each pedal stroke.2
  4. Position your handlebars at about the same height as your saddle. If this is uncomfortable for your back, lift the handlebars a bit higher until it’s more comfortable. A proper fit will result in a slight bend in your elbows when you sit on the saddle and reach forward to grab the handlebars.
  5. Make sure your saddle isn’t too far forward. The space between the front of your saddle and the handlebars should be the same as the length from your elbow to the front of a loose fist.

There are other mathematical equations and methods you can also use to find the correct stationary bike seat position for your bike. However, they don’t consider individual body differences, so they won’t always produce the most accurate results.

How do I know if my saddle height is too low on my stationary bike? 

Man riding a bike indoors facing his computer.

If your stationary bike seat position is too low, you’ll likely experience pain in the front of your knees or kneecaps. This pain is typically a result of tendonitis of the patella (a round bone in your knee that shields and protects the joint) or quadriceps (the muscles on the front and sides of your thighs). It can also result from a saddle that’s too far forward.

How do I know if my saddle height is too high on my stationary bike? 

Woman riding a bike indoors look at the wall.

If your hips rock back and forth while riding, your stationary bike seat position is probably too high. This back-and-forth wobbling movement of the hips often causes pain in the lower back. A saddle that’s too narrow can also cause pain in the back of the knees.

Of course, if you sit on the saddle and can’t reach your bike pedal, it’s definitely too high!

Need more help finding the right stationary bike seat position?

A couple indoor biking high-fiving!

Most beginner cyclists should be able to use the above method to determine the stationary bike seat position for them. However, if you’re an advanced cyclist struggling to find the right fit for your bike saddle, it may be worth having your indoor bike professionally fitted to your body

Cycling shouldn’t be uncomfortable or cause injuries, but if your stationary bike seat position isn’t correct, you’re much more likely to experience these things.

Key Takeaways:

Proper saddle height is the basic foundation of a good bike fit. If your bike saddle is too low or too high, your rides are likely to be uncomfortable, it will negatively affect your performance, and you may also be more likely to develop injuries. Getting the right saddle fit is something you can easily do at home, but if you need additional help, you can also have your bike professionally fitted to your body at a bike shop.

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References:

  1. Peveler, W. W. (2008). Effects of Saddle Height on Economy in Cycling. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(4), 1355–1359. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0b013e318173dac6 
  2. Bini, R., Hume, P. A., & Croft, J. L. (2011). Effects of Bicycle Saddle Height on Knee Injury Risk and Cycling Performance. Sports Medicine, 41(6), 463–476. https://doi.org/10.2165/11588740-000000000-00000 

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