How to Measure the Seat Height for a Road Bike

Written by matthew ferguson
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How to Measure the Seat Height for a Road Bike
Proper seat height increases comfort and power output. (bicycle racer image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com)

Proper bicycle seat height is crucial to both comfort and performance. (See References 1) An improper seat height can make a cyclist feel either cramped or overextended, resulting in physical discomfort and less than optimal transfer of power from the legs to the pedals. For proper fit, ideal seat height must first be established. Once established, the seat can be adjusted and a measurement taken to record the height for future reference.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Door frame (or stationary bicycle trainer)
  • Cycling shoes
  • 5mm Allen wrench
  • Measuring tape

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Put on shoes that are normally used when riding your bicycle. For some, this may be a pair of cycling cleats, for others a basic pair of tennis shoes.

  2. 2

    Place the road bike between a door frame or in a stationary bicycle trainer. In either instance, the bicycle must be supported when determining seat height.

  3. 3

    Mount the bicycle, using the door frame, if required, for support. Rotate the pedals to a 6 and 12 o'clock position.

  4. 4

    Place the heel of your foot on the 6 o'clock pedal. In this position, the leg should be fully extended while still maintaining contact with the pedal. (See References 2) A bend in the knee indicates too low of a seat. If the heel cannot touch the pedal, the seat is too high.

  1. 1

    Use a 5mm Allen wrench and loosen the seat post collar bolt, located where the seat post enters the frame of the road bike.

  2. 2

    Raise or lower the seat post as needed. During any adjustment, keep the nose of the seat pointed straight forward, toward the centre of the handlebar.

  3. 3

    Tighten the seat post collar bolt. Mount the bicycle a second time to determine whether the adjustment is accurate. Adjust further if required.

  4. 4

    Place the end of a measuring tape against the centre of the bicycle crank. Measure from the crank directly along the seat tube to the top of the seat. (See References 3)

  5. 5

    Make note of the measurement. Use the measurement whenever replacing the seat or fitting a new bicycle.

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