How to Calculate Correct Bicycle Seat Height

Written by rona aquino
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How to Calculate Correct Bicycle Seat Height
Adjust the bicycle seat to your body measurement. (bicycle image by david harding from

Adjusting the bicycle seat height for proper fit can improve a rider's cycling efficiency. There are many methods for setting the proper seat height, but because each cyclist's leg proportions and measurements are unique, it depends on how well it fits your own body. After calculating and adjusting your bike's seat, allow your body to adapt for two weeks and make adjustments as you see fit.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Retractable tape measure
  • Wrench

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  1. 1

    Hop on your bike's saddle while a friend holds your bike upright.

  2. 2

    Make a pedal stroke and aim for a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the stroke.

  3. 3

    Aim for a seat height position that is within 80 or 90 per cent of full leg extension. A full leg extension means a fully extended leg or straight leg, so a slight bend on your leg is about three to five inches off the ground. Measure this length with a tape measure from the ground to the bottom of your cycling shoe. Make sure the pedal is at its lowest point in its rotation as you measure this height.

  4. 4

    Maintain position and ask your friend to use a wrench or the bike's quick-release lever to secure the bicycle seat at this ideal height. Follow the manufacturer's specifications for adjusting the seat height. This can vary depending on the bike model. Typically, adjustment can be made by loosening the pinch bolt located where the seat post slides into the pole frame. Loosen the bolt with the wrench just enough so you can slide the seat post up and down.

  1. 1

    Pull the hook at the end the retractable tape measure. Kneel down and place the hook on the floor facing toward you then hold it steady by stepping on it with the toe-side tip of your cycling shoes. This allows you to hold it down so you can measure the length of your inseam.

    How to Calculate Correct Bicycle Seat Height
    Pull the end of the tape measure. (tape measure image by Joann Cooper from
  2. 2

    Slowly stand upright while keeping hold of the hook with your foot. Mark the distance from the floor to the inseam of your crotch where the saddle meets your body.

  3. 3

    Adjust the height of the bicycle seat to match the height of your inseam length. This length is at 109 per cent of your inseam measurement from your bike's pedal axle to the top of the saddle height.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear your cycling shoes when fitting your bike using both methods.

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