Electric bikes are exploding in popularity and so are electric bike customizations. Some choices here are easy to make, like which bell or color to buy, while others like a helmet or a bike lock can take more research due to safety implications. With so many safety-conscious bike riders, it’s surprising to learn that many cyclists are adjusting their seats to gain comfort without learning about proper bike saddle positioning.
Foot placement and seat positioning are arguably the biggest mistakes people make when riding their bikes. In most cases, cyclists ride with lowered seats to be able to reach the ground with their feet while seated. However, if you ask any long-time cyclist or expert, they will tell you that this is not the way to go.
Knee pain is the most common problem that results from lowered saddles, long term issues can include tendonitis in the patella and quadriceps which shows itself as pain in the front part of the knee.
Likewise, if your seat is too high you can also get pain in the knee- this time in the back of it as well as in your lower back due to your hips rocking too much.
You Will Get Tired
You may be surprised to learn that riding with too low of a seat is a surefire way to get tired quickly. You won’t be able to fully extend your knees with a lowered saddle. Because of this, you will need to double your strength to get around and cut your journey short. Your quadriceps and knees, in particular, will get fatigued and become prone to injuries.
Adjusting Your Seat Safely
When adjusting your seat height, the general rule is to make sure the seat is level with your hip when you are standing next to your bike.
When riding your bike, the ball of your foot should be in the center of the pedal and when you’re at the bottom of a stroke, your leg should be almost fully extended with a slight bend.
When coming to a stop, you will need to come off the seat and stand until you begin moving again. When seated and riding, your toes should just reach the ground. If your feet are able to rest flatly on the ground while you are seated, your seat is too low and should be raised higher.
A common trick that cyclists use to make standing while seated possible is to stop next to a curb and rest one foot on it while resting the other foot on the pedal.
Once you adjust your seat, take it for a spin and see how it feels, keep adjusting it until your seat positioning is just right.