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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    6,449

    Question Mountain Bike Saddle Height. Help!!!

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    I've gotten pretty good at setting up a road bike for myself, know all my numbers, etc., but am a little lost on my new MB. I watched a video from Performance Bike that advised putting the pedal all the way at the bottom, and raising the saddle such that you can't stand up from there when the leg is extended. I tried it just in the house, and it actually feels okay on the leg, but I can't imagine that is correct. That is a huge difference from my usual height, and I'd really need a taller seatpost than the current 375 mm as it surpasses the minimum insertion point by about a cm or so. (The Krampus's TT slopes a lot, and I'm 5'7").

    Thoughts on saddle height? The one bike shop in town isn't good for fitting. I could take it back to the shop where I had it built, but don't really want to. Not yet, anyway.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    I don't understand your description. For climbing height, you position yourself on the saddle, pedal at 6, heel on pedal, leg extended but not locked- This is the desired position climbing. For trail, or terrain that varies a lot, use this setting minus 1.5".. You don't want it too low because of potential for knee discomfort and or injury from climbing with it low.

    Descending. Put it as low as it will go. I hope your bike has a QR on the seat post: it will make fine tuning a lot easier.
    Last edited by Irulan; 02-17-2015 at 03:21 PM. Reason: fixed
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
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    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    6,449
    This video from Performance actually tells you to lock out your knee.

    Weird, to say the least. It's just past the 2:00 minute mark.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 02-17-2015 at 12:01 PM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Okay sorry, but any video that says to lock out the knee... Unless you are planning on some aggressive downhill, jumping over stumps, logs and taking 90 degree turns at extreme speed then set your saddle the same as you do for your other bikes. All of our backroad and jeep trail riding involves rocky hills and varied terrain and none of us change our saddle height in the course of a ride, all of us set our saddles the same as we do on our road bikes.
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    6,449
    Quote Originally Posted by Sky King View Post
    Okay sorry, but any video that says to lock out the knee... Unless you are planning on some aggressive downhill, jumping over stumps, logs and taking 90 degree turns at extreme speed then set your saddle the same as you do for your other bikes. All of our backroad and jeep trail riding involves rocky hills and varied terrain and none of us change our saddle height in the course of a ride, all of us set our saddles the same as we do on our road bikes.
    Yeah, it threw me for a bit. Can't understand why they even showed it like that. I set it the same as my cross bike last night, because thicker soles mbish rigs require a slightly higher saddle than what is on my road bike to get the same degree of extension. So, about 74 cm from the center of the bb to the top of the saddle. (Using a Brooks B-68 Imperial. Seems like a good choice, so far).

    Do you find that using swept back bars requires a longer stem than if the grips were in line with the clamp (or as on a road bike?).

    I have a picture of the build under the 'Bikes' forum. (Actually, two pictures).
    Last edited by Muirenn; 02-18-2015 at 06:11 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    983
    One of my suggestions to you is to think about the areas that you ride. Are they bike paths? Wooded trails? And regardless of what your answer is ask yourself this question " if you should need to step off your bike is the ground flat underneath where you'll step?" If your answer is "no" then obviously you'll need to adjust your saddle a bit lower. Videos online are simply a place to start with, give us something to think about and then we should make our own decisions based on our experiences. Good luck with finding your answers...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,449
    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    One of my suggestions to you is to think about the areas that you ride. Are they bike paths? Wooded trails? And regardless of what your answer is ask yourself this question " if you should need to step off your bike is the ground flat underneath where you'll step?" If your answer is "no" then obviously you'll need to adjust your saddle a bit lower. Videos online are simply a place to start with, give us something to think about and then we should make our own decisions based on our experiences. Good luck with finding your answers...
    I'm working on it. Thanks RideBike. I think that video really needed to point out that having it that high was unusual, and under what circumstances.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Great Photos, we set the Jones bars grips and brake levers differently than you had the shop do yours. Here is the link to a blog post with photos. Also revisit Jeff Jones website - he actually goes the other direction (shorter, not longer stem) due to the all the optional hand positions with the H Bar. Most of the time my hands are right at the junction of the bars and if I am on a long flat stretch I will ride with them on the bar furthest away from me. I can also put my hands on the front bar and rest my forearms on the back bar, much like an areo bars - ha - for a more tucked in position on a long windy stretch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Yeah, it threw me for a bit. Can't understand why they even showed it like that. I set it the same as my cross bike last night, because thicker soles mbish rigs require a slightly higher saddle than what is on my road bike to get the same degree of extension. So, about 74 cm from the center of the bb to the top of the saddle. (Using a Brooks B-68 Imperial. Seems like a good choice, so far).

    Do you find that using swept back bars requires a longer stem than if the grips were in line with the clamp (or as on a road bike?).

    I have a picture of the build under the 'Bikes' forum. (Actually, two pictures).
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,449
    Quote Originally Posted by Sky King View Post
    Great Photos, we set the Jones bars grips and brake levers differently than you had the shop do yours. Here is the link to a blog post with photos. Also revisit Jeff Jones website - he actually goes the other direction (shorter, not longer stem) due to the all the optional hand positions with the H Bar. Most of the time my hands are right at the junction of the bars and if I am on a long flat stretch I will ride with them on the bar furthest away from me. I can also put my hands on the front bar and rest my forearms on the back bar, much like an areo bars - ha - for a more tucked in position on a long windy stretch.
    I did remember that about short, steep, stems. The problem is, with a zero-offset seatpost, I need a longer stem to make up for it. I did borrow a stem from a cyclist I know the other day, it has much more rise, and I think that will help. The Raceface stems I started with only had 6 or so degrees, which is weird since they are supposed to be mb stems. Going to take awhile to get it figured out. Almost tempted to put a seatpost with setback on the bike to use a shorter stem. Shrug. Probably not a good idea.

    I'll work on the other issues you mentioned. And I have some nice Lizard Skins tape I'm going to add once I get the stem situation correct. (I only use LS tape, now. Love the stuff!).

    Edit (again!):

    It might be because I don't yet have the correct stem length, but It feels like the Jones bars are too wide, and causing upper back pain. Could just be stem length. Using the wider version that is available (I know they can be cut). Can't imaging the more narrow would work, though. I use 42 cm drop bars, and have wide shoulders. If I did that, it would be much later, though.

    Does it make sense that my levers would be a different setup since the Odi grips are much more narrow than yours? Oh. And I'm working on the placement of the second bottle cage. I had no idea when I ordered it that the size S Krampus only had one. I really could have gotten the medium, I think. But was nervous about doing that.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 02-19-2015 at 06:22 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    One of my suggestions to you is to think about the areas that you ride. Are they bike paths? Wooded trails? And regardless of what your answer is ask yourself this question " if you should need to step off your bike is the ground flat underneath where you'll step?" If your answer is "no" then obviously you'll need to adjust your saddle a bit lower. Videos online are simply a place to start with, give us something to think about and then we should make our own decisions based on our experiences. Good luck with finding your answers...
    Hmm, that is an interesting way to think about it. I think about saddle hieght only in terms of the terrain I am riding on, not what it might be like when I put a foot down. After all, it's mountain biking - terrain will never be consistent. I also ride with a dropper post, so adjusting for trail conditions on the fly is easy to do. But for me it's always terrain based for the ride.
    Last edited by Irulan; 02-19-2015 at 02:37 PM.
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Re width, I would hold off cutting until you play with the stem. My first couple rides I left my bars bare so I could adjust the brake and shift levers to where I was most comfortable. If I ride with my hands back as far as your grips are then I too will feel it in my shoulders after a bit.
    Bottle cage - consider getting one or two Salsa Anything cages and mount them on your front fork.

    For our desert rides I throw on a camelsback.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    I did remember that about short, steep, stems. The problem is, with a zero-offset seatpost, I need a longer stem to make up for it. I did borrow a stem from a cyclist I know the other day, it has much more rise, and I think that will help. The Raceface stems I started with only had 6 or so degrees, which is weird since they are supposed to be mb stems. Going to take awhile to get it figured out. Almost tempted to put a seatpost with setback on the bike to use a shorter stem. Shrug. Probably not a good idea.

    I'll work on the other issues you mentioned. And I have some nice Lizard Skins tape I'm going to add once I get the stem situation correct. (I only use LS tape, now. Love the stuff!).

    Edit (again!):

    It might be because I don't yet have the correct stem length, but It feels like the Jones bars are too wide, and causing upper back pain. Could just be stem length. Using the wider version that is available (I know they can be cut). Can't imaging the more narrow would work, though. I use 42 cm drop bars, and have wide shoulders. If I did that, it would be much later, though.

    Does it make sense that my levers would be a different setup since the Odi grips are much more narrow than yours? Oh. And I'm working on the placement of the second bottle cage. I had no idea when I ordered it that the size S Krampus only had one. I really could have gotten the medium, I think. But was nervous about doing that.
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    983
    Irulan my suggestion would tend to be more for folks without a dropper post. AS for putting seat height a bit lower, imagine that you go to step down or simply 'dab' and the ground isn't underneath you... it might cause a fall for some folks. Have to admit, that I learned that the hard ways many years ago and in a difficult area HA!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,352
    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.
    I have to agree with Irulan on this one and I don't have a dropper post on my mtn bike. I get off the saddle or lean the bike to the side if I need to get to the ground.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  15. #15
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    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
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    The thing is, if you have any amount of climbing to do and your saddle is not at the correct (climbing) height, the potential for sore knees is pretty high.
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

 

 

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