TOP CYCLING TIPS FOR – BIKE CHECK, PART 4
Today we bring you the next chapter of Julia’s mini-series on the famous M-check! Part 1 covered the front wheel, part 2 the handlebars and part 3 the bottom bracket. Part 4 of our bicycle M-check is relatively simple: check that the saddle is in the right position and is firmly secure in the seat post.
Having dealt with the fiddly bottom bracket in the previous post, the next step is slightly more straightforward, but no less important!
Getting the seat position right for you is crucial if you’re spending a significant amount of time on your bike. Get it wrong and and believe me, it won’t just be your efficiency that suffers if you know what I mean!
As a rule of thumb, when you stand next to your bike, the saddle should be at about the height of your hip bone. This is a good place to start, then get on the bike and fine tune it. Sit on the bike with the pedals one above the other and your bottom foot parallel to the floor. There should be a very slight bend in that knee. If the knee is locked, or you can’t get your heel low enough to get the foot parallel, the saddle is too high. If you’ve got a very bent knee the saddle is too low.
Fore / Aft Position
Most saddles have a forwards / backwards range of 5-8cm. To find the correct position for you, sit on the bike with the pedal cranks horizontal so your feet are one in front of the other. Look at the knee above your front foot. It should be directly above the centre of the pedal, or the ball of your foot. If your knee juts out beyond your toes, the saddle is too far forwards. If your knee is over your ankle the saddle is too far back.
Most people find a horizontal saddle to be most comfortable and most effective. A few guys I know like to have a slight forward tilt to take the pressure off their ‘bits’ but the problem with this is that anything more than a degree or two and you feel like you’re sliding forwards you and therefore put more tension through your upper body to stay balanced.
If you find the horizontal position really uncomfortable you might need a more comfortable saddle!
Seat post collar
Finally, check that the saddle is secure. Whether you’ve got a standard screw-type or a a quick release collar it should be tight enough that you can put all your weight through the seat without it moving at all. But be careful not to over-tighten it as you could damage the bike frame.
Make sure that the quick release is well tucked down so you can’t get your leg or clothing caught when mounting and dismounting the bike.
That’s all from me this week! It breaks my heart to say it, but next week will be our final instalment of the M-check…until then though, ride safe!
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