Why Do Cyclists Have Their Seats High?(Top Reasons)

Why Do Cyclists Have Their Seats High?

Why Do Cyclists Have Their Seats High?

Usually, cyclists who know what they are doing will get incredibly high in their seats.

When the seats are this high (to the point that they can’t even reach the floor when stationary), cyclists will need less effort to push the pedal forward.

Consequently, less energy will be required to propel the bike forward, ensuring faster riding.

Although wheels and the chain play a significant role in propelling you forward when riding, they can’t move on their own.

Therefore, they will require your legs to push them forward. In turn, this will result in a faster turning of the wheels.

It’s advisable to move your leg as you ride your bike entirely.This is to ensure that every muscle in your legs plays a part in driving forward towards those pedals.

Doing this will make you expend less energy in pushing that pedal. Consequently, there will be no need to peddle as fast.

Indeed, a single good push with a high seat will drive you forward that smaller pushes with a lower seat can only achieve the same in about ten pushes.

How High Should Your Seat Be When Cycling?

Cycling knee position is vital as far as health and performance are concerned. Knees rely on levers, internal fulcrums, balances, and pulleys to perform properly.

Unfortunately, if any of these factors are not correctly aligned, you might not even notice it at first.

However, the poor alignment will eventually cause your knee to become sore, wear, or fail. But if you have adjusted your bike property.

Your knees will travel thousands of miles devoid of any problems. And this makes you stronger with each pedal stroke.

Your seat should be high enough that the center of your knee is directly over the pedal axle when the pedal is exactly horizontal in the 3 o’clock position.

The seat should be high enough to ensure a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the stroke. This bend should be between 5 and 10 degrees.

Why Do Cyclists Have Their Seats High?

And if you realize that it’s more than 10 degrees, your seat should be raised to get the bend within the range.

On the other hand, if the bend is less than 5 degrees, rectify this by raising the seat post until you get the bend within the range.

Are Seats Supposed To Be Higher Than Handlebars?

No, not necessarily. The rule of thumb is that your handlebars should be at least the same height as your seat. But having it above is not bad as it will make you ride upright.

On the other hand, handlebars that are lower than your seat will push you into your handlebars, placing more stress on your wrists, neck, arms, and back.

For most handlebars, it’s easy to be raised by merely loosening the screw at the top of the handlebar stem;

Using an Allen wrench several turns and tapping it with a hammer to release the mechanism inside.

You will notice some vertical hash marks in a ring around your handlebar stem, indicating the maximum you can raise the stem.

But as you raise your handlebars, there is only as much you can go since you don’t want to lack adequate slack in your brake and shifter cables to enhance stem.

Does Your Bum Get Used To Cycling?

Yes, it can, but you need to address the cause of any excessive soreness or pain. A sore bum can be a hindrance to your ride.

As long as you have a sore bum, you will not be able to go all the way you want.

A sore bum is something that beginner cyclists and experienced riders will get from time to time.

While you may try to force your bum to get used, you can avoid the scenario from the word go.

It’s normal that anytime you start anything new that involves muscle strain for your body to take some time to adapt.

But before it adapts, you might have some pains and even, at times, soreness. This premise applies even to riding and sitting on a bike seat.

Your bum wasn’t designed to sit on a bike seat exclusively. Luckily, like mine, your body is pretty adept at adapting to things.

As you start riding a bike, there will be new forms of stress and pressure on your muscles and tendons within your butt.

Even if you are a regular rider but took some time without riding, this can still happen to you. Your bum will need some time to get used to the stresses of riding.

What Happens If The Saddle Is Too High?

When a saddle is too high, the muscles will practically run out of action to fling the pedals beyond the dead spots of the bottom and top dead center.

This happens to be crucial for momentum maintenance in setting up the next downward power phase.

Still, having the saddle too high has other downsides. Your body will not happily take a saddle that is too high.

Indeed, it will start to compensate to protect the joints (hip, knee, ankle) from getting pulled apart.

There might be pain behind the knee or up into the pelvis due to the hamstrings getting overstrained.

Additionally, the pelvis may start tilting down from one side to another to provide extra reach while pedaling.

Consequently, the lower back muscles will be fired up to help stabilize the pelvis, leading to even further kinetic chain connections flare-up.

This uses energy and generates fatigue instead of power in the process.

One of the easiest ways to know how high your saddle is is by asking other riders to observe you as you ride and then offer their suggestions on your saddle height. 

Why Do Road Cyclists Have Low Handlebars And High Seats?

Road cyclists want to have their handlebars low, and their seat is high is a matter of bar height since your saddle height is a function of the length of a cyclist’s legs.

That said, a racer on a road bike will want to reduce the wind resistance and, at the same time, maximize the power output.

Maximizing the power output is accomplished by achieving the correct saddle height, but reducing wind resistance can only be achieved by setting the bar height as low as it can go.

Therefore, you will find that many racers will have their bars lower than the seats.

With this configuration, you can be sure of maximum power and, at the same time, enjoy minimum drag.

And again, many riders (not necessarily racers) prefer having their bars set a little higher. You can achieve this through various ways.

For instance, a recreational rider will prefer a more “relaxed” configuration as it’s more relaxed, enabling the rider to see more of their surroundings.

This comes in handy when riding in traffic, but it will also add to the enjoyment of cycling.

What Is The Correct Saddle Position For Cycling?

The correct saddle height can be achieved quickly, bringing many benefits. It’s achieved by ensuring that the knee is straight when the pedal is in the six o’clock position.

Establishing your optimal saddle height will greatly boost your pedalling efficiency in addition to enhancing the comfort of your ride and helping avoid long-term injuries.

Research has established that your comfort and efficiency on the bike can be improved by getting your saddle height right will improve your comfort and efficiency on the bike.

Consequently, you will want to find your optimal position. And the number of ways to do so continues to soar.

Some of the factors that will affect your saddle height including, cleat position,  saddle setback, and crank length.

The best saddle position is the one that strikes a balance between comfort and power.

You can use the heel-to-pedal method to get the correct saddle position by sitting on the bike, holding on to something for support, and then placing your heel on the pedal.

Now pedal backward to the six o’clock position. If your knee is completely straight, you are good to go.

However, if not, increase the height in small increments but avoid your heel losing contact with the pedal. 

Can I Raise The Handlebars On My Road Bike?

Yes, and it can take only a few minutes. But this is not to underestimate its effect on your cycling comfort. Peradventure, your bike’s handlebar, is too low; you’ll feel it.

Some of the symptoms you will experience include tingling and numbness in your hands, pains, and aches in the shoulders, lower back, and neck.

Again, there will be soreness and numbness in your nether regions. But these are not problems that are exclusive for a too-low handlebar only.

Indeed, the same problems will be experienced if the handlebar is too far forward.

Handlebar height and reach are linked since the steering axis on your bike aren’t vertical (90 degrees). It takes a slope of between 65 and 75 degrees.

Consequently, raising the handlebar will bring it closer to you. And this will make you sit upright.

How far you can raise your handlebar will be solely guided by your ride comfort. You do not need to follow what anyone else suggests; remember, it’s all about your ride comfort.

Should Your Leg Fully Extend On A Bike?

Yes, but it is sometimes contentious whether or not your leg should fully extend or not when on a bike.

There are many rules attached to this, but the general rule is that your feet should reach the floor while seated with bike frames between your legs.

Technically, your toes should touch the floor without bending your knees.

And as you ride, it’s a good idea that your leg extends fully if your foot is on the pedal, the peddle being at the lowest point of its cycle.

Other people feel that there should be some allowance to bend the knee slightly, even as your leg is at the fully extended point.

To help you have full control over the pedal and the cycling process. It’s still good to keep a slight bending on the knee to avoid hip injuries.

This also helps maintain control over the process, so you’re slightly lower than you should if your leg is fully extended.

Should I Use A Stem Riser?

Yes, using a stem riser can be helpful. If your handlebar bears a higher rise between the bar ends and the stem, it will help tremendously. 

The problem with handlebars is that they don’t offer much elevation. Therefore, if you want to raise your bar, a stem riser is a perfect solution.

But even a better solution would be to get a stem that’s angled upwards such that it raises your handlebar.

While this comes as a decent solution to height problems, it’s never devoid of its problems. The main problem is that you are used to your bike steering as it is.

A stem riser has worked for many people who had issues with their handlebar height.

Indeed, many riders would recommend adding a stem riser to increase your handlebar height.

The stem riser will easily prolong the fork steerer for the stem to fit much higher than it usually is. Many stem risers are 5 inches or about 13 cm.

A stem riser has the same clamping bolts as a stem has, which are used in the same way to clamp onto the fork steerer.

This type of stem riser works only on threadless steerers, which is where this problem usually occurs. 

The threaded steerers allow you to increase the handlebar height at will.

Are Handlebar Extenders Safe?

Yes, handlebar extenders are safe. However, you should avoid using carbon handlebar extenders as they might not hold.

This is because carbon flexes too much, such that the increased length will not be safe. But there is an issue with how tight you can clamp a carbon handlebar extender.

The risk of a handlebar extender breaking is higher if it’s made of carbon.  There will be a longer lever on the frame with a handlebar extender.

On the other hand, an aluminum or steel handlebar extender is perfectly safe to be used. Metal and aluminum have enough strength to resist breaking with increased length.

But you will want to know that not all handlebar extenders are equally safe.

Can I Turn My Stem Upside Down?

If it’s too much of a stretch, looking at the angle and turning it upside down will help. All you need to do is to bolt up tight again.

Fortunately, you can additionally move the bars slightly backward or move them upwards by reasonable travel.

Still, tightening the clamps requires a bit of carefulness and time. The diagonals need to be done at a time. Avoid tightening one all the way.

What Does Flipping A Stem Do?

Not much. Apart from several costly carbon ones, most stems can be mounted either way around. The pressures are in the same direction regardless of which way up it is.

When you flip a stem, it’s not anything but reversed! If this was not the case.

Manufacturers would have to produce double the number of stems to cater for positive and negatively angled setups.

Indeed even aluminum stems are usually marked “±X°” somewhere, so even manufacturers approve flipping them upside down.


Cyclists have their seats high to maximize power and reduce wind resistance.


We're here to help you find the Best Bike Guides for your bike and lifestyle. Honest reviews, tricks and guides to help you find the best Bicycles and gears in the market. We compare the top products in different categories to give you the most reliable purchasing advice. Our goal is to make it easy for you to pick the best products and be confident in your decision.

Recent Posts