I cycle pretty much every day but I've noticed I feel a lot of pressure above my knees and I seem to be developing rather exaggerated muscles in that area too. I know my saddle height is important but I'm not too sure what to do with it! I don't think it can go much higher but will it make a difference if I move it backwards or forwards?


Tony Farrelly [2930 posts] 9 years ago

Saddle height is important, but it is not the only thing that can have an effect on your knees.

For most people the saddle is at the right height when you can sit on it with the pedal at the lowest point of the stroke and your knee is slightly bent. This gives the optimum combination of comfort and leverage. That said, if your ride involves climbing a lot of hills you might want to drop your saddle a nudge though.

Moving the saddle backwards or forwards is going to affect your reach for the handlebars more than you're pedalling, but we are all different so I could imagine a scenario where if you had short legs and the saddle was too far back you weren't getting as much power behind the pedal - which could hurt your knees. Basically if you feel like you're stretching for the pedals your saddle is in the wrong place.

The other thing that can develop the muscles in your knees though is pushing a big gear ideally you want to be turning the gears fairly easily - if you have to push or stretch - the gear is too big. If you are riding fixed - controlling the bike using the pedals is going to bump up your muscles too.

DaSy [813 posts] 9 years ago

I know the KOPS saddle fit gets a mixed press, but for me it has worked very well.

I personally think that saddle fore and aft is as important as height for good comfort and power.

Knee Over Pedal Spindle (KOPS) says that you should adjust the saddle to place the boney pointy bit at the top of your shin and just below the kneecap so that, if you drop a plumbline from this point it should line up directly over the pedal axle. Obviously this needs to be done on level ground.

Height is as Tony says best adjusted where the knee is slightly bent at the bottom of the stroke, but this too can be affected by whether you tend to pedal with a flat foot, toe down or heel down, so there is no hard and fast rule but rather what feels best for you.

KOPS put me quite a bit further forward than I thought intuitively was my position, and I have felt much more comfortable on the bike since adopting this method. As I say, there are many more knowledgable people than me that have dismissed it as not relevant, but it does also have as many high profile advocates too. I think it is a good place to start and never very far off.