Riding a bike might seem like a simple task, but more often than not, people are actually doing it wrong. If you haven’t taught otherwise, you might find that you have set your saddle height incorrectly, which can negatively affect your entire bike-riding experience.
There is actually a correct height and positioning to be at when you are riding a bike, and if you are not doing so correctly, it can have negative consequences.
For example, you may ask yourself: should your feet touch the ground on a bike? We aim to answer this question here.
This way, you can find out exactly how you should be positioned when you are riding your bike to make it a safer and more efficient experience.
Should Your Feet Touch The Ground On A Bike?
You should not be able to put your feet flat on the ground when you are sitting on your bike, and if this is the case for you, then it is likely that your saddle is too low.
The height of the saddle on the bike is really important to help promote a comfortable position and, most importantly, a safe riding style.
When you are sitting on the saddle, you should be able to touch the ground with your tiptoes, but you shouldn’t be able to put your feet flat on the ground. If you do find that your feet are flat on the ground, then your saddle is too low, and it will need to be raised.
If your toes are barely touching the ground, then the saddle could be slightly too high, and you will benefit from moving it down just a touch. It could also mean that the bike is too big for you, which is something to consider if adjusting the saddle height doesn’t make a difference.
Where is the Correct Handlebar Placement?
The handlebars of your bike should be in line with your saddle or slightly above the saddle. You will need to be able to comfortably reach the handle bars when you are riding, and your fingers should be able to cover and work the brakes. It is really important that your fingers can cover the brakes, as this is the position that you should be riding in, just in case you need to stop suddenly.
Why is the Correct Saddle Height Important?
If the height of the saddle is too low, it can put unnecessary strain on your knees, and this is a highly inefficient way to ride your bike. If the saddle is too high, then you might not be able to balance yourself or get leverage on the pedal cranks.
It can also become quite uncomfortable. This is why the positioning of the saddle is so important.
How to Set Your Saddle Height
To set the height of your saddle, you should first put on the shoes that you typically wear when you go cycling. The different depths of soles can actually affect the placement of the saddle more than you might think.
Next, you should get someone to hold the bike steady while you follow the next step.
Now, you should get onto the bike, hold onto the handlebars, and get into your normal riding position. Pedal backwards until the right pedal is at its lowest position, and put your right heel on the paddle.
If, during this process, you are struggling to reach the pedal and keep your hips steady, then you will need to lower your saddle. If you had to move over slightly to one side of the saddle, then the saddle is too high.
If your knee is completely bent, then it is more than likely that your saddle is too low, which is what is causing this bend. This can actually cause strain on the knees when you are pedalling, which is something that you should avoid.
The correct positioning when you do this test would be for you to have a very slight bend in your knee which is around a 25 to 35-degree angle from straight. If this is the case, then your saddle is just right. If not, then you will need to adjust your saddle.
When you are in the motion of pedalling, there should be no stretching or reaching, pointing your toe, or rocking your hips. If any of these things are happening, then your positioning on the bike needs to be altered.
What Problems Can Occur if My Feet Are Touching the Ground On a Bike?
It is more common than you might think for cyclists to ride with their seat too low, but this can cause issues like a reduction in pedalling efficiency and knee issues over time.
Steve Beck is a passionate cyclist and experienced writer covering the cycling industry for over a decade. He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in all bike-related things, from the latest products and technologies to the best routes and trails. His articles are well-researched, informative, and engaging, and he has a talent for explaining complex cycling concepts in a way that is easy to understand. Steve can be found on the road when he’s not writing about bikes, putting his knowledge and skills to the test.