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How to adjust the saddle and handlebar of your bicycle

Rule for efficient and comfortable pedaling

adjust bicycle saddle
THE RIGHT HEIGHT: when your heel is over the pedal axis your leg is fully extended. When pedaling normally with the ball of the foot your leg has a small bend of around 30 degrees for maximum power.

adjust bicycle saddle
Make sure the saddle is leveled and parallel to the ground.
Images from "La bicyclette" by Jean Corbeil, Éditions de l'homme, 1980

adjust bicycle saddle
At a stop you must come down from the saddle to touch the ground. This cyclist is in the right position to start riding, one foot on the ground and the other on a raised pedal. On the first pedal stroke he will raise himself by pushing on the pedal and then sit back.

adjust bicycle saddle
MUCH TOO LOW: This young man can touch the ground with his feet flat while sitting on the saddle. When he pedals his legs are always bent, loosing much of his effort, it hurts to the buttocks and knees, he must stand up on the pedals to accelerate.

Inexperienced cyclists, children, urban use, winter bike

Adjusting the saddle of a bicycle for children and inexperienced cyclists
Adjust the saddle lower for inexperienced cyclists,
to touch the ground with tiptoe.

BMX's and mountain bikes

The rule above does not apply to BMX for acrobatics. Also the saddle is adjusted lower for mountain biking off road on rough terrain. High quality mountain bikes have quick releases to easily adjust the saddle according to the terrain.

If the bike is too small

Adjusting the height and angle of the handlebar

adjust bicycle saddle
On road bikes the angle should 10 degrees
Illustrations tirées de "La bicyclette" par Jean Corbeil, Éditions de l'homme, 1980