Why You Should Lower Bike Seat for Mountain Biking?
Mountain bikes are designed for off-road cycling, such as on mountain roads, logging roads, and fire roads where unpaved paths filled with loose sand and gravel, steep grades, and washouts are the norm.
You must ensure that your bike is up to the task – and getting the right seat height is a crucial part of preparation. Keep in mind that mountain biking requires optimum seat positioning in maintaining your balance, comfort and control over your bike.
Your pedaling efficiency, which involves the efficient transfer of energy from your muscles to your bike, will also increase. Your bike will feel lighter and faster so that you can pound up the hills better, too.
How Can You Lower Your Seat?
First, you can perform it through the traditional means. Your best tool is an Allen wrench in loosening the bolt under the seat; look at the seat post clamp for it. You should then securely tighten the bolt after finding the right seat height.
Second, you can let the dropper seat posts do their job, so to speak. Most new mountain bikes are already equipped with these dropper seat posts, which are telescoping posts designed to lower the seat with a single touch of a button.
You can then let your center of gravity “drop” while riding, even on rough terrain.
Dropper posts, however, can be tricky to use. You may be using your bike’s dropper post in getting your seat out of your way when tackling steep descents and tight sections.
You will find that it has more uses than you previously thought so much so that when you know its uses, you will be raising and dropping your seat dozens of times during a ride.
Benefits to Lowering Your Seat
Let’s assume that you’re using your bike’s dropper posts in lowering your bike’s seat although these benefits also apply to traditional bike seats.
- In steep descents: When your bike seat is lower, your hips can comfortably move lower and back over your bike’s rear wheel, which will efficiently transfer most of your weight over the rear hub.
Your risks for tipping over the handlebar will be reduced, especially when riding becomes too spicy. You don’t want to tumble over your bike’s handlebars since injuries will not be far behind.
- In drops: When you have a lower center of gravity, your stability on the bike increases because your body mass moves the least. You will also have greater room in absorbing the impact upon landing when your seat is already out of the way.
- In tight turns: When your bike seat is out of the way, you will be able to lean your bike further than before. You can then dip and carve over tight turns with greater agility and flexibility.
- In sweeping turns: When your center of gravity is lower, your bike’s contact patch with the ground can be extended since your weight is more evenly distributed between your wheels.
You will then be able to take wide and fast turns in sweeping turns, without sacrificing your speed in these challenging areas.
Applications of Lower Seat
With a lower seat, your riding experience will be better for it. You can test it in several riding situations and, in the process, improve your mountain riding knowledge and skills.
- Climbing up hills and mountains: You may think it counter intuitive to drop your seat during a climb but it’s not. You will find that you and your bike can absorb the humps and bumps better with a lower seat that, in turn, will improve traction.
- Wheelies: You can center your weight over your bike’s back wheel, which makes wheelies easier to perform.
- Tackling fallen logs: Your risks can be minimized since a lowered seat lessens the possibility of your body jolting forward. This is especially useful when your bike’s back wheel comes up and over fallen logs.
- Step ups: You will have more control over your legs and your bike’s back wheel once you have cleared the obstacle with your bike’s front wheels.
- Jumps: You can stay more centered while in the air with a lower seat. In contrast, a higher seat will force you to stay behind the seat, thus, shortening your trajectory since your back wheel pushes down too early in the movement.
- Stopping: You can easily brake and get your feet on the ground with a lower seat.
Aside from these benefits of riding, a dropper seat can make storage and travel easier. Your mountain bike has a smaller configuration with a lower seat. But it’s not just mountain bikes getting the dropper seta treatment. You will also see road bikes and cyclo-cross bikes with the innovative technology.
The bottom line: You should lower your seat when you want to descend faster yet still retail control over your bike. Your lower center of gravity results in better control, balance, and confidence even while maintaining your speed in tricky and technical sections. Your safety risks can be reduced, too, for these reasons.
But there are reasons to raise your seat, too, assuming that you have a dropper seat. A raised seat provides the most efficient position for level terrain and delivers maximum energy from your muscles to your bike’s pedals.
As with any bike adjustment, you have to experiment with the height of your seat. You will not even get the right seat height on your first try since you have to observe your body’s reaction to it. You have to pay attention to any sign of discomfort, perhaps pain, when riding so that adjustments can be made.
You can even try shifting your seat forward and backward to find your most comfortable position, aside from lowering and raising it. You should also consider changing your seat for a narrower or wider base to fit your unique anatomy.
We also suggest getting your mountain bike from a professional bike shop so that the appropriate sizing can be made for your current riding needs. A professional bike specialist can make changes not only to a bike’s saddle base, height and angle but also to the frame, handlebar, and pedals. You will then have a mountain bike perfectly suited to your riding body, knowledge and skills.