The saddle tilt is an important adjustment that needs to be taken into consideration. Lets take a look at what happens when the saddle angle is in the up, neutral and down positions.
Saddle Tilted Down
If the saddle angle is pointed down too much then there will be unnecessary pressure on your knee and upper body. Your knees are trying to hold you from sliding forward and are more susceptible to injury. Additionally, your upper body is now being enlisted to hold you back as well, instead of being relaxed and focused on proper breathing.
How much of an angle is too much? As little as a 3% saddle angle downwards is too much.
If you find yourself riding on the front part of the saddle often it is usually to alleviate the pressure on the knees, shoulders, arms and hands; however, you do not have adequate support from the saddle and this will cause problems.
Why Do People Tilt Their Saddle Too Far Down?
The most common reason people tilt the saddle angle down is to alleviate pressure on the groin, this is not a wise solution, find a saddle that fits properly and is able to support your weight without pain or numbness.
Many people have no idea that saddle tilt is a very big deal at all and take the bike as it comes from the shop… I did not have a clue when I bought my first bike.
Saddle Tilted Up
When the saddle angle is tilted upwards you may earn some unwanted lumbar pain as your pelvis is angled backwards and you forced reach forwards to the handlebars – this creates a weird and unnatural angle and stress point causinging lower back pain.
Since the pelvis is tilted back it will feel as if you have to reach for the handlebars and this can cause neck and shoulder pain. Another symptom the saddle angle is too far up is groin pain or numbness caused by unnecessary pressure around the soft tissue by your “special” area.
Why Do People Tilt Their Saddle Too Far Up?
The most common reason people tilt the saddle angle too far up is to keep from sliding forwards. It can be a vicious cycle, you tilt the saddle down to alleviate pressure on your groin, but then you start to slide forward too much and so you raise it too much… buy a proper fitting saddle and only make adjustments 1 degree at a time.
Saddle In the Neutral Position
A saddle in the neutral position allows you to keep your pelvis in a neutral position, which in turn, allows the proper alignment of your knees and optimizes the efficiency and enlistment of the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, soleus, gastrocnemius, and hamstrings muscles.
As you can see, a small thing like the proper saddle tilt can make a big difference in comfort, efficiency and injury prevention. Make sure you have your saddle in the neutral position, or as close to it as possible.
If you climb a lot, perhaps you will want the nose to tilt down a slight bit, or vice versa for downhills. I ride with my saddle tilted down 0.5 degrees and find it just right. If you have a saddle tilt of more than 2 degrees up or down then you need to make other adjustments to feel comfortable as it is not the tilt that is the problem.