A straight story: The right settings
The correct saddle setting on a mountain bike is a hotly debated topic. Personal preferences play just as much a role as your discipline, seat height, seat angle, handlebar height, pedal system, etc. That’s why we take a closer look at the topic in our broad-ranging ergonomics and saddle texts. If you don’t want to delve too deeply into the subject, here are a few quick tips that get to the point:
Ideally start with the saddle surface parallel to the ground. Consider the change in your real seat angle due to the negative suspension travel (sag). A slightly lowered saddle nose is recommended for very steep seat angles. A slightly raised saddle nose helps you to guide the bike in the air or in extreme cornering positions with your thigh.
Markings for the permitted clamp range are usually printed or laser-etched on the saddle rails. Stick to it, otherwise you risk damage or breakage! Within this clamp range you can influence your posture relative to the handlebars and thus the real seat angle by moving the saddle forwards or backwards. For example, you can compensate for a flat seat angle by pushing the saddle far forward.
As a starting point, with the knee extended and the pedal in the lowest position (6 o'clock), your heel should be flush with the end of the pedal. In pedalling position (pedal under the ball of the foot) your knee should not be extended in the same situation. From here you can optimise millimetre by millimetre. Note that different pedal systems (clipless pedals / flat pedals) or shoes will affect your seat height.