How to Change Your Bike Seat: A Step-By-Step Guide

If you’re no longer happy with your bike seat or saddle, the best thing is to remove it and put a new one.

Bike saddles are not very durable like the frame, so you might have to replace them often. Fortunately, installing a bike saddle is straightforward because of the manufacturer’s design. You simply need a new saddle, a few tools, and a couple of minutes to get it done.

What You Need

  • Hex wrench
  • Cleaning materials like paper towels and bike lube.
  • Plumb bob and Carpenter’s Level (when adjusting the seat)

How to Remove Old Bike Seat

Disconnect The Clamp Bolts from the Old Saddle

The process of changing your bike seat starts with removing the old one. With the hex wrench, you can remove the bolt that connects the seat post to the metal clamp. After turning them two or three times, you can remove them easily.

Some bikes also come with two bolts under the seat than one, and you have to remove them both simultaneously. By doing so, you can avoid cutting the thread. Only disconnect them so the hardware can move around a bit without falling out completely.

If your bike doesn’t have bolts, you should check for a knob connecting the frame and seat and use that to disconnect it.

Remove the Old Seat

Now, you can remove the old seat. You will notice thin metal rails under the saddle, fitted between the upper and lower clamp jaws. When you lift the upper clamp jaw, the saddle rails are free, and you can easily remove the old bike seat.

But, with bikes that have two bolts on the clamp, you will need to remove one of the bolts outright to remove the seat.

Clean the Clamp

After removing the old seat, it’s advisable to clean up your clamp. The clamp would have accumulated dust, grit, grime, dirt, and other particles. Putting the new seat on the dirty clamp will lead to squeaking and creaking when you’re riding the bike.

With a moist paper towel, you can clean the surface and place your new saddle on the clean clamp. When cleaning, make sure you get the sides and channels too.

How to Install New Bike Seat

Get the Saddle Ready

Now that the old saddle is out of the way and the clamp is clean and ready, you can move on to install a new seat. Start by preparing the new seat you bought using a paper towel to spread bike lube over the threading.

You can lubricate the insides of the holes by putting the bolts through the clamp holes. When choosing a new bike seat, take note of the strength and moisture resistance, ensuring that the saddle does not squeak while you ride.

Put the Saddle on the Clamp

Place the rails on the new saddle on the channels on the lower clamp jaw. Make sure that the front part of the seat is facing the handlebar and aligned with the frame.

Then, the top clamp jaw should be placed over the rails. When you do this, cross-check that it fits well. Do so by aligning the holes on the upper and lower jaw clamps while holding the saddle.

Secure the Bolts

Once the saddle is well-placed on the clamp, you need to secure it with the clamp bolts. Put the bolt through the holes at the upper and lower parts, and turn it with the wrench clockwise so it’s very tight. For bikes with two bolts on the saddle, you need to turn them the same number of times, so the thread isn’t damaged.

Keep on tightening the bolts till the bike seat is no longer moving freely, but it should be able to move a bit in case you want to adjust it.

Calculate the Bike Seat Height

Now, you need to figure out the right height for your bike seat. When installing a new saddle, you need to adjust the seat post to make the bike seat comfortable and safe while you ride.

To calculate the seat height, start by measuring how long the inseam of your pants is. Do so by standing against a wall and pulling a ruler from the legs to the groin. Figure out the comfortable level to the wall and from the floor.

Then, multiply the measurement by 0.887 to find out the right seat height and make the needed settings.

Assess the Saddle Post Height

You also need to check the height of the saddle post. With a tape measure, measure from the center of the sprocket to the top surface of the saddle. Then, secure it to the post with tape or ask someone to hold it. The sprocket is the teeth-like disk that connects the paddles.

Loosen the Post Bolt

It’s also important to loosen the post bolt on the saddle. Check the bike frame, and you will see a metal ring or clamp with a bolt that connects to the seat post. You need to loosen it so that the seat post will be loose enough to adjust the height.

Adjust, Secure and Finish

You can adjust the bike seat based on your needs, secure it and start riding. First, you need to do this for the seat post height. You can lower or raise the seat post based on your inseam measurement. After adjusting it, secure the seat post bolt so it won’t slow down.

Now, you need to adjust the saddle position and secure it. This ensures that you have the best riding comfort. To adjust the saddle, set it to parallel to the ground. If the seat is forward, your arms will get tired quickly when riding. But, if it’s backward, pedaling becomes harder.

You can place a carpenter’s level on the saddle so that it’s parallel, sit on it and move the paddles to test it. Once you have a good bike seat position, secure the bolts properly.

After installation, it’s important to give your bike a test run with the new seat. Ride around a little while thinking about how the seat feels and if you’re comfortable while you ride. If any adjustments are needed, do so before you ride your bike properly.

FAQ

Can You Swap Bike Seats?

Yes, you can. If you want to improve your old bike with a new saddle, you can swap the saddle. This is only possible if your bike is only a few years old. Since new saddle designs have a great design in terms of style and performance, they would look great on your bike.

Can You Replace Saddle Rails?

Yes, you can. If your saddle rails are bent or broken, you can replace them. It’s easy to purchase a new one or ask a bike shop to replace it for a small price. Most saddles come with two rails, so getting what you need is easy. The bike saddle might have one, three, or four rails in rare cases.

How Do You Put a Saddle Clamp-On?

To install a bike seat clamp, there are three steps to follow. First, line the inner plates up by removing the side plates, spindling, and putting the new ones on each rail side. It snaps into place when you line the clamp up and pushes down. Then, install the spindle and outer plates, and use your hands to tighten them, so they don’t move. Finally, attach the seat post to the clamp.

Are Bike Saddles Universal?

Yes. Most seats are universal and can be interchanged with different kinds, except if you have a specialized or very old bike. Because of this, any well-known saddle can fit a standard bike. Even with this, it’s important to check the number of rails and rail width so that it fits properly to your bike.

How Often Should You Change Your Bike Saddle?

You should change your bike saddle every two years if it doesn’t have any immediate damage. But asides from this, there are different reasons why you might have to change a bike saddle. When your body changes, the saddle will feel differently, and you need a new one. You might also need a more advanced saddle if yours is old or you want to change the look of your bike. Plus, a new saddle means better performance.

Conclusion

When you know how to change your bike seat, it becomes easy for you to ensure comfort whenever needed. If you start to feel like you’re not comfortable on your bike seat, you can change it immediately for a smooth ride each time.

Photo of author
Written By Robert Gibbons
From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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