Trying up my cadence, but noticing a fair bit of saddle bounce.

Few things that could be contributing.

  • I use toeclips over cleats
  • saddle height (thou I'm at the sweet spot of full leg extension without strain)

Is there any techniques/exercises to reduce this or am I simply trying to increase my cadence too fast too soon?

  • 1
    "Saddle bounce" could mean many things. You could be bouncing up and down on an over-sprung saddle, you could be rising up from the saddle with each pedal stroke, or you could be rocking back and forth in the saddle (due to too much saddle height). Apr 24 '12 at 11:04
  • Info on the bike would also be helpful. This is happening on your steel fixie? Or the new road bike? Or both? Apr 25 '12 at 19:22
  • Related - if your foot is too far forward on the pedal then it increases saddle bounce. I had this with a package on the parcel rack that interfered with my heels, requiring the foot to be forward. Lack of fine "suspension" from the ankle meant I was bouncing on the saddle in top gear.
    – Criggie
    Dec 25 '17 at 22:16

I think the most useful measure would be to improve your spinning technique, by spinning itself.

That would require a lot of self-observation, and a lot of self-discipline, in order to perceive in which conditions the pogo-effect manifests itself:

  • Which cadence;
  • Which power-output;
  • Which pedal/leg position cause the "jerk" and the bouncing.

A nice way to do that without too much rocket science is to add some cushioning to your ride for some time, be it baloon tires, suspension fork, suspension post, soft-sprung saddle, and the like. Train with one of these for a while, until you're satisfied. I think suspension-seatpost is the most direct and cost-effective choice for this case.

With one of these "devices", the bouncing effect would be increased a lot, and you will be forced to discipline your rhythm so that the bouncing stops or at least gets diminished.

I had a lot of unintentional training with that during my mountain-bike years, in a time suspension forks didn't have lockout systems. I think it worked fine, and if you do it consciously, perhaps it works even better.

Hope this helps.

  • Suspension seatpost looks the ticket
    – will
    Apr 25 '12 at 9:10
  • @will, suspension is for mitigating the shock and awe of uneven surfaces. Fork and frame suspension are great for downhill singletrack (stumps,roots,boulders,holes). Seat/seatpost suspension is for upright commuter bikes where the rider effectively "sits" on the saddle with a significant ratio of their weight. If you're just trying to deal with bounce at higher cadence, you can do it with practice and having the right fit.
    – Angelo
    Apr 25 '12 at 16:37
  • 1
    A similar idea is riding on rollers. If you bounce too much you fall off :-)
    – Karl
    May 9 '12 at 1:16

It is a matter of both fit (frame-geom, saddle position, stem & cranks), practice, and gearing.

Everyone has a max RPM after which they start "bouncing" and you'll find this RPM is even lower if you're at a relatively low gear.

Assuming the bike fits you properly, raising your max RPM is simply a matter of practice. This can't be done at will in one session. It is a motor skill that has to be trained by drills and observed for progress. Informally you can try forcing yourself to ride at lower gears than you're used to. Over time your body kinematics will become more efficient and your form will improve (bouncing will start at higher and higher RPM's).

A cadence of 100 without bouncing is achievable by almost anyone who tries for it. Elites on a track have motionless backsides at cadences of well beyond 150rpm.


Proper saddle height is usually said to be set where your knee is between 5-15 degrees. If you are at 0 degrees but not straining, you are still locking your knee and this could cause the pedals to push you up off your seat. Try dropping it an inch or so and see if it does anything to help.

That said, if you like to ride at full extension then do it! I ride a lot more aggressive terrain and will not raise my seat past the point that both my feet are planted flat on the ground and was chastised for it being too low (by someone who almost got run over by a bus a few days later because he couldn't reach the ground). Don't let someone else tell you how to ride!

  • 1
    The damage you can cause your body by riding in that low of saddle position is not worth what you gaining, IMHO. However, it's your body to break, so do what you want. Why listen to somebody trying to help you?
    – zenbike
    Apr 24 '12 at 10:19
  • One fairly good way to set saddle height is to have someone hold the bike while you sit on it and pedal backwards with your heels (in flat shoes) on the pedals. Adjust the height so that your legs are fully extended & knees straight (without rocking in the saddle) while doing this, and they will have the right not-quite-straight angle (maybe 5-10 degrees) when your toes are on the pedals. Apr 24 '12 at 11:02
  • @zenbike - what kind of damage am I causing with a low seat? As I said, I ride more aggressive terrain, and I am standing a lot more than I am sitting. I do very little "road" riding, mostly skateparks or downhill mountain trails. When I am sitting, I am going slow-medium speed, when I do anything more than just pedaling around I am standing up. I broke my knee (ACL, femur, meniscus) a few years ago, so when I bend my knee too much it hurts, that is the only thing I can think of that damages my body. Nothing compared to having a seat shoved up so far that it causes me to wreck all the time.
    – BillyNair
    Apr 26 '12 at 13:19
  • The height of the saddle is designed to be set with a 5-10 degree bend in your knee at the bottom of your edal stroke. If you ride seated with significantly lower saddle height than that, you risk tendon and ligament damage in your knees, ankles and hips. In addition, a lot of your mechanical advantage in your pedal stroke is lost, which means you are back to brute strength to move forward. If you ride consistently standing, that will not affect you early as much as if you ride more regularly seated.
    – zenbike
    Apr 26 '12 at 13:56
  • But you would probably find that the seated position would be both more comfortable and more powerful if you tried a correct saddle height. And there would be far less risk of re-injuring your damaged knees.
    – zenbike
    Apr 26 '12 at 13:57

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