Where Do Divvy Riders of Various Sizes Prefer to Set the Saddle Height?

Former Chainlink owner Julie Hochstadter, who's 4'9" tall, rides a Divvy with the seat all the way down to zero at the June 2013 launch event. Photo: John Greenfield
Former Chainlink owner Julie Hochstadter, who's 4'9" tall, rides a Divvy with the seat all the way down to zero at the June 2013 launch event. Photo: John Greenfield

Alex Z., a member of the social networking site The Chainlink, recently started a thread asking Divvy users how tall they are, and at what number they seat the seat post height on the bike-share cycles. With permission from Chainlink owner Yasmeen Schuller, I’ve used my expert graphing skills to plot these data points.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 6.28.46 PM
Graph: John Greenfield

Perhaps this info will be somewhat useful for Divvy newbies trying to decide where they should set the seat height. (My advice is to put the saddle at a height that results in a slight bend in your knee when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke with the ball of of your foot on the pedal, or a bit lower at first if it makes you feel more comfortable starting and stopping.)

You’ll note that none of the respondents were under 5’6″, so this data sample certainly doesn’t represent a cross-section of Divvy users. Former Chainlink owner Julie Hochstadter is 4’9″, but she currently lives in a Divvy-deprived suburb and didn’t recall what number she used. (From the above photo, taken at the Divvy launch in June 2013, it looks like she started out with the post all the way down to the zero setting.) If you’re under 5’6″ (or even if you’re not) let us know your height and seat post number, and we may update the graph.

Streetsblog's Steven Vance, who's 6'3", rides a Divvy with the seat post set all the way up to 10 during a preview of the bikes during Bike the Drive in May 2013. Photo: Photo: Mark Wagenbuur
Streetsblog’s Steven Vance, center, who’s 6’4″, rides a Divvy with the seat post set all the way up to 10 during a preview of the bikes during Bike the Drive in May 2013. Photo: Mark Wagenbuur

A couple of comments from Chainlinkers from the thread on seat height:

VW: “I think most novice cyclists take time to get a comfort level with the larger height, and it’s important for them to feel comfortable first, with starting and stopping, and feeling safe and closer to the ground, and then as they get more comfortable, they can play with getting more seat height for more speed and leverage.”

Julie Hochstadter: “[Divvy bikes] do fit me. Probably not as well as taller folks, but I can get around, even when I was a couple months pregnant. If anything, a Divvy was a bit more comfortable riding pregnant after six months than my road bike.”

Charlie Meterson: “I’m 5’7″, and I like 3.5 or 4 for the seat height. The bikes I find are hardly ever set to that height, and I often get greasy hands adjusting.” My response: “You shouldn’t have to touch the (greased) seat post itself when adjusting the height. Just open the seat post lever, push or pull the saddle to the right height (wiggling it back and forth as necessary), and close the lever.” Meyerson: “I know. But the lever is often greasy.”

  • I find it a little annoying that the maintenance and rebalancing crews drop the seats all the way down when they visit a station, because 1) the seats get stuck there and 2) it’s awesome to walk up on a bike that’s already at your preferred seat height, hop on it and zoom away. Divvy, leave our seat settings alone!

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Well, if you’re 4’9″ like Julie Hochstadter, that makes it more likely that you’ll walk up on a bike that’s already at your preferred seat height.

  • Courtney

    I typically find a lot of bikes with the seats all the way up.

  • Courtney

    I’m 5’2 and ride with the seat at 4. When I have to stop at a light I can’t fully place my feet on the ground so I end up with one foot on the ground and the other awkwardly hanging in the air. However having the bike at 3 feels tough on my knees. I try to slow down and decrease the resistance if I know I won’t make the light so as to spend as little time as possible in the awkward hanging position.

  • rwy

    I’m 6’2″ and use 8.5. The nice thing is that same number works on other systems run by Motivate.

  • I’m 6 ft tall (well, a little under) and I find that 7 works best for me.

  • Anne A

    I love it when that happens.

  • Anne A

    It’s nice to go to another Motivate system and be able to use the same number. No guessing involved.

  • Okay but Julie Hochstader and Anne A probably only need one bike, not eight. The bikes come to the stations with a random sampling of seat heights, maybe even a representative sample. Unity in diversity!

  • VH

    I am 5’8 and find it works best when I put the seat at 6. I often see visitors to NY try to start riding with the seat all the way down & offer to help them adjust when possible.

  • Staack

    I am 5’9″ and I set my seat post to 6.5

  • Wade Lambert

    I am 5’7″ and i set my seat post at 3.5

  • Brooklynite

    5’9″. Seatpost 9 (8 in snow)

  • EP

    I am 5’5″ and I set my seat post to 3.5 (3 in snow or rain)

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