Adjusting your bike for the Perfect Fit

 

You just got your new bike, your favorite shop lovingly assembled it for you, and now it’s time for your first ride! No matter what, you’ll enjoy yourself, but a few tweaks to the fit can make sure every ride’s a wonderful one! In today’s post, we’ll look at the simple adjustments you can make to get everything dialed in on a fresh bike.

Saddle Height

First thing’s first, you want your saddle at the right height. The goal is to have good leg extension at the bottom of your pedal stroke. A little bend in the knee is ideal so you don’t hyperextend, so most people will aim for 30-40 degrees of knee bend with their pedals at the furthest point. Riding with your knees more bent is less efficient, doesn’t utilize all of your legs’ muscles and, most importantly, makes your knees hurt and tires you out more quickly.

Adjusting the saddle height is easy, just loosen the 5mm allen-bolt on the seat post clamp and slide the saddle up or down as needed. You’ll likely need to fine-tune this over some test rides, so ball park it first and then just bring your allen key on the road so you can tweak up and down until you’re all dialed in!

Saddle Angle and Position

Next up is the saddle’s angle and fore/aft position. For the most part, you want a level saddle to relieve stress on sensitive body parts and keep you comfortable, but sometimes a slight nose-up or down feels better. The fore/aft position will be determined based on what’s comfortable for you, though a good goal is to have your knee directly over the pedal when it’s at 3 o’clock.

To adjust the saddle angle or fore/aft position, simply loosen the 6mm allen-bolt underneath the saddle, adjust the angle, slide the saddle forward or backwards on the rails as necessary, and retighten! Again, you may want to fine-tune after a few miles, so bring your allen wrench on your test rides so you can tweak on the fly.

Bar Height

Now that your butt’s happy – let’s look at your hands! The first thing to fit is the bar-height. You want your handlebars in the right place for the type of riding you do. If it’s around-town cruising, you want a comfortable, upright position. If you’re racing, you probably have them “slammed” to stay aero.

Adjusting bar height is a breeze. Just loosen the 6mm allen-bolt on top of the stem (it may be covered by a small dust cap you need to pop off first), raise or lower the bars as needed, and then retighten! Just be sure to keep the front wheel straight with your legs as you tighten the stem-bolt so everything stays lined up.

Bar Angle

And the last easy fit adjustment we’ll make is the handlebar angle. Now that everything’s dialed in for the rest of your body, you just want to make sure your wrists and hands will be happy mile after mile. All you have to do is loosen the 6mm-bolt under the stem face-plate and tilt away! Tighten it back up once you’re satisfied and now you’re ready to ride!

Adjustments take some time to get used to, so be sure to put some miles down as you get closer to perfect. Once you’re dialed in, a well placed mark with a sharpie or some nail polish makes it easy to get everything set-back up after disassembling your bike for a cleaning or packing it up for a vacation!

And now that your bike fits, get rolling! We'll see you out there.