Bike set up is really important for a smooth ride and to avoid injuries. It doesn't need to be complicated. Here's our guide to the things to think about.
1. Bikes come in different sizes
If the frame isn't the right size then it is going to be quite difficult to get all the other elements right. The sizing also depends on the type of bike, there are loads of resources online to help you select the right size. Ultimately you want to feel comfortable so we recommend sitting on the bike and going for a test ride before you buy it. It's important to not be too hunched over but equally not over stretching.
2. Handlebar Height
This all depends on the riding position you prefer. A lower handlebar gives a more aerodynamic body position and shifts more of your weight forward onto the wrists. Higher handlebars create a more upright sitting position which alters the way the leg muscles engage. If you struggle with lower back pain having the handlebar slightly higher may help. A good place to start is to have the handlebars level with the saddle and then adjust to what feels right for you.
3. If you do one thing get your saddle height right
We see so many people on bikes with the saddle too low. Unless you're riding a bmx this is generally a bad thing. Start by positioning your saddle around hip height and then jump on the bike to check you can touch the ground on tip toe. Adjust as required from there. There should be a slight bend in your knee when your foot is at 6 o'clock.
Our final tip, pump up your tyres before adjusting the saddle and handlebars. It will make a difference to the geometry of the set up and mean you can go for a spin as soon as everything has been tightened up.