How to Tune Your Bike to Fit You Better

How to Tune Your Bike to Fit You Better

Adjust or replace key parts of your bike to fit your body proportions to ensure a more comfortable ride. Adjusting the handlebars and seat position can make your bike more comfortable.

Properly set your seat height

It is important to adjust the seat height so that your legs feel comfortable. When your foot is at the bottom of your pedal stroke, you should have a slight bend in your knee (about 80-90 percent of full leg extension), while still being able to climb on the bike comfortably (e.g., without standing on tiptoes). When adjusting the seat height, make small adjustments to the height—as little as 1/4" of height can have a noticeable effect. Loosen the seatpost clamp, move the seatpost to the appropriate height and then retighten the clamp. The clamp will either use a quick release lever that can be opened and closed to tighten, or a hex bolt, which requires a tool to adjust. Make sure to adjust the seat while wearing the apparel and shoes you plan to ride in, as their thickness can affect your correct seat height.

Consider swapping out your saddle

After several rides, if you feel pressure on your perineum (seat contact area), it's time to get a saddle tailored to your body mechanics and riding style. Read How to Choose a Bike Saddle for more information. Bring your bike to a store so that you can consult with an expert and test out different saddles in person. It's not always better to add more cushion to the seat. Find one that fits your anatomy instead.

Consider swapping out parts to change your riding position

You may experience discomfort in your hands or wrists if your hand position is too low on the bike. Your hands may be supporting too much of your weight, causing pain or numbness on longer rides. Sometimes, changing out the stem (the part of the bike that joins the handlebar to the bike) or the handlebar itself can alter your body position, increasing uprightness and reducing the weight on your hands. Consider taking your bicycle to a shop if you need help with this fix.


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