You now have your optimum Fit That Bike measurements, tailored specifically for your biomechanical lengths, and have chosen the appropriate style of fit for your riding needs. Now you just need to set your bike up accordingly. Watch our videos and read our instructions to get the most out of your Fit That Bike bike fit.
If you are using clipless pedals, often referred to as cleats, make sure you have watched our video or read our instructions on how to set up cleats first.
How to Set Up Your Cleats
Make sure you are wearing the socks you commonly use when riding. Put your cycling shoes on and tighten as normal. Prod the inside side of your foot through your shoe to find the centre of the ball of your foot, and mark this position on the shoe. Its a good idea to put some masking tape on your shoes if you don’t want them to be permanently marked! Line up the center of the cleat with the mark on the shoe. Some cleats have a small indent to help with fitting. If they do, line this indent up with the mark on the shoe.
Next, you need to set the fore and aft, otherwise known as the angle, of the cleats. To do this, walk forwards 5-10 paces in a straight line, and stop with your feet in their natural position. Look down at your feet at the angle and direction they are pointing. If the toes are pointing outwards, you want to angle the top of the cleats inwards on the shoe. If your toes point inwards, you want to angle the top of the cleats outwards on the shoe. You need to do this to the extent that when the clips on the shoes are attached to the pedals, the shoes are at the same angle as your feet are in their natural position. Getting this angle wrong can cause knee pain, so ensure you spend time trying to get this correct.
As with everything involved in bike set up, don’t be afraid to spend time riding and adjusting your cleat position until they feel comfortable
How to Set Up Your Bike
Make sure that when setting up the bike, you set the saddle height and set-back first, and adjust the reach and drop after. Any changes you make to the saddle you will need to replicate at the bars.
Setting Saddle Height
To measure the saddle height, rotate the cranks to the 6 o’clock position, or to the bottom of the pedal stroke. Then rotate the pedal itself so the pedal is level with the ground, with the side you clip in to facing upwards. Using a tape measure, measure in a straight line from the top of the pedal up to the top of the saddle at the point directly above the seat tube. To adjust the saddle height, loosen the seat post clamp and raise or lower the saddle as required. Make sure you stay within the limits set out on the seatpost!
Note for Mountain bikes, Gravel & Cross Bikes: The saddle height calculated should be measured and set up when a dropper post is in its fully extended position. The saddle height has been calculated to provide the optimum pedaling efficiency, however if you frequently ride over bumpy, rough and rocky terrain, you may find it beneficial to lower the saddle height by 0.5-1cm.
Setting Saddle Set-Back
Once the saddle height is set, you need to set the setback. To do this, sit on the bike and get comfortable in your normal sitting position on the saddle. With both feet on the pedals, and clipped in if using cleats, rotate the cranks to the 3 o’clock position so they are level with each other. Then hang a plum line from the front of the knee – you want the bottom of the plum line to pass through the pedal axle. If the plum line is in front of the pedal axle, move the saddle backwards on its rails. If the plum line is behind the pedal axle, move the saddle forwards on its rail. Make sure you stay within the limits noted on the rails.
If you don’t have a plum line, you can make one by tying a tool or other small object to a piece of string. As long as there is enough tension in the string that it stays straight, this will work as a plum line.
Position the bike so that the back wheel is sitting perpendicular against the wall. Holding the front wheel straight, measure from the wall to the base of the shifters. Take note of this length, then measure from the wall to the top of the saddle at the point directly above the seat tube. The reach on the bike is the length from the wall to the shifters minus the length of the wall to the saddle.
Sometimes you can adjust the reach sufficiently by changing the position of the shifters on the handlebars or the angle of the handlebars. Rotating the bars down normally increases the reach, whilst rotating them up shortens the reach. However, any changes here should be small and always ensure you can reach the levers sufficiently to control the brakes.
If the reach is still too short, you will either need to buy a longer stem, or buy new handlebars with a longer reach. Likewise if the reach is still too long, you will need to buy shorter stem or bars
The final change to the bike’s position you need to make is the drop. Keeping the bike perpendicular against the wall, and taking care to ensure the bike remains vertically upright throughout, measure the height from the floor to the base of the shifters. Take note of this measurement, then measure from the floor to the top of the saddle at the point directly above the seat tube.
If the saddle is higher than the handlebars, then the drop on the bike is the height of the saddle minus the height to the handlebars.
If the saddle and handlebars are exactly equal, then there is no drop.
If the saddle is lower than the handlebars, then the rise to the bars is the height of the handlebars minus the height of the saddle.
Use the spacers on the head tube to move the handlebars up and down. If there is not enough movement here, then you can often flip the stem to raise or lower the bars.
Final Tips and Tricks
Keeping wrists straight – sit on the bike and place your hands on the shifters. You want to have your wrist as straight as possible to reduce pressure through your hands and shoulders, which may cause hand, back and neck ache.
The exception to this is MTB, where you may wish to have the brake levers running slightly higher to improve confidence when descending and leaning over the back of the bike.
Adjusting the reach of the levers – some riders, particularly those with smaller hands, may find it useful to adjust the reach of the levers. Not all levers have this feature, and they are adjusted in different ways, but if you find you are struggling to reach the brakes, particularly when on the drops, you may find it beneficial to pull the levers slightly in. Research your exact make and model to find out if and how this is possible on your bike.