Perfect Mountain Bike Fit 101 the Need to Know for Beginners

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Perfect Mountain Bike Fit-- How to set up a bike fit you well?
Normally, we need a few rides to find out whether the bike setup is suitable for you or not. Sometimes you may feel wrong or strange after your bike is just tweaked until a few rides because your body needs some time to adapt to the new position, but if you feel uncomfortable for a long period, probably your bike doesn’t fit you well.
Mountain biking has to overcome more distinct competing conditions, hence it is harder to set up than a road bike. First of all, it is very depends on your riding style. If you are a fan of climbing and cross-country(XC), the most pedal-efficient stance is what you looking for. You will need a high seat to put your head low and keep your back at 45 degrees at least. By contrast, things will be very different if you focus more on trail riding and fast descents. The following article will introduce you the basic guideline of bike fit.
How does a good bike fit look like?
Arms: a good bike fit provides you relaxed shoulders and slightly bent elbows.
Saddle: a right saddle position is a key for balance, control and pedaling efficiency.
Knees: a perfect knees position should be slightly bent at the bottom of each pedal stroke.
Frame: Getting the correct frame size is the starting point for perfect bike setup.
Shifters and brake levers: instead of leaving them in only one position, it is better to experiment with setting them further on the bars or tilting them.
Remember, there is no one size fits all. Some people have longer legs but a shorter torso while some people might be just in contrary, but the right positions for each part of your body are standardized.

Some elements you need to pay attention to.
Saddle height

A good saddle should be pretty much horizontal. If your saddle is too low, your knees and thighs will crumble while climbing. But if it is too high, your hips will rock. To make the most efficient pedaling, adjust the saddle until your leg is straight with your heel on the pedal(the pedal should be at its lowest point), and your knee should be slightly bent.To reach the rough approximation of saddle height for efficient pedaling, you should plus 5 inch to your trouser measurement from the center top of the saddle to that of a pedal. Sitting squarely on your saddle with the cranks in a straight up or down position will turn out to be more accurate with comfort and efficiency. When your heel just touches the top of the lower pedal with your leg straight and your crank is right at the bottom of its stroke, your saddle is at the correct height.

It's noteworthy that this is all based on efficient pedaling for cross-country trail riding. Many cyclists will set their saddles lower for hard descents due to the growing popularity of big terrain riding.

Saddle position

Normally, we will suggest you set your saddle as level as possible on the top for cross-country riding. But there are some cyclists who prefer a slightly tipped back saddle with the aim of tricks, stunts or steep downhill work, and a few prefer a slightly tipped down saddle for climbing or a more forward-biased riding posture. Yet dead flat is right for most cyclists.
Saddle rails can be slid more fore or aft and not all the seat posts are created to be equal.some seat posts have set-back clamps while others might have clamps in line with the top of the post. A saddle that is too far back will lead to back-heavy feeling while riding, probably even make the front too light to achieve proper suspension fork compression. By contrast, a saddle that is too far forward may cramp your riding position and put the most weight of your body on the front of the bike.
Handlebar reach
if you try distinct stem lengths, shaped handlebars, experiment with distinct ride positions, adjust your saddle accordingly, you may find out that arm, leg and torso length usually vary in riders of the same height and body weight distribution that can have a major bearing on setup. For example, if a cyclist has a big belly, he or she will need a bike fit differs from a cyclist with well-distributed muscle.
A method to adjust your saddle to handlebar reach is putting the tip of your elbow on the nose of the saddle and see how far your longest finger reaches along the stem. The length of the forearm is generally considered as a good indicator of a full arm and torso length.

Handlebar height
Nowadays bars have been wider than before, but the correct width is always varied on different people. For example, the 760 mm Afterburner Low Riser puts your hands far outside your shoulders to reach the stability, while too wide may make you feel ungainly. Riser’s bars bend both up and back so that it should be rolled in their clamp for the perfect angle. Place your arms in a slightly bent position at the elbows with positive and light pressure on your palms. If your elbows are straight, your bars are either too far, too wide or too low. Also, heavy pressure on palms refers to the latter.
Control positions
Gear shifters and brake levers might be placed in different positions on the bar. You can adjust the lever reach on most brakes, and on some of them, you can adjust the point where the brakes compress the pads. Some cyclists put up their thumbs rubbing on their gear shifters for a long time until realized that setting the gear shifters half an inch further inboard on the bars solves the problem.
The width of a bar can also be trimmed. Cutting an inch off either end of a 27 inches handlebar probably better your riding comfort. So as swivel bars a few degrees forward or backward in the stem.