How to Set Up a Road Bicycle

How to Set Up a Road Bicycle
If you assumed that aches and pains were associated with the effort, you are probably not fitted correctly to your road bicycle. According to an article by VeloNews, road bikes should be fit according to biomechanics instead of the typical "Knee over pedal" (KOPS) method. Determining your bike fit normally involves several trainer sessions of sitting in front of a video camera and then viewing the video and analyzing pedal stroke at various positions. There are a lot of ins and outs of this method, but basically you are looking for a smooth, round pedal stroke and straight up and down leg motions. After analyzing bike fit, you might realize that your position is leading to pain, and not only that but you are losing valuable watts and tons of energy because of it. If you are not fitted right, you bounce or rock too much in the hips, which kills momentum and lowers your all-day fitness. Fitting a road bike is fairly simple and can be done by any novice bicycle mechanic.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Allen wrenches
  • Allen wrenches
Step 1
Use the Allen wrenches to adjust the seat, stem and handlebar positions in painstaking millimeter increments until everything feels "just right." You should lean a bit forward in the hips, and your hands should rest comfortably on the tops of the brake hoods with a slight bend in your elbows.
Step 2
Work on your pedal stroke. Adjust your cleat position, and began to focus on pedaling to bring your knees straight up and down, keeping them from twisting in the middle of the stroke, and keep your toes pointed straight forward all the time.
Step 3
Take a test ride of at least one hour or 20 miles, and focus on reading your body's reactions to your new position. If you feel any twinge of pain whatsoever, stop and try to isolate it. If your knee hurts on the front toward the patella, your seat might be too low. If the back of your knee hurts, your seat might be too high. If your back hurts, try moving your seat forward. And if you feel "cramped," move your seat back a bit.

Tips & Warnings

You should feel as comfortable riding your bike as you do walking. If something hurts or doesn't feel quite right, it probably isn't, but there are tons of little things that can be done to make your ride much more comfortable.

Article Written By Nathaniel Miller

Nathaniel Miller is a technical writer for an environmental division of Microbac Laboratories, Inc. He has a Master of Science from Ohio University. With over eight years of technical writing experience, Miller has a diverse skill-set and enjoys a wide-ranging client base. He is widely published on numerous writing websites and runs a small writing business out of his home in Marietta, Ohio.

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