How To Set Up A Drop Bar Bike

How To Set Up A Drop Bar Bike

By Alex Guerrero

We love all the research and anticipation that comes with choosing a new bike. It’s a personal thing. Tom, our Sonder Sales Team Leader, and his team love to hear what you’re doing and will help you with sizing, components, tyres, everything to make your ride just right.

Getting the right ride doesn’t stop with what you buy. Here are some tips for getting your bike set up once it arrives.

4 steps to setting up a drop bar bike

    1. Set your saddle height.The easiest way to get a rough starting point for the right saddle height is the heel-to-pedal method. Sit on your bike, put your heels on the pedals and pedal backwards. At the six o’clock position your leg should be roughly straight. If it’s bent, put the saddle up a bit. If your foot comes off the pedal, pop it down. Use this a starting point and see how it feels. Often people ride with the saddle too high; if you notice your hips rocking as you pedal try nudging your saddle down in 5mm increments.
    2. Set your fore/aft seat position.With your pedals at the 3 o’clock position and your feet properly on the pedals, drop a plumb line from the front of your knee cap. This should be directly above the pedal spindle. You can slide the saddle forwards or backwards to get to the right position. Cleat position plays a role here too. So experiment to see what’s most comfortable.
    3. Check your reach.With your hands in a comfortable position on the hoods of the brake levers, look down at the hub of the front wheel. If your bars block the line of sight, your reach is good. If the hub is more than 3cm in front of behind the bars it’s worth trying a different length stem.
    4. Set you bar height.There’s a lot of personal preference here. Think about the angle of your back when your hands are the bars. 45 degrees is comfortable and lets your back act as its natural spring. A flat back is more aerodynamic and requires you to be more flexible and puts more weight on your hands, which can cause vibration white finger. If you’re too upright your body weight is directly above the saddle, watch out for lower back pain.

Tom's top tip: Don’t be too proud. Setting your bike up to look fast rather than feel comfortable could slow you down in the long run.

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