Fitting right in

Getting a bike that is the right size for you is not easy, these tips tell you what to look out for

Having a bike that fits you is crucial. A badly fitting bike can cause no end of problems from bad handling to more serious back and knee problems. Once you have decided on the kind of bike you want ask questions. All bike shops will be able to assist you in getting a bike fit. Don’t be tempted by some fancy looking beast because it looks gnarly or you like the colour! Take the advise of the shop assistants for what kind of bike will best suit your need.

It is always tempting when getting a new bike to give it some bling, something a bit different from everyone else. Be sensible here that stubby stem looks cool along with those super wide riser bars but it will make the bike handle poorly and sap your confidence. Bike manufactures have spent a huge amount of money on product research. They know what the best geometry is and what are the correct components for the frame. In the beginning don’t customize your bike too much. Similarly don’t go to the expense of putting all the top end gear on your bike, it will only get trashed very quickly


Seat height

Once the frame is fitting, you need to adjust the seat height for optimum riding. To do this takes a little balancing, ask a friend to support you or lean against a wall. Stand on your peddles with them positioned horizontally, raise the saddle until it reaches your crutch then lower by 1 to 3cm. You should be able to touch the floor with the tip of your toe. Riding like this can be a little nerve wrecking but in time will feel natural. If you are still unsure lower the saddle a little more but not too low as this will cause knee injury.

Saddle position

Set your saddle perfectly horizontal. Make slight adjustments to the position of the saddle so that your bottom sits comfortably on the widest part of the saddle, don’t have the saddle too far back other wise it could hinder you when your trying to get behind your rear wheel on steep descents.

Some people like to tilt their saddles back downhill racer stylee but this is not recommended as it soon becomes uncomfortable and can cause blood loss to the penis and even infertility in men.



The handle bar should be about 10-15% wider than your shoulders. Ask the shop to cut them to size it for you. When you' become more advanced you can change the handle bar to something shorter or wider depending of you're preference.

Handlebar height/stem length

Having your bars at the correct distance and height from the headset is very important. Too long and you will feel stretched, too short and you cannot open your chest up properly making it hard to breath, too high and the bike will suck when climbing and too low will give you one hell of a hairy descent.

Your handle bar should be slightly higher than your saddle by about one to three centimeters with a five deg stem about 90 -100mm in length.


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