9 top tips for setting up your new road bike

From Road.cc

Adjusting the handlebar height, correct tyre pressure, saddle height and more in this helpful guide


1. Get the saddle height correct

Having the correct saddle height can make a huge difference to your pedalling efficiency. It’s pretty easy to get a good saddle height with a little time and patience, and the best place to start is to follow our how to guide to learn how to easily adjust your saddle height. If you’re unsure how to do it yourself, there are many professional bike fitting services that will ensure you have the best possible position, which will allow you to cycle in more comfort.


2. Adjusting the handlebar height

Most new bikes will come with a healthy stack of steerer tube spacers above or below the stem. While you might be happy with the position of the handlebars as the bike arrives, if you find the handlebar position too high or low, you can easily adjust the height. With an Allen tool simply remove the stem top cap, loosen the stem bolts, and move the spacers around to alter the position of the stem. To refit the stem, first preload the headset bearings by tightening the stem top cap until all play has been eliminated, then tighten the stem steerer bolts.


3. The right stem length

As with adjusting handlebar height, you can also adjust the bike fit with a different length stem. You might be just fine with the stem length that came on your new bike. However, if it’s too short, you’ll be bunched up and cramped, and if it’s too long, you’ll be over stretched. Both can result in discomfort and impact your riding enjoyment by limiting the control you have over the bike. Some manufacturers specify different length stems in relation to the frame size, to try and offer the best fit. Sometimes you might need to customise the stem length yourself though. Good bike shops will be very helpful in helping you get the right stem length on your new bike, or buying a new stem doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.


4. A straight stem is a happy cyclist

There are few things more annoying that noticing your stem isn’t quite straight someway into a ride. Getting the stem straight in relation to the front wheel can take some squinting and patience, and some people can be really fussy about ensuring the stem is absolutely straight. A very expensive way of ensuring your stem is straight is this nifty tool from German company Tune, which uses a laser to straighten the stem against the front wheel.