My First Bike Set Up – Take home tips.

Usually between my husband, who is good on the tools and technical side of things, and me, who knows a little about what position I need to be in to reduce the risk of injury and to be comfortable on the bike, can stumble our way through to an adequate bike set up.  However now that hubby is only home on weekends we have better things to do with our time, and modifying a bike can often lead to some…ahem…disagreements.  I am also feeling nervous about this adventurethon and being able to get my body through it injury free, so I am doing everything I can to minimise my risk factors and control the things that I can.  On the ride from Perth to Fremantle I noticed that my bike set up was not quite right with my back and neck feeling a little strained.  I’ve never had a bike set up for this bike and haven’t been quite comfortable which is why this had to go on the hitlist so that it gets done!

I like to go local where possible so I dropped in at the local bike shop to have a chat about what’s involved, whether they have staff trained to complete one, and when I could organise a time.  Kalamunda Cycles were really friendly and were happy to book me in.  Physio’s and Podiatrists often offer specialised bike set up sessions as well.  If you experience any of the following you should really review your bike set up and if necessary book in for a review.

  • Hip, back, or knee pain
  • Sore/stiff neck
  • Numbness
  • Lack of power/explosiveness

When you go for a bike set up you will be expected to bring in your bike and riding gear including your helmet, camelpak, and cleats if you wear them.


Usually you would have the bike set up on an indoor trainer but my wheels didn’t clip on the trainer available so for what I needed we just balanced against the door frame….took me a little bit to get my balance, little gumby like that! lol

Managed to get on and stay balanced....Yay!

Managed to get on and stay balanced….Yay!

Pretending to know what he is doing....adjusting shock pressure or something like that.

I’m pretending to know what he is doing….adjusting shock pressure or something like that.

Amazing what a few adjustments can do...feeling better on a lap around the parking lot!

Amazing what a few adjustments can do…feeling better on a lap around the parking lot!

My bike set up ended up being quite straightforward and only took 30 minutes however it can take anywhere up to an hour if you have specific concerns.  Tim at Kalamunda Cycles ended up charging me less and was happy for me to drop back in if I had any further tweaks after a few rides.  I definitely think it is worth your time and money if you are doing a lot of riding, but in the meantime here are my top take home tips.

  1. Wrist position – Check that your brakes and gear levers aren’t rolled too far forward (shoulders will start hitching up), or too far back.  There is a lot of repetitive loading going through the arms and wrists so don’t forget to have a look at your wrist position next time you ride.
  2. Handlebars –  Make sure they are not too low, this can cause the back to start rounding (hello back pain) and increase the  load going through your arms.
  3. Saddle position – Check height of saddle, distance between saddle and handlebars, and whether saddle is level….saddle position is crucial to avoid pain and injury in back, knee, and hips.

Here are some websites that have some great information on setting up your bike.

Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre – Cycling Set Up

PhysioBench – 5 Tips to set up your bike to avoid injury

Bicycle Transport Alliance WA – A Basic Guide to bike set up

Sometimes it is nothing that can’t be fixed by getting some bike fitness back.  Sore bum anyone?? Get out there and enjoy the ride!!


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