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Becoming a Mountain Biker



7. Initial adjustments

Make sure that the bike will be completely built, when you get it. It is also wise to ask at the shop, if they can help you with initial adjustments. If not, then try to do that with a friend.

The saddle height
First you need to adjust the saddle height, which can be done quite well just by listening to your body, when sitting on the bike. Otherwise, the correct saddle height is achieved, when your leg is almost totally stretched, if you put your hill of the foot on the pedal at its lowest position. The correct height can be checked also while riding. If your bottom is swinging from side to side when pedaling, then your saddle is too high.


Fore/aft position
The fore and aft position of the saddle (its horizontal position) is also important and it depends on several factors: your posture on the bike, seat angle of the frame, your thigh length and the frame length. You can use the plumb line procedure to get the initial position of the saddle (see the picture): the straight line should pass from your knee through the axle of the pedal, when the crank arm is horizontal. But this applies more to road bikes. So you should listen to your body, since the fore and aft position is very much related to the length of the bike as a whole.


The tilt of a saddle
The inclination or the tilt of the saddle can also be adjusted. For starters, set it totally horizontal. Later on, you can adjust it according to your needs. If the saddle's shape is totally flat, then it can be more comfortable to tilt it slightly forward, in order to support your spine more. But it is all personal, so you should listen to your body!


Stems come in various lengths and rises. As mentioned earlier, you can accommodate the length of the bike by changing the length of a stem. You can also change the height of your bike's front end (i.e. the height difference between the saddle in the handlebar) by changing the rise of a stem, which is therefore one of the key factors that determines your posture on a bike. And the posture reflects or should reflect your riding style. So you should have the right stem for your riding style. For general cross country riding the handlebar should be a few centimeters below the saddle, and up to 10 cm. You can have it leveled with the saddle, if you are more into freeriding, and even above if you are a downhiller.


If you experience knee pain during riding, your saddle can also be to blame. It might be set too low or too much to the back. If you've got back pain, try to tilt the saddle forwards or backwards or your bike might be too long - move the saddle forwards. Don't be afraid to experiment!




The correct saddle height


1. Intro

2. What kind of bike?

3. For how much?

4. Where to buy?

5. How to buy?

6. The right size

7. Initial adjustments

8. The weight

9. Hardtail or a fully?

10. Obligatory accessories






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17. junij 2004 

Copyright Marjan Tkavc