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Does your neck hurt every time you ride, does your butt hurt? Do you have cramps in your calves? Your body may not be to blame. The problem can be triggered by your bike or the position in which you sit on your bike. We will show you which criteria are important when adjusting the wheel.

How do I set up my racing bike correctly? The frame height

Before we dive into the fine adjustment of the seating position, it must be ensured that the frame of your racer offers the right height for your body size. Even if you can change the seat height enormously via the seat post, a suitable frame size is important not least because the top tube increases in length as the frame height increases. The distance from the saddle to the handlebars also increases as the frame height increases, so you have to keep stretching your upper body. When one speaks of frame heights, one actually means frame sizes, even if the frame sizes are named by the height or the length of the seat tube.

This is almost a little unfair compared to the top tube, because theoretically the seat tube of your frame could be as short as it wants, as long as it holds a seat post that is long enough to accommodate your stride. When it comes to the top tube, it looks different, which becomes obvious at the latest when the wheels can no longer find space to stand parallel to each other.

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Adjusting a racing bike: which size is right for me?

The table “Guide values” tells you whether you are sitting on a frame that fits your body size. But be careful: even if these contents of the table certainly apply to many people, there are always extreme body proportions that fall out of the ordinary. In such cases, in the "worst" case, only a frame that is made to measure will help.

A very simple reference point is the legroom that a standard frame should offer: Standing with your bare feet on the ground, the top tube of the bike should be at least two to three centimeters away from your crotch between your legs. If your feet can barely reach the ground because you are sitting on your upper ear, the frame is definitely too big for you.

The leg length is the decisive factor for setting the correct seat height.


Which frame size suits me?

The frame height is measured in centimeters over the distance from the middle of the bottom bracket shell to the end of the seat tube (the vertical tube in which the seat post is inserted).

In the event that you have a frame with a steeply sloping top tube (sloping frame), then you have to virtually bring the sloping top tube horizontally starting from the connection to the head tube and use the virtual intersection with the seat tube as the measuring point.

A matter of setting: seat height and saddle

The seat height is the first size that you need to fix. To do this, place the saddle in a horizontal position and align it lengthways in a line with the upper ear.

Sit on the saddle and let both legs hang freely with your bare feet. The saddle has a suitable height if you can still touch the pedal, which is horizontal at the bottom dead center of the crank, with your heel bone.

Road bike: how do you determine your seat height?

A more scientific method is offered by the equation “Stride length x 0.885 = saddle height”.

Whichever method you choose, the height of sitting doesn't just depend on your leg length. Pedal coordination, stretch condition or personal preferences can mean that you have to fine-tune the saddle beyond our procedures. Ultimately, you determine the individually perfect saddle height.

This is how the correct saddle adjustment on the racing bike succeeds.


What do I have to pay attention to when adjusting the saddle?

After you have brought the saddle to the correct height, you must also adjust the saddle horizontally. Sit on the saddle and place the crank arms on a horizontal scale.

Put your foot on the front pedal. If you can cut a plumb bob through the kneecap of your leg and the ball of the big toe, the saddle is right. If not, move the seat stays in the post head forwards or backwards. In this case too, the perpendicular on the kneecap should be understood as the starting point for an initial adjustment.

Racing bike: the correct distance between saddle and handlebars

The optimal sitting position does not only depend on sitting. You also have to hold the handlebars, so you need a suitable distance to the handlebars.

Grab the handlebars in your bend, one foot is on the pedal, the corresponding crank arm is parallel to the down tube. The elbow and kneecap should now be about two centimeters apart, so the elbow can swing freely. If this is not the case or if the distance is too great, you should choose a shorter or longer stem.

This article was published on December 12, 2017.