How to Set Up Your Indoor Cycling Bike

by | Apr 19, 2023 | Cycling | 0 comments

How to Set Up Your Indoor Cycling Bike

First time taking an indoor cycling class? Or maybe it’s not, but the last time you hopped on the bike the set up left you knees hitting the handlebars or your back in pain. We’re going to teach you how to set up your bike so the next time you’re in the studio you can set-up like a pro.

Too High or Too Low?

If you’ve ever taken a cycling class and felt pain in your back later on in the day or the day after the workout, chances are you’ve set the bike seat to the wrong height. Having your bike seat set to the proper height is important. 

Too high and your body will rock side to side struggling to push the pedal all the way down, causing pain for you back and knees.

Too low and when you cycle your kneecap and tendons get compressed as your ride, leading to pain around your kneecap.

So how do you find the perfect height?

Stand next to the seat of your bike and take note of where your hip bone is. Raise or lower the seat so that the saddle is in line with your hip bone. 

To double check to make sure your saddle is at the correct height hop on the seat and clip in. When you pedal there should be a slight bend in the knee. If you have to extend your leg all the way so it’s straight to pedal your seat is too high. If you’re bending your knee quite a bit while pedaling your seat is too low.


To Go Forward or Backward? That is the Question.

Now let’s also talk about seat placement. Once you know how high your seat is go ahead take your elbow and line it up to the tip of the seat. Extend your arm outward so it is reaching out toward the handlebars. Your fingertips should be just touching the end of the stem of the handlebar. When you pedal your feet should be below the knee.

If your seat is too close to your handlebars your knees are going bang right up against  them and you’ll be putting a lot of your weight on your upper body forcing your body on your handlebars. This results in pain and pressure on your hands and wrists while you ride. It will also put a lot more pressure on your knees and you’ll definitely feel the pain the next day.

If your seat is too far you’ll have a hard time reaching the handlebars and you’ll be losing a lot of power. With a seat too far back your toes are more prone to pointing downward. With your feet pointed downward you lose ankle stability and you may feel pain in them afterward.


You Can’t Ride this Bike with No Handlebars.

Ideally you’d want the height of your handlebars to be just low enough that when you’re reaching for your handlebars your torso is at a 45 degree angle. You don’t want it so low that you’re hunching over, this is bound to give you lower back pain. 

On the other hand you don’t want your handlebars so high that you’re reaching up for them. Having them that high is going to cause you some discomfort in your shoulders.

What you’re looking for is to have your shoulders relaxed, but squared off.  A good rule of thumb is to keep your handlebars the same height or slightly taller than where you have your seat positioned. 


3 Things to Remember

To simplify it all, how you set your bike up is important for good form and to prevent injuries. How do you know you’ve set your bike up properly?

  1. Slight bend in the knee when you pedal.
  2. Seat a forearm and hand length away from your handlebars.
  3. Handlebars are the same height as your seat.

If you can remember those 3 things you and your bike are set up for a successful ride.