How to Set Up a Spin Bike | Images and Instructions

Indoor cycling I highly recommend it to anyone. Cycling at home has incredible benefits not just physically but mentally too. Many people take up indoor cycling but seem to find it uncomfortable after experiencing severe spin bike saddle sore and stop doing it. A lot of the time it comes down to not being set up correctly on the exercise bike.

This is typically known as a Bike Fit. Having an excellent indoor bike fit makes your riding much more comfortable, avoids spin bike saddle sore, and gets you in the correct position. Having a lousy spin bike setup makes riding really uncomfortable and will leave you not wanting to get back on the bike again. Riding on an indoor cycling bike is meant to be tough but making it painful as well isn’t an ideal situation.

In this article, we will be speaking about how to perform your own DIY indoor bike fit. When it comes to setting up spin bike, having a proper bike fit at your local bike shop will be more beneficial, but you can do a lot at home to get you 80% of the way there. This is an essential guide of setting up spin bike that looks at only three main aspects.

  • Saddle Height Adjustment
  • Handlebar Height Adjustment
  • Seat and Handlebar Reach Fit

For basic indoor cycling and setting your bike up, these, in my opinion, are the most important three. Still, when it comes to a professional indoor bike fit, you will look any many more aspects, such as the position of brake levers on a road bike, cleat position, and even handlebar width.

Why So You Need an Indoor Bike Fit?

There are so many reasons that correctly setting up spin bike is beneficial. Here are my top reasons why you need to learn how to set up a spin bike;

Correct spin bike setup improves cycling performance and efficiency, helps prevent injuries, makes the exercise more comfort, looks better visually, and It makes you more agile and dynamic.

Having the correct exercise bike set up has not only to fit you but your riding style as well. It’s not all about the pedal stroke and moving your saddle forward a bit. Indoor bike fitting is about adjusting it for your body and sport and getting into the most comfortable position you can be in.

Before you start setting up a spin bike

Before you start thinking about setting up your spin bike correctly, it is vital that you have a few things ready. The first is to put all your indoor cycling clothing including padded short on, and if you have cycling shoes, you are going to want to have them with you as well (but don’t put the shoes on until your inseam is measured).

Aside from wearing your indoor cycling apparel, for setting up your bike, you will also need; a Tape Measure, a Pencil, a Book, and Plumb line.

Without further ado, here is how to adjust your bike to fit you. Hopefully these tips and images will help you help you setting up a spin bike for your height.

Step One: Measure Your Inseam Length

step-one setting up spin bike

The very first thing before starting to adjusting your spin bike seat and handlebar is to measure your inseam length. So the first thing you need to do is make sure you’re in your cycling gear and then stand against a wall. When standing against the wall, you are going to want to put the book between your legs and push it tightly against the groin area, with your feet flat on the floor, wearing no shoes. Then holding the book in that place, you want to come away and put a little mark on the wall at the top of the book with the pencil. Measure that and make a note of the amount of mm. The image above explains exactly how to dot all that to measure your inseam. Now that you got the length of your inseam, let’s go to the step two.

Step Two: Getting the Saddle Height Right

step two setting up spin bike

When setting up a spin bike, the first thing and most important measurement we need to think about is the saddle height. This is vital to a correct spin bike setup as it helps protect our knees, hips and also takes the pressure off the lower back. It’s the best place to start as it will affect the other measurements we do during an indoor bike riding position setup.

Now with the measurement of the inseam that you took in the step one, you will need to make a few calculations. For the sake of this article example, let’s say your inseam is 670mm. Now you are going to want to times this by 1.09.

Example: 670 x 1.09 = 730mm (Rounded to the closet mm)

So our seat height is 730mm. You will now need to adjust the saddle. So loosen it off and get the tape measure at 730mm and make sure one end is at the bottom bracket (Middle of the Crank) and the other is straight up in the center of the top of the saddle. It might not be perfect as some magnetic bikes have pre-setting adjusting holes, but getting it as close as possible will be ideal.

Once you have done this, sit on the bike and have a 5 minute spin letting it start to feel normal before the following measurements. The ideal place to be is with your foot at the bottom your knee should have around a 15 degree slight bend in it.

Step Three: Adjust Spin Bike Handlebar Height

step three setting up spin bike

Now we have our saddle at the right height. We need to think about the handlebar height. This is important to get right so you are not leaning too far forward and aggressive, or it’s not too high, making it tough to be agile. A general good rule is to make the handlebar height the same height as a correctly adjusted saddle. That’s a good place you start, but I would maybe consider what you do as an indoor cyclist to make sure you are in the best position possible.

If you are an outdoor cyclist and are training indoors to prep for a racing season, you might want a more aggressive position that will make you more aerodynamic and want the handlebars lower. If you are an outdoor cyclist and looking for comfort, then you might be suited to being level with the saddle. If you come from a spinning background and love jumping around on the bike, you might want to have the handlebars a little higher to get up easier and better control those on the bike push-ups.

Step Four: Adjust the Bike Saddle Reach (Forward and Back)

step-four setting-up spin bike

Now we have reach. Reach is a vital part of a bike fit and can be pretty challenging to get right, but it makes a massive difference to how you will feel while riding the bike. The reach is the distance between the saddle and the handlebars, and there’s much more to think about when it comes to reach than you might assume.

The first thing you need to think about is the saddle. All saddles can move forward and backward, and this is not just to aid you in being closer and further away from the handlebars but also to make sure you are in the right place above the bottom bracket.

Jump on the bike and start pedaling, imagining your pedal stroke is a clock go to 3 o clock. Your foot will be at the furthest point forward. You want to get the plumb line dropped and place the top of the dropped plumb line under the knee cap. The wire should go through the center of the bottom bracket. If it doesn’t adjust the seat back or forward until it does. After you have done this, depending on what bike you have, you might need to adjust the saddle to the measurement you took before.

Step Five: Adjust the Bike Handlebar Reach (Forward and Back)

step-five setting up spin bike

Depending on your setup, you will adjust this in different ways. If the bike lets you on an indoor bike, it will be a lever or dial on the front handlebars. You will have to typically adjust the stem length on a road bike or mountain bike. 

Sit on the bike and get comfy. You want to have your hands on the bars and be leaning forward with a slight bend in your arms. The perfect position should be a 45 degree right angle from the hips up to the shoulders and down to the arms. It can be very challenging to achieve this on your own. Having someone next to you taking photos could help or adjust for you. Setting your phone up and using the video camera is an excellent idea.

What you want to achieve is your not stretching too far forward and also not scrunched too far bar. I always say when you stand for a climb, and your legs down hit the bars, you’re too close, and when seated and feel stretched forward, it’s too far away. Providing you’re not hitting the bars and don’t feel uncomfortably stretched. You are probably pretty close to being right. This one will come down to more about how you feel.

Conclusion

After changing the saddle height, handlebar height, and reach correctly, you are 80% of the way to being fully fitted and will probably find your indoor cycling riding position to feel much better. It will take a bit of time to get used to the position, but you will know if it’s right or wrong for you after a few sessions. It does take time to get your fit right and learn how to set up an indoor bike, and if, after trying it yourself, you have no luck, see a bike fitter.

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