There’s a lot of factors that go into a great bike setup, they often go overlooked with the exemption of the major ones, such as suspension. A lot of the time they aren’t even seen as ways to help improve you’re ride.
If you’re anything like me, you are always playing with your lever position. The bolts are always tight, but they never ever seem to be in the same place. But since you’ve owned the bike have you ever checked or played with, your bar roll? The answer is probably no, isn’t it?
My starting point is to line up the roll of the bars with my forks. So, looking from the side of your bike it should be roughly in line just like this one.
This is a great starting point, but remember to adjust your bars from here!
Crank length is another easy way to improve your ride, and for the most part, people just assume the length their bike came with will be right. But having cranks that are too long can make descending much harder. This is because the longer arms are harder to turn quickly for those snappy pedal strokes in between jumps or out of corners. On the other hand, running cranks too short will make pedalling back up for another run much harder than it needs to be! So really, we’re aiming for that goldilocks length!
A good place to start is 170mm, and if you ride a medium or large frame then that will be pretty close to perfect for you. 172.5 or 175 will probably suit most XL or above riders, and if you are on a small, XS or smaller then dropping to a 165 or shorter will be better for you!
The crank length is printed on the inside of the arm around the pedal.
If you want a more scientific may of figuring out what length you should ride, GCN have a great video on the topic!
Don’t forget to pay close attention to the parts you are buying, as more often then not
the smallest details will make the biggest difference to our comfort. For example: if you are a person who gets sore hands on a longer ride then consider using aluminium bars and staying with the smaller 31.8mm bars. This will help keep the vibrations in the suspension, not your hands.
Hope that helps you ride better and be more comfortable on your bike!
Written by Jackson Frew – Pushys Athlete @jackson_frew