Here are a few things you can do to fine tune the set up of your bike, to get it just right for you. They can all be done quite easily with a set of allen keys, just remember to check all bolts are tight after you’ve made the adjustments, and if you’re unsure, then you’re welcome to call by the shop for us to help you.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel right the first time, you can experiment with the set up slowly over your first few rides as you get used to the bike. Once you've got your bike set up and riding perfectly for you, you'll want to keep it that way, so we've also given you some tips on looking after it, that are quick and easy to do after each ride.
To start with, raise or lower the saddle so that when the pedal is in the lowest position your leg is just short of straight (with the ball of your foot on the pedal). If this feels too high to begin with then don’t worry, start with it a bit lower, but look to gradually raise it to this height as you get used to the bike.
You can also slide the saddle backwards and forwards on it’s rails, try a few positions to see what is most comfortable. Finally, you can tilt the nose of the saddle up or down. Start with it level, this is comfortable for most people, but adjust it if you feel more comfortable with it slightly tilted.
If your bike has suspension forks and/or rear shock, then setting this up correctly for your weight and riding style is very important for getting the most from your bike. This will vary by bike, so if you're not sure how to, the best thing to do is drop by the shop for more help with this. For Trek full-suspension bikes, use this very handy Trek Suspension Set-up resource from their website.
On flat bar bikes (mountain bikes and hybrids), moving the brake and gear levers inwards from their initial position against the grips is often more comfortable, particularly for riders with bigger hands. You can also experiment with the rotation of the levers too, usually a 45º angle is about right.
If your upper body is feeling too stretched or cramped on the bike, then this can be dealt with by raising or lowering the handlebar, or fitting a different stem to adjust the reach. For these adjustments we would recommend calling by the shop for our help with the best changes to make.
It’s tempting to just throw it back in the shed and hope that it’ll still work next ride. Spend a bit of time looking after it though and it’ll work better, so be more fun to ride, it’ll be less likely to break in the middle of the ride and leave you with a long walk home, and the parts will last longer, keeping the cost of repairs down.
You don’t need to spend hours after each riding polishing it to a shine, here are the most important things to do…
Don’t blast it with a power hose, as this can damage the bearings. Give it a good spray with bike cleaner, and then get stuck in with a bucket of hot water and a good set of brushes, concentrating on the moving parts, particularly the drivetrain (chain, cogs, chainrings). Leave it to dry, and then give the moving parts (except the brakes!) a spray with a dry lubricant like GT85, and apply some bike-specific oil to the chain.
Keeping your tyres at the right pressure is the most important thing to affect the feel and performance of the bike, and will reduce punctures. They will need inflating ideally every week, so a good floor pump with a gauge will make this job easier and more accurate. If you have air-sprung suspension forks or shock, then you’ll need to top-up the air pressure in these too occasionally, with a shock pump (these run to higher pressures than a tyre pump).
The correct pressure varies according to the tyre, and is written on the sidewall of the tyre. As a general guide though…
mountain bikes – 35-40 psi
hybrid bikes – 60-70 psi
road bikes – 100-110 psi
Keep It Safe
Regularly check all the bolts and quick releases to make sure none of them have come loose, and check the wear on the brake pads. If at any point before, during or after a ride you think your bike might not be safe, and are unsure how to fix it yourself, then bring it straight to us and we’ll check it over for you.