There are so many different formulas, services and custom fit guidelines around how to correctly fit your track bike.
So much so, we feel it’s all getting way too complicated than it needs to be.
If you’re new to the sport of track cycling, perhaps you come from a road background, or are new to cycling in general, then we recommend you follow a basic set up guide before getting too fancy with modifications.
So where to once you’ve purchased your track bike?
Once you’ve purchased your track bike, working out your correct saddle position, which includes its height (vertical plane) and setback (horizontal plane) is the first place you will start.
Once this is set, it should then be untouched, as you will work on the rest of the set up once the saddle position is set.
When you’re setting up your saddle, it’s very important to note your flexibility and range of motion at the time of set up. You may need to make small adjustments over time as you improve your flexibility or ROM.
During set up you should also wear the type of shoes, cleats and knicks you plan on riding in (as they will add to your overall saddle height).
Your saddle height runs from the end of your crank through to the middle of top of the seat (where your pelvis rests).
When you’re setting up your saddle height, it’s important to:
To set up your saddle, follow these steps:
Note: To check the bend in the knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke, we’d recommend you use a goniometer and record the angles and positions as you go along noting that these will vary from mm to mm over time once cushioning of the seat softens, flexibility changes, you wear a different pair of riding knicks etc.
This horizontal position is an important one and will vary based on the type of bars you’re using.
Generally, this position is something that you’ll measure in relation to the position of the centre bracket.
It's useful to note that if you’re competing on the International Stage, the UCI will also make reference to your saddle position and it’s relation to the centre bracket to ensure it falls within competition regulations.
For more on the technical rulings visit the UCI's Rules & Regulations Page.
To set up your horizontal saddle position:
Generally, the knee over pedal spindle alignment is usually completed with a plumb-bob or laser (for better accuracy).
See the diagram below, but what we’re looking for is to ensure that the knee cap of the front leg when placed at 3 o’clock is just of over the centre of the pedal.
Once this is established - and this may be all you need to do when setting up your fore-aft position on your bike, you’ll need to ensure you are balanced, that is, have good front to back bike balance and even weight distribution.
Achieving the right fore-aft balance ensures that you don’t have too much weight forward or backwards and can fit within the UCI saddle position regulations.
Once you’ve set up your saddle you can move onto working out your reach.
When looking at your frame’s reach, you’ll need to get yourself into a comfortable riding position, that is, the position that you’ll use the most, the position of most importance to you when riding (i.e. in the drops of the bars or in the pursuit position).
The position of your handlebars relies on a combination of your handlebar’s height, depth and width so it’s important you have an understanding of what you’re working with and towards when you are setting up your position.
If you’re looking for a basic bike set up with drop bars (sprint bars), then set yourself up using the basic method outlined below:
The above three steps provides a basic outline of how to set up your reach, and this will work for you if you’re a beginner cyclist.
Another way to look at your reach is through establishing both the ‘frame stack’ lengths and ‘frame reach’ lengths of the bike you’re planning on riding.
This is particularly useful when you are moving from one bike to the next, particularly with changes in geometry between different makes and models.
The diagram below outlines both frame stack and frame reach and if you’re using stack and reach as a way of standardising your set up (recommended).
ALWAYS use the centre bracket as a reference point in conjunction with your set saddle position.
The frame reach = the position of the middle of the centre bracket through to the centre of the top of the head tube.
The frame stack = is defined as the vertical distance between the bottom bracket and the centre of the top of the head tube.
Once you have an understanding of what your frame reach and frame stack are, record them and use them as a standard reference point to work from in establishing the types of bars and seats you plan on utilising in.
Setting up your cleats is paramount to bike fit success and this is one area you don’t want to go wrong.
If you miss the mark, you run the risk of not only poor performance on the bike, but developing tight muscles and injuries, particularly of the knee and back.
In setting up your cleats for the first time, we’d recommend you follow these steps:
Do you have any questions regarding your track bike set up?
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