Explore the Snowy Mountains Trail Guide

Your complete biking trail source


Once you have your new custom built Gypsy Frame, the next step is installing all those goodies and then making the adjustments to fit that buff body of yours. If things aren't right here in the fit department, then you've wasted your money buying a custom frame! These are the main adjustments or dimensions to consider while setting up your bike:

seat height
  1. Seat Height
  2. Saddle angle
  3. Fore-aft Saddle position
  4. Your Body angle while in riding position
  5. Stem length
  6. Bar height
  7. Bar width

The first adjustment to make is that old favourite, seat height.

seat height

With the pedal at the bottom of its stroke, the knee should be slightly bent. The heel of the foot should be able to still be dropped down when the leg is totally straight, as shown in the animation to the left. If the seat is too high your buns will be rocking back and forth on the saddle as you keep up with the pedals, too low and you won't be getting full power out of those freshly shaved legs. Saddle angle is normally close to level but personal preference & comfort are the main criteria.
Basically you shouldn't feel like you are sliding down the front of the saddle and yet you don't want the front of it jamming up into your goodies. Adjust it for your comfort. Once the seat height and position is set, it's time to check the body angle while in riding position. The proper angle is close to 90 degrees as shown in the picture. If that angle is too far off, the only way to change it is by altering the stem length to close up the angle or stretch it out.

seat height

This rider shown to the right has the saddle too far back and not getting good power transfer to the pedals. By moving the saddle forward, this rider may also be able to close up that body/arm angle enough. If not, they would need a shorter stem for the handlebars or a bike frame with a shorter top tube. Stems- Long stems can be good for seated climbing since it puts the weight more forward on the bike - but the drawbacks are:

Most importantly, not good on downhill where you want your weight back over the rear wheel. This is not to say "go with short stems" (unless you're a downhiller or maybe a single speed freak like Nick needing to stand up and hammer the hills) - there is a proper place to be for body weight and power transfer for the type of riding you enjoy.

seat height

Bar Height- There is a wide difference of opinion on Bar Height for the Mountain Bike and it mostly boils down to personal preference. Trevor's rule of thumb for his riding style is "2 inches below saddle height at the ring finger", for Mountain Bikes as well as Road Bikes with hands on the "hoods". Nick, preferring his single-speed bike, wants the bar up higher for an upright position when climbing out of the saddle. The webmaster likes it up where he's in a more comfortable position while just cruising around the back roads! In the second photo from the top (proper saddle position) you will notice this racer likes the bar low, even having a drop stem. Your choice!
Bar width- This is another area where personal preference comes into play along with your style of riding. The given for this used to be just a bit wider than your shoulders but now trends toward being quite a bit wider than that. Narrow bars give quicker steering in the technical or smooth stuff while wide bars can put more power into your steering when whacking those boulders and hitting the ruts. Width can vary from around 20" straight bars to over 27" riser bars. Downhillers and use wider riser bars for more control while many XC racers will swear by narrow straight bars for the quicker steering. Once set up now you are ready to take on some adventures around Australia. Victoria has several great Alpine Mountain Bike Trips which can take advantage of your new found bike riding skills.