Whenever you purchase a brand new mountain bike, you’ll undoubtedly be raring to get it out on the paths. Nevertheless, earlier than you do, you’ll must nail your bike set-up to make sure you get essentially the most out of your rides.
Mountain bikers could be specific about their set-up and are usually very happy to enter a debate about one of the best angle to your brake levers or one of the best tyre stress. Our recommendation beneath ought to aid you to seek out what set-up most closely fits you.
Establishing your cockpit
When mountain bikers consult with the “cockpit” of their bikes, they’re speaking in regards to the handlebars and every little thing hooked up to them. There are many changes that may be made and so they could make a giant distinction to your consolation and the way in which the bike handles.
Probably the most essential factor when out on the paths is having the ability to cease safely, so the very first thing to think about is the way you need your brake levers arrange. Earlier than the rest, you’ll wish to resolve the place on the handlebars you need the levers mounted. This can be primarily based on what number of fingers you’ll use to set off the brake levers.
You possibly can brake with one, two or three fingers. There’s a trade-off between how properly you’ll be able to grip the bars (one-finger braking helps with a robust grip) and the way confidently you’ll be able to seize the brakes (new riders usually are likely to want a robust 2 or 3-finger brake maintain).
Set your brake lever place so you’ll be able to comfortably pull the levers while holding the center of the grips. It’s value realizing that some high-end levers are particularly designed to make use of only one finger. You’ll spot them as a result of the levers are considerably shorter.
The second factor to think about with brakes is the angle the lever sits relative to the bottom. You’ll discover most mountain bike riders have their levers pointing additional down than common. A fantastic beginning place for organising your place is to have the levers so while you’re sat on the bike and your palms are resting on prime of the levers, there isn’t a bend in your wrist.
When you’re accustomed to your “assault place” (the stance you’ve got on the bike when descending), you’ll be able to regulate the brakes to be lined up while you’re in it. You’ll discover you’ll want to maneuver your gear shifter(s) round alongside together with your brakes as they sit beneath. For many riders, it’s greatest to maintain the gear lever tucked up in opposition to the brake however do what’s snug for you.
A remaining consideration is the stacking of your spacers and stem. There’s good purpose for the small spacers which sit round your stem on the highest of the fork steerer, you’ll be able to reorder the spacers and stem to alter the dealing with traits of your bike.
Most new bikes will include the handlebar within the highest place, shifting it down will shift your weight ahead barely, including grip to the entrance wheel. Nevertheless, this may also make it more durable to carry the entrance wheel into the air, a key talent for navigating drops on the path. You desire a impartial place on the bike with out an excessive amount of weight in your wrists or a lightweight entrance wheel, play together with your stacking to attain this.
Optimising your saddle place
Probably the most important innovation in mountain biking in recent times has been the appearance of the dropper seat put up. When out on the paths, mountain bikers need their seat excessive for climbing and all the way in which down out of the way in which to permit the bike to maneuver beneath them while descending.
Actuated by a lever on the handlebars, a dropper seatpost lets you rapidly transition between saddle heights with out getting off the bike. Gone are the times of getting to get off and manually regulate your saddle and, better of all, the saddle all the time returns to the precise spot you’ve set it to for simple climbing.
Having the saddle even an inch or two too low can dramatically have an effect on how simple you’ll discover climbing. Whether or not you’ve opted for a dropper or not, you’ll wish to be sure that your saddle is about so your legs are virtually straight when on the backside of the pedal stroke. A prime tip for dialling it in is to get your leg fully straight when your heel is rested on the pedal when it’s at 6 o’clock. Whenever you then carry the ball of your foot to relaxation on the pedal, it is going to introduce simply sufficient bend in your knee.
In the event you don’t but have a dropper however plan to journey trails the place you’ll need your saddle down and out of the way in which, mark the seatpost the place it enters the body so to all the time reset it to the appropriate spot from the climbs.
Saddle angle can be an necessary consideration. It’s greatest to start out together with your saddle in a degree place. That is how they’re designed to be sat upon. In the event you discover this places stress in your smooth tissue while you lean ahead, then you’ll be able to attempt tilting the nostril down a number of levels. We’d advocate beginning together with your saddle clamped in the course of the rails. This places it in a impartial place which is able to work for lots of riders. If you already know your legs are proportionally longer than your higher physique, then you would transfer it backwards, or forwards in case your legs are proportionally shorter.
Let’s speak tyres
Trendy mountain bikes usually include an excellent set of tyres. As an example, the 2022 Voodoo vary all function tyres from Maxxis, the favorite model for mountain bikers within the UK. Nevertheless, there are numerous issues that will imply you wish to improve.
Tread patterns fluctuate between mountain bike tyres. Some are designed to be as quick as doable and are suited to drier, more durable terrain while others are all about grip and have massive knobs throughout their floor to maximise traction on looser and wetter floor. Most riders within the UK will go for one thing within the center with a barely smoother centre and outstanding knobs on the outer edges to offer higher grip when cornering.
More and more, riders run two totally different tyres on their bikes. The again tyre can be a smoother quicker tyre to assist pace, however the entrance tyre can be grippier to make sure that it grabs the bottom as you flip. This set-up could be discovered on the 2022 Voodoo Bizango Professional.
All new bikes come shipped with interior tubes contained in the tyres to maintain them inflated however some bikes function tubeless-ready rims and a few come pre-fitted with tubeless-ready tyres. Tubeless set-ups enable riders to run decrease tyre pressures (as there’s no threat of pinching and popping your interior tube) which leads to extra grip from the tyres. As a small quantity of sealant is poured into the tyre throughout set up, tubeless set-ups will self-heal if the tyre is punctured. Normally ditching the interior tube leads to an total weight saving too!
So, you probably have tubeless-ready rims, you’ll probably be pondering of whether or not to go for some tubeless ready-tyres and also you’ll definitely really feel the advantages should you do. In case your bike comes with each tubeless-ready wheels and tyres (as per the Bizango Professional), then all you’ll want is a tubeless conversion package to get going. It’s value noting a specialist tyre booster could also be wanted to put in them, so contact your native Halfords retailer for a tubeless conversion should you’re not assured about tackling the job your self.
The ultimate consideration is tyre stress. Some riders love a rock-hard tyre which rolls as rapidly as doable and provides a energetic journey, while others will decide to run their tubeless set-ups as little as they’ll to offer most grip in corners. Tubeless set-ups can usually deal with stress as little as the excessive teenagers (PSI) and this can assist to carry onto moist or unfastened floor while tubed set-ups will have to be over 30 PSI – the sidewall of the tyre will state the vary you’ll be able to safely run. For a similar purpose because the combined tyre set-ups talked about earlier, many eager riders will run their entrance tyre at a decrease stress than the rear.
Establishing your suspension
Coil-sprung forks are designed to swimsuit most riders and while they are often adjusted barely by means of a pre-tension cap (normally on the left fork leg), most riders will simply get cracking with the manufacturing unit settings. Air forks nonetheless are designed to offer a number of technique of simple adjustment and one you’ll wish to get dialled earlier than you journey is your ‘sag’.
Sag is solely how a lot the fork compresses beneath your physique weight alone and could be altered by including or eradicating air from the chamber in your left fork leg. To do that you’ll want a shock pump. They’re value investing in, nonetheless, your in-store Halfords staff can do that for you through the handover of a brand new bike.
To get this proper, while leaning in opposition to a wall, get right into a impartial standing place on the bike and see how a lot your fork compresses. The purpose is to regulate your air stress in order that round 20-25% of the fork leg goes into the fork lowers as you apply your weight. Some forks have an o-ring so you’ll be able to simply inform how a lot was adjusted. When you’re off the bike, you’ll be able to loosely match a cable tie in lieu of this.
On Full-suspension bikes, you’ll wish to do the identical factor together with your rear air shock, and once more 20-25% sag is right for many shocks. Producers comparable to Rockshox present guides on tough pressures primarily based on varied weights which might make the job even simpler!
Now this part is admittedly for the die-hards and one thing you’ll extra probably consider doing when you’ve put within the miles on the paths. Though fashionable bikes function many factors of adjustment, it’s possible you’ll want to swap out components for ones much more suited to you as a rider.
It’s possible you’ll discover that even with the stem at its highest setting you’re struggling to shift your weight rearward sufficient to upweight your entrance wheel when descending. Though approach performs an enormous half on this for some riders, it’s possible you’ll think about becoming a handlebar with extra rise to assist preserve your weight just a little additional again. If the bars are wider than the originals, this may counteract the profit barely. Though, alloy bars can simply be shortened utilizing a pipe cutter.
Most skilled riders have a most well-liked saddle model or perhaps a particular mannequin. The truth is, all 2022 Voodoo fashions are fitted with WTB Volt saddle as it’s a recognized favorite in mountain bike circles. You might have mates who’ve a number of saddles mendacity round that didn’t fairly work for them. Ask to offer them a go as it may be fairly difficult to decide on a saddle having not tried it out.
Trendy 1x (or 1-by) drivetrains capitalise on enormous rear cassettes to completely get rid of a number of entrance chainrings. Cassettes which vary from as little as 10 enamel, proper as much as 51, imply you could tackle relentless climbs and blistering descents all with the identical entrance ring. These have develop into a must have in mountain biking and have on all-new Voodoo trial 29ers.
You possibly can, nonetheless, tailor your set-up by altering the scale of the entrance chainring. A smaller entrance chainring will make climbing simpler however you’ll sacrifice how rapidly you begin to spin out when descending in prime gear. Conversely, you’ll be able to go for a big entrance chainring to allow you to preserve the facility in for longer, however you’ll have a bit extra work to do on the climbs. Simply getting a chainring with two extra or two much less enamel could make a giant distinction however be sure you get one with the identical bolt sample (BCD).
Get on the market…
Understanding the changes above and their influence in your journey could make an enormous distinction. It will probably assist elevate talent and pace but additionally your enjoyment and luxury. You’ll really feel the place it is advisable make tweaks till you’ve got it nailed to fit your driving model. Time to get out on the paths and luxuriate in your bike!