We recommend performing the following brief check before each departure – it shouldn't take more than a minute.
Check for any parts that sound or feel loose by dropping the front wheel from a few inches above the ground. Tighten any screws that might be loose.
Tyres and wheels
Check tyre pressure by leaning on the bicycle with all your weight and seeing how much the tyres bulge out to the side. Add some air if the tyres appear to be flat. Watch for any lacerations on the tread and side of the tyre, replacing the damaged tyre if necessary. Spin the wheels freely in the air and make sure they do not deviate more than a couple of centimeters vertically or to the side. This can effect braking and balance so have the wheel centered before using the bike again.
Make sure the brake levers cannot be pulled all the way to the handlebar, tightening the cable if necessary. Check that the brake quick-release is in the closed position prior to departure.
Ensure the quick-release levers on the wheels and seatpost are correctly adjusted and secure.
Handlebars and saddle
Check that the saddle, handlebars, handlebar stem and horns are secure and cannot be moved accidentally. Replace handlebar grips if they are worn.
Setting of brake and gear levers
Brake and gear levers are usually fitted such that they are comfortable for the majority of riders.
Brake lever distance
The distance between the brake lever and the handlebar grip can be adjusted on many bicycles. If you have small hands that make reaching and pulling the brakes difficult, ask your dealer to adjust brake lever reach or mount levers with shorter reach distance.
A good-quality protective helmet is highly recommended at all times when riding a bicycle.
Reflectors are essential to your safety. Attaching reflectors to the front and rear of the frame, as well as the pedals and wheels, is compulsory in some countries.
If you plan to use your bicycle after dark, it should be fitted with lights. These not only help you see the road and avoid danger, they also ensure other road users see you in good time. In some countries, dealers are only permitted to sell cycles fitted with lights.
Height and angle of the handlebars
If your bicycle is equipped with threadless handlebar stem, the handlebar height should set by your dealer. For other bicycle types, you can also adjust the height of the handlebars yourself. Turn the locknut on the headset clockwise three or four times. If the bolt moves upwards but the handlebar stem cannot yet be removed, strike the locknut with a wooden mallet. Adjust the handlebar stem to your needs and realign it to the front wheel, making sure the maximum height marker is not visible. Tighten the locknut again until the handlebars can no longer be turned independently of the front wheel. Ensure that the handlebars can be freely turned in both directions without the brake cables making contact with or tangling with any other parts of the bike.
Changing the handlebar height on some bicycles may effect the function of front brakes. If the brakes are not working properly, ask your dealer to adjust them. After setting the handlebars and stem, always double check that both are firmly secured.
Adjusting the saddle
Setting the saddle at the appropriate height is important for ensuring a comfortable and efficient ride.
a. Setting the height
Correct saddle height depends on the length of your legs. To check saddle height:
- sit on the saddle
- place your heel on the pedal
- turn the crank until the pedal is at its lowest point parallel to the seat tube
At this point, your leg should be almost fully extended. Adjust the saddle height if this is not the case.
To set saddle height, loosen the screw or ring fixing the seatpost and move the saddle up or down as required. Ensure the saddle is parallel to the top tube before tightening the quick-release lever to secure the saddle. Check the saddle height again as described above. The seatpost should never be extended beyond the maximum marker.
b. Horizontal position
Loosen the saddle clamp and move the saddle forwards or backwards until you find the position most comfortable to you. Tighten the saddle clamp when you are finished.
c. Saddle angle
Most riders leave the saddle in the horizontal position, but some cyclists prefer to have the seat at a slight angle. To adjust the saddle angle, loosen the saddle clamp and tilt the saddle in the desired direction before securing the saddle again.
Even slight adjustments to saddle settings can have significant effects. Only one position should changed at a time, try making incremental changes until you find the optimal saddle position.
CAUTION: After each change to your saddle settings, check that the screws fixing the saddle are secure. Frequently check them while sitting in the saddle.
It is important to choose a bike that is the right size for you. A bicycle that is too small or large for its rider is awkward to ride, uncomfortable and dangerous.
Your dealer will recommend you a bike with optimal frame height on the basis of the information you provide. If you visit your dealer in person, he or she will help you find the frame height that is best for you. If the bicycle is purchased as a gift by someone else, the correct frame height should be checked in advance.
Check frame height by standing with the bicycle between your legs halfway between the saddle and the handlebars. If the top tube touches your groin, the frame is too high. If the bicycle is only intended for road use, the top tube should be between 2 cm and 5 cm from your groin. For forest paths, this distance should be 7.5 cm, while clearance of more that 10 cm is recommended for real cross-country cycling.