10 Tips – New Bike Set up

So you’ve pressed the button, or said “I’ll have that one” in an actual shop – you’ve bought a new bike! That’s great, but how do you get your new bike to fit you and get it ready to ride? Check out our guide to setting up your new bike.

There are a few things to do to ensure your new bike is ready for action. If you bought your new bike from Merlin, the process is a fair bit easier. Here at Merlin we pre delivery build / check each bike before it goes out. Our mechanics build the bikes, make sure everything is working as it should. They then dismantle and pack the bike into its original box for delivery. So your new bike from Merlin should be fairly ready to go. (fit the front wheel in, turn and tighten the bars / stem, seatpost and fit your prefered pedals)

If you have an existing bike that fits you well, it’s a good idea take measurements from your old bike and try to replicate them on your new ride.

Saddle Height

The correct saddle height makes full use of your leg muscles without straining leg tendons or leave your hips rocking when pedalling. Having the right saddle height will leave you pedalling efficiently and easily – without stretching. There is no single, universal rule on getting the right saddle height. For a very approximate guide, the  Greg Lemond method, involves taking your crotch to floor measurement (without shoes) and multiplying this by 0.883. This figure should be the distance between the centre of your crank axle to the top of your saddle. Alternatively, sit on your bike and adjust the seatpost height until you can still pedal backwards comfortably with you heals on the pedals.

Saddle Fore and Aft

The amount your saddle sits forward or back on its rails in the seat post clamp is determined by you riding style and comfort. The amount of stretch between your saddle and bars is effected my the saddle fore and aft as well as your stem and top tube. Most riders with average size limbs for their height will find a comfortable point around midway on the saddle rails with an 10 – 12 cm stem. This is assuming that the frame top tube is somewhere near the right length.

Bar Height

Flexibility and comfort play a large part in determining how high or low your bar height is for optimum comfort. Adding or removing spacers will gain or lose height. If you prefer to ride on the drops of your bars, then having them higher will make this easier. If you prefer to be lower or ride a lot on the hoods, dropping your stem lower could be the best option for you. Lower bar height offers a potentially more aero position, raising bar height can offer more comfort.

Stem Length

In combination with your saddle fore and aft position, frame top tube length and bar reach, stem length plays a huge role in comfort. More importantly it affects your bikes’ handling and control. Having the right stem length will allow good comfort and control in all riding positions.


Make sure tyres are inflated to the manufacturers recommended pressures and are properly seated on the rim. This can be checked by raising each wheel off the ground and spinning slowly. The tyre should be level with no raised sections as the wheel  spins. If the tyre isn’t seated correctly, re-fit the tyre, making sure the inner tube isn’t caught under the tyre bead.


If you don’t have a workstand, get a somebody to hold your bike up while you change through the gears. Make sure they are changing crisply and there are no clicking noises. Clicking noises indicate the derailleur is in need of adjustment.


Before heading out for a ride, check your nuts! Make sure all alley key bolts are tight and everything is solid. If you are unsure how tight bolts need to be, many component manufacturers specify recommended torque settings. Using a Torque tool is the best way to make sure bolts aren’t under or over-tightened.


Keep your bike running well by checking it regularly. An in expensive basic tool kit will allow you to keep minor servicing in-house and reduce bike workshop servicing costs. Also, a mini tool is ideal to take with you along with a spare tube, tyre levers and pump.


Having the right tools to keep your bike running well is great, but having a work-stand to lessen the squatting or stooping to check out your bike, makes the tools much easier to use properly.

Before you decide on your bike and size, check out our previous blogs for some top tips on choosing your bike.

Between bike sizes

Getting the right road bike

Stock Options…

Here at Merlin, we stock a vast array of bikes from some of the worlds leading manufacturers. In addition, our own Merlin bikes regularly win awards in cycling media offer outstanding quality and value for money. Check out our own Merlin Bikes here.


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