Technical Tuesday: Setting Up Your Cockpit

Sep 28, 2010 at 0:07
Sep 28, 2010
by Mike Levy  
 
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Setting up your handlebar controls may seem like an easy task that is hard to do wrong, but spending a few extra minutes getting everything in just the right place can actually make a world of difference. You may be making it very difficult on yourself to shift when you need to or even may be robbing yourself of braking power without knowing it. How so? Have a look inside to find out!

Read on...

Maybe you just got your new bike from the shop or maybe you've had it for quite awhile, but there is a good chance that some of you have never taken the time to properly setup your handlebar controls. Everyone out there is shaped a bit differently and by taking a few minutes to properly adjust your cockpit, you can greatly increase not only your comfort level, but possibly your performance as well. Watch the video below to learn what adjustments you should be making and what to look for when you are doing them.

Watch the video to learn about cockpit setup

Views: 50,647    Faves: 96    Comments: 11





Past Tech Tuesdays:

Technical Tuesday #1 - How to change a tube.
Technical Tuesday #2 - How to set up your SRAM rear derailleur
Technical Tuesday #3 - How to remove and install pedals
Technical Tuesday #4 - How To Bleed Your Avid Elixir Brakes
Technical Tuesday #5 - How To Check And Adjust Your Headset
Technical Tuesday #6 - How To Fix A Broken Chain
Technical Tuesday #7 - Tubeless Conversion
Technical Tuesday #8 - Chain Wear
Technical Tuesday #9 - SRAM Shift Cable Replacement
Technical Tuesday #10 - Removing And Installing a Headset
Technical Tuesday #11 - Chain Lube Explained
Technical Tuesday #12 - RockShox Totem and Lyric Mission Control Damper Mod
Technical Tuesday #13 - Shimano XT Crank and Bottom Bracket Installation
Technical Tuesday #14 - Straightening Your Derailleur Hanger
Technical Tuesday #15 - Setting Up Your Front Derailleur

Have you found this tutorial helpful? Share any of your hints or tips below!

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59 Comments

  • + 20
 "makin love to the air" hahahaha
  • + 14
 oh how I miss that in the world today: someone with an opinion, this is wrong, this is right. Good job PB Smile more of that attitude in your materials please.

I'm so tired with this nowadays beigism: be tolerant, everything is relative, everything is a personal preference, everybody's right. Guys on the trail with brake levers verticaly down, shifters right next to the grips interfering with fingers and handlebar rotated so that upsweep is a backsweep: "I'm happy with that" - No you're not!
  • + 3
 hahaha I totally agreed with you, plus those "personal preferences" made me prefer to go down with my bike instead of going with a much better one, just because the way their cockpit was, totally messed up.

This makes me think that a lot of riders buy top products and give them half of the use.

Thanks PB for teatching us all ^^
  • + 6
 Honestly, I prefer to be told how to do something. I do it. it's awkward at first. I get used to it and see an improvement. What's the problem with that?
  • + 1
 finally something to prove to the kids that run their brakes vertical how dumb they are
  • + 5
 mah it's not just the kids, from my experience, it is people of ages. It is very common among sunday trail riders with higher egos. Those who look at you very carefuly when you meet them. You feel being scanned from head to toes. These guys tend to use special philosophies for setup of everything on their bike. Kids at least have this naive look at you, it's allright, they have some right to be wrong, there's no point in judging them. But not a guy above 30.
  • + 1
 @WAKI - Yeah, those 30-something guys poppin' in to the bike shop with stuff worth 100s hanging of their cropped carbon bars and trying to blame 'a local bike shop' for the set up xDDD Gotta love them! (i suggest taking pictures and posting a link Smile
  • + 12
 brakeless, takes all your cockpit problems away Big Grin
  • + 3
 Mike. Nice. Thanks. I've appreciated your reviews. One thought: you should weigh in on the one-fingered/two-fingered braking question. It's your job (IMO) as a spokesperson/reviewer to campaign for better bike skills and two-fingered braking is bad technique, not personal preference.

The sport we all love is lucky to have critical-minded people -- don't be slow to ruffle feathers and say critical/sharp stuff.
  • + 3
 Thanks for the props.

Regarding braking technique, what about riders who don't have the same arm/hand strength as a full grown man. I'm thinking of young groms and women shredders (no offense to the woman out there) who have to use 2 fingers at some points. I can think of times that I've had to resort to using two fingers as well, non-stop Garbo runs in the mud for instance, or when using brakes that are not quite up to par. There are levers out there built to accommodate two finger use as well.
  • + 2
 Good video. Keep in mind that although while riding DH you may be standing most of the time, you are often farther back and lower on the bike than you would be if you were riding XC and sitting down. Thus, rotating your levers up to match the angle of your arm/forearm while barreling down a steep grade might be the most comfortable. I see a lot of DH riders with lever rotated way down because they set them up while standing straight up on the bike.
  • - 1
 I point my levers down becuase when I'm riding DH I like to be over the seat witch lets me put some weight on the front end, this enables me to corner faster and have more control in the air, thus having my brake levers pointed straight down they are in the natural line of my forearm. The only time i hang off the back of the seat is when I'm riding reallly really steep terrain. But I still have full control over the brake levers in that position too.
  • + 2
 personally I run my levers so that when I'm in an 'average' riding position with brakes covered my arm and hand are in a straight line with no bend and the wrists
  • - 2
 flyordie3 is out to lunch
why do you think nobody else( besides tards) run their brakes like you?
cuz its shit
its called the law of averages. somewhere in the middle is always best
mouth vagina anus. middle is always the best
braaaap!
  • + 2
 Well I don't know where you're coming from, but I'll agree with flyordie3. I'm routinely told my levers are super steep/vertical/too steep/whatever. Thing is I ride trials, which opened my mind about a steeper lever angle. It's not like you can't reach your lever when you lean back, I don't even notice a difference. It just gives you far better control when you're over the front of the bike because you're not grabbing your levers with your palms. Anyways, I think lever angle is pure personal preference, just like grip size. Not saying every one has their angle correct for them, just saying there will be a difference between what is right for you and right for some one else.
  • - 2
 whatever right i the middle is right where they should be
  • + 1
 flyordie, straight down? really? I'm about 25-30 degrees up from straight down.
  • + 2
 I don't have them pointed directly straight down, but their pretty close. I changed them from being pointed towards the middle to farther down and I just like it more and it feels more comfortable for the way I ride. It's just my preference and it works, but I have only seen a few other's run thier levers as far down as i do.
  • + 3
 Is it just me or are the PB editors messing with Mike? It seems to be a sillier sillier face at the start of every T-Tuesday! LoL! Decent info though^^.
  • + 1
 stoned
  • + 2
 I know! There is also a lot of anticipation in the office as the video is being processed and we're all waiting to see just how bad the screen shot is going to look. This one is bad!
  • + 1
 haha. I think it's hilarious.
  • + 1
 I was told fatter grips lessen arm pump as you don't have to clench as much, obviously there is a threshold as to how far you can go before they become too fat but put it into perspective... A golf ball, tennis ball and football("soccer").

Clenching the golf ball puts alot more strain on your forearms than clenching a tennis a ball and a football.... well good luck gripping the thing!
  • + 3
 You shouldn't be "death gripping" or "clenching" your bars anyways. Firm but relaxed control.
Thinner grips actually tend to lessen forearm pump, not fatties. Thins don't over stretch the structure of your hand.
  • + 3
 From my personal experience... grips size must fit hand size PERIOD. It's like riding in bad shoe-size. Both ways too big too small cause pain in forearms and palms.

Rented out a DH bike in a bikepark with skinny grips and saint brakes. I thought my hands will fall off after 3 rides. Changed to a FR bike with Hayes brakes and these huge ODI grips: arm-pump, but palms were ok.

Never had any strange issue with medium sized Lizard skins Peatys on my bike though.
  • + 2
 I've recently experienced severe pain in the fingers (other than index finger) with my new Session 88... couldn't figure out what it was until I noticed the grips were slightly thicker than my OID Ruffians, so swaped them over and all's good again, no more pain whilst riding. Amazing what a few mm difference in diameter can make. As WAKIdesigns say, grips need to fit your hands. I've obviously got "tiny lady hands" so if a thin grip works for me, it's a winner! :-)
  • + 1
 Hmmmmm Smile I was told to invest in fatter grips and now using ODI Longnecks on my do it all bike, they are not ideal for wet weather riding but since buying them my finger cramps have gone and the arm pump has reduced. I am not a big guy at all but I have just had a better experience with these fatter grips over my previous ODI Longnecks, Ruffians and Yeti's.
  • + 1
 damn it, ODI Xtremes, Ruffians and Yetis
  • + 0
 i have the hugest hands in the world and ruffians are the best for me. hand pump is mostly from lack of conditioning obviously, and a bit of technique. that being said minor changes can help some people braaap!
  • + 1
 I feel like the non-lockon, medium grip size here has been glossed over. I like a diameter something in between ruffian and whatever the fat ODI's are called. But I like the squish of the fat ODI's. My solution? The non-lockon Fuse grip from specialized. Its a BMX grip that is medium thickness, really long, very tacky, and since it is a non-lockon and doesn't have that hard inner core, it is squishy. They are only $10 USD so you can afford to replace them if you can't seem stay on the bike =) And yeah, I cut the silly BMX donut thing off the inside.
  • + 1
 kinda need lock ons. you can't possibly shred without them. are you crazy?
braaaap!
  • + 2
 buahahah braapstar your comment is an essence of belief in gear-power: " you can't possibly shred without them". I've never seen anyone putting it so right.

Should be in Fox shox commercials: Kashima coating: must have to shredd properly!

As a matter of fact there are a couple of shredders in XC/AM world having no lock-on grips to shave off more than 50g. Whether that is convenient or not is not the case: they do shredd, rip, go big or however you call it Smile
  • + 1
 For those of you that think Ruffian's are too thin and Rogue/Yeti's are too fat, try out the Ruffian MX. I got really surprised over the big difference between the normal ruffians and the mx ones. I have a hand size M/L and they are perfect for me!
  • + 2
 the set up of your cockpit is very important, so you dont get your wrists and fingers really hurted at the end of a downhill day...
  • + 1
 I found that looking at pictures of yourself riding can help you spot things like the awkward wrist angles. I thought this was easier to find it out quickly rather than carrying tools any changing things all the time.
  • + 1
 We needed something like this, too many times do I see mountain bikers set their levers up so they are almost horizontal Facepalm
  • + 1
 Great video. I'd love to see these Technical Tuesdays progress into a library that could help all riders independently maintain and set up their bikes.
  • + 2
 i love my shifters against my grip, i use the knuckle of my thumb to change gears
  • + 1
 I'm amazed you are the first one to suggest this. I and many of my friends run our shifters outboard of my brakes too.

My set-up still has a gap between the shifter clamp and the grip and I use my thumb pad to shift (both up and down as I have two-way release Shimano). My finger is right on the bend at the end of the brake lever.
  • + 1
 i think it means you guys have super short thumbs. or just small girl hands in general. braaaap!
  • + 1
 it makes me laugh everytime Mike blinks as he twists his face in a really funny grin...
  • + 1
 FINALLY! I try to explain this to clients at our shop every day and people just don't get it!
  • + 1
 If I can I adjust the angles and reach etc for the customer - it also gives them a real sense of customer service as few bikes shops spend that little extra time.
  • + 1
 This was an excellent over view, and addresses a very common set of faults. A+
  • + 1
 I have always run my brakes, far down. I guess i am going to try raising them up a bit, see if it makes any difference.
  • + 1
 I run mine down too, it is a bike position thing. When I'm gettin' after it I am over the front end which rotates my wrists forward on the bar. Any higher and I find that my brake finger hangs over the lever somewhere around my middle knuckle which doesn't like it one bit. I'd rather have my levers where I want them when I need them, not where I need them while seated.
  • + 2
 Excellent video!
  • + 2
 Agreed, but i wish he started with some pointers about what angle to set up your bars, been having a nightmare with mine as im tall and if their slightly too back they hit my knee caps while pedaling hard.
  • + 2
 I just run mine so that the grip part is parallel to the ground.
  • + 3
 bigger frame required ?
  • + 1
 lol ^^ agreed, sounds like your frames too small mate
  • + 2
 +1 to the above statement, buy a bigger frame dude
  • + 2
 Your bars have two degree measurements: upsweep and backsweep. The backsweep is the important one for setup. The part in the video where he talks about having your levers inline with your wrists while in the position you are in the most also relates to your backsweep. If you are mostly XC riding then roll your bars to the same angle of your arms/wrists/levers while seated. On a DH bike (or any bike that you need an aggressive stance) the bars will be rolled forward a little more to line up with your arms/wrists/levers while standing with your arms bowed out a little. Don't set them up to line up while you are back over the seat - you only ride like that in brief 'oh god' moments. One more thing, you need to get your bars right before you get your levers dialed.
  • + 1
 Many thanks, yeah its the backsweep thats my problem, ill need a new set of bars which don't have any, or very slight. To the people who say i need a new frame.. i wouldn't give up my scarab for the world 3 i'm 6"2 and the frame feels just a tad small, but thats how i like it, besides scarabs only come in one size Razz
  • + 1
 if your hitting your knees off ur bars your frame is too small period Blank Stare in mo way should your knees ever hit off your bars Blank Stare no matter what bar your running Blank Stare new frame son
  • + 1
 I'd normally agree, but im talking about when im leaning way forwards over the bars, (just clipping the shifter lever on the X0 not the actual bars) and its only sometimes. Theres also things like the stem length to take into consideration too, i just switched out my integrated for the 70mm diabolus and its a huge improvement, also i tried marssizedobject's advice of sliding the bars more forwards for aggressive riding and i gotta say, coupled with the advice from this Tech Tuesday video it feels much better! tup
  • + 1
 Thats you been told. haha
  • + 1
 great
  • + 1
 great vid

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