Video: Setting Up a Bike for Enduro - Full Enduro Episode 2

Oct 23, 2019
by Pinkbike Originals  



Proper bike setup for enduro racing is one of the most important things you can do before getting between the tape. Episode 2 of Full Enduro follows Squamish local Zoe Dawson to Corsa Cycles, where Georgia Astle will help her dial in her Devinci Spartan.

The two go over important bike setup choices, like handlebar and control position, fork and shock adjustments, and the all-important tubeless conversion. Zoe decided to leave her handlebar width alone as she has previously ridden 760mm wide bars and felt more comfortable with the 780mms on her current bike. There are no hard and fast rules as to what the perfect bike set up is, but Georgia helped Zoe to establish a baseline from which she can make minor changes to suit her needs as she gets more familiar with her enduro rig.

Presented by

Filmed & Edited by Will Binamé.

Special thanks to Corsa Cycles.


  • 60 2
 did I skip the "bar cutting" part?
  • 21 0
 She should definitely try narrower bars.
  • 41 2
 Man, she had a lot of... Not great advice. It sounded like she was repeating a handful of random web posts about very basic bike setup but nothing that applied to Zoe's personal setup. And not going narrower on bars shows a lack of fitting knowledge as well.
  • 21 1
 plus, what was that with the shock pressure? Weight in pounds plus some psi?
lucky us there is no such thing as various shock lengths, leverage ratios, etc. Wink
  • 8 1
 @LenzerheideBikepark: yeah, that was pretty cringe worthy.
  • 3 4
 @pnwpedal: its a good starting point but never going to be exactly perfect
  • 3 0
 @JoshCMTB: well... I don't really think it was a good starting point. It probably put her further from an optimal setup than she was before. Zoe most likely could have had her bike dialled in after one brief testing/adjustment ride, and now she's at least a couple real rides and some major adjustments away from getting there.
  • 13 0
 That's really interesting! Georgia's logic on when to have the break levers flat or steep is opposite from how I'm used to do it. I going to try that out (including bar roll adjustment) – got a new bike in May and was too lazy to optimize setup over the season.
  • 10 0
 when to break lever?
  • 4 2
 @chyu: you know, when you decide you've had enough work so ya lev'er for the other boys and go have a break.
  • 16 3
 I agree that her logic is interesting. It seems opposite to what most do. I don't set levers to flat on a trail bike as my wrists is bend the whole time which creates fatigue. I would say a bit more down so the top of my hands are in a close to straight line with my arms when in a seated general pedaling position. Most downhill brake levers are flat as you don't want to be over the top of the bars and the front end is usually facing downward. I am not sure if it is just me but I totally disagree with her logic.
  • 7 1
 longer fingers : steeper levers
shorter fingers : flatter levers

I think for most people it is simple. Lay your thumb under the bar in a natural/ neutral position. Wrap your hand around the bars. Set brake lever contact point - first joint on index finger to the lever's sweet spot. Lever reach affects this, so if you change the reach you need to compensate. I find it changes bike to bike because of my body position and how I contact the bars more than anything else. YMMV.
  • 2 0
 I like to break the levers on my bikes too
  • 5 1
 @vjunior21: Yes, I've also read elsewhere that you want your brake levers a little more flat on the bars for aggressive riding on steep terrain, and that steep levers are good for the parking lot.

Maybe I'm not rad or aggro enough, but the flat levers give me carpal tunnel syndrome on rides. When I get that feeling on the back of my hands and wrists, I push the levers down a bit. I find mostly my levers are neither steep or flat, but somewhere in between.

In the end, I don't think there's a right answer to this one. Play around with it, find what works, and don't overthink it.
  • 5 1
 Ironically around here, what's called Trail riding tends to be steeper than DH. So not much point using labels to describe trails.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: The thought used to be that levers should be set more forward because when you are out of the saddle your hands are higher and more forward, but the reality is that brake levers should be set for both up and down, and when it's down were are further back over the bike, so reaching for the bars from down low, which makes flat lever set ups a little better.

I run mine relatively flat, close to the bar, and spaced inboard so I have good one finger wrap without the lever crunching my middle finger knuckle. I ride TRP Quadiem which have long levers for excellent power and modulation.

The bar set up is also key, not sure why so many folks run their bars rotated down, but that forces your wrists to be in an uncomfortable "low" position esp with your elbows out, so getting those bars rolled up, angled toward your shoulders vs your waist will improve hand contact and increase control.

Her bars are still too wide and damn! that girl has some guns!!

I think PB should sponsor makeovers like this for PB groupies, it'd be a cool way to see how pros are doing things and how the pleebs can benefit from their advice.
  • 7 0
 It's all about body position on the bike, and the resulting wrist position. If you're riding more over the front end, like in technical climbing, having the levers lower keeps your wrists straighter when your upper body and arms are forward. Riding with your upper body back more, like on steep tech, will allow higher/flatter levers because your arms are back more. The less bend in your wrist, the better. Especially if you have an old wrist injury like I do.
  • 1 0
 @pnwpedal: spot on
  • 1 0
 @vjunior21: I disagree as well. For trail, they will sit where feels most neutral, so that there isn't too much inflection in the wrist, and not too much pressure in the thumb joint. Rolled too far forward (steep), and weight sits in the joint, too far back (flat) and for me at least the wrist inflection causes pain. Everything needs to line up for max comfort.

to say that making them steep, or rolling your brakes forward keeps you over the front wheel - that's an odd one. I believe that you should be centered over your bike, generally. making them steep means you're wrapped to far forward over the bars, and that's hard on the thumb joints when you take a pounding, and make them harder to reach on really steep features. I think that's why you see folks running (Yoann B for instance) running them near flat/level. keeps them accessible when your bike is rotated forward on steep trail while you try to maintained a centered position, and keeps your thumb joints intact. That said, I certainty am not going to tell someone else how to run their bike - do what works for you.

@Telemahn I don't think finger length should dictate lever steepness. That's what lever reach adjustment is for. flatter and steeper levers affect the inflection of your wrist and accessibility of your lever - I think that should be the main concern. But again, that's just my opinion and may not be right for everyone.

@pnwpedal nails it IMHO
  • 1 0
I agree. You can adjust the levers to be closer to the bars and on some brakes adjust the contact point of the pads. It seems generic to say long fingers do this and short fingers to that.

I like a neutral position so my wrist don't hurts. I do a lot of trail and some aggressive riding. Neutral seems to work. I can see a little flatter for enduro but I don't limit my set up based upon finger length alone. The only reason I bring this all up is newer people to the sport will look at this to set things up and it seems limited in scope and possibilities.
  • 2 0
 @vjunior21: Agree. Joint alignment is the game. You need to hit the sweet spot between rolled flat placing to much inflection in the writs, and rolled forward placing to much weight on the meat of your thumb inside your palm (if that makes sense?).

It's extra important when you are out for hours and hours. If mine aren't just so, I get aching wrists or aching first thumb joints after a weekend of long rides.
  • 1 0
 @Telemahn: this only works if you do the setup like that on a downhill. Setting up bike in garage is a flippin pointless position since it doesnt relate to real world conditions, aka rear end several inches higher than front.
  • 1 0
 @Telemahn: have to say I disagree, steeper or shorter angle should be dependant upon aligning with the angle of your forearm which in turn is dictated by the height you spend most time at. In other words if you're dropper is mostly up and you're climbing trails and fireroads all day then your levers would be steeper, but shallower if you're constantly descending and have your dropper down for most of your riding. It's just ergonomics, body position dictating the least work for your hands and the least stress on your wrists... Of course personal preference often throws all that out the window!
  • 1 0
 @landscapeben: I think he is saying what you are. Neutrality is subject of body position for sure, and height and size. I think he just means that everything should be in line and neutral with your arm position. As I have said, so inflection of the wrist and where the pressure of the bar hits your hands is optimized. Again, that's always going to be subject to your body and body position.
  • 1 0
 @privateer-wheels: maybe we're all just saying the same thing in different ways Beer
  • 1 1
 Compared to most people, I probably run my levers relatively steep. I brake with the middle finger so that one is already longer than the index finger which apparently most people use. This way the brake lever never squeezes the index finger while braking.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: very strange way to use the lever if you don´t have a problem in your index. You loose basically any fine precision. Do you ride steep terrain?
  • 1 0
 @homerjm: It is a matter of preference I think. Like most people (probably) I started out with index finger braking. Back in 2005 or so I shifted to middle finger braking and was instantly comfortable with it. Precision with index and middle finger is similar for me, at least for the range of motion I need for braking. The advantage I feel is that you still have a wide grip (between index finger and pinky instead of between middle finger and pinky as the index finger hovers over the brake lever). Living in The Netherlands the steep sections we have are obviously short so I don't often have to do long braking. But for instance at the Megavalance Alpe d'Huez (which does have longer steep descends) I had no issues whereas the British riders I was riding with (and who all used index finger braking) did have issues with arm pump. Steep riding descending isn't the full story though. It seems lots of people use relatively much rear brake when descending which, for the rear wheel to deliver sufficient grip for that to work out, requires them to shift a lot of their weight rearwards. Or people have a relatively high saddle (say XC height minus the amount a dropper post can drop) which for them to lower their weight enough requires them to get all the way behind the seatpost. For many years I've only had a strong hydraulic front brake but V-brakes in the rear (as my frame didn't take a disc brake) so I've been ignoring that brake a lot. So I'm probably still relatively front brake heavy even though I no longer completely ignore that rear brake. But I still think I keep the weight distribution between the wheels similar to when riding level terrain. Which on a descend still implies lowering and shifting my weight rearwards, but not like an XC rider descending with a high saddle. I also ride with a relatively low saddle. Not sure how high, but nearly slammed in a 400mm seattube (so much lower than you see in my pictures, where it was just high enough for it to clamp in the workstand during the assembly). So even when crouched low I have a full range front to back where I can shift my hips. So it isn't like if I having my hips in front or high above the saddle is unacceptable, I need to get low behind the saddle. I can still move low over the saddle.

So yeah, it may not work for everyone and everywhere. But for my style it works perfectly and on longer descends it definitely leads to less fatigue. I did a clinic last spring and the instructor insisted I tried index finger braking. So I shifted the brake lever more inboard and more level and tried that for a few weeks. Never got along with it. Much less control, more on/off, less modulation. Definitely what I wanted, especially not for the front brake. It never took me this long to get used to middle finger braking so eventually I went back to middle finger braking front and rear. I accept that others have different preferences but this is what works for me. My initial response (in my previous post) was just that with middle finger braking, a less flat brake lever orientation could be preferable.

tl;dr: People have different preferences but I prefer to brake with the middle fingers. And for that, a steeper brake lever setup is nice as it keeps the index fingers out of the way.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I was just asking cos I was intrigued. Brake setup is very personal IMO,just take some time to dial it and if it is working fine for you,perfect . It is a non common setup in bikes,but in motobikes. I have seen some people use the levers like you.
  • 1 0
 @homerjm: Thanks. I'm not too familiar with motocross but I took the suggestion from Dirt Magazine editor Steve Jones, tried it and I instantly liked it. The only downside I see when used with some brake levers is that they may squeeze the index finger, especially when the single finger brake levers are short and have the pivot close to the bars. But some modern single brake levers have a curve that still clears it. Either way, the slightly steeper setup (maybe in the 45deg region) also puts the lever in an orientation where the middle finger can operate it but it doesn't bother the index finger. So yeah, it depends on preference and also on the shape of the brake lever.
  • 13 2
 I am a big fan of these kind of videos as I always find something new to learn from them but I feel this was super super basic - roll bar and brake levers, go tubeless and set sag.
There is so much more that can be said about cockpit and suspension setup. She really just mentioned something about rebound/compression, no mention of volume spacers/tokens at all which I find really basic stuff that you should go over every time when setting up suspension for new rider. Hopefully we will see more in depth stuff soon. Looking forward to more episodes!
  • 27 5
 We tried to find a nice balance between baseline and in-depth for this one. Georgia was awesome and went into more detail on suspension set up but we felt like for the entry level rider that it might be an information overload. In the end we found a great set up to get Zoe started and we’re excited to see what changes she makes as she progresses her riding!
  • 4 0
 @jasonlucas: I think these are great videos to get newer riders to think about their position and setup on the bike. One of the first things I do with new folks I take out riding is to set up their brake and bar position. If you can get folks to think about how small adjustments to the bike can have big effects on handling, it will get them more comfortable with the deeper end of bike tuning.

There are plenty of fancy videos about suspension tuning, cockpit setup, etc. For a newer rider, having the basics presented and explained in detail is important.
  • 3 2
 @jasonlucas: The editing is good. Both ladies gave info for a new rider on a new bike. Which the series is about. Each episode is about Zoe learning and progression with more confidence. Which most new riders need.
If the trolls on here need more bike set up info, there are tons of videos on the inter-web for that already.

The idea for this series, is thumbs up.
Women on bikes is always. win win.

To the trolls, GOMD!
  • 3 0
 Come on man, that was pre-brake lever adjustment. Not cool!
  • 2 0
 Haha, the whole sequence is epic!
  • 1 1
 @CamNeelyCantWheelie: It was the rock that moved across from the left that caught her out. No amount of brake lever adjustment would help.

Talking of which, the reason Yoann Barelli runs his so flat is so his 3rd, center testi is pulled up and out of the way of his seat. He has a complex video on the issue. Big Grin

Bar roll - I found rolling my bars forward from when I got the bike from the shop has helped considerably. Look more at the sweep of the end of the bars than the center of the bars. Also opens the cockpit up for me more and gets more weight up front which is needed.

Not sure about the high pressures in the tyres, I would prefer heavy casing and lower pressures than light casings and high pressure. Better grip and trail compliance, then again - I suck (not that I don't go fast but probably not as good a rider as both the girls).

Hopefully Zoe will get her suspension a bit more dialed as she goes along. Tuning air volume for her preference in riding Linear / Progressive. Not to mention setting up brake lever bite points.
  • 1 0
 i see a shit case of the clipless sickness hmmm
  • 6 0
 A. I run 780mm bars and I'm 6'4", cut your f*cking bars, you aren't gaining anything with wider bars, actually hindering your agility and losing range of motion.

B. Improper sag setting, should be standing in attack position and no more than 25%. Stiffer is faster and using all your travel is a myth taught by novices. Rarely do you ever want to bottom, it's dangerous and unstable.

C. Brake levers are preference, there is no right or wrong, other than they should be adjusted in enough for 1 finger braking.

D. Tire pressure is subjective to rider weight, conditions and temperature.

Looks like physically she is killing it, wont take much training to be a top contender in the EWS I bet.
  • 4 1
 Cool vid, although I completely disagree with the brake lever angle part. Of course YMMV, but I've always been an advocate of flat(ish) levers on Enduro/DH rig, full stop. Neutral position on the bike, attack position is a more rear biased position vs a XC. With that said, she knows what works for her, I've seen some wacky setups on bikes over the years that dont seem to slow the riders down.
  • 7 0
 If you set break lever angle before bar roll its pretty random anyway
  • 8 6
 Disappointed with this talk of bar width (and she looks way too spread out on the bars), suspension tuning was overly simplified and misleading (shock pressure equal to weight isn't going to work on every shock) and there wasn't really discussion of finding the right fit for Zoe, more of Georgia saying this is how I do it.
  • 13 3
 As we said in the article, Zoe decided to leave her handlebar width alone as she has previously ridden 760mm wide bars and felt more comfortable with the 780mms on her current bike. Comfort comes first in regards to bike set up. We tackle body position in the next episode and there’s a dramatic improvement right away.
  • 4 3
 @jasonlucas: I went straight to the video, so I missed the mention in the write-up on her bar width. I get that this video series is trying to target a more novice audience, but I'm just feeling like it's being dumbed down. Maybe I'm just too far removed from the intended demographic to enjoy it. I'll tune in again to the third episode to give it another chance but I may just sit this series out. I sincerely hope I'm just in the minority on this and you guys are getting a positive response.
  • 9 0
 I think her bars looked too wide because she was so far back in the first episode. If she was more centered I don't think it would have looked so wide.
  • 5 6
 @JasonALap: Why bother typing all that we don't care.
  • 6 0
 @Chilliwacker: why bother responding?
  • 2 0
 @jasonlucas: stick a 740 bar on her bike see how she likes it. If not she can swap back. She was blowing through fork travel in first video, pull the tokens and add a little more air.
  • 4 0
 Since the last video I hope about an inch has been chopped off each bar end! Also, Enduro/DH the levers need to be higher, not lower.....
  • 2 0
 I would say the mechanic has a great sense for baseline settings... Based on her own riding style..
Tips are great, especially when it comes to suspension setup (hard to find a starting point on your own).

A setup based on what others are doing is also good, but you shouldn't make adjustments on purely because someone who's better than you or has more knowledge about bikes or riding in general does. Sure, let them help you. But only you can decide what really works for you, and it changes all the time based on new technology.

After riding shitty bikes and top notch bikes throughout the years, I've experimented with many different setups. The setup I like isn't the one that he or her likes, nor is it the same as it was 5 years ago.
The long-winded point I'm trying to make is that you can get help to get started, but you have to try new things (and keep trying) on your own to realize what works for you.
  • 6 1
 That was a LOT of sealant!
  • 8 0
 sealant often ends up in #bikeporn scene :-)
  • 2 1
 Great video for the intended purpose! Keep it up! Bike setup opinions are like belly buttons, everyone’s got one, so I’m sure people will jump in to criticize. Personally, I set up my bike a little different, but I’m also much different sized rider. For example: as a tall guy on even Xl frames, my saddle to bar height is usually much higher, so I have less problems getting my weight on the bars. But, a great start video for newbs and targeted demographics.
  • 8 0
 Who criticizes belly buttons? What kind of people are you hanging out with?
  • 5 0
 @pdb18: Always compliment the belly button. It costs nothing and buys significant goodwill in the event that you have other complaints.
  • 2 1
 Any thoughts on set up of rear and front suspension with the seat all the way down or up? I got advice from one of those engineers that develops these things that you want to set things in the position the seat is most commonly is as weight distribution will make a difference in sag on back and front ends.

Seem like with the seat all the way up your weight would be further back and setting the rear with the seat down may be setting it to low in pressure. Then the front end would be set to high in pressure. I am sure it is marginal but could make a difference.
  • 2 0
 @vjunior21: personally, I think sag is just the starting point, adjusting by feel on the trail. I have changed to running less sag than most for more mid travel support. There was a podcast on Vital with Darren from Push where he says that if you are getting full travel on your suspension most of your rides, it’s probably too soft. I like his advice.
  • 4 0
 That was painful to watch. Adjusts brake levers, rolls handlebars, adjusts levers, er.
  • 1 0
 In my line of work, I find a lot of people who claim to be more comfortable with bars at width X, but if they're plain and simply too wide for them (as evidenced by elbow angle and general lack of proper control because your arms are sat too wide), they aint right. Yeah when I get on my DJ at 710 it feels a bit odd for 5 mins compared to my enduro bike, but I've forgotten about it after the first few jumps. Maybe the bar roll will have helped, but I doubt it. Limiting your ability to use your arms as additional suspension and for body weight shifts by stretching them out too wide is just silly.
  • 1 0
 I really want to like this series, the concept is great and I reckon Zoe could really improve, but the advice she's received is so amateur and misleading. I think you've dumbed it down too much. Novice girls aren't stupid, just inexperienced.
  • 6 3
 I was really really hoping this would be a IFHT satire video... disappointed
  • 5 1
 @pinkbikeoriginals Do a setting a bike up for Rampage to compare.
  • 2 0
 I would only suggest that she watch Jordi in the Dialed series. Episode 15 and 32 for suspension setup. Great info regardless of what suspension system you are using.
  • 3 0
 now that was a crisp high five right there
  • 4 1
 Where can I get a Devinci hat like Georgia is wearing?
  • 1 0
 Seems like Devinci never has merch for sale anywhere
  • 3 0
 wow she is jacked! those guns
  • 1 0
 exactly what i was thinking......probably could have taken the tyre of the rim without letting the air out Smile
  • 2 2
 No-one mentioned tire pressure yet? 25psi seems too high for a non-aggressive riding light pretty sure I would weigh more than Zoe, but run around 20psi which is great and more confidence-inspiring.
  • 1 0
 Rear tire was mounted backwards before they swapped to tubeless... that probably didn't help on 19th Hole on the last episode Smile
  • 2 0
 Looking forward to the backcountry setup video
  • 3 1
 what's up with all those backwards mounted DHR IIs here lately
  • 1 0
 Good job PB, so far a great series. I've shared both episodes with my wife and she's stoked so far.
  • 2 0
 I allways highfive people zo greet them
  • 2 0
 how much tyre sealant was that as it looked too much to me.
  • 1 0
 There is no such thing as too much sealant.. Smile
  • 1 0
 setting SAG without riding gear? maybe for 90kg guy not big difference, but for 50kg girl might be huge one.
  • 1 0
 seat angle looks a bit off to me.
  • 1 0
 shoutout to @biname, good work bud!
  • 1 0
 Those are some wide grips ya got there.
  • 2 1
 clamping directly on the dropper stanchion *shudder*
  • 2 0
 Actually that’s supposed to be fine assuming all is clean......worse is clamping around the collar
  • 2 1
 Great video.
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