Adjusting a vintage racing bicycle for perfect fit

Adjusting a vintage racing bicycle for perfect fit

Adjusting a vintage racing bicycle for perfect fit

Once you have the correct size bicycle frame that fits your height and inseam you can make further adjustments to the saddle and steering to fine tune your ride.

Saddle height

Ideally the seat height should be set to a level that makes it difficult to sit on the saddle and have your foot flat on the ground. When seated and the peddle is closest to the floor, your leg should be nearly straight. This is how you will get the most out of those mighty fine legs of yours. However, when you are still getting used to your bike you may want to have the seat a little bit lower until you are more confident.

Saddle position and set-back

Most of the time a flat saddle is the best. But some riders may prefer a saddle that is tilted upwards or downwards depending in the saddle and their riding style. Ideally the tilt (if any) should only be a couple of degrees.

Moving a saddle backwards or forwards along the saddle rails will also change the distance between your hands and the steering bars. Both of these can be adjusted by loosening the bolts or hex screw you will find on the saddle.


Handle bar height

The front of a vintage racing bicycle is usually lower that the saddle. This helps the rider achieve a more aerodynamic position. But this can also be adjusted to a more relaxed position by increasing the height of the stem.

Warning: the handle bars carry your weight so it is crucial that you do not pull the stem out too far. Most stems will have a marking indicating max/min insertion. Do not pass this line. If there is no marking on the stem then make sure at least 7.5cm of the stem goes into the frame.

Handle bar angle

Just a small change to the angle of the handle bars can make a big difference to the distance your arms travel to reach the brake levers. You can adjust the handle bars by loosening the bolt on the stem which allows you to rotate the handlebars, bring the brake levers closer or further away.

Back to blog