Cycling - Knowledge

The Right Road Bike Posture: Vital for a Smooth Ride

2969 Views - 13 mins read

Riding a bike on the road correctly is of vital importance as it not only ensures the maximum efficiency but it also helps prevent injuries related to cycling. Setting up your bike in a correct way and adjusting your position while sitting on the bike during your ride has a major impact on the efficiency and comfort level. By getting your road bike position right, you will be able to ride your bike on the road and give maximum performance while saving yourself from any injuries.

Going on a bike ride can be relaxing and fun-filled if you know the basic skills on how to properly position your body on the bike. Knowing about the technicalities and skills of the ideal road bike posture is very important for the beginner cyclists.

Road Bike Posture Fun
Get Your Posture Right for a Smooth Ride!

Having the perfect road bike posture is very necessary if you want to enjoy your bike ride without any pain such as in the shoulders and neck and will eliminate any kind of frustration and fear associated with bike riding. For professionals who are quite experienced in riding a bike, it is also very necessary to know the proper road bike posters so that if you are into long hours of riding or e daily, you can stay away from injuries and pain in various parts of your body.

By knowing the proper body positions such as knee position and hand positions while riding you can experience a relaxed bike ride rather than a stressful one. There are a few very easy tips and tricks for setting up the bike to get the perfect riding position which you can follow so as to get the benefits of a comfortable Road cycling ride.

Advantages of Maintaining the Correct Cycling Position

Maintain road bike posture
Go Faster with the Right Cycling Position

There is not a particular so called correct position for a bike ride which can be followed by each and every person. What you should be concerned about is the proper road bike posture for you that will help you to feel comfortable and stress-free while you are cycling. Each person is different from one another in terms of their height, size and shape of their bodies, so it goes without saying that each person's level of comfort, ability, and flexibility will also be different.

It is a known fact that whatever is comfortable for you while you are cycling may not be comfortable for the next person as our legs arms torsos are different from one another. Due to this, a proper riding position is of the most important, right after having the right road bike, if you are habituated in cycling regularly. If you do not have the correct position while cycling then very soon you will suffer from pain in various parts of your body which can be a problem for you in the old age. The three top most benefits which you will gain from maintaining are correct road bike posture is as follows:

  • Increase efficiency while riding
  • Comfortability is much more
  • Bike handling manoeuvres are improved

Being comfortable while riding will help you relax and get a balanced ride which will increase the level of efficiency. If you are a professional cyclist you will understand the importance of having 100% efficiency while participating in a cycling race. Sitting in a proper position on the cycle will also help you improve your bike handling techniques. All these benefits together will guarantee your safe ride by preventing unnecessary accidents and injuries and pain of your body parts.

Another important criterion, other than the proper posture of sitting on a bike, is choosing the right road bike frames on the basis of your body type. If you are using a bike which is unsuitable for your body type or is of incorrect size, then you are bound to face troubles while going on for cycling. There are a number of factors which determine which frame size is correct for you. You must remember these factors before purchasing a road bike so that it suits you perfectly and gives you maximum productivity.

Ways to Get the Position of a Road Bike in a Correct Order

Road Bike Posture righr Position
Get it Right

Riding a bike is just as fun as it is a great way to stay in shape. However, you must be well informed about the various aspects of the sport so that you have your road bike posture right in order to avoid any minor or major injuries, here’s how:

  • Have Knowledge About the Handlebar Height

In order to have your road bike posture right, you must have a good knowledge about the importance of the handle bar height.  Having very long and low bars is a common mistake and may give you a sore neck and shoulders. Raise the handlebars if you feel your neck and shoulders are sore after riding for a while.

You may raise it either by getting the stem of the handlebar flipped upwards or by having the stem with spacers beneath it raised up. Your body must be at an angle of 45 degrees, thus, if your torso feels to be stretched out too much, diminishing the length of the stem. Similarly, lengthen it if required. Hence, you must put a keen notice about road bike handlebars set up.

  • Getting Your Seat Height Right is Very Important

Getting your seat height right is something you must be very concerned about. The easiest way to know if it is positioned correctly is by noticing if your knee has a subtle bent when your pedalling is at the bottom of the stroke. Your heels must be at the convenient position of 6 0’ clock by having your legs stretched out straight to achieve the comfort.

  • Having Fitting Pedals and Cleats Alignments

Having fitting pedals and cleats alignments is very important to have the correct road bike posture. This is because if you do not position your feet at the right place then the circulation around the knees and leg strains would be cut off causing acute pain. The following steps should be followed to have the cleats aligned in the right way:

  1. Align angles of the cleats according to the angles of your feet; whether you have anatomically perfect feet or you pigeon toed or splay footed slightly. Normally both the feet of any person are not perfectly the same, hence, you have to measure both your feet separately. Climb up on a table with your feet, off the side, dangling. Trace out the outline of your feet on an A4 sheet and measure the angles.
  2. Then, put on your shoes and feel for the bony ball like protrusion on your heel and mark the same inside your shoes.
  3. Adjust the angles of the cleats (as mentioned in the first tip) with the provided screws but not very tightly.
  4. Next, have your shoe placed on your feet and clip it into the pedals. Now, jiggle your shoe in such a way, both fore and aft, so that it aligns with the pedal axle axis (when you view from above).
  5. You may make alterations in the angles at this stage.
  6. Now, ask for someone’s help to mark the shoe sole and the cleat on both the front and back side. Now, check the marks and tighten the screws firmly.
  • Avoid Cleat and Foot Tilt: A Cause of Cycling Foot Pain

Poorly adjusted cleat and the angles of the forefeet may cause a prolonged discomfort as well as foot pain. Resolve your hot spots under your feet by making minor adjustments in the tilt of the cleat and shoe. You may also use wedge like structures meant for cleat adjustments available in the market.

  • Cleat Rotation: A Significant Aspect of Proper Road Bike Posture

There are several cleats available in the market, among which some requires floating while others do not. However, to the provision of rotation of the cleats are very essential.

  • Take Care of Leg Length Issues

Length of legs cannot be same for all individuals. Besides, the length of both the legs is often not same for everyone. However, such a drawback would not affect you from maintaining the right road bike posture. Simple adjustments in cleats would solve the problems.

Cleats must be positioned forward for shorter legs and a bit backward for longer legs. You may also plastic wedges for cleats adjustments as well as wide saddles for stabilizing the pelvic zone and preventing drooping hips. Besides, you always have the option of using custom made foot beds as well as a diagnosis; however, the latter may not always prove to be fruitful.

  • Have the Correct Knowledge About the Crank Arm Length

In order to ensure the correct road bike posture has profound knowledge about the crank arm and its length adjustments. Road bikes normally have crank arms of a length of about 172.5mm, however, this crank arm length might not be worthy or comforting for everyone and hence, newly launched bikes have come up with different lengths varying from the usual length. You must make sure to check if the length of the crank arm suits you or not before investing in a road bike or before riding one to avoid pain or discomfort.

  • Be Aware Of the Frame Size of the Bike

The frame size of a bike is related to the height of men and women riding the cycle. It is calculated from the top of the cycle, the point where the seat is posted to the midpoint of the axle which is carrying the bottom brake.

Correct Road Bike Frames for Perfect Posture

right road bike frame for posture
What Makes a Road Bike Frame Best for You

As mentioned earlier that there are certain factors which will help you to determine what is the correct frame size for your bike. The factors to be considered while purchasing a bike are given below:

  • Saddle height and fitting
  • Knee Position
  • Reach
  • Hand positions
  • Pedal foot position and pedal spacers
  • Frame size

Let us discuss these factors to be considered before you decide on buying a road bike or hiring one as per your convenience.

Saddle Height and Fitting

The first factor is the height and fittings of the saddle which is measured right from the top of the seat of the bicycle to the pedal (when it is turning the circle and is at the bottom end). Technically speaking the legs of the cyclist should be at 25 degrees from the straight line when the pedal is at its bottom most end of the stroke.

The leg should not be stressed completely so that the leg muscles operate more efficiently without disturbing the stroke of pedalling which can intern affect the knees. Also, if the pedal is at a higher height when it will result in the to and fro motion of the cyclist which will disrupt the proper road bike posture resulting in cramps in shoulder and knee.

It is of utmost importance that the fittings of the saddle are done with extreme care so that the distance between the bare feet and the crotch is fixed at hundred and nine percent from the inside of the leg. You should take into consideration the height of the shoes worn by the cyclist along with the thickness of the shoe sole.

Knee Position

The knee position is also a vital factor when it comes to determining the frame of the bike you are choosing. By holding the pedals in a horizontal position and by measuring taking a plumb line right from the centre of the knee joint which is placed vertically by measuring from just behind the centre of the axle of the crank arm. During riding fast if the knee is bent in front of the axle centre slightly, then this will hamper, the perfect bike ride posture of the cyclist.


Reach can be described as the distance between the top brake levers and the shoulders and the time when the rider is on the cycle sitting in an upright posture. If you want the right road bike posture, then you have to sit in such a way that there is a 45-degree angle between you and the cycle top tube.

Hand Positions

There are three positions which can give you a comfortable grip while you are cycling. The handlebars of a cycle should be adjusted in such a position which should be a little bit below the saddle's top level. It is one of the most important factors as if the handlebars are not in a correct position, then it can result in lower back pain and Shoulder cramps.

There are three places in the handlebars which can give you comfortable bike riding and these are: tops, hoods and drops. As the name states tops are the top most parts of the handlebars which are straight in shape. Hoods are the cropped portion of the cycle handles. Drops are the portion which is below the hoods that are the lower down portion of the handlebars.

Pedal Foot Position and Pedal Spacers

While talking about the foot position you must know that it is determined by the shoe cleat adjustments. To reduce injury and give the maximum amount of efficiency the ball of your foot should always be over the spindle of the pedal. You can suffer from a knee injury and unnatural twist if not seated in the correct position which will, in turn, lead to Achilles strain.

Road Bike Frames size

Road bike frames are measured in centimetres by their height, at the bike’s down tube. Besides, the length of the cycle is very important which is measured at the top tube. This is because it entirely depends on this length how much and how far you would be able to bend over and reach the handle bars.

The effective top tube or the top tube is essential to be measured as it suggests the horizontal distance between the head tube and the seat tube.

You may adjust the heights of your saddle at the seat post as well as the angle of the handlebar in this part. If you have adjusted the various heights and angles of your heights correctly you would be able to reach to all parts of the cycle effortlessly. Most of the cycle companies provide the customers with the various dimensions of cycles letting you buy as per your need.

Know How to Avoid Pain from Cycling

Road Bike Posture Pain Chart
Cycling Pain Chart: Know Where (and Why) it Hurts (Source)

One of the most neglected aspects of cycling is not paid heed to, i.e. the causes of pain borne out of cycling. If you feel pain in the knee area you may adjust your saddle by moving forward or backwards. If you feel pain on the lateral side of the knee, then place your feet out or away having the cleat on. The feet should be placed in or out without the cleat to avoid pain in the knee. The feet should be moved forward and the cleat backwards to avoid pain in the Achilles.

FAQs Related to Road Bike Posture

Here are a few questions whose answers will help you get better at cycling easily and effortlessly.

1. How to Ride With Proper Body Position on a Road Bike?

If you are taking up cycling as a profession then you must learn how to balance as well as relax your body by sitting in the perfect road bike posture. It is the basic skill which every cyclist should know whether they are experienced or just images so that they can avoid being frustrated and causing injuries.

A proper sitting position and the suitable size of the bike will help you to relax your shoulders and right without putting in too much effort and avoiding a severe neck pain the following day.

2. What is a good neutral position on a road bike?

The perfect neutral position in cycling begins right at the head of the cyclist and close all the way to the feet. You must check to see whether or not you are at the correct road bike posture during long cycling rights so as to keep away from falling into bad postures which will harm you in the long run. Here are a few tips and tricks to get a good neutral position while cycling:

  • Your shoulder should be relaxed
  • You must bend your elbows so that any impact can be absorbed by your arms
  • Always remember that your elbows and your finger should be in a straight line
  • A neutral spine should be maintained at all cost
  • Your knee should be the centre of your foot always

3. When should drops, hoods and tops be used?

As discussed earlier, there are a total of 3 places where you can keep your hands on the handlebars so that you can travel long distance over the cycles in a relaxed way keeping the best road bike posture. During cycling downhill drops should be used. Riding in the hoods should be used the majority of the times during cycling as it maintains a relaxed arm position. Tops should be used while climbing steadily without facing any traffic.

4. My hands are going now when I ride, why?

While cycling if your body position is not in a correct way, then it causes your fingers and hands to go numb. This happens when there is no proper circulation of blood flowing from your body to your hands and arms. You must make sure that you are cycling with your elbows slightly bent and must check the alignment of your wrist to avoid the numbness of your hands.

Summing Up

It can be very well said that a proper road bike posture should be maintained at any cost as otherwise 8 may affect you in a lot of ways. Not only will it prevent you from enjoying yourself and suffering from pain in various parts of your body, but it will also make you enjoy cycling like never before.

Road Bike Posture Important
Don’t Ignore Your Posture

So it is the high time that you pay heed to this basic yet very useful technique of sitting in the right position on your cycle so that you can enjoy this activity for a long time without any hindrance. Sit correctly and enjoy the ride!

Cover Source