How to Set up Your Spin Bike Like a Pro

By Robbie Ferri

Over the years, millions worldwide have been drawn to the addictive allure of using spinning bikes. The reason is not farfetched. Spin bike is designed in such a way that you can do great cardio workout without having to endure the impact of running and some other exercises.

Secondly, because of its many cycling benefits. You lose a large amount of weight, your cardiovascular system becomes healthier, and your mental toughness increases as your body becomes fit.

And, if you’re like most people who attend classes or studios; there’s music to ride to, and then there’s the instructor who walks you through. In the end, it becomes pure fun to burn huge amounts of calories in a very short time.

The Stats Are There

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In some studios, you are provided with an opportunity to keep track of your stats online. This adds to the fun. But, there’s a downside; the figures don’t lie. When you longer give spinning your best shot, the stats are there to tell you. To be honest with you, this sucks.

Plus, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself, if you aren’t doing better than most people, you feel terrible as you subtly compare yourself with the rest.

But then again, is there anything worse than getting on a bad bike? Yes, not knowing how to set up your spin bike in the first place. Below are five essential steps to assist you in setting up your spin bike like a pro.

Setting Up Your Spin Bike: The Basics

Whether you are new to spinning or a professional, you’ll find this article an all-time useful guide in helping you set up your spin bike.

Adjusting The Seat Height.

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Finding the right seat height is everything. The reason is an improper saddle height will increase the risk of having you having an injury or musculoskeletal problems while spinning. It can also reduce your performance.

The saddle may be too far forward, too far back, too high, or too low. These are the common causes of knee injuries and back pain amongst cyclists.

To find the right seat height, first off, use your hip bone as a guide so that the top of the seat is aligned with it.

Secondly, get on the bike with your legs on the pedals. One of your legs should be at the bottom of the pedal stroke with the knee slightly bent. If it’s not slightly bent and feels like you have to stretch to reach the pedals, it means the seat height is high, and you need to lower it.

On the other hand, if your knees bend too much, it means the seat is low, and you need to increase it. Adjust it until there’s a slight bend in your knee. Also, ensure that your knees aren’t too close to the bar.

A good sign that you’re seated appropriately is when your toe still touches the floor when you take it off the pedal.

Read how to make spin bike seat more comfortable

Adjusting the Handlebars.

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Ideally, the distance between the seat and the handlebars should be the length of your forearm fully extended. That way, the tips of your fingers graze it.

If you feel you have to stretch too much like you’re reaching out for something, your back will be curved, and your ride will become inefficient. So, if the handlebars are too far or too close, you should adjust accordingly until you have a slight bend in your elbows.

However, it all depends on the length of your torso and whether you have back issues or not. For example, if you have a long torso, moving the bike seat back becomes ideal. If you have a small torso, moving the seat forward becomes ideal.

And, if you have a back issue, it’s ideal you move the handlebars a bit higher. Adjusting handlebars is a subjective experience; there are no hard and fast rules to that. Just do whatever feels comfortable to you.



One of the most important components of the spin bike is the clip-in pedal. Also known as a step-in pedal, this pedal allows you to attach your cycling shoes to the bike through cleats.

This provides a more efficient pedalling motion and also helps to prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals. without the clip-in pedals, you would have to pedalling with just your sneakers, which can be uncomfortable and can also lead to slip-offs. So if you’re going to be using a spin bike, be sure to use the clip-in pedals. They could make all the difference in your workout. Here is how to clip in your cycling shoes into pedals:

  • First of all, ensure that you’re in a secured position before you attempt clipping in.
  • Put on your spinning shoes and lean to the side of the pedal you want to clip your shoe into.
  • Next, position the front of your shoe cleat to the front of the clip, that is, after you have flipped the pedal over.
  • To secure your shoe cleat, you need to move the back of your feet downwards on the pedal. You’ll hear a click sound almost immediately, or you can attempt to pedal to be sure.

Why Do You Need To Clip In? There are various reasons which include:

For safety. If you don’t clip in, your feet can slip while spinning or pedaling, injuring your feet and/or your legs. Therefore, you need a secured connection between your feet and your pedal. The chances of suffering foot pain and fatigue are very slim with clip-in.

Spinning becomes efficient. When your feet are securely attached to the pedal, you’ll have an efficient workout because power from your quads and hamstring are balanced.

Stability. Clipping in maintains your momentum and traction, thereby giving you stability. Stability makes riding a lot easier, contributing to the success of your workouts.

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Positioning Your Body

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An incorrect posture will set you up for lower back injuries or make spinning inefficient. There are different correct positions you could take advantage of while on the spin bike to avoid potential injuries and to make spinning efficient.

Seated flat. The name is just what it says. You’re seated with your butts flat on the saddle, your weight distributed evenly on the seat.

Standing run. You’re no more seated on the saddle. Rather, you’re standing without exerting your full weight on the handlebars; balance is achieved by the pedals.

Hovering over the saddle. Your bum is no longer seated on the saddle rather it hovers over it with your body leaning forward.

Whatever position you’re in, the trick lies in not crunching your lower back and keeping your spine in a neutral position. That is, straighten your spine so that your core is engaged and your shoulders don’t bear all the weight.

You should also maintain a slight bend in your elbows all the time. For hand positions:

  • The 1st position entails your hands are at the center of the handlebars.
  • In the 2nd position, your hands are away from the center at the curves of the handlebars.
  • In the 3rd position, your hands are at the top of the handlebars.

Sticking to these correct postures means you have a better spinning experience.

Read how to choose a good spin bike

Adjusting the Resistance.

The resistance knob is found just below the handlebars of most spin bikes. Turning the spin bike resistance knob clockwise increases the resistance, while turning it counterclockwise decreases the resistance.

However, some spin bikes have a keypad marked as “Resistance” and not a knob for adjusting resistance. Whatever the model is, adjusting the resistance is vital to every setup.

The resistance should always match your endurance level or a level you’re comfortable with.

PS. If you’re a newbie, keep the resistance low, and as your endurance builds up over time, gradually increase it.

Read useful tips for your first cycling class session

Mistakes to Avoid During Spin Bike Setups

  1. Applying Death Grip

At every moment of your spinning, pay keen attention to how you are gripping the handlebars. When spinning gets real tough, riders give in to the temptation of gripping the handlebars too tightly.

This will put all your upper body weight on the handlebars forcing your quads to do extra work, thereby leaving you with knee pain or joint problems. One sure sign to know if you’re gripping your handlebars too tightly is when your shoulders are brought close to your ears.

  1. Pedalling Wrongly

Avoid pointing your toes down on the pedals. Also, your feet should not be turned out. Doing this will only leave you with foot or ankle problems in the long run. The right way to go about this is to keep your feet flat and evenly distributed on the pedals.

  1. Sitting Wrongly

Your seat should not be too high, or too low. It should not be too close to the handlebars or too far from it. This is to protect your knees during spinning. You see, if the seat is set at the wrong height, you could end up with injuries. It can also make riding really awkward.

Read indoor cycling tips for an effective workout

In a Nutshell

While setting up your spin bike, you may not get it right the first time. It takes constant practice to hone your skills. So, relax and enjoy the moment.

Finally, before every ride, ensure that your knees don’t come too close to the bars or are not too far from it. Go on and have a wonderful riding experience!