A dialed bike set up is more important than the quality of the bike you ride. Make sure your bike is 100% suited to you, for example, the seat height, frame length, stem length, and handlebar width, just to name a few. All these small aspects of bike set-up can be done professionally, but these fittings come at a high price, unfortunately, as this is a very specialised skill to have.
For your benefit, we have listed a few simple changes you can make.
Saddle height is one of the most important aspects in regard to a correctly fitting bike. Especially when riding MTB, saddle height can directly impact control on the bike. Too low, it will be inefficient to pedal. Too high, you will lose control of the bike as your center of gravity is raised, with also a loss in pedaling efficiency.
To obtain the correct height, you need to sit upright stationary on your bike and be able to have the tips of your toes of each foot reach the ground. This isn’t a perfect set-up, but it gives a good basis on where the saddle should be.
For Enduro riders or more Hardcore XC racers, you might want to opt for a dropper post. A dropper post gives you the advantage of both a high seat for efficient pedaling and a lower seat for bike control and stability on the bike.
Stem length (e.g. reach)
The reach on your bike refers to the distance reach from sitting on your saddle to your handlebars. Reach can be affected by saddle height, stem length, handlebar length, and rider positioning. When riding off-road, you want your reach to be shorter to give you more control over the front end. Most riders do this by using a shorter stem.
Tyre & suspension pressures
Tyre and suspension set-up are two personal set-ups for a bike. Both of these drastically affect your riding capability in regard to trail grip, confidence, positioning, and comfort.
The correct tyre pressure for the MTB is about the ratio between the amount of grip/ rolling resistance you desire. More tyre pressure = more rolling resistance/ less grip. Vice versa less pressure = more grip/ less rolling resistance. Most >80kg riders will try and aim for between 20-35psi, for lighter weighted riders, you should try low – mid 20’s. Heavier riders may opt for high 20’s. It’s all about personal preference.
Suspension pressure is also another individual choice for your MTB. Most air pressure forks will have a pressure guide sticker on the side. When starting out, I would advise that you should stick to this guide for your first few rides. After that, you may get a better feel for the bike and how the different suspension pressures feel when riding.