How to Set up an Exercise Bike

Want to set up your cycle for a more comfortable and efficient workout? Learn how with these exercise bike tips.

April 12, 2019

Indoor cycling can be a great way to put a spin on your cardiovascular training. To get the most out of your workout, however, it’s crucial you adjust the bike to your frame. A properly adjusted exercise bike can lead to more effective and comfortable training. Fortunately, there are only a few adjustments you need to make before you’re cozily powering toward your next workout.

Before you begin adjusting your saddle, though, it’s important to note that setup procedures can differ among styles. For example, upright exercise bikes and indoor cycling bikes have similar setups. However, those adjustments will do you no good when setting up a recumbent bike. Check out our tips for more information on how to choose an exercise bike.


To begin setting up your upright or indoor cycling exercise bike, first look at your saddle. For a comfortable, efficient seat, the height and horizontal settings need to be adjusted.

To adjust your seat to the proper height:

  • Stand to the side of your exercise bike.
  • Raise or lower the saddle to your hip level.

You can also raise your knee to a 90-degree angle and bring your saddle to the center of your thigh.

Once you’ve adjusted your exercise bike’s seat position, go ahead and hop in the saddle to check the setting. Place one of your pedals at the lowest level while remaining seated. There should be a slight bend in your knee if you’re sitting at the right height for you.

BONUS PRO TIP: When thinking of pedal position, it can help to imagine the pedals as hands on a clock. For example, when your pedal is at its lowest level, as previously mentioned, this would be 6 o’clock.

With your saddle height set, you can move on to adjusting your horizontal setting. Remaining seated, move one of your pedals to the 3 o’clock position. Your saddle will be far enough forward when you can draw an imaginary line from your knee straight down to your toes. If you aren’t quite there yet, simply adjust the saddle forward or backward as needed.

Finally, be sure to check the height of your handlebars. When your hands are resting on the grips, your spine should be in a neutral position, meaning no arch or curve. Also, your elbows should bend slightly, but you should still be comfortable. Raise or lower your handlebars to achieve this setting.


If you plan on pedaling through your workouts in the comforts of a recumbent exercise bike, it’s helpful to know the proper setup. Adjusting a recumbent bike for comfort and efficiency can be very simple:

  • Place your foot at the 3 o’clock position.
  • Adjust your seat so there is a slight bend in your knee.

To make sure you’re adjusted properly, be sure to take a few pedal strokes and monitor your leg extension. If you feel like you’re over- or under-extending your leg, be sure to adjust accordingly.

FINAL NOTE: It can be a good idea to do a final walk-around to tighten everything before starting a workout. Secure your seat, handlebars and other adjustment areas before powering through another training session.

A well-adjusted exercise bike can give a boost to your workout regimen. Follow these fitness tips and find the right fit for your next cycling workout.