4. Handlebar position

The handlebars and their position determine the posture in which you sit on the bike. Every solution is individual and the best thing is when choices are provided by simple rearrangement.

Your bike type: Dutch bike

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1. Creating the right muscle tension

Basically, the handlebars are correctly positioned when the back muscles are in a position of so-called "pre-tension". The back and abdominal muscles must be actively tensed. In this way they can stabilise the spine and protect it from strain. Passive muscles are not able to perform this important function.

Right

Wrong

2. Determining the inclination of the upper body

The inclination of the upper body depends on the individual cycling style. If you want to travel fast, you will prefer a flatter position. Recreational and urban cyclists favour a more upright back. Set the handlebar height that corresponds to the desired inclination.

3. Determining the angle of the upper arm and upper body

For the position on a city bike 75-80° is a good reference value. However, many people prefer smaller angles of up to 60° here (less support work for shoulders/arms/hands).

The upper arm/upper body angle is mainly set by the length and angle of the handlebar stem (the angle is also partly influenced by the shape of the handlebars).

4. Handlebar width

The basic rule: The handlebar width should be equal to the shoulder width. This is measured on the body from shoulder joint to shoulder joint and on the handlebars from the centre of the hand to the centre of the hand.

More about steering systems

1. Creating the right muscle tension

Basically, the handlebars are correctly positioned when the back muscles are in a position of so-called "pre-tension". The back and abdominal muscles must be actively tensed. In this way they can stabilise the spine and protect it from strain. Passive muscles are not able to perform this important function.

Right

Wrong

2. Determining the inclination of the upper body

The inclination of the upper body depends on the individual cycling style. If you want to travel fast, you will prefer a flatter position. Recreational and urban cyclists favour a more upright back. Set the handlebar height that corresponds to the desired inclination.

3. Determining the angle of the upper arm and upper body

For the position on a city bike 75-80° is a good reference value. However, many people prefer smaller angles of up to 60° here (less support work for shoulders/arms/hands).

The upper arm/upper body angle is mainly set by the length and angle of the handlebar stem (the angle is also partly influenced by the shape of the handlebars).

4. Handlebar width

The basic rule: The handlebar width should be equal to the shoulder width. This is measured on the body from shoulder joint to shoulder joint and on the handlebars from the centre of the hand to the centre of the hand.

More about steering systems

1. Creating the right muscle tension

Basically, the handlebars are correctly positioned when the back muscles are in a position of so-called "pre-tension". The back and abdominal muscles must be actively tensed. In this way they can stabilise the spine and protect it from strain. Passive muscles are not able to perform this important function.

Right

Wrong

2. Determining the inclination of the upper body

The inclination of the upper body depends on the individual cycling style. If you want to travel fast, you will prefer a flatter position. Recreational and urban cyclists favour a more upright back. Set the handlebar height that corresponds to the desired inclination.

3. Determining the angle of the upper arm and upper body

For the position on a city bike 75-80° is a good reference value. However, many people prefer smaller angles of up to 60° here (less support work for shoulders/arms/hands).

The upper arm/upper body angle is mainly set by the length and angle of the handlebar stem (the angle is also partly influenced by the shape of the handlebars).

4. Handlebar width

The basic rule: The handlebar width should be equal to the shoulder width. This is measured on the body from shoulder joint to shoulder joint and on the handlebars from the centre of the hand to the centre of the hand.

More about steering systems

1. Creating the right muscle tension

Basically, the handlebars are correctly positioned when the back muscles are in a position of so-called "pre-tension". The back and abdominal muscles must be actively tensed. In this way they can stabilise the spine and protect it from strain. Passive muscles are not able to perform this important function.

Right

Wrong

2. Determining the inclination of the upper body

The inclination of the upper body depends on the individual cycling style. If you want to travel fast, you will prefer a flatter position. Recreational and urban cyclists favour a more upright back. Set the handlebar height that corresponds to the desired inclination.

3. Determining the angle of the upper arm and upper body

For the position on a city bike 75-80° is a good reference value. However, many people prefer smaller angles of up to 60° here (less support work for shoulders/arms/hands).

The upper arm/upper body angle is mainly set by the length and angle of the handlebar stem (the angle is also partly influenced by the shape of the handlebars).

4. Handlebar width

The basic rule: The handlebar width should be equal to the shoulder width. This is measured on the body from shoulder joint to shoulder joint and on the handlebars from the centre of the hand to the centre of the hand.

More about steering systems

1. Creating the right muscle tension

Basically, the handlebars are correctly positioned when the back muscles are in a position of so-called "pre-tension". The back and abdominal muscles must be actively tensed. In this way they can stabilise the spine and protect it from strain. Passive muscles are not able to perform this important function.

Right

Wrong

2. Determining the inclination of the upper body

The inclination of the upper body depends on the individual cycling style. If you want to travel fast, you will prefer a flatter position. Recreational and urban cyclists favour a more upright back. Set the handlebar height that corresponds to the desired inclination.

3. Determining the angle of the upper arm and upper body

For the position on a city bike 75-80° is a good reference value. However, many people prefer smaller angles of up to 60° here (less support work for shoulders/arms/hands).

The upper arm/upper body angle is mainly set by the length and angle of the handlebar stem (the angle is also partly influenced by the shape of the handlebars).

4. Handlebar width

The basic rule: The handlebar width should be equal to the shoulder width. This is measured on the body from shoulder joint to shoulder joint and on the handlebars from the centre of the hand to the centre of the hand.

More about steering systems

1. Creating the right muscle tension

Basically, the handlebars are correctly positioned when the back muscles are in a position of so-called "pre-tension". The back and abdominal muscles must be actively tensed. In this way they can stabilise the spine and protect it from strain. Passive muscles are not able to perform this important function.

Right

Wrong

2. Determining the inclination of the upper body

The inclination of the upper body depends on the individual cycling style. If you want to travel fast, you will prefer a flatter position. Recreational and urban cyclists favour a more upright back. Set the handlebar height that corresponds to the desired inclination.

3. Determining the angle of the upper arm and upper body

For the position on a city bike 75-80° is a good reference value. However, many people prefer smaller angles of up to 60° here (less support work for shoulders/arms/hands).

The upper arm/upper body angle is mainly set by the length and angle of the handlebar stem (the angle is also partly influenced by the shape of the handlebars).

4. Handlebar width

The basic rule: The handlebar width should be equal to the shoulder width. This is measured on the body from shoulder joint to shoulder joint and on the handlebars from the centre of the hand to the centre of the hand.

More about steering systems
Continue to Step 5. Checking the adjustments
Back to Step 3. Saddle position

About the author

Dr. Achim Schmidt

Cycling expert at the German Sport University Cologne

The expert

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